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Argentina

Capital Buenos Aires
Continent South America
Code +54
Currency Argentine peso
Languages Spanish , Spanish

Description

Argentina is a country in the southern half of South America. Argentina covers an area of 2,780,400 km2 (1,073,500 sq mi), making it the largest Spanish-speaking nation in the world by area. It is the second-largest country in South America after Brazil, the fourth-largest country in the Americas, and the eighth-largest country in the world. It shares the bulk of the Southern Cone with Chile to the west, and is also bordered by Bolivia and Paraguay to the north, Brazil to the northeast, Uruguay and the South Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Drake Passage to the south. Argentina is a federal-state subdivided into twenty-three provinces, and one autonomous city, which is the federal capital and largest city of the nation, Buenos Aires. The provinces and the capital have their Argentina is a multicultural country with significant European influences. Modern Argentine culture has been largely influenced by Italian, Spanish, and other European immigrants from France, the United Kingdom, and Germany among others. Its cities are largely characterized by both the prevalence of people of European descent, and conscious imitation of American and European styles in fashion, architecture, and design. Museums, cinemas, and galleries are abundant in all large urban centers, as well as traditional establishments such as literary bars, or bars offering live music of a variety of genres, although there are lesser elements of Amerindian and African influences, particularly in the fields of music and art.  The other big influence is the gauchos and their traditional country lifestyle of self-reliance. Finally, indigenous American traditions have been absorbed into the general cultural milieu. Argentine writer Ernesto Sabato has reflected on the nature of the culture of Argentina as follows:

With the primitive Hispanic American reality fractured in La Plata Basin due to immigration, its inhabitants have come to be somewhat dual with all the dangers, but also with all the advantages of that condition: because of our European roots, we deep link the nation with the enduring values of the Old World; because of our condition of Americans, we link ourselves to the rest of the continent, through the folklore of the interior and the old Castilian that unifies us, feeling somehow the vocation of the Patria Grande San Martín and Bolívar once imagined.

, but exist under a federal system. Argentina claims sovereignty over a part of Antarctica, the Falkland Islands and South Georgia, and the South Sandwich Islands.

The earliest recorded human presence in modern-day Argentina dates back to the Paleolithic period. The Inca Empire expanded to the northwest of the country in Pre-Columbian times. The country has its roots in the Spanish colonization of the region during the 16th century. Argentina rose as the successor state of the Viceroyalty of the Río de La Plata, a Spanish overseas viceroyalty founded in 1776. The declaration and fight for independence (1810–1818) were followed by an extended civil war that lasted until 1861, culminating in the country's reorganization as a federation. The country thereafter enjoyed relative peace and stability, with several waves of European immigration, mainly Italians and Spaniards, radically reshaping its cultural and demographic outlook; over 60% of the population have full or partial Italian ancestry, and Argentine culture has significant connections to Italian culture.

The almost-unparalleled increase in prosperity led to Argentina becoming the seventh wealthiest nation in the world by the early 20th century. In 1896, Argentina's GDP per capita surpassed that of the United States and was consistently in the top ten before at least 1920. Currently, it is ranked 71st in the world. Following the Great Depression in the 1930s, Argentina descended into political instability and economic decline that pushed it back into underdevelopment, although it remained among the fifteen richest countries for several decades. Following the death of President Juan Perón in 1974, his widow and vice president, Isabel Martínez de Perón, ascended to the presidency, before being overthrown in 1976. The following military junta, which was supported by the United States, persecuted and murdered thousands of political critics, activists, and leftists in the Dirty War, a period of state terrorism and civil unrest that lasted until the election of Raúl Alfonsín as President in 1983.

Argentina is a developing country that ranks 46th in the Human Development Index, the second-highest in Latin America after Chile. It is a regional power and retains its historic status as a middle power in international affairs. It maintains the second-largest economy in South America and is a member of G-15 and G20. Argentina is also a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, World Trade Organization, Mercosur, Community of Latin American and the Caribbean States, and the Organization of Ibero-American States.

History 

Before Europeans came to Argentina it was thinly populated. In the Northwest, people grew crops such as potatoes and squash. They sometimes lived in walled towns and they used metal and made pottery. However, most of the indigenous people lived by hunting animals and gathering plants. They continued their hunter-gatherer lifestyle until the late 19th century.

Europeans arrived in what is now Argentina in the 16th century. In 1516 Juan de Solis reached the River Plate but he was killed by the natives. He was followed by Sebastian Cabot, who reached the River Plate area in 1526. Then in 1536 Pedro de Mendoza led an expedition to the area and he built a fort. However, the Spaniards were forced to withdraw by hostile natives.

Nevertheless, later in the 16th century, several towns were founded in the Northwest of what is now Argentina. Buenos Aires was founded in 1580 to give access to the sea. Yet the southern part of Argentina was left in the hands of the natives. Finally, in 1776 a new Viceroy of the River Plate was formed in Buenos Aires as its capital.

