The first edition of Facundo was published in instalments in 1845, in the literary supplement of the Chilean newspaper El Progreso. The second edition, also published in Chile (in 1851), contained significant alterations—Sarmiento removed the last two chapters on the advice of Valentín Alsina, an exiled Argentinian lawyer and politician. However the missing sections reappeared in 1874 in a later edition, because Sarmiento saw them as crucial to the book's development.
Facundo was first translated in 1868, by Mary Mann, with the title Life in the Argentine Republic in the Days of the Tyrants; or, Civilization and Barbarism. More recently, Kathleen Ross has undertaken a modern and complete translation, published in 2003 by the University of California Press. In Ross's "Translator's Introduction," she notes that Mann's 19th-century version of the text was influenced by Mann's friendship with Sarmiento and by the fact that he was at the time a candidate in the Argentine presidential election: "Mann wished to further her friend's cause abroad by presenting Sarmiento as an admirer and emulator of United States political and cultural institutions". Hence this translation cut much of what made Sarmiento's work distinctively part of the Hispanic tradition. Ross continues: "Mann's elimination of metaphor, the stylistic device perhaps most characteristic of Sarmiento's prose, is especially striking".