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History of Cordoba

Learn Spanish in Cordoba

Córdoba is one city where its past truly does shine through to the present day and as you wander about the city you will be able to see the many remnants of the Colonial era in the buildings and churches and perhaps most notably the University, the fourth oldest in all of the Americas. These aesthetic pleasures combine with the fun-loving student population to create a lively and passionate city that in 2006 was named Culture Capital of the Americas, a title that you will soon see, as you discover over the period of your Spanish course in Córdoba, is fully lived up to.

Colonial Discovery


In 1570 Jerónimo Luis de Cabrera, a Spanish settler originally from Seville, was entrusted with the task of establishing and populating a settlement in the Punilla Valley. In 1573 he and a small army of men arrived in what is today the city of Córdoba. They officially founded it in that same year, naming it 'Córdoba de la Nueva Andalucia'. All did not pass with out a hitch however, as Aboriginal tribes already inhabiting the area on the left bank of the river (nowadays called the River Suquía) where Luis de Cabrera and his men had positioned the initial settlement and they proceeded to attack the Spanish settlers. In 1577 it was decided to re-locate the settlement to the opposite side of the river. Once this was carried out, the city was planned with a grid style layout of 70 blocks and the population began to steadily increase.

1599 was the year in which the religious order most heavily associated with Córdoba arrived in the city: The Jesuits. They began to make important and substantial contributions and developments to the settlement such as the building of what is now the National University of Córdoba and a Jesuit Church which also houses the Montserrat College, one of the most prestigious schools in all of Argentina.

Unfortunately the poor Jesuits, for all their good work, were not able to stick around for all that long as in 1767 King Carlos III of Spain began his campaign against the Jesuits and they were expelled from South America. The running of the settlement was then taken over by the Franciscans for roughly a decade before the return of the Jesuits in 1853.

Change and Growth

Córdoba became a part of the Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata, set up by King Carlos III in 1776. This viceroyalty contained what is now modern day Uruguay, Argentina, Bolivia and parts of Brazil and Chile. It was eventually broken up in 1810 following the Independence Wars. A military Junta then ruled the viceroyalty for a period, followed by two Triumvirates and eventually a Supreme Director took over executive power. A congress was set up in the city of Tucumán in 1816 in which the land of Argentina (or the United Provinces of the Viceroy of Rio de la Plata) was declared independent from Spain and they attempted to devise a structural plan to better rule a province as vast as the Viceroyalty. Juan Martín de Pueyrredón was appointed Supreme Leader while a monarch was sought, to no avail. The congress moved to Buenos Aires in 1817 and eventually shut down in 1820 under pressure from local 'caudillos' who were spearheading the separation of Argentina into smaller provinces, each under the control of a powerful caudillo.

After 1820 when Cordoba proclaimed its independence as a province, it struggled against Buenos Aires to achieve control of the nation. Córdoba wanted federal division of the country and for a long period there was much instability and infighting, but this began to stabilise during the rule of Governor Félix de la Peña who continued to devide up some of the bigger departments and facilitated easier administration and governance. Meanwhile, the city itself continues to prosper. cordoba An observatory was built and new University faculties were inaugurated. In 1918 Córdoba initiated the University Reform movement which encouraged reform of curriculums and the promotion of student rights not only in Argentina but throughout South America as a whole. Under progressive Governor Amadeus Sabattini Cordoba saw industrial practices introduced to its typically agrarian means of making a living and following the Second World War many workers from Europe flocked to the city in search of jobs. German immigrants transformed the recently built FMA that manufactured military airplanes into one of the most important factories of its kind in the whole world. By 1947 there were 400,000 people living in the city of Córdoba and it has consistently been the second biggest city in the country after Buenos Aires.

Like Buenos Aires, Córdoba has had its fair share of political infamy over the decades and it was here that the initial mutiny was started that ousted President Perón in 1955. It was also the site for a series of violent protests in 1969 over student rights and labour issues that eventually led to elections in 1973

Córdoba the Wise

Nowadays, in Córdoba there are around 1.5 million inhabitants and it is a city that continues to grow commercially and in recent decades has started to attract many tourists, backpackers and those wanting to learn Spanish. The University is still one of the best in South America and continues to attract students from all over the continent, earning Cordoba the rightful nickname of 'La Docta' or 'the wise'- what more could you want from a city you are thinking of studying Spanish in?