Argentina

By Doug Bielecki

A picture of the countryside just outside the Argentinian city of Mendoza

Introduction

Argentina comes from the Latin word argentum which means silver. Argentina covers over 1,074,209 square miles. In Argentina, most of the population is made up of people of European background, more so than in any other South American country. Two Argentineans out of one hundred are Indian. Of the rest of the people, two tenths were born in Europe, and more then seven tenths of the people born in Argentina are white. More than three-quarters of the population are of Spanish or Italian descent. There are many French, Germans, Englishmen, and other Europeans, but the people of Argentina are called Argentines, just as all kinds of people in the United States are called Americans. The national language of Argentina is Spanish.

Geography

Argentina is the eighth largest country in the world. The mass of Argentina covers over 1.1 million square miles. It measures over 868 miles across. The northern part of Argentina has many forests. It has a variable climate in that it can be very hot or very cold. Temperatures can get as high as 120 degrees Fahrenheit. The yearly rainfall is usually around 60 inches. The western part of Argentina receives about 20 inches of rain.

 

The Andes mountains are the largest chain of mountains in the world. Several peaks of the Andes mountains are over 20,000 feet high. The widest part of the Andes is over 500 miles across. Many of the high peaks in the Andes mountains are volcanoes. Some of them are active. The most famous volcanoes out of these are the Cotopaxi, the Tungurahua, and Sangay in Ecuador. The Andes mountains produces the following natural resources: copper, gold, silver, tin, lead, iron, platinum, and quicksilver. The Andes are the second highest mountain range in the world following only the Himalayas. The Andes is a great location for crops. In the Piedmont(region in Andes), farmers grow important crops. The Andes are also a favorite recreation spot for skiers around the world.

The Pampas are one of the most well known regions in Argentina. Argentina is well known for not just the Pampas but the Gauchos that live on them.The Pampas are where more than two-thirds of Argentinas population lives. This is where most of Argentinas wealth comes from. The Pampas are flat and fertile plains covering over one-fifth of Argentina. The Pampas cover from the Atlantic Ocean to the Andes. The word Pampas means level land. It comes from the Guarani Indians. Because the Pampas are found in rich soil, the chief crops: wheat, corn, and alfalfa are grown there.

 

History & Culture

The people of Argentina often go to the Mar de Plata , a beach resort, to have fun. Many people call this their backyard or playground.

Sebastian Cabot, a sea captain, was born in England and grew up in the Port of Bristol. Cabot crossed the Atlantic and mapped some of the American coastline with his father. In 1526 the King of Spain put Sebastian in command of an expedition to go to the east of South America. This is where they found and named the Rio de la Plata. After Cabot failed at trying to find "the mountain of silver", a man by the name of Pedro de Mendoza followed Cabot's unfinished expedition. Mendozas' expedition was said to have been one of the biggest to have crossed the Atlantic under one leader. It consisted of eleven ships, thirteen hundred men, and everything needed to establish a permanent settlement. They sailed up the Rio de la Plata early in 1536. They laid anchor where what has become now as the well known city of Buenos Aires. Mendoza chose the name Buenos Aires for the settlement. The name means "City of our Lady Saint Mary of the Fair Winds." Pedro was said to have called it this because of the refreshing breezes that blew over the site he had chosen for the settlement.

Indian attacks began almost at once. In 1539 the settlement was completely destroyed. During all of this Mendoza had sent some of his men to explore up North through the Parana and Paraguay rivers. 900 miles from Buenos Aires they found themselves among Indians who were a lot nicer and peaceable than the Indians they experienced in the South. Mendoza decided this was a good place for another settlement.

This new settlement was named Asuncion. This was the first inland European settlement in South America, it became the capital city of a new country, Paraguay. The Jesuits penetrated further into the interior, christianizing the Indians and building model communities until they were later expelled by the Spanish crown. The ruins of these model communities can be visited today.

There where several attempts to rebuild the Buenos Aires settlement after the first destruction, but none of them were successful. Finally it was abandoned. The surviving settlers sailed back to Spain. The others went North to settlement of Asuncion, leaving most of their belongings behind.

After leaving their horses and cattle they soon wandered off into the grass covered pampas. Within a few years, hundreds and thousands of wild cattle and horses were roaming about.

These horses caused even more problems for the European settlers. Before they arrived there were no horses in South or North America. Indians traveled, hunted, and fought on foot. Soon the Indians learned how to catch and ride these wild horses. Now the Indians were much more dangerous because they were now able to fight back instead of always running away. The Indians were able to fight just as well as the Europeans.

The Tango, from Argentina, is one of the most famous and brilliantly structured dances. People have been dancing the Tango for many years, and it is still as popular as ever.

The Plaza de Mayo, in the capital of Buenos Aires, is considered the country's political and emotional heart.

Juan & Evita Peron

Juan Peron was born in 1865. He was elected President of Argentina in 1946 and again in 1951. He was the leading figure in the government for three years before 1946. He was born in southern Argentina as the son of a wealthy ranch owner. Juan first kicked off his political status by writing several books on military subjects. He then served in cabinet of President Pedro Ramirez. In October, 1945 Eva Peron was married to Juan Peron. Evita became one of the most powerful women in the western hemisphere. She founded the Eve Peron Welfare Foundation, and in 1951 she was named vice-presidential candidate by the Feronista party. Eve was born in Los Toldos, Buenos Aires provinces as the daughter of a small landowner.

Mendoza

Mendoza, located at the foot of the Andes, is the center for the Argentinian grape and wine Industry . At 2,460 feet above sea-level, it is a transfer point between Buenos Aires and the Pacific Coast.

 

Links to other student web pages in this project:

Chile

Amazon Rainforest

Gauchos

Uruguay

San Martin

Simon Bolivar

 

 

Picture of Andes in the backround in Argentina.

Picture of Argentina from space.

 

Picture of the high mountain "Tupungato".

This shows the Pampas and the Gauchos who live there.

 

Credits/Bibliography-------Web Links

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