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Argentina Anthem

Argentina Anthem

In 1813, after Argentina’s May 11threvolution, Vicente Lopez y Planes wrote the military Patriotic March, which would become the anthem of Argentina.

Those that only know the Argentine National Anthem from watching the Olympic Games or other international events, have never had a chance to hear the anthem's dramatic lyrical content, which contains cries of crowned glory or glory to die. The short version played at the Olympics is only the instrumental introduction to the song Argentines celebrate today as their national anthem, which is itself an introduction to an even longer, even more dramatic and historic version dating back to 1813 which depicts in graphic detail the horrors and determination of an entire continent gripped in a bloody fight for independence from Spain.

In 1813, shortly after Argentina's May 11threvolution, the poet and politician Vicente Lopez y Planes wrote the military march “Patriotic March”, which would become The National Anthem of Argentina. Lopez y Planes personally participated in the May revolution, which would soon lead to Argentina's independence, officially declared in 1816. The piece, which describes Spaniards spitting their “pestipherous bile” and “devouring as wild animals, all people who surrender to them”, was an instant sensation. The popularity of the song among contemporaries reminds listeners of the tense relations between 19th century Spain and Argentina, a period marked by South and Central American countries fighting for independence from Spain. The anthem is not only an appeal to Argentines but to people from all over the Americas, as it also mentions blood baths, mourning, death and weeping at the hands of Spaniards in places such as Mexico, Quito, La Paz and Caracas. The lyrics also mention “the dead Inca shaking in their tombs, reviving the flame which renews the children of the homeland, the ancient splendor”.

Interestingly, a Spaniard composed the original music for the anthem. The musician Blas Parera created the music in 1813 for Lopez y Planes revolution-inspired lyrics. Then, in 1818, possibly concerned about his own safety in the midst of an entire continent fervently singing a new song that called for the “war bugle” to resound like thunder in the fields and lead “the illustrious Union with robust arms to tear apart the arrogant Iberian lion,” Parera returned to Spain.

By 1900 however, tensions had eased and many Spaniards began immigrating to Argentina. Then Argentine president Julio Argentino Roca ordered a new shortened version of the anthem be written, removing the bloody detail of the original. Although less violent, this version, still used today, continues to retain the emotional “sacred cry” of freedom from Spain we hear in the original. The Argentine anthem continues to remind modern Argentine listeners that the independence they enjoy today came from their determined forefathers' fight to break the chains of Spain.