|Form of government||presidential Federal Republic|
|Time zone||UTC -3|
|Telephone area code||0054 (Source: ALLCITYCODES)|
Argentina occupies almost the entire southern tip of South America. The republic stretches north-south for a length of 3,799 km, which corresponds to the distance between Europe and the distance between the North Cape and Madrid. The country resembles an elongated triangle and reaches 1 432 km at its widest point along the 27th parallel. The area of Argentina of 2,780,403 km² corresponds to eight times the area of Germany.
Argentina borders the Atlantic with a 4,725 km long coastline to the east, the western border is formed by the elongated mountain range of the Andes, behind which Chile is located. In the north, the country borders clockwise on the only two landlocked countries in South America, Bolivia and Paraguay, then on Brazil and Uruguay.
Three types of landscape characterize the geological form: geological old mountains in the east, younger chain mountains in the west and a large plain in between, which was created by embankment and deposition. The large plains are subdivided into the subtropical dry forest and bush savannahs of the Gran Chaco (Quechua for “hunting ground”) in the north, the marshy and fertile intercurrent country that lies between the Uruguay and Paran¨¢ rivers, and the fertile pampas (which in Quechua -Language level means). The Paran¨¢ is the most important river system in Argentina.
The wide grassy meadows of the Pampa are both historically and economically the core area of Argentina. This region is joined by a barren steppe landscape in the south, which rises to 1,500 m: Patagonia. A rocky cliff leads to Cape Horn, once feared by seafarers, at the southernmost point of the continent. The Andes mountain range runs parallel to the Pacific Ocean along the entire length of the continent, including Cerro Aconcagua, the highest mountain in Argentina at 6,959 m. Over 50 volcanoes, including the Ojos del Salado, the highest volcano in the world at 6,880 m, can be found here.
Due to its elongated shape, Argentina has different climate zones. The climate is subtropical in the north and northeast, and dry in the northern mountain region. In most of the country, however, there is a warm, temperate climate that becomes cool and dry further south, and subpolar in the far south. The average temperatures in the capital Buenos Aires are 24 °C in January, 10 °C in July, in Sarmiento in Patagonia it is 19 °C in summer, but in July the temperatures drop to an average of 3 °C.
The north-east trade winds play an important role in the rainfall in summer, which largely rain in the far northeast of Argentina. This region is therefore characterized by a long rainy season from October to April and a dry season in winter. The coastal area in the north is also affected by wintry cyclonic south-east winds, so that this region has winter rains in addition to summer rains.
A large part – around two thirds – of the Argentine territory lies in a dry zone along the high ridges of the Andes. As a result, the clouds coming from the Pacific rain on the Chilean side. To the south, the country is unprotected from the polar regions, which means that central parts of Argentina are also under the influence of dry and cold polar air, which repeatedly leads to large temperature drops with heavy rainfall.
Flora and fauna
The country has a wide variety of vegetation and animal species from the tropics to the South Pole. There are subtropical rainforests with giant cedars and laurel trees in the province of Misiones in the northeast. Another specialty are the extremely hard-wearing quebracho trees (Spanish for ax breakers) in Mesopotamia, from whose heartwood tannin and from whose bark tannins are obtained. Xeromorphs, ie plants protected against dehydration by certain protective devices, such as thorn bushes and cacti, can be found in the Gran Chaco, extensive grasslands with a large variety of wild grasses in the Pampa h¨²meda.
There are barren steppes in eastern Patagonia, forests with false beeches and araucaria (Andean firs) in the southern Tierra del Fuego. Numerous different types of herbs, wild grasses and blackberry bushes grow throughout Patagonia. In the Andes there are hardwood trees and alder trees in addition to conifers. In the Puna, a highland in the area of the middle Cordilleras, upholstery plants, especially tola heath, appear densely leafed above 3 500 m.
