Alright our first South American country This is the land of silver! … Kind of Not really Welcome to: Argentina *intro*
It’s time to learn Geography *intro*
NOOOOOOWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!!!!! We’ll explain more about that silver stuff later But first, you know the drill:
Let’s talk about the flag. The Argentinian flag has equally long tall white and blue stripes And it’s interesting, because there technically isn’t an official meaning to these colours Many will say that it resembles the sky with blue and the white clouds However, many historians will tell you that it’s coloured that way to represent loyalty towards the House of Bourbon In the centre is the Sun of May emblem Historians accredit this emblem to representing the Incan design of the Sun God, Inti Alright, that was fun Now, let’s talk about Argentina’s location and borders in: Political Geography Argentina is located on the bottom part of the South American continent bordered by five other countries, and the Atlantic to the east It’s divided into 23 separate provinces and the autonomous capital city of Buenos Aires. Argentina’s borders are pretty simple, except for that one island called Isla Martin Garcia that lies in Urugayan waters, and is kinda shared by both countries. Otherwise, many of Argentina’s borders are actually just natural land barriers Such and the Andes mountains in the west by Chile and in the Misiones Province: the Rio Parana, Iguazu, and San Antonio rivers and the Uruguay river for Uruguay and Brazil. Which, by the way, gives Argentina a very distinguishable pan handle, kinda like Afghanistan that we studied a few weeks ago You can even see it from space. Due to the fact that the land is less cultivated and thanks to natural river borders it has a more lush green appearance that sticks out in contrast to its neighbour nations. But then you get the arbitrary subtle borders over flat land and hills kind of like the ones by Bolivia sometimes marked boldly and sometimes virtually invisible. Where things get really complicated though is in the south more specifically, the furthest south. Tierra del Fuego or the “Land of Fire” which is pretty ironic, considering that it’s actually one of the coldest places in all of Argentina was named after the fires that Magellan saw the native tribes using on the land when he discovered the area in the 16th century. Anyway, it’s the smallest province in all of Argentina and it’s actually an island that they share with Chile. And they kind of have like a “who can claim the bottom of the world” competition when it comes to this territory. On this island, Argentina has a population that far surpasses Chile’s by about 19 times And for a while had the world’s southernmost city Ushuaia, established in 1884. However, Chile didn’t back down from the fight and in the 1950s, built a small little establishment just a few miles south, across the Beagle Channel, named Puerto Williams or Cabo de Hornos, named after Cape Horn. And hence, with a population slightly over 3000 and even their own little airport Chile just barely beat Argentina in having the world’s most southern town. But where things get even more complicated are these islands right here Now if you ask an Argentine, they’ll tell you that these islands are called the Islas Malvinas They totally belong to Argentina, no questions about it, end of story They’re so serious about it, that they even named an entire stadium and an airport after the islands to reflect the sovereign claim that they have over the islands. If you ask a British person they’ll tell you that these islands are a collectivity of islands made up of the Falkland Islands in the west South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands not to be confused with the Sandwich Islands, which was the name originally given to the Hawaiian Islands Argentina claims that after gaining independence from Spain in 1816 the islands were given to them from the Spanish Empire and the British came in in 1830 and forcibly pushed out the Argentines that had settled there and barred them from ever coming back. However, the British claim that they were the ones that discovered the islands in the 17th century even though technically the French were the first ones to actually colonize the islands and either way, they have a permanent population of about 3000 people that live on the islands that are British nationals that were born and raised on the islands. Eventually, tensions rose and they went to war over the islands in 1982. Long story short, the UK was able to fight off the Argentine troops and hold onto the islands although Argentina still doesn’t recognize the UK’s sovereign claim. It’s kinda funny though, because in 2009 former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown actually met up with Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and when it came to the Falkland Island thing they just kinda awkwardly said they wouldn’t talk about it. Well that was a lot of information! Now let’s talk about what the land actually looks like. Argentina is one of the most diverse countries in terms of landscape. In almost every corner, you see something that is completely different from the opposite corner that you were just at. In the north by Brazil and Paraguay you can find rain forests and lush humid tropic zones. In the interior and midwest you can find flat pampas and farmlands and hills. In the west by Chile, you find the mountains, with the highest point being Mt. Aconcagua which, by the way, is the highest mountain in all of South America. In the east, by the Atlantic you can find nice coastal beaches. A little bit further south, you can find ranches and mineral mines. And a little bit further south from that you can find cold and chilly rocky deserts and cacti in the Patagonia region, and petrified wood forests, such as the one in Ormachea. If you go even further south into the end of the Patagonia