Argentina, officially known as the Argentine Republic or Republica Argentina, is a country occupying the most southern portion of South America. For many foreigners, especially Europeans, Argentina has presented the traditional New World image of a land of romance and opportunity. It received its name, "roughly translated as 'land of silver' or 'silvery one,' from the Spanish explorers of the 16th century who were lured there by rumors that portrayed the presence of vast mineral wealth." (Encyclopedia Britannica 357) The "Sun of May," a sun with a human face, appears on the state flag (adopted in 1818) and on the coat of arms. It stands for Argentina's freedom from Spain. The colors, light blue and white, were worn by Argentineans who fought off British invaders in 1806 and 1807. Argentina's currency is known as the Austral.
The official language of Argentina is Spanish, and more than 90 percent of the population is Roman Catholic. More than one - third of the country's 32 million people live in Buenos Aires, the nation's capital, which along with other urban areas accounts for almost 90 percent of the total population.
It is the eighth largest country in the world, with an area of 1,073,399 square miles. (Encyclopedia Britannica 356) Shaped like an inverted triangle with its base atop, it is only about 884 miles across at its widest from east to west, but it stretches 2,360 miles from the subtropical north to the subantarctic south. (www.comptons.com/argentina.html) This great length embraces regions of striking diversity, including the Andes Mountains, the Rio de la Plata (Argentina's longest river) the thorny scrubland and seasonal swamps of Gran Chaco. Within its boundaries lie the the broad; fertile plains of the Pampa, in which thousands of cattle used to roam, herded by Argentina's native folk heroes, the guachos, the South American cowboys. It also includes the stark tableland of the Patagonia, and an never - ending Atlantic coastline of 2,936 miles (www.infoplease.lycos.com) Argentina also claims a portion of Antarctica, as well as several islands in the South Atlantic, including the British - ruled Falklands (Islas Malvinas). It is bounded by Chile on the south and west, Bolivia and Paraguay on the north, and Brazil, Uruguay, and the Atlantic Ocean on the east. The southern most town in the world, Ushuaia, is situated in Argentina.
The first people to settle Argentina were the farming American Indians. Next, Colonists from Spain and other parts of South America settled the country from the 16th through the 18th centuries. Emigrants from many European countries, including Italy and Germany, settled Argentina in the last part of the 19th century and the first quarter of the 20th. This immigration made Argentina a place where the poor of Europe could earn a decent living by farming wheat, corn, oilseeds, fruits, and nuts, and by also raising cattle in the Pampas. The Pampas...