In the pre-colonial era, Argentina had a very low population, also given the modest technological level of the indigenous tribes, which did not allow to exploit the agricultural potential of the territory. Even the Europeans, at first, did not show particular interest in this area, which is difficult to penetrate (except along the Paraná route), so that it can be said that, despite the creation of strongholds and the double foundation of Buenos Aires already in the 16th century, the population of Argentina began only in the second half of the 19th century, when the industrial revolution created in Europe ever greater needs for food supplies from outside. Accompanied by the progressive extension of the railway network, the colonization of the country then took on a sustained pace, attracting increasing flows of immigrants who went to populate the immense plains of the pampas. According to findjobdescriptions, the number of residents, which at the beginning of the 19th century barely exceeded 300,000 units and which was still far from 2 million at the first official census, in 1869, reached 8 million in 1914, and then grew to 16 million in 1914. 1947. In general, the various governments encouraged immigration with very favorable laws, such as that contained in art. 20 of the Constitution: “foreigners enjoy all the civil rights of citizens in the territory of the nation; they can exercise their industry, trade and profession; possess stable assets, buy them and alienate them; navigate rivers and coasts; profess their worship freely; test and marry in accordance with the law. ” However, the immigration trend was not always constant, both due to the repeated internal political and economic crises, and to the restrictive measures adopted by some of the states that constituted its major ‘reservoirs’. Thus, in the years 1890-1903, repatriations even exceeded new arrivals, due to the difficult moment in the primary sector. Immediately afterwards, however, and until the new slowdown due to the First World War, the pace increased dramatically, reaching an average of 240,000 immigrants a year in the decade 1904-13. In this period the phenomenon of in the years 1890-1903, the repatriations even exceeded the new arrivals, due to the difficult moment in the primary sector. Immediately afterwards, however, and until the new slowdown due to the First World War, the pace increased dramatically, reaching an average of 240,000 immigrants a year in the decade 1904-13. In this period the phenomenon of golongrina emigration, “swallow emigration”, limited to the winter months, a time of South American harvest and agricultural stagnation in the European country of origin, and favored by the modest price of the passage on the steam of the companies then competing. In the decade 1921-30 the number of immigrants rose to 300,000 per year. With the Second World War they arrived in Argentina, due to the inactivity of many European industries, technicians and experts in various sectors, while the labor was provided by immigration currents that the Argentine government encouraged in various ways. Mostly skilled workers and farmers arrived who found work especially in the provinces furthest from the capital, in particular in Patagonia, for whose enhancement a plan was drawn up (1947), also in relation to the strategic importance of the region and the possibility of strengthening Argentine sovereignty in the southern areas. In 1958 there was an immigration of 60,000 individuals a year. In the following decades, the Argentine demographic structure gradually settled and the influx from abroad dropped sharply, both due to the lack of renewed economic incentives, and to the increasingly precarious political situation, with all its serious repercussions on the economic level. The total population stood at 27.9 million in 1980 to reach 35 million at the end of the 20th century, with a growth rate below the average for Latin American countries.
The flow of immigrants led to the formation of large Spanish, French, German, Polish and Russian communities, but the most significant migratory contributions came from Italy, which in the period 1857-1929 alone sent nearly 3 million people to Argentina. Already in colonial times, many Italian sailors arrived at the Río de la Plata, following the conquistadors, and then settled in the territory, together with large groups that operated in the Society of Jesus. In the period of independence, the population census of 1810 (one of the first administrative acts of the provisional government that arose from the revolution) recorded an Italian presence irrelevant compared to to the Spanish component, certainly lower than the actual one. In addition to humble jobs, the Italians exercised professions, trade, entrepreneurial activities, and were in many cases owners of urban and rural assets. But there was no bond between them that could give prominence, even ideally, to their nationality, which in Europe had no basis or political power. If the Italians had influence in this social environment, it was only of an individual order. More concrete data date back to the period of B. Rivadavia, who, sent to Europe to obtain the recognition of the independence of the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata, came into contact in London and Paris with Italian political exiles, men of science and letters, whom he called to Buenos Aires to carry out their activities. At the time when Italy was a mere ‘geographical expression’, Italian scientific thought penetrated the University of Buenos Aires, through the work, for example, of the scientist PC Molina, who occupied the chair of experimental physics, or by C. Ferraris. During the Rosas dictatorship, when immigration and the free navigation of rivers were prohibited, many Italians also settled in Buenos Aires, while many others took refuge in Montevideo, where it was established, together with political emigrants led by Garibaldi, the Italian legion against Rosas. Subsequently, in the period of national organization, immigration from Italy became more and more intense, including the whole range of social forces. The activity of the Italians, from commerce and agriculture, extended to industries, assuming collective form with the foundation of important commercial enterprises, mutual aid companies, banks, publishing groups, cultural associations.