Hallowed Ground: the Plaza San Martin
· Walk around the Plaza San Martin, where a key battle was fought in 1807
· See the General San Martin Monument
· Visit the main memorial for the 1982 conflict at the Monumento a los Caidos en Malvinas
· See Argentina’s main military museum: the Museo de Armas de la Nacion
The military history of Argentina is very nuanced, even confusing. Few people agree on everything but three parts of its story are widely seen as very important. First, the defeat of the British in 1807 had an enormous effect on how Argentina developed as a country. Second, General José San Martin was a military hero. Third, the dead of the 1982 conflict should be honored and remembered.
It is rare to find a place where so much of a nation’s history are covered, but we had one big advantage when creating this tour: the Plaza San Martin is a unique place.
A National Centre
Your private guide will take you on the Plaza, telling the story of the ill-fated British invasions of Spain’s River Plate colony during the Napoleonic Wars. Here, beneath the huge Ombu trees, they will help you step back in time two hundred years to when General Whitelocke surrendered his sword on what would be named the “Field of Glory”. You will also hear the heroic tale of how José San Martin led the Army of the Andes to liberate Peru beneath his epic monument, imagining the Andes in the middle of Buenos Aires.
Argentina’s recent military history is remembered more sombrely, and your guide will be able to tell you how the 1982 conflict – known in the English-speaking world as the Falklands War – was planned, and lost, in Buenos Aires. It is fitting that the main memorial to those dead is in the Plaza San Martin. Your guide will also be able to tell you how this conflict drastically changed Argentina’s relationship with Britain by the Torre Monumental, a red-brick building still bearing the British national coat of arms that used to be called the “Torre de los Ingleses”. They will also take you around the Museo de Armas de la Nacion. This museum, with the largest collection of weaponry in South America, covers all parts of Argentina’s military history with aplomb while giving a great view of pieces from across the globe.