2
Introduction
Argentina, 1944
core region came to hold two-thirds of the national population. But the
interior was remade as well. By the late nineteenth century, a new San Juan
elite of immigrant entrepreneurs and old notables imported vines, workers,
and know-how from Europe to sow a dense cluster of vineyards on this
sparsely occupied terrain. The provincial government auctioned o√ land and
dug irrigation canals, private and public capital built railroads, and the na-
tional government erected protective tari√s. The wine industry became the
mainstay of San Juan’s economy, and vineyards expanded to cover half the
cultivated land, a twelve-fold increase over six decades. As Mendoza grew even
more, Argentina soon had the fifth-largest wine industry in the world, pro-
ducing largely for the domestic market.∂
Sarmiento had hoped that wine would be San Juan’s ‘‘salvation,’’ and it
certainly did transform the province, though hardly into the stable, educated,
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