An Arab Argentine is an Argentine citizen or resident alien whose ancestry traces back to any of various waves of immigrants, largely of Arab cultural and linguistic heritage and/or identity, originating mainly from what is now Lebanon and Syria but also there are some individuals from the twenty-two countries which comprise the Arab world.
Although a highly diverse group of Argentines — in ancestral origins, religion and historic identities — Arab Argentines hold a heritage that shares common linguistic, cultural, and political traditions.
The majority of the Arab Argentines are from either Lebanese or Syrian background. Among Arab Argentines, 784,000 are Muslims. The interethnic marriage in the Arab community, regardless of religious affiliation, is very high; most community members have only one parent who has Arab ethnicity. As a result of this, the Arab community in Argentina shows marked language shift away from Arabic. Only a few speak any Arabic, and such knowledge is often limited to a few basic words. Instead the majority, especially those of younger generations, speak Spanish as a first language.
In the 19th century, the first Arabs settled in Argentina. Most Arabs who came during this time period were Sirio-Lebanese Arabs (During that time, Syria and Lebanon were one territory). While Arab communities existed by 1864, systematic records did not appear before 1868. From 1891 to 1920, 367,348 people of Arabic heritage immigrated into Argentina. When they were first processed in the ports of Argentina, they were classified as Turks because what is modern day Lebanon and Syria was a territory of the Turkish Ottoman Empire. The causes for Arabs to leave their homeland were an accelerated increase in demographics in Lebanon, the persecution by the Ottoman Turks and the Italo-Turkish War. The Arab immigrants settle in the provinces of Buenos Aires, Córdoba, Salta, Jujuy, La Rioja, San Juan, Mendoza, Santiago del Estero, Misiones, Chaco, and the Patagonia. A large percentage on Arabs settled in the Cuyo region (which is made up of the provinces of San Juan, San Luis, Mendoza, and La Rioja).