Victorino de la Plaza

October 29, 2023 – 21:04

Victorino de la Plaza was born on November 2, 1840, in the humble town of Payogasta, in the Calchaquí Valley, Salta Province. His grandfather was Colonel Manuel Ubaldo de Li Plaza. His brother Rafael de la Plaza is the governor of Santiago del Estero. After the father died, the mother took over raising the children. Elementary schools in public schools and San Francisco Convent. He teamed up with his mother to sell the empanadas he made in town. He completed his high school studies at the Uruguay Academy in Concepción, Province of Entre Rios, thanks to a scholarship awarded to him by Justo José de Urquiza, Julio Argentino Roca’s partners, etc. He then entered the College of Buenos Aires to study philosophy. After the outbreak of the Triple Alliance War, he was recruited as an assistant to General Julio de Vidia. Miter promoted him to the rank of captain for his heroic deeds. When he returned to Buenos Aires, he attended law school, where he received a law degree, his godfather being Dalmasio Vélez Sarsfield. Domingo Faustino Sarmiento appointed him professor of philosophy at the National College of Buenos Aires. He was assigned by President Carlos Pellegrini, who lived in London for many years, to oversee the renegotiation of foreign debt.

In 1909, he accompanied Roque Saenz Pena on his presidential campaign. On December 1, 1913, he opened the first subway line in Buenos Aires on behalf of the national government. It was the first subway line in South America and one of the first in the world.

In October 1913, President Saenz Peña requested a leave of absence for health reasons. Victorino de la Plaza took over the government through a decree signed by the president and Interior Minister Indalesio Gómez, also from Salta. The president died on August 9, 1914. During his term, Victorino de la Plaza created the National Postal Savings Bank; the first electric railway in South America was opened, connecting Buenos Aires and El Tigre , and implemented the Saenz Peña Law of universal, secret, and compulsory voting.

Much of his tenure was marked by the outbreak of World War I, and de la Plaza soon declared Argentina neutral and wished to trade with both sides. Despite the complicated war situation, exports of meat and grains increased significantly as merchant ships were attacked. In addition, under his management, the railway mileage has reached 33,595 kilometers.

On October 12, 1916, Hipólito Yrigoyen was inaugurated as president and was succeeded by Victorino de la Plaza, who left amid cheers from the people.

He served as Finance Minister under Presidents Nicolas Avellaneda and Roca. He served as prosecutor of the National Treasury. Debt repayments at the time made Argentina one of the most prosperous countries in the world.

He bequeathed $50,000 to the University of Buenos Aires and declared: “I owe my rise as a public figure to the advanced studies of that university.” His personal books were sent to his Hometown Salta, created the Provincial Library of Piazza Victorino della. On October 2, 1919, while traveling to Córdoba to pay tribute to Vélez Sarsfield, he contracted pneumonia and died at his home in Buenos Aires. With this note, we remember a man from Salta who fought for the greatness of his country, a true example.

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