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Argentina is, if nothing else, a country of contrasts. Home to major cities and pristine jungles, massive glaciers and even more massive deserts, it is a country that is as defined by its contradictions as anything else. Colonized by the Spanish in the 16th Century, it has been an independent nation since the early eighteen hundreds.
Argentina is a nation deeply impacted by its neighbors as well as international trade, its capital is the continent's largest city and Argentina itself is routinely one of the continent's most successful economies. A vibrant and growing country, Argentina is one of South America's most unique nations.
Quick Facts about Argentina
- Despite only being the second-largest country in South America, Argentina is the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world.
- The name Argentina is derived from the Latin word 'Argenti', or silver.
- Argentina is home to both the hottest and the coldest temperatures ever recorded on the South American continent.
- The citizens of Argentina consume more red meat than those of any other country in the world.
- Argentinians watch more movies than citizens, per person, than any other country in the world.
Argentina is a country that borders many others. It borders Uruguay to the east and Chile to the west, with Bolivia and Paraguay on its north and Brazil to the northeast.
The country also shares its borders with two bodies of water. To the south, Argentina is bounded by the Drake passage. Argentina is also bordered by the South Atlantic Ocean on the east. The closest major landmass to Argentina's southern border, though, is Antarctica.
Argentina's area of roughly 1,073,500 square miles. This makes it the second-largest country in South America after its neighbor Brazil, the fourth largest country in the Americas, and the eighth-largest country in the world.
There is not an established 'official' language in Argentina. With that said, the vast majority of its citizens speak Spanish and governmental documents are all published in that language. English is also taught in Argentian private schools, and it is considered to be the Spanish-speaking nation with the highest level of proficiency in spoken English.
There are also fifteen different indigenous languages spoken in Argentina, along with a handful of local pidgin languages such as Lunfardo. It is also common for citizens in the areas of the country that border Brazil to speak or at least understand some degree of Portuguese. A significant number (one and a half million) of Argentinians also speak Italian.
Argentina has an incredibly varied climate due to the size and varying elevations of the country. Much of Argentina is defined as having a temperate climate with cold winters and warm summers. However, there are several areas of Argentina where this doesn't hold quite true.
If you travel to the desert in Cuyo, you would experience summers that range up to one-hundred twenty-two degrees Fahrenheit. The Andes Mountains and Patagonia, on the other hand, tend to be very cool even during the summer and are quite cold in the winter.
Argentina's government is a presidential democratic republic. It is headed by a President who serves as both the head of government and the head of state. The legislative power in Argentina is held by the National Congress, which is composed of the seventy-two member Senate and the two hundred fifty-seven member Chamber of Deputies.
Argentina also functions on a federal system, as it is divided into twenty-three different provinces which each have its own provincial governments and constitutions.