The story of Argentina, from before the Europeans arrived to the modern-day, also tells us the story of South America at the same time. From its immense size to the origin of its name to its civil war and much more, here are 45 fun facts about Argentina that might surprise you.
45 Interesting Facts About Argentina
Table of Contents
- 45 Interesting Facts About Argentina
- 1. Argentina Was Named After a Fabled “Mountain of Silver”
- 2. Argentina Is Huge – Over One Million Square Miles
- 3. Argentina Is the Largest Spanish Speaking Country in the World
- 4. 200 Countries Have a Greater Population Density Than Argentina
- 5. People Lived in Argentina More Than 10,000 Years Ago
- 6. Amerigo Vespucci Was the First To Visit What Would Be Argentina
- 7. Argentina Declared Independence From Spain in 1810
- 8. Argentina Fought a Civil War for 20 Years From 1810 to 1830
- 9. Immigration From Europe to Argentina Is Second Only to the U.S.
- 10. Political Unrest Defined the 1900s for Argentina
- 11. Argentina’s Capital Is The Birthplace of “Tango”
- 12. It Is Home To The End Of The World
- 13. Football (Soccer) Is the Most-Love Sport in Argentina
- 14. Argentina’s Lake Duck Has the Largest Reproductive Organ
- 15. You Can Take the Pan-American Highway From Alaska to Argentina
- 16. Argentina Runs the Oldest Permanently Manned Station in Antarctica
- 17. The Country Had Five Presidents in Less Than Two Weeks
- 18. You’ll Find the World’s Loudest Animal in Argentina
- 19. Political Parties Have Their Own Beer Brands in Argentina
- 20. It Is Where the Revolutionary Leader, Che Guevara, Was Born
- 21. Argentina Is a Wine Country
- 22. Therapy Is a Crucial Aspect of Self-Development in Argentina
- 23. About Two-Thirds of Argentine Population Have Italian Roots
- 24. Argentina Is Home to One of the Largest Fresh-Water Reserves
- 25. There Has Been Record-Setting Weather in Argentina
- 26. Argentines Often Struggle With Eating Disorders
- 27. People in Argentina Eat the Most Red Meat of All South Americans
- 28. Argentines Love Listening to the Radio
- 29. They Also Love Watching Movies
- 30. Argentina Is Home to The Highest Peak in the Western Hemisphere
- 31. An Argentine Created the First Fingerprint Identification System
- 32. One in 30 Argentines Has Had Plastic Surgery
- 33. Argentina Has Interesting Birthday Practices
- 34. The World’s Widest Street Is in Argentina
- 35. Argentina Is Where the Chucarosaurus Was Found
- 36. Argentina Has Great Biodiversity, and Flowers Take the Cup
- 37. You’ll Find the Lowest Point in the Americas in Argentina
- 38. Argentina Is Home to the Second-Longest River in South America
- 39. The Country Has One of the Longest Railways in the World
- 40. Argentina Is Home to One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World
- 41. It Is Also Home to the Earliest Plants To Have Colonized Land
- 42. Mate Is a Way of Life
- 43. People in Argentina Love a Late Dinner
- 44. Argentina Once Dropped 13 Zeros From Its Currency
- 45. Argentina’s Flag Was Created by a Revolutionary
Besides the love of soccer, tango, and mate, there are a lot of interesting Argentina fun facts you probably don’t know. So brush up on your world history with these 45 of the top 100 facts about Argentina.
1. Argentina Was Named After a Fabled “Mountain of Silver”
The name Argentina comes from the Latin word for silver, Argentum. Rumored to be rich in silver, this area would later become the state of Argentina. Before that, there was a legend among European colonialists that there was a mountain made of silver in Argentina.
The word for silver in Spanish is “plata”. Argentina was referred to as the Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata and the United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata at different times in its history.
In 1826, during the Argentine Civil Wars, the Constitution of Argentina was created. Although it did not last very long, this early constitution was one of the first appearances of the name Argentina in official documents.
In 1853, another constitution was created, the Argentine Constitution. Then in 1860, the name of the country was officially the Argentine Republic. People even once referred to the country as the Argentine.
The country is often referred to as la Argentina from República Argentina (in Spanish). Today, the nation is referred to as Argentina in English. This is one of the cool facts about Argentina because the name is a Spanish word that was adopted from Latin.
Then, the English name for the country was taken from the Spanish reference.
