Argentina is quite possibly the most unique country in South America for a variety of reasons diverse culture incredible landscapes a wide variety of ecosystems and climates and much more so get ready for the full spectrum of details of this incredible country by reading and learning about the 10 things about Argentina you didn’t know.
10: Jorge Rafael Videla
Infamous or famous depending on whom you ask Jorge Rafael Videla can inarguably be called a legend of his time. Regardless of whether that legend is a positive or negative one. Jorge Rafael Videla was born on August 2nd, 1925 in Mercedes, Argentina. He attended a military college and had ancestors who had fought in the Spanish-American wars of Independence. However, what he’s most known for are his actions in the 1970s. In 1975 Argentina’s leader Isabel Martínez de Perón named Videla as the Army’s general commander. On March 24th, 1976 Videla was assisted by General Orlando Ramon al Coastie of the Air Force and Admiral Amelko Massara of the Navy. At the time Argentina was besieged by attacks from guerrillas and death squads. So many welcomed Videla’s move, hoping the three-man military Yuta would put an end to the violence.
Business interest also felt that the economy is set by inflation might improve under Videla’s rule. After the coup Videla now President began a “process of national reorganization to remake the country”. Courts were closed for political parties outlawed and labor unions banned. Instead of a legislature, a commission of nine military officers answering to Videla was set up. Military officials soon filled all important government positions. The real terror however began with a so-called dirty war. For Videla, another part of the reorganization process was defending the country against leftist groups. In addition to guerrilla fighters, he considered anyone whose thoughts or ideas could undermine the government to be a threat. This meant that union leaders journalists left-leaning politicians and intellectuals were among those targeted.
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Number 9 on our list of things about Argentina is Geography. The geography of Argentina includes five major regions. It starts with the rainforest areas of the far northeast along its border with Brazil. The swampy and flat Chaco plain, the Fertile almost treeless grasslands of the central pampas, the lengthy plateau of Patagonia that stretches to Tierra del Fuego and the Andes Mountains along its western border with Chile. The pampas, one of the largest fertile plains in the world covers almost one-third of Argentina’s land area. Bordered by mountains in the Atlantic Ocean the legendary landscape of Patagonia displays huge forests, sizable mountain valleys, and many cold-water lakes.
The Andes in Argentina contain advancing glaciers including the Perito Moreno Glacier. As well as Cerro Aconcagua the tallest mountain in South America. Argentina is also home to the impressive Iguazu Falls and over 250 additional waterfalls of size. Major rivers include Colorado, the Negro, Paraguay, the Piranha, the Salado, and Uruguay. The Uruguay and Paraguay flow together before meeting the Atlantic Ocean forming the basin of the Rio de la Plata
8: Ethnic Groups
Whereas most South American countries are predominately mestizo meaning a combination of an Amerindian and European. Argentina really stands out in having large segments of the population that are predominantly European more so than any other South American country. This is due to many waves of European immigration including but not limited to Italian, German, Spanish and Russian. Culturally you can see this in the streets and city centers with Strong Italian and Spanish influence. Furthermore, in recent years genetic studies have been conducted on Argentines, with startling results. Based on genetic evidence, the average Argentine has a 78.1% European contribution, 19.4% Amerindian contribution, and 2.5% African contribution. This makes Argentines the most European both culturally and genetically in South America.
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Number 7 on our list of things about Argentina is the mountains. It would be hard to make a list about Argentina without mentioning one of the most majestic mountain ranges in the world, the Andes. The Andes is the longest mountain range in the world and has some of the highest peaks as well. The range is also known for its volcanoes, ruins of long-ago civilizations, and the source of malaria treatment. The origin of the name Andes has not been definitively determined. Most agree that it comes from the Quechua word Anti which translates to High Crest. A minority argue that it comes from the Anti Su Yu, which is one of the four regions of the Incas that once inhabited the range. Located along the entire west coast of South America, the Andes mountain range is about 4,500 miles long.
