Martín Fierro, an ode to the gaucho freedom and the braver

Martín Fierro, an epic and “gauchesque” poem which has turned into one of the iconic master pieces of Argentine literature: a must in school programs.

Gaucho, Molina Campos
																															

Martín Fierro, an epic and “gauchesque” poem which has turned into one of the iconic master pieces of Argentine literature: a must in school programs. Its author, José Hernández, was born in the province of Buenos Aires, in 1834. He was a devoted poet and journalist, exiled for having supported the wrong side during the civil war faced in the first decades of independent Argentina.
He wrote about the Conquest of the Desert, and the forced recruitment of gauchos to exterminate the native people. El Gaucho Martín Fierro, published in 1872, is a compilation of all those stories, later followed in 1879 by La Vuelta del Martín Fierro.

Gaucho in swamp of pampa
																  															  

Martín Fierro is an eight-syllable poem made up of 13 chapters in the first part and 33 in the second. It was such a great success that people would gather around to recite it at meetings. It has also been declared one of the most relevant Spanish American works.
The main character, Martín Fierro, is a gaucho who sings payadas, claiming for freedom and against injustice. He tells the stories of his happy life in the pampas before having been recruited for war, sent to take care of a border fort which separated the native tribes and the Spaniard world. Martín Fierro rebels and deserts the army. Back home, he finds out his house has been destroyed and his family had been forced to leave.
Desperate and fugitive, he wanders for a while until he has an encounter with the native people, those “savage” pursued by the government that wants “civilization to prevail over barbarism.” In La Vuelta del Martín Fierro, he finds his sons and agrees to become part of society again -the civilization yet not very civilized which tries to introduce “progress” through violence by resigning independence.

Militar enrollment, painted by Molina Campos
																															

The expressions, rhythm and realism made Martín Fierro gain immediate popular success. The character has become an icon representing bravery, integrity, the values of the rural man as compared to those held in the developing cities, independence and rebellion against power. Despite not being related with the gauchesque literature, for fifty years now, hosts and others have received the Martín Fierro awards for their performances on TV and radio.

To read : The Martín Fiero complete text in spanish.

Argentina Excepción offers circuits to discover the gaucho life and culture:
Estancias and gauchos from the Pampa and the NorthWest
Estancias from Córdoba, rural and cultural circuit
Estancias and gauchos from Southern Patagonia