chapter  1
The Spanish heritage
Pages 12

Latin America's Spanish heritage has been valuable in many respects; but, it is clear that it did not leave a great legacy in economic matters. Argentina, like all Latin American countries colonized by Spain, inherited a highly bureaucratic administration and a backward economic structure. In Argentina, the particular economic structure that the country inherited upon independence stemmed from three key socio-economic phenomena that had been in place for centuries: the exploitation of the silver mines in Potosí, the Jesuit missions' contribution to human development, and the export-led economy of Buenos Aires based on cattle raising ranches known as estancias. The Spanish conquerors founded cities and established a European presence in what is today Argentina beginning in the 1530s. Until the beginning of the 17th century, Cordoba was, after Potosí, the second most important religious and economic centre in what would became the Viceroyalty of Río de la Plata.