Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Browse Argentina

I'm planning, as a develop this blog, to have a day devoted to interesting facts, travel info., news, etc. about Argentina. Since my next two books feature Argentine characters, why not? I'll start today with a little bit about Argentina itself.

My mother, when asked where she's from will usually say, South America. One day I asked her why she didn't say Argentina rather than claiming the entire continent. Her answer was that no one knew where Argentina was, and if she said, "Argentina" the conversation would be prolonged and she'd have to go into a geography lesson. But with the South America answer, people would nod and go away realizing she was from somewhere down there and it didn't much matter where. I have found that it's true that in many people's minds South American, and Central American countries are grouped together and seem all the same.

And in a way, as all the Americas, we share the same beginning history. We were all colonized by Europeans. Some countries were able to maintain more indigenous peoples than others. I think the largest native group in Argentina were the Guarani. Argentina, like most of South and Central America and Mexico, was colonized by Spain. The hero that they credit with liberting Argentina and helping to declare it's independence from Spain was Jose de San Martin between 1810 and 1816. So it's a fairly young country.

After the Spanish, other immigrant groups continued to arrive. Probably the largest were the Italians. You see a heavy influence of the Italians in the speech of Argentines and the food which is heavy in pastas.

The official language is Spanish (you knew that one). The official religion is Catholicism though I wouldn't say it's heavily practiced. The capital is Buenos Aires where a huge percentage of the population lives.

One of my favorite things about Argentina is its location. At the end of South America, the Patagonia is a wondrous place that, in my opinion, should be on everyones must visit places. With glaciers and penguins, snow covered mountains and gorgeous lakes, it's a world of extremes. One of my greatest disappointments was a trip I took to the Patagonia on a ship that was supposed to dock on Tierra del Fuego at the tip of southern Argentina, and because of weather, did not. To be so close and unable to disembark was heart breaking. I will try again one day. But that is a blog for another day.

Anyhow, I wanted to provide a very brief snapshot of Argentina. There is much more to share which I'll do at another time.


1 comment:

  1. I would love to travel to Argentina some day. I always love seeing new places. I look forward to seeing more about Argentina in your books and on your blog.