- Geographical Facts
- Historical Facts
- Political and Economical Facts
- Cultural Facts
- Other Facts
Neighbors: Argentina is the eight largest country in the world by area and the largest in the Spanish-speaking countries of the world. It is located in the southern-most part of South America with the Andes mountains lying on its west. Chile borders it on the west and south, Uruguay and Brazil to the northeast, Paraguay and Bolivia to the north. On the west and south of the country lies Chile. Argentina also lays claim to the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands. However, these claims are not globally recognized as they clash with claims by Chile and The United Kingdom.
Area: The total area of Argentina is 2,780,400 sq. km., of which 1.57% is covered by water. The distance between the northern most point and the southern most point of Argentina is 3,900 km and between the eastern most point and the western most point is 1,400 km. As of 2011, the population of the country is 40,764,561 as stated by the World Bank.Topography: Argentina is known for its varied topography. The country can easily be divided into four topographical regions:
- Fertile Plains of Pampas
- Southern Plateau of Patagonia
- Subtropical region of Gran Chaco
- Rugged Andes mountains
Flora and Fauna: The kind of biodiversity that is present in the country is rarely found in any other country in the world. While one will come across subtropical plants, one will also be greeted by the Savannah-like grasslands. In the wetlands, there is a myriad range of aquatic plants. In the grasslands, trees are a rare sighting. As one moves to the rain-shadow region, one will encounter shrubby bushes and plants. However, plateau region of Patagonia is dotted by coniferous trees. When one moves to the higher altitude, there is no vegetation to be seen.
In each of the geographical unit in Argentina, one will come across a number of wild animals. In the subtropical regions of the north, there is the presence of cats like puma, ocelot, jaguar, along with different types of monkeys, dogs, reptiles like crocodiles, turtle and tortoise. In the grasslands, one will come across wolves, anteaters, cats, foxes, deer etc. The western part of the country is home to animals like llama, fox, guanaco, etc., while in the south one will run into cougar, wild boar, elephant seals, sea lions, penguins, etc. Argentina is home to birds like flamingos, swallows, hummingbirds, hawks, falcons, toucans, herons, etc.
- During the pre-Columbian era, Argentina was a land consisting of many different groups of indigenous people. Some of these were the Onas, the Yamana and the Tehuelches.
- Europeans were the first to discover land that is now called Argentina. The first to arrive was Amerigo Vespucci, with a voyage in 1502. Later came Juan Díaz de Solís and Pedro de Mendoza (both Spanish), in 1516 and 1536 respectively. Pedro de Mendoza set up a settlement in what is today known as Buenos Aires.
- Peru, Chile and Paraguay all tried to colonize Argentina. In 1776, the Spanish people established the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, consisting of present-day Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Bolivia. This Viceroyalty was however ephemeral due to disintegrating unity among the provinces that formed it.
- A lot of independence and civil wars were fought in Argentina such as the May Revolution, Argentine War of Independence, Argentine Civil Wars, Battle of Cepeda, War with Brazil, all having different results for the country.
- Also, Argentina stayed neutral during World War I. It also stayed neutral during World War II. However, during the end of war, it declared war to the Axis Powers.
- During this time, a man called Juan Perón became very famous due to his work for the people. He achieved nearly entire employment, paid all external debt and did a lot for the workers and underprivileged people of the country along with his wife Eva. He later became President and Eva was considered the most loved woman in the country, and rightly so, till date.
- Later on, the military rule came in and looked as though it would stay for years. The military appointed Juan Carlos Onganía as President, a man who was believed by neither the Peronists, nor the military itself as he never took sides.
- After many other fights, coups and a massacre later, after many years, Argentina saw a general election in 1983.
Government: The country is a constitutional republic and representative democracy, which received independence on 9th July 1816 from Spain. It has a bicameral legislature called the Senate and Chamber of Deputies. The Executive branch is headed by the President and Vice President and The Cabinet assists the President in discharging duties. In other words, the President is both the Head of the Government and Chief of State. There are trial courts in the provinces, like the federal courts and at the helm is the Supreme court. The voting age has been lowered from 18 to 16 since 1st November 2012. By rule, voting is secret, mandatory, universal and equal.
