History of Concordia

Concordia, on the Banks of the Uruguay River

San Antonio de Padua de la Concordia is the name of this city founded on the banks of the Uruguay River, today national capital of citrus culture.
The region was dwelled by native peoples of the Charrúa and Guaraní tribes, who had arrived in the area from the North, about 500 years before.
The Charrúas were divided into three groups: the Charrúas strictly speaking, the Guinanes and the Bohanes. They lived in what today is Uruguay and, by the XVII century, in most areas of the Province of Entre Ríos. They were tall and sturdy and hunted deer and rheas, whereas the Charrúas from the littoral would practice fishing on their long canoes. They used the boleadoras (made up of 2 and 3 balls) and, with the arrival of the horse, they used spears which were several meters long. Their dwellings were very peculiar, as they were made of 4 wooden stakes placed in such a way that they formed a square, open in the front and without a roof; the walls were mats made of interwoven rush, hanging from crosspieces held by the stakes. Since the XVII century, they built their huts with bent branches and covered them with horse or cow fur. Their beds consisted in a piece of fur laid on the ground.
Concordia's background dates back to the XVIII century, when the territory surrounded by the Mocoretá Creek up to the spot where the city was founded was toured by Francisco García Piedrabuena, leader of a military expedition that had started at Yapeyú and reached the nooks of the Gualeguaychú.
In 1718, other conquerors came down from Yapeyú. They were the same who founded the town of Mandisoví, three leagues from the Uruguay River.
According to Antonio P. Castro, when he studied the maps published by Father Furlong Cardiff, he found a halt called "Ytú", existing at least since 1722, and possibly even since earlier times.
The population of El Salto was only a place destined to save the difficulties at Salto Grande and Chico and their definitive settlement. Afterwards, it was impossed by the need to organize a permanent position. It was then when the Jesuits built a chapel under the patronage of San Antonio de Padua and a small garrison of missionary Indians was appointed to protect the traffic. It is said that those were the beginnings of present Concordia.
Later on, the Jesuits were expelled and the region was thrown into oblivion.
Attention was centered again on these lands when General Artigas started the eastern exodus between 1811 and 1812. Some versions of the facts assert that it was founded in November 29, 1831 by a decree passed by the General Meeting summoned at Paraná. Other historians have set February 6, 1832 as its foundation date.
The construction of a railway line between Concordia and Federal was the result of a long and tortuous process which started in 1909 and did not materialize until 1930. It produced economic, social and demographic changes in the area and led to the creation of several districts.

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