Most people associate Argentina with juicy steaks, dancing tangos, and packed-out football stadiums. There is more to Argentina than clichés, although we won’t say no to an Asado!
Did you know, for example, that Argentina was the first country to produce animated films? We didn’t know that! These facts about Argentina will help you be more informed and make it clear why Argentina is so amazing.
Here are our top facts about Argentina.
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22 Amazing Facts About Argentina
In 1917, Argentina produced the first animated feature film.
Disney is dead, but there’s a legend animator you might not have heard of. Quirino Cristiani made the first feature-length animated cartoon in 1917. El Apostol, a 70-minute film, told the story of high levels of corruption in Argentina.
Cristiani stated that he was inspired by Walt Disney’s visit to Latin America and the inspiration for the movie.
It was created using cutout animation and was well-received. Its time in the world was cut short when destroyed in an apartment fire in 1928.
Quirino Christiani made the first animated feature film in 1917.
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Yerba Mate, Argentina’s most loved drink, is very popular.
You won’t find a more famous South American drink than yerba maté. You’ll see this caffeine-infused beverage through a metal straw called a bombilla when you travel to Argentina.
The national drink of Argentina, the Argentinians love mate so much they even celebrate it every year on the 30th of November. Argentinians consider mate drinking more than a slur. The drink is shared among friends and is used as a social drink.
Visitors to South America need to be aware of the rules regarding mate drinking. These rules can be difficult to understand, so look at our article yerba mat to learn how to mix in with locals.
Yerba mate is Argentina’s national drink.
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Argentina is the home of both the highest and the lowest points in the Southern Hemisphere.
You’ve probably already seen South America, and Argentina is no exception!
Mount Aconcagua is located in Mendoza and has a peak height of 6,962m. It is one of seven Seven Summits on the seven continents. Edward FitzGerald, a famous British mountaineer, was the first to climb Aconcagua.
Laguna del Carbon is the Southern Hemisphere’s lowest point. It is a salt lake located in Santa Cruz. This basin, translated as “coal lagoon”, is located at 105m below sea level. It also happens to be the seventh-lowest point on the planet.
The peak of Mount Aconcagua.
Buenos Aires, Argentina’s capital, means “good airs” or “fair winds”.
There has been a lot of discussion about how Buenos Aires got its name. However, the consensus is that it was due to the arrival of Spanish conquistadors during the 16th century.
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Pedro de Mendoza was one of the men responsible for naming Buenos Aires. He was a fan of Santa Maria del Buen Ayre (The Virgin Mary of Good Air). This particular branch of catholicism is rooted in Sardinia, an Italian island. A statue of the Virgin Mary is found here, perched on a high hill. According to legend, this hilltop was where the only refuge from the stench of the swamps below existed during the 14th century. This is why the name “Good Air” was chosen.
The legend of the Virgin Mary, which was placed on top of the hill in 1897, has been rewritten. According to legend, she was washed up in a storm, and the statue protected the Sardinians. The term “fair winds” is often used interchangeably with “good air”.
Pedro de Mendoza, a faithful follower of Santa Maria del Buen Ayre, was fond of naming the port town after her. Although modern-day Buenos Aires has a different settlement than the one established by Pedro de Mendoza, it retains the same name.
Argentina is still the King of Beef, but that is changing.
Argentina’s cuisine is dominated by beef, and there are many steakhouses (locally called parrillas) waiting to offer you a succulent slab of meat. Argentine beef is so well-known that it’s served all over the globe because of its tenderness.
Asados, also known as barbecues in Argentina, are a vital part of Argentine culture. They offer a chance to meet up with family and friends over dinner. You will also see chicken, ribs and pork on the grill.
The country’s annual beef consumption in 2020 was 49.7 kg per person. This may seem excessive, but it is a historical low for this country. This could be partly due to the COVID-19 crisis, which priced out those with lower incomes from the meat market. Also, dietary changes are related to the climate crisis. In Argentina, the highest beef consumption was 100.8 kg per person in 1956. That’s quite a lot of meat.
The Argentines love to eat asados!
The Argentinian flag consists of a blue and white triband with a yellow sun at the centre.
It was adopted four years before Argentina gained independence from Spain in 1812. It is a triband of light blue and white, which was chosen by Manual Belgrano, the leader of the Argentine revolution.
It is the dividing of blue skies to reveal white clouds. Legend has it that this happened in Argentina’s capital, Buenos Aires, during the 1810 liberation demonstration. Each year, the country commemorates the history and significance of its flag on the 20th of June, which is the anniversary of Belgrano’s death.
