Nicolás Avellaneda

Nicolás Avellaneda
8th President of Argentina
In office
October 12, 1874  October 11, 1880
Vice President Mariano Acosta
Preceded by Domingo F. Sarmiento
Succeeded by Julio A. Roca
Personal details
Born October 3, 1837[1]
San Miguel de Tucumán, Tucumán
Died December 26, 1885(1885-12-26) (aged 48)
At sea
Nationality Argentina
Political party National Autonomist Party
Spouse(s) Carmen Nórbrega Miguens
Profession Lawyer

Nicolás Remigio Aurelio Avellaneda Silva (October 3, 1837 24 November 1885) was an Argentine politician and journalist, and president of Argentina from 1874 to 1880. Avellaneda's main projects while in office were banking and education reform, leading to Argentina's economic growth. The most important events of his government were the Conquest of the Desert and the transformation of the City of Buenos Aires into a federal district.[2]


Born in San Miguel de Tucumán, his mother moved with him to Bolivia after the death of his father, Marco Avellaneda, during a revolt against Juan Manuel de Rosas. He studied law at Córdoba, without graduating. Back at Tucumán he founded El Eco del Norte, and moved to Buenos Aires in 1857, becoming director of the El Nacional and editor of El Comercio de la Plata. He finished his studies at Buenos Aires, meeting Domingo Faustino Sarmiento. Sarmiento helped him to become teacher of economy at the University of Buenos Aires. He wrote "Estudio sobre las leyes de tierras públicas" (Spanish: Study of the laws about public lands), proposing to give the lands to producers that make production from them. This system, similar to the one employed at the United States, suggested to reduce bureaucracy and pointed that this would allow stable populations and population growth.

He was a member of the house of representatives in 1859 and Minister of Government of Adolfo Alsina in the Buenos Aires province in 1866. During Domingo Faustino Sarmiento's presidency, he was Minister of Justice and Education. He implemented the educational reform that was defining of his government.

Avellaneda attained the presidency in 1874 but had its legitimacy contested by Bartolomé Mitre and supported by Domingo Faustino Sarmiento. Mitre deployed the army against Avellaneda but was defeated by Julio Argentino Roca. Mitre was held prisoner and judged by military justice, but Avellaneda indulted him in order to promote pacification. He also included Rufino de Elizalde and José María Gutiérrez, supporters of Mitre, as members of his cabinet.

In line with people like Alberdi or Sarmiento, who thought that European immigration was crucial to the Argentine development, he promoted the "Avellaneda law" that allowed European farmers ease to get terrains. The immigration numbers were doubled in a few years.

Having won the revolution and bringing peace to the country, Avellaneda faced the serious economic crisis, centering his efforts on the control of the land with the Conquest of the Desert and expanding the railroads, the cereal and meat exports, and the European immigration, specially to Patagonia. During his presidency, the economy of Argentina was seriously affected by the European crisis putting the country on the edge of debt default. Deciding to take Argentina from its debts, he said that "[...]there are two million Argentines who would economize even to their hunger and thirst to fulfill the promises of our public commitments in the foreign markets".[3] He reduced the budget and applied a weak protectionism. The crisis was eventually fixed with the growing exports of refrigerated meat to Europe, a new developing industrial method of the time.

A prolific writer, his works have been published in 12 volumes.

Aged 37, he was the youngest Argentine president ever elected.[4] He had served in the Argentine Senate for five months in 1874 and returned to the Senate in 1883 until his death. He died on a ship returning from medical treatment in France.



  1. F. Pigna
  2. Mendelevich, p. 51
  3. El Historiador (Spanish)
  4. Mendelevich, p. 314
Political offices
Preceded by
Domingo F. Sarmiento
President of Argentina
Succeeded by
Julio A. Roca
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