"History Of The Argentine Tango"

The origins of the tango are unclear because of poor documentation. It is generally thought that the dance developed in the late 19th century in working-class neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Montevideo, Uruguay, as practiced by Uruguayan and Argentine dancers and musicians.

The exact origins of Tango both the dance and the word itself are lost in myth and an unrecorded history. The generally accepted theory is that in the mid-1800s, African slaves were brought to Argentina and began to influence the local culture. The word “Tango” may be straightforwardly African in origin, meaning “closed place” or “reserved ground.” Or it may derive from Portuguese (and from the Latin verb tanguere, to touch) and was picked up by Africans on the slave ships. Whatever its origin, the word “Tango” acquired the standard meaning of the place where African slaves and others gathered to dance. Most likely The tango was born in African-Argentine dance venues attended by compadritos, young men, mostly native born and poor, who liked to dress in slouch hats, loosely tied neckerchiefs and high-heeled boots with knives tucked casually into their belts. The compadritos took the Tango back to the Corrales Viejos—the slaughterhouse district of Buenos Aires—and introduced it in various low-life establishments where dancing took place: bars, dance halls and brothels. It was here that the African rhythms met the Argentine milonga music (a fast-paced polka) and soon new steps were invented and took hold.