Economy: Argentine Peso (ARS) is the currency of the country. The GDP of the country is pegged at $746.927 billion, which ranks 22nd all over the world. From the fertile plains of the Pampas, the country is able to yield a very good output of agricultural products. The country is also rich in natural resources like lead, zinc, tin, copper, iron, manganese, oil and uranium. Food processing, textiles, chemicals and petrochemicals, oil refining machinery and equipment are some of the industries, that contribute to the economy of the country. The country earns a revenue of about US$84.3 billion (as of 2011) from exports of vegetable oils, grains, oilseed products, cars, fuels, etc.Cultural Facts
Spanish is the national language of the land. The other languages spoken in the country include Italian, English, German and French.
Most of the inhabitants (about 92%) of the land are Roman Catholics, while Muslims, Jews, Buddhists and agnostics make up for the rest of the population. According to the law of the land till 1994, the person holding the highest powers in the country, namely the post of President and Vice President had to be Roman Catholic. However, this law was altered and this prerequisite does not exist anymore.
The tango dance is an embodiment of Argentinean ethos, having its origin in Rio de la Plata and is famous globally.
Argentina is known for its consumption of red meat. The most popular is the cut called bife de chorizo. Pastries filled with minced chicken, meat, corn or vegetables are relished in almost all parts of the country. Wine has been produced in the country since the 16th century. It ranks among the largest producers of wine in the world. With about 1800 wineries in the country, this is not surprising. The national dishes are asado and locro.
Pato, a combination of polo and basketball, is the national sport of Argentina. However, the most widely played game is soccer. The national team has won 25 international titles, a truly astonishing feat. Polo is another popular game in the country. Other than these sports, there are other sports, which are commonly played and include rugby, volleyball, basketball, hockey, tennis, skiing and snowboarding.
The Argentinian flag has three horizontal stripes. While the first and the last stripe is light blue, the one between is white. At the center of the middle stripe is the Sun of May.Other Facts about Argentina
- The Santa Maria del Buen Aire settlement was found by Pedro de Mendoza, in 1536. Today, it is known as Buenos Aires.
- Spanish explorers who arrived in the Americas in the early part of the 16th century laid claim to several countries in the region, with Argentina being colonized by Pedro de Mendoza.
- The Argentinean medical doctor, Ernesto Che Guevara, who was also a poet, philosophical writer, and the champion of the revolution in Cuba, became an icon of international fame during the 1960s.
- Argentina went to war against the UK over the Falkland Islands, led by General Galtieri, in 1982.
- Argentina has been the place where some of the oldest and largest fossils of dinosaurs have been unearthed.
- Measuring 2,700 in diameter and 80m high, the Iguazu falls of Argentina is one of the largest in the world.
- At a depth of 40m, the Salinas Chicas, situated on Peninsula Valdes, is Argentina's as well as South America's lowest point.
- Measuring 6,960m in height, Mount Aconcagua is Argentina's as well as South America's highest point.
- As far as the time zone of Argentina is concerned, it is 3 hours behind the GMT.
- Argentina has had several Nobel Laureates. The Nobel Prize for Peace was given to Carlos Saavedra Lamas in 1936, and in 1980 to Adolfo Perez Esquivel. The Nobel Prize in Chemistry was given to Luis Federico Leloir in 1970 and the Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to Bernardo Houssay in 1947 and in 1984 to Cesar Milstein.
- The wife of Juan Peron, Isabel Peron, became Argentina's first woman president, however, the first elected woman president is Cristina Elisabet Fernández de Kirchner, the wife of Néstor Kirchner, who was elected to the post in 2007. She was re-elected to the post in 2011.
- Same-sex marriages were legalized in Argentina in 2010, with which Argentina became the first country in Latin America to do so.
- The literacy rate in the country is declared at 97.4%.