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Month: June 2013

504. buenos aires rediscovered

Buenos Aires, Fototipias Peuser

In Oct 2012, I unexpectedly found a blog with an interesting proposal titled Buenos Aires Rediscovered. As a long-time fan of before & after or then & now comparative photos, Ken’s mission hit close to home:

My great grandfather Alexander Ballantyne OBE was an engineer back in the days when Sun never set on the British Empire. After having served his apprenticeship in Scotland he set off around the world working aboard steam ships. One of these was the “Roma” which was built in Glasgow by the ship builders A & J Inglis. In 1926 my great grandfather set off to Buenos Aires on the Roma to deliver it to its new owners  —the Companía Argentina de Navigación (Nicolas Mihanovich) Ltd. They were the dominant force in shipping in Argentina and pretty much ran a monopoly. As well as delivering the ship he had to spend a bit of time in Buenos Aires to test the ship’s engines. When he left he was given a photograph album of Buenos Aires as a thank you present by the Companía Argentina de Navigación. It is this album which inspired this blog.

The fact that Ken put so much effort doing his own series of then & now pics using the 1920s album —in spite of never having visited Buenos Aires previously— inspired me to get in touch. I’ve tried to help by taking a few photos of places he couldn’t decipher… BA has changed a lot. I’m hoping we’ll be able to meet soon in London because I truly appreciate his work.

Buenos Aires, Fototipias Peuser, Mihanovich dedication, dedicatoria de Mihanovich.

Naturally, Recoleta Cemetery appeared in the book given to Ken’s great-grandfather. Below is the original photo, along with the newer version. Unfortunately that particular tree is no longer there, so Ken came up with a creative solution. Not bad at all. It’s difficult to be 100% accurate when the plaza in front of the cemetery has changed so often!

Buenos Aires, Fototipias Peuser, Recoleta Cemetery

Buenos Aires, Fototipias Peuser, Recoleta Cemetery

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503. coronel juan de dios rawson

Recoleta Cemetery, Buenos Aires, Coronel Juan de Dios Rawson

Coronel Juan de Dios Rawson, whose father came from Massachusetts, fought in several battles during Argentina’s early years of organization, including the Guerra de la Triple Alianza. He was also the half brother of Dr. Guillermo Rawson. But his great-grandson, Arturo Rawson, became President of Argentina… for only 72 hours.

Rawson had a long career in the military & rose to the rank of General after several decades of service. As commanding officer of the cavalry, he possessed the troops needed to stage a successful coup d’etat already planned by the GOU (Grupo de Oficiales Unidos) in 1943. This secret, informal collection of officers aimed to end the Década Infame where electoral fraud kept the same people in power year after year.

Buenos Aires, Recoleta Cemetery, General Arturo Rawson

On 04 Jun 1943, Rawson marched 10,000 soldiers into Buenos Aires & took control of the country. While naming fellow officers to government positions & before he was sworn in as de facto President, the GOU realized they had made a mistake in asking Rawson for help. He supported the Allies in World War II while the GOU thought Argentina should remain neutral. Juan Domingo Perón, along with other GOU members, forced Rawson to resign & General Pedro Ramírez took his place.

For a brief period Rawson served as ambassador to Brazil. He also supported an attempted coup to overthrow Perón’s government in 1951. Rawson died of a heart attack the following year & did not live to see the eventual ousting of Perón in 1955.

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