Independence Day – Argentina
On this day in 1816, Argentina's Congress declared the country independent of Spain. Jose de San Martin is the hero who led an army against royalists in Chile and Peru and is, therefore, said to have liberated Argentina, Chile and Peru.
Argentina is famous for its pampas, plains that are used to graze cows and other livestock. The Argentinian version of cowboys are called gauchos; they used to wear ponchos, ride horses, and carry large knives and bolas (two leather-wrapped rocks attached to each other with a long piece of string).
One of the most interesting places in Argentina is Patagonia, including Tierra del Fuego at South America's tip. (The term Patagonia is also used for a portion of Chile.) This region is made up of flat terraces that abruptly step up as one travels westward from the Atlantic Ocean, each “step” around 100 meters (330 feet) higher than the one before, until one reaches the Andes mountains. These terraces are mostly lifeless, covered with coarse gravel or pebbles. The little dips and indentations are filled with fresh or brackish water (somewhat salty—but not as salty as sea water).
Tierra del Fuego means “Land of Fire,” but the first Europeans to see the land (Magellan and his crew) named it “Land of Smokes,” probably because of the campfires of the native peoples. This is actually an archipelago of islands that come very close to bridging the gap between South America and a jutting bit of land in Antarctica.
- Start here with a simple website with a couple of Argentinian recipes and a bit of Spanish language.
- Check out the beautiful photos here by clicking each heading (“Andean Patagonia,” “Atlantic Patagonia,” and so forth). You can also explore the links in each article, if you want.
- One of Argentina's most famous contributions to world culture is the tango, a very sultry dance. To see the moves, check out this You Tube video.