2. Argentina Is Huge – Over One Million Square Miles
At over one million square miles or around 2.5 million square kilometers, Argentina is the eighth-largest country in the world and the second-largest in South America after Brazil.
Argentina also has a large population. With over 40 million people, Argentina is the 32nd-largest country in the world by population and the third-largest in South America.
Buenos Aires is Argentina’s capital and the country’s most populated city, with over 15 million people.
3. Argentina Is the Largest Spanish Speaking Country in the World
From colonial times, Spanish was the main language spoken in Argentina. To put two and two together, we are already aware of the fact that Argentina is big, and we know that Argentina is a Spanish-speaking country.
Many people may think Brazil is the largest Spanish-speaking country, but the official language of Brazil is actually Portuguese.
Argentina became a country as a result of a Revolutionary War against the Spanish Empire. However, the Argentinians retained Spanish as their official language.
This is similar to the United States, where there was a Revolutionary War against the British Empire, yet English remained the country’s official language.
4. 200 Countries Have a Greater Population Density Than Argentina
There’s plenty of elbow room in Argentina. While the country has a population of over 45 million people, the area Argentina covers is very large in size compared to its population.
More than 200 countries in the world have a greater population density than Argentina.
5. People Lived in Argentina More Than 10,000 Years Ago
Based on research by archaeologists, we now know that Argentina was never heavily populated. Get ready for another one of our surprising Argentina facts: people lived in Argentina more than 10,000 years ago!
According to archaeological records, native people of all levels of development lived in Argentina before the European settlers arrived.
There were native tribes in the south who were simple hunters and gatherers. There were also more developed hunters and gatherers living in the south and central parts of the country. The Mapuche people of Chile conquered these people.
The most developed people lived in the northeast of the area, which would later become Argentina. These were farmers who practiced slash-and-burn agriculture. In the central part of the country, there were also farmers who raised llamas.
In the northwest, there was a population of traders who the Incas conquered. The people who lived in Argentina before the European settlement ranged from simple hunters and gatherers to members of more advanced agricultural and trading societies.
6. Amerigo Vespucci Was the First To Visit What Would Be Argentina
Amerigo Vespucci, whom the Americas were named after, was the first European explorer to visit the area near Argentina. Although it’s often disputed, the Italian-born explorer journeyed south as far as the Río de la Plata, making Vespucci the first European to discover that estuary.
In 1516, Juan Díaz de Solís led an expedition from Spain to South America and reached Rio de la Plata, which would be the basis of the name for the Spanish Colony.
In 1536, Pedro de Mendoza established the settlement of Buenos Aires, though it was to be abandoned five years later. After further exploration and the establishment of additional settlements, Buenos Aires was founded again in 1580.
The area that would become Argentina served Spain mostly through its river systems, which were used to transport silver and gold from Bolivia and Peru.
This leads us to another one of the historical facts about Argentina: It was part of the Viceroyalty of Peru until 1776, when the Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata was established.
7. Argentina Declared Independence From Spain in 1810
In May 1810, the people of Argentina began a revolution for independence from Spain. During the 1800s, South American colonies had begun to resist control from the governments of Europe.
At the time of declaring independence, The Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata included large areas that now form parts of Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina.
Imagine: Argentina could have been an even bigger country!
In the early 1800s, the King of Spain, Ferdinand VII, was defeated by Napoleon. As events unfolded in Europe, it wasn’t clear which government the Argentine people should follow. The revolution in 1810 began the Argentine War of Independence.
It’s one of Argentina’s interesting facts that the Argentine people were hesitant to stake a claim for themselves. The official Argentine Declaration of Independence didn’t take place until 1816.
8. Argentina Fought a Civil War for 20 Years From 1810 to 1830
Shortly after the Declaration of Independence was issued, two political parties formed in Argentina. This is one historical fact that would shape the formation of the new country. Argentines were divided between the Centralists and the Federalists.
The decades from 1810 to 1830 were defined by the civil war in Argentina. The Centralists and the Federalists fought over territory. In 1831, the Federalists won, and the Argentine Federation was created.
Juan Manuel de Rosas led the Federalists and became the leader of the Argentine Federation. Although the civil wars had largely ended, Buenos Aires continued to fight to be an independent state from Argentina.
By 1861, Buenos Aires was unified with the rest of Argentina, and nearly half a century of civil unrest in Argentina ended.
