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La Boca District (Buenos Aires City, Argentina)

Last modified: 2014-08-02 by francisco gregoric
Keywords: la boca | boca juniors | club atlético boca juniors | república de la boca | buenos aires | ciudad autónoma de buenos aires | harbour | immigrant | genoa | roca (julio argentino) |
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Presentation of La Boca

La Boca is a district of the City of Buenos Aires located near the mouth of Rio de la Plata. It has been in the past the first place of landing for the immigrants coming from Europe, mostly Italians. Lot of them settled there. La Boca is now an abandoned port due to silt up and industrial pollution.
Ivan Sache, 15 Jun 1998

The district of La Boca, as such, doesn’t have a flag of its own; no Buenos Aires district has one (we’re just starting with provincial flags, after all...). However, considering that the [soccer] club Boca Juniors is based on La Boca, when it wins matches (...) the whole neighbourhood rises up in flags with the Boca Juniors colors [blue and yellow].
Luis Havas, transl. by António Martins, 16 Mar 2000

The blue-yellow-blue horizontal tribar, a flag created in 1905 for the Boca Juniors soccer club, one of the main Soccer clubs in Argentina — it is still a sports flag only, note, and not at all an official district flag, even if it may be used by local tiffosi to show general allegiance to the district of La Boca.
António Martins, 21 Jun 2000

República de La Boca, 1882

[Flag of Genoa used for La Boca Republic]
by Francisco Gregoric, 23 Jun 2006

«It is a large Genoese neighborhood, but not of nowadays Genoa... rather a picturesque, special neighborhood, dynamic during the day and desert at nightfall, and full of the local flavour of the old sailing Genoa, with all the quaint and undeletable traditions of its ancient harbour.»

That’s how a traveller discribed the Buenos Aires district of La Boca in the late 19th century. Traditional concentration center of a large part of the Genoese immigrants, La Boca had gained unmistakable traits, with its colorful wooden houses and metal roofs, with its shops and restaurants. It was really a “country” inside Buenos Aires city.

And that specifity was near to trigger a true “secession” in 1882, when, after a restless strike, a meeting was held at the local Italian Society where, among the general applause, was decided that «the Argentine government cannot interfere in the affairs of the Genoese». Next step was to hoist in a nearby pole the flag of Genoa, and to write down a solemn declaration with which it was informed to the Italian king that has just been created the Independent Republic of La Boca.

This insolit episode had an unexpected ending. With it’s usual boldness, the Argentine president, General Roca, proceeded personally to the seaside district and tear down with his own hands the flag of the rebels, whom he harshly scolded. The next morning, the Genoese gave their answer to the high deputee; a local street was renamed "Calle Julio A. Roca".

António Martins, 19 Nov 1999, translating from
Ricardo Luis Molinari: Buenos Aires 4 Siglos. Tipográfica Editora Argentina S.A.: Buenos Aires, 1984. 3rd ed. ISBN:950-521-004-3. page 379. ©TEA

The blue-yellow-blue [Boca Juniors] flag couldn’t have been the original flag hoisted by the independentists and tore down personally by the Argentine president in 1882, as it was created 23 years later.
António Martins, 21 Jun 2000

República de La Boca, now

[Flag of Genoa used for the unofficial La Boca Republic]
by Francisco Gregoric, 23 Jun 2006

The inhabitants have created an unofficialRepública de La Boca” to preserve their cultural heritage. The “official” building of the “Republic” is an abandoned Italian bank. The entrance is flanked with two Argentine and Genoese (red St George’s Cross on a white field) flags to remind the Genoese origins of many inhabitants of La Boca. Genoese dialect is still the most spoken language there. (Source: TV-magazine Thalassa (French channel France 3)
Ivan Sache, 15 Jun 1998

Nowadays the Genoese dialect is not so spoken as it used to be several years ago in La Boca. Today, most people are the grand-children or great-grand-children of the immigrants, and they do no speak it.
Francisco Gregoric, 15 Jun 2006

But that, by virtue of being the local club’s flag, the blue-yellow-blue flag is the one most connected currently with the district and it’s peculiar character co-substantiated in the still-used nick name of “republic”, that I am also quite sure.
António Martins, 21 Jun 2000

Other sources:
  • [apa85] Juan F. Aparicio (1985): Emblems of A Tiny "Republic": La Boca (published in The Flag Bulletin, XXIV-2 = 110)
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