The tale of Eva Perón & the Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Today we headed to the Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, where Eva Perón (AKA ‘Evita’) was eventually buried in 1974, 32 years after dying from cancer in 1952 at the age of 33.

Who is Evita?

In short (sort of), after a career in film, radio and on stage, she became the first lady of Argentina after marrying the president, Juan Perón. In her role, she became a leader in campaigning for women’s rights and the rights of the working class of the nation.

She was so well loved that after dying, Argentina went into mourning – with cinemas, restaurants, all sorts of commerce stopping, flags being flown at half mast and tens of thousands of people congregating outside the presidential residence. In fact, so many people gathered to be close to Evita’s body that 2,000 people were injured and 8 people were crushed to death.

Evita was so well respected that, the government granted a state funeral – something usually only given to political leaders such as presidents. They also intended to build a memorial (the size of the Statue of Liberty in New York!) where her body would eventually rest. Whilst this was in planning however she was displayed temporarily on public view in her former office – thought to be a safe place to keep her.

Two years later, and before the statue was completed, the her former husband, the president, was overthrown by a military dictatorship and fled the country without securing her body. This meant that, for 16 years (!) until 1971, Evita’s body went AWOL until she was eventually found in an Italian Crypt. Her husband flew her body to Spain, where she was kept safe (ish) in his dining room before eventually returning her (and himself, as president – for the 3rd time) to Argentina.

Thirty two years after her death, Evita’s body eventually met it’s final resting place at the Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, inside a tomb thought to be so secure it could withstand a nuclear attack. However, I’m not sure this is true – particularly considering that some of the other tombs are broken open revealing bare coffins!

 

She sounds pretty interesting so if you want to read more, check out some of the hyperlinks through this post or rent the film ‘Evita‘ with Madona in it!

This post has been adapted by Tom from Lucy‘s original post on the ‘Cool Story… Tell Us Again‘ blog she’s writing with Russel whilst travelling South America – forgive me if any facts are wrong, and please correct me in the comments. I’d also love to hear more about Evita if people know more on her!

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