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Porteño, inhabitant of the city of Buenos Aires. Referring to Buenos Aires's being the chief port for the Río de la Plata drainage basin, the word porteño came to symbolize the city's commercial, financial, and political dominance over the region. By the late colonial era porteños boasted a self-confident and distinctive culture, strongly influenced by European mores and political ideas. They were among the first to declare independence from Spain, but their presumptions soon alienated rural dwellers of the littoral and the interior. Much of the political and social conflict of the nineteenth century reflected long-standing grievances against porteño ambitions. By the twentieth century, Buenos Aires's hegemony was unchallenged. Since the late nineteenth century, between a quarter and a third of the country's population has lived in the city and its environs, and Argentina's principal cultural, social, and economic activities have clustered in Buenos Aires. This has often earned porteños the reputation of arrogance and willful neglect of the rest of the country.

See alsoBuenos Aires; Río de la Plata.


Bertoni, Lilia Ana. Patriotas, cosmopolitas y nacionalistas: La construcción de la nacionalidad argentina a fines del siglo XIX. Buenos Aires: Fondo de cultura económica, 2001.

Casdevall, Domingo F. El carácter porteño. Buenos Aires: Centro Editor de América Latina, 1970.

Wilson, Jason. Buenos Aires: A Cultural and Literary Companion. New York: Interlink Books, 2000.

                                     Jeremy Adelman