region, you can find glaciers and ice. This is the coldest part of Argentina. It’s kinda interesting though because the south part of South America has what you would probably call a “reverse double rain shadow effect” in which wind currents cause the moisture to stay in the north part of Argentina making the north part of Chile a desert. And the complete opposite in the south, in which Argentina becomes a desert and Chile has a lush green interior. Kinda interesting how that happens. Funny story, Argentina was actually originally colonized because the settlers thought that the land would be rich in silver hence where Argentina gets its name. The Latin word “argentum” which means “silver” However in a weird turn of events Argentina was actually rich in almost every single mineral except silver. Zinc, copper, and lead can be found in various mines all over. However, Argentina is especially rich in boron making Argentina the 3rd largest boron producer in the world after Turkey and the US. Hope I haven’t BORONed you yet with a okay… that was terrible let’s just… here’s the Demographics… Argentina has a population of about 41 million people or roughly the same as the country of Sudan The Argentines have a saying: meaning that Argentina is almost completely and entirely a country of immigrants. Argentina can actually disputably be considered as the whitest country in all of South America. It’s kinda hard to distinguish the specific percentages though because many Argentine census reports don’t really factor in race too often. But even the most conservative estimates put Argentina at somewhere around 85 to 95% European. Believe it or not about half of the Argentinian population is Italian or at least partial Italian in their descent. Floods of people from Italy emigrated in the 19th and 20th centuries to avoid economic turmoil in the mother country and saw Argentina as a way to rebuild their lives. Spanish of course plays into that mix as well and about 17% of the people identify as French, and about 8% German with the remaining European groups coming from a slew of countries like Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands, and so on. In fact, interestingly enough, if you go to the Chubut province in the south you can actually find a town of about 50,000 Welsh people called Y Wladfa Gymreig A good portion of these people are actually fluent in Welsh making Argentina one of the few places in the world where you can actually find a genuine Welsh community with instituted facilities that speak Welsh as a main language. Things get a little fuzzy though when it comes to the natives Although people who identify as full-blooded Amerindian only make up about 2% of the population about 9% of the population identify as Mestizo, or mixed between Amerindian and European. However, a recent study by geneticist Daniel Corach has theorized that over half of the entire population of Argentina probably has at least one ancestor that was Amerindian. Argentina actually used to have a surprisingly large black population, especially during the colonial days and at one point during Spanish colonization, blacks actually made up a third of the entire population. However, after independence, the population of blacks sharply declined due to a number of factors such as epidemics, anti-African legislation in the early years and many of them emigrated to more African-friendly nations like Paraguay and Brazil. Today they make up less than 1% of the entire population. However, they have definitely left their mark on Argentine culture with contributions to art and music and arguably the inception of the tango. When it comes to culture, Argentina has a very defined and nationalistic approach to how they operate and view in life They like to keep things classy but in their own Argentinian way distinct from the European way. The last thing an Argentinian would want to hear you say is: “You are so Spanish!” Argentina also has a huge wine culture as they are the fifth largest producer of wine in the world. And they’re very heavy on soccer (or football), and basketball with an impressive amount of players already having been drafted in the NBA such as my favourite: Speaking of international trade-offs, let’s talk about Argentina’s friends. In order to understand how Argentina works diplomatically you kind of have to understand its history. Since its independence, Argentina has gone through a lot of crazy times. To make things short, Argentina was part of the Spanish Empire as well as many of her neighbour nations. However, when an empire collapses, guess what happens? Internal conflict In post-colonial independent times Argentina has had wars and battles with every single one of her neighbour nations except for Uruguay. Today, Argentina gets along pretty well with her siblings even though she adopted different trade policies from many of them. Now, when it comes to Spain Argentina definitely does not have post-colonial Stockholm syndrome Now, granted, Argentines do love Spanish people, they just don’t like the Spanish government. However, when it comes to their best friends Argentina would might probably consider Uruguay and Italy their best friends. Uruguay has a very similar demographic and culture to the Argentines and they have been very close friends, long as their countries’ conceptions. Some might even argue that Uruguay is kind of like the cute little sidekick of Argentina. And of course, Italy is definitely a huge player in the Argentinian clique. Not only do over half of the people in Argentina identify with Italy ethnically but many of the major and most important companies in Argentina are Italian-based such as Techint, Iveco, Pirelli, and Telecom. In conclusion Argentina might not exactly be the country of silver that it was originally thought to be but the spirit of the people with their fierce culture and passion definitely make them look golden. Stay tuned… ARMENIA… is coming up next.