Río de la Plata
Overview
 
The Río de la Plata (ˈri.o ðe la ˈplata, River of Silver)—sometimes rendered River Plate in British English
British English
British English, or English , is the broad term used to distinguish the forms of the English language used in the United Kingdom from forms used elsewhere...

 and the Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

, and occasionally rendered [La] Plata River in other English-speaking countries—is the river and estuary
Estuary
An estuary is a partly enclosed coastal body of water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea....

 formed by the confluence
Confluence (geography)
In geography, a confluence is the meeting of two or more bodies of water. It usually refers to the point where two streams flow together, merging into a single stream...

 of the Uruguay River
Uruguay River
The Uruguay River is a river in South America. It flows from north to south and makes boundary with Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay, separating some of the Argentine provinces of the Mesopotamia from the other two countries...

 and the Paraná River
Paraná River
The Paraná River is a river in south Central South America, running through Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina for some . It is second in length only to the Amazon River among South American rivers. The name Paraná is an abbreviation of the phrase "para rehe onáva", which comes from the Tupi language...

 on the border between Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

 and Uruguay
Uruguay
Uruguay ,officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay,sometimes the Eastern Republic of Uruguay; ) is a country in the southeastern part of South America. It is home to some 3.5 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the capital Montevideo and its metropolitan area...

. It is a funnel-shaped indentation on the southeastern coastline of South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

, about 290 kilometres (180 mi) long.

The Río de la Plata widens from about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) at the inner part to about 220 kilometres (136.7 mi) at its mouth.
Encyclopedia
The Río de la Plata (ˈri.o ðe la ˈplata, River of Silver)—sometimes rendered River Plate in British English
British English
British English, or English , is the broad term used to distinguish the forms of the English language used in the United Kingdom from forms used elsewhere...

 and the Commonwealth
Commonwealth of Nations
The Commonwealth of Nations, normally referred to as the Commonwealth and formerly known as the British Commonwealth, is an intergovernmental organisation of fifty-four independent member states...

, and occasionally rendered [La] Plata River in other English-speaking countries—is the river and estuary
Estuary
An estuary is a partly enclosed coastal body of water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea....

 formed by the confluence
Confluence (geography)
In geography, a confluence is the meeting of two or more bodies of water. It usually refers to the point where two streams flow together, merging into a single stream...

 of the Uruguay River
Uruguay River
The Uruguay River is a river in South America. It flows from north to south and makes boundary with Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay, separating some of the Argentine provinces of the Mesopotamia from the other two countries...

 and the Paraná River
Paraná River
The Paraná River is a river in south Central South America, running through Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina for some . It is second in length only to the Amazon River among South American rivers. The name Paraná is an abbreviation of the phrase "para rehe onáva", which comes from the Tupi language...

 on the border between Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

 and Uruguay
Uruguay
Uruguay ,officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay,sometimes the Eastern Republic of Uruguay; ) is a country in the southeastern part of South America. It is home to some 3.5 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the capital Montevideo and its metropolitan area...

. It is a funnel-shaped indentation on the southeastern coastline of South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

, about 290 kilometres (180 mi) long.

The Río de la Plata widens from about 2 kilometres (1.2 mi) at the inner part to about 220 kilometres (136.7 mi) at its mouth. It forms part of the border between Argentina and Uruguay, with the major ports and capital cities of Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after São Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent...

 and Montevideo
Montevideo
Montevideo is the largest city, the capital, and the chief port of Uruguay. The settlement was established in 1726 by Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, as a strategic move amidst a Spanish-Portuguese dispute over the platine region, and as a counter to the Portuguese colony at Colonia del Sacramento...

 on its western and northern shores, respectively. The coasts of the Río de la Plata are the most densely populated areas of Argentina and Uruguay.

Geography

Some geographers consider the Río de la Plata a gulf or marginal sea
Marginal sea
The term marginal sea has differing meanings. In one sense the term is equivalent to territorial waters. In another sense the term indicates a partially enclosed sea adjacent to or widely open to the open ocean, but bounded by submarine ridges...

 of the Atlantic Ocean, while others consider it a river. For those who regard it to be a river it is the widest in the world, with a maximum width of about 220 kilometres (136.7 mi) and a total surface area of about 35000 square kilometres (13,513.6 sq mi).

