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With its natural wonders and spirited, colorful cities, Argentina is an astonishing place. Living there for quite some time taught me a slew of intriguing facts about Argentina, the best of which are shared below:
The Largest Dinosaurs Once Roamed Argentina
The largest land animal to ever exist was discovered in Argentina. A fully mature Argentinosaurus was over 100 feet in length and weighed approximately 80 tons.
The farmer who first discovered its fossilized remains, believe that the bones were petrified wood because they were so massive.
The eggs of the Argentinosaurus were a little smaller than a volleyball and it took one of these dinosaurs about 40 years to reach adulthood. Once an adult, they had little predators to worry about. Their average speed was about three miles an hour.
No teeth of an Argentinosaurus have ever been discovered, but it's believed that they had long thin teeth, meant for stripping the leaves off of branches. They pooped about 4 gallons of dung and had to eat around 100,000 calories a day. You'd have to eat 96 rotisserie chickens a day to keep up with that calorie intake, or about 538 cantaloupes if you're a vegetarian.
In December 2001, in the midst of the Argentine Great Depression, civil unrest and rioting forced President Fernando de la Rúa to resign from office. His own vice-president would have become president, but he resigned earlier that year and was never replaced. The Argentine Constitution states that the next in line for the Presidency is the Head of the Senate, which was Ramón Puerta. Legally, he could only act as President Pro-Tempore and fill in the seat until congress elected a new one. In a 169 - 138 vote, Argentine legislatures chose Rodriguez Saá, Governor of one of Argentina's 23 provinces, as the third acting President.
Within his first days in office he announced the creation of a third currency, the Argentino. Saá also declared a sovereign default on the Argentine national debt and appointed some very unpopular people to his cabinet. Within a week he was forced to resign amid more civil unrest. This would have made Ramón Puerta the acting President once again. However, Puerta resigned as Head of the Senate the moment he heard of Saá's resignation. This made the Leader of the House Eduardo Camaño, next in line for the Presidency, until of course congress chose a new one. Congress understood that they needed to pick a President that would be seen as legitimate and favorable, to quell the unrest. They decided on Senator Eduardo Duhalde, the 5th President in 10 days. His appointment was ironic, given that Duhalde ran and lost his campaign for President a year and a half earlier.
If that happened in the US, it would be like Mike Pence resigning, then Donald Trump resigning, then Mitch McConnell becoming President, then a Governor becoming President and resigning, making Paul Ryan President and finally Hillary Clinton becoming President, all within ten days.
a Mountain of Silver
The latin word for silver is Argentum, which is how Argentina got its name. Spanish conquistadors thought they would find a lot of silver here. This idea all started when settlers heard rumors from the natives about the legend of a mythical mountain located in the center of the continent, called Sierra de la Plata. Explorers believed it could only be reached by traveling up river through the Río de la Plata. Plata, being the name for silver in Spanish. Several failed expeditions went in search of this mountain, and many lost their lives in the process.
A Million Penguins
A million penguins a year migrate to Argentina’s southern coast. Argentina is home to four penguin species: the Magellanic, the Humboldt, the Gentoo and the King.
8th Largest Country
Argentina is the worlds 8th largest country, based on land size? The 7 Larger ones are, India, Australia, Brazil, China, the United States, Canada, and Russia.
2nd Largest Economy
Argentina is South America’s 2nd largest economy.
wealth: From 10th Largest To 59th
In 1913, Argentina was the 10th wealthiest nation per capita. Now it’s 59th.
Highest Mountain In The Americas
Pictured above is Patagonia's Cerro Torre. Patagonia is also home to Mt. Aconcagua, the tallest mountain in the Americas, measuring at 22,841 feet (6,962 m). Many mountaineers believe it’s the highest nontechnical climb on Earth. The word Aconcagua means “stone guard” in the indigenous dialect.
Go Hang Yourself
In Argentina, Colgate the toothpaste brand, is pronounced Colgate, which translates into, “Go Hang Yourself.”
