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  The great emigration at the end of the '800  |  The Frondizi family  |  Towards Argentina  |  The children at University  Arturo Frondizi    Political activity  |  Frondizi President of Argentina  |  Statal Visit to Gubbio  |  The exile  Argentina under dictature  |  The return of the democracy   

The great emigration al the end of the 1800

    In the second half of the 1800, for demographical but most of all economical reasons, thousands of Italians abandoned their land to search for work elsewhere. Many went to countries of the european continent, but others instead, towards countries of the north and south America. .

     In that period Italy was backward in many senses, with mostly an agricultural economy which went through the agricultural crisis which hit the country after 1880. A great number of farmers and workers left their land to improve their living conditions and emigrated to far away countries.

    Even many eugubinians followed this destiny. The periodical "L'Eugubino" on the 14th May 1905 wrote: "it's many months that the immigration movement is increasing alarmingly. Every day tens and tens of workers and farmers leave for far countries abroad in search of work and bread", and Giulio Frondizi, father of Arturo, future President of the Argentinean Republic, followed the same destiny.

The Frondizi family



     Giulio was born in Gubbio on the 12th September 1965 from Ubaldo Frondizi and Teresa Minelli, in the quarter of St.Martino, lived in via della Foce number 29, in Via Gabrielli number 19 and in Piazza 40 Martiri (then called Vittorio Emanuele). From his father he learnt the art of bricklaying. In 1885 he enrolled in the SocietÓ operaia di mutuo soccorso (Workers society of mutual help).





      On the 24th July 1886 Giulio married Isabella Ercoli, daughter of Ubaldo Ercoli and Virginia Vantaggi, habitants of the parish of St.Agostino.
From the marriage of Giulio and Isabella, three children were born in via Gabrielli: Luidina in 1887, Ubaldo in 1888 and Tersilia in 1889.
It was the period of great agricultural crisis and the negative influence was felt even in the field of artisans and constructions, where Giulio worked.




Towards Argentina  

   The lack of work convinced Giulio to emigrate: he obtained his passport for Argentina on the 9th July 1890. His wife obtained it two years later in 1892. It is not clear whether Giulio left on his own and was joined only two years later by the rest of his family (his wife and two daughters, seing that his son died).

    It is certain that after a short stay at Buenos Aires, already in December 1892 the Frondizi family lived at Paso de los Libres, in the province of Corrientes.
Here there was no lack of work: Giulio made a contract with the Railway firm of North East, he integrated well in the local community and with the numerous italian people . His business flourished, his earnings permitted him to buy a furnace of bricks and clay, and permitted him also to make various trips to Gubbio with his family where he left some of his children (Luidina, Tersilia, AmÚrico, Ricardo and Isabella) to study until 1912.
But in 1900 his profits permitted him to buy ground on the outskirts of the city of Paso de los Libres and to construct a huge beautiful building. Here Arturo was born on the 28th October 1908, who at the age of 50, became president of Argentina.
Less wealthy years followed, due to the financial difficulties of an English Railway company, and the trips to Italy were interrupted. Gubbio, its people and its culture, St.Ubaldo, however, were always present in Frondizi's speeches.

The children at university

    The Frondizi family composed of 12 children first moved to Concepci˛n in Uruguay in 1913, and then to Buenos Aires in 1918 to give his children the possibility of studying at the university. It served its purpose because: AmÚrico (1896) obtained his degree in Pharmacy, Ricardo (1900) became a famous English teacher, Silvio (1907) was politician and lawyer, theorical of trotzkismo, killed in 1974, Risieri (1910) was philosopher and rector of the University of Buenos Aires, Virginia (1899) primary school teacher, from the list Maria is missing (1897) who died very young, Isabella (1903) who married Juan Tomas, Ersilia (Tersilia) married Virgilio Prosperetti, from their union a son, Ubaldo, was born in Argentina (1914) and he became a famous professor of the University of Perugia and Rome.
The missing brothers Giulio (1901) and Oreste (1905) became public servants.

1915 - from L to R:  Silvio, Liduvina, Arturo e Risieri

Arturo Frondizi

    It is clear that this great family of Frondizi, with brothers of different ages varying from 1887 to 1910, was Arturo's whole world, a world from which all his experiences and examples depended.
Even though his father had socialistic ideas, Arturo received his religious instruction. His studies which had not been very brilliant at the beginning, later improved, and he appeared to be an excellent student later and in 1927 he joined the faculty of Law and social Science at the University of Buenos Aires, where he obtained his degree.