The Río de la Plata behaves as an estuary
Estuary
An estuary is a partly enclosed coastal body of water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea....

 in which freshwater and seawater mix. Its freshwater comes from the Paraná River, one of the world's longest, and its main tributary, the Paraguay River
Paraguay River
The Paraguay River is a major river in south central South America, running through Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Argentina...

, as well as the Uruguay River and other smaller streams. Currents in the Río de la Plata are controlled by tide
Tide
Tides are the rise and fall of sea levels caused by the combined effects of the gravitational forces exerted by the moon and the sun and the rotation of the Earth....

s reaching to its source and beyond, into the Uruguay and Paraná rivers. Both rivers are tidally influenced for about 190 kilometres (118.1 mi). The tidal range
Tidal range
The tidal range is the vertical difference between the high tide and the succeeding low tide. Tides are the rise and fall of sea levels caused by the combined effects of the gravitational forces exerted by the Moon and the Sun and the rotation of the Earth...

s in the Río de la Plata are small, but its large width allows for a tidal prism
Tidal prism
A tidal prism is the volume of water in an estuary or inlet between mean high tide and mean low tide. or the volume of water leaving an estuary at ebb tide....

 important enough to dominate the flow regime despite the huge discharge received by the tributary rivers. The rivers' discharge is strong enough to prevent salt water from penetrating the inner Río de la Plata.

A submerged shoal
Shoal
Shoal, shoals or shoaling may mean:* Shoal, a sandbank or reef creating shallow water, especially where it forms a hazard to shipping* Shoal draught , of a boat with shallow draught which can pass over some shoals: see Draft...

, the Barra del Indio, acts as a barrier, dividing the Río de la Plata into an inner freshwater
Freshwater
Fresh water is naturally occurring water on the Earth's surface in ice sheets, ice caps, glaciers, bogs, ponds, lakes, rivers and streams, and underground as groundwater in aquifers and underground streams. Fresh water is generally characterized by having low concentrations of dissolved salts and...

 riverine area and an outer brackish estuarine area. The shoal is located approximately between Montevideo
Montevideo
Montevideo is the largest city, the capital, and the chief port of Uruguay. The settlement was established in 1726 by Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, as a strategic move amidst a Spanish-Portuguese dispute over the platine region, and as a counter to the Portuguese colony at Colonia del Sacramento...

 and Punta Piedras (the northwest end of Samborombón Bay
Samborombón Bay
Samborombón Bay is a bay of Argentina, located at the Río de la Plata's mouth on the Atlantic Ocean. It is about southeast of Buenos Aires. The bay is about long and stretches from Point Piedras in the north to Point Norte, starting point of Cape San Antonio.The bay receives the Salado and...

). It is the freshwater of the inner area that causes many to describe the Río de la Plata as a river. The depth of the inner fluvial
Fluvial
Fluvial is used in geography and Earth science to refer to the processes associated with rivers and streams and the deposits and landforms created by them...

 zone is between about 1 to 5 m (3.3 to 16.4 ft). It is about 180 kilometres (111.8 mi) long and up to 80 kilometres (49.7 mi) wide. The depth of the outer estuary zone increases from 5 to 25 m (16.4 to 82 ft).

The Río de la Plata is a salt wedge estuary. Saltwater, being denser than freshwater, penetrates into the estuary in a layer below the freshwater, which floats on the surface. Salinity fronts, or halocline
Halocline
In oceanography, a halocline is a subtype of chemocline caused by a strong, vertical salinity gradient within a body of water. Because salinity affects the density of seawater, it can play a role in its vertical stratification...

s, form at the bottom and on the surface, where fresh and brackish waters meet. The salinity fronts are also pycnocline
Pycnocline
A pycnocline is the cline or layer where the density gradient is greatest within a body of water. An ocean current is generated by the forces such as breaking waves, terms of temperature and salinity differences, wind, Coriolis effect, and tides caused by the gravitational pull of the Moon and the...

s due to the water density discontinuities. They play an important role in the reproductive processes of fish species.

