With September right around the corner, THINK Global School is now in the preparation process for its tenth overall term and second in South America, as the faculty and students get ready to head to Buenos Aires, Argentina. Between September and December our students will familiarize themselves with Argentina’s unique culture and history. Until then, here are 7 interesting facts about one of South America’s most diverse countries.
Fact #1: Tango originated here
Probably the most well-known manifestation of Argentine culture, the latin dance and music known as tango originated in the slaughterhouse district of Buenos Aires at the end of the nineteenth century. Combining African rhythms with Argentine Milonga music (a fast-paced version of the polka), the sensual dance was initially looked upon with disdain by Argentina’s high society. As affluent teens descended into the ghettos in search of adventure, the tango eventually found its way into the mainstream and the widespread popularity that it enjoys today.
Fact #2: Walt Who? Argentina is the true birthplace of animation
Animated film is most often associated with Walt Disney, but the first animated feature film came courtesy of Quirino Cristiani in 1917. His film, El Apóstol, consisted of 58,000 frames and had a run time of 70 minutes. A satire, El Apóstol focused on the corruption and immorality that was prevalent in Buenos Aires at the time.
A cell from El Apóstol
Fact #3: Argentina was the first country to adopt fingerprinting as a method of identification.
In 1925, the small Argentinian town of Necochea was rocked by the gruesome stabbing of two children. With no witnesses to the crime, local police were unable to tie the gory crime to any particular suspect. Utilizing a bloody fingerprint left on a bedpost, Detective Eduardo Alvarez was able to peg the murders on the children’s mother, who quickly confessed to the crime.
Fact #4: Ushuaia, Argentina, is the southernmost city in the world
Home to 57,000 residents, Ushuaia, Argentina is the southernmost city in the world. Despite its unique geographical positioning, Ushuaia is not subjected to extreme weather conditions.
Ushuaia harbor at night
Fact #5: Argentina boasts more psychiatrists than anywhere else on earth
Perhaps tied to its extremely high rate of cosmetic surgery procedures, Argentina boasts the highest number of psychiatrists per capita of anywhere on earth. Buenos Aires even has its own psychoanalytic district – the appropriately named “Ville Freud”. Ville Freud began its rise to prominence during the 1970’s, a time marked by Argentina’s notorious military dictatorship. In the last completed study, it was determined that Argentina had 145 psychologists per 100,000 residents, far ahead of second place Denmark, which boasts 85.
Fact #6: Che Guevara? Not really Cuban…
Cuban revolutionary and counter-culture idol Che Guevara is not actually of Cuban descent, having been born in Argentina’s third largest city, Rosario.
A statue of Che in his hometown of Rosario
Fact #7: Argentina was home to the oldest known dinosaur species on earth
The oldest known dinosaur species have been traced back to Argentina and Brazil, making both countries prime destinations for paleontologists. Species such as the Eoraptor are said to have walked the earth as far back as 230 million years ago, and well-preserved displays of their remains can now be found in museums such as the Argentine National Historical Museum in Buenos Aires.