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Argentine Republic[1]
República Argentina (Spanish)
Motto"En unión y libertad"  (Spanish)
"In Unity and Freedom"
Anthem"Himno Nacional Argentino"  (Spanish)
"Argentine National Anthem"
File:United States Navy Band - Himno Nacional Argentino.ogg

The Argentine claims in Antarctica (overlapping the Chilean and British Antarctic claims) along with the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and the South Sandwich Islands (administered by the United Kingdom) shown in light green.

The Argentine claims in Antarctica (overlapping the Chilean and British Antarctic claims) along with the Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and the South Sandwich Islands (administered by the United Kingdom) shown in light green.

(and largest city)
Buenos Aires
34°36′S 58°23′W / 34.600°S 58.383°W / -34.600; -58.383
Official language(s) Spanish (de facto)
Ethnic groups  White (61%), Mestizo (26%), Amerindian (1%), Mulatto (1%), Black (1%) (self-reported)[2]
Demonym Argentine, Argentinian, Argentinean
Government Federal representative presidential republic
 -  President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner
 -  Vice President and President of the Senate
Amado Boudou
 -  Supreme Court President Ricardo Lorenzetti
Legislature Congress
 -  Upper House Senate
 -  Lower House Chamber of Deputies
Independence from Spain 
 -  May Revolution 25 May 1810 
 -  Declared 9 July 1816 
 -  Current constitution 1 May 1853 
 -  Total 2,780,400 km2 [3](8th)
1,073,518 sq mi 
 -  Water (%) 1.1
 -  estimate 41,281,631 
 -  census 40,117,096[3] (32nd)
 -  Density 15.17/km2 (207th)
39.30/sq mi
GDP (PPP) estimate
 -  Total $716.419 billion[4] (22nd)
 -  Per capita $17,516[4] (51st)
GDP (nominal) estimate
 -  Total $447.644 billion[4] (27th)
 -  Per capita $10,944[4] (62nd)
Gini  0.458[5] (high
HDI  increase 0.797[6] (very high) (45th)
Currency Peso ($) (ARS)
Time zone ART (UTC−3)
Date formats (CE)
Drives on the right (trains ride on the left)
Internet TLD .ar
Calling code +54

Argentina i/ˌɑrənˈtnə/, officially the Argentine Republic (Spanish: República Argentina Spanish pronunciation: [reˈpuβlika aɾxenˈtina]), is a country in South America, the continent's second largest by land area, after Brazil. It is constituted as a federation of 23 provinces and an autonomous city, Buenos Aires. It is the eighth-largest country in the world by land area and the largest among Spanish-speaking nations.

Argentina's continental area is between the Andes mountain range in the west and the Atlantic Ocean in the east. It borders Paraguay and Bolivia to the north, Brazil and Uruguay to the northeast, and Chile to the west and south. Argentine claims over Antarctica, as well as overlapping claims made by Chile and the United Kingdom, are suspended by the Antarctic Treaty of 1961. Argentina also claims the Falkland Islands (Spanish: Islas Malvinas) and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, which are administered by the United Kingdom as British Overseas Territories.

A recognised middle power,[7] Argentina is Latin America's third-largest economy,[8] with a "very high" rating on the Human development index.[6] Within Latin America, Argentina has the fifth highest nominal GDP per capita and the highest in purchasing power terms.[9] Analysts[10] have argued that the country has a "foundation for future growth due to its market size, levels of foreign direct investment, and percentage of high-tech exports as share of total manufactured goods", and it is classed by investors as middle emerging economy. Argentina is a founding member of the United Nations, Mercosur, the Union of South American Nations, the Organization of Ibero-American States, the World Bank Group and the World Trade Organization, and is one of the G-15 and G-20 major economies.


Argentina is derived from the Latin argentum ("silver"). La Plata Basin does not have any sources of silver, but the first Spanish conquerors arrived to the area following rumors of the existence of silver mountains, hence the name. The first use of the name Argentina can be traced to the 1602 poem La Argentina y conquista del Río de la Plata (Argentina and the conquest of the river of silver) by Martín del Barco Centenera. Although this name for the La Plata Basin was already in common usage by the 18th century, the area was formally called Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata in 1776. The autonomous governments that emerged from the 1810 May Revolution replaced "Viceroyalty" with "United Provinces".[11]

One of the first prominent uses of the demonym "Argentine" was in the 1812 first Argentine National Anthem, which made reference to the ongoing Argentine War of Independence. The first formal use of the name was in the 1826 constitution, which used both the terms "Argentine Republic" and "Argentine Nation".[12] The Constitution was repealed, and the territories were instead known as the "Argentine Confederation". This name was used in the 1853 Constitution, being changed to that of the "Argentine Nation" in 1859, and to the "Argentine Republic" per an 1860 decree, when the country achieved its current organization. Nevertheless, the names of the "United Provinces of the Río de la Plata", "Argentine Republic" and "Argentine Confederation" are acknowledged as legitimate names of the country.[1][11]


Early history

Cueva de las Manos, over 10,000 years old, is among the oldest evidence of indigenous culture in the Americas.

The earliest evidence of humans in Argentina dates from 11,000 BC and was found in Patagonia (Piedra Museo, Santa Cruz). These finds were of the Diaguitas, Huarpes, and Sanavirones indigenous peoples, among others. The Inca Empire, under Sapa-Inca Pachacutec, invaded and conquered present-day north-western Argentina in 1480, a feat usually attributed to Túpac Inca Yupanqui. The tribes of Omaguacas, Atacamas, Huarpes and Diaguitas were defeated and integrated into a region called Collasuyu. Others, such as the Sanavirones, Lule-Tonocoté, and Comechingones, resisted the Incas and remained independent from them. The Guaraní developed a culture based on yuca, sweet potato, and yerba mate. The central and southern areas (Pampas and Patagonia) were dominated by nomadic cultures, the most populous among them being the Mapuches.[13] The Atacaman settlement of Tastil in the north had an estimated population of 2,000 people, the highest populated area in pre-Columbian Argentina.

The most advanced indigenous populations were the Charrúas and Guaraníes, who developed some basic agriculture and the use of pottery. Most of their population was located in other South American sites, however, and their presence in the territory of modern Argentina was scarce by comparison.[14]

Colonial period

The first European explorer, Juan Díaz de Solís, arrived to the Río de la Plata in 1516. Spain established the Viceroyalty of Peru in 1542, encompassing all its holdings in South America. Their first settlement in modern Argentina was the fort of Sancti Spiritu, established in 1527 next to the Paraná River. Buenos Aires, a permanent colony, was established in 1536 but was destroyed by natives. The city was established again in 1580. The colonization of modern Argentina came from 3 different directions: from Paraguay, establishing the Governorate of the Río de la Plata, from Peru and from Chile.[15]

The Spanish society in the Americas was organized in a system of castas. The European-born Spanish peninsulars were at the top of the social hierarchy, as were the people from other European countries. The Spanish born in the Americas were known as criollos. Most natives stayed away from the Spanish cities, and the Spaniards brought African slaves as well. The relations of peoples from different castas (in most cases, male Spaniards and female natives) generated the mestizos. Most of them lived in the countryside, and became the Argentine gauchos.[16]

Buenos Aires became the capital of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata in 1776, with territories from the Viceroyalty of Peru. Buenos Aires and Montevideo resisted two ill-fated British invasions in 1806 and 1807. The resistance was headed both times by the French Santiago de Liniers, who would become viceroy through popular support. The ideas of the Age of Enlightenment and the example of the Atlantic Revolutions generated criticism to the Absolute monarchy. The overthrow of the Spanish King Ferdinand VII during the Peninsular War created great concern in the Americas, so many cities deposed the monarchic authorities and apppointed new ones, working under the new political ideas. This started the Spanish American wars of independence across the continent. Buenos Aires deposed the viceroy Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros in 1810, during the May Revolution.[17]

Independence and civil wars

José de San Martín, Liberator of Argentina, Chile and Peru

The May Revolution began the Argentine War of Independence between patriots and royalists. The Primera Junta, the new government in Buenos Aires, sent military campaigns to Córdoba, Upper Peru and Paraguay, and supported the rebellions at the Banda Oriental. The military campaigns were defeated and colonial Brazil supported the royalists at Montevideo, so Buenos Aires signed an armistice.[18] Paraguay stayed Non-interventionist during the remainder of the conflict, Upper Peru defeated further military campaigns, and the Banda Oriental would be captured by William Brown during renewed hostilities. The national organization, either under a centralized government located in Buenos Aires or as a federation, began the Argentine Civil Wars as well, with the conflicts of Buenos Aires and José Gervasio Artigas.[19]

The Argentine Declaration of Independence was issued by the Congress of Tucumán in 1816. Martín Miguel de Güemes kept royalists at bay on the North, while José de San Martín made the Crossing of the Andes, securing the independence of Chile. With the Chilean navy at his disposal he then took the fight to the royalist stronghold of Lima. San Martín's military campaigns complemented those of Simón Bolívar in Gran Colombia and led to the independent's victory in the Spanish American wars of independence.[20]

