Buenos Aires Cabildo
Buenos Aires “Cabildo”, now a museum, is one of the few surviving historical signpost left by ‘local’ Spanish colonial government in the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires.
Let’s quickly jump back 200 years – Spanish rule in Buenos Aires ended temporarily approximately 2 years after Bonaparte put his brother Joseph on the Spanish throne in 1808.
The Buenos Aires Cabildo, the capital of the Viceroyalty of the Rio del la Plata, decided to self govern on 25 May 1810, that was until King Ferdinand VII be restored to the Spanish throne by Allied Europe headed by Spain’s old foe Great Britain.
As you now may know, this ‘temporary arrangement’ lasted until 2010, Argentina’s bicentenary year – read more about Argentine history.
The Viceroyalty of the Rio del la Plata had been breaking down in some regions before declaration of ‘temporary self-determination’ and just a few years later it became a permanent declaration of independence.
On 14 March 1816 a congress with the heads of 33 provinces, which made up much of the former Viceroyalty of the Rio del la Plata, gathered at Tucumán (the Congress of Tucumán) and the United Provinces of the Rio del la Plata issued a formal declaration of independence from Spain on 9 July 1816.
Paraguay (1814) was already independent by this time and there were other noticeable absences including Uruguay and provinces within modern day Bolivia and Brazil.
So a Cabildo is a building right?
A Cabildo is a form of local or municipal government, either elected or appointed, that both governed its region and represented the views of the land owning nobility to the Spanish Crown.
Another and probably better-known term is ‘ayuntamiento’, which has similar meaning and is derived from the Spanish word ‘help’, an oxymoron for the poor Spanish speaking America then and today.
Is Buenos Aires the only Cabildo in the Americas?
The colonial Cabildo developed in much the same way as the Crown of Castile, and after the church, it was probably one of the first institutions established by the conquistadors when conquering South America.
A Cabildo ruled at the pleasure of, and reported to the Viceroy, the Viceroyalty being a ‘governorship’ or form of administration appointed by the King to rule the King’s Empire in the new world, with the establishment of the Rio del la Plata in 1776 there were three Viceroyalties in the Americas and Indies.
The word cabildo has the same Latin root (capitulum) as the English word “chapter,” and in fact, is the Spanish word for a cathedral chapter.
Back on point, we find part of the building that housed Buenos Aires Cabildo in Plaza de Mayo, which we safely describe as one of the most important squares in Buenos Aires and Argentina.
The Cabildo faces Casa Rosada, the presidential ‘pink house’.
Buenos Aires Cabildo has even greater importance in this year’s fantastic celebrations – Happy Birthday Buenos Aires!
Find apartments from USD168 per week near Buenos Aires Cabildo.