History of Eva Peron for Kids

Imagine that you are living in South America in the 1940s.  Life is fun in Argentina, the country where you live, but also hard for your family and for many people you know.  Most people are poor and cannot find jobs that pay well.  The jobs that your aunts, uncles and parents have don’t pay very much.  And so people are not feeling very hopeful about their futures.  There is a lot of talk in the evenings about what people can do to make life better.  

You listen to what the adults talk about and one day, you go into the city with your mother and hear someone speaking on stage.  It is a famous woman who comes out.  She is dressed well and speaks with great passion about what should be done to make the lives of regular people better.  “Who is that?” you ask your mother.  “It is the president’s wife,” your mother responds.  “Her name is Eva Peron and she is a great saviour of our country, Argentina.”

Eva Peron was the wife of the president of Argentina in the 1940s.  She became very famous because she was good at speaking in public and she was passionate about helping poor people of her country.  People loved her and felt that she played a big role in improving the lives of the people of the time.  But Eva Peron was not always rich and famous.  She was actually born into a poor family, which helped her to understand the struggles of being poor. 

Eva Peron was born in May 1919 in Los Toldos, Argentina.  When she was born, her name was actually Maria Eva Duarte.  She was born to a poor family.  She grew up in poverty, meaning that she didn’t have a lot of money or access to good things in life.  She had three siblings, but her closest was a sister named Erminda and together, the two girls dreamt of becoming famous actresses.  They made up plays together and put them on for their parents and friends. 

Her mother was named Juana Ibaguren and her father was named Juan Duarte.  Unfortunately, when Eva was 7 years old, her dad died suddenly.  Everyone was very upset and their money problems suddenly got much worse.  Eva’s dad had previously been married and when he died, all of his money went to his first wife and children. Juana Ibaguren and her children were now even more poor than before.

Eva and her family struggled to have enough to eat and pay rent for their home.  So the older children had to get jobs to help earn money.  The family moved to Junin, a city in the Province of Buenos Aires in 1930.  The older children took jobs as teachers and cooks.  Eva’s mother also started taking in boarders, or people who pay money to stay at a home and be fed meals.  Eva’s mother also earned money by cooking and sewing clothes.

When Eva was 15 years old, she needed to get a job as well to contribute and bring in money.  But instead of taking one of the jobs that were available in their town, Eva did not lose sight of her dream to become an actress.  She decided to move to the big city of Buenos Aires to become an actress.  She packed her bags and caught a bus into the city.  There she found a cheap boarding house to stay at and she started trying out at various theatre houses for auditions.  

Eva was a talented actress and a beautiful young girl.  She found work at a number of theatre companies and landed roles in plays that they were performing.  While she was a teenager, Eva was in many plays and theatre productions and and even landed her first film role, or role on TV.  She also got a contract, or paid position, performing as a voice actress on the radio. 

Eva made a good amount of money as an actress and when she was about 20 years old, she decided to invest her money in starting a business.  To invest means to use your money to try to make more money.  Eva’s new business was an entertainment business called “the Company of the Theatre of the Air.”  In her new business, Eva produced radio programs like the ones she had acted in. 

At first business was difficult and stressful, but over time Eva had great success: she made a deal to create a special radio series in which she would act like famous women in history.  She was very excited to get the chance to play famous historical figures like Queen Elizabeth I and Catherine the Great.

When Eva was in her early 20s, she met a man that would dramatically change her life.  He was an older man named Juan Peron.  Juan was a colonel in the army and a government official.  They met in Buenos Aires and fell in love.  It wasn’t long before Juan asked Eva to marry him and they got married in 1945.  

Only one year later, Juan became the president of Argentina!  Can you imagine what it would be like to go from being an actress with a radio program to the president’s wife within one year?  That must certainly have been a wild time for Eva.  

Eva became a very powerful influence on Juan’s politics.  Influence means the power to shape how things are. Eva used her position as first lady to fight for causes she believed in.  This included fighting for women to have the right to vote and improving the lives of poor people in her country.  She also had a lot of influence over health andworker’s policies in the government while Juan was president. 

Because Eva was a voice actress on the radio, she was very good at speaking .. and very good at speaking in front of crowds. People who heard her speak liked listening to her a lot.  She spoke about all the ways that she wanted to help poor people make their lives better.  Eva started giving speeches while her husband was president.. And people loved her!  She was very easy to listen to and poor people who heard her speak loved to hear her message about how the president planned to help them.  

Eva became very popular.  Everywhere she went, people knew who she was and were very excited about her messages of hope for the future.  She became even more famous and she used her fame to continue spreading her message around the country of Argentina.  She spent about 5 years doing this and her popularity grew and grew.

Unfortunately, Eva started to experience health problems.  She wanted to continue working to help her fellow people of Argentina and to help poor people.  But unfortunately she got sicker and sicker and soon she was not able to work.  The people of Argentina were very sad when they learned that she was sick.  They brought her flowers and chanted her name.  They knew that she had helped them so much and they wished she would get well and stay with them for years to come. 

Eva made her last appearance in front of a crowd June 1952, when her husband was elected president for a second term.  She passed away the following month from cancer.  She was given a large funeral and millions of people showed up to say farewell.  It showed how much support Eva had from the Argentine people at the time. 

Eva Peron is a famous person in her home country of Argentina and around the world still today.  Many people are fascinated by the story of how a poor girl became a famous political power house.  Her life story has been made into a number of books, films and plays.  This includes a famous play called Evita in 1979. The most famous song is “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” and made her legacy even more known across the world.

Spend some time thinking about Eva and her life. Growing up, her life wasn’t easy but rather than sitting around and feeling sorry for herself, she started working and practicing to become an actress. It took time for her skills to grow and for her business to take off, but she stuck with it until it became successful. And when Eva became successful and the wife of the President, she used her power and influence for good. She spoke out for people who had less people, those who couldn’t vote or who were poor. Even though most of us don’t have the same power as Eva, we can use what we have to help others. This may mean donating clothes or food or money to help those in need. Our family likes to go to a place where we prepare and box food for people in need. Ask your parents if there’s a place like this near you where you can volunteer your time. Every little bit helps and makes the world a better place like Eva Peron strived for herself!