Buenos aires

Geography and Landscape


Argentina (Spanish: República Argentina) is a republic in the south of South America. The total area of the country is 2,766,889 km2, making Argentina the second largest country in South America after Brazil.

Argentinia satellite photoArgentinia satellite photoPhoto: Public Domain

Argentina borders Brazil (1,224 km) and Uruguay (579 km) to the east, Paraguay (1,880 km) to the north-east, Bolivia (832 km) to the north, and Chile (5150 km) to the west. Argentina borders the Atlantic Ocean to the east and southeast (4989 km). In the far south Argentina is bordered by the Beagle Channel. The Andes Mountains form the natural border with Chile in the west. The country is more than 3500 kilometers long and a maximum of 1400 kilometers wide.

Argentina has no territories outside the continental area, but has claims to the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), South Georgia, the South Orkney Islands (Orkadas del Sud), as well as to a sector of the Antarctic continent, in total approx. 1 , 23 million km2. In addition, it believes it is entitled to the continental shelf, Mar Argentino, lying off the east coast. After the Amazon River in Brazil, the Paraña River, which enters the country at Iguazú, is the longest river in South America with a total length of 4500 kilometers, of which 1800 km through Argentina.

The Falkland Islands (Spanish: Islas Malvinas) have been occupied by Great Britain since 1833. Yet since then Argentina has never given up on its claims to the islands.In 1982 this even led to a real war between Argentina and Great Britain, which was won by the British.


Aconcagua Argentinia Aconcagua ArgentinaPhoto: Daniel Peppes Gauer CC 2.0 Generic no changes made

From a landscape point of view, Argentina can be divided into four regions:

The northwest with the Andes mountains and the Altiplano (means high mountains). At 6960 meters, Aconcagua is the highest mountain in the Andes and in the entire western hemisphere (Argentina's lowest point is Salinas Chicas on the Valdes peninsula, -40 meters). Other high peaks are the Cerro Bonete (6872 m) and the volcano Llullaillaco (6723 m) and dozens of mountains above 6000 meters. The Andes also has large glaciers, including the Perito Moreno that moves many centimeters every year, as well as huge valleys and dozens of salt lakes. The Altiplano slowly changes into the pre-Cordillera, a mountain range with large ravines. Slightly further west is the El Chaco area of endless savannas covered in impenetrable thickets.

The northeast, one large subtropical lowland with savannas, forests, rivers and swamps. Major rivers such as the Paraná, Uruguay and Paraguay enter the country here. All these rivers flow into the great delta of the Rio de la Plata. This is also where most of Argentina's forest areas are located, including the rainforests of the province of Misiones, in the border area with neighboring Brazil and Paraguay. In the northern part of this area, dozens of rivers and waterfalls adorn the landscape, of which the Iguazú is the most famous and one of the widest in the world. The falls are located at the border triangle of Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. To the south, the landscape changes into one large swamp area, Los Esteros del Iberá. The province of Entre Rios with a lot of grassland is located even further south.

In the center of Argentina is the "Pampa Humeda", a vast expanse of fertile plain. The pampas are located in the center of Argentina and cover a quarter of the total territory. The northern and middle part form the humid Pampa Húmeda, the south and west form the dry Pampa Seca. The Pampa Húmeda is somewhat hilly with lots of vegetation and extensive meadows. The Pampa Seca is flatter and drier. To the northwest of the pampas area is the Las Sierras de Cordóba, the central mountainous region. It is also home to Argentina's largest lake, Mar Chiquita, and the country's largest salt lake, Salinas Grandes.

