In this post, I will talk about the beautiful country Argentina!
For my research, I simply used Wikipedia and one of Doreen’s (one of the other German volunteers) books about Argentina. Let’s go:
- Above you can see Argentina’s national flag!
- To your right you have Argentina’s coat of arms.
- Voting slogan: En Unión y Libertad
- Language: Spanish, aka Castellano!
- Here is a link to the national anthem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L7NJDsUH8ZQ
- The capital is Buenos Aires.
- The word Argentina is related to the word “silver” (argentum) -> When the Spanish came to Argentina they hoped to find precious minerals, therefore the name “silver”.
Geography and Biology:
- ARG is the eighth biggest country with 2,8 million km^2 (Germany has 360 000 km^2 big, therefore ARG is about eight times bigger than Germany or Oregon for example!).
- Argentina’s time zone is UTC-3, which means that in summer there is a five hour time difference to Germany and a four hour time difference in winter.
- ARG has multiple climate and vegetation zones.
- ARG is sharing borders with the countries Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay and Chile.
- To the east of ARG you will find the Atlantic.
- The Andes go right through Argentina’s western part of the country.
- Exotic species of animals are more common in the north than in the south. In general, you’ll find different species of monkeys, jaguars and pumas in the north, snakes and wolves in the center, sea lion and orcas in the south. Of course, there is much more. This is just to give you a broad picture.
- ARG consists of 23 provinces and the city of Buenos Aires!
- The main cities being put in a nutshell: Buenos Aires, economical center of the country; Córdoba, a big city full of Universities; Rosario, city with an important port; Mendoza; the city where most of the wine and fruits are being produced and a city for trading with Santiago de Chile; San Miguel de Tucumán, birthplace of the independence of ARG, today it’s quite poor but still very important in terms of agriculture.
- The longest route you can travel with a single bus begins in San Salvador de Jujuy in the north of ARG and ends in Río Gallegos, in the south of ARG. The distance measures 3430 km and the bus will take about 55 hours!!!
- About 43 million people live in ARG.
- A third to almost half of the population lives in Buenos Aires or nearby!!
- The population density is at 15 persons per km^2! In comparison: USA is at 33 p/km^2 and GER at 230p/km^2!
- Most of the citizens live in either Buenos Aires, Córdoba, or Rosario (a bit more than 60%). Other than that, there are a few more big cities in the north. In the south (Patagonia) the population density is at only 2p/km^2! And Patagonia is huge!
- In ARG the phenomenon of rural depopulation (mostly the poorer people in society) does exist. But in ARG you also have the phenomenon of urban depopulation. It’s mostly about richer families who don’t feel safe in the cities anymore, and therefore leave.
- About 90% of Argentinians have European ancestors.
- If an Argentinian has European ancestors, his/her ancestors will for example be from Italy with a likelihood of 36% or for example from Spain with a likelihood of 30%.
- There aren’t many Natives left in ARG like in other Latin American countries. Unofficial statistics talk about 1 million to 1,5 million Natives. Most of them live in the north of ARG. This was caused by genocide, firstly practiced by the Spanish, afterwards by the Argentinians after the declaration of independence.
- Officially there were about 30 native ethnicities. These don’t exist anymore or have shrunken significantly. The “big” tribes which are left are the Kollas, the Mapuche and the Wichí. The native population is still facing many problems. Such as living separated from the other Argentinians, having less job opportunities, etc.. Today, there are many programs (mostly from the government) to help the native population and to obtain the native culture.
- ARG has many immigrants from Bolivia, Paraguay, and Peru, who are looking for a better life in ARG.
- ARG does also have immigrants from Europe. Most of them live in ARG because of the nature which is still “untouched” compared to Europe’s nature.
- Income equality is quite high compared to the rest of the world. For a Latin American country it’s pretty low, though. The poorest 40% own 10% of the money in ARG! The more you go up north, the poorer the people get.
- The illiterate rate in ARG is at 2.8%. For comparison, in Germany we’re at 0.6%. The rate depends on the region, though. In the north, in the province of Chaco, they’ll have a rate of 8.6%. In the south, in Tierra de Fuego you’ll find a rate of 0.73%.
- In total, only 10% of Argentinians have a bachelor’s degree and only 5% have a master’s degree!
- The Human Development Index, which considers money, lifespan, and education, ARG and Chile are at the top of Latin American countries. The numbers are comparable with “weaker” European countries, like Portugal, for example.