Historical states
in present-day

The 1820 Battle of Cepeda, fought between the Centralists and the Federalists, resulted in the end of the centralized national authority and created a power vacuum. A new constitution was enacted in 1826, during the War with Brazil, and Bernardino Rivadavia was appointed the first President of Argentina. This constitution was soon rejected by the provinces, due to its centralist bias, and Rivadavia resigned shortly after. The new governor Manuel Dorrego was deposed and executed by Juan Lavalle, which exacerbated the civil war. Juan Manuel de Rosas, who was so far a mere rancher, organized the resistance against Lavalle and restored the deposed authorities. The provinces then reorganized themselves as the Argentine Confederation, a loose confederation of provinces that lacked a common head of state. They would instead delegate some important powers to the governor of Buenos Aires Province, such as debt payment or the management of international relations.[21]

Juan Manuel de Rosas ruled from 1829 to 1832, and from 1835 to 1852. During his first term he convened the Federal pact and defeated the Unitarian League. After 1835 he received the "Sum of public power". He faced several unitarian attacks and a constant state of war, including a French blockade from 1838 to 1840, the War of the Confederation in the north, an Anglo-French blockade from 1845 to 1850, and the Corrientes province revolt. Rosas remained undefeated during this series of conflicts and prevented further loss of national territory. His refusal to enact a national constitution, pursuant to the Federal pact, led to Entre Ríos governor Justo José de Urquiza to turn against Rosas. Rosas also declared war on Brazil in late 1851, starting the Platine War, which led to the defeat of the Argentine Confederation by coalition of Entre Ríos, Corrientes, Brazil and Uruguay. The San Nicolás Agreement followed, and then the promulgation of the Constitution of Argentina of 1853. Rejecting it, Buenos Aires seceded from the Confederation and became the State of Buenos Aires. The war between both lasted nearly a decade, and ended with the victory of Buenos Aires at the battle of Pavón.[22]

Buenos Aires rejoined the Confederation, and Bartolomé Mitre was elected the first president of the unified country in 1862. Mitre began military campaigns against both the remaining federals in Argentina, the whites from Uruguay, and Paraguay. The War of the Triple Alliance, in alliance with Uruguay and Brazil, left over 300,000 dead and devastated Paraguay.[23] Unable to influence the election of later presidents, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento and Nicolás Avellaneda followed him. Albeit unitarians, they were not from Buenos Aires, and had conflicts with him. Mitre attempted twice to secede Buenos Aires from the country once more, but failed. Avellaneda proposed the federalization of Buenos Aires, which was resisted in the city, and the national seat of government was temporarily moved to Belgrano (which was not part of Buenos Aires by then). The military conflict ended with the victory of the national army and the federalization of the city.[24]

Since the colonial times, huge territories were under the control of indigenous peoples. All governments since then attempted in some way to stay in good terms, kill them, or push them to ever farther frontiers. The final conflict was the Conquest of the Desert, waged by Julio Argentino Roca. With this military operation, Argentina seized the control of the Patagonia.[25]

Rise of Peronism

Hipólito Yrigoyen, first president elected with universal male suffrage.

The bases of modern Argentina were established by the Generation of '80, a political movement that opposed Mitre and sought to industrialize the country. A wave of European immigration led to the strengthening of a cohesive state, the development of modern agriculture and to a near-reinvention of Argentine society and economy. The country emerged as one of the ten richest countries in the world, benefiting from an agricultural export-led economy as well as British and French investment. Driven by immigration and decreasing mortality the Argentine population grew fivefold and the economy 15-fold.[26] However, the National Autonomist Party (PAN) could not meet its original goals of industrialization, and the country stayed as a pre-industrial society.[27]

President Julio Roca was followed by Miguel Ángel Juárez Celman, from the PAN as well. Juárez Celman faced an economic crisis that generated popular discontent, this caused the Revolution of the Park in 1890, led by the Civic Union. With the resignation of Mitre, the Civic Union became the Radical Civic Union (UCR). Although the Coup d'état failed, Celman resigned from the presidency, starting the decline of the PAN. Conservative élites dominated Argentine politics until 1912, when President Roque Sáenz Peña enacted universal male suffrage and the secret ballot. This allowed the UCR to win the country's first free elections in 1916. President Hipólito Yrigoyen enacted social and economic reforms and extended assistance to family farmers and small businesses. Argentina stayed neutral during World War I.[28]

Juan Perón and his influential wife, Eva.

The second administration of Yrigoyen faced a huge economic crisis, influenced by the international Great Depression. The military made a coup d'état and ousted him from power, which began the Infamous Decade. José Félix Uriburu led the military rule for two years, calling to elections in 1931. The UCR prevailed, so the elections were annulled. Agustín Pedro Justo was elected with electoral fraud, who signed the Roca-Runciman Treaty. Justo was followed by Roberto María Ortiz, who got diabetes and got replaced by his vicepresident, Ramón Castillo. World War II began during the presidency of Ortiz, who stayed neutral, as well as Castillo. Britain supported the Argentine neutrality, but after the attack on Pearl Harbor the United States requested all of South America to join the Allied Nations, in order to generate a continent-wide resistance. Castillo was finally deposed by the Revolution of '43, a new military coup that wanted to end the electoral fraud of the last decade. Argentina declared war to the Axis Powers a month before the end of World War II in Europe. The minister of welfare of the military, Juan Perón, became highly popular among workers. He was fired and jailed, but a massive demonstration forced his liberation. Perón run for the presidency in 1946, and won by the 53,1%.[29]

Juan Perón created a political movement known as Peronism. Taking advantage of the import substitution industrialization and the European devastation left by the immediate aftermath of World War II, he nationalized strategic industries and services, improved wages and working conditions, paid the full external debt and achieved nearly full employment. The economy, however, began to decline in 1950. The constitution was amended in 1949, adding new rights to the workers. Perón intensified censorship as well as repression: 110 publications were shuttered,[30] and numerous opposition figures were imprisoned and tortured.[31] His wife Eva Perón was highly popular and played a central political role, mostly through the Eva Perón Foundation and the Female Peronist Party, as women's suffrage was granted in 1947.[32] However, her declining health did not allow her to run for the vice-presidency in 1951, and she died of cancer the following year. The military began to plot against Perón in 1955, and bombed the Plaza de Mayo in an ill-fated attempt to kill him. A few months later, Perón resigned during a new military coup, which established the Revolución Libertadora. Perón left the country, and finally settled in Spain.[33]

The Dirty War

Arturo Frondizi (right) and his chief economic adviser, Rogelio Frigerio, whose policies promoted greater self-sufficiency in energy and industry.

Eduardo Lonardi, head of the military government, tried to maintain good relations with Peronism. The more intransigent factions of the military prevailed, replaced Lonardi with Pedro Eugenio Aramburu, and proscribed all manifestations of Peronism (even to refer to Juan Perón by name). Peronism, however, did not disappear, as Peronists kept being organized in informal associations. A group of military attempted a coup on 9 June 1956, to restore Peronism to power, but the government defeated them. The amendment of the Constitution was repealed, restoring the one of 1853; but the elections for the Constituent Assembly obtained a majority of blank votes because of the Peronist proscription. Arturo Frondizi from the UCR became popular by opposing the military rule, and got elected in the following elections.[34]

Frondizi enjoyed some support from Peronism, which though still proscribed allowed him to prevail in the elections. The military, however, was reluctant to allow Peronism to influence the new government, and allowed him to take power on condition he remain aligned with them. The military frequently interfered on behalf of conservative, agrarian interests however, and the results were mixed.[26] His policies encouraged investment to make the country self-sufficient in energy and industry, helping reverse a chronic trade deficit for Argentina. His efforts to stay on good terms with both Peronists and the military, without fully supporting either one, earned him the distrust and rejection of both. The 1960 legislative election ended again with a majority of blank votes. Frondizi attempted to mediate between the United States and Cuba, and received the Che Guevara (a leader of the Cuban Revolution) in Argentina, which further infuriated the military. Argentina broke relations with Cuba after the United States embargo, which increased his popular rejection. Frondizi lifted the Peronist proscription, leading to a Peronist victory in several provinces, rejected by the military. A new coup ousted Frondizi from power, but a swift reaction by José María Guido (president of the Senate) applied the laws related to power vacuums and became president instead of the military. The elections were repealed and Peronism proscribed again. Arturo Illia was elected in and enacted expansionist policies but, despite prosperity, his attempts to include Peronists in the political process resulted in the armed forces retaking power in a coup in 1966. The Argentine Revolution, the new military government, sought to rule in Argentina indefinitely.[35]

The new military Junta appointed Juan Carlos Onganía as president. He closed the Congress, banned all political parties and dismantled all student unions. The students' protests were repressed during the Night of the Long Batons. Many worker unions were dismantled as well. Popular discontent led to two massive protests, the Cordobazo in Córdoba and the Rosariazo in Rosario. Onganía was replaced by Roberto M. Levingston, and shortly after there was a huge political commotion with the kidnapping and execution of the former de facto president Aramburu. The crime was committed by the Montoneros, who, along with the People's Revolutionary Army (ERP), began Guerrilla warfare against the military, the Dirty War. Levingston was then replaced by Alejandro Agustín Lanusse, who began negotiations to return to democracy and end the proscription of peronism. Initially, he sought to allow Peronism but not the return of Juan Perón himself (who was living in Spain) with an agreement stipulating presidential candidates reside in Argentina as of the 25 of August. Thus, the Peronist candidate was not Perón but Héctor José Cámpora, who won the elections by the 49,59%.[36]