Nahuel Huapi ArgentiniaNahuel Huapi ArgentinaPhoto: Klaus 15 CC 2.5 Generic no changes made

In the south lies Patagonia, with a large plain along the east coast and the Andes mountains in the west. The area covers about a quarter of the country. Two large rivers flow from here, the Rio Colorado and the Negro. Beautifully situated lakes in the Patagonian Andes are Nahuel Huapi and Lago Argentino. In total, this lake area has more than 40 lakes. Furthermore, this area has enormous forests, snow-capped peaks and glaciers. The mountains in the lake district are not that high anymore, but worth noting are the volcano Lanín (3776 m) and the cerro Tronador (3554 m). It is characteristic that the mountains here are becoming increasingly volcanic.

Patagonia extends all the way to Tierra del Fuego, an island in the far south of Argentina. Patagonia can be divided into the flat desert-like part from the Atlantic Ocean to the Andes, and the area around the Andes. Here the Andes is covered by a permanent ice sheet: the Campos de Hielos, the largest ice mass on the mainland after the South Pole (18,000 km2). We also encounter enormous glaciers, lakes and large deciduous forests here. More inland we find a gigantic steppe area; flat, large rocks, table mountains and little vegetation due to the very low rainfall. This part of Patagonia slowly turns into a desert due to the extreme drought, constant strong winds and soil erosion. The northern part of Tierra del Fuego is flat and covered with peat soil. To the south it becomes more forest and mountainous, and here are also beautiful lakes and fjords.

Climate and Weather

The many climates found in Argentina are mainly determined by the great expanse in the north-south direction and by the presence of the Andes Mountains along the west coast of South America. Argentina has several climate zones, the average temperature of which decreases towards the south. Argentina, for example, has a subtropical north while the south almost borders on the polar region, with the associated low temperatures.

Argentina is located in the southern hemisphere, so the seasons are opposite to those of the UK. Summer lasts from December to March and winter from June to September.

Climate zones of ArgentinaClimate zones of ArgentinaPhoto: P. S. Burton CC 4.0 International no changes made

The northeast of the country is humid (up to 2000 mm of rainfall per year) and warm. Located roughly in the middle of this area, Buenos Aires has an average annual temperature of 16°C, a July temperature of 9°C and a January temperature of 23°C. In general there is a moderate climate here, with winter temperatures barely below 0°C; in summer, temperatures can reach 40°C. Annual rainfall, often in the form of downpours, is about 940 mm and occurs irregularly throughout the year. The humidity can be very high, especially in summer (December to March). The rapid temperature fluctuations are remarkable, which can amount to a difference of more than 20°C in 24 hours. There are also downright sultry periods in winter and chilly days in summer.

Pampas ArgentinaPampas ArgentinaPhoto: Roberto Fiadone CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

The dry Pampa Seca has quite warm summers and mild winters. Yet there are big differences: in Rosario it is quite warm for more than 300 days, further south in Bahia Blanca no more than 150 days. The entire area receives an average of only 400 mm of rain per year. The Pampa Húmeda is much more humid with a lot of vegetation.

From the Atlantic coast to the west, the country is increasingly under the influence of the mountain range, reducing rainfall as the predominantly north-westerly winds of moderate latitude cause most of the rainfall on the west coast of Chile. The western part of Argentina has a clear desert climate here and there. Here are the driest and warmest places in the country, with temperatures regularly above 40 °C. Further south, around the city of Mendoza, the temperatures are a bit more pleasant.

Patagonia ArgenyinaPatagonia ArgentinaPhoto: Annalisa Parisi CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

The steppes and deserts of Patagonia lie in a zone with predominantly westerly winds. In the spring and autumn there can be heavy storms in this area. The area lies in the rain shadow of the high Cordillera de Andes, which means that in eastern Patagonia there is often only 200 mm of rainfall per year.

Summers in the northwest are very hot, but it is tolerable due to the low humidity. In the summer it easily reaches 35 °C, in the winter over about 18 °C and at night around freezing point. Summer is the rainy season with very strong showers that start flooding in no time.

Tierra del Fuego in the far south has an unpleasant climate due to the currents of the ocean and the foothills of the Andes mountains. In the summer there is a lot of rain and the wind blows hard. The temperatures do not exceed 15 °C. In winter the temperatures are quite mild.

