What is Argentina?

By Sabrina Molinero

A Few Words from the Author:

Hi! My name is Sabrina. I’m from Córdoba, Argentina. I’m passionate about the Humanities and believe life cannot be fully understood without them, and I’m also a big fan of Tolkien! My dream is to major in Classics and Philosophy in the future.

Contact: saabrimolinero@gmail.com

Argentina (from the Latin Argentum, silver) is a nation located in the Southest South of South America; it’s such a Southern country that we even have a city nicknamed “The End of the World,” Ushuaia. This might give you the idea of a cold and dull place; you couldn’t be any more mistaken.  

Argentina is the sort of country that has an odd amalgam of everything you can think of. Yes, we do have glaciers, but you can also enjoy gorgeous beaches like those in Mar del Plata, vibrant cities like Buenos Aires, lovely mountainous landscapes and luxuriant forests; largely anything you fancy. From freezing cold to boiling hot, you will find any climate that suits your body thermostat. Wait. Is it just me or is this turning into a package tour commercial? Let’s rewind…

Argentina is a blended country in all its aspects. Even its culture. Historically, it had been inhabited by diverse native people until the Spanish Conquest, in the early 1500s. The Spanish Crown was peacefully reigning the Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata when Napoleon started to cause unrest in Europe’s political situation. To make a long story short (if you are interested, it is fascinating), people in major state positions took advantage of this instability to declare our Independence in 1816. 

There was a big issue: Who were we? What defined us as a nation? Who did we want to be? All of these interrogations created a significant philosophical and political crack in Argentina. Some aimed for the preservation of the Indigenous-Spanish culture developed at that time and others preferred to seek “civilization” in Liberal Europe. As evident, the latter team prevailed. 

These were new times in Argentina: thousands of immigrants from all over Europe arrived at our country to work and escape from the Wars’ terror. 

We hadn’t realized that we were borrowing someone else’s culture rather than creating our own. We hushed Argentina’s origins to replicate others’ under the fallacious assumption that those were “better,” “more progressed,” “more civilized.” Some state it is a blessing. However, the truth is that we don’t own an “Argentinean” culture: we have betrayed it while looking to the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. 

Then, what is Argentina? It is hard to say, really, but it is an indescribably magnificent place anyway.