Buenos Aries Essay, Research Paper
The capital of the country, Buenos Aires is also Argentina’s leading
city in population, commerce, and industry. It is located near the
Atlantic Ocean coast, on the broad Rio de la Plata, an estuary at the
mouth of the Parana and Paraguay rivers. The early Spanish colonists
named the city for the “good winds” that brought them to the port.
Today about 10 million people live in the Buenos Aires metropolitan
area, one of the largest in the world. The city proper makes up a
federal district, and its mayor is appointed by the nation’s president.
The city is not a part of Buenos Aires province, which surrounds it.
The City–Its People and Commerce
Greater Buenos Aires is made up of many settlements that grew
together. The oldest European center lay in the neighborhood of the
present Plaza de Mayo, a large plaza in the downtown area. Streets
in the city were laid out according to a grid pattern described in the
Codigo de las Indias, a legal document followed by the Spaniards in
settling the Western Hemisphere. The original grid is today
surrounded by Balcarce, 25 de Mayo, Viamonte, Libertad, Salta, and
Estados Unidos streets.
Growth of the city first followed the high elevations, along which ox-
and horse-drawn two-wheeled carretas carried freight and which the
modern main avenues and the rail lines also follow. The most recent
developments in the city are the industrial sectors that extend from
the old center southward, such as Dock Sud, La Boca, Barracas,
Pinero, and Lanus.
The Parana River plays an important role in the life of Buenos Aires.
Oranges, grapefruit, cherries, plums, and vegetables are raised in its
delta area. Vacation housing is widespread, and on weekends
thousands of people fill the area to engage in recreational activities.
The Parana not only provides recreation, but also links the hinterlands
with Buenos Aires and supplies water to the population.
The central business district has high-rise office buildings and retail
stores. Automobiles are not allowed on the Calle Florida, and
shoppers roam its elegant stores, coffee houses, and hotels. The
nearby Calle Reconquista is the financial center.
Outside the central business district much of the surrounding city has
attractive cobblestone streets bordered by large, elegant houses and
small shops. Many parks and local shopping districts blend in with the
Various languages may be heard, and in addition to many other
languages,. newsstands sell papers in Spanish, English, and German.
Buenos Aires is noted for its many excellent bookstores.
Buenos Aires is South America’s greatest railroad center, with lines
radiating from the city toward Bolivia, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, and
southern Brazil. Within the city there is an extensive subway
network. Air transportation is well developed in Argentina and has its
focal point in the capital. About three miles (five kilometers)
northwest from the downtown center is the airport, Aeroparque Jorge
Newberry, which handles domestic flights and some flights from
neighboring countries. Approximately 20 miles (35 kilometers) from the
city center lies Ezeiza Airport, the largest in the country and one of
the world’s major international air terminals.
The vast harbor system in Buenos Aires has opened the shallow river
channels to the largest ships. Huge warehouses line the 15 miles (24
kilometers) of wharves. The port is the largest in South America, but
the port facilities are old and inefficient. Proposals to move the port
to another, better harbor have met with little response. Avellaneda,
the main industrial center, is located just south of the Riachuelo
River. From north to south major parts of the harbor stand out in a
line extending for 6 miles (10 kilometers): huge power plants for the
city; the yacht harbor, also used for seaplanes; wharves for large
oceangoing vessels; and docks for smaller ships and for river and
Buenos Aires is a major publishing center, noted for the
world-renowned newspapers printed there. Among the most
outstanding are La Prensa and La Nacion. La Prensa became well
known for offering social services, library facilities, free evening
schools in commerce and music, free medical and legal aid, and a free
chemical laboratory. The paper had trouble with President Juan
Peron, who expropriated it because of its opposition to him. After
Peron was ousted in 1956, the paper was returned to its owners.
The city has many schools and technical colleges. The University of
Buenos Aires, the major university in Argentina, provides high-level
education. In music the city boasts one of the largest opera houses
in South America, the Colon Theater. There are many other theaters,
in which singers, instrumentalists, and actors from throughout the
world perform. Some of the cultural programs are broadcast over a
network of radio and television stations. Popular music is dominated
by the tango, a type of music originated in Argentina and known all
over the world.
Early attempts by Spanish colonists to settle at the site of Buenos
Aires, beginning in 1536, were discouraged by the presence of hostile
Indians. It was not until 1580 that Juan de Garay, a colonist from
Asuncion, established what became the first permanent community at
Buenos Aires. The city did not really begin to develop, however, until
the late 1700s. In response to British and Portuguese expansion in
the area and increased smuggling, Buenos Aires was made the seat of
a Spanish viceroyalty in 1776.
In the early 19th century Buenos Aires was a major center for the
movement to free the country from Spain. The city leaders had
foreseen great economic advantages from the free trade that
independence would bring. After independence the city grew rapidly
as the center of Argentine political power. In 1880 it was made the
permanent capital of the republic. Through World War I the city
benefited from a stable economy and substantial foreign immigration.
During and after World War II heavy industrial growth contributed to
the city’s expansion and reinforced its political and economic
dominance of the country. Population (1986 estimate), federal
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