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Surprising Argentina

by Jasper Groen in Travel and weekendtrips , 14 februari 2015

Dit artikel is ook in het Nederlands beschikbaar

Argentina, the country of Máxima... Maybe just to get a taste of the background of the present queen of The Netherlands it might be interesting to visit this South American country, or at least its capital Buenos Aires, Máxima’s place of birth, during a holiday.

In the early sixteenth century Argentina was “discovered” by Europeans looking for a passage from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean. Ferdinand Magellan, for example, traveled in Argentina. Around 1536 Pedro de Mendoza established a small settlement, which was called Nuestra Señora del Buen Aire. This would later become Argentina’s capital.

Bolivia was located in the northwest, and this country was in Spanish hands. In Argentina the Spanish build settlements near the present cities Mendoza, San Miguel de Tucumán, Córdoba and Salta. Because the soil is very fertile, this was turned into agricultural lands. In 1810 the Argentine War of Independence started. In 1816 Argentina declared independence but the war continued until 1818. Argentina’s official language is still Spanish.

Almost ninety percent of the inhabitants of Argentina are Roman Catholic. However, only some twenty percent of them go to church regularly. The Spanish colonists brought the Catholic church along to Argentina and converted the population. Until 1994 Argentinian presidents were required to be Roman Catholic. Nowadays, the religion of the president isn’t prescribed anymore.

On July 14, 2010, the Argentinian Senate approved same-sex marriage, which was ratified earlier by the House of Representatives. The Argentinian senators debated for not less than fourteen hours about the legislation, while outside supporters and opponents demonstrated. Especially the Catholic church and other conservative organizations opposed the legislation, while Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s center-left government and several prominent people from the media supported the bill.



In the New Issue of Gay News, 323, July 2018

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