La Boca, Buenos Aires

Argentina, The Land of Silver - in a Nutshell

Author: Sue
Date: 24th November 2016

Argentina - A Very Brief History

  • Argentina rose, as a country, as the successor state of the Spanish colonial Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, founded in 1776.
  • The declaration and fight for independence (1810–1818) was followed by an extended civil war that lasted until 1861.
  • After that, waves of immigration from Spain and Italy, especially Italy. led to peace and prosperity.
  • By the early twentieth century. Argentina was the seventh-wealthiest nation in the world, ahead of the USA.
  • Political instability followed The Great Depression in the 1930s,
  • Following the death of President Juan Perón in 1974, his widow and vice president, Isabel Perón, ascended to the presidency, before being overthrown in 1976.
  • A military junta, which took over after Juan and Isabel Peron, in the 1970s, persecuted and murdered thousands of political critics, activists, and leftists. (It was supported by the United States).

Facts and Factoids

  • Today, Argentina is a middle power nation, with the second largest economy in South America (behind Brazil).
  • Argentina is bigger than you might expect - it's the eighth largest country in the world.
  • A country of contrasts, it features the highest point in South America, Mount Aconcagua, and the lowest, Laguna del Carbón (a salt lake), at 105 metres below sea level. Aconcagua Mountain in the Andes (6,961 metres) is actually the highest mountain in the Americas, the highest mountain in the southern hemisphere and the highest mountain in the western hemisphere. Laguna del Carbón is also the lowest point in the western and southern hemispheres.
  • Argentina means silver - Latin argentum (silver). The land was rich in silver and the native communities of the Río de la Plata welcomed their future Spanish masters with silver gifts.
  • This is where tango began, in Buenos Aires, in the 1880s.
  • The national drink is yerba mate. It's very bitter.
  • The national sport is said to be pata, a cross between polo and basketball. But it isn't really. It's football.

Some Awful Jokes from Argentina

The Argentinians are not like the Chileans. As the Chileans say:

“How does an Argentine commit suicide?”

“He jumps off his ego.”

The weather is  colder now and whenever anyone remarks “It’s chilly”, we chorus: “No, it’s not, it’s Argentina”.

What to See in Argentina?

Iguassu Falls ( I hopped over the border on my Brazil visit) is the number one attraction, closely followed by vibrant and sprawling Bueno Aires. The Paris of America.

But I love Patagonia, in the south: the mountains and the glaciers, at Perito Moreno and bleak Tiera del Fuego.

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