Since the formation of Sister Cities International in 1956, cities across the world have formed diplomatic partnerships, becoming “sister cities” with each other.
The concept of sister cities is simple: two cities, usually in different countries, form an agreement to promote cultural and economic exchanges, promoting cultural growth and economic diversification.
Jacksonville has amassed eight international sister cities since taking on its first partnership in 1967. Most of those cities have something major in common with Jax, such as being a port city or being located near a coast. Jacksonville Sister Cities Association, a local nonprofit, manages these partnerships and coordinates activities between Jax and its sister cities.
We’ve created brief profiles for those eight sister cities to better acquaint Jax residents with each of them. (Honorable mentions also go out to Ningbo, Shaoxing, and Suzhou in China, which are not formally part of the sister city program but are considered “friendship cities.”)
The Argentinian city of Bahia Blanca was Jacksonville’s first sister city, with their partnership taking effect in July 1967.
Bahia Blanca is located within Argentina’s Buenos Aires province. It was founded in 1828 and now boasts a population of just over 301,000.
The city’s most obvious connection to Jax is its strong naval presence; Bahia Blanca is home to Argentina’s largest naval base. It also functions as an important shipping hub, much like Jax.
Bahia Blanca’s other sister cities include Cienfuegos, Cuba; Dalian, China; Fermo, Italy; Reus, Spain; and Talcahuano, Chile.