In 1806 the British captured Buenos Aires, but they were forced to withdraw. In 1807 they attacked the city again, but they were repelled. Nevertheless, links between Argentina and Spain weakened in the early 19th century, especially after 1808 when Napoleon forced the Spanish king to abdicate and made his brother king of Spain. Finally, on 25 May 1810, the Viceroy was deposed and a junta took control of Argentina. However, the junta did not break all links with Spain until 1816. The United Provinces of the River Plate were declared on 9 July 1816.

At first, the United Provinces consisted of what is now Argentina, Bolivia, and Uruguay. However, the new state was bitterly divided between the interest that wanted a strong central government and federalists who wanted a loose federation of provinces.

Eventually, in the 1820s the new state broke up. Bolivia became independent in 1825 and Uruguay was created as a buffer state between Argentina and Brazil in 1828 after a war between the two countries.

In 1835 General Juan Manuel de Rosas became dictator of Argentina. He was a federalist but ironical, he introduced a strong (and repressive) central government. However, Rosas eventually alienated many people in the provinces, and in 1852 a rebellion removed him from power.

Until the late 19th century the natives of Southern Argentina lived in their traditional way. However, in 1879 General Julio Rica led an army to conquer them. The Conquest of the Desert was over by 1880.

Meanwhile, the first railroad in Argentina was built in 1857. It was followed by many others. By 1900 there were over 10,000 miles of railroad in Argentina and by 1912 over 20,000 miles. The railways made transporting produce to the coast for export was much easier. Argentina exported meat, wool, and grain and by 1900 she was the richest country in South America.

Meanwhile, the population of Argentina boomed partly due to immigrants from Spain and Italy. By the end of the century, the population of Argentina was about 4 million.

In the 1920s Argentina was the 7th richest country in the world. However, like the rest of the world, Argentina was affected by the Wall Street Crash.

In 1930 the army staged a coup and General Jose F. Uriburu became president of Argentina. Uriburu called an election in 1931 (although a major party, the Radical Party was banned from taking part). Another election was held in 1937. Despite many accusations of electoral fraud, Roberto Ortiz became president with Ramon Castillo as vice-president. Ill health forced Ortiz to hand over power to Castillo in 1940. However, in 1943 the army staged another coup.

In January 1944 Argentina severed diplomatic relations with Germany and Japan. Finally, on 27 March 1945, Argentina declared war on Germany.

After the 1943 coup, Juan Peron gradually emerged as the leader. In 1946 he was elected president. Peron introduced several welfare measures and nationalized industries. Peron was re-elected in 1951 but he gradually lost support. In 1955 a revolution called the Revolution of Liberation forced Peron to flee abroad.

Several short-lived governments followed. In 1958 Arturo Frondizi was elected president of Argentina but the military removed him in 1962. More elections were held in 1963 and Dr. Arturo Illia became president. The military removed him in 1966.

However, military dictatorship did not bring peace. In May 1969 rioting broke out in Cordoba. The unrest spread throughout Argentina. Meanwhile, inflation raged.

Yet in 1973 the army allowed more elections and the Peronists (supporters of Peron) won. A Peronist called Hector Campora became president. Peron then returned from exile and Campora resigned to make way for him. More elections were held in September 1973 and Peron became president. However, Peron died in 1974 and his widow Isabel Peron took power. Under her rule, inflation and unrest continued. Finally, in March 1976, the army seized power again.

Argentina then suffered a brutal military dictatorship during which thousands of people ‘disappeared’ during a ‘dirty war’. Meanwhile, inflation continued to rage and Argentina became heavily indebted.

In the early 1980s, despite the repression protests spread across Argentina. To try and divert people’s minds from their problems the junta invaded the Falkland Islands on 2 April 1982. However, the war turned into a disaster when the British quickly recaptured the islands.

Meanwhile, the Argentinean economy was in dire straits. Eventually, the junta allowed elections in October 1983. Raul Alfonsin took office on 13 December 1983.

However, Alfonsin was unable to solve the problem of hyperinflation in Argentina despite austerity plans introduced in 1985 and 1987. In 1989 Alfonsin handed over power peacefully to the next elected president Carlos Saul Menem. During the 1990s Menem managed to curb inflation and privatize the industry.

In 2001-2002 Argentina suffered a severe recession. However, the economy then grew strongly for a few years. Today the economy of Argentina is growing steadily.

Meanwhile, in October 2007 Cristina Kirchner became the first elected woman president of Argentina. Then in 2015, Mauricio Macri was elected president. In 2020 the population of Argentina was 45 million.

Geography

With a mainland surface area of 2,780,400 km2 (1,073,518 sq mi), Argentina is located in southern South America, sharing land borders with Chile across the Andes to the west; Bolivia and Paraguay to the north; Brazil to the northeast, Uruguay and the South Atlantic Ocean to the east; and the Drake Passage to the south; for an overall land border length of 9,376 km (5,826 mi). Its coastal border over the Río de La Plata and South Atlantic Ocean is 5,117 km (3,180 mi) long.

