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ARGENTINA

with a dry dock of the largest size, and extensive repair shops. There is also a dockyard and torpedo arsenal at La Plata, an artillery depot at Zárate, above Buenos Aires, and naval depots on the island of Martin Garcia and at Tigre, on the Luján river.

Education.—Primary education is free and secular, and is compulsory for children of 6 to 14 years. In the national capital and territories it is supervised by a national council of education with the assistance of local school boards; in the 14 provinces it is under provincial control. Secondary instruction is also free, but is not compulsory. It is under the control of the national government, which in 1902 maintained 19 colleges. Of these colleges four are in Buenos Aires, one in each province, and one in Concepción del Uruguay. For the instruction of teachers the republic has 28 normal schools, as follows: three in the national capital; one in Paraná, three (regional) in Corrientes, San Luis and Catamarca; 14 for female teachers in the provincial capitals; and seven for either sex in the larger towns of the provinces of Buenos Aires, Santa Fé, Córdoba and San Luis. The normal schools, maintained by the state on a secular basis, were founded by President Sarmiento, who engaged experienced teachers in the United States to direct them; their work is excellent; notably, their model primary schools. For higher and professional education there are two national universities at Buenos Aires and Córdoba, and three provincial universities, at La Plata, Santa Fé and Paraná, which comprise faculties of law, medicine and engineering, in addition to the usual courses in arts and science. To meet the needs of technical and industrial education there are a school of mines at San Juan, a school of viticulture at Mendoza, an agronomic and veterinary school at La Plata, several agricultural and pastoral schools, and commercial schools in Buenos Aires, Rosario, Bahia Blanca and Concordia. Schools of art and conservatories of music are also maintained in the large cities, where there are, besides, many private schools. Secular education has been vigorously opposed by strict churchmen, and efforts have been made to maintain separate schools under church control. The national government has founded several scholarships (some in art) for study abroad. The total school population of Argentina in 1900 (6 to 14 years) was 994,089, of which 45% attended school, and 13% of those not attending were able to read and write. The illiterate school population was about 41%, and of those of 15 years and over 54% were illiterate. Of the whole population over 6 years, 50.5% were illiterate.

Religion.—The Argentine constitution recognizes the Roman Catholic religion as that of the state, but tolerates all others. The state controls all ecclesiastical appointments, decides on the passing or rejection of all decrees of the Holy See, and provides an annual subsidy for maintenance of the churches and clergy. Churches and chapels are founded and maintained by religious orders and private gift as well. At the head of the Argentine hierarchy are one archbishop and five suffragan bishops, who have five seminaries for the education of the priesthood. From statistics of 1895 it appears that in each 1000 of population 991 are Roman Catholics, 7 Protestants, and 2 Jews, the Jews being entirely of Russian origin, sent into the republic since 1891 by the Jewish Colonization Association under the provisions of the Hirsch legacy; from 1895 to 1908 the number of Jews in Argentina increased from 6085 to about 30,000.

Finance.—The revenue of the republic is derived mainly from customs and excise, and the largest item of expenditure is the service of the public debt. Since 1891 the national budgets have been calculated in both gold and currency, and both receipts and expenditures have been carried out in this dual system. The collection of a part of the import duties in gold has served to give the government the gold it requires for certain expenditures, but it has complicated returns and accounts and increased the burden of taxation. According to a compilation of statistical returns published by Dr. Francisco Latzina in 1901, the national revenues and expenditures for the 37 years from 1864 to 1900, inclusive, reduced to a common standard, show a total deficit for that period of $408,260,795 gold, which has been met by external and internal loans, and by a continued increase in the scope and rate of taxation. The growth of the annual budget is shown by a comparison of the following years:—


Total Revenue.                     Total Expenditure.
1864                     $7,005,328 gold. $7,119,931 gold.
1880 19,594,306  ” 26,919,295  ”
1890 73,150,856  ” 95,363,854  ”
1900 62,045,458 paper.
37,998,704 gold.
104,501,614 paper.
23,644,543 gold.
1905 63,439,000 paper.
43,461,324 gold.
105,581,680 paper.
24,865,016 gold.


The bane of Argentine finance has been the extravagant and unscrupulous use of national credit for the promotion of schemes calculated to benefit individuals rather than the public. The large increase in military expenditures during the disputes with Chile also proved a heavy burden, and in the continued strife with Brazil for naval superiority this burden could not fail to be increased greatly. A very considerable percentage of Argentina’s population of five to six millions is hopelessly poor and unprogressive, and cannot be expected to bear its share of the burden. To meet these expenditures there are a high tariff on imported merchandise, and excise and stamp taxes of a far-reaching and often vexatious character. Nothing is permitted to escape taxation, and duplicated taxes on the same thing are frequent. In Argentina these burdens bear heavily upon the labouring classes, and in years of depression they send away by thousands immigrants unable to meet the high costs of living. For the year 1900 the total expenditures of the national government, 14 provincial governments, and 16 principal cities, were estimated to have been $208,811,925 paper, which is equivalent to $91,877,247 gold, or (at $5.04 per pound stg.) to £18,229,612, 10s. The population that year was estimated to be 4,794,149, from which it is seen that the annual costs of government were no less than £3,16s. for each man, woman, and child in the republic. About 71% of this charge was on account of national expenditures, and 29% provincial and municipal expenditures. Had the expenses of all the small towns and rural communities been included, the total would be in excess of $20 gold, or £4, per capita.
In 1889 the public debt of the republic amounted to about £24,000,000, but the financial difficulties which immediately followed that year, and the continuance of excessive expenditures, forced the debt up to approximately £128,000,000 during the next ten years. In the year 1905 the outstanding and authorized debt of the republic was as follows:—


External debt (July 31, 1905):
     National loans £42,297,050
     Provincial loans and others, assumed 30,395,916
     National cedulas 11,763,923
            Total £84,456,889
Consolidated Internal debt (Dec. 31, 1904):
     Gold $16,544,000
     Paper 79,174,400
————— £10,178,718
     Total service on funded debt, 1905,
     $24,375,067 gold, and $15,914,335 paper £6,225,669
     Floating debt £259,170
     Treasury bills (Apr. 30, 1905) 275,220
     Unpaid bills, $3,332,594, paper 288,560
————— £822,950


The paper currency forms an important part of the internal debt, and has been a fruitful source of trouble to the country. Few countries have suffered more from a depreciated currency than Argentina. During the era of so-called “prosperity” between 1881 and 1890 an enormous amount of bank notes were issued under various authorizations, especially that of the “free banking law” of 1887. During this period the bank-note circulation was increased to $161,700,000, and two mortgage banks—the National Hypothecary Bank and the Provincial Mortgage Bank (of Buenos Aires)—flooded the country with $509,000,000 of cedulas (hypothecary bonds). When the crash came and the national treasury was found to be without resources to meet current expenses, further issues of $110,000,000 in currency were made. The free-banking law which permitted the issue of notes by provincial banks was primarily responsible for this situation. Under the provisions of this law the provinces were authorized to borrow specie abroad and deposit the same with the national government as security for their issues. These loans aggregated £27,000,000. The Celman administration, in violation of the trust, then sold the specie and squandered the proceeds, leaving the provincial bank notes without guarantee and value. The national government has since assumed responsibility for all these provincial loans abroad. As on previous occasions, the great depreciation in the value of the currency has led to a repudiation of part of its nominal value. This depreciation reached its maximum in October 1891 ($460.82 paper for $100 gold), and remained between that figure and $264 during the next six years. To check these prejudicial fluctuations and to prevent too great a fall in the price of gold (to repeat a popular misconception), a