9. Immigration From Europe to Argentina Is Second Only to the U.S.
Peace brought prosperity to Argentina. From the late 1800s onwards, there was a surge of European immigration to Argentina. Immigration from Europe to Argentina was second only to immigration from Europe to the United States at the time.
The wide-open spaces in Argentina became home to gauchos, who were the cowboys of South America. Beef was one of Argentina’s most profitable exports. The grasslands of Argentina became pastures and farmlands, and the country became an agricultural powerhouse.
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By 1910, Argentina was the seventh wealthiest country in the world, ahead of countries like Germany, France, and Canada. However, Argentina was slow to bring its economy into the Industrial Age. As a result, its position in the global economy suffered.
10. Political Unrest Defined the 1900s for Argentina
One of the saddest Argentina facts is that after decades of incredible growth and prosperity, a military coup in 1930 began a period of political unrest that would last until the end of the 1900s. Because of the country’s political instability, and the inability of Argentina to modernize, it steadily declined throughout the 1900s.
There was a moment of hope when Juan Domingo Perón was elected with popular support in 1946 and nationalized all the large industries in Argentina. His wife Eva Perón worked to provide women with the right to vote and was very popular in Argentina.
Eva Perón tragically died of cancer, and her story has been featured in many books and movies.
Despite Perón’s popular support, his policies were a failure, and more political unrest followed. This includes numerous coups of the governments in power throughout the 1950s and 1960s.
Finally, by the 1980s, after suffering a humiliating defeat to the British in the Falklands War, democracy was again installed in Argentina. The nation continues to struggle economically despite its vast natural resources.
The political unrest of the 1900s did not allow Argentina to invest in its infrastructure for continued growth. More recently, Argentina has seen relative political stability as injustices committed by past governments are addressed, and the economy slowly mends.
11. Argentina’s Capital Is The Birthplace of “Tango”
Tango, the well-known sensual dance, originated in the dance halls of Buenos Aires in the 1880s.
12. It Is Home To The End Of The World
The Argentine city of Ushuaia is the southernmost city in the world.
13. Football (Soccer) Is the Most-Love Sport in Argentina
The most popular sport in Argentina is football. Argentina won the World Cup in 1978 and 1986. Some world-famous footballers from Argentina include Maradona and Lionel Messi.
14. Argentina’s Lake Duck Has the Largest Reproductive Organ
The Argentine lake duck has the longest avian reproductive organ ever measured. It came in at 16.7 inches (42.5 centimeters), nearly as long as the duck’s body. The lake duck holds the Guinness World Record.
15. You Can Take the Pan-American Highway From Alaska to Argentina
The longest highway in the world runs between the U.S. state of Alaska and the south of Argentina. It crosses 14 countries and measures a total length of 30,000 miles (48,000 kilometers).
16. Argentina Runs the Oldest Permanently Manned Station in Antarctica
The Orcadas Base is located on Laurie Island, one of the South Orkney Islands. It’s the oldest continuous presence of a state in Antarctica. Argentina started its presence in 1904.
17. The Country Had Five Presidents in Less Than Two Weeks
Due to increasing economic and political instability, in December 2001, Argentina had five presidents in just 12 days.
18. You’ll Find the World’s Loudest Animal in Argentina
Argentina – among other South American countries, like Brazil, Paraguay, and Bolivia – is home to the world’s loudest land animal. Howler monkeys are found in northern Argentina’s rainforests. It is said that they can be heard from over three miles away.
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19. Political Parties Have Their Own Beer Brands in Argentina
One fun fact about Argentina you won’t often hear is that major political parties in the country have their own beer brands.
20. It Is Where the Revolutionary Leader, Che Guevara, Was Born
Che Guevara was born in Argentina. While he is most associated with the nation of Cuba and the Cuban Revolution, he grew up in Argentina.
His nickname “Che” comes from the Argentinian word “Che,” which is often said in Argentina to get the attention of the person to whom you are speaking. This is similar to saying “right?” or “isn’t it” in English. Apparently, Guevara was so fond of this word that it became his name.
21. Argentina Is a Wine Country
After Italy, Spain, France, and the United States, Argentina is the world’s fifth largest wine producer. Mendoza is by far the country’s best wine-producing region.
22. Therapy Is a Crucial Aspect of Self-Development in Argentina
Argentina has more psychologists per capita than any other country in the world, with an estimated 198 psychologists per 100,000 people. There is even a district for therapists in Buenos Aires called “Ville Freud”.