The mountain range spans seven countries: Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, and Argentina. It can be found between 10 degrees north and 57 degrees south latitude and 70 degrees to 80 degrees west longitude. It is up to 500 miles wide. However, most of the Andes do indeed reside in Argentina. Most importantly, the Andes are the second tallest mountain range in the world after the Himalayas. It is the longest mountain range in the world with no other even coming close.
Argentine cuisine tends to be very European for reasons explained above with a hint of an Amerindian thrown in for good measure. The way to Argentina’s heart is through its asado or barbecue also known as para la de. It is a crime to leave the country without spending a leisurely afternoon beside the warmth of a grill or open fire. Argentinians give a whole new meaning to grilled cheese and Provoleta. A consequence of the significant Italian immigration in Argentina Provoleta is the country’s variant on provolone cheese, pungent and sharp sliced discs are topped with herbs like oregano and chili flakes then grilled.
The nearly melted cheese is crispy and slightly caramelized on the outside, gooey and smoky on the interior. Finally, there is douche de leche, this thick caramel is the result of condensed milk reduced slowly until sweetened and sticky and can be loosely translated as milk jam. Look for it in everything from alfajores to dessert empanadas to another national favorite helado or ice cream where it is liberally drizzled in and used everywhere.
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5: Andean Condor
Number 5 on our list of things about Argentina is Andean Condor. There are a few birds in the world as majestic and frankly speaking largely as the Andean Condor. This bird is the unique distinction of being the largest flying bird in the world when combined in terms of both weight and wingspan. No other bird can top the Andean Condor in this department. Some other birds have slightly greater wingspans but none has a total package that the Andean Condor has. Males can weigh a staggering 28 pounds on average.
This might seem like nothing but you must bear in mind that flying birds are by their nature very light. They have bones that are lighter and more brittle than land animals. Compared even to such birds like the bald eagle, which only weighs about 12 pounds. The Andean Condors is a scavenger. Feeding off carcasses of deer and cattle and inhabits the incredibly high altitudes of the Andes mountains.
There is another incredible animal with even more incredible behavior. There is a group of orcas that live along the coast of Patagonia. It displays some of the most amazing behavior ever documented in animals. These orcas will intentionally beach themselves in order to capture sea lions and then swim back out into the water. That might not sound impressive at all but you have to realize the incredible danger this presents. Beaching is usually certain death for whales and dolphins as their heavy marine adaptations lead them to be crushed by the weight of their own bodies when beached.
Furthermore, the difficult skill of beaching oneself and swimming back is something that mother orcas must teach their young to do as it is completely counterintuitive to them and unnatural. What’s more, is that there is a man who’s become known as the man who dances with orcas. Roberto Boobas was a park ranger and plays the harmonica to these animals, pets them and seems to have a personal relationship with them that has never been documented before in the history of human orca relations.
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3: Argentina’s Name
Number 3 on our list of things about Argentina is Argentina’s name. Argentina actually derives its name from the Latin word for silver (Ag) or Argentum. The reason being that the Spanish had heard a rumor or Legend that there was a mountain made of pure silver in the Andes in what would later be called Argentina. They subsequently named this land Argentina. Unfortunately for the Spanish, they never found the mountain made of silver. The name stuck and to this day we all call the country Argentina.
2: Harboring Nazi War Criminals
Interestingly enough Argentina became famous after World War 2 for harboring Nazi war criminals and their collaborators. Infamous criminals such as Olive Iceman (Hitler’s strongman), Josef Mengele (Nazi doctor and experimenter), and Ante Pavelic whose Croatian regime murdered untold numbers of gypsies in the Serbs. The reasons for this are fairly complicated but due to Argentina’s historical background, it retains close ties to places such as Italy, Germany, and Spain. It largely favored both the axis powers and the fascist regimes in Europe.
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Number 1 on our list of things about Argentina is Psychiatrists. Buenos Aires has more psychoanalysts and psychiatrists than any other city in the world. It even has its own psychoanalytic district called Villa Fried. It is estimated that there are 145 psychologists for every 100,000 residents in the city.
So, these were the 10 things about Argentina you didn’t know. Did we miss something about Argentina? Please let us know in the comments section below. For more top lists just like this don’t forget to check out our other top lists and thanks for reading and thanks for learning.