These works add two more volumes to Plus Ultra’s growing series of histories of the Argentine provinces. Like most contributions to the series, both are heavily narrative political history and include neither notes nor index. Emilio A. Bidondo (not to be confused with Jorge A. Bidondo, who is also a historian of the province) is a soldier by profession and a historian by avocation. He has published previous studies, mainly on the Independence era, including La guerra de la independencia en el norte argentino (1976) and La guerra de la independencia en el Alto Perú (1980). Given his attention to that critical era, it is not surprising that 30 percent of the text of Historia de Jujuy covers the period from 1809 to 1834. Another 30 percent deals with the colonial period, and 28 percent covers the years from 1834 to 1943. Only 5 percent of the text treats the twentieth century. The narrative does not extend to 1950 as the title indicates, but ends in 1943 with the cryptic observation that “a new political era was initiated” (p. 443). The volume will appeal to readers interested in the political events of the colonial era and nineteenth century. A scant thirty-seven pages appended in a final chapter sweeps the pre-Hispanic and Hispanic cultures, art, letters, historiography, and economy. For Bidondo, history is past politics and little else. The author cites archives ranging from provincial collections in Jujuy, Salta, and Tucumán to the National Archive, Comando en Jefe del Ejército, and Archivo General de Guerra in Buenos Aires. He peppers the text with quotations from archival sources. All proper names are capitalized in the text, which aids the reader in tracking down the legions of bureaucrats and soldiers who march across the book’s pages. Four maps augment the text. Bidondo does not treat provincial developments in a historical vacuum, but relates them to larger events, such as the expulsion of the Jesuits and the revolt of Tupac Amaru during the late colonial period and littoral politics during the nineteenth century.
Historia de San Luis by Urbano J. Núñez, director of the Historical Archive of the Province from 1962 until his death in 1980, resembles the Bidondo volume in many ways. The narrative is even more heavily political and focuses to an even greater extent on the nineteenth century. Omitting any reference to pre-Columbian cultures, the book opens with the Spanish conquest and devotes 19 percent of the total text to the colonial era. Seventy-five percent of the work treats the period from 1810 to 1903, leaving a scant 3 percent to gloss events from 1904 to 1930. Again, the reader seeking detailed information on nineteenth-century politics stands to gain most from the book. Only chapter 4 (pp. 73-108) contains information on the colonial economy and society. Núñez drew heavily upon the works of other provincial scholars (many of whom he quotes copiously) including Salvador Canals Frau, Roberto Levillier, and Juan Draghi Lucero for the colonial era; Víctor Saá, Reynaldo A. Pastor, and Gilberto Sosa Loyola on the nineteenth century; and Juan W. Gez throughout. He also cites documents from both the national and provincial archives.
These works are useful additions to balance Argentine historiography, which lists strongly toward Buenos Aires. They are disappointing in their narrowly political focus and dearth of attention to social and economic matters.