Extent

The International Hydrographic Organization
International Hydrographic Organization
The International Hydrographic Organization is the inter-governmental organisation representing the hydrographic community. It enjoys observer status at the UN and is the recognised competent authority on hydrographic surveying and nautical charting...

 defines the eastern extent of the Río de la Plata as "A line joining Punta del Este
Punta del Este
Punta del Este is a resort town on the Atlantic Coast in the Maldonado Department of southeastern Uruguay. It is located on the intersection of Route 10 with Route 39, directly southeast of the department capital Maldonado and about east of Montevideo...

, Uruguay
Uruguay
Uruguay ,officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay,sometimes the Eastern Republic of Uruguay; ) is a country in the southeastern part of South America. It is home to some 3.5 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the capital Montevideo and its metropolitan area...

 (34°58.5′S 54°57.5′W) and Cabo San Antonio
Cape San Antonio, Argentina
Cape San Antonio, or in Spanish Cabo San Antonio, is a cape extending into the Atlantic Ocean on the eastern coast of Buenos Aires Province in eastern Argentina. It lies south of Samborombón Bay.-References:...

, Argentina
Argentina
Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic , is the second largest country in South America by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires...

 (36°18′S 56°46′W)".

Drainage basin

The Río de la Plata basin is the second largest drainage basin
Drainage basin
A drainage basin is an extent or an area of land where surface water from rain and melting snow or ice converges to a single point, usually the exit of the basin, where the waters join another waterbody, such as a river, lake, reservoir, estuary, wetland, sea, or ocean...

 in South America. At a size of about 4144000 square kilometres (1,600,007.3 sq mi), the basin is about one fourth of the continent's surface. It includes areas of southeastern Bolivia
Bolivia
Bolivia officially known as Plurinational State of Bolivia , is a landlocked country in central South America. It is the poorest country in South America...

, southern and central Brazil, the entire nation of Paraguay
Paraguay
Paraguay , officially the Republic of Paraguay , is a landlocked country in South America. It is bordered by Argentina to the south and southwest, Brazil to the east and northeast, and Bolivia to the northwest. Paraguay lies on both banks of the Paraguay River, which runs through the center of the...

, most of Uruguay, and northern Argentina. The main rivers of the La Plata basin are the Paraná, one of the longest in the world, and its main tributary, the Paraguay River
Paraguay River
The Paraguay River is a major river in south central South America, running through Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, and Argentina...

, and the Uruguay River.

The Paraná River's main tributaries include the Paranaíba River
Paranaíba River
The Paranaíba River is a Brazilian river whose source lies in the state of Minas Gerais in the Mata da Corda mountains, municipality of Rio Paranaíba, at an altitude of 1,148 meters; on the other face of this mountain chain are the sources of the Abaeté river, tributary of the São Francisco River...

, Grande River
Grande River
The Grande River is river in south-central Brazil. It rises in the Mantiqueira Mountains in the state of Minas Gerais and descends inland, west-northwestward. Its lower course marks a portion of the Minas Gerais-São Paulo border...

, Corumbá River
Corumbá River
The Corumbá River is the most important river in the Central Plateau region of Brazil. Its source is in the Montes de Pireneus, near Pirenópolis, state of Goiás, near the boundary with the Federal District and its length ifs 567 km. It receives the waters of the Descoberto and São Bartolomeu,...

, Tietê River
Tietê River
The Tietê River is a Brazilian river in the state of São Paulo.The source is in Salesópolis in the Serra do Mar, at 1,120 m altitude...

, Paranapanema river
Paranapanema River
The Paranapanema River is one of the most important rivers of the interior of the Brazilian state of São Paulo. The river forms the boundary between the states of São Paulo and Paraná....

, Iguazu River
Iguazu River
The Iguazu River is a river in Brazil and Argentina. It is an important tributary of the Paraná River. The Iguazu River is long, with a drainage basin of .-Course:...

