Argentina expunges British place names

One of the major casualties in the Argentine-British conflict over the Falkland Islands is the heavy influence of British nomenclature in Argentina.

Already the subway stop Canning, named after a 19th century British foreign minister, has been changed to Dos de Avril -- Second of April -- to commemorate the date of Argentina's seizure of the Falklands seven weeks ago.

Gone, too, are other subway stops commemorating British names, although one called Victoria, after Queen Victoria, the British monarch of the last century who ruled while thousands of British, Scottish, Welsh, and Irish settlers came here, has not been altered. After all, the Spanish word victoria means victory -- just what the Argentines hope for in this conflict with Britain.

Stores like La Franco Inglesa, a popular drugstore, have dropped the Inglesa, meaning English, from their names.

The Playa Inglesa, a beach at the resort town of Mar del Plata, has been renamed Playa Argentina.

The Plaza Britania, a quiet, tree-shaded city block in Buenos Aires, is likely to get a new name, too. It is located in front of the sprawling Retiro train station, built by the British in the last century when they brought the railroads to Argentina.

In the center of Plaza Britania stands an English bell tower given to the city of Buenos Aires by British residents at the turn of the century. The tower is a sort of Big Ben in miniature.

The plaza's suggested new name: Plaza de la Fuerza Aerea -- Air Force Plaza.

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