   The 1930's were years of economical crisis and unemployment, and was a difficult period for all the countries , including Argentina. But here the crisis was used as an excuse to let the popular democratic government fall and give power to the reactionary government lead by Uriburu, who started a hard repression towards those who formed part of the opposition parties (communist and socialist). It was at this point that Arturo Frondizi started participating actively in the student revolts at the University. Due to his insistence on his reformist and democratic ideas, he had his first prison experience.
For this reason, after his first professional experience as lawyer, he dedicated himself totally to political activities from 1936 onwards.
In the meantime, on the 2nd January 1933 he married Elena Faggionato (1911), daughter of the eugubinian Clelia Cavicchi and of Giuseppe Faggionato, of Cologna Veneta.
From this union their only daughter, Elenita, was born in 1937 and died young in 1976: during her short life she obtained her degree in Educational Science and dedicated herself to teaching; she was married to Franco Seghetti and had two children Marina and Diego.

 Political Activities  

    In the meantime in 1939 the second world war broke out, with obvious negative effect on the politics and on the economy of Argentina, the difficult political situation lead to the coup d'etat of 1943 on behalf of a group of military officials, one of which was the colonel Juan Domingo Per˛n. Pedro Pablo Ramirez lead the Government.
Frondizi, who strongly opposed to the anti democracy of the military government and ended up in prison for two months.
During the following years the "Peronism" grew stronger and gained the power at the elections of February 1946; Arturo was also elected in the National Congress, among the deputies of the opposition group and was reconfirmed in 1948.
This period, dominated by the figure of Per˛n, lasted until 1955 when a revolutionary movement lead by militaries, forced the head of the state to flee in "voluntary" exile.
Frondizi was considered the leader of this Resistence movement and in 1956 he was re-elected President of the Civical Radical Union (UCR) which supported the temporary government of the President Aramburu, a government which proceeded with the breaking up of the Peronist Party and demanded absolutely that its members should not participate in political life.
The main problem was to form a government arising from free elections. In the Party of Frondizi (UCR) there was a serious clash to choose the candidate to the presidency: the candidates were two: Frondizi and Balbýn. After a contrasting debate, followed by poll, Frondizi was proclaimed candidate, but Balbýin did not accept the proclamation and the party split up: The Civical Radical intransigent Union (UCRI) with Frondizi and the Civical Radical Union of the People (UCRP) with Balbýn.
On the 28th July 1957 the elections took place, but nobody reached the majority.

Frondizi, President of Argentina

   The elections were repeated on the 23rd February 1958: the party of Frondizi obtained 44,8% of the votes and Arturo, son of eugubinian emigrants, was elected President of the Argentinean Republic!
The Argentinean economical situation was disastrous: the State's income was less than the expenses. The Frondizi government tried to reach the auto sufficiency in the petrol consumption, trying to use as much as possible the natural gas and carbon deposits; he promoted the development of iron, automobile and chemical industries; he promoted transport and communications; he developed the agricultural and zoo technical production; he also tried to develop private initiatives. 

After two years of hard work the internal affairs, which had never been easy, seemed to have improved and a certain degree of internal social and economical stability had been reached also thanks to great international loans (especially that of one billion dollars obtained in 1960 from the United States).

Official visit to Gubbio  

    Frondizi decided to pay an official visit to Europe on the 16th June 1960, in the afternoon, and arrived in helicopter in Gubbio, from Rome, where he had started his statal visit.

   For Arturo Frondizi and his wife, Gubbio represented a return to his origins, which had never been forgotten!
The city celebrated a great event that day.
The president saw the house of his father, re-embraced his friends and relatives.

   n Gubbio he also met Enrico Mattei, president of the ENI (Ente Nazionale Idrocarburi) with whom he discussed possible Italian petrol investments in Argentina.

   He went to the Basilica of St.Ubaldo to pray where he climbed up near to the urn of the Saint.
The next day he took part in the Festa dei Ceri Piccoli, postponed especially for this occasion
Before returning to Rome, he went to Perugia where he was given the "laurea ad honorem" in Political Science for his publication of "Petrolio e Politica" of 1954.

   Finally back in Rome to meet Pope Giovanni XXIII, and then to Milano, before continuing his trip through Europe.

   Another two years passed, and on the 29th March 1962 a coup d'etat ended the period of democracy which Frondizi had given to Argentina.



