Unraveling Argentina: 10 Fascinating Facts About Argentina

Diving into the cultural and historical depths of Argentina, we discover a blend of intriguing stories and facts that define this vast South American nation. Let’s embark on a journey through ten riveting aspects of Argentina.

The road to majestic Mount Fitz Roy. Argentine Patagonia.
The road to majestic Mount Fitz Roy. Argentine Patagonia.
Photo by depositphotos.com
  1. Racial Composition: Argentina and its next-door neighbour, Chile, surprisingly have a larger percentage of white population than countries like the U.S. and Canada. Argentina’s population comprises an overwhelming 97% of white individuals, placing it among the whitest countries in the world.
  2. Economic Ups and Downs: There was a time, specifically for two decades, when Argentina was considered among the world’s wealthiest nations. It hit its peak with the highest GDP per capita in 1895, maintaining its place in the top ten until 1920. However, it has since been gripped by economic turmoil. For instance, McDonald’s outlets in Argentina had to keep the price of Big Macs significantly low to conceal inflation rates and to manipulate the results on the Big Mac index.
  3. The Italian and Irish Connection: Interestingly, two-thirds of Argentina’s population claims Italian descent. These are the descendants of Italian immigrants who travelled to Argentina to escape wars and in search of better economic prospects. Only Italy itself, along with Argentina, has an Italian heritage majority population. Furthermore, almost a million Argentinians claim Irish descent, including the iconic revolutionary, Che Guevara.
  4. Home to Therapists: Argentina holds the record for the most psychologists per capita in the world. In Buenos Aires, there’s even a neighbourhood lovingly referred to as ‘Villa Freud,’ hinting at the residents’ pronounced interest in psychoanalysis.
  5. Named after an Element: Argentina stands out as the only country whose name is derived from a chemical element. The name ‘Argentina’ comes from ‘Argentum,’ the Latin word for silver, represented by ‘Ag’ in the periodic table.
  6. A Safe Haven for a Nazi: Following the Second World War, Josef Mengele, notoriously known as the ‘Angel of Death’ for his cruel human experiments, found asylum in Argentina. Shockingly, just 11 years after the Nazi regime’s collapse, Mengele was able to travel back to Germany to see his family, using a passport from Argentina.
  7. Claims to Antarctica: Argentina, along with Chile, devised a unique strategy to strengthen their territorial claims over Antarctica — they sent pregnant women to give birth on the icy continent.
  8. A Unique Dialect: The variant of Spanish spoken in Buenos Aires, Argentina’s capital, has a strong resemblance to southern Italian dialects. This unique characteristic is a result of the heavy Italian immigration in the 19th century.
  9. Land of Geographic Contrasts: Argentina is a country of extremes, housing both the highest and lowest points in South America. Aconcagua, a mountain in the Andes, stands as the highest peak in the Americas and the southern hemisphere. On the other end of the spectrum, the Laguna del Carbón salt lake, situated 105 meters below sea level, marks the continent’s lowest point. Argentina also has Ushuaia, the world’s southernmost city, located on the ‘Land of Fire,’ or Tierra del Fuego.
  10. Music Censorship: Post the Falklands War, Argentina instituted a rather unusual measure — a nationwide ban on all music sung in English.

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