In 1881 President Roca offered for public purchase by auction the lands in the southwest of the province of Buenos Aires, the Pampa Central, and the Neuquen district, these lands having been rendered habitable after the campaign of 1878 against the Indians.
It was evident that the president intended to use all the influence which the party in power could exercise, to secure the return of General Julio Roca, who had distinguished himself in 1878 by a successful campaign against the warlike Indian tribes bordering on the Andes.
After several skirmishes, the national army commanded by General Roca, containing many troops seasoned in Indian campaigns, assaulted the portenos posted before Buenos Aires, and after two days' hard fighting (20th and 21st July) forced its way into the town.
The portenos were no longer in a position to nominate a candidate in opposition to General Julio Roca, who was duly elected.
Hitherto General Roca had been regarded only in his capacity as a soldier, and not from the point of view of an administrator.
One of the first notable acts of the Roca administration was to declare the city of Buenos Aires the property of the national government.
Considering the circumstances in which General Roca assumed office, it must be admitted that he showed great moderation and used the practically absolute power that he possessed to establish a strong central government, and to initiate a national policy, which aimed at furthering the prosperity and development of the whole country.
The nomination was brought about by the Cordoba clique, and Roca lacked the moral courage to oppose the decision.
At first it was hoped that the influence of General Roca would serve to check any serious extravagance on the part of Celman.
Clear that the president would listen to no prudent counsels, from Roca or from any one else.
Celman, acting upon the advice of General Roca, who recognized the strength of public opinion in the outbreak, placed his resignation in the hands of congress on the 31st of.
The vice-president of the confederation, Carlos Pellegrini, who had been minister of war under presidents Avellaneda and Roca and had had much administrative experience, succeeded without opposition to the vacant post.
General Roca was induced to undertake the duties of minister of the interior, and his influence in the provinces was sufficient to check any attempts to stir up disturbances at Cordoba or elsewhere.
His partisans, however, found themselves confronted by a compact provincial party, who proposed to put forward the other strong man of the republic, General Roca, to oppose him.
This capture so alarmed the national government that a force was sent under the command of Roca to put down the insurrection.
Public opinion, excited by the prospect of a war with Chile, naturally supported the candidature of General Roca, and he elected without opposition (12th October 1898).
After some hesitation, on the advice of Roca the Argentines agreed to the demand, and peace was maintained.
One of the first steps of President Roca, after his accession to office, was to arrange a meeting with the president of Chile at the Straits of Magellan.
In his message to congress, on the 1st of May 1899, General Roca spoke strongly of the immediate necessity of a reform in the methods of administering justice, the expediency of a revision of the electoral law, and the imperative need of a reconstruction of the department of public instruction.
To the calm resourcefulness and level-headedness of President Roca at a very difficult and critical juncture must be largely ascribed the preservation of peace, and the permanent removal of a dispute that had aroused so much irritation.
There are other small settlements on the Rio Negro, which is navigable up to the Neuquen frontier (about 450 m.), but the only place of importance is General Roca (about 2300), a military and supply station situated a few miles below the confluence of the Limay and Neuquen rivers and connected with Bahia Blanca and Buenos Aires by a branch of the Great Southern railway.
The territory is reached by a light-draft river steamer which ascends the Rio Negro to Fort Roca at the confluence of the Limay and Neuquen, and by a branch of the Great Southern railway from Bahia Blanca to the same point.
In July 1899 President Roca had visited Rio de Janeiro accompanied by an Argentine squadron, this being the first official visit that any South American president had ever paid to one of the adjoining states.
Roca, who next attained to power, effected a temporary settlement with Colombia, concluded a convention with England against the slave trade, and made a commercial treaty with Belgium.
From the extreme north to Cape Mondego and thence onward to Cape Carvoeiro the outline of the coast is a long and gradual curve; farther south is the prominent mass of rock and mountain terminating westward in Capes Roca and Espichel; south of this, again, there is another wide curve, broken by the headland of Sines, and extending to Cape St Vincent, the southeastern extremity of the country.
Algoa Bay was discovered by Bartholomew Diaz in 1488, and was by him named Bahia da Roca, probably with reference to the rocky islet in the bay, on which he is stated to have erected a cross (St Croix Island).