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Perón, Eva (1919–1952)

Title: Eva Perón
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Charismatic wife of Argentine dictator Juan Perón. Born on 7 May 1919 in the small town of Los Toldos, Argentina, to a desperately poor family, María Eva Duarte at age fifteen went to Buenos Aires and soon became a popular radio personality, well known for her romantic involvement with a number of influential men.

On 18 October 1945, Duarte married Colonel Juan Perón, a member of the fascist-leaning General Officers Union (GOU) that two years before had overthrown the Argentine government. Historians are still in disagreement over the amount of political influence that Eva Perón wielded upon her husband. Some depict her as the power behind the throne, while others view her in a more traditionally supportive role.

Following Juan Perón's 1946 election as president of Argentina, Eva Perón became an increasingly important public symbol of the regime, most notably during her 1947 Rainbow Tour of Europe. She was an ardent champion of the poor, and through her Social Aid Foundation she worked tirelessly to build hundreds of schools and hospitals throughout Argentina. Her charitable work and championing of women's rights earned her notoriety throughout Latin America and the world. The Social Aid Foundation provided her with a lavish lifestyle and great political power but also cemented her reputation for generosity among Argentina's poor, who referred to her as "Santa Evita." Her untimely death from cancer on 26 July 1952 in Buenos Aires triggered a tremendous outpouring of grief, and to this day Eva Perón remains a mythical figure in Argentine history.

Vernon L. Pedersen


Further Reading
Main, Mary Foster. The Woman with the Whip: Eva Peron. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1952.
 

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