The May Revolution

Argentina’s most important holiday the 25 de Mayo (May 25th) is the commemoration of the May Revolution which marked the beginning of the Argentine War of Independence against Spain. The Revolution was a week of events in response to the fall of the Spanish king Ferdinand VII to the forces of Napoleon, and resulted in the creation of the Primera Junta (First Assembly), the first local government it what would soon become the nation of Argentina.

A few interesting facts about the 25 de Mayo for visitors to Argentina:

1. The city’s oldest plaza, the famous Plaza de Mayo received its name on May 25, 1811, in honor of the Revolution. Before then it was called the Plaza de la Victoria and before that the Plaza Mayor.

2. The Primera Junta (and the governments that followed it) were responsible for a number of new laws including freedom of the press, the “law of free wombs” which determined that children born to slave women were now free people, and the creation of the first public library of Argentina.

3. The creation of the Primera Junta took place in the Cabildo which still exists and is now the Museum of the May Revolution, located right in front of the plaza on Bolivar right by the Avendia de Mayo.

May Petition from 1810

4. The Junta was proposed by a document known as the “Petitorio de Mayo” (May Petition) which was signed by 409 men in name of “the neighbors, commanders and officials of the body of volunteers of this capital.”

5. Traditional foods eaten on the holiday are empanadas, a white bean and chorizo stew called locro and sweet fried pastelitos.

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