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Buenos Aires
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Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires (BWAY-nos EYE-res, meaning "Good Air(s)" in Spanish), with a population of almost 3 million people, is the largest city in Argentina and one of the largest in South America. It is located at the southern side of the mouth of the Plata River (Rio de la Plata), on the southeast coast of the South American continent. (Montevideo is on the northern side of the mouth, across the very wide river.)

Its population consists primarily of Argentinians of Spanish and Italian descent, although there are sizable communities of people with Arab, Jewish, Armenian, and Korean origins. A small percentage are of indigenous descent. The majority of inhabitants are Roman Catholic, and Spanish is the primary language.

The city of Buenos Aires proper is the Federal Capital of Argentina, and has been granted special status as Buenos Aires Autonomous City. The suburbs which make up Greater Buenos Aires or Gran Buenos Aires belong to Buenos Aires Province, but the city of Buenos Aires (Spanish: Ciudad de Buenos Aires) does not.


Buenos Aires is the financial, industrial, commercial, and social centre of Argentina. Buenos Aires has one of the busiest ports in the world, and an enormous inland river system connecting it to the majority of Argentina as well as with Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay. As a result, it serves as the distribution hub for a vast area of the south-eastern region of the continent. Due to the enormous economic significance of this port, inhabitants of Buenos Aires nickname themselves porteños (people of the port).

To the west of Buenos Aires is the Pampa, the most productive agricultural region of Argentina. As a result meat, dairy, grain, tobacco, wool and hide products are all processed or manufactured in Buenos Aires. Other leading industries are automobile manufacturing, oil refining, metalworking, machine building, and the production of textiles, chemicals, paper, clothing, beverages.


Spaniard seaman Pedro de Solís discovered the La Plata River in 1516. The site of the present city was founded on February 2, 1536 by a Spanish gold-seeking expedition under Pedro de Mendoza. However, attacks by indigenous peoples forced the settlers away and in 1541 the site was abandoned. A second (and permanent) settlement was established in 1580 by Juan de Garay, after he departed Asunción. From its earliest days the success of Buenos Aires depended on trade, although this trade was initially illegal. The Spanish administration of the 17th and 18th centuries insisted that any and all trade to Europe initially pass through Lima, Peru so that taxes could be collected. This extravagant deviation frustrated the traders of Buenos Aires and a thriving contraband industry developed. Unsurprisingly, this also instilled a deep resentment of the Spanish authority within the inhabitants of Buenos Aires.

Sensing this instability, Charles III of Spain progressively eased the trade restrictions and finally declared Buenos Aires to be an open port in the late 1700s. These placating actions did not have the desired effect however, and the porteños became even more desirous of independence from Spain. Ultimately, on May 25, 1810, and after a week of mostly pacific deliberations, the citizens of Buenos Aires successfully expelled the Viceroy from Spain and established a provincial government (this date is now celebrated as a national holiday). On July 9, 1816 a congress gathered in Tucumán; declared the independence from Spain, which did not officially recognize it until 1862.

Railroad construction during the 19th century only increased the economic power of Buenos Aires as raw materials flowed into its factories. By the 1920s Buenos Aires was a favoured destination for immigrants from Europe, and extensive shanty towns developed in and around the city's industrial areas, leading to extensive social problems. An aggressive campaign of slum elimination, combined with the development of a effective public transport system in the 1970s and 1980s alleviated many of these problems. Since the 1970s Argentina and Buenos Aires has been famous for the desaparecidos, of which the signs could be seen in the Plaza de Mayo (next to the Casa Rosada) where the mothers of these desaparecidos used to protest.

In 1902 the Teatro Opera started organizing balls that included the tango. The city holds an annual "Tango Day" each December 11. A wonderful place to know is San Telmo. It is great place to see the real tango on the streets. On the other hand, those who are inclined to opera and ballet might find of interest a visit to the Colón Theater.

On February 25, 1951 the first Pan American Games were held here.

On March 17, 1992 a suicide car-bomb exploded in the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires killing 29 and injuring 242.

An explosion on July 18, 1994 destroyed a building housing several Jewish organizations killing 96 and injuring many more. See AMIA bombing.

Buenos Aires has an international airport called Ministro Pistarini International Airport (located in the nearby city of Ezeiza) often called simply "Aeropuerto Ezeiza", and a local airport called Aeroparque Jorge Newbery.


The city is divided in 47 barrios.

See: List of Buenos Aires Barrios

See also: Cities of the world, List of national capitals

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