, Negro River, Carcarañá River
Carcarañá River
The Carcarañá River is a river in Argentina. It is born at the confluence of the Río Tercero and the Saladillo River in the south-east of the province of Córdoba and flows eastward into the province of Santa Fe, which it crosses.In Santa Fe the river first turns south, then...

, Gualeguay River
Gualeguay River
The Gualeguay River is one of the major rivers of the Mesopotamic province of Entre Ríos, Argentina. It is born in the north of the province, in the region between the cities of Federación and San José de Feliciano, and meanders in a general south-southwestward direction across the center of the...

, and the Salado River. The Paraná River ends in the large Paraná Delta
Paraná Delta
The Paraná Delta is the delta of the Paraná River in Argentina. The Paraná flows north–south and becomes an alluvial basin between the Argentine provinces of Entre Ríos and Santa Fe, then emptying into the Río de la Plata....

.

The Paraguay's main tributaries include the Jauru River
Jauru River (Mato Grosso)
The Jauru River is a river of Mato Grosso state in western Brazil. It is a tributary of the Paraguay River.-See also:*List of rivers of Mato Grosso-References:*...

, Cuiabá River
Cuiabá River
The Cuiabá River is a Brazilian river in the southern state of Mato Grosso that flows in the Rio de la Plata Basin....

, Taquari River
Taquari River (Mato Grosso do Sul)
Rio Taquari is a river in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil....

, Nabileque River
Nabileque River
-References:** Rand McNally, The New International Atlas, 1993....

, Curiche Grande River
Curiche Grande River
The Curiche Grande River is a river of Mato Grosso state in western Brazil. It forms a portion of the international border between Brazil and Bolivia.-External links:*...

, Apa River
Apa River
The Apa River is a river of Paraguay and Brazil. It is a tributary of the Paraguay River, which in turn is a tributary of the Paraná River. The Apa forms part of the border between Paraguay and Brazil.-See also:...

, Pilcomayo River
Pilcomayo River
The Pilcomayo River is a river in central South America. At long, it is the longest western tributary of the Paraguay River. Its drainage basin is in area, and its mean discharge is ....

, and the Bermejo River
Bermejo River
The Bermejo River is a river in South America that flows from Bolivia to the Paraguay River in Argentina. The river is generally called Bermejo in spite of its different names along its way, but it also has its own Native American names; in Wichí it is called Teuco, and in Guaraní it is called Ypitá...

. The Paraguay River flows through the Pantanal
Pantanal
The Pantanal is a tropical wetland and one of the world's largest wetland of any kind. Most of it lies within the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul, but it extends into Mato Grosso and portions of Bolivia and Paraguay, sprawling over an area estimated at between and...

 wetland.

The Uruguay's main tributaries include the Pelotas River
Pelotas River
The Pelotas River is a river in southern Brazil, and a tributary of the Uruguay River.The river originates in the Serra Geral at Alto do Bispo and flows northeast for before meeting the Canoas River, forming the Uruguay River...

, Canoas River
Canoas River (Santa Catarina)
The Canoas River is a river of Santa Catarina state in southeastern Brazil. The river joins the Pelotas River to form the Uruguay River.-See also:*List of rivers of Santa Catarina-References:* ] map]...

, Peperiguaçu River, Ibicuí River
Ibicuí River
The Ibicuí River is a river in Rio Grande do Sul state of southern Brazil. The Ibicuí is 290 km in length, and is the main tributary of the Uruguay River. It is formed by the confluence of the Ibicuí-Mirim River and Santa Maria River at the city of Cacequi...

, Quaraí River
Quaraí River
The Quaraí or Cuareim River is a tributary of the Uruguay River.-Location:The river originates in the Coxilha de Santana , an area of low-lying hills, and runs westward to join the Uruguay River...

, and the Río Negro
Río Negro (Uruguay)
The Río Negro is the most important river in Uruguay. It originates in the southern highlands of Brazil, just east of Bagé, and flows west across the entire width of Uruguay to the Uruguay River. The course of the Río Negro across Uruguay effectively divides the south of the country from the north...

.

