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Buenos Aires Information

Buenos Aires is more than just the capital city of Argentina - it is the second largest metropolitan area in the entire country, and a major tourist spot for travelers coming to South America from all around the world. The city is visited by 2.5 million travelers per year who enter its borders to enjoy shopping, dining, musical festivals, and more.

The area that would later become Buenos Aires was first touched by Juan Diaz de Solis, a seaman sailing for Spain, in 1516. The city itself was first called Ciudad de Nuestra Senora Santa Maria del Buen Ayre when another Spanish explorer, Pedro de Mendoza, landed there on February 2, 1536. A settlement was established, but was short lived as native people chased all the settlers away by 1541. Juan de Garay set up a permanent community there in 1580, and called it Santisima Trinidad.

The city was totally dependent on trade, so Spanish ships that sailed there had to undertake a rigorous route complete with military assistance to avoid pirates. Traders became incredibly upset over the amount of time it took to reach the city thanks to Spanish restrictions until the port was declared open in the 18th century. British forces began invading the area in the early 1800s, and attacked Buenos Aires on more than one occasion. The city was invaded in 1806 but quickly pushed back by an Argentinian army. Buenos Aires became capital of Argentina after it was liberated from its brief British rule, and the entire country was free from Spanish rule in 1816.

Peace did not last in the city, however, as it was subjected to blockades by the French and later by an Anglo-French cooperative effort during the mid- and late-1800s. The city stood strong, however, and survived unscathed. During the same century, Buenos Aires grew as an economic power, thanks in part to the development of railroads and a sophisticated road system. It became a center for immigrants from both Spain and Italy, and is today a city that thrives on the multicultural status its residents from around the world brought to its borders. Today Buenos Aires is home to nearly 3 million people and is the site in South America for the arts, theater, opera, and music. It is known far and wide as the "Paris of South America."

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