Pope Francis was a nightclub bouncer
When Pope Francis was going to college in Buenos Aires he worked as a bouncer at a nightclub. He's also the First Pope from Argentina, and the first Pope from North or South America, and the first Pope from the entire Southern Hemisphere.
Pope Francis is also the first Jesuit Priest to become Pope. Jesuits spend a minimum of 8 – 12 years studying before they’re ordained.
The Argentine Arctic
In 1977, Argentina sent a pregnant mother to give birth in Antarctica. They did this claim part of the continent, believing that if an Argentine was the first human to be born in Antarctica then they can claim parts of it. Today over 400 people live in Argentina’s six permanent Antarctic Stations. They claim over 560,000 square miles of Antarctic territory, Which is almost as big as Alaska.
30,000 People Disappeared
In the 1970s and 1980s, over 30,000 people went missing and were killed by a military dictatorship. Those people are called the Disappeared, and family members of those who have gone missing still march at the capital today. The dictatorship kidnapped and killed those who publicly disagreed with their agenda. Many journalists were killed or fled the capitol.
Rodolfo Walsh was one such journalist, who fled Buenos Aires and created an underground news network. Walsh wore thick rimmed glass and a thin suit with a tie. He was always clean shaven. He secretly published and distributed resistance leaflets in the city on a regular basis. In doing so, he quickly became a target for assassination, and so did his daughter, Victoria. Now, people who resisted, knew that if they were taken away by the military police, they would be tortured into revealing information that would lead to the imprisonment and death of the people they worked with in this underground resistant. Victoria, was a known contact of her fathers and military police decided it was time to arrest her. She, like other resistors, chose suicide rather than capture. After an incident known as the Battle of Corro Street, in which Victoria and others fought with the police, she took her own life to avoid being captured. She was 26 years old. Rodolfo Walsh continued publishing his resistance leaflets. He would sneak into the Buenos Aires to hand deliver them to a contact who would distribute them. After making a delivery, one of his associates had been captured by the police, and tortured into tricking Walsh to meet with him. When Walsh arrived to meet his associate on March 25, 1977, he was met with heavily armed military police instead. They intended to arrest him, but he had other plans. Walsh, carried a small pistol in his coat pocket. He pulled it out, took cover behind a tree and began firing first. He knew he would be killed regardless of the outcome. The military police fired at him with automatic machine guns, littering the tree and the buildings behind him with bullets. Walsh hit one of the MPs, but was eventually overwhelmed by the guns. The military dictatorship ended in 1983. Dozens of military officers were imprisoned for their actions during that time. It took until October of 2005 for some of the military personnel who were involved in Rodolfo Walsh’s death to be arrested. Most recently, in 2011, a former Commander in the Argentine Marine Corps was sentenced to life in prison for his involvement in the deaths of people during the dictatorship.
It's Illegal to name your child after Lionel Messi
The city of Rosario has banned parents from naming their kids after World Cup soccer star, Lionel Messi. They were forced to create this ban after parents began naming their newborn sons and daughters after him. The city wanted to avoid having classrooms full of little Lionels and Messis running around causing confusion.
Messi has the Guinness World Record for most goals scored in a year, and he’s won the Golden Ball, which is essentially the MVP award for the World Cup.
Che Guevara is from Argentina
Che Guevara is from Argentina. He studied medicine in Buenos Aires and became a doctor before becoming a famous revolutionary in Cuba.
First to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage
In 2010, Argentina became the first Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriage.
37% of Argentina’s population descents from Italy
One of the worlds largest wine producers
Argentina is the 6th largest producer of wine, behind the US, China, Spain, France, and Italy. The city of Mendoza produces the majority of the nations wine. Located in western Argentina, at the base of the Andes Mountains, tourists can rent bicycles and visit the numerous wine tasting rooms. Local Police often help tipsy tourists find their way back home after a day of drinking.
3rd Largest Producer of Beef
Argentina is the third biggest producer of beef in the world. It produces around 2.8 to 3.5 million tons a year.
Widest Avenue in the World
The world’s widest avenue is Avenida 9 de Julio, in Buenos Aires. It has 14 lanes of traffic with four lanes of parallel streets, totaling 18 lanes. Crossing the street can take a while.