Argentina: The Italian Way

At the turn of the century, Argentine President Julio Roca, a Spanish-descended champion of the landed gentry, was visiting a jammed Italian-immigrant hostel. "What's going to happen," he muttered distastefully, "when the children of these people want to run the country?" Were Roca alive today, his tone might soften appreciably. "These people's" children are indeed running Argentina, and the Italian imprint is everywhere—shaping Argentine culture and character and giving Argentina's industry much of its momentum.

Farm Hands to Presidents. Argentina's great wave of Italian immigrants —which in time reached 2,250,000—began in...

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