The ‘Sun of May’, the yellow sun that appears in the middle of the flag, is also known as Inti’s Incan god of the sun. The May part refers to 1810’s May Revolution, which was the beginning of the independence movement away from Spain.
The flag of Argentina includes the ‘Sun of May.
Ernesto Guevara was the name of Argentina’s most prominent freedom fighter Che Guevara
Ernesto, which means ‘Little Ernest’, was Che’s childhood nickname. Che was a more mature man who used the expression a lot. This injection can be translated as’mate’ or man’ in Spanish in Argentine. It is also used in Uruguay, Brazil and other parts of Brazil.
Che was not Guevara’s real title!
Officials forbid parents from naming their children Messi after the football star’s hometown.
It’s almost impossible to talk about Argentina without mentioning football. Argentina is a regular contender for the World Cup, having won it twice. They also have some of the best footballers in the world.
In Argentina, his hometown Rosario, Lionel Messi, is a legend. Hector Varela, a Rosario resident, named his son after Messi. Officials banned parents from naming their children after Messi to avoid confusion down the road if it became too popular.
Football star Messi is a local hero.
Gauchos, Argentine cowboys, are called Gauchos.
If you think back to Argentina during the 18th and 19th centuries, images of rugged horsemen will likely come to your mind. The country’s symbol, the nomadic cowboys (known collectively as gauchos), has been immortalized in literature and folklore.
The bravery of Gauchos is well-known, and their distinctive dress that’s still being worn today. The woollen cloak is perhaps the most distinctive part of the costume. It makes an excellent travel souvenir.
The term gaucho is used to describe anyone who lives in rural areas (usually an estancia) and has had experience with traditional livestock tasks. You can book a trip to one of the traditional ranches in the area to learn more about the lives and customs of gauchos.
Traditional Gauchos in Patagonia and Argentina.
Tango is a tradition from Argentina.
The tango is one of the most well-known Latin American dances. It is famous for its intensity and passion. It was first performed in the docklands, in Buenos Aires, during the 19th century. Many Portenos regarded the dance as unsavoury and lowly, so they did not like it.
This changed eventually, and the Argentine tango became a global cultural phenomenon. You can watch the Argentine tango at many locations across the country. Piazzolla Tango and El Beso are two of the most well-known options. You can also book lessons if you prefer to make your own shapes.
The tango is synonymous with Argentina.
Argentina’s national sport is Pato.
You might think of soccer when you think about Argentina’s sports, but pato was the first national sport in Argentina in 1953.
This sport may seem a bit bourgeois at first glance. It is actually played on horseback! It has a long history within the gaucho community. It is a mixture of skills from basketball and polo.
While a ball is now used in many games, it was originally a live duck placed inside a basket. The game’s name is derived from the Spanish word duck, which means pato in Spanish. This game was banned many times due to its barbaric nature. As you can see, ducks had a hard time having fun, and many gauchos were even killed or injured.
97% of Argentinians are European-born
“Italians who speak Spanish but think they are British, living in Paris …” This is how the Argentinians were once described. This makes sense when you consider their history.
The 97% of Argentinians with European heritage are mostly Spaniards and Italians. This is due to the Spanish colonization of Argentina and mass immigration from Europe that began in the middle of the 19th century.
97% have European heritage.
Argentina derives its name from the Latin word silver.
Argentum, Latin for silver, is where the country got its name. This name is believed to have been chosen because of the European conquerors who came to South America to mine the precious metal. Even though there are many countries on the continent with more silver than Argentina, they still get their fair portion.
Argentina takes its name from Latin for “silver”.
Argentina was home to the remains of the largest dinosaur known.
A Patagonian farmer discovered the remains of a Patagotitan maiorum in 2008. The largest known to exist, this dinosaur, was believed to have lived in the late Cretaceous period.
In 2012, however, additional remains were discovered in Argentina’s Neuqueen Province. Live Science states that the remains are still not fully excavated. The bones found to indicate that this is the largest known dinosaur.
Scientists believe this dinosaur was a titanosaur. This is the largest sauropod. They were plant-eaters with long necks and lived from the end of the Cretaceous period through the late Jurassic.
These dinosaurs would have been larger than you could imagine!
Pope Francis was a nightclub bouncer in Buenos Aires.
Pope Francis was the first pope to be born in America. He was a Porteno child of Italian parents. After his elevation to the highest office in the Catholic Church, his interest in his personal life began to grow. This led to the revelations that he had been a nightclub bouncer back in his hometown of Buenos Aires.