Argentina Climatic diagram RosarioArgentina Climatic diagram RosarioPhoto: Public domain

Argentina has two special wind phenomena, both of which are caused by long-stretching depressions. The warm, humid "zonda" carries tropical air like a northerly wind, at the front of a depression. The cold "pampero", so called because the air brought in from the south often carries dust from the pampas, is characterized by strong gusts that occur while passing the cold front of the depression.

Average monthly temperatures

january (summer)julY (winter)
El Calafate12,8°C1,2°C
Puerto Madryn21,0°C3,0°C
Salta en Jujuy21,3°C10,5°C
Buenos Aires24,1°C10,7°C

Plants and Animals


Quebracho ArgentinaQuebracho ArgentinaPhoto: Public domain

The large differences that occur between the various vegetation types in Argentina are mainly caused by things such as temperature and rainfall. In total, the country has 10,000 different plants.

Many cactus species occur in the high, dry northwest, even up to 4000 meters. The most common cactus is the cardones or columnar cactus. Above this, dwarf heather and cushion-forming species are mainly found. In the valleys one often comes across the algarrobo tree and especially the lapacho tree.

The Chaco plains in the northeast are a transition area between the subtropical forests and the Pampa plains. Low thorny thickets are quite common here, along with one of Argentina's best-known trees, the quebracho, due to its hard wood and high tannin content (important in the production of tanning dust). Another characteristic here is the chorisia or bottle tree.

This is also the area of beautiful orchids and Argentina's national symbol, the fiery red ceibo. In the Parque Nacional el Palamar the yatay palm tree grows, which is only found in a few places in the world.

To the east, towards Brazil, the vegetation changes considerably. Here you will find subtropical forests with palms, cedars, lapachos, araucaria, Yerba mate shrub (a kind of holly), palo rosa and pino paraná as the most striking appearances. Huge ferns grow along the rivers.

More to the south follows a large swamp and water area, with the large green Irupe, a water lily, as the most special plant. The Irupe can reach a diameter of one to two meters.

Argentina Araucaria Argentina AraucariaPhoto: MonicaSP54 in the public domain

The Lake District, in the west of Argentina, is characterized by large deciduous and coniferous forests. Very special here is the rare and therefore protected araucaria, one of the oldest tree species in the world. They can live for hundreds of years and usually grow at an altitude of about 1800 meters. Rare is also the arrayán tree, which only grows in a few places in the world. In the southern Lake District there is a national park for the alerce, a pine tree. They can live to be over 2000 years old and 40 to 50 meters high. Cypresses and the beech tree species coihue, lenga and ñire also grow in this area.

Well-known flowers are the bottelita and the amancay, the flower symbol of the Lake District. It is also striking that many tulip varieties are growing.

The Patagonian plains are largely covered with steppe grass and low shrubs, trees are almost non-existent. The Patagonian mountain region is somewhat more wooded with beech tree species such as the rauli, lenga, ñire and coihue, also called Nothofagus forests. Due to the abundant rainfall, these trees always remain green, except above 1500 meters, where it is too cold.

The pampas are very poor in terms of vegetation. In order to create some shade, many ombu's have been planted, the tree crown of which has a diameter of about 30 meters. The eucalyptus from Australia is also common on the pampas. Tall, hard grasses such as chañar and espinal predominate on the humid Pampa Húmeda. The thorn bush dominates the dry Pampa Seca


Guanaco ArgentinaGuanaco ArgentinaFoto: Liam Quinn CC 2.0 Generic no changes made

Due to the great length of the country, Argentina encompasses all kinds of climates with the corresponding animal world. In Northern Argentina, for example, 55 species of snakes are found, in the south only one and in the extreme south no more snake can be found. In total, the country has more than 300 different types of mammals and 1000 different bird species.