The rivers of the La Plata Basin carry an estimated 57000000 cubic metres (2,012,935,974.1 cu ft) of silt
Silt
Silt is granular material of a size somewhere between sand and clay whose mineral origin is quartz and feldspar. Silt may occur as a soil or as suspended sediment in a surface water body...

 into the Río de la Plata each year, where the muddy waters are stirred up by winds and tides. The shipping route from the Atlantic to Buenos Aires is kept open by constant dredging.

History

The Río de la Plata was first explored by Europeans in 1516, when the Spanish
Spanish people
The Spanish are citizens of the Kingdom of Spain. Within Spain, there are also a number of vigorous nationalisms and regionalisms, reflecting the country's complex history....

 navigator Juan Díaz de Solís
Juan Díaz de Solís
Juan Díaz de Solís was a Spanish navigator and explorer.Díaz de Solís was probably born in Lebrija, Seville, although some other authors argue that his birth may have actually taken place in Portugal to an Andalusian emigree family....

 traversed it during his search for a passage between the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans. Juan Díaz de Solís
Juan Díaz de Solís
Juan Díaz de Solís was a Spanish navigator and explorer.Díaz de Solís was probably born in Lebrija, Seville, although some other authors argue that his birth may have actually taken place in Portugal to an Andalusian emigree family....

 named it the Mar Dulce, or sweet sea. The Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan
Ferdinand Magellan
Ferdinand Magellan was a Portuguese explorer. He was born in Sabrosa, in northern Portugal, and served King Charles I of Spain in search of a westward route to the "Spice Islands" ....

 briefly explored the estuary in 1520 before his expedition continued its circumnavigation.

Sebastian Cabot
Sebastian Cabot (explorer)
Sebastian Cabot was an explorer, born in the Venetian Republic.-Origins:...

 made a detailed study of the area and renamed it Río de la Plata. He explored the Paraná and Uruguay rivers between 1526 and 1529. He ascended the Paraná as far as the present-day city of Asunción
Asunción
Asunción is the capital and largest city of Paraguay.The "Ciudad de Asunción" is an autonomous capital district not part of any department. The metropolitan area, called Gran Asunción, includes the cities of San Lorenzo, Fernando de la Mora, Lambaré, Luque, Mariano Roque Alonso, Ñemby, San...

, and also explored up the Paraguay River. Trading with the Guaraní near today's Asunción, Cabot acquired silver trinkets, and these objects gave rise to the name Río de la Plata, "river of silver".

The area was visited by Francis Drake
Francis Drake
Sir Francis Drake, Vice Admiral was an English sea captain, privateer, navigator, slaver, and politician of the Elizabethan era. Elizabeth I of England awarded Drake a knighthood in 1581. He was second-in-command of the English fleet against the Spanish Armada in 1588. He also carried out the...

's fleet in early 1578, in the early stages of his circumnavigation.

The first European colony was the city of Buenos Aires, founded by Pedro de Mendoza
Pedro de Mendoza
Pedro de Mendoza y Luján was a Spanish conquistador, soldier and explorer, and the first adelantado of the Río de la Plata.- Setting sail :...

 on 2 February 1536. However, it was quickly abandoned. It was refounded by Juan de Garay
Juan de Garay
Juan de Garay was a Spanish conquistador.Garay was born in Orduña, Spain. He served under the Spanish crown, in the Viceroyalty of Peru...

 on 11 June 1580. The failure to establish a settlement on the estuary led to explorations upriver and the founding of Asunción in 1537.

During the colonial era the Río de la Plata was largely neglected by the Spanish Empire
Spanish Empire
The Spanish Empire comprised territories and colonies administered directly by Spain in Europe, in America, Africa, Asia and Oceania. It originated during the Age of Exploration and was therefore one of the first global empires. At the time of Habsburgs, Spain reached the peak of its world power....

 until the 1760s, when Portugal and Britain threatened to expand into the estuary. The Spanish Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata
Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata
The Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, , was the last and most short-lived Viceroyalty of the Spanish Empire in America.The Viceroyalty was established in 1776 out of several former Viceroyalty of Perú dependencies that mainly extended over the Río de la Plata basin, roughly the present day...

 was created in 1776. In 1806 and 1807 the river was the scene of an important British invasion
British invasions of the Río de la Plata
The British invasions of the Río de la Plata were a series of unsuccessful British attempts to seize control of the Spanish colonies located around the La Plata Basin in South America . The invasions took place between 1806 and 1807, as part of the Napoleonic Wars, when Spain was an ally of...

 that aimed to occupy the area.

