Why is Buenos Aires the capital of Argentina?

Why is Buenos Aires the capital of Argentina?
Why is Buenos Aires the capital of Argentina?

Argentina is the eighth largest of all the countries in the world, covering a vast swath of real estate that includes almost all of the southern portion of South America. Argentina is a country of democratic rule, following the loss of the Falklands Islands War in which the British destroyed their military stranglehold.

The capital of Argentina is Buenos Aires and deservedly so since the city is the nexus around which all of Argentina revolves. It’s the central location for trade, incoming and outgoing railroads, and a harbor. There are 2.9 million residents within its borders.

Most of the population consists of Italians and Spaniards but there are also a lot of residents from South American countries as well, especially Venezuela and Bolivia. The city alone encompasses about 25% to 30% of the entire population of Argentina. 

Where is the Capital of Argentina Located?

Where is the Capital of Argentina Located
Where is the Capital of Argentina Located

Buenos Aires is located on the North Eastern tip of the continent, along the harbor that’s fed by the Atlantic Ocean. It’s located North West of La Plata and almost directly north of Tandil.  Located in a gigantic harbor, most sea trade that benefits Argentina is conducted here. 

Directly across the harbor is the country of Uruguay, so Buenos Aires is located as far east and north as it can possibly go. It’s not central to the geography of Argentina but it is central to everything else in the country, serving as the hub of economic activity for the entire region. 

Brief History of Buenos Aires

National Congress building, Buenos Aires, Argentina
National Congress building, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires owes its existence to Pedro de Mendoza, who started construction on the city in 1536. In less than half a century, the city was absolutely destroyed and the rebuilding took place in 1580.

Originally, Buenos Aires wasn’t the capital of Argentina, because there was no Argentina for the capital to be established. The Viceroy of La Plata was the country and Buenos Aires received the “capital” honor for that country. 

Buenos Aires has long been a city of strife and destruction before reaching the modern era, more or less intact. Destroyed and rebuilt in the 1600s, occupied by the English crown in the early 1800s, recaptured, and a site of constant struggles between federalists and centralists, Buenos Aires is no stranger to bloodshed. 

When the Spanish Empire took control of it, they turned it into a relatively bustling port. However, the Spanish were far too picky with their ports back then and Buenos Aires was never truly allowed to spread its wings and fly. 

Later, when the ViceRoyalty of Peru took over, the port was squandered because Buenos Aires was banned from trading with the Spanish. That meant everything that was traded and bought or sold at market had to be delivered over the road. 

Without a railroad and without a port, this effectively ruined Buenos Aires for years. It’s not like the city was very close to the bustling trade routes and ports of the day. It was a very long and dangerous trek across a host of natural and man-made dangers. 

Buenos Aires didn’t rise again until the late 18th century as smaller lakes and rivers facilitated trade with the port and the settlements growing up along the Parana River bolstered trade throughout the region. 

At the end of the 19th century, Buenos Aires was well on its way to becoming a thriving metropolis and the beating heart of Argentina. 

When did Buenos Aires become the Capital of Argentina?

Buenos-Aires city Night
Buenos-Aires city Night

For a while, Buenos Aires was a capital, just not of Argentina, which we covered above.  In 1776 it became the capital of ViceRoyalty of the Rio de la Plata, which later became Argentina. There is no official date on which Buenos Aires became the capital, other than the 1776 date. 

Due to its excellent location and despite the hardships of trade restrictions over the centuries, Buenos Aires has almost always been the capital of something. It made little sense to choose otherwise.

During the British invasions of 1806, the capital was briefly moved as the British retreated from the city, however, considering the fact that Argentina won the conflict, it really doesn’t count, especially since the British only held the city for a very brief period. 

Why is Buenos Aires the capital of Argentina?

Buenos Aires became the capital of Argentina because of its strategic location and the fact that its the trade hub of the entire country of Argentina. Since 1776, Buenos Aires exploded in trade activity and growth, leading all of the other cities in Argentina by a lot. 

Thanks to the monstrous and growing economic success of the city, it really made no sense to go with something else. This was owed to the reform efforts of the Bourbon Monarchy in 1776, which freed Buenos Aires up for trade.

The Spanish were having so many troubles with pirates that they started providing military escorts for their trade vessels. Not only that but the trade vessels went way out of their way to reach Buenos Aires. Of course, this drove up prices on everything, threatening to cripple the port. 

Best Places to visit in Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is an enormous city and highly populated. The President’s Pink House is a popular attraction that was constructed in the 19th century and stands on the old fort of the 17th century. 

The Recoleta Cemetery is world-famous and probably one of the most awe-inspiring, architectural marvels in this hemisphere. It’s jaw-droppingly beautiful and, although it reminds you of the New Orleans above-ground cemetery, it’s far more architecturally profound. 

The Colon Theater is the most famous performance hall in the country and it features opera, ballet, classical music, and live performances of all varieties. Opened in 1908, the Colon Theater is a true center of the arts and a testament to the beauty of the city. 

All Things Considered

Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina and, despite its up and down history, is a thriving metropolis of trade, culture, diversity, and art. It is truly the hub of Argentina and one of the most popular places in the South American continent to visit. 

See Also

Capital Cities 

Hi and welcome to my travel blog! Based in London, I work in investment banking in a quantitative field and although I am not part of the travel industry, I have a ton of passion for travel. My blog is a reference guide for my fellow travelers with the same passion as me. Hopefully the blog is easy to navigate and my aim is to bring the most relevant and interesting information before you begin your journey!