Some animals are found in large parts of the country and are very characteristic of Argentina and South America. Two of these are guanaco and the vicuña, both related to the llama. These animals live mainly in the high mountains in the northwest, in the south along the coast of Patagonia and in the valleys of the Andes mountains.

The rhea is a South American ostrich that lives in the valleys of the northwest, the Pampas and the Patagonian plains.

The lagoons in arid northwestern Argentina are important breeding grounds and habitats for three types of flamingos, the flamingo austral, the flamingo chico and the flamingo chilena. A bird of prey that is common here is the majestic condor with a wingspan of up to three meters.

Parque Nacional El Rey National Park is home to the jaguar and the "ardillaraja", a species of squirrel that only feels at home above 1,500 meters.

Argentina Giant armadilloArgentina Giant armadilloPhoto: Marianocecowski CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

The harsh climate of the northeastern Chaco plains is home to the giant armadillo, the "tatú carreta". Snakes, anteaters, a small crocodile species, and monkeys such as the "mono cai" and the "coati" live around the wetlands. A striking water bird is the "espátula rosada", a spoonbill species. Further east, in the subtropical forests, toucans, tapirs, hummingbirds, monkeys, many frog species and great numbers of butterflies live.

To the south are extensive swamps and wetlands, with the garza mora, a large heron species, the water boar, navel pig, spectacled bear, howler monkey, and the "chajá", a crested fowl coot. Furthermore, crocodiles, turtles and beavers. The swamps of Corrientes are rich in snakes, feared are the rattlesnake and the jarará.

The maned wolf resembles a fox, but has much longer legs and long hair on its neck. Its coat is reddish brown with a white spot on the throat and a white tail.

Some deer species can be found in the forests of the lake area, such as the huemul and the rather rare small pudu. The gato huiña, a large wild cat, hunts birds and small rodents.

Most notable birds are the carpintero cabeza roja, a woodpecker species, the Patagonian thrush, and the picaflor austral, a hummingbird species.

The rivers and lakes are full of salmon and trout, including the European trout or trucha marrón.

Argentina Tinamou ArgentinaTinamouPhoto: CHUCAO CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

On the Patagonian plains there are many small, but special animals. There is the armadillo, the mara or pampas, a curious looking rodent, and the Patagonian fox. Large animals are the guanaco, the cougar and the rhea. A common bird is the brown-crested tinamou. Typical lagoon birds are the flamingo and the black necked swan.

At the end of the 18th century, the first merino sheep came to Argentina with the Spaniards, at this time huge flocks of sheep (approx. 25 million) are eating the plains bare.

Argentina Magellanic penguin

Argentina Magellanic penguinPhoto: Michaël CATANZARITI CC 3.0 Unported no changes

The Patagonian coast is home to the elephant seal, sea lion, southern seal, common seals and penguins, of which the Magellanic penguin is the most common.

A little further out to sea, hundreds of southern right whales arrive to breed between June and October. This whale species can grow up to 18 meters long. Dolphins, tuna and killer whales also live here.

There are plenty of birds to be found here, including of course seagulls, but also royal cormorant, white plover, Magellanic albatross, and giant petrel.

A special appearance is the centolla, a crab species that can reach a diameter of one meter.

The pampas are a fairly poor area in terms of fauna. Guanacos and rheas are common, as are deer such as the ciervo de los Pantanos and the ciervo de la Pampa. The armadillos live on the dry pampas, in the cañyons the jackal fox.

The pampas are also a real cow area, with species such as shorthorn, Aberdeen angus, hereford, charolais and even the Frisian black fur cow, the "vaca Holandesa".


Pre-Columbian Period

Cueva de los Manos Patagonia Argentina Cueva de los Manos Patagonia Argentina Foto: Mariano CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

About 6000 years BC. people already lived in Argentina. Objects indicating this have been found in the provinces of Córdoba and San Luis. Approx. 5000 years BC. the first agricultural communities existed and 1000 years later the first cultures and residential communities arose. Even on the southern and inhospitable Tierra del Fuego, remains that are almost 7,000 years old have been found. They were hunting nomads who took advantage of the many animals that thrive in the warm humid climate.