Argentina's highest point is Aconcagua in the Mendoza province (6,959 m (22,831 ft) above sea level), also the highest point in the Southern and Western Hemispheres. The lowest point is Laguna del Carbón in the San Julián Great Depression Santa Cruz province (−105 m (−344 ft) below sea level, also the lowest point in the Southern and Western Hemispheres, and the seventh lowest point on Earth).

The northernmost point is at the confluence of the Grande de San Juan and Río Mojinete rivers in Jujuy province; the southernmost is Cape San Pío in Tierra del Fuego province; the easternmost is northeast of Bernardo de Irigoyen, Misiones and the westernmost is within Los Glaciares National Park in Santa Cruz province. The maximum north-south distance is 3,694 km (2,295 mi), while the maximum east-west one is 1,423 km (884 mi).

Some of the major rivers are the Paraná, Uruguay—which join to form the Río de La Plata, Paraguay, Salado, Negro, Santa Cruz, Pilcomayo, Bermejo and Colorado. These rivers are discharged into the Argentine Sea, the shallow area of the Atlantic Ocean over the Argentine Shelf, an unusually wide continental platform. Its waters are influenced by two major ocean currents: the warm Brazil Current and the cold Falklands Current.

Politics

The politics of Argentina take place in the framework of what the Constitution defines as a federal presidential representative democratic republic, where the President of Argentina is both Head of State and Head of Government. Legislative power is vested in the two chambers of the Argentine National Congress. The Judiciary is independent of the Executive and the Legislature. Elections take place regularly on a multi-party system.

In the 20th century, Argentina experienced significant political turmoil and democratic reversals. Between 1930 and 1976, the armed forces overthrew six governments in Argentina; and the country alternated periods of democracy (1912–1930, 1946–1955, and 1973–1976) with periods of restricted democracy and military rule. Following a transition that began in 1983, full-scale democracy in Argentina was reestablished. Argentina's democracy endured through the 2001–02 crisis and to the present day; it is regarded as more robust than both its pre-1983 predecessors and other democracies in Latin America.

Economy

Benefiting from rich natural resources, a highly literate population, a diversified industrial base, and an export-oriented agricultural sector, the economy of Argentina is Latin America's third-largest, and the second-largest in South America. It has a "very high" rating on the Human Development Index and a relatively high GDP per capita, with considerable internal market size and a growing share of the high-tech sector.

Access to biocapacity in Argentina is much higher than the world average. In 2016, Argentina had 6.8 global hectares of biocapacity per person within its territory, much more than the world average of 1.6 global hectares per person. In 2016 Argentina used 3.4 global hectares of biocapacity per person – their ecological footprint of consumption. This means they use half as much biocapacity as Argentina contains. As a result, Argentina is running a biocapacity reserve.

A middle emerging economy and one of the world's top developing nations, Argentina is a member of the G-20 major economies. Historically, however, its economic performance has been very uneven, with high economic growth alternating with severe recessions, income maldistribution, and—in the recent decades—increasing poverty. Early in the 20th century Argentina achieved development and became the world's seventh-richest country. Although managing to keep a place among the top fifteen economies until mid-century, it suffered a long and steady decline, but it is still a high-income country.

High inflation—a weakness of the Argentine economy for decades—has become trouble once again, with an annual rate of 24.8% in 2017. To deter it and support the peso, the government imposed foreign currency control. Income distribution, having improved since 2002, is classified as "medium", although it is still considerably unequal.

Argentina ranks 85th out of 180 countries in Transparency International's 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index, an improvement of 22 positions over its 2014 rankings. Argentina settled its long-standing debt default crisis in 2016 with the so-called vulture funds after the election of Mauricio Macri, allowing Argentina to enter capital markets for the first time in a decade.

The government of Argentina defaulted on 22 May 2020 by failing to pay a $500 million due date to its creditors. Negotiations for the restructuring of $66 billion of its debt continue.

Culture

Argentina is a multicultural country with significant European influences. Modern Argentine culture has been largely influenced by Italian, Spanish, and other European immigrants from France, the United Kingdom, and Germany among others. Its cities are largely characterized by both the prevalence of people of European descent, and conscious imitation of American and European styles in fashion, architecture, and design. Museums, cinemas, and galleries are abundant in all the large urban centers, as well as traditional establishments such as literary bars, or bars offering live music of a variety of genres, although there are lesser elements of Amerindian and African influences, particularly in the fields of music and art.  The other big influence is the gauchos and their traditional country lifestyle of self-reliance. Finally, indigenous American traditions have been absorbed into the general cultural milieu. Argentine writer Ernesto Sabato has reflected on the nature of the culture of Argentina as follows:

With the primitive Hispanic American reality fractured in La Plata Basin due to immigration, its inhabitants have come to be somewhat dual with all the dangers, but also with all the advantages of that condition: because of our European roots, we deep link the nation with the enduring values of the Old World; because of our condition of Americans, we link ourselves to the rest of the continent, through the folklore of the interior and the old Castilian that unifies us, feeling somehow the vocation of the Patria Grande San Martín and Bolívar once imagined.

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