Conflictivity in the region intensified after the independence of the former Spanish and Portuguese colonies in the first quarter of the 19th century. Interests on the territories and the navigation rights over the Platine region
La Plata Basin
The Río de la Plata Basin , sometimes called the Platine basin or Platine region, is the name given to the hydrographical area that covers parts of Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay...

 played a major role in many armed conflicts throughout the century, including the Argentine civil wars
Argentine Civil War
The Argentine Civil Wars were a series of internecine wars that took place in Argentina from 1814 to 1876. These conflicts were separate from the Argentine War of Independence , though they first arose during this period....

, the Cisplatine and Platine
Platine War
The Platine War, also known as the War against Oribe and Rosas was fought between the Argentine Confederation and an alliance consisting of the Empire of Brazil, Uruguay and the Argentine provinces of Entre Ríos and Corrientes...

 wars, and the War of the Triple Alliance
War of the Triple Alliance
The Paraguayan War , also known as War of the Triple Alliance , was a military conflict in South America fought from 1864 to 1870 between Paraguay and the Triple Alliance of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay...

. The river was blockaded by extra-regional powers on 1838–1840
French blockade of the Río de la Plata
The French blockade to the Río de la Plata was a two-year long naval blockade imposed by France on the Argentine Confederation ruled by Juan Manuel de Rosas. It closed Buenos Aires to naval commerce. It was imposed in 1838 to support the Peru–Bolivian Confederation in the War of the Confederation,...

 and 1845–1850
Anglo-French blockade of the Río de la Plata
The Anglo-French blockade of the Río de la Plata was a five-year long naval blockade imposed by France and Britain on the Argentine Confederation ruled by Juan Manuel de Rosas. It was imposed in 1845 to support the Colorado Party in the Uruguayan Civil War and closed Buenos Aires to naval commerce...

.

Battle of the River Plate

In the first naval battle in the Second World War
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 the the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee was engaged by the Royal Navy
Royal Navy
The Royal Navy is the naval warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Founded in the 16th century, it is the oldest service branch and is known as the Senior Service...

 (RN) cruiser
Cruiser
A cruiser is a type of warship. The term has been in use for several hundreds of years, and has had different meanings throughout this period...

s, , and off the estuary
Estuary
An estuary is a partly enclosed coastal body of water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea....

 of the River Plate
Río de la Plata
The Río de la Plata —sometimes rendered River Plate in British English and the Commonwealth, and occasionally rendered [La] Plata River in other English-speaking countries—is the river and estuary formed by the confluence of the Uruguay River and the Paraná River on the border between Argentina and...

 The German ship retired up the estuary with a crippled fuel system and put into port at Montevideo
Montevideo
Montevideo is the largest city, the capital, and the chief port of Uruguay. The settlement was established in 1726 by Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, as a strategic move amidst a Spanish-Portuguese dispute over the platine region, and as a counter to the Portuguese colony at Colonia del Sacramento...

. A few days later, rather than fight outgunned, she was scuttled in the estuary - so the battle ended with repairable damage to the British contingent, while the German surface fleet suffered the loss of one its few capital ship
Capital ship
The capital ships of a navy are its most important warships; they generally possess the heaviest firepower and armor and are traditionally much larger than other naval vessels...

s.

These events were depicted in the 1956 film The Battle of the River Plate
The Battle of the River Plate (film)
The Battle of the River Plate is a 1956 British war film by director-writer team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger, starring John Gregson, Anthony Quayle and Peter Finch...