- The problem with the ageing population, which exists in Germany, does not exist in ARG.
- 5% of Argentinians are Catholic, 9% are Protestants.
- Even though ARG is a pretty Catholic country, homosexuality is strongly accepted.
- The Spanish/Castellano of ARG is a bit different than the Spanish/Castellano of other Latin American countries! I’ll talk more about it in one of the following posts!
- In a quote about Argentinians I’ve read: “Italians, who speak Spanish, who’d like to be English, and think that they live in Paris.”
- ARG’s GDP (2016): 437.9 Billion USD (de.statistsa.com)
- ARG’s income per capita (2016): 12 425 USD (de.statista.com)
- In comparison: USA’s GDP (2016) is 18.56 Billion USD (number one) and an income per capita of about 57 000 USD; GER’s GDP (2015) is 3.4 Billion USD with an income per capita of about 41 560 USD
- In comparison to other Latin American countries ARG is doing quite well! Countries like Brazil have a higher GDP but a lower income per capita.
- Most of its history ARG was focused only on agriculture. This has changed over the last few decades. 2011, the UNO declared that ARG is a high developed country!
- The currency is the Argentinian Peso -> At the moment, you’ll get 16 Pesos for one Euro!
- Inflation/Hyperinflation has always been one of ARG’s major problems. That’s why companies and Argentinians normally invest in USD!
- Because of investing in USD so much, ARG depends quite a bit on the USA! The election 2016, for example, and especially the outcome, Trump, influenced ARG a lot!
- 1967, ARG’s debt was at 8 billion USD; 2001, it was at 160 billion USD -> the big reasons: military dictatorship and the Falklands War.
- Since 1985, ARG has always been in the “Top 5” of borrowers from the International Monetary Fund!
- ARG had a big economic crisis in 2001/2002.
- ARG is a Democracy.
- Mauricio Macri is Argentina’s President.
- The big parties at the moment are the ARI (social democrats), Propuesta Republicana/PRO (conservatives) and the Partido Socialista (socialists); but parties in ARG come and go pretty quickly!
- The election is quite difficult. You normally vote for multiple institutions. If a person wants to vote for people from different parties, he/she has to cut the election form according to his/her wishes, which apparently sounds easier than it actually is.
- It is said, that many times, people in ARG won’t vote for the party, which represents their values, but rather for the person who seems more charismatic. Which is the reason, why media coverage is very important for Argentinian politicians.
- ARG is part of the UNO, the IMF and the World Bank.
- In Latin America ARG is part of the Rio Group, CELAC and Mercosur.
- The military strongly influenced politics in the ARG’s past. Therefore, the military is now strictly separated from politics and has lost most of its power.
- In ARG you have compulsory education for ten years.
- Currently, ARG is investing big amounts of money in education, since ARG is having problems finding technically qualified personnel.
- ARG is trying to focus more on renewable energy, especially on wind energy. -> Chinese companies have built quite a few wind farms in the last few years.
- ARG does also have nuclear power plants in its country. The past has shown that ARG probably won’t reduce their number in the near future. Many of them belong to Chinese or Russian companies.
History in a nutshell (very broad):
- 15 000 BC the first people came to land what we today now as ARG, the Natives.
- Firstly, the people roamed around the country, Nomads. Later on, though, they started settling and building little villages.
- 1502 the first Europeans came to ARG. The exploitation of the Natives and the nature began.
- ARG has its independence day on the 9th of July 1816 (independent from Spain!)
- Afterwards, multiple dictatorships, civil wars and divisions of the country happened.
- There has also been a war in South America, in which Uruguay, Brazil and ARG fought against Peru, which to that point tried to expand multiple times.
- ARG officially became a democracy. But unofficially there had always been election fraud.
- During World War II many Europeans fled to ARG. Victims of Nazis first, but also Nazis, afterwards!
- The time of Perón is really important for ARG’s history. He was president. Often you’ll read that he ruled like a dictator.
- His time in office brought wealth to ARG, which until today hasn’t been reached again.
- But the opposition was literally destroyed during this time. I’m talking about abduction, murder, torture, mental crippling, etc.. These things normally happened to supporters of the left parties, since Perón was strongly against the idea of communism.
- Secretly, Perón supported the Axis Powers during World War II. 1945 ARG declared war against Germany, but it was the last Latin American country to do so!