The very diverse wildlife of Argentina includes mammals such as monkeys, jaguars, pumas, ocelots, anteaters, tapirs and raccoons in the north. Local birds are flamingos and various types of hummingbirds and parrots. Armadillos, foxes, martens, wild cats, rabbits, deer and the Nandu, an ostrich-like ratite, live in the pampas and partly in Patagonia. Birds include falcons, herons, plovers and partridges. The pig breeds that are now wild in Patagonia come from the domestic pig that the European settlers once brought into the country. The colder mountain regions of the Andes are home to llamas and condors, among others. There are numerous fish and sea lions in the coastal waters, and there are large amounts of freshwater fish in the inland rivers.
Of the approximately 40.8 million residents of the country, 13.2 million (agglomeration) alone live in Buenos Aires, the country’s capital. Almost a third of all Argentinians live in the capital and its immediate surroundings. In the rest of the country, too, the vast majority of the population lives in large cities (C¨®rdoba, Rosario, Mor¨®n, etc.).
According to COUNTRYAAH, with around 15 residents per km², Argentina is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. The population is made up of around 95% white people, as well as mestizos, indigenous people and people of other origins. Roman Catholics are over 75% of Argentinians, 8% are Pentecostal, there are minorities of Protestants, Jews and Muslims. Check ALLCITYPOPULATION to see other large cities in Argentina by population.
Since about 1850 Europeans immigrated to the country in large numbers (especially Italians and Spaniards), Argentina today has most European descendants compared to the other South American countries. The indigenous peoples were displaced by the immigrant Europeans and today count about 30,000 people, who mainly live in the Chaco and in Patagonia. Argentina has the lowest illiteracy rate (just under 3%) in South America, but in rural areas it is significantly higher regionally. Attendance at school from 6 to 14 years of age is compulsory. The country’s oldest university was founded in Cordoba inland in 1613.
The population growth is only 1%; life expectancy averages 76 years.
In addition to the official language, Spanish, various European languages and Quechua are spoken.
The Argentine Republic is a Presidential Federal Republic. The president, who is elected for four years, is also head of state, head of government and commander-in-chief of the armed forces (President Cristina Fern¨¢ndez de Kirchner, since December 2007); a single direct re-election is possible.
The National Congress consists of a Senatorial Chamber (Senado) with 72 senators (elected indirectly for six years; partial election every two years) and a Chamber of Deputies (C¨¢mara de Diputados) with 257 members (directly elected for four years; partial election every two years). The main parties in the country are the Partido Justicialista-Frente para la Victoria (PJ-FPV) and the Uni¨®n C¨ªvica Radical (UCR).
An independent panel of judges and lawyers proposes the appointment of judges to the government and may initiate proceedings for improper judicial conduct.
Each of the 22 provinces, the Tierra del Fuego national territory and the autonomous federal district of Buenos Aires have their own constitution and elect governors, deputies and judges without the intervention of the federal government.
Argentina remains the largest economy in Spanish-speaking South America. The country builds its economic development on several sectors: On the one hand, the country with its fertile plains has excellent foundations for productive agriculture. On the other hand, the industrial sector is very important, the automotive industry plays a major role.
The country’s main exports continue to be agricultural products (soybean oil, corn, wheat, milk and fishery products, fruit, beef and poultry, and wine), as well as automobiles, raw materials and fuels, and chemical products. Chemical products as well as motor vehicles and machines are imported. The largest industrial companies are located in the greater Buenos Aires area and belong to the consumer goods industry. Products made from meat, cereals, sugar and oil are produced and processed primarily for the domestic market.
A strong energy resource base (natural gas, oil, hydropower, nuclear power) makes the country almost self-sufficient. A large potential of previously undeveloped mineral resources continues to have a positive impact on the future prospects of the country. Raw materials that have already been mined and produced include asbestos, lead, copper, tungsten, zinc, tin, gold and silver, manganese, uranium, oil and natural gas.
Currency is the Argentine peso (= 100 centavos)