persblog.be – The World in English suppl. – to MAIN PAGE
persblog.be – Edition 2013.10.28 – ‘La Boca’ is one of the most characteristic and most visited neighbourhoods of the city of Buenos Aires. The street ‘Caminito’ with its colourful houses and the football stadium of Boca Juniors are two icons of this neighbourhood. Boca Juniors is a successful football teams in Argentina and the world, having won more than 50 official titles to date. Initially, ‘La Boca’ was mainly inhabited by Italian immigrants. The world famous Diego Maradona was part of the team in 1981.
From the mid 19th century, La Boca was home to Spanish and Italian immigrants who worked in meat-packing plants and warehouses in the beef-shipping industry. They used leftover paint to color the corrugated metal they used for building their houses. ‘El Caminito’, whose name is derived from a Tango song, is the most famous street with these colourful houses.
National Geographic: “The La Boca neighbourhood was so named for its position at the mouth of the River ‘Riachuelo’, and its role as the port of call for thousands of immigrants from Italy, Spain, and other European countries. Those settlers struggled, starved, hoped, and celebrated in this rough-and-tumble district or ‘barrio’. Today, La Boca is the domain of the working class, bohemian artists, rabid soccer fans, and tango artists.”
Wikipedia: “It retains a strong European flavour, with thousands of its early settlers being from the Italian city of Genoa. In fact the name has a strong assonance with the Genoese neighbourhood of ‘Boccadasse’ and some people believe that the Buenos Aires barrio was indeed named after it. The conventional explanation is that the neighbourhood sits at the mouth (‘boca’ in Spanish) of the Riachuelo.”
“Other neighbourhoods refer to the European origins of the city, such as: ‘Palermo’. The name of the district is derived from the still-existing Franciscan abbey of ‘Saint Benedict of Palermo’. In an alternative history of the name, a folk story supported by journalists, the land would have been originally purchased by an Italian immigrant named Juan Domingo Palermo in the late 16th century. Another typical district is ‘Recoleta’. From the end of the nineteenth-century to the start of the 1920s, the ‘Recoleta’ neighbourhood has witnessed the construction of a great number of ‘châteaux’ – often imitating those of the ‘Loire’ valley in France – as well as Parisian style ‘petits hôtels’, almost always designed by architects of French origin.”
Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after Greater São Paulo, Brazil. F.D.
Note in history. In 1882, after a lengthy general strike, the district ‘La Boca’ seceded from Argentina, and the rebels raised the Genoese flag, which was immediately torn down personally by then President Julio Argentino Roca.