Argentina's capital has come to epitomize the huge South American nation's rich, turbulent and diverse history.
Buenos Aires' evolution from its founding in 1536 by the Spanish conquistador Pedro de Mendoza and the Catholic Church has not been an easy one, but today this lusty multicultural megacity of some 13 million people endures and thrives as the country's political, financial and cultural nucleus. Some regard it as a little slice of Europe in the Southern Hemisphere (“The Paris of the Pampas”), a legacy of the Spanish, Italian and German immigrants who flocked there over the centuries and left their imprimatur on Buenos Aires' art, architecture, music, theater, literature and cuisine — all of which has fused with the country's indigenous native American culture to produce a passionate amalgam best appreciated in Argentina's signature dance, the tango. For if anything characterizes the Argentine temperament, it's passion.
Well, business, too, as Buenos Aires' other pursuit is high finance, the activity most likely to attract business aviation operators to make that long flight to 34o south. The economic power of Buenos Aires can be seen in its 2011 gross geographic product (GGP) of $84.7 billion (U.S.), which amounted to a quarter of the wealth generated by Argentina as a whole. Among the world's cities, Buenos Aires' economy ranks 13th, and its port on the Rio de la Plata estuary is one of the busiest in South America, serving as a distribution center for the southeastern corner of the continent through the complex river system that empties into the estuary.