10 Fascinating Facts About Argentina

December 5, 2013 Kristance Harlow
Man and bike on river front

Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, is the fourth biggest city on earth, but the rest of the world has surprisingly little knowledge of this vast and populated land. There is definitely more than meets the eye when it comes to Argentina. This list introduces you to Argentina by presenting 10 facts most outsiders don’t know.

10. Tango

The tango is a sultry and intimate dance for two people. Its moves and music are seductive and passionate. Easily recognized by the close embrace between dance partners and its quick decisive movements, Argentina lays claim to inventing the world-famous dance. Tango took its first steps by the Rio de la Plata, the river that separates Argentina from Uruguay. It spread to the working-class port communities of the city until it caught on in dance halls. It was the first couple dance that called for improvisation. In 1912, Paris fell in love with the dance, marking the beginning of its rise to international fame.

While the tango is now one of the most popular dances in the world, it started out as a risqué improvisation in the brothels of Buenos Aires. Before the tango craze spread through Europe in the early 20th century, it may have been a dance reserved for prostitutes who shook their tail feathers with clients. This theory of the history of the tango doesn’t take into account the other places where working-class men and women went to dance in the working-class neighborhoods of Buenos Aires. Regardless, what is known is that the tango is a dance whose early days were all about sex and gender relations. The women and men who danced were playing out social roles through their movements. It isn’t called the “dance of love” for nothing.

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