The majority of the citizens of Argentina are the descendants of the immigrants who moved to the country in the 19th Century and the 20th-century. Approximately 97% of the country’s population can trace their ancestry to Europe or are partially of European descent. There are significant numbers of Argentines who are descendants of Arabs, particularly from Lebanon and Syria, and there are also Argentines who trace their origin to Jews.
Argentina has the largest population of people with Jewish ancestry in Latin America, and it is also ranks seventh in the world in terms of Jewish population. Unlike other countries in Latin America, the population of mixed European/Indigenous descent is relatively low. The population of Black Argintines is also relatively low. In the 1990s, Argentina has experienced a huge wave of Black immigrants in the country. Major indigenous populations can be found particularly in the North Western part of the country, in the North Eastern region, and the Patagonia region. Argentines who trace their origins to Asia are a minority in the country, and they are found particularly in the city of Buenos Aires and its neighborhoods. Argentina also hosts several people who trace their origin to the neighboring countries, particularly from Peru, Paraguay, and Bolivia who have established important communities in the country.
Argentina experienced huge immigration of Italians in the country at the beginning of the 19th century immediately after the country attained statehood. The culture of Argentina has significant links to the Italian culture regarding traditions, customs, and language. Italians have large established communities in the country, and they found mainly in the country’s capital city of Buenos Aires and provinces such as La Pampa province, Santa Fe province, Tucuman province, Entre Rios province, Cordoba province, and the province of Buenos Aires. The reason why Argentina experience huge immigrants from Italy was the economic problems the Italian states were unified to form one country, and as a result the country was impoverished and experienced high levels of unemployment as well as political turmoil, and as a result the majority of Italians saw Argentina as a place to begin a new life. The Italian population in the country is the world’s 2nd largest found outside of Italy, and they are about 25 million citizens accounting for 62.5% of the country's total population. Italians form a significant portion of the country's population as well as the neighboring country of Uruguay. In Latin America, Brazil has the highest population of Italians estimated to be about 28 million people or about 15% of the population of Brazil.
Germany and Argentina have had a long history of cooperation through trade, and later Argentina sustained a strong relationship with Great Britain and gave them support during the First World War. It is estimated that the population of people with German descent living in Buenos Aires is about 50,000 people. Argentina is one of the countries having the largest number of people tracing their origin to Germany. The Germans mostly arrived in the country in the 19th century, and both before and after the Second World War. The immigration continued through to the 20th century, and therefore, Germans are among the largest ethnic community in the country, and they have impacted heavily on the Argentinean culture. Such influence is seen in the Argentinean cuisine, particularly in deserts.
French Argentines refer to an ethnic group in the country who trace their roots to France, and they are one of the largest groups in the country after the Italian Argentines and Spanish Argentines. About 261,000 French people moved to Argentina between 1857 and 1946. However, in the 1840s Argentina had received immigrants with French ancestry particularly from neighboring countries such as Uruguay. As of 2006, Argentina was estimated to be home to about 6 million people of French ancestry, which was equivalent to about 19% of the country's population. The French have had a huge influence on Argentina, particularly in science, culture, and the arts. Many of the buildings structures in cities such as Buenos Aires, Cordoba, and Rosario were built in line with the French neoclassical and Beaux art style. Unlike other ethnic communities in Argentina, the French are less visible compared to other communities of similar size, and this is because of a larger degree of assimilation and absence of significant colonies of French all over the country.
Argentina was a Spanish colony, and the country gained independence in May 1810, and therefore the country has a sizable population of Spaniards. Between 1492 and 1832 Argentina received about 2.4 million Spaniards who immigrated to Argentina. In the post-colonial era, between 1832 and 1950 there was a large influx of Spaniards also into the country from different parts of Spain which was part of the great European immigration work to Argentina. As from 1857 to 1960, approximately 2.5 million Spaniards immigrated to Argentina mainly from Galicia, Catalonia Cantabria, Asturias, and the Basque country. It is estimated that about 20% of The Spaniards who immigrated to Argentina in the post-colonial era were mainly from Galicia. Buenos Aires is home to the 2nd largest community of Galician people in the world, and currently, all Spaniards in Argentina despite their ancestral origin in Spain are often known as Gallegos, which translates to Galicians. Approximately 10% to 15% of the country's population is descendants of Basque people, both French and Spain they are often known as Basque Argentineans, although they identify themselves as French Basques. As of 2013, there were approximately 93,453 citizens of Spain who were born in Spain but lived in Argentina, on the other hand, there were about 288,494 citizens of Spain who were born in Argentina.
Arabs and Levantines
In Argentina, there are about 1.3 million to 3.5 million Argentines who trace their ancestry mainly to the Levant. The majority of Levantine Argentines are the descendants of immigrants from Syria or Lebanon who emigrated from the region where it is currently Syria and Lebanon. There are also other people originating from other Arabic speaking countries, but they are few. Most of these ethnic groups are Christians who are adherents of the Maronite (Eastern Catholic) and Eastern Orthodox. The first wave of Levantine immigrants was experienced in the country in the 19th century, and they were identified as Turks because the present-day countries of Syria and Lebanon had not been established and the Ottoman Empire occupied the region.
Other Ethnic Groups in Argentina
Other ethnic groups found in Argentina include Scandinavians, Dutch, Austrians, British Armenians, Czechs, Irish, Luxembourgers, Polish, Russians, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Bulgarians, Welsh, Jewish, Amerindians, Africans, Swiss, and Asians among others.
About the Author
Benjamin Elisha Sawe holds a Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Statistics and an MBA in Strategic Management. He is a frequent World Atlas contributor.
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