The return of Peronism to power saw violent disputes between its internal factions: right-wing union leaders and left-wing youth from montoneros. The return of Perón to the country generated an armed conflict, the Ezeiza massacre. Overwhelmed by the political violence, Cámpora and his vice-president resigned, promoting new elections so Perón could become president. Perón was elected, with his wife Isabel as vice-president, but before taking office the Montoneros murdered the union leader José Ignacio Rucci, with close ties to Perón. They thought that Perón would consider them a force to be reckoned, but rather than that, he ended all relations with them. He expelled them from Plaza de Mayo and from the party, and they became once again a clandestine organization. José López Rega, secretary of Perón, organized the Argentine Anticommunist Alliance (AAA) to fight against them and the ERP. Perón died shortly after, and his wife took office. The AAA maintained operations against the guerrillas, which increased their power. The Operativo Independencia stopped an attempt to capture and secede territories of Tucumán. A decree ordered the military to "annihilate the subversion". The military made another coup d'état, in March 1976.[37]

The Junta announced a National Reorganization Process, hence the name given to it. It closed the Congress, removed the members of the Supreme Court, and banned political parties, unions, student unions, etc. It also intensified measures against ERP and Montoneros, who had kidnapped and murdered people almost weekly since 1970.[38] The military resorted to the forced disappearance of suspected members of the guerrillas, and began to prevail in the war. The losses of Montoneros by the end of were near. The Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo denounced the forced disappearances. The Junta tried to be popular by promoting nationalism, with the Beagle conflict and the 1978 FIFA World Cup. As of 1977, the ERP was completely defeated. Montoneros was severely weakened, but launched a massive counterattack in 1979. It was defeated, ending the guerrilla threat. However, the military Junta stayed in government. Leopoldo Galtieri launched the Falklands War (Spanish: Guerra de Malvinas), attempting to recover the islands, but he was defeated by the United Kingdom within two months. Galtieri left the government because of the military defeat, and Reynaldo Bignone began to organize the transition to democratic rule, with the free elections in 1983.[39]

Contemporary era

File:Alfonsín entrega el mando a Menem - 1989.jpg
Carlos Menem (right) receives the Presidential sash from Raúl Alfonsín (left) in 1989. This was the first democratic transfer of power between opposing political parties in Argentina since 1916.

In the electoral campaign Alfonsín called to national unity, restoration of democratic rule and prosecution of the responsibles of the dirty war. Peronism lost free national elections for the first time. He established the National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons (CONADEP) to investigate the forced disappearances. The CONADEP generated a report detailing 340 centers of illegal detentions and 8961 forced disappearenced. The Trial of the Juntas sentenced all the heads of government of those years. The Beagle conflict ended by that time, with a referendum where the 81% of the country supported the proposed agreement. With the heads of the Junta condemned, Alfonsín aimed to the military of lower ranks, but the discontent among the military and the risk of a new coup increased. To please them, he issued the full stop law, which established a deadline for new trials. This did not work as intended, and the Carapintadas mutinied, forcing the law of Due Obedience that exempted the military that followed orders from superior ranks. This lowered the public support to the government, as well as an economic crisis that led to an hyperinflation. The Peronist Carlos Menem won the elections, but huge riots caused by the economic crisis forced Alfonsín to resign, handing government to Menem.[40]

Carlos Menem led a change in Peronism, which declined its usual politics, and embraced neoliberalism instead. Initially, Menem was unable to control the inflation, but a fixed exchange rate established in 1991, the dismantling of protectionist barriers, business regulations and several privatizations normalized the economy for a time. His presidency had high levels of perceived political corruption, but kept a high positive image anyway. There were two great terrorist attacks, against the Israeli embassy in and the AMIA in 1994. His victories at the and elections led to the 1994 amendment of the Argentine Constitution, which allowed him to run for a second term. He was reelected, but the economy began to decline in 1996, with higher unemployment and recession. He lost the elections, and the UCR returned to the presidency in the elections.[41]

President Fernando de la Rúa sought to change the political style of Menem, but kept his economic plan regardless of the growing recession. However, a few months later the Congress issues a new labour law, and many senators were accused of receiving briberies to vote for the law. The ensuing scandal led to the resignation of vice-president Chacho Álvarez and other members of the cabinet. De la Rúa appointed Ricardo López Murphy as minister of economy, who detailed a plan of fiscal austerity to solve the economic crisis. Huge protests forced him to resign in a few days, without implementing such plan. He was replaced by Domingo Cavallo, who had already been minister of economy during the presidency of Menem. The Congress delegated as well some legislative powers on the president, to help a swift solution to the crisis. The social discontent led to the appearance of piqueteros, unemployed people that block streets or roads to voice protests. The popular discontent with the political parties, both the UCR and the PJ, was manifested in the legislative elections: both parties received less than a million votes each in comparison with the elections, and the blank, protest votes and abstensions rose to 48%. A huge capital flight was responded to with a freezing of bank accounts, generating further discontent. Several riots in the country led the president to establish a state of emergency, received with more popular protests. The huge riots in December finally forced De la Rúa to resign.[42]

Néstor Kirchner with his wife and successor, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, upon her inaugural in.

Adolfo Rodríguez Saá was appointed president by the Legislative Assembly, but further riots forced him to resign as well in a few days. Eduardo Duhalde was appointed then, and derogated the fixed exchange rate established by Menem. The economic crisis began to end by the late under the management of the minister of Economy Roberto Lavagna. The death of two piqueteros caused a political scandal that forced Duhalde to call to elections earlier. Carlos Menem got the 24,36% of the votes, followed by Néstor Kirchner with the 22%. Kirchner was largely unknown by the people, but would maintain Lavagna as minister. However, Menem declined to run for the required ballotage, which made Kirchner the new president.[43]

Following the economic policies laid by Duhalde and Lavagna, Kirchner ended the economic crisis, getting fiscal and trade surpluses. However, he distanced from Duhalde once getting to power. He promoted as well the reopening of judicial actions against the crimes of the Dirty War. During his administration, Argentina restructured its defaulted debt with a steep discount (about 66%) on most bonds, paid off debts with the International Monetary Fund and nationalized some previously privatized enterprises. He did not run for a reelection, promoting instead the candidacy of his wife Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.[44][45]

The presidency of Cristina Kirchner began with a conflict with the agricultural sector, caused by an attempt to increase the taxes over exports to high levels. The conflict was taken to the Congress, and vice-president Julio Cobos gave an unexpected tie-breaking vote against the bill. Néstor Kirchner run for a deputee candidature in being defeated. The government increased its political radicalism and waged several controversies with the press, limiting the freedom of speech.[46][47] On 15 July Argentina became the first country in Latin America and the second country in the Southern Hemisphere to legalize same-sex marriage.[48][49] Néstor Kirchner died in and Cristina Fernández was reelected in.[50][51]


Argentina is a constitutional republic and representative democracy. The government is regulated by a system of checks and balances defined by the Constitution of Argentina, which serves as the country's supreme legal document. The seat of government is the city of Buenos Aires, such location is regulated by the Congress.[52] Suffrage is universal, equal, secret and mandatory.[53]

The national government is composed of three branches:

The Chamber of Deputies has 257 voting members, each representing a province for a four-year term. Seats are apportioned among the provinces by population every tenth year. As of ten provinces have just five deputies, while the Buenos Aires Province, the most populous province, has 70. The Senate has 72 members with each province having three senators, elected at-large to six-year terms;[57] one third of Senate seats are up for election every other year. A third of the candidates presented by the parties must be women. The president serves a four-year term and may be elected to the office no more than twice in a row.[58] The president is elected by direct vote. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. The Supreme Court has seven members appointed by the President in consultation with the Senate. The judges of all the other courts are appointed by the Council of Magistrates of the Nation, a secretariat composed of representatives of judges, lawyers, the Congress and the executive.[59]

The Supreme Court, head of the judiciary.

The provincial governments must be representative republics and may not contradict the national constitution and national laws, but beyond that, each province is allowed to have its own constitution and organize their local government as desired.[60] For example, some provinces have bicameral provincial legislatures, while others have unicameral ones. Buenos Aires is not a province but a federal district, but its local organization has similarities with the provinces: it has a local constitution, an elected mayor and representatives to the Senate and the Chamber of deputies. The national government reserved control of the Argentine Federal Police (the federally administered city force), the Port of Buenos Aires, and other faculties, however.[61]

Foreign policy

The President of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff (left), in a press conference with President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner (right).

Argentina is a full member of the Mercosur block together with Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Since Argentina has emphasized the role of Latin American integration and the bloc, which has some supranational legislative functions, as its first international priority.[62] Argentina is a founding signatory and permanent consulting member of the Antarctic Treaty System and the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat is based in Buenos Aires.[63] Argentina is also a full member of the Union of South American Nations. The former president of Argentina Néstor Kirchner was the first Secretary General of this organization. Argentina is part of the G-20 as well.

