Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic (Spanish: Rep?blica Argentina [re'pu?lika a?xen'tina]), is the second largest country in South America 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, Argentina is Latin America's third-largest economy, with a "very high" rating on the Human development index. Within Latin America, Argentina has the fifth highest nominal GDP per capita and the highest in purchasing power terms. Analysts 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 an 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 R?o de la Plata (Argentina and the conquest of the river of silver) by Mart?n 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 R?o de la Plata in 1776. The autonomous governments that emerged from the 1810 May Revolution replaced "Viceroyalty" with "United Province s".
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". 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 R?o de la Plata", "Argentine Republic" and "Argentine Confederation" are acknowledged as legitimate names of the country.
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 pres ent-day north-western Argentina in 1480, a feat usually attributed to T?pac 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-Tonocot?, and Comechingones, resisted the Incas and remained independent from them. The Guaran? 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. 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 Charr?as and Guaran?es, 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.
The first European explorer, Juan D?az de Sol?s, arrived to the R?o 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 Paran? 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 R?o de la Plata, from Peru and from Chile.
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.
Buenos Aires became the capital of the Viceroya lty of the R?o 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.
Independence and civil wars
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 C?rdoba, 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. 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 Bro wn 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 Jos? Gervasio Artigas.
The Argentine Declaration of Independence was issued by the Congress of Tucum?n in 1816. Mart?n Miguel de G?emes kept royalists at bay on the North, while Jos? de San Mart?n 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 Mart?n's military campaigns complemented those of Sim?n Bol?var in Gran Colombia and led to the independent's victory in the Spanish American wars of independence.
The 1820 Battle of Cepeda, fought between the Centralists and the Federalists, resulted in the end of the c entralized 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.
Juan Manuel de Rosas ruled from 1829 to 1832, and from 1835 to 1852. During hi s 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 R?os governor Justo Jos? de Urquiza to turn against Rosas. He defeated him at the battle of Caseros, forcing him into exile. The San Nicol?s 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 Pav?n.
Buenos Aires rejoined the Confederation, and Bartolom? 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. Unable to influence the election of later presidents, Domingo Faustino Sarmiento and Nicol?s 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 victo ry of the national army and the federalization of the city.
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.
Rise of Peronism
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. However, the National Autonomist Party (PAN) could not meet its original goals of industrialization, and the country stayed a s a pre-industrial society.
President Julio Roca was followed by Miguel ?ngel Ju?rez Celman, from the PAN as well. Ju?rez 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'?tat failed, Celman resigned from the presidency, starting the decline of the PAN. Conservative ?lites dominated Argentine politics until 1912, when President Roque S?enz Pe?a enacted universal male suffrage and the secret ballot. This allowed the UCR to win the country's first free elections in 1916. President Hip?lito Yrigoyen enacted social and economic reforms and extended assistance to family farmers and small business. Argentina stayed neutral during World War I.
The second administration of Yrigoyen faced a huge economic crisis, influenced by the international Great Depression. The military made a coup d'?tat and ousted him from power, which began the Infamous Decade. Jos? F?lix Uriburu led the military rule for two years, calling to elections in 1931. The UCR prevailed, so the elections were annulled. Agust?n Pedro Justo was elected with electoral fraud, who signed the Roca-Runciman Treaty. Justo was followed by Roberto Mar?a Ortiz, who got diabetes and got replaced by his vicepresident, Ram?n 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 a ttack 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 Per?n, became highly popular among workers. He was fired and jailed, but a massive demonstration forced his liberation. Per?n run for the presidency in 1946, and won by the 53,1%.
