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Facts about Argentina

General Data


Argentina is the second-largest country in South America and the eighth-largest country in the world.

It occupies a continental surface area of 2,791,810 km² (1,078,000 sq mi) and is located between the Andes mountain range in the west and the southern Atlantic Ocean in the east and south. It is bordered by Paraguay and Bolivia in the north, Brazil and Uruguay in the northeast, and Chile in the west and south.

The country is formally named the Argentine Republic (Spanish: República Argentina, but for purposes of legislation, the form Nación Argentina (Argentine Nation) is used. The Argentine Republic is located at the southernmost part of the American Continent. Its area is 3.7 million sq. km, including 964,000 sq. km of the Antartic Continental area and South Atlantic Islands.

Weather


The South American Continental area extends along 3,700 km between south latitudes 22 and 55. The variety of climates is the result of said great extension ranging from subtropical in the extreme north to the cold climate of Patagonia, prevailing template climates in the greatest part of the country. Humid areas cover one third of the territory, 30% approx. of which corresponds to northeast woods and subtropical "montes" and the rest to the Pampean plain which covers an area of 600,000 sq. km. The latter is the main farming, livestock and industrial region of the country, gathering almost the 70% of the population, the 80% of farming and livestock output value of the industrial activity.

The remaining two thirds of the land area correspond to arid zones, semiarid zones or long lasting dry seasons.

History


The first signs of human presence in Argentina are located in the Patagonia (Piedra Museo, Santa Cruz), and date from 11,000 BC. Around 1 AD, several corn-based civilizations developed in the western and northwestern Andean region (Ansilta, Condorhuasi, Ciénaga, Aguada, Santa María, Huarpes, Diaguitas, Sanavirones, among others). In 1480 the Inca Empire, under the rule of emperor Pachacutec, launched an offensive and conquered present-day northwestern Argentina, integrating it into a region called Collasuyu. In the northeastern area, the Guaraní developed a culture based on yuca and sweet potato. The central and southern areas (Pampas and Patagonia) were dominated by nomadic cultures, unified in the 17th century by the Mapuches, and never conquered by the Europeans.

Population and Government


At present, the total population of the country is 40 million of inhabitants and it is made up of 23 provinces and of the Federal Capital City which is set up in the city of Buenos Aires. Spanish is the official language.

Argentina has a representative, republican and federal government. The Argentine Constitution passed on 1853, was lastly modified in 1994. The new Constitution maintains the federal government division into three powers: executive, legislative and judicial. The Executive Power is vested by the President and the Vice-President of the Argentine Republic, holding offices for a four-year term. They are directly elected by the people and may be reelected for only one consecutive term. The Legislative Power is vested in the Congress which consists of two powers: the Senate, composed of three senators elected for each province and three senators for Buenos Aires city. The House of Deputies consists of representatives elected by the people in a direct and proportional way to the number of inhabitants of each district. The Judicial Power is exercised by the Supreme Court of Justice and by other lower courts.

Each province passes its own constitution in compliance with the federal government system.

Geography


Argentina is nearly 3,700 km long from north to south, and 1,400 km from east to west (maximum values). It can roughly be divided into three parts: the fertile plains of the Pampas in the central part of the country, the centre of Argentina's agricultural wealth; the flat to rolling plateau of Patagonia in the southern half down to Tierra del Fuego; and the rugged Andes mountain range along the western border with Chile, with the highest point located in the province of Mendoza. Cerro Aconcagua, at 6,960 metres (22,834 ft), is the Americas' highest mountain.

The plains west and south from Buenos Aires are among the most fertile in the world. The western part of La Pampa province and the province San Luis also have plains, but they are drier. The Gran Chaco region in the north of the country is semi-arid.

The steppes of Patagonia, in the provinces of Neuquen, Rio Negro, Chubut and Santa Cruz, are of Tertiary origin. The first human settlement in this area dates back to the 10th century. The first European to reach this zone was Ferdinand Magellan and the first to traverse the Patagonian plain was Rodrigo de la Isla.

Major rivers include the Paraguay, Bermejo, Colorado, Uruguay and the largest river, the Paraná. The latter two flow together before meeting the Atlantic Ocean, forming the estuary of the Río de la Plata. The land between these both is called Mesopotamia and that land is shared by the provinces of Misiones, Corrientes and Entre Ríos. The Argentine climate is predominantly temperate with extremes ranging from subtropical in the north to arid and sub-Antarctic in the far south.

The country has a claim over Antarctica, where it has maintaned a constant occupied presence for more than a century.

Culture


Argentine culture has been primarily informed and influenced by its European roots. Buenos Aires is undeniably the most European city in South America and considered by many its cultural capital, due both to the prevalence of people of European descent and to conscious imitation.

Argentina has a rich history of world-renowned literature, including one of 20th century's most critically acclaimed writers, Jorge Luis Borges.

Argentine cinema has achieved international recognition with films such as The Official Story, Nine Queens or Iluminados por el Fuego, although they only rarely rival Hollywood-type movies in popularity. Even low-budget productions, however, have earned prizes in cinema festivals (such as Cannes). The city of Mar del Plata organizes its own festival dedicated to this art.

Argentine food is influenced by cuisine from Spain, Italy, Germany, France and other European countries. Argentina has a wide variety of staple foods, which include empanadas, a stuffed pastry; locro, a mixture of corn, beans, meat, bacon, onion, and gourd; and chorizo, a meat-based spicy sausage. The Argentine barbecue, asado, is one of the most famous in the world and includes various types of meats, among them chorizo, sweetbread, chitterlings, and blood sausage. A common custom among Argentines is drinking mate.

Football is the most popular sport, although the national sport of the country is pato. Argentina has a number of highly-ranked polo players.

Argentine culture is exemplified by its music and dance, particularly tango. To foreigners, tango refers to a particular dance, but the music together with the lyrics (often sung in a kind of slang called lunfardo) are what most Argentines primarily mean by tango. In modern Argentina, tango music is enjoyed by itself, particularly since the radical Ástor Piazzolla redefined the music of Carlos Gardel.

Since the 1970s, rock and roll has been widely popular in Argentina. Rock and roll and pop music have experienced periodic bursts of popularity, with many new bands (such as Soda Stereo and Sumo) and composers (such as Charly García and Fito Páez) becoming important referents of national culture. Argentine rock is the most listened-to music among youth.

Buenos Aires is considered the techno and electronica capital of Latin America, and hosts a variety of events including local raves, the South American Music Conference, and Creamfields (which has the world record of 65,000 people).

European classical music is well-represented in Argentina. Buenos Aires is home to the world-renowned Colón Theater. Classical musicians, such as Martha Argerich and Daniel Barenboim, and classical composers like Alberto Ginastera have become internationally famous.
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