Despite the fact that this city has become very popular over the course of the last 50 years, as a tourist destination, there is still much to unveil about it. Important information about Buenos Aires is available on the web. However, it might be quite challenging to discern real information from fiction or simple opinion.
The city of Buenos Aires began its rise in the 1900s, when its various industries became increasingly more popular and reputable. Such growth led to astonishing immigration waves into the country, enriching its cultural, religious, political, economic and social diversity.
This sudden prosperity lay the grounds for a modern Buenos Aires. In fact, it was the first city in Latin America to have a subway system, and the 4th in the continent (after New York, Boston and Philadelphia). Buildings were developed after new European styles, new monuments, squares and parks were built in honor of the city’s history and its next steps into the future.
If you plan on visiting this truly remarkable destination, here you have some curious facts and information about Buenos Aires to take into consideration:
General information about Buenos Aires
Firstly, it is crucial to know general information about Buenos Aires:
- The city is located on the northeastern edge of Pampa, on the west bank of Río de la Plata (River Plate in English), an estuary formed by affluent rivers Uruguay and Paraná.
- It is also the center of the national highway, which begins at the city center and reaches the rest of the country through several different routes.
- There are 3 main bus terminals available in Buenos Aires for both local and international travels, all of which offer trips to Chile, Bolivia, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay, among other destinations. Buses have gradually replaced intercity trains.
- Buenos Aires has 2 airports: Ezeiza International Airport, destined to international flights, and Aeroparque Jorge Newberry, through which most national and regional flights depart and arrive.
- This city also has the largest port of South America, where 96% of container traffic is concentrated, as well as several major economic activities in the country. However, facilities have become obsolete and require renovations.
Statistic information about Buenos Aires
In the 200 square kilometers of land pertaining to the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires (Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires [CABA]) live approximately 3 million people, 75% of which have either Spanish or Italian descent. The remaining 25% are quite diverse: Russian Jews, English, French, Germans, Syrians and Lebanese, among others. The people who live in the capital of Argentina are mostly known as porteños, which means “people from the port.”
The national language is Spanish, although there are several other languages spoken by either locals or immigrants, such as English, Italian or German. In fact, one of the oldest English language newspapers in the continent is the Buenos Aires Herald (inaugurated in 1876). A widely spread and colorful slang is quite popular in the city, lunfardo.
Despite its recent political and economic downturn, experienced during its former president’s tenure, Buenos Aires has managed to keep its glory and charm, both qualities crucial to attracting tourists from all over the world every year. Tourists are eager to experience tango, relish over its local cuisine and enjoy sightseeing some very unique and beautiful buildings and attractions.
Historical information about Buenos Aires
The city’s humble beginnings date back to the 16th century. In 1536, under orders from the Spanish crown, explorer Pedro de Mendoza and 1,600 men traveled to the area now known as Buenos Aires, and built the first settlement overlooking Río de la Plata river.
This initial attempted settlement by Spaniards was frustrated by the natives, forcing foreigners to leave the area 5 years later. It was not until 1580, 40 years later, that Juan De Garay returned to the region with 300 people and settled back again; this time by Río Matanza-Riachuelo, now the area where La Boca neighborhood is located. This set the foundations for the beginnings of Buenos Aires.
The area remained under Spanish dominance as a quiet viceroyalty for the following 200 years until 1776, when the city was acknowledged as the capital of the Río de la Plata Viceroyalty, mainly due to its important position in the economy of the region.
By 1810, Buenos Aires broke its ties with Spain, at a time where Spain was invaded by Napoleon’s troops, rather weakened and unable to rule over its colonies. It was not until 1880, after years of conflict with other local provinces, that the city officially became the capital of Argentina. Agriculture and livestock were key to Argentina’s, and especially Buenos Aires’ growth. During World War I, Argentina was a top exporter of agricultural and livestock products, sent out through its port.
The city experienced a massive immigration wave in 1910, increasing its population by more than 300,000 people. Nonetheless, by mid 1900’s, European immigrants stopped moving to the city, and, instead, northern poor Argentinians began migrating to Buenos Aires, which led to settlements known as villa miserias.
Political information about Buenos Aires
As federal capital, Buenos Aires homes the president as well as the members of Congress. Before 1996, the mayor of Buenos Aires would be appointed by the president and together they would oversee the city’s administration, as well as with the city council, then an inconsequential institution when it came to decision-making.
By 1996, political reforms in the national Constitution and administration led to several important reforms in the election system, including the mayor position.
Recreation and tourist information about Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is a top tourist destination in Latin America, welcoming as many as 10 million visitors per year. The city of Buenos Aires has lots of parks and plazas, one of which is located in Palermo and hosts a racing arena, tennis courts, polo fields and much more.
Tourism has experienced gradual growth, becoming a major source of income for the city. As a result, this also led to the growth of many industries, including real estate and hospitality. Yearly, several new luxury hotels, dinners and restaurants are built.