CultureSouth AmericaTravel

12 Interesting Facts About Argentina

tango in boca

My last visit to Argentina was in 2015. It’s a beautiful country in South America and here are some facts about it that you should definitely know if you are going to pay a visit.

1. Mate Drink

Mate also known as yerba mate is a very popular drink in Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia and Brazil. In Argentina you will see some people on the streets holding a pot that is made of metal or leather and drinking it with a metal straw. This caffeine-rich tea is made of leaves of the plant of “Ilex Paraguayensis”. Because of its high caffeine, it has been a very popular drink for centuries in South America. I am not a fan of Mate because the taste of Mate is a little bit bitter for me. In some tea shops I am sure you can find this tea and you can try for yourself.

2.  Famous Argentina Beef 

The first cattle were brought to Argentina in 1536 by Spanish conquerors. There was fertile and wide meadows and the consumption was low that’s why the population of cattle increased in a short time. In Argentina every person consumes 99 kg meat per year and it makes Argentina as second country that eats the most meat in the world. In Turkey we unfortunately consume 33 kg meat per year. If I had a chance to fly to Argentina now, I’d do it right now for eating the softest and the most delicious meat in the world.

3. The Biggest Producer of Malbec Wines

The grape of Malbec is originally from France and one of the 18 noble grapes. In 1886 with the order of the mayor of Mendoza first Malbec was seeded by a botanist. Since then, Argentina started to produce more Malbec than France. Now Argentina produces %75 of the total Malbec wine in the world. If you are talking about Malbec wines, you can’t keep apart Mendoza from Malbec wines. Wine-lovers should spend at least 3-4 days in Mendoza and visit the vineyards and taste the delicious Malbec wines.

4. Little Italy

The population of Argentina is 43 million and 25 million of them are Italian Argentines who are Argentine-born citizens of Italian descent or Italian-born people who reside in Argentina. Italians migrated to Argentina in 19th century. Argentina is the only country where the most Italians live in after Italy. The outbreak of World War I and the rise of Fascism in Italy forced Italians to migrate  to Argentina that had been accepting migrants from Europe. That’s why you will feel the big Italian impact in Argentina and in their daily lives like Italian gestures, Italian words in Spanish,  pasta and ice-cream shops on every corner of the streets.

5. The Dance of Passion and Love; Tango

At the beginning of the 19th century besides Italian immigrants many Europeans migrated to Argentina and started to work there. The hopes, struggles and disappointments of those workers during the adaptation period in Argentina affected the culture and daily life of Argentina.

Because of the high number of men workers, prostitution was on rise. There were long queues in front of brothels in Buenos Aires and the small Tango bands were employed by the owner of brothels to entertain the men while they were waiting.  With time people from the upper and middle class started to come to the brothels and thus Tango dance and music which speaks of love, passion, heartbreaks, disobedience and obstinacy grew quickly through Buenos Aires and Argentina.

6. It Gets Its Name From Silver

The European conquerors arrived in Argentina with the hope of finding silver but they couldn’t find any silver but Argentina got its name from Argint which means silver in Latin

7. Welsh in Argentina 

Because of Argentina’s welcoming of many immigrants from Europe, you may come across European minorities here. One of those minorities is Welsh people who settled in Wladfa in Patagonia region in 1865. The Welsh still speak their language and keep their culture alive.

8. Peso Lost 13 Zeroes

In 1923 Argentina was the 10th wealthiest country and now it is the 54th wealthiest country because of the bad economic situation. Since 1970, 13 zeroes dropped from their national currency, Peso.

9. Missing Children of Argentina 

Between 1976 and 1983, Argentina were ruled by junta regime and thousands of people were taken from their homes by mysterious people in the middle of the nights and were tortured  and killed. In this period more than 30.000 people were registered as missing. There are many memorials still being held about those events in Argentina. One of the memorial events is the mothers of Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires who get together every Thursday by wearing their children’s white diapers.

10. The World’s Widest Avenue

The first time I had been in Buenos Aires, 9 de Julio Avenue impressed me with its width. It has 14 lanes and is flanked on either side by parallel streets of two lanes each. It doesn’t matter how fat you are walking, it is nearly impossible to cross the avenue all at once.

11. Politicians and Beer 

Don’t be surprised when you see the politicians names and pictures on a bear bottle in Argentina. In 2013 a bar called Peron Peron Resto in Buenos Aires made a beer called Evita and then made “Montonero” a dark ale named after the 1970s guerrilla group, and “Double K” in honour of Argentine leader Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and her late husband, president Nestor Kirchner. The opposition party has also it own brewery and produce a beer called Hipolito Yrigoyen who was the ex-president. The politics spreads in the every part of Argentina. Most people especially love Evita Peron and commemorate.

12. Gay Marriage is Legal

While same sex marriage is a taboo in many countries worldwide, Argentina legalized same sex marriage in 2010. It is the first country that accepted gay marriages in South America.

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