– also known as The Pursuit of the Graf Spee – by Michael Powell
Michael Powell (director)
Michael Latham Powell was a renowned English film director, celebrated for his partnership with Emeric Pressburger...

 and Emeric Pressburger
Emeric Pressburger
Emeric Pressburger was a Hungarian-British screenwriter, film director, and producer. He is best known for his series of film collaborations with Michael Powell, in a multiple-award-winning partnership known as The Archers and produced a series of classic British films, notably 49th Parallel , The...

.

Etymology

The English name "River Plate" is not, as sometimes thought, a mistranslation, as "plate" was used extensively as a noun for "silver" or "gold" from the 12th century onwards, especially in Early Modern English
Early Modern English
Early Modern English is the stage of the English language used from about the end of the Middle English period to 1650. Thus, the first edition of the King James Bible and the works of William Shakespeare both belong to the late phase of Early Modern English...

 and the estuary has been known as the River Plate or Plate River in English since at least the time of Francis Drake
Francis Drake
Sir Francis Drake, Vice Admiral was an English sea captain, privateer, navigator, slaver, and politician of the Elizabethan era. Elizabeth I of England awarded Drake a knighthood in 1581. He was second-in-command of the English fleet against the Spanish Armada in 1588. He also carried out the...

. A modern translation of the Spanish Río de la Plata is "Silver River", referring not to color but to the riches of the fabled Sierra de la Plata thought to lie upstream.

The English version of the name served as an inspiration for one of Argentina's most important football clubs, Club Atlético River Plate
Club Atlético River Plate
Club Atlético River Plate is an Argentine sports club based in the Nuñez neighborhood of Buenos Aires. It is best known for its professional football team, which currently competes in Nacional B, the second tier of Argentine football....

.

Fauna

The Río de la Plata is a habitat for the Loggerhead Sea Turtle
Loggerhead Sea Turtle
The loggerhead sea turtle , or loggerhead, is an oceanic turtle distributed throughout the world. It is a marine reptile, belonging to the family Cheloniidae. The average loggerhead measures around long when fully grown, although larger specimens of up to have been discovered...

, Green Sea Turtle
Green Sea Turtle
The Green sea turtle or green turtle is a large sea turtle of the family Cheloniidae. It is the only species in the genus Chelonia. Its range extends throughout tropical and subtropical seas around the world, with two distinct populations in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans...

, Leatherback Sea Turtle
Leatherback Sea Turtle
The leatherback sea turtle is the largest of all living sea turtles and the fourth largest modern reptile behind three crocodilians. It is the only living species in the genus Dermochelys. It can easily be differentiated from other modern sea turtles by its lack of a bony shell. Instead, its...

, the rare La Plata Dolphin
La Plata Dolphin
The La Plata Dolphin or Franciscana is found in coastal Atlantic waters of southeastern South America. Taxonomically it is a member of the river dolphin group and the only one that actually lives in the ocean and saltwater estuaries, rather than inhabiting exclusively freshwater...

, and many species of fish.

See also

  • Governorate of the Río de la Plata
  • Rioplatense Spanish
    Rioplatense Spanish
    Rioplatense Spanish or River Plate Spanish is a dialectal variant of the Spanish language spoken mainly in the areas in and around the Río de la Plata basin of Argentina and Uruguay, and also in Rio Grande do Sul, although features of the dialect are shared with the varieties of Spanish spoken...

  • Rio de la Plata Earthquake 1888
    Rio de la Plata Earthquake 1888
    The 1888 Río de la Plata earthquake occurred on June 5, 1888, measuring 5.5 on the Richter scale, and shook the upper Río de la Plata at 3:20 UTC-3...

  • Geography of Uruguay#Topography and hydrography
  • The Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi
    Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi
    The Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi or "Fountain of the Four Rivers" is a fountain in Rome, Italy, located in the urban square of the Piazza Navona...

    , in Rome's Piazza Navona
    Piazza Navona
    Piazza Navona is a city square in Rome, Italy. It is built on the site of the Stadium of Domitian, built in 1st century AD, and follows the form of the open space of the stadium. The ancient Romans came there to watch the agones , and hence it was known as 'Circus Agonalis'...

    , contains a figure representing the River Plate.
  • Tributaries of the Río de la Plata

External links

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