Cities in America – Cities in Argentina – Buenos Aires City
Buenos Aires , capital and largest city of Argentina, located on the western bank of the Río de la Plata, inland from the Atlantic Ocean. The city is the political, economic, social, and cultural center of Argentina, and its influence extends well beyond the nation’s borders. The original settlement’s name, Puerto Nuestra Señora Santa María del Buen Aire (Port of Our Lady Saint Mary of the Good Air), survived in abbreviated form as simply Buenos Aires (Good Airs).
Buenos Aires consists of the City of Buenos Aires and Gran (Greater) Buenos Aires. The City of Buenos Aires is a federal district, established in 1880, made up of the Buenos Aires city proper. It has 48 barrios (neighborhoods). Gran Buenos Aires includes both the City of Buenos Aires and its 19 suburbs, known as partidos (municipalities). Buenos Aires is situated on the Río de la Plata, which is an immense estuary formed by the confluence of the Paraná and Uruguay rivers.
Buenos Aires is the undisputed focus of Argentina’s cultural life, but its influence extends far beyond the nation’s borders. It is one of just a handful of cities, including Madrid and Mexico City, that dominate intellectual and artistic life in the Spanish-speaking world. Buenos Aires is the intellectual capital of Argentina and home to the nation’s largest and oldest public university.
Spanish explorers initially founded the city of Buenos Aires in 1536 but they abandoned it shortly thereafter because of conflicts with the indigenous peoples who lived in the area. Spanish settlers reestablished a permanent settlement in 1580. By 1776 the Spanish crown had recognized the geographical advantages of the city’s location and its economic potential. It made Buenos Aires the capital of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, present-day Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay. The region declared itself independent from Spain in 1810, and Spain officially recognized its independence in 1816. The city officially became the nation’s capital in 1862, and the government created the City of Buenos Aires federal district in 1880.
Buenos Aires grew rapidly as hundreds of thousands of southern European immigrants, largely from Italy and Spain, migrated to the city from the 1880s to the 1930s.
The residents of Buenos Aires are known as Porteños (people of the port).