23. About Two-Thirds of Argentine Population Have Italian Roots
After Brazil, Argentina has the second-largest Italian population outside of Italy. It is estimated that about 30 million Argentine citizens have Italian ancestry.
24. Argentina Is Home to One of the Largest Fresh-Water Reserves
The Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia is the third-largest reserve of freshwater in the world. This is one of the country’s most famous attractions, drawing in hordes of tourists.
25. There Has Been Record-Setting Weather in Argentina
Argentina recorded the hottest and coldest temperatures ever recorded in South America.
26. Argentines Often Struggle With Eating Disorders
Argentina has the second-highest rate of anorexia in the world, while Japan has the highest rate of anorexia. It is estimated that the prevalence of bulimia or anorexia among teenage girls is about 10%.
27. People in Argentina Eat the Most Red Meat of All South Americans
Argentina has had the highest consumption of red meat in the world, however, in recent years, the level of beef consumption has decreased due to less demand.
28. Argentines Love Listening to the Radio
Argentines spend more time listening to the radio than any other country in the world, at around two hours per week. Argentina was also the first country in the world to broadcast radio in 1920.
29. They Also Love Watching Movies
Argentines are also among the people who watch more movies than anywhere else in the world.
30. Argentina Is Home to The Highest Peak in the Western Hemisphere
The highest point in Argentina is Aconcagua, at over 22,500 feet high. While the exact elevation has been a point of debate since the early 20th century, it is widely accepted as the highest summit in the Western Hemisphere.
31. An Argentine Created the First Fingerprint Identification System
Argentina was the first country in the world to use fingerprints to identify people in 1892. Argentinian police official Juan Vucetich created the system.
32. One in 30 Argentines Has Had Plastic Surgery
It is estimated that 30% of people in Argentina have had plastic surgery. It has the world’s second largest number of plastic surgeries per capita after Brazil.
33. Argentina Has Interesting Birthday Practices
One of the weird facts about Argentina is that it is traditional to pull a person’s earlobes on their birthday. One pull is done for each year that the person has been alive.
34. The World’s Widest Street Is in Argentina
Avenida 9 De Julio in Buenos Aires is said to be the widest avenue in the world. It has 14 lanes of traffic, seven lanes in each direction. The name of the avenue honors the country’s Independence Day, July 9, 1816.
35. Argentina Is Where the Chucarosaurus Was Found
The largest dinosaur in the world, the Chucarosaurus, was found in Argentina. It measured 131 feet (40 meters) long by 66 feet (20 meters) tall.
36. Argentina Has Great Biodiversity, and Flowers Take the Cup
Over 10% of the world’s flora is found in Argentina. The Paraná pine and beeches are the most common.
37. You’ll Find the Lowest Point in the Americas in Argentina
Laguna del Carbón in Argentina is the lowest point in both South and North America. It is a salt lake that is 345 feet (105 meters) below sea level and is also the seventh lowest point on Earth.
38. Argentina Is Home to the Second-Longest River in South America
Paraná River, which runs through Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina, is nearly 3,032 miles (4,880 kilometers) long. It is the second-longest river in South America after the Amazon and the fourteenth-longest river in the world.
39. The Country Has One of the Longest Railways in the World
Argentina has the eighth-largest railway in the world and the largest in Latin America. It runs for over 22,369 miles (36,000 kilometers).
40. Argentina Is Home to One of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World
Argentina’s Iguazu Falls, which straddle the border with Brazil, is one of the world’s seven natural wonders.
41. It Is Also Home to the Earliest Plants To Have Colonized Land
The world’s oldest plants were discovered in Argentina. The fossilized plants found are estimated to be 472 million years old.
42. Mate Is a Way of Life
The national drink of Argentina is Yerba Mate. It is made from the yerba mate herb and is rich in caffeine.
43. People in Argentina Love a Late Dinner
Argentines like to eat late. During the week, Argentines tend to set the dinner table for 9 pm, but on weekends, they usually eat around 10 pm or later.
44. Argentina Once Dropped 13 Zeros From Its Currency
Between the years 1970 and 1992, Argentina had to drop 13 zeros from its currency due to hyperinflation.
45. Argentina’s Flag Was Created by a Revolutionary
Manuel Belgrano, the leader of the Argentine revolution against colonial Spain, created the Argentinian flag.
The blue and white colors represent the blue sky parting to reveal white clouds. This is said to have happened when liberation demonstrations began in Buenos Aires in 1810.