Armenian Argentine

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Armenian Argentine
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Total population
70,000,[1] 80,000[2] to 130,000 [3]
Regions with significant populations
Buenos Aires, smaller numbers in Córdoba, Mar de Plata, Berisso and Rosario
Languages
Spanish. Minority speaks Armenian as first language.
Religion
Armenian Apostolic, Armenian Catholic and Protestant
Related ethnic groups
Armenian, Hamshenis, Cherkesogai groups
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Armenia Portal

Armenian Argentines are ethnic Armenians who live in Argentina. Between 70,000 and 135,000 ethnic Armenians live in the country, the largest Armenian population in Latin America, and one of the largest in the world.[3] The core of the population came from Cilicia, Syria and Lebanon. In Buenos Aires, the Armenian community is known to share their common culture with the Basque community through musical events and cultural activities.[4]

History[edit]

According to researcher Kim Hekimian, the majority of Armenians arriving in the 1920s originated from the province of Adana in Cilicia of the Ottoman Empire.[5] Most of these Armenians left their homelands either because of the deportations and massacres of the Armenian genocide. Immigrants from the cities of Marash, Hadjin, and Antep together accounted for approximately 60 percents of all incoming Cilician Armenians.[5] The large number of immigrants from these cities was a result of Armenians following their friends and relatives who had emigrated earlier.

Once in Argentina, Armenians from the same city or town in Cilicia were inclined to group together and maintain their regional customs. The informal census taken by Ohannes Der Jachadurian in 1941 demonstrates that approximately 70 percent of the Armenians in Argentina originating from Hadjin resided in the southern neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, including Flores, Nueva Pompeya, and Villa Soldati.[5] Some of these regional ties promoted the creation of at least twenty organizations in the 1930s. Of these organizations, only the Society of Hadjin, Society of Antep and Society of Marash are still in operation.

In addition to the arrival of Armenians from Cilicia, between 1917 and 1921, during the Russian Civil War, many Armenians from Russia escaped to avoid religious persecution. Between 1947 and 1954 many Armenians from the Soviet Union, Syria and Lebanon came to Argentina as a consequence of the Second World War, and from Iran because of the Iranian Revolution in 1979.

The Armenian community of Argentina has maintained its identity due to focus on the church, school and the family structure. Most of those who came in the mid-1920s escaped the Armenian Genocide and Adana massacres.[6] The first Armenians came in 1908 and some came in 1915, but it was not until 1924-1930 that the community took shape when some 10,000 people settled in Buenos Aires. Subsequent waves of immigrants came from Russia, Romania and Greece. The influx dried up in the early 1950s. Today, the community is estimated to number 380,000. While survival was of paramount importance, education was also high on the agenda of the early immigrants. They had no money and few of them spoke a foreign language, therefore they gave a great deal of attention to education.

Religious life[edit]

Prior to the establishment of the church, the Armenians of Buenos Aires congregated on Sunday afternoons at a coffee shop on 25 de Mayo Street which was owned by a Jewish man from Smyrna. The coffee shop became such an established "center" for the Armenians that they ised its address to receive mail from their family and friends from abroad.[7] When more Armenian refugees arrived in Buenos Aires, the community managed to rent the Cathedral of St John the Baptist, an Anglican church which was near the coffee shop. Two Englishmen delivered sermons translated from Armenian by Haig Moscofian.

After the arrival of the first priest of the community Der Hayr Barasatian, the community became more religiously organized.[5]

After the Armenian community in Buenos Aires faced numerous financial crises, it constructed its first Armenian church in 1938.[5]

Currently, the Armenian community of Argentina has nine Armenian churches.[8]

Notable Armenian Argentines[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Հայերը Արգենտինայում Հայերն Այսօր (Armenians Today)
  2. ^ AGBU: HOME OF THE EXTENDED ARMENIAN FAMILY
  3. ^ a b ArmenianDiaspora website
  4. ^ The Armenians: A Handbook - Page 139
  5. ^ a b c d e Hekimian, Kim (1990). "Armenian Immigration to Argentina: 1909-1938". Armenian Review 43 (1): 85–113. 
  6. ^ Herzig, Edmund (2005). The Armenians: Past And Present In The Making Of National Identity. p. 139. 
  7. ^ Hovhannes Barkenian, "El Centro Armenio y la Colectividad" (Armenian), Hay Getron Buenos Aires, November 1933
  8. ^ "All Armenian Churches around the World". Embassy of Armenia to the United States of America. Retrieved 5 March 2013. 

External links[edit]