Juan Per?n 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 ne arly full employment. The economy, however, began to decline in 1950. The constitution was amended in 1949, adding new rights to the workers. Per?n intensified censorship as well as repression: 110 publications were shuttered, and numerous opposition figures were imprisoned and tortured. His wife Eva Per?n was highly popular and played a central political role, mostly through the Eva Per?n Foundation and the Female Peronist Party, as women's suffrage was granted in 1947. However, her declining health did not allow her to run for the vicepresidency in 1951, and she died of cancer the following year. The military began to plot against Per?n in 1955, and made a bombing of Plaza de Mayo in an ill-fated attempt to kill him. A few months later, Per?n resigned during a new military coup , which established the Revoluci?n Libertadora. Per?n left the country, and finally settled in Spain.
The Dirty War
Eduardo Lonardi, head of the military government, tried to maintain a good relation with Peronism. The more intransigent factions of the military prevailed, replaced Lonardi with Pedro Eugenio Aramburu, and proscribed all manifestations of Peronism (even to reference Juan Per?n by his name). Peronism, however, did not disappear, as Peronists kept being organized in informal associations. A group of military attempt a coup on June 9, 1956, to restore Peronism to power, but the government defeat them. The 1949 amendment of the Constitution is repealed, restoring the one from 1853; but the elections for the Constituent Assembly got 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.
Frondizi enjoyed some support from Peronism, which was still proscripted, but 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 but conditioned to stay aligned with them. Thus, The military frequently interfered on behalf of conservative, agrarian interests however, and the results were mi xed. 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 in 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 at several provinces, rejected by the military. A new coup ousted Frondizi from power, but a swift reaction by Jos? Mar?a Guido (president of the Senate) applied the laws related to p ower vacuum and became president instead of the military. The elections were repealed and Peronism proscripted again. Arturo Illia was elected in 1963 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 new coup in 1966. The Argentine Revolution, the new military government, sought to rule in Argentina indefinitely.
The new military Junta appointed Juan Carlos Ongan?a as president. He closed the Congress, banned all political parties and dismantled all students' 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 C?rdoba and the Rosariazo in Rosario. Ongan?a was replaced by Roberto M. Levingston, and shortly after there was a huge political commotio n with the kidnapping and execution of the former de facto president Aramburu. The crime was commited by the Montoneros, who, along with the People's Revolutionary Army (ERP), began a Guerrilla warfare against the military, the Dirty War. Levingston was then replaced by Alejandro Agust?n Lanusse, who began negotiations to return to democracy and end the proscription held over peronism. Initially, he sought to allow Peronism but not the return of Juan Per?n himself (who was living in Spain), so the agreement had a clause so that the presidential candidates should be in Argentina since August 25. Thus, the Peronist candidate was not Per?n but H?ctor Jos? C?mpora, who won the elections by the 49,59%.
The return of Peronism to power saw violent disputes between its internal factions: right-wing union leaders and left-wing young peoples from montoneros. The return of Per?n to the country generated an armed conflict, the Ezeiza massacre. Overwhelmed by the political violence, C?mpora and his vice-president resigned, promoting new elections so Per?n could become president. Per?n was elected, with his wife Isabel as vice-president, but before taking office the Montoneros murdered the union leader Jos? Ignacio Rucci, with close ties to Per?n. They thought that Per?n would consider them a force to be reckoned, but rather than that, he ended all relations with them. He expulsed them from Plaza de Mayo and from the party, and they became once again a clandestine organization. Jos? L?pez Rega, secretary of Per?n, organized the Argentine Anticommunist Alliance (A AA) to fight against them and the ERP. Per?n died shortly after, and his wife took office. The AAA mantained the operations against the guerrillas, which increased their power. The Operativo Independencia stopped an attempt to capture and secede territories of Tucum?n. A decree ordered the military to "annihilate the subversion". The military made another coup d'?tat, in March 1976.
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's unions, etc. It also intensified measures against ERP and Montoneros, who had kidnapped and murdered people almost weekly since 1970. The military resorted to forced disappearance of suspected members of the guerrillas, and began to prevail in the war. The looses of Monto neros by the end of 1976 were near 2000. 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 a new democratic rule, with the free elections in 1983.
