Tango is a musical genre and a type of social dance which emerged in the port cities of Buenos Aires and Montevideo towards the end of the 19th century. It is the result of a fusion between elements of African, European and local origin brought together by different waves of immigration.
Little is known about the exact circumstances in which tango emerged but the musical styles which came into the creation of tango include milonga, habanera, candombe, tango andaluz, mazurca and polka. Choreographically, tango adopted the controversial close embrace of waltz and was characterized in the early stages by the emblematic “cortes” and “quebradas“, whereas tango poetry, which emerged and developed later, built on the gaucho tradition of payadores and evolved into a new style of song which expresses urban concerns and realities of life in a fast growing city.
The history of tango is complex; it includes various phases of evolution and waves of popularity around the world. According to Horacio Ferrer  and the Academia nacional del tango it can be divided in six stages:
- Origins of tango (1850-1895)
- Guardia vieja (1895-1925)
- Guardia nueva (1925-1955)
- Vanguardia (1955-1970)
- Contemporaneo (1970-2000)
- Actual (2000- until now)
Each stage is divided into different phases and characterized by the evolution of musical structures, poetry and dance. π
 FERRER, Horacio. El Siglo de oro del Tango: compendio ilustrado de su historia. Buenos Aires: Editorial El Mate, 1996.