It was a small gathering in Buenos Aires last week.. But a significant one nonetheless. Some 250 people gathered to mark the 100th anniversary of the Torre Monumental, a 60 meter tall bell tower downtown. Like the Statue of Liberty, it commemorates a century of independence. Also like Lady Liberty, it took a couple of extra years to construct, so while the rest of the nation celebrated the bicentennial in 2010, the Torre had to wait until 2016. However, what makes the event important is the benefactor of the monument: It was a gift from Great Britain, hence its familiar name: Torre de los Ingleses.
Which brings us back to the Torre Monument. It reminds us of the time when the UK and Argentina were best buddies. In 1910, both nations were in the top ten global economies. England bought 40% of Argentina's beef and grain. Together, they built the Argentine railways...one of many joint endeavours. Just how close were the two nations? In 1914, the famed department store Harrod's opened its first ever overseas location in...you guessed it...Buenos Aires!
|Buenos Aires circa 1910|