- The only big obstacles Perón had, were the Catholic Church and the Argentinian military.
- Perón was overthrown (by the military), but came back. Either indirectly through his wife (a former night club dancer), through friends or by himself.
- There have been many discussions with Chile in the history about which regions belong to which country. It went so far, that the Pope had to step in! Since 1984 the two countries have peace.
- 1982 ARG was part of the Falklands War. This war was about the Islas Malvinas, islands near the coast of ARG. They belonged to ARG in the far past but afterwards Great Britain took control over them. So, what happened then? In short: ARG attacked, Great Britain defended successfully, there had been a democratic election a few years ago, and the inhabitants of the Islas Malvinas decided with a huge majority that they want to be British. Here in ARG, you’ll often hear, that the British are ARG’s enemies … they aren’t really joking!
- Since 1983 democracy is officially back!
- Still, ARG is having problems with corruption and election fraud.
- One year ago, Mauricio Macri became president. Many are hoping for a great change in ARG now. Macri is a member of the “Propuesta Republicana”, the big conservative party in ARG right now.
- In the morning, you don’t eat that much here. Some tea and something sweet, that’s it. For Lunch and dinner, you’ll have warm meals. Between lunch and dinner, there is also “Merienda”, where you’ll have some cake and coffee, for example.
- Meat, like in all Latin American countries, is very important in ARG!
- Typical foods: Asado (big BBQ with a wood grill), Locro (a special corn meal), and Empanadas (do I have to explain?)
- Multiple times a day, you’ll have “mate”. This is a major part of the culture! In the mate cup, actually called mate, you put mate leaves (Yerba), with or without sugar. Then, you pour hot water on top (the electric kettles here have the setting “Mate”!). There are varieties with different spices, as well. After everything is prepared, you’ll drink your mate with a straw made of metal (bombilla). In ARG you take turns drinking out of one mate! This is very important here because drinking mate is a social process!!! Not like all the egoistic people in Uruguay!!! The person who invited serves. During drinking mate, the people talk and relax. You DON’T say thank you, unless you don’t want to drink more mate the next round. On hot days, the Argentinians pour cold juice, instead of hot water. This is called Tereré. Mate contains a bit of caffeine, which is why students enjoy mate quite a bit.
Culture and other things:
- Music, art and sports are really important for Argentinians! We often hear, that when a German sits down to work a few more hours, the Argentinian will be happy with what he has and will start enjoying himself with music, art or sports. This is why even small towns have a lot of cultural events to offer.
- The importance of sports in ARG is comparable to the importance in Germany. But it’s mostly about soccer!
- The Argentinian soccer association AFA was founded 1893 and is one of the oldest soccer associations of the world.
- ARG has won the World Cup two times, and the Copa América 14 times.
- The big Argentinian teams are River Plate and Boca Juniors, two teams from Buenos Aires. One of the first questions, you’ll be asked after where you’re from and if you’re Christian, is if you support Boca or River!
- Other important sports: Rugby (men), basketball (men), and hockey (women).
- Music and dancing: Tango is the typical dance of ARG. There is also the traditional Folklore (for me it looks a bit like two birds, running and stamping around). In the region of Córdoba, where I am, you will mostly see Cuarteto. But in the radio, the only things you’ll hear are Cumbia and Raggaeton!
- ARG’s art is internationally often considered as the most beautiful of Latin America, since it combines a Native style of painting with a European style of painting.
- ARG has a ton of holidays. Just google it! You’ll be surprised how many they actually have.
- Argentinians love Telenovelas! Here, they mostly watch Telenovelas with biblical themes. Every Thursday, at ten PM, everybody watches “Moisés”, for example!
- In ARG, like in most of the other Latin American countries, people travel by bus. But don’t judge to quickly! Compared to American and European standards are super comfortable!
- The oldest university is la Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, which exists since 1613. The biggest university is la Universidad de Buenos Aires, which was founded 1813. It hosts 400 000 students!
- Currently, Pope Francis is Pope. He’s Argentinian and is therefore the first Latin American Pope ever.
- Here is a link to a little video, which explains the Argentinian gestures: Argentinian Body Language (funny)
- And here is a link to a video, one of my favorits, which explains the mentality that Argentinians have: Argentinian Intervention
Finished! Maybe you can’t believe it but there is even more! If this wasn’t enough, feel free to do some more research!
See you next time,
Noah M. Schultz