The first real indications of residential communities and peoples are ceramics, stone objects and menhirs, found in the provinces of Jujuy, San Juan and Tucumán, among others.

In the north and east of Argentina, agricultural communities developed that lived on beans, sweet potatoes and especially maize. People in the northwest were already raising llamas and using the wool to make clothes. The center of the country also underwent an agricultural development, but Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego continued to depend on hunting, so that cultural development lagged behind.

In the first centuries after the beginning of our era there was already talk of building houses, the use of bronze and copper objects and even an ingenious irrigation system

Around the year 1000 to 1480, Argentina was divided among the main Indian peoples in the following way:

Northeast: Diaguitas

Middle: Huarpes

Pampas and along the coast: Querandies and Puelches

Chaco area: Tobas

Lake District: Araucanians

Patagonia: Tehuelches

Tierra del Fuego: Onas, Yaghanes, Selknam and Haush

In 1480, northeastern Argentina was invaded by the Incas, who were looking for silver and gold. However, they found almost nothing and did not get further than the province of Salta in the far north of Argentina.

Spanish rule

Casa de Tucuman Argentina Casa de Tucuman ArgentinaPhoto: Angel Paganelli in the public domain

In 1516, the adventurer Juan Díaz de Solis Rio docked at the Rio de la Plata, but unfortunately he was murdered and then eaten by the Indians. Then it was the Venetian Sebastian Cabot who sailed along the banks of a wide estuary, which he called the Rio de la Plata, and he too was looking for silver.

In 1536 the first Europeans came ashore and it was Pedro de Mendoza who founded the settlement of Santa Maria de los Buenos Aires (the holy Mary of the clean air) on the Rio de la Plata. The village was destroyed by the Indians a few years later and Mendoza fled to the north. Approx. 40 years later, the definitive Puerto Santa Maria de los Buenos Aires was founded by Juan de Garay.

From Bolivia another group of Spaniards entered northern Argentina and they were much more successful. Within a few decades, the entire north was colonized and cities such as Mendoza (1561), San Juan (1562), Tucumán (1565) and Córdoba (1573) emerged. This colonized area was ruled on paper from Lima, Peru, but in reality the influence of the Spanish was negligible. It was mainly the Jesuit missionaries who benefited from this. From 1609 onwards they founded so-called "reducciónes" in the northeast, mission posts that worked well with the Indians and tried to protect them against the large landowners, who needed many slaves for their plantations. This created posts that were economically completely self-sufficient. Such communities also sprang up in the northwest, with the big difference that they were set up by the local "government". The Indians lived in such an "encomienda," but in fact they just led a slave life. Many Indians did not last long; Within a few decades, the hard work and many diseases that broke out decimated the Native American population, making the encomiendas basically redundant. From that time on, the encomiendas were more or less replaced by "haciendas", farming communities that worked the land independently and later also kept livestock in so-called "estancias". The owners were often Spaniards born in South America, the Criollo's, and by Mestizos, who were half Spaniard, half Indian. They grew tobacco, sugar cane, corn and cotton.

In 1767 the position of the Jesuit missions was radically changed by a decision of the Spanish King Philip III. According to Philip, the Jesuits undermined Spanish authority and were ordered to return to Spain. The reality, however, was slightly different. It mainly concerned a battle between the landowners and the church, which was almost as powerful and rich.

The Jesuits had no resources or power to stay, and they left Argentina in their thousands. This immediately ended the many reducciónes, all of which were destroyed. In 1777 Spain decided that Rio de la Plata would get a viceroy who would be directly under the Spanish king. Argentina therefore no longer fell under the Peruvian viceroy.

