|Form of government
||presidential Federal Republic
|Telephone area code
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
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 ˇăC in
January, 10 ˇăC in July, in Sarmiento in Patagonia it is
19 ˇăC in summer, but in July the temperatures drop to an
average of 3 ˇăC.
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¨˛meda.
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.
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¨Şvica 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
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
Currency is the Argentine peso (= 100 centavos)