Argentina claims sovereignty over the Falkland Islands (Spanish: Islas Malvinas), and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, which are administered by the United Kingdom as British Overseas Territories, as well as almost 1,000,000 square kilometres (390,000 sq mi) in Antarctica, between 25°W and 74°W and south of 60°S. The Antarctic claim overlaps claims by Chile and the United Kingdom, though all claims to Antarctica fall under the provisions of the Antarctic Treaty. Since 1904, a scientific post has been maintained in Antarctica by mutual agreement.[64]

Argentina was the only Latin American country to participate in the Gulf War under the United Nations mandate, and played an important role in Operation Uphold Democracy, in Haiti.[65] Argentina has contributed worldwide to peacekeeping operations, including those in El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, the Ecuador-Peru dispute, Western Sahara, Angola, Kuwait, Cyprus, Croatia, Kosovo, Bosnia and Timor Leste. In recognition of its contributions to international security, U.S. President Bill Clinton designated Argentina as a major non-NATO ally in January 1998. It was last elected as a member of the UN Security Council in. The United Nations White Helmets, a bulwark of peacekeeping and humanitarian aid efforts, were first deployed in following an Argentine initiative.[66]


The armed forces of Argentina comprise an army, navy and air force, and number about 70,000 active duty personnel, one third fewer than levels before the return to democracy in 1983.[67] The President is commander-in-chief of the armed forces, with the Defense Ministry exercising day-to-day control. There are also two other forces; the Naval Prefecture (which patrols Argentine territorial waters) and the National Gendarmerie (which patrols the border regions); both arms are controlled by the Interior Ministry but maintain liaison with the Defense Ministry. The age for enlistment in the volunteer military is from 16 to 23 years old.[68]

Historically, Argentina's military has been one of the best equipped in the region (for example, developing its own jet fighters as early as the 1950s);[69] but recently it has faced sharper expenditure cutbacks than most other Latin American armed forces. Real military expenditures declined steadily after and though there have been recent increases, the defense budget is now around US$3 billion.[70] The armed forces are currently participating in major peacekeeping operations in Haiti, Cyprus, Western Sahara and the Middle East.[71]


Tierra del Fuego, Antarctica and South Atlantic Islands Province Santa Cruz Chubut Río Negro Neuquén La Pampa Buenos Aires Province Buenos Aires City Santa Fe Córdoba San Luis Mendoza San Juan La Rioja Catamarca Salta Jujuy Tucumán Santiago del Estero Chaco Formosa Corrientes Misiones Entre Ríos Falkland Islands Argentine AntarcticaProvinces of Argentina.
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Argentina is composed of twenty-three provinces and one autonomous city, Buenos Aires. The administrative divisions of the Provinces are the departments, and the municipalities, except for Buenos Aires Province, which is divided into partidos. The City of Buenos Aires is divided into communes. The provinces are organized as a federation, each one with a local constitution.[72] They hold all the power which is not specifically delegated to the national government.[73]

During the Argentine War of Independence the main cities and their surrounding countrysides became provinces, though the intervention of their cabildos. The anarchy of the year XX completed this process, shaping the original thirteen provinces. Jujuy seceded from Salta in 1834, and the thirteen provinces became fourteen. After seceding for a decade, Buenos Aires accepted the Constitution of Argentina of 1853 in 1860. Buenos Aires was made a federal territory in 1880.[72]

A 1862 law determined that the territories under control of Argentina but outside the frontiers of the provinces would be called national territories. This allowed in 1884 to establish the governorates of Misiones, Formosa, Chaco, La Pampa, Neuquén, Ró Negro, Chubut, Santa Cruz and Tierra del Fuego. The agreement about a frontier dispute with chile in created the national territory of Los Andes, whose territories were incorporated into Jujuy, Salta and Catamarca in 1943.[72]

La Pampa and Chaco became provinces in 1951. Misiones did so in 1953, and Formosa, Neuquén, Río Negro, Chubut and Santa Cruz in 1955. The last national territory, Tierra del Fuego, became a province in 1990.[72]

The Quinto River establishes part of the limit between Buenos Aires and La Pampa, but the presence of canals made a slight change in the path of the river. This led to a territorial dispute between the provinces, solved in 1984. Buenos Aires disputed as well the Lechiguanas islands with Entre Ríos, and it was ruled that the deepest point of the rivers, used to establish the exact international limits, would be used to establish provincial limits as well. Thus, the islands became part of Entre Ríos.[73]


Topographic map of Argentina

The total surface area (excluding the Antarctic claim and areas controlled by the United Kingdom) is 2,780,400 km2 (1,073,500 sq mi),[3] Argentina has six main regions: Gran Chaco, Mesopotamia, the Pampas, Patagonia, Cuyo and the Norwest. The Pampas are fertile lowlands located in the center and east. The Mesopotamia is a lowland enclosed by the Paraná and Uruguay rivers, and the Gran Chaco is between the mesopotamia and the Andes. Cuyo is at the east side of the Andes mountain range, and the Argentine Northwest is at the North of it. The Patagonia is a large plateau to the South.[74]

The highest point above sea level is in Mendoza province at Cerro Aconcagua (6,959 m (22,831 ft)),[75] also the highest point in the Southern and Western Hemisphere.[76] The lowest point is Laguna del Carbón in Santa Cruz province, −105 m (−344 ft) below sea level.[75] This is also the lowest point in South America.[77] The easternmost continental point is northeast of Bernardo de Irigoyen, Misiones,(26°15′S 53°38′W / 26.250°S 53.633°W / -26.250; -53.633 (Argentina's easternmost continental point))[11] the westernmost in the Perito Moreno National Park in Santa Cruz province.(49°33′S 73°35′W / 49.550°S 73.583°W / -49.550; -73.583 (Argentina's westernmost point))[11] The northernmost point is at the confluence of the Grande de San Juan and Mojinete rivers in Jujuy province,(21°46′S 66°13′W / 21.767°S 66.217°W / -21.767; -66.217 (Argentina's northernmost point))[11] and the southernmost is Cape San Pío in Tierra del Fuego. (55°03′S 66°31′W / 55.050°S 66.517°W / -55.050; -66.517 (Argentina's southernmost point))[11]

The major rivers are the Paraná (the largest), the Pilcomayo, Paraguay, Bermejo, Colorado, Río Negro, Salado and the Uruguay. The Paraná and the Uruguay join to form the Río de la Plata estuary, before reaching the Atlantic. Regionally important rivers are the Atuel and Mendoza in the homonymous province, the Chubut in Patagonia, the Río Grande in Jujuy and the San Francisco River in Salta.

Mount Aconcagua, the highest outside the Himalayas.

There are several large lakes including Argentino and Viedma in Santa Cruz, Nahuel Huapi between Río Negro and Neuquén and Colhué Huapi and Musters in Chubut.[78] Lake Buenos Aires, O'Higgins/San Martín Lake and Fagnano are shared with Chile.[78] Mar Chiquita, Córdoba, is the largest salt water lake in the country. There are numerous reservoirs created by dams. Argentina features various hot springs, such as Termas de Río Hondo, which house the largest spa resort in South America.[79]

The 4,725 km (2,936 mi) long Atlantic coast[11] has been a popular local vacation area for over a century, and varies between areas of sand dunes and cliffs. The continental platform is unusually wide; this shallow area of the Atlantic is called the Argentine Sea. The waters are rich in fisheries and possibly hold important hydrocarbon energy resources. The two major ocean currents affecting the coast are the warm Brazil Current and the cold Falkland Current. Because of the unevenness of the coastal landmass, the two currents alternate in their influence on climate and do not allow temperatures to fall evenly with higher latitude. The southern coast of Tierra del Fuego forms the north shore of the Beagle Channel.[80]


The generally temperate climate ranges from subtropical in the north to subpolar in the far south. The north is characterized by very hot, humid summers with mild drier winters, and is subject to periodic droughts.[81] Central Argentina has a temperate climate, with hot summers with thunderstorms, and cool winters; and higher moisture at the east.[82] The southern regions have warm summers and cold winters with heavy snowfall, specially in mountainous zones.[83]

The hottest and coldest temperature extremes recorded in South America have occurred in Argentina. A record high temperature of 49.1 °C (120.4 °F), was recorded at Villa María, Córdoba, on 2 January 1920.[84] The lowest temperature recorded was −39.0 °C (−38.2 °F) at Valle de los Patos Superior, San Juan, on 17 July 1972.[84]

Major wind currents include the cool Pampero Winds blowing on the flat plains of Patagonia and the Pampas; following the cold front, warm currents blow from the north in middle and late winter, creating mild conditions.[82] The Zonda, a hot dry wind, affects west-central Argentina. Squeezed of all moisture during the 6,000 m (19,685 ft) descent from the Andes, Zonda winds can blow for hours with gusts up to 120 km/h (75 mph), fueling wildfires and causing damage; when the Zonda blows (June–November), snowstorms and blizzard (viento blanco) conditions usually affect higher elevations.[85] The Sudestada usually moderates cold temperatures but brings very heavy rains, rough seas and coastal flooding. It is most common in late autumn and winter along the central coast and in the Río de la Plata estuary.[82]


Subtropical plants dominate the Gran Chaco in the north, with the Dalbergia genus of trees well represented by Brazilian Rosewood and the quebracho tree; also predominant are white and black algarrobo trees (prosopis alba and prosopis nigra). Savannah-like areas exist in the drier regions nearer the Andes. Aquatic plants thrive in the wetlands of Argentina. In central Argentina the humid pampas are a true tallgrass prairie ecosystem. The original pampa had virtually no trees; some imported species like the American sycamore or eucalyptus are present along roads or in towns and country estates (estancias). The only tree-like plant native to the pampa is the evergreen Ombú. The surface soils of the pampa are a deep black color, primarily mollisols, known commonly as humus. This makes the region one of the most agriculturally productive on Earth; however, this is also responsible for decimating much of the original ecosystem, to make way for commercial agriculture. The western pampas receive less rainfall, this dry pampa is a plain of short grasses or steppe.[86] The national government maintains 29 national parks.[87]

Most of Patagonia lies within the rain shadow of the Andes, so the flora, shrubby bushes and plants, is suited to dry conditions. The soil is hard and rocky, making large-scale farming impossible except along river valleys. Coniferous forests in far western Patagonia and on the island of Tierra del Fuego, include alerce, ciprés de la cordillera, ciprés de las guaitecas, huililahuán, lleuque, mañío hembra and pehuén, while broadleaf trees include several species of Nothofagus such as coihue, lenga and ñire. Other introduced trees present in forestry plantations include spruce, cypress and pine. Common plants are the copihue and colihue.[88]

In Cuyo, semiarid thorny bushes and other xerophile plants abound. Along the many rivers grasses and trees grow in significant numbers. The area presents optimal conditions for the large scale growth of grape vines. In northwest Argentina there are many species of cactus. No vegetation grows in the highest elevations (above 4,000 m (13,000 ft)) because of the extreme altitude.

Many species live in the subtropical north. Prominent animals include big cats like the jaguar, puma, and ocelot; primates (howler monkey); large reptiles (crocodiles), the Argentine Black and White Tegu and a species of caiman. Other animals include the tapir, peccary, capybara, bush dog, and various species of turtle and tortoise. There are a wide variety of birds, notably hummingbirds, flamingos, toucans, and swallows.

The central grasslands are populated by the giant anteater, armadillo, pampas cat, maned wolf, mara, cavias, and the rhea (ñandú), a large flightless bird. Hawks, falcons, herons, and tinamous (perdiz, Argentine "false partridges") inhabit the region. There are also pampas deer and pampas foxes. Some of these species extend into Patagonia.

The western mountains are home to different animals. These include the llama, guanaco, vicuña, among the most recognizable species of South America. Also in this region are the fox, viscacha, Andean Mountain Cat, kodkod, and the largest flying bird in the New World, the Andean Condor.

Southern Argentina is home to the cougar, huemul, pudú (the world's smallest deer), and introduced, non-native wild boar.[88] The coast of Patagonia is rich in animal life: elephant seals, fur seals, sea lions and species of penguin. The far south is populated by cormorants.

The territorial waters of Argentina have abundant ocean life; mammals such as dolphins, orcas, and whales like the southern right whale, a major tourist draw for naturalists. Sea fish include sardines, Argentine hakes, dolphinfish, salmon, and sharks; also present are squid and King crab (centolla) in Tierra del Fuego. Rivers and streams in Argentina have many species of trout and the South American golden dorado fish. Well known snake species inhabiting Argentina include boa constrictors and a very venomous pit viper named the yarará. The Hornero was elected the National Bird after a survey in 1928.[89]


Graphical depiction of Argentina's product exports in 28 color coded categories.

Argentina has a market-oriented economy with abundant natural resources, a well-educated population, an export-oriented agricultural sector and a relatively diversified industrial base. The nation's services sector accounts for around 59% of the economy and 72% of employment, manufacturing is 21% of GDP and 13% of employment, and agriculture is 9% of GDP, with 7% of employment; construction, mining, and public utilities divide the rest.[90][91] Agriculture, including processed goods, provided 54% of export earnings in however, while industrial manufactures accounted for 35% (energy staples and metal ores were most of the remainder).[92]

High inflation has been a weakness of the Argentine economy for decades.[93] Officially hovering around 9% since inflation has been privately estimated at over 20%,[94] becoming a contentious issue again. The government has manipulated inflation statistics.[95] The urban income poverty rate has dropped to 18% as of mid-2008, a third of the peak level observed in though still above the level prior to 1976.[96][97] Income distribution, having improved since is still considerably unequal.[98][99]

Argentina ranks 105th out of 178 countries in the Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index for.[100] Reported problems include both government and private-sector corruption, the latter of which include money laundering, trafficking in narcotics and contraband, and tax evasion.[101] The Kirchner administration responded to the Global financial crisis of–2009 with a record public-works program, new tax cuts and subsidies,[102][103] and the transfer of private pensions to the social security system. Private pension plans, which required growing subsidies to cover, were nationalized to shed a budgetary drain as well as to finance high government spending and debt obligations.[104][105]

Argentina has, after its neighbour Chile, the second-highest Human Development Index, and the highest GDP per capita in purchasing power terms in Latin America. Argentina is one of the G-20 major economies, with the world's 27th largest nominal GDP, and the 22nd largest by purchasing power. The country is classified as upper-middle income or a secondary emerging market by the World Bank.


Between 1860 and 1930, exploitation of the rich land of the pampas strongly pushed economic growth.[106] During the first three decades of the 20th century, Argentina outgrew Canada and Australia in population, total income, and per capita income.[106] By 1913, Argentina was the world's 10th wealthiest nation per capita.[107]

Beginning in the 1930s, however, the Argentine economy deteriorated notably.[106] The single most important factor in this decline has been political instability since 1930, when a military junta took power, ending seven decades of civilian constitutional government.[108] Successive governments from the 1930s to the 1970s pursued a strategy of import substitution to achieve industrial self-sufficiency, but the government’s encouragement of industrial growth diverted investment from agricultural production, which fell dramatically.[109]

The era of import substitution ended in 1976, but the same time growing government spending, large wage raises and inefficient production created a chronic inflation that rose through the 1980s.[109] The measures enacted in also produced a huge foreign debt by the late 1980s, which became equivalent to three-fourths of the GNP.[109]

In the early 1990s the government reined in inflation by making the peso equal in value to the U.S. dollar, and privatized numerous state-run companies, using part of the proceeds to reduce the national debt.[109] However, a sustained recession at the turn of the 20th to 21st century culminated in a default, and the government again devalued the peso.[109] By the economy had recovered: there was considerable GNP growth, renewed foreign investment, and a significant drop in the unemployment rate.[109] Argentina began a period of fiscal austerity in.[110][111]

Science and technology

Dr. Luis Agote (second from right) overseeing the first safe and effective blood transfusion (1914)

Argentina has contributed many distinguished doctors, scientists and inventors to the world, including three Nobel Prize laureates in sciences. Argentines have been responsible for major breakthroughs in world medicine; their research has led to significant advances in wound-healing therapies and in the treatment of heart disease and several forms of cancer. Domingo Liotta designed and developed the first artificial heart successfully implanted in a human being in 1969. René Favaloro developed the techniques and performed the world's first ever coronary bypass surgery, and Francisco de Pedro invented a more reliable artificial cardiac pacemaker.

SAC-D satellite

Bernardo Houssay, the first Latin American awarded with a Nobel Prize in the Sciences, discovered the role of pituitary hormones in regulating glucose in animals; César Milstein did extensive research in antibodies; Luis Leloir discovered how organisms store energy converting glucose into glycogen and the compounds which are fundamental in metabolizing carbohydrates. A team led by Alberto Taquini and Eduardo Braun-Menéndez discovered angiotensin in 1939, and was the first to describe the enzymatic nature of the renin-angiotensin system and its role in hypertension.[112] The Leloir Institute of biotechnology is among the most prestigious in its field in Latin America and in the world.[113]

Dr. Luis Agote devised the first safe method of blood transfusion, Enrique Finochietto designed operating table tools such as the surgical scissors that bear his name ("Finochietto scissors") and a surgical rib-spreader.[114] They have likewise contributed to bioscience in efforts like the Human Genome Project, where Argentine scientists have successfully mapped the genome of a living being, a world first.[115][116]

Dr. Luis Federico Leloir (left) and his staff toast his Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Argentina's nuclear program is highly advanced, having resulted in a research reactor in and Latin America's first on-line commercial reactor in 1974. Argentina developed its nuclear program without being overly dependent on foreign technology. Nuclear facilities with Argentine technology have been built in Peru, Algeria, Australia and Egypt. In 1983, the country admitted having the capability of producing weapon-grade uranium, a major step needed to assemble nuclear weapons; since then, however, Argentina has pledged to use nuclear power only for peaceful purposes.[117] As a member of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Argentina has been a strong voice in support of nuclear non-proliferation efforts[118] and is highly committed to global nuclear security.[119]

In other areas, Juan Vucetich, a Croatian immigrant, was the father of modern fingerprinting (dactiloscopy).[120] Raúl Pateras Pescara demonstrated the world's first flight of a helicopter, Hungarian-Argentine László Bíró mass-produced the first modern ball point pens and Eduardo Taurozzi developed the pendular combustion engine.[121] Juan Maldacena, an Argentine-American scientist, is a leading figure in string theory. Argentine built satellites include LUSAT-1 (1990), Víctor-1 (1996), PEHUENSAT-1,[122] and those developed by CONAE, the Argentine space agency, of the SAC series.[123] The Pierre Auger Observatory near Malargüe, Mendoza, is the world's foremost cosmic ray observatory.[124]


Historical population
Year Pop.   ±%  
1869 1,830,214 —    
1895 4,044,911 +121.0%
1914 7,903,662 +95.4%
1947 15,893,827 +101.1%
1960 20,013,793 +25.9%
1970 23,364,431 +16.7%
1980 27,949,480 +19.6%
1991 32,615,528 +16.7%
2001 36,223,947 +11.1%
2010 40,091,359 +10.7%
File:Crdobay Corrientes Rosario 1.jpg
A crowd in Rosario reflects the importance of European immigration to Argentine ethnography and culture.

In the 2001 census [INDEC] , Argentina had a population of 36,260,130, and preliminary results from the census were of 40,091,359 inhabitants.[125][126] Argentina ranks third in South America in total population and 33rd globally. Population density is of 15 persons per square kilometer of land area, well below the world average of 50 persons. The population growth rate in was an estimated 1.03% annually, with a birth rate of 17.7 live births per 1,000 inhabitants and a mortality rate of 7.4 deaths per 1,000 inhabitants. The net migration rate has ranged from zero to four immigrants per 1,000 inhabitants.[127]

The proportion of people under 15 is 25.6%, somewhat below the world average of 28%, and the proportion of people 65 and older is relatively high at 10.8%. In Latin America this is second only to Uruguay and well above the world average, which is currently 7%. Argentina has one of Latin America's lowest population growth rates, recently about 1% a year, as well as a comparatively low infant mortality rate. Its birth rate of 2.3 children per woman is still nearly twice as high as that in Spain or Italy, compared here as they have similar religious practices and proportions.[128][129] The median age is approximately 30 years and life expectancy at birth is 77.14 years.[127]


Built in to welcome hundreds of newcomers daily, the Hotel de Inmigrantes is now a national museum.

As with other areas of new settlement such as Canada, Australia, and the United States, Argentina is considered a country of immigrants.[130] Most Argentines are descended from colonial-era settlers, and 19th and 20th century immigrants from Europe.[131] Argentina was second only to the US in the numbers of European immigrants received and, at those times, the national population doubled every two decades. The majority of these European immigrants came from Italy and Spain.[132] 86.4% of Argentina's population self-identify as being of European descent. An estimated 8% of the population is Mestizo and 4% of Argentines are of Arab or Asian heritage.[cn]

Recent Illegal immigration has mostly been coming from Bolivia and Paraguay, with smaller numbers from Peru, Ecuador and Romania.[133] The Argentine government estimates that 750,000 inhabitants lack official documents and has launched a program called Patria Grande ("Greater Homeland")[134] to encourage illegal immigrants to declare their status in return for two-year residence visas——so far over 670,000 applications have been processed under the program.[135]


The Cathedral of La Plata and the Córdoba Synagogue. Although Argentines are mostly Christian, the country also has the largest Jewish population of any Latin American country.

The Constitution guarantees freedom of religion but also requires the government to support Roman Catholicism economically.[136] Until the President and Vice President had to be Roman Catholic, though there were no such restrictions on other government officials; although since members of other religious groups have held prominent posts. Catholic policy remains influential in government though, and still helps shape a variety of legislation.[137] In a study assessing world-wide levels of religious regulation and persecution, with scores ranging from 0–10 where 0 represented low levels of regulation or persecution, Argentina received a score of 1.4 on Government Regulation of Religion, 6.0 on Social Regulation of Religion, 6.9 on Government Favoritism of Religion and 6 on Religious Persecution.[138]

According to the World Christian Database Argentines are: 92.1% Christian, 3.1% agnostic, 1.9% Muslim, 1.3% Jewish, 0.9% atheist, and 0.9% Buddhist and others.[139] Argentine Christians are mostly Roman Catholic with estimates for the number of Catholics varying from 70%[140] to 90% of the population[141] (though perhaps only 20% attend services regularly).[127]

Evangelical churches have been gaining a foothold since the 1980s with approximately 9% of the total population,[142] Pentecostal churches and traditional Protestant denominations are present in most communities and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints claims 330,000 followers in Argentina (their seventh-largest congregation in the world).[143]

Argentina has the largest Jewish population of any country in Latin America.[144] A recent study found that approximately 11% of Argentines are non-religious (which includes those who believe in God but do not follow a religion), 4% are agnostics and 5% are atheist. Overall 24% attended religious services regularly. Protestants were the only group with a majority of followers who regularly attended services.[142]


"Voseo" in a Buenos Aires billboard

The de facto official language of Argentina is Spanish, usually called castellano (Castilian) by Argentines. Argentina is the largest Spanish-speaking society that universally employs voseo (the use of the pronoun vos instead of (you), which occasions the use of alternate verb forms as well). The most prevalent dialect is Rioplatense, whose speakers are primarily located in the Río de la Plata basin. Italian and other European immigrants influenced Lunfardo, the slang spoken in the Río de la Plata region, permeating the vernacular vocabulary of other regions as well. A phonetic study conducted by the Laboratory for Sensory Investigations of CONICET and the University of Toronto showed that the accent of the inhabitants of Buenos Aires (known as porteños) is closer to the Neapolitan language, spoken in Southern Italy, than any other spoken language.[145]

According to Ethnologue there are around 1.5 million Italian speakers (making it the second most spoken language in the country) and 1 million speakers of the North Levantine dialect of Arabic (spoken in Syria, Lebanon and Cyprus).[146] Standard German is spoken by 400,000—500,000 Argentines of German ancestry,[146] making it the fourth most spoken language.

Some indigenous communities have retained their original languages. Guaraní is spoken by some in the north east, especially in Corrientes (where it enjoys official status) and Misiones. Quechua is spoken by some in the north west and has a local variant in Santiago del Estero. Aymara is spoken by members of the Bolivian immigrant community. In Patagonia there are Welsh-speaking communities with around 25,000 using it as their second-language.[146] Recent immigrants have brought Chinese and Korean (mostly to Buenos Aires). English, Brazilian Portuguese and French are also spoken. English is commonly taught at schools as a second language with Portuguese and French to a lesser extent.[cn]

Popular genetics

Studies conducted by researchers from Argentine and French scientific institutions concluded that: The average genetic admixture of Argentina's population is of 79.9% European, 15.8% Amerindian and 4.3% African. Another study by Argentine, Swedish, Guatemalan, and North American scientific institutions, under the direction of Michael F. Seldin from the University of California concluded that: The genetic average of Argentine's population is 78% European, 19.4% Amerindian and 2.5% African.[147]


Argentina is highly urbanized.[148] The ten largest metropolitan areas account for half of the population, and fewer than one in ten live in rural areas. About 3 million people live in Buenos Aires City and the Greater Buenos Aires metropolitan area totals around 13 million, making it one of the largest urban areas in the world.[149]

The metropolitan areas of Córdoba and Rosario have around 1.3 million inhabitants each[149] and Mendoza, Tucumán, La Plata, Mar del Plata, Salta and Santa Fe[149][150] have at least half a million people each.

The population is unequally distributed amongst the provinces: about 60% live in the Pampa region (21% of the total area), including 15 million people in Buenos Aires Province; Córdoba Province Santa Fe Province and the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires have 3 million each. Seven other provinces have over one million people each: Mendoza, Tucumán, Entre Ríos, Salta, Chaco, Corrientes and Misiones. Tucumán is the most densely populated with 60 inhabitants/km², the only Argentine province more densely populated than the world average, while the southern province of Santa Cruz has around 1 inhabitant/km².

Most European immigrants settled in the cities, and the many small towns founded along the expanding railway system. From the 1930s rural migration into the nation's larger cities accounted for much of their population growth.[13] Argentine cities were originally built in a colonial Spanish grid style and many still retain this general layout, which is known as a damero (checkerboard). Most of the larger cities also feature boulevards and diagonal avenues inspired by Haussmann's renovation of Paris. The city of La Plata, designed at the end of the 19th century by Pedro Benoit, combines the checkerboard layout with added diagonal avenues at fixed intervals——it was also the first in South America to have electric street lights.[151]

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A panorama of the highly urbanized city of Buenos Aires, the country's largest city.

Largest cities


Argentine culture has significant European influences. Buenos Aires, its cultural capital, is largely characterized by both the prevalence of people of European descent, and of conscious imitation of European styles in architecture.[152] The other big influence is the gauchos and their traditional country lifestyle of self-reliance. Finally, indigenous American traditions (like yerba mate infusions) have been absorbed into the general cultural milieu.


Argentina has a rich literary history, as well as one of the region's most active publishing industries. Argentine writers have figured prominently in Latin American literature since becoming a fully united entity in the 1850s. The struggle between the Federalists (who favored a loose confederation of provinces based on rural conservatism) and the Unitarians (pro-liberalism and advocates of a strong central government that would encourage European immigration), set the tone for Argentine literature of the time.[153]

The ideological divide between gaucho epic Martín Fierro by José Hernández, and Facundo[154] by Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, is a great example. Hernández, a federalist, was opposed to the centralizing, modernizing and Europeanizing tendencies. Sarmiento wrote in support of immigration as the only way to save Argentina from becoming subject to the rule of a small number of dictatorial caudillo families, arguing such immigrants would make Argentina more modern and open to Western European influences and therefore a more prosperous society.[155]

Argentine literature of that period was fiercely nationalist. It was followed by the modernist movement, which emerged in France in the late 19th century, and this period in turn was followed by vanguardism, with Ricardo Güiraldes as an important reference. Jorge Luis Borges, its most acclaimed writer, found new ways of looking at the modern world in metaphor and philosophical debate and his influence has extended to writers all over the globe. Borges is most famous for his works in short stories such as Ficciones and The Aleph.

Some of the nation's notable writers, poets and intellectuals include: Juan Bautista Alberdi, Roberto Arlt, Enrique Banchs, Adolfo Bioy Casares, Silvina Bullrich, Eugenio Cambaceres, Julio Cortázar, Esteban Echeverría, Leopoldo Lugones, Eduardo Mallea, Ezequiel Martínez Estrada, Tomás Eloy Martínez, Victoria Ocampo, Manuel Puig, Ernesto Sabato, Osvaldo Soriano, Alfonsina Storni and María Elena Walsh.

Visual arts

Font of the Nereids (1903) by Lola Mora, a student of Auguste Rodin's

Numerous Argentine architects have enriched their own country's cityscapes and, in recent decades, those around the world. Juan Antonio Buschiazzo helped popularize Beaux-Arts architecture and Francisco Gianotti combined Art Nouveau with Italianate styles, each adding flair to Argentine cities during the early 20th century. Francisco Salamone and Viktor Sulĉiĉ left an Art Deco legacy, and Alejandro Bustillo created a prolific body of Rationalist architecture. Clorindo Testa introduced Brutalist architecture locally and César Pelli's and Patricio Pouchulu's Futurist creations have graced cities, worldwide. Pelli's 1980s throwbacks to the Art Deco glory of the 1920s, in particular, made him one of the world's most prestigious architects.

One of the most influential Argentine figures in fine arts was Xul Solar, whose surrealist work used watercolors as readily as unorthodox painting media; he also "invented" two imaginary languages. The works of Cándido López and Florencio Molina Campos (in Naïve art style), Ernesto de la Cárcova and Eduardo Sívori (realism), Fernando Fader (impressionism), Pío Collivadino and Cesáreo Bernaldo de Quirós (post-impressionist), Emilio Pettoruti (cubist), Antonio Berni (neo-figurative), Gyula Košice (constructivism), Eduardo Mac Entyre (Generative art), Guillermo Kuitca (abstract), and Roberto Aizenberg (Surrealism) are a few of the best-known Argentine painters.

Others include Benito Quinquela Martín, a quintessential 'port' painter for whom the working class and immigrant-bound La Boca neighborhood, in particular, was excellently suited. A similar environment inspired Adolfo Bellocq, whose lithographs have been influential since the 1920s. Evocative monuments ny Realist sculptors Erminio Blotta, Lola Mora and Rogelio Yrurtia became the part of the national landscape and today, Lucio Fontana and León Ferrari are acclaimed sculptors and conceptual artists. Ciruelo is a world-famous fantasy artist and sculptor, and Marta Minujín is an innovative Conceptual artist.

Film and theatre

The Argentine film industry creates around 80 full-length motion pictures annually.[152][156] The per capita number of screens is one of the highest in Latin America, and viewing per capita is the highest in the region.[153] The world's first animated feature films were made and released in Argentina, by cartoonist Quirino Cristiani, in and 1918.[157] Since the 1980s, Argentine films have achieved worldwide recognition, such as The Official Story (Best foreign film oscar in 1986), Man Facing Southeast, A Place in the World, Nine Queens, Son of the Bride, The Motorcycle Diaries, Blessed by Fire, and The Secret in Their Eyes, winner of the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. A new generation of Argentine directors has caught the attention of critics worldwide.[158] Argentine composers Luis Enrique Bacalov and Gustavo Santaolalla have been honored with Academy Award for Best Original Score nods. Lalo Schifrin has received numerous Grammys and is best known for the Theme from Mission: Impossible.

Buenos Aires is one of the great capitals of theater.[153] The Teatro Colón is a national landmark for opera and classical performances; its acoustics are considered the best in the world.[152] With its theatre scene of national and international caliber, Corrientes Avenue is synonymous with the art. It is thought of as 'the street that never sleeps' and sometimes referred to as the Broadway of Buenos Aires.[159] The Teatro General San Martín is one of the most prestigious along Corrientes Avenue and the Teatro Nacional Cervantes functions as the national stage theater of Argentina. The Teatro Argentino de La Plata, El Círculo in Rosario, Independencia in Mendoza and Libertador in Córdoba are also prominent. Griselda Gambaro, Copi, Roberto Cossa, Marco Denevi, Carlos Gorostiza, and Alberto Vaccarezza are a few of the more prominent Argentine playwrights. Julio Bocca, Jorge Donn, José Neglia and Norma Fontenla are some of the great ballet dancers of the modern era.


A tango show in Buenos Aires

Tango, the music and lyrics (often sung in a form of slang called lunfardo), is Argentina's musical symbol. It has influences from the European and African culture.[160] The golden age of tango (1930 to mid-1950s) mirrored that of jazz and swing in the United States, featuring large orchestral groups too, like the bands of Osvaldo Pugliese, Aníbal Troilo, Francisco Canaro, Julio de Caro and Juan d'Arienzo. Incorporating acoustic music and later, synthesizers into the genre after 1955, bandoneón virtuoso Ástor Piazzolla popularized "new tango" creating a more subtle, intellectual and listener-oriented trend. Today tango enjoys worldwide popularity; ever-evolving, neo-tango is a global phenomenon with renown groups like Tanghetto, Bajofondo and the Gotan Project.

Argentine rock developed as a distinct musical style in the mid-1960s, when Buenos Aires and Rosario became cradles of several garage groups and aspiring musicians. Today it is widely considered the most prolific and successful form of Rock en Español.[cn] Bands such as Soda Stereo or Sumo, and composers like Charly García, Luis Alberto Spinetta, and Fito Páez are referents of national culture. Serú Girán bridged the gap into the 1980s, when Argentine bands became popular across Latin America and elsewhere. Current popular bands include: Babasónicos, Rata Blanca, Horcas, Attaque 77, Bersuit, Los Piojos, Intoxicados, Catupecu Machu, Carajo and Miranda!.

European classical music is well represented in Argentina. Buenos Aires is home to the world-renowned Colón Theater. Classical musicians, such as Martha Argerich, Eduardo Alonso-Crespo, Daniel Barenboim, Eduardo Delgado and Alberto Lysy, and classical composers such as Juan José Castro and Alberto Ginastera are internationally acclaimed. Some cities have annual events and important classical music festivals like Semana Musical Llao Llao in San Carlos de Bariloche and the multitudinous Amadeus in Buenos Aires.

Beyond dozens of regional dances, a national Argentine folk style emerged in the 1930s. Perón's Argentina would give rise to nueva canción, as artists began expressing in their music objections to political themes. The style went on to influence the entirety of Latin American music.[161] Today, Chango Spasiuk and Soledad Pastorutti have brought folk back to younger generations. León Gieco's folk-rock bridged the gap between Argentine folklore and Argentine rock, introducing both styles to millions overseas in successive tours.


The print media industry is highly developed and independent of the government, with more than two hundred newspapers. The major national newspapers are from Buenos Aires, including the centrist Clarín, the best-selling daily in Latin America and the second most widely circulated in the Spanish-speaking world.[162] Other nationally circulated papers are La Nación (center-right, published since 1870), Página/12 (left-wing), Ámbito Financiero (business conservative), Olé (sports) and Crónica (populist). The most circulated newsmagazine is Noticias.[163]

Radio broadcasting in Argentina is predated only by radio in the United States, and began on 27 August 1920, when Richard Wagner's Parsifal was broadcast by a team of medical students led Enrique Susini in Buenos Aires' Teatro Coliseo.[164] There are currently 260 AM broadcasting and 1150 FM broadcasting radio stations in Argentina.[165]

The Argentine television industry is large and diverse, widely viewed in Latin America, and its productions seen around the world. Argentines enjoy the highest availability of cable and satellite television in Latin America, similar to percentages in North America.[166]

Argentine comic artists have contributed prominently to national culture, including Alberto Breccia, Dante Quinterno, Oski, Francisco Solano López, Horacio Altuna, Guillermo Mordillo, Roberto Fontanarrosa, whose grotesque characters captured life's absurdities with quick-witted commentary, and Quino, known for the soup-hating Mafalda and her comic strip gang of childhood friends.


Further information: Sport in Argentina

The official national sport of Argentina is pato,[167] played with a six-handle ball on horseback, but the most popular sport is association football.[168] The national football team has won 25 major international titles[169] including two FIFA World Cups, two Olympic gold medals and fourteen Copa Américas.[170] Over one thousand Argentine players play abroad, the majority of them in European football leagues.[171] There are 331,811 registered football players,[172] with increasing numbers of girls and women, who have organized their own national championships since and were South American champions in.

The Argentine Football Association (AFA) was formed in 1893 and is the eighth oldest national football association in the world. The AFA today counts 3,377 football clubs,[172] including 20 in the Premier Division. Since the AFA went professional in 1931, fifteen teams have won national tournament titles, including River Plate with 33 and Boca Juniors with 24.[173] Over the last twenty years, futsal and beach soccer have become increasingly popular. The Argentine beach football team was one of four competitors in the first international championship for the sport, in Miami, in 1993.[174]

Basketball is the second most popular sport; a number of basketball players play in the U.S. National Basketball Association and European leagues including Manu Ginóbili, Andrés Nocioni, Carlos Delfino, Luis Scola and Fabricio Oberto. The men's national basketball team won Olympic gold in the Olympics and the bronze medal in 2008. Argentina is currently ranked first by the International Basketball Federation. Argentina has an important rugby union football team, "Los Pumas", with many of its players playing in Europe. Argentina beat host nation France twice in the Rugby World Cup, placing them third in the competition. The Pumas are currently eighth in the official world rankings.[175] Other popular sports include field hockey (particularly amongst women), tennis, auto racing, boxing, volleyball, polo and golf.

The Vamos vamos Argentina chant is a trademark of Argentine fans during sporting events.


Dishes & drinks from Argentina

Besides many of the pasta, sausage and dessert dishes common to continental Europe, Argentines enjoy a wide variety of Indigenous and Criollo creations, which include empanadas (a stuffed pastry), locro (a mixture of corn, beans, meat, bacon, onion, and gourd), humitas and yerba mate, all originally indigenous Amerindian staples, the latter considered Argentina's national beverage. Other popular items include chorizo (a spicy sausage), facturas (Viennese-style pastry) and Dulce de leche, a sort of milk caramel jam.

The Argentine barbecue, asado as well as a parrillada, includes various types of meats, among them chorizo, sweetbread, chitterlings, and morcilla (blood sausage). Thin sandwiches, sandwiches de miga, are also popular. Argentines have the highest consumption of red meat in the world.[176]

The Argentine wine industry, long among the largest outside Europe, has benefited from growing investment since 1992; in 60% of foreign investment worldwide in viticulture was destined to Argentina.[177] The country is the fifth most important wine producer in the world,[178] with the annual per capita consumption of wine among the highest. Malbec grape, a discardable varietal in France (country of origin), has found in the Province of Mendoza an ideal environment to successfully develop and turn itself into the world's best Malbec.[177] Mendoza accounts for 70% of the country's total wine production. "Wine tourism" is important in Mendoza province, with the impressive landscape of the Cordillera de Los Andes and the highest peak in the Americas, Mount Aconcagua, 6,952 m (22,808 ft) high, providing a very desirable destination for international tourism.

National symbols

Argentina has a number of national symbols, some of which are extensively defined by law.[179]

The National Flag consists of three, equal in width, horizontal stripes, colored light blue, white and light blue, with the Sun of May in the centre of the middle, white stripe. The flag was designed by Manuel Belgrano in 1812; it was adopted as a national symbol 20 July 1816. The Coat of Arms of Argentina, which represents the union of the provinces, came into use in 1813 as a seal for official documents.

The Argentine National Anthem, adopted in 1813, was written by Vicente López y Planes with music by Blas Parera. It has been subsequently shortened to only three paragraphs, after omitting the lyrics' attacks against former occupant Spain.

The Cockade of Argentina was first used during the May Revolution of 1810 and was made official two years later. The Hornero, habitating practically across all the national territory, was unanimously designated as Argentina's national animal in 1927. The ceibo is the country's designated national flower and tree,[179] while the horseback game of pato is its national sport.[180] The Schinopsis balansae was declared "National forest tree" in 1956.[181] The Rhodochrosite is the national stone.[179]

The national dishes are asado[182] and locro,[183] and wine the national liquor.[184]

The Virgin of Lujan is Argentina's patron saint.[185]

Template:National emblems of Argentina


After independence Argentina built a national public education system in comparison to other nations, placing the country high in the global rankings of literacy. Today Argentina has a literacy rate of 97%, and three in eight adults over age 20 have completed secondary school studies or higher.[96]

The ubiquitous white uniform of Argentine school children is a national symbol of learning

School attendance is compulsory between the ages of 5 and 17. The Argentine school system consists of an elementary or lower school level lasting six or seven years, and a secondary or high school level lasting between five to six years. In the 1990s, the system was split into different types of high school instruction, called Educacion Secundaria and the Polimodal. Some provinces adopted the Polimodal while others did not. A project in the executive branch to repeal this measure and return to a more traditional secondary level system was approved in.[186] President Domingo Faustino Sarmiento is credited with pushing for and implementing a free and modern education system in Argentina. The 1918 university reform shaped the current tripartite representation of most public universities.

Education is funded by tax payers at all levels except for the majority of graduate studies. There are many private school institutions in the primary, secondary and university levels. Around 11.4 million people were enrolled in formal education of some kind in including 1.5 million in the nation's 85 universities.[96]

Public education in Argentina is tuition-free from the elementary to the university levels. Though literacy was nearly universal as early as 1947,[96] the majority of Argentine youth had little access to education beyond the compulsory seven years of grade school during the first half of the 20th century; since then, when the tuition-free system was extended to the secondary and university levels, demand for these facilities has often outstripped budgets (particularly since the 1970s).[187] Consequently, public education is now widely found wanting and in decline; this has helped private education flourish, though it has also caused a marked inequity between those who can afford it (usually the middle and upper classes) and the rest of society, as private schools often have no scholarship systems in place. Roughly one in four primary and secondary students and one in six university students attend private institutions.[96][187]

There are thirty-eight public universities across the country,[188] as well as numerous private ones. The University of Buenos Aires, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Universidad Nacional de Rosario, and the National Technological University are among the most important. Public universities faced cutbacks in spending during the 1980s and 1990s, which led to a decline in overall quality.

Health care

The University of Buenos Aires School of Medicine, alma mater to many of the country's 3,000 medical graduates, annually.[189]

Health care is provided through a combination of employer and labor union-sponsored plans (Obras Sociales), government insurance plans, public hospitals and clinics and through private health insurance plans. Government efforts to improve public health can be traced to Spanish Viceroy Juan José de Vértiz's first Medical Tribunal of 1780.[190] Following independence, medical schools were established at the University of Buenos Aires (1822) and the National University of Córdoba (1877). The training of doctors and nurses at these and other schools enabled the rapid development of health care cooperatives, which during the presidency of Juan Perón became publicly subsidized Obras Sociales. Today, these number over 300 (of which 200 are related to labor unions) and provide health care for half the population; the national INSSJP (popularly known as PAMI) covers nearly all of the five million senior citizens.[191]

Health care costs amount to almost 10% of GDP and have been growing in pace with the proportion of Argentines over 65 (7% in 1970). Public and private spending have historically split this about evenly: public funds are mainly spent through Obras, which in turn, refer patients needing hospitalization to private and public clinics; private funds are spent evenly between private insurers' coverage and out-of-pocket expenses.[192][193]

There are more than 153,000 hospital beds, 121,000 physicians and 37,000 dentists (ratios comparable to developed nations).[194][195] The relatively high access to medical care has historically resulted in mortality patterns and trends similar to developed nations': from to deaths from cardiovascular disease increased from 20% to 23% of the total, those from tumors from 14% to 20%, respiratory problems from 7% to 14%, digestive maladies (non-infectious) from 7% to 11%, strokes a steady 7%, injuries, 6%, and infectious diseases, 4%. Causes related to senility led to many of the rest. Infant deaths have fallen from 19% of all deaths in to 3% in.[194][196]

The availability of health care has also reduced infant mortality from 70 per 1000 live births in 1948[197] to 12.1 in[194] and raised life expectancy at birth from 60 years to 76.[197] Though these figures compare favorably with global averages, they fall short of levels in developed nations and in Argentina ranked fourth in Latin America.[195]

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  179. 194.0 194.1 194.2
  180. 195.0 195.1 UNData
  181. UN Demographic Yearbook. 1957.
  182. 197.0 197.1 UN Demographic Yearbook. Historical Statistics. 1997.


External links

  • Media related to Argentina from the Wikimedia Commons.
  • OpenStreetMap has geographic data related to Argentina
  • Official website of Argentina
  • Argentina entry at The World Factbook
  • Argentina at UCB Libraries GovPubs
  • LANIC Argentina page
  • Argentina at the Open Directory Project
  • Wikimedia Atlas of Argentina
  • Argentina travel guide
  • Key Development Forecasts for Argentina from International Futures

This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Argentina.
The list of authors can be seen in the page history. The text of this Wikinfo article is available under the GNU Free Documentation License and the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license.

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