In the 1983 electoral campaign Alfons?n 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 disappearences. The CONADEP generated a report detailing 340 centers of illegal detentions and 8961 forced disappearenced. The 1985 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 condemmed, Alfons?n 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 1989 elections, but huge riots caused by the economic crisis forced Alfons?n to resign, handing government to Menem.
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 1992 and the AMIA in 1994. His victories at the 1991 and 1993 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 1997 elections, and the UCR returned to the presidency in the 1999 elections.
President Fernando de la R?a 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 se nators were accused of receiving briberies to vote for the law. The ensuing scandal led to the resignation of vice-president Chacho ?lvarez and other members of the cabinet. De la R?a appointed Ricardo L?pez 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 appearence 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 2001 legislative elections: both parties received each less than a million votes in comparison with the 1999 elections, and the blank, protest votes and abstensions rised to 48%. A h uge capital flight was responded with a freezing of bank accounts, generating further discontent. Several riots in the country led the president to establish the state of emergency, received with more popular protests. The huge riots in December finally forced De la R?a to resign.
Adolfo Rodr?guez Sa? 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 cr isis began to end by the late 2002, under the managment 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 N?stor Kirchner with the 22%. Kirchner was largely unknown by the people, but would mantain Lavagna as minister. However, Menem declined to run for the required ballotage, which made Kirchner the new president.
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 nationa lized some previously privatized enterprises. He did not run for a reelection, promoting instead the candidacy of his wife Cristina Fern?ndez de Kirchner.
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. N?stor Kirchner run for a deputee candidature in 2009, being defeated. The government increased its political radicalism and waged several controversies with the press, limiting the freedom of speech. On 15 July 2010, Argentina became the first country in Latin Ame rica and the second country in the Southern Hemisphere to legalize same-sex marriage. N?stor Kirchner died in 2010, and Cristina Fern?ndez was relected in 2011.
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. Suffrage is universal, equal, secret and mandatory.
The national government is composed of three branches:
- Legislative: The bicameral Congress, made up of the Senate and the Chamber of Deputies, makes federal law, declares war, approves treaties, has the power of the purse, and has the power of impeachment, by which it can remove sitting members of the government.
- Executive: The president is the c ommander-in-chief of the military, can veto legislative bills before they become law, and appoints the members of the Cabinet and other officers, who administer and enforce federal laws and policies.
- Judicial: The Supreme Court and lower federal courts, whose judges are appointed by the president with Senate approval, interpret laws and overturn those they find unconstitutional.
The Chamber of Deputies has 257 voting members, each represent ing a province for a four-year term. Seats are apportioned among the provinces by population every tenth year. As of 2012, 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; 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. 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 sec retariat composed of representatives of judges, lawyers, the Congress and the executive.
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. 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 simila rities 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.
Argentina is a full member of the Mercosur block together with B razil, Paraguay and Uruguay; and five associate members: Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. Since 2002 Argentina has emphasized Mercosur, which has some supranational legislative functions, as its first international priority. Argentina is a founding signatory and permanent consulting member of the Antarctic Treaty System and the Antarctic Treaty Secretariat is based in Buenos Aires. Argentina is also a full member of the Union of South American Nations. The former president of Argentina N?stor 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 sout h 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.
Argentina was the only Latin American country to participate in the 1991 Gulf War under the United Nations mandate, and played an important role in Operation Uphold Democracy, in Haiti. 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 2005. The United Nations White Helmets, a bulwark of pe acekeeping and humanitarian aid efforts, were first deployed in 1994 following an Argentine initiative.
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. 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 minimum age for enlistment in the armed forces is 18 years and there is no o bligatory military service.
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); but recently it has faced sharper expenditure cutbacks than most other Latin American armed forces. Real military expenditures declined steadily after 1981 and though there have been recent increases, the defense budget is now around US$3 billion. The armed forces are currently participating in major peacekeeping operations in Haiti and Cyprus.
Argentina is composed of twenty-three provinces (Spanish: provincias, singular provincia) and one autonomous city (Ciudad aut?noma de Bu enos Aires). The city and the provinces have their own constitutions, but exist under a federal system. The administrative divisions of the Provinces are the departments (Spanish: departamentos, singular departamento), and the municipalities (Spanish: municipios or intendencias), except for Buenos Aires Province, which is divided into partidos. The City of Buenos Aires is divided into communes.
- Autonomous City of Buenos Airesa
- Buenos Aires Province
- Entre R?os
- La Pampa
- La Rioja
- R?o Negro
- San Juan
- San Luis
- Santa Cruz
- Santa Fe
- Santiago del Estero
- Tierra del Fuego, Ant?rtida e Islas del Atl?ntico Surb
- a Not a Province. Autonomous City and seat of National Government.
- b Tierra del Fuego Province includes the Argentine claims over Antarctica, the Falkland Islands and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands
The total surface area (excluding the Antarctic claim) is 2,791,810 km2 (1,077,920 sq mi), of which 30,200 km
2 (11,700 sq mi) (1.1%) is water. Argentina is about 3,900 km (2,400 mi) long from north to south, and 1,400 km (870 mi) from east to west (maximum values). There are four major regions: the fertile central plains of the Pampas, source of Argentina's agricultural wealth; the flat to rolling, oil-rich southern plateau of Patagonia including Tierra del Fuego; the subtropical northern flats of the Gran Chaco, and the rugged Andes mountain range along the western border with Chile.
The highest point above sea level is in Mendoza province at Cerro Aconcagua (6,962 m (22,841 ft)), also the highest point in the Southern and Western Hemisphere. The lowest point is Laguna del Carb?n in Santa Cruz province, -105 m (-344 ft) below sea level. This is also the lowest point in South America. The geographic center of the country is in south-central La Pampa province. The easternmost continental point is northeast of Bernardo de Irigoyen, Misiones,(26?15'S 53?38'W? / ?26.25?S 53.633?W? / -26.25; -53.633? (Argentina's easternmost continental point)) the westernmost in the Mariano Moreno Range in Santa Cruz province.(49?33'S 73?35'W? / ?49.55?S 73.583?W? / -49.55; -73.583? (Argentina's westernmost point)) 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)) and the southernmost is Cape San P?o in Tierra del Fuego. (55?03'S 66?31'W? / ?55.05?S 66.517?W? / -55.05; -66.517? (Argentina's southernmost point))
The major rivers are the Paran? (the largest), the Pilcomayo, Paraguay, Bermejo, Colorado, R?o Negro, Salado and the Uruguay. The Paran? and the Uruguay join to form the R?o 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 R?o Grande in Jujuy and the San Francisco River in Salta.
There are several large lakes including Argentino and Viedma in Santa Cruz, Nahuel Huapi between R?o Negro and Neuqu?n, Fagnano in Tierra del Fuego, and Colhu? Huapi and Musters in Chubut. Lake Buenos Aires and O'Higgins/San Mart?n Lake are shared with Chile. Mar Chiquita, C?rdoba, 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 R?o Hondo with temperatures between 65 ?C (149 ?F) and 89 ?C (192 ?F).
The largest oil spill in fresh water was caused by a Shell Petroleum tanker in the R?o de la Plata, off Magdalena, on 15 January 1999, polluting the environment, drinking water, and local wildlife.
The 4,665 km (2,899 mi) long Atlantic coast 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 Drake Passage.
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. Central Argentina has hot summers with thunderstorms (western Argentina produces some of the world's largest hail), and cool winters. The southern regions have warm summers and cold winters with heavy snowfall, especially in mountainous zones. Higher elevations at all latitudes experience cooler conditions.
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 Mar?a, C?rdoba, on 2 January 1920. The lowest temperature recorded was -39 ?C (-38.2 ?F) at Valle de los Patos Superior, San Juan, on 17 July 1972.
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. 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.
The Sudestada ("southeasterlies") could be considered similar to the Nor'easter, though snowfall is rare but not unprecedented. Both are associated with a deep winter low pressure system. 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 co ast and in the R?o de la Plata estuary.
The southern regions, particularly the far south, experience long periods of daylight from November to February (up to nineteen hours) and extended nights from May to August.
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 tow ns and country estates (estancias). The only tree-like plant native to the pampa is the evergreen Omb?. 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. The national government maintains 29 national parks.
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 Tie rra del Fuego, include alerce, cipr?s de la cordillera, cipr?s de las guaitecas, huililahu?n, lleuque, ma??o hembra and pehu?n, while broadleaf trees include several species of Nothofagus such as coihue, lenga and ?ire. Other introduced trees present in forestry plantations include spruce, cypress and pine. Common plants are the copihue and colihue.
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 (?and?), 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, vicu?a, 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, pud? (the world's smallest deer), and introduced, non-native wild boar. 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 yarar?. The Hornero was elected the National Bird after a survey in 1928.[ 78]
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. Agriculture, including processed goods, provided 54% of export earnings in 2010, however, while industrial manufactures accounted for 35% (energy staples and metal ores were most of the remainder).
High inflation has been a weakness of the Argentine economy for decades. Officially hovering around 9% since 2006, inflation has been privately estimated at over 20%, becoming a contentious issue again. The urban income poverty rate has dropped to 18% as of mid-2008, a third of the peak level observed in 2002, th ough still above the level prior to 1976. Income distribution, having improved since 2002, is still considerably unequal.
Argentina ranks 105th out of 178 countries in the Transparency International's Corruption Perceptions Index for 2010. Reported problems include both government and private-sector corruption, the latter of which include money laundering, trafficking in narcotics and contraband, and tax evasion. The Kirchner administration responded to the Global financial crisis of 2008?2009 with a record public-works program, n ew tax cuts and subsidies, 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.
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. During the first three decades of the 20th century, Argentina outgrew Canada and Australia in population, total income, and per capita income. By 1913, Argentina was the world's 10th wealthiest nation per capita.
Beginning in the 1930s, however, the Argentine economy deteriorated notably. 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. 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.
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 ro se through the 1980s. The measures enacted in 1976 also produced a huge foreign debt by the late 1980s, which became equivalent to three-fourths of the GNP.
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. However, a sustained recession at the turn of the 20th to 21st century culminated in a default, and the government again devalued the peso. By 2005, the economy had recovered: there was considerable GNP growth, renewed foreign investment, and a significant drop in the unemployment rate.
Science and technology
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. Ren? 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.
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; C?sar 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-Men?ndez discovered angiotensin in 1939, and was the first to describe the enzymatic nature of the renin-angiotensin system and its role in hypertension. The Leloir Institute of biotechnology is among the most prestigious in its field i n Latin America and in the world.
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. 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.
Argentina's nuclear program is highly advanced, having resulted in a research reactor in 1957 and Latin America's first on-line commercial reactor in 1974. Argentina developed its nuclear program without being overly dependent on foreign technology. Nucl ear 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. 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 and is highly committed to global nuclear security.
In other areas, Juan Vucetich, a Croatian immigrant, was the father of modern fingerprinting (dactiloscopy). Ra?l Pateras Pescara demonstrated the world's first flight of a helicopter, Hungarian-Argentine L?szl? B?r? mass-produced the first modern ball point pens and Eduardo Taurozzi developed the pendular combustion engine. Juan Maldacena, an Argentine-American scientist, is a leading figure in string theory. Argentine built satellites include LUSAT-1 (1990), V?ctor-1 (1996), PEHUENSAT-1 (2007), and those developed by CONAE, the Argentine space agency, of the SAC series. The Pierre Auger Observatory near Malarg?e, Mendoza, is the world's foremost cosmic ray observatory.