|Capital: Buenos Aires|
|Official Language: Spanish|
|Government: Federal presidential republic|
|Head of State: Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner|
|Population: 40,677,348 (2008 estimate)|
|Currency: Peso (ARS)|
|Human Rights Record (Over all grade, notable abuses and ongoing controversies)|
|Territorial Disputes Falkland Islands, South Sandwich Islands, Antarctica|
|Ongoing Conflicts None|
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Argentina, officially the Argentine Republic (Spanish: República Argentina), is a country in South America, constituted as a federation of twenty-three provinces and an autonomous city. It is second in size in South America and eighth in the world. Argentina occupies a continental surface area of 2,766,890 km² (1,068,302 sq mi) between the Andes mountain range in the west and the southern Atlantic Ocean in the east and south. It is bordered by Paraguay and Bolivia in the north, Brazil and Uruguay in the northeast, and Chile in the west and south. Argentina also claimed 969,464 km² (374,312 sq mi) of Antarctica, known as Argentine Antarctica, overlapping other claims made by Chile (Chilean Antarctic Territory) and the United Kingdom (British Antarctic Territory), though all such claims were suspended by the Antarctic Treaty of 1957.
Argentina has the highest Human Development Index level and the second highest Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita in purchasing power parity in Latin America. Argentina's nominal GDP is the 31st largest in the world; when purchasing power is taken into account, however, its total GDP makes it the 23rd largest economy in the world.
The country is currently classified as an Upper-Middle Income Country or as a secondary emerging market by the World Bank.
In the beginning of 1500, before Argentina existed as a country, Spaniards arrived to the land seeking world, silver and other treasures. The first navigator who arrived was Juan Díaz de Solís in 1516. He did in a fight with the natives shortly after his arrival. In 1520 Fernando de Magallanes stopped for a short while during one of his voyages around the world. He died during the trip. Sebastián Cabot arrived in 1526, naming Rio de la Plata in hopes that it would make him wealthy. Cabo found neither treasures nor wealth, however he was fortunate to returne tho his homeland safely. Even though the Spanish navigators did not find wealth, they claimed the territory for their king. During 300 years Argentina, as well as most of South America, was a Spanish territory. Thousands of Spanish settlers arrived to build houses, forts, mines and ports. The founded the city of Buenos Aires, which today is the capital of Argentina. The Spanish integrated Argentina into their system by establishing the Vice Royalty of Rio de la Plata in and Buenos Aires became a flourishing port. In 1806 British forces arrived the land, but their invasion failed. That boosted the confidence of the colonists who sought independence from Spain. Buenos Aires formally declared independence from Spain on July 9, 1816.
The next stage in Argentina’s history can be seen as the founding of the modern state. The new Unitarist government implemented a liberal constitution which opened up the country to foreign investment, trade and immigration. Cattle and crops were exported while Europeans immigrated to Argentina to fill roles in commerce and craft. Argentina began to become one of the most wealthy nations on earth. The wealth however was in the hands of a minority. Poverty grew and mass migration from the rural areas to the cities began which intensified the wealth gap. This was not tackled until a colonel by the name of Juan Domingo Peron came into power in 1946. He introduced new social welfare and economic plans to try and ease the pressure on the working classes. Although popular, Peron is known to have abused his power by using force to squash the free press and political debate.
In 1955 a coup against Peron brought his reign to an end. He left to Spain and amazingly returned to power in 1973 when the then President, Hector Campora, resigned. However, Peron died soon after in 1974 and the country fell into a turbulent period of history that ended in 1976 when the military again took power. The new regime began a process called the Process of National Reorganisation. In reality the process was a bloody and violent organised silencing of all forms of opposition from left-wing guerrillas to intellectuals to writers to doctors. The “Dirty War” (Guerra Sucia) is estimated to have taken 30,000 lives. In 1981, as a means of diverting attention from economic problems and general discontent, General Roberto Viola decided to invade the British island of The Falklands (Islas Malinas). The brief occupation brought brief nationalistic zeal but soon ended once British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher sent in her troops which took only 74 days to regain the island.
In 1983 Argentina elected Raul Alfonsin. He succeeded in many ways; solving territorial disputes with Chile, curbing inflation and even trying military officers for violating people’s human rights. Modern governments have had to fight against severe economic problems.
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