What is Argentina’s national anthem – and why is there a shorter version?

25 September 2019, 16:47

Argentina Rugby World Cup 2019
Argentina Rugby World Cup 2019. Picture: PA Images

By Sian Hamer

Argentina’s rugby team, the Pumas, will be facing Tonga this weekend in the next stage of the World Rugby Cup 2019 – but what is their national anthem? And why is there a shorter version?

The ‘Argentine National Athem’ (or ‘Himno Nacional Argentino’, as it’s known to its citizens), was composed by the Spanish musician Blas Parera, with lyrics by Vicente López y Planes.

The work, which is largely dominated by the theme of independence, was officially adopted as the country’s national anthem on 11 May 1813 (the day which is now named ‘Anthem Day’ in Argentina).

But in 1900, a decree declared the anthem should be shortened to include only the first verse, last verse and chorus of the original version, omitting several verses which spoke of Argentina’s struggle for independence from Spain.

The shorter version is the one we hear sung today.

But there was another national anthem before...

The first anthem of Argentina, known as the ‘Patriotic March’, was written by Esteban de Luca and Blas Parera and published in 1810. It made no reference to Argentina, talking instead about Spain being conquered by France in the Peninsular War.

Two years later, a new anthem was commissioned and written by Cayetano Rodriguez and – you guessed it – our old friend Blas Parera. But the pair didn’t want their song to become an anthem.

So, in 1813, a call for lyrics to a new anthem was put out. A poem by a lawyer called Vicente Lopez y Planes was selected, and Parera was once again chosen to compose the music for the anthem we hear at games today.

So, what are the lyrics to the ‘Himno Nacional Argentino’?

Oíd, mortales, el grito sagrado:
“¡Libertad, libertad, libertad!”
Oíd el ruido de rotas cadenas,
ved en trono a la noble igualdad.
Ya su trono dignísimo abrieron
las Provincias Unidas del Sud
y los libres del mundo responden:
“Al gran pueblo argentino, ¡salud!”
Y los libres del mundo responden:
“Al gran pueblo argentino, ¡salud!”
Y los libres del mundo responden:
“Al gran pueblo argentino, ¡salud!”

What are the lyrics translated into English?

Hear, mortals, the sacred cry:
“Freedom! Freedom! Freedom!”
Hear the sound of broken chains
See noble equality enthroned.
Their most worthy throne have now opened
The United Provinces of the South.
And the free people of the world reply:
“To the great Argentine people, good health!”
“To the great Argentine people, good health!”
And the free ones of the world reply:
“To the great Argentine people, good health!”
And the free ones of the world reply:
“To the great Argentine people, good health!”