Evita Peron: from a kept woman with a dark past to the first lady of Argentina

On May 7, 1919, Maria Eva Duarte Peron, or simply Evita, as the Argentines affectionately called her, was born. She became famous all over the world after the release of the 1996 Hollywood film starring Madonna. But in Latin America, this woman became a national idol long before that. Having lived only 33 years, Evita managed to win not only the heart of the president of Argentina, but also the love of millions of its inhabitants. Although to its success, it went, as they say, crooked paths.

Evita Peron: from a kept woman with a dark past to the first lady of Argentina

Evita Peron: from a kept woman with a dark past to the first lady of Argentina

Eva Peron and Madonna, who embodied her image on the screen

Eva-Maria Duarte was born in a village 300 km from Buenos Aires. She was the illegitimate child of farmer Juan Duarte, and he never recognized his youngest daughter. At the age of 15, Eva ran away to Buenos Aires with a visiting singer. Thus began its history of conquering the capital.

Evita Peron: from a kept woman with a dark past to the first lady of Argentina

Madonna in the film "Evita", 1996

She dreamed of a career as a film actress, although she had neither outstanding abilities nor perfect appearance. There were various rumors about her early years in the capital — including that she had to sell her body.

Evita Peron: from a kept woman with a dark past to the first lady of Argentina

Eva at 15 and at 20

For a while, Eva worked as a model and waitress, starred for erotic postcards and in cameo roles in movies, and was kept by rich lovers. One of them arranged for Eva on the radio, which brought her first popularity.

Evita Peron: from a kept woman with a dark past to the first lady of Argentina

Eva Duarte

Evita Peron: from a kept woman with a dark past to the first lady of Argentina

Colonel Peron and Eva Duarte

The year 1943 was a turning point for the girl and for the whole of Argentina: a military coup took place in the country and Juan Domingo Peron came to power. First, he received a post in the labor secretariat, and then the position of vice-president. Soon there was a meeting that Eva had long dreamed of. At a charity event, she approached Juan Peron and said just one sentence: "Thank you, Colonel, for existing." That same night, Eva became his mistress and never parted from him again.

Evita Peron: from a kept woman with a dark past to the first lady of Argentina

Eva in 1934 and in 1939

Evita Peron: from a kept woman with a dark past to the first lady of Argentina

President of Argentina Juan Peron and Evita Duarte

Thanks to Peron, Eva got the main roles in films, her 5-minute broadcast on the radio became 15-minute, and the fees increased several times. Eva followed the colonel everywhere, appearing with him at meetings and trade union meetings. She managed to become indispensable for him not only in his personal life, but also in public activities.

Evita Peron: from a kept woman with a dark past to the first lady of Argentina

Evita Peron

Evita Peron: from a kept woman with a dark past to the first lady of Argentina

Evita on posters and covers

Evita Peron: from a kept woman with a dark past to the first lady of Argentina

Colonel Peron and Eva Duarte

In 1945, there was another military coup. Peron was arrested, and Evita was fired from her job. It was at this time that she received a letter from the colonel: "Only now I realized how much I love you. As soon as I'm free, we'll get married." And he kept his word — they were married the same year.

Evita Peron: from a kept woman with a dark past to the first lady of Argentina

Colonel Peron and Eva Duarte

Evita Peron: from a kept woman with a dark past to the first lady of Argentina

Evita Peron

After his release, Peron put forward his candidacy for the post of President of Argentina. Evita took an active part in his election campaign. The people loved her very much — a simple girl, the daughter of a dishwasher and a cattleman, managed to rise to the level of the first lady. In addition, she skillfully maintained the image of the ideal wife, the guardian of family and national values. Peron won the presidential election, but Evita won even more-the love and admiration of the Argentines.

Evita Peron: from a kept woman with a dark past to the first lady of Argentina

Evita Peron

The First lady traveled around the country, receiving hundreds of visitors. Her main concern was the care of the poor, thanks to her, several laws were passed to facilitate the working conditions of workers, after her personal appeal to parliament, women were granted the right to vote. Her charitable foundation has helped hundreds of poor people, and Evita has opened kindergartens, hospitals, orphanages, and libraries. She distributed 2,500 homes and apartments, 3,500 scholarships, and sent out more than a million gift packages every year. The Argentines worshipped her. Evita was popularly called "the princess of beggars", "the bearer of hope", "Saint Evita", "the spiritual leader of the nation".

Evita Peron: from a kept woman with a dark past to the first lady of Argentina

President of Argentina Juan Peron and Evita Duarte

At the same time, the first lady got the Argentine aristocrats, who immediately disliked her. She nationalized newspapers and radio stations that were opposed to Peron, factories and factories that did not want to cooperate with her foundation, and fired everyone who contradicted her.

Evita Peron: from a kept woman with a dark past to the first lady of Argentina

Evita Peron

Soon Evita began to notice that she was quickly getting tired, losing weight and getting weaker. Doctors diagnosed her with cancer. At the age of 33, the nation's favorite died suddenly. "Don't cry for me, Argentina, I'm leaving, but I leave you the most precious thing I have — Perona," she said at parting.

Evita Peron: from a kept woman with a dark past to the first lady of Argentina

Madonna in the film "Evita", 1996

Evita Peron: from a kept woman with a dark past to the first lady of Argentina

Madonna in the film "Evita", 1996

Evita Peron: from a kept woman with a dark past to the first lady of Argentina

Shot from the movie "Evita", 1996

Buenos Aires. The portrait of Evita Peron is installed on the building of the Ministry of Social Protection and Development.

Keywords: South America | History | Argentina | Celebrities | Ladies | First lady

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