Ramos Mejía is a city in La Matanza Partido, Buenos Aires Province. The city has an area of 11.9 km² and a population of 98,457 (INDEC, 2001). The city is one of the largest commercial districts in the Western Zone ofGreater Buenos Aires.
|Greater Buenos Aires|
The land where the city is now located was originally purchased from Martín José de Altolaguirre by Francisco Ramos Mejía in 1808. Ramos Mejía was the son of a merchant from Seville, and had returned from a nine-year stay in the Upper Peru, where his business interests had met with success. The ranch became noteworthy as the site of the first public religious controversy in Argentina, when Ramos Mejía's differences over the interpretation of biblical canon with the local parish priest, Father Castañeda, led to the former's exile from the parish in 1821.
The property remained in name of wife, María Antonia Segurola de Ramos Mejía, who became its sole proprietor upon her husband's death in 1828. Confiscated by order of Governor Juan Manuel de Rosas in 1840, it was returned to the widow in 1853 following Rosas' overthrow. She bequeathed the land to her four sons in a living trust. They, in turn, sold the first lots to the Buenos Aires Western Railway, which inaugurated the station at the site on September 25, 1858, along the nation's first rail line.
Subsequent sales by the heirs, and its resale as parcels, led to the establishment of the town in 1871.Buoyed by the subsequent wave of immigration in Argentina, Ramos Mejía grew rapidly and in 1904, the cobblestone Avenida Rivadavia reached the town from Buenos Aires. The original station was replaced in 1907 by a larger structure designed by Dutch architect John Doyer; one of the most recognizable examples of Victorian architecture in Argentina, the building itself was converted to a museum in 2008.
Ramos Mejía would be the site of other milestones in the history ofArgentine public transport. The establishment of the Transporte Ideal San Justo, a shared taxicompany, in 1921, marked the birth of the popular transport service in Argentina (where they are known as colectivos). The electrification of the Western Railway line in 1923 between Ramos Mejía and the Estación Once terminal in Buenos Aires would be another first in the nation.
Among the most important educational institutions in the city are the Ward College, established in 1913, and the SalesianWilfrid Barón College of Don Bosco, established in 1930; one of its alumni was the future Pope Francis, who (as Jorge Bergoglio) studied here as a sixth-grader. The local Casa de la Cultura ("cultural house") houses the Leopoldo MarechalTheatre, one of the most important such establishments in La Matanza County. Ramos Mejía was officially recognized as a city by the Provincial Legislature on September 17, 1964.
The city is the birthplace of, among other well-known personalities in Argentina, comedian Antonio Gasalla, cyclist and olympic gold medalist Walter Pérez, former Vice President Carlos Ruckauf, Governor Daniel Scioli, screenwriter Damián Szifrón, and songwriter María Elena Walsh.