It comes from the Latin “argentum” which means silver. The origin of this name dates back to the first Spanish conqueror’s expeditions to the Rio de la Plata. The castaways of the expedition led by Juan Díaz de Solís met some natives that gave them silver objects as gifts so in 1524 they took back to Spain the news that there was a “Sierra del Plata” (Silver range), a mountain rich in this precious mineral. Since then the Portuguese named Solís’s river, Río de la Plata (meaning river of silver). Two years later, the Spanish also used this name. The National Constitution, enacted in 1853, included the name “Republic of Argentina” among the official names to identify the country’s territory and government.
THE CAPITAL CITY
Buenos Aires city is the cosmopolitan capital of Argentina. Its current population is over 41 million inhabitants, almost half of which lives in Buenos Aires city and Buenos Aires province.
It is famous for its wide variety of cultural and leisure activities that keeps the neighbourhoods alive 365 days a year, night and day: the Colón Theatre and small experimental theatres, antique bookshops and new cultural centres; more than a hundred museums and art galleries; big handicrafts fairs and modern shopping centres; historic cafés; venues to enjoy tango and milongas; nightclubs and pubs with international music; restaurants of all kinds, casinos and the most passionate football matches.
As a result of its rich and diverse geography Argentina is usually described for its striking contrasts. Many Argentinian natural sites have been protected as areas or reserves and also as national parks.. Some of the main natural milestones are granted a greater recognition listed as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
The main characteristic of the Argentinian relief is given by the huge contrast between the massive eastern plains and the impressive Andes mountain range on the west side which has the highest peak in the western hemisphere: the Aconcagua reaching 6.959 meters.
Argentina offers a wide variety of climates: temperate and humid in the Pampas plains and cold and wet in Patagonia’s western end; subtropical in northern Mesopotamia and warm in the northwest region. The highest mountains throughout all latitudes are those experiencing the coldest conditions, with an arid and cold mountain climate where the atmospheric temperature range is another common feature. From November to March the average temperature is 23° C and from June to September, 12° C.
Even though Argentina is under the Catholic and Apostolic Roman religion, freedom of worship may also be practised. Additionally, Protestantism, Judaism, Islamism, Greek Orthodox and Russian Orthodox religions are practised among others.
The peso is the official Argentinian currency. There are 2, 5, 10, 20, 50 and 100 pesos banknotes; and coins for 1 and 2 pesos and 1, 5, 10, 25 y 50 cents.
The official language in Argentine Republic is Spanish (or “Castellano”). Buenos Aires is also influenced by “lunfardo”, porteños’ jargon.