   Unfortunately, in order to create more development, Frondizi had called to Argentina foreign capitals which inevitably competed with the local industries, who stopped supporting the President and caused the mechanism which created the coup d'etat. Frondizi's popularity decreased greatly, as was visible in the elections of March 1962, 35% of the approbations were gained by the peronists, who were once again allowed in the elections. Even though Frondizi prohibited five peronist exponents to assume the position of provincial governor conquested with votes, the president was dismissed by the armed forces, who accused him of not having enough firmness against the peronist movement.

The exile

    Even for Frondizi there was an exile which lasted until July 1963. He also underwent an attempt in 1964, but without any consequences.
He continued working in politics but did not come to power again.
In 1966 he helped with the military coup d'etat which removed his successor Illia from the power and brought the general Onganýa on the presidency, he, in turn, was removed from his position in 1970, and Frondizi did not support the latter economical politics. In 1971 general Augustýn took the command and tried to reintroduce civil regime. In 1972, nevertheless, the country was hit by more violence, strikes, student revolts and terroristic attacks, due to further economical crisis. In March 1973 the peronists won the elections with a large majority and their presidential candidate, CÓmpora became in charge, but left soon after, and in September a new popular pronouncement bought Per˛n to the presidency with more than 61% of the votes. With Per˛n, Frondizi alternated his support and his critics, when, on the 1st July 1974, Per˛n died and his third wife, Isabelita Per˛n, vice president, took the command. During her government, the political and economical conditions of the country dramatically worsened, while the terrorism from both oppositions caused more than 700 deaths only in the year 1975. Even Arturo Frondizi's brother, Silvio, was sequestrated and killed by terrorists on the 27th September 1974.

Argentina under dictatorship

    In March 1976 the government lead by general of the army, Jorge Rafael Videla, took over full power, dissolved the parliament and imposed martial law, Videla then started his political campaign of terror against his political adversaries, based on arrests, tortures and mass killings.
Argentina was living the sad phenomenon of the "desaparecidos", that is the opponents of the regime who "disappeared", caught and killed by the military dictatorship. Bidela was substituted by maresciallo Roberto Viola (in March 1981), in his turn after a year substituted by general Leopoldo Galtieri. The government of the latter embarked in April 1982, for the occupation of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas for the Argentineans), but after a short war, Great Britain regained its islands, discrediting the dictator without appealing him, who was substituted by general Reynaldo Bignone.

The return of the democracy

   In October 1983, in a situation of serious economical crisis, with a foreign debt without precedents and annual inflation of more than 900%, the country had its first democratical presidential elections after ten years, choosing the candidate of the Radical Party, Ra¨l Alfonsýn. He lead the country back to democracy: the armed forces were re-organized; the former military leaders and politicians of the previous ten years were emarginated; the foreign debt progressively decreased; tax reforms were introduced. At the presidential elections of May 1989 the peronist candidate Carlos Sao¨l Menem was elected president.
Menem imposed a drastic program of austerity of neo liberalistic inspiration, and within the first 90's managed to stop the inflation, balance the scale, privatise the statal businesses and pay the country's debts with the banks. In 1990, with the country still under serious tension and blackmailed by the military power, Menem conceded amnesty to the exponents of the military regime with a law of "obliged obedience".
At the elections of 1995 Menem was re-elected as president, but soon after that there were serious divisions in the party of the government, which was due to the fight for the succession. Menem was accused of corruption by his ex minister of the Economy, Domingo Cavallo.
This is the Argentina which Arturo Frondizi left behind, when he died on the 18th April 1995, at the age of 87. His wife Elena died five years before, in 1991.
After the return of the democracy, Frondizi was completely rehabilitated by the politicians, President Menen as leader, and by military leaders.
In particular, already since '83, the National Academy of History and political and moral Science, said with the words of its oldest member, Enrique De Gandýa, acknowledges that: "the dismissal from power of Frondizi was the biggest mistake which the military forcers had made", and even the same army honoured him with the "Medal of the Argentinean Army", the highest honour, "to erase the storical error which means his defeat", as the head of state of the army, general Martýn Balza, said.
Recently in Gubbio the piazza in front of the building of "Santo Spirito", behind the Post Office, was dedicated to Arturo Frondizi.


Alle radici dell'emigrazione Umbra ed eugubina - Gubbio 2000.

Arturo Frondizi - edito da "Rotary Club Gubbio" - Gubbio 1999.

Arturo Frondizi - biografia - 1998