Meaning of Cabildo

Cabildo is a term that comes from the Latin capitulum and that has several uses. It may be the town hall or municipality, the meeting held by this institution and the building where the meeting takes place. For example: “The Cabildo de San Javier has announced that the carnivals will begin next Monday in the Plaza de Armas”, “The mayor called an open town hall to discuss the budget design”, “Two thugs entered the town hall and assaulted the visitors ”, “ Tomorrow we are going on an excursion to the town hall ”.

This use of the concept was very frequent in colonial times, when the American countries were governed by Spain and the town hall was the institution and the building that housed the municipal authorities sent by the empire. The Cabildo located in the city of Buenos Aires, to cite one case, was the seat of the colonial administration of Spain in the capital of the Viceroyalty of Río de la Plata. The construction is currently the scene of a historical museum.

It was known as an open town hall for the extraordinary meeting of American citizens during colonial times. These assemblies were very important in the independence process and in the establishment of autonomous authorities. During these periods, these organizations formed by the people, had the capacity to dismiss the authorities of the colonies and propose new governments.

According to this idea, currently those popular meetings where a specific change is requested in any of the policies carried out by the current government receive the same name. These tend to deal with issues related to public health and the general order of the society in question.

Contrary to what is believed, however, the open council was not an egalitarian body. It was made up of people from high society, coming from European cribs, therefore low-class creoles, indigenous people, slaves or women were left out of this group. On the other hand, the meetings were held in private venues or in a church and those who participated in them were people appointed by the council and who belonged to the local aristocracy.

Other meanings of the term

Cabildo, on the other hand, is the community or body of capitular ecclesiastics of a Catholic church. It is possible to distinguish between the cathedral chapter (the college of clergy that provides assistance to the bishop), the collegiate chapter (in places where there is no cathedral) and the metropolitan chapter (the executive body that is in charge of the government of the larger churches).

In some districts this concept is still used to designate the government of the same. The Cabildo de Gran Canaria, for example, is the governing body that runs this Canary Island. The representative flag of this Cabildo is that of the island represented with the colors blue and yellow with two rectangles placed diagonally and in the center it bears the coat of arms.

There are many streets and places that bear the name of Cabildo, one of them is Avenida Cabildo, one of the most important in the city of Buenos Aires. It is the continuation of Avenida Santa Fe and it is a double lane avenue with double vehicular circulation. It is known for being a shopping and entertainment center as it has innumerable shops, shopping centers, restaurants and places for leisure.

Finally we can mention the Argentine magazine named with this term. It is considered one of the most important Catholic media in the country. It began to be published in the 70’s and although it stopped being published during the 90’s, it has already been distributed again. She is best known for her backward and conservative ideas, where homophobic and anti-Semitic comments abound.


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