Representing continent number three of my seven continent odyssey in 2015, I next found myself in the world’s fourth largest continent, South America. I made my way from New York City on the more than ten hour flight to Buenos Aires, Argentina, and also visited Montevideo, Uruguay before heading further south in Argentina to the southernmost city on Earth, Ushuaia.
Montevideo the capital and largest city of Uruguay. According to the 2011 census, the city proper has a population of 1,319,108 [about one-third of the country’s total population] in an area of 74.9 square miles [194.0 square kilometers]. The southernmost capital city in the Americas, Montevideo is situated in the southern coast of the country, on the northeastern bank of the Río de la Plata.
The city was established in 1724 by a Spanish soldier, Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, as a strategic move amidst the Spanish-Portuguese dispute over the platine region; and it was also under brief British rule in 1807. Montevideo hosted all the matches during the very first FIFA World Cup. It took place in Uruguay from 13 July to 30 July 1930. FIFA, football’s international governing body, selected Uruguay as host nation, as the country would be celebrating the centenary of its first constitution, and the Uruguay national football team had successfully retained their football title at the 1928 Summer Olympics. All matches were played in the Uruguayan capital, Montevideo, the majority at the Estadio Centenario, which was built for the tournament.
Montevideo is the seat of the administrative headquarters of Mercosur and ALADI, Latin America’s leading trade blocs, position that entailed comparisons to the role of Brussels in Europe. Montevideo has consistently been rated as having the highest quality of life of any city in Latin America. As of 2010, Montevideo was the 19th largest city economy in the continent and 9th highest income earner among major cities.
Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after Greater São Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the continent’s southeastern coast. The Greater Buenos Aires conurbation, which also includes several Buenos Aires Province districts, constitutes the third-largest conurbation in Latin America, with a population of around fifteen and a half million.
The city of Buenos Aires is neither part of Buenos Aires Province nor the Province’s capital; rather, it is an autonomous district. In 1880, after decades of political infighting, Buenos Aires was federalized and removed from Buenos Aires Province. The city limits were enlarged to include the towns of Belgrano and Flores, both of which are now neighborhoods of the city. A 1994 constitutional amendment granted the city autonomy, hence its formal name: Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires [Autonomous City of Buenos Aires].
Buenos Aires is a top tourist destination, and is known for its European-style architecture and rich cultural life, with the highest concentration of theaters in the world. Buenos Aires held the 1st Pan American Games in 1951 as well as hosting two venues in the 1978 FIFA World Cup.
Ushuaia is the capital of Tierra del Fuego, Antártida e Islas del Atlántico Sur Province, Argentina. Ushuaia is located in a wide bay on the southern coast of Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, bounded on the north by the Martial mountain range and on the south by the Beagle Channel. It is the only municipality in the Department of Ushuaia, which has an area of 3,625 square miles [9,390 square kilometers].
Ushuaia is commonly regarded as the southernmost city in the world due to its large population of over 70,000 and its infrastructure which classifies it as a city. Technically, there is one settlement farther south, Puerto Williams, in Chile. Puerto Williams is sometimes considered the southernmost city in the world by Chilean media although it promotes with the slogan Puerto Williams, the southernmost town in the world in its tourism campaigns, given its population of less than 3,000.
On to continent number four: Antarctica.