It was important that trade with Spain was now allowed from Buenos Aires. Until then, Buenos Aires had remained a relatively insignificant smuggling port since it was founded in 1580. Two other cities, Tucumán and Córdoba, were already much more important to the Northern Argentine region. At that time, Tucumán was the center of trade, also for exports to neighboring countries, and Córdoba was the intellectual center with universities and colleges.

Argentina independent

History Museum Buenos Aires ArgentinaHistory Museum Buenos Aires ArgentinaPhoto: Georgez in the public domain

From this time on, Buenos Aires became the most important trading city, both for transit to Bolivia and Peru and for export to Europe. With the rise of Napoleon at the beginning of the nineteenth century, Spain slowly lost its grip on the colonies, also because the Spanish fleet was in decline.

Spain's powerful position was soon taken over by the British who had taken control of much of the trade to South America. Of course they also had their eye on Argentina and of course especially on Buenos Aires. In 1806 Buenos Aires was occupied by the British, but as early as 1807 they were expelled by a small army of insurgents that were passionately supported by the population. Spain had meanwhile been taken by Napoleon and the Criollo's increasingly longed for independence from Spain. In the end, it was Manuel Belgrano, Bernardino Rivadavia and Mariano Moreno, three Criollo's who, influenced by the French Enlightenment and the French Revolution, took the initiative for an independent state.

On May 25, 1810, several hundred civilians proclaimed a provisional junta of the province of Rio de la Plata, which would take over the authority of the Peruvian viceroy. The landowners (estancieros) naturally wanted to keep their lands and problems soon arose between the so-called Unitarians, who wanted a strong central authority, and the Federalists, the leaders of the provinces and landowners who did not want to submit to the central authority in Buenos Aires. Elsewhere in South America, the Spanish-minded tried to re-take Bolivia, and Uruguay and Paraguay were also very unsettled.


House of independance Tucuman ArgentinaHouse of independance Tucuman ArgentinaPhoto: Fulviusbsas CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

On July 9, 1816, a constitution was passed and independence was declared in Tucumán. The only problem was to expel the Spaniards from Argentina for good. Under the Argentinian General José San Martin, the Spaniards were defeated in 1817 and he successively liberated Chile and Peru, without receiving much recognition. In the interior, an internal struggle broke out between the federalist gauchos of the countryside and the unionist capital cities. In 1829, the caudillo (powerful leaders of a province or region) Manual de Rosas came to power with the help of the gauchos. De Rosas's reign would be one of the bloodiest in Argentine history. Not only advocates of central authority, the Unitarians, Indians and Gauchos were massacred; fellow caudillos were also slaughtered by the secret police, the Mazorca.

The opposition, led by some intellectuals, got the help of the caudillo general José Urquiza, and with a volunteer army he managed to defeat De Rosas' army in 1852. In 1853 a new constitution was passed and Urquiza became Argentina's first president. A period of construction, rest and bloom followed. Not even a bloody war with Brazil and Uruguay against Paraguay could stop modernization. Thanks to this war, Argentina even gained territory in 1870: the provinces of Chaco, Formosa and Misiones.

Under President Sarmiento, who came to power in 1868, the education system was revamped and the pampas' agriculture and ranching were given enormous impetus. Refrigeration systems, the invention of barbed wire and railroad transportation even allowed Argentina to consider exporting meat to the United States and Europe. One of the problems, however, was the labor shortage, but this was solved by the arrival of large groups of European immigrants. Furthermore, the Indians had to be expelled from the future pastures. That problem was solved by General Julio Roca, who liquidated Indians on a large scale in 1879. In this bloody way, the large landowners gained approximately 400,000 km2 of pampas land within a few months. In less than sixty years, the population of Argentina rose from 800,000 in 1851 to eight million in 1910. At that time, the population was very diverse and three-quarters were non-Argentine. The European workers were assigned to certain areas or activities in a kind of colonies. Italians, Spaniards and English, for example, often worked in the ports, French and Swiss farmers in Mesopotamia and Germans in the forests of the province of Misiones. Real power in Argentina was in the hands of the landowners, the grain and cattle farmers, the financial elite, and the meat and wool exporters. Argentina was doing very well economically at that time and the country was for some time one of the ten richest countries in the world.

The First World War had major consequences for the Argentinean economy. The European sales market largely disappeared, as a result of which people could no longer pay their debts and the country fell into a financial crisis. Predictably, the middle class immediately revolted as it was hit hardest by the crisis; they demanded more freedom and openness. This middle class consisted largely of European immigrants who, under the leadership of Leonardo Alem, founded the Unión Civica Radical, the Radical Civic Union.

In 1916 the first free general elections were won by the radicals and Hipólito Yrigoyen was elected president. After the First World War, Argentina returned to full economic importance; America and Europe again needed a lot of grain and meat, and so started another period of prosperity and relative prosperity that lasted until the late 1920s. President Alvear (1922-1928), who restored the gold standard for the country, was succeeded by Irigoyen.

In 1930 Argentina also had to deal with the international economic crisis and the conservative forces saw their chance and staged a coup. Analogous to the situation in Europe, fascist and nationalist ideas also emerged in Argentina. Irigoyen was succeeded by General José Felix Uriburu and then a choice of presidents followed until the end of World War II, successively Agustín P. Justo, Roberto Marcelino Ortiz, Ramón S. Castillo, Pedro Pablo Ramirez and Edelmiro Julian Farrell.

Era Perón

Juan Peron and Evita Argentina Juan Peron and Evita ArgentinaPhoto: Public domain

President Castillo kept Argentina out of the war, provoking the anger of the United States. It was only under President Ramirez that Argentina broke diplomatic relations with Germany and at the last moment war was declared on Germany and Japan. However, the ideas of the European dictators were followed with interest during the war. Juan Perón, an army officer, was one of those figures who had political sympathies for the socio-economic policies in Germany and Italy. To analyze fascism he was stationed in Italy to see it with his own eyes.

When he came back he knew exactly what Argentina needed. First of all, he became Deputy Minister of Labor and in 1943 and 1944 he managed to gain many supporters among Spanish and Italian emigrants, port and agricultural workers. It became increasingly clear that Peron would one day become the leader of Argentina; in 1944 he became vice president and secretary of war, making him a powerful man in the Farrell administration.

A temporary setback followed in 1945 when he was arrested after another military coup. A young radio announcer heard this and called on the population via the radio to protest against the state of affairs. Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Buenos Aires in October 1945, and with the help of the army and a major strike, Perón was recalled, and in 1946 he even became president. He married the radio announcer Eva Duarte, who from then on would be called Eva "Evita" Perón, and became world famous. In 1947, Perón founded his own party, the "Partido Paronista", under the motto "justicialismo" (justice).

After the Second World War, Argentina was doing well, and great progress was made both economically and socially. Good social laws for workers were drawn up, trade union wishes respected and all major companies were nationalized. The reform of the outdated industry was also successful. Perón's rule was totalitarian, almost dictatorial, and it was taken for granted. However, he managed to restore national unity and, partly because of his wife Eva, gained great popularity abroad as well.

In 1951, Perón was re-elected by a large majority as president of Argentina. From that time on, the economy suffered the first blows. Rapidly rising government expenditure, crop failures and sharply falling grain prices on the international market caused major economic problems. Opposition to Perón grew rapidly, and Evita Perón's death came at a very bad time. Strikes and demonstrations followed and in 1955 Perón decided to resign under pressure from the military, the church and the elite. He then fled to Paraguay and from there as an exile to Spain.

Dictators and Coups

Arturo Frondizi Argentina Arturo Frondizi ArgentinaPhoto: Algún periodista in the public domain

From 1955 to 1973 it was an administrative chaos in the country. Military coupes and civilian presidents alternated, but Peronism proved not to be banished from society. The underground left Peronist movement "Montoneