Argentina , officially the Argentine Republic, is a federal republic in the southern half of South America. Sharing the bulk of the Southern Cone with its neighbor Chile to the west, the country is also bordered by Bolivia and Paraguay to the north, Brazil to the northeast, Uruguay and the South Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Drake Passage to the south. With a mainland area of 2,780,400 km2 (1,073,500 sq mi), Argentina is the eighth-largest country in the world, the second largest in Latin America, and the largest Spanish-speaking one. The country is subdivided into twenty-three provinces(Spanish: provincias, singular provincia) and one autonomous city (ciudad autónoma), Buenos Aires, which is the federal capital of the nation (Spanish: Capital Federal) as decided by Congress. The provinces and the capital have their own constitutions, but exist under a federal system.
Argentina claims sovereignty over part of Antarctica, the Falkland Islands (Spanish: Islas Malvinas), and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. The earliest recorded human presence in the area of modern-day Argentina dates back to the Paleolithic period. The country has its roots in Spanish colonization of the region during the 16th century. Argentina rose as the successor state of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, a Spanish overseas viceroyalty founded in 1776. The declaration and fight for independence (1810–1818) was followed by an extended civil war that lasted until 1861, culminating in the country's reorganization as a federation of provinces with Buenos Aires as its capital city. The country thereafter enjoyed relative peace and stability, with massive waves of European immigration radically reshaping its cultural and demographic outlook. The almost-unparalleled increase in prosperity led to Argentina becoming the seventh wealthiest developed nation in the world by the early 20th century.
After 1930 Argentina descended into political instability and periodic economic crisis that pushed it back into underdevelopment, though it nevertheless remained among the fifteen richest countries until the mid-20th century. Argentina retains its historic status as a middle power in international affairs, and is a prominent regional power in the Southern Cone and Latin America. Argentina has the second largest economy in South America, the third-largest in Latin America and is a member of the G-15 and G-20 major economies. It is also a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, World Trade Organization, Mercosur, Union of South American Nations, Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the Organization of Ibero-American States. It is the country with the highest Human Development Index in Latin America with a rating of "very high". Because of its stability, market size and growing high-tech sector,Argentina is classified as a high-income economy.
Argentina is located in South America, and is the eighth-largest country in the world. The highest and the lowest points of South America are also located in Argentina: At 6,960m, Cerro Aconcagua is the tallest mountain in the Americas while Salinas Chicas, at 40m below sea level, is the lowest point in South America.
At the southern tip of Argentina there are several routes between the South Atlantic and the South Pacific Oceans including the Strait of Magellan, the Beagle Channel, and the Drake Passage---as alternatives to sailing around Cape Horn in the open ocean between South America and Antarctica.
The name Argentina derives from argentinos, the Ancient Greek diminutive (tinos) form for silver (argentos), which is what early Spanish explorers sought when they first reached the region in the sixteenth century.
Argentine electricity is officially 220V, 50Hz. Adapters and transformers for North American equipment are readily available.
The best way to use imported electrical equipment in Argentina is to purchase an adapter once there. These are available in the Florida shopping area in Buenos Aires for around USD2 or less in hardware stores outside the city centre. Buildings use a mix of European and Australian plug fittings. The Australian-style plugs are IRAM-2073, which are physically identical to the Australian AS-3112 standard (two blades in a V-shape, with or without a third blade for ground). However, the live and neutral pins in the Australian fittings are reversed. Therefore Australian equipment may be incompatible despite the apparent plug-compatibility. This is not a problem for battery chargers for devices such as Thinkpad, iPod, iPhone, and Blackberry.
European standard CEE-7/7 "Schukostecker" or "Schuko" outlets and the non-grounded, but compatible, European CEE-7/16 "Europlug" outlets may still be found in some older buildings. US and Canadian travellers may want to pack adapters for these outlets as well.
Many sockets have no earth pin. Laptop adapters should have little problem with this. If your laptop adapter requires an earth pin you will need a plug adapter that takes three pins from the laptop and requires only two from the wall socket. This does work but may reduce electrical safety or affect your warranty.
Some Argentine sockets accept North American plugs, particularly ones on power strips. Beware - this does not mean that these sockets deliver 110 volts. Make sure that your equipment can handle 220 volts! Simply changing the shape of the plug with a USD2 adapter will not allow 110V equipment to operate on 220V Argentinian voltage, unless the device is specifically designed to work on both 110 and 220 volts, irreparable damage and even fire can result. Most laptop power adapters and many portable electronics chargers are designed to work on either voltage; check the specifications for your equipment to be sure. If your equipment cannot accept 220V voltage, you can purchase a '220-110V' transformer for approximately USD6 in most Argentinian electronics shops. This is much heavier and bulkier than a small adapter. There are two types of these transformers. One supports heavy loads for short durations, for example a hair dryer. The other supports light loads for long durations, for example an inkjet printer. Do select the right one.
With a mainland surface area of 2,780,400 km2(1,073,518 sq mi), Argentina is located in southern South America, sharing land borders with Chile across the Andes to the west; Bolivia and Paraguay to the north; Brazil to the northeast, Uruguay and the South Atlantic Ocean to the east; and the Drake Passageto the south; for an overall land border length of 9,376 km (5,826 mi). Its coastal border over the Río de la Plata and South Atlantic Ocean is 5,117 km (3,180 mi) long.
Argentina's highest point is Aconcagua in the Mendoza province (6,959 m (22,831 ft) above sea level), also the highest point in the Southern and Western Hemispheres. The lowest point is Laguna del Carbón in the San Julián Great Depression Santa Cruz province (−105 m (−344 ft) below sea level, also the lowest point in the Southern and Western Hemispheres, and the seventh lowest point on Earth)
The northernmost point is at the confluence of the Grande de San Juan and Río Mojinete rivers in Jujuy province; the southernmost is Cape San Pío in Tierra del Fuego province; the easternmost is northeast of Bernardo de Irigoyen, Misiones and the westernmost is within Los Glaciares National Park in Santa Cruz province. The maximum north–south distance is 3,694 km (2,295 mi), while the maximum east–west one is 1,423 km (884 mi).
Some of the major rivers are the Paraná, Uruguay—which join to form the Río de la Plata, Paraguay, Salado, Negro, Santa Cruz, Pilcomayo, Bermejo and Colorado. These rivers are discharged into the Argentine Sea, the shallow area of the Atlantic Ocean over the Argentine Shelf, an unusually wide continental platform. Its waters are influenced by two major ocean currents: the warm Brazil Current and the cold Falklands Current.
Buenos Aires and the Pampas are temperate; cold in the winter, hot and humid in the summer.
The deserts of Cuyo, which can reach temperatures of 45°C, are extremely hot and dry in the summer and moderately cold and dry in the winter. Spring and fall often exhibit rapid temperature reversals; several days of extremely hot weather may be followed by several days of cold weather, then back to extremely hot.
The Andes are cool in the summer and very cold in the winter, varying according to altitude.
Northwest Argentina's climate varies by altitude with lowland areas experiencing hot summers and mild winters while icy conditions prevail at the highest altitudes.Salta and San Salvador de Jujuy are located in valleys and are characterized by a pleasant climate year round.
Mesopotamia to the northeast has a humid climate with abundant rainfall year round and high temperatures.
Patagonia is cool in the summer and cold in the winter. Much of the region is a desert except in the extreme west where rainfall is higher, supporting forests. The rainfall changes a lot within a small distance ranging from more than 1,000 mm (39 in) to just under 200 (8 in) less than 100 km (62 mi) away to the east. One defining characteristic of the climate is the strong, persistent winds that blow across the region, making the temperature feel much colder than it should be. Extreme temperature shifts within a single day are even more common here; pack a variety of clothes and dress in layers.
Don't forget that seasons are reversed from those of the Northern Hemisphere.
In the 2001 census [INDEC], Argentina had a population of 36,260,130, and preliminary results from the 2010 census were of 40,091,359 inhabitants. 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 2010 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 per year.
The proportion of people under 15 is 25.6%, a little 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. The median age is approximately 30 years and life expectancy at birth is 77.14 years.
Argentina became in 2010 the first country in Latin America and the second in the Americas to allow same-sex marriage nationwide.It was the tenth country to allow same-sex marriage.
As with other areas of new settlement such as the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Braziland Uruguay, Argentina is considered a country of immigrants. Argentines usually refer to the country as a crisol de razas (crucible of races, or melting pot).
During the 19th and 20th centuries especially, Argentina was the country with the second biggest immigration wave in the world, with 6.6 million, second only to the United States in the numbers of immigrants received (27 millions) and ahead of such other areas of new settlement like Canada, Brazil and Australia.
Strikingly, at those times, the national population doubled every two decades. This belief is endured in the popular saying "los argentinos descienden de los barcos" (Argentines descend from the ships). Therefore, most Argentines are descended from the 19th- and 20th-century immigrants of the great immigration wave to Argentina (1850–1955), with a great majority of these immigrants coming from diverse European countries. The majority of these European immigrants came from Italy and Spain. The majority of Argentines descend from multiple European ethnic groups, primarily of Italian and Spanish descent (over 25 million individuals in Argentina, almost 60% of the population have some partial Italian origins), while 17% of the population also have partial French origins, and a sizeable number of Germans.
Argentina is home to a significant population of Arab and partial Arab background, mostly of Syrian and Lebanese origin (in Argentina they are considered among the white people, just like in the United States Census), The majority of Arab Argentines are Christians who belong to the Maronite Church, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Rite Catholic Churches. A scant number are Muslims of Middle Eastern origins. The Asian population in the country numbers at around 180,000 individuals, most of whom are of Chinese and Korean descent, although an older Japanese community that traces back to the early 20th century still exists.
A study conducted on 218 individuals in 2010 by the Argentine geneticist Daniel Corach, has established that the genetic map of Argentina is composed by 79% from different European ethnicities (mainly Spanish and Italian ethnicities), 18% of different indigenous ethnicities, and 4.3% of African ethnic groups, in which 63.6% of the tested group had at least one ancestor who was Indigenous.
From the 1970s, immigration has mostly been coming from Bolivia, Paraguay and Peru, with smaller numbers from Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Romania. The Argentine government estimates that 750,000 inhabitants lack official documents and has launched a program 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.
The Constitution guarantees freedom of religion. Although it enforces neither an official nor a state faith, it gives Roman Catholicism a differential status.
According to a CONICET poll, Argentines are 76.5% Catholic, 11.3% Agnostics and Atheists, 9% Evangelical Protestants, 1.2% Jehovah's Witnesses, 0.9% Mormons; 1.2% follow other religions, including Islam, Judaism and Buddhism.
The country is home to both the largest Muslim and largest Jewish communities in Latin America, the latter being the 7th most populous in the world. Argentina is a member of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.
Argentines show high individualization and de-institutionalization of religious beliefs; 23.8% of them claim to always attend religious services; 49.1%, to seldom do and 26.8%, to never do.
On 13 March 2013, Argentine Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the Cardinal Archbishop of Buenos Aires, was elected Bishop of Rome and Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church. He took the name "Francis", and he became the first Pope from either the Americas or from the Southern Hemisphere. He is the first Pope born outside of Europe since the election of Pope Gregory III (who was Syrian) in 741. He is also the first Jesuit Pope.
Benefiting from rich natural resources, a highly literate population, a diversified industrial base, and an export-oriented agricultural sector, the economy of Argentina is Latin America's third-largest, and the second largest in South America. It has a "very high" rating on the Human Development Index and a relatively high GDP per capita, with a considerable internal market size and a growing share of the high-tech sector.
A middle emerging economy and one of the world's top developing nations, Argentina is a member of the G-20 major economies. Historically, however, its economic performance has been very uneven, with high economic growth alternating with severe recessions, income maldistribution and—in the recent decades—increasing poverty. Early in the 20th century Argentina achieved development, and became the world's seventh richest country. Although managing to keep a place among the top fifteen economies until mid-century, it suffered a long and steady decline and now it's just an upper middle-income country.
High inflation—a weakness of the Argentine economy for decades—has become a trouble once again, with rates in 2013 between the official 10.2% and the privately estimated 25%, causing heated public debate over manipulated statistics. Income distribution, having improved since 2002, is classified as "medium", still considerably unequal.
Argentina ranks 107th out of 175 countries in the Transparency International's 2014 Corruption Perceptions Index. While the country has settled most of its debts, it faces a technical debt crisis since 31 July 2014. A New York judge blocked Argentina's payments to 93% of its bonds unless it pays to "Vulture funds" the full value of the defaulted bonds they bought after its 2001 default. Argentina vowed not to capitulate to what it considered the ransom tactics of the funds.
In 2012 manufacturing accounted for 20.3% of GDP—the largest goods-producing sector in the nation's economy. Well-integrated into Argentine agriculture, half of the industrial exports have rural origin.
With a 6.5% production growth rate in 2011, the diversified manufacturing sector rests on a steadily growing network of industrial parks (314 as of 2013)
In 2012 the leading sectors by volume were: food processing, beverages and tobacco products; motor vehicles and auto parts; textiles and leather; refinery products and biodiesel; chemicals and pharmaceuticals; steel, aluminum and iron; industrial and farm machinery; home appliances and furniture; plastics and tires; glass and cement; and recording and print media. In addition, Argentina has since long been one of the top five wine-producing countries in the world. However, it has also been classified as one of the 74 countries where instances of child labor and forced laborhave been observed and mentioned in a 2014 report published by the Bureau of International Labor Affairs. The ILAB's List of Goods Produced by Child Labor or Forced Labor shows that many of the goods produced by child labor and/or forced labor comes from the agricultural sector.
Córdoba is Argentina's major industrial center, hosting metalworking, motor vehicle and auto parts manufactures. Next in importance are the Greater Buenos Aires area (food processing, metallurgy, motor vehicles and auto parts, chemicals and petrochemicals, consumer durables, textiles and printing); Rosario (food processing, metallurgy, farm machinery, oil refining, chemicals, and tanning); San Miguel de Tucumán (sugar refining); San Lorenzo (chemicals and pharmaceuticals); San Nicolás de los Arroyos (steel milling and metallurgy); and Ushuaia and Bahía Blanca (oil refining). Other manufacturing enterprises are located in the provinces of Santa Fe (zinc and copper smelting, and flour milling); Mendoza and Neuquén (wineries and fruit processing); Chaco (textiles and sawmills); and Santa Cruz, Salta and Chubut (oil refining)
The electric output of Argentina in 2009 totaled over 122 TWh (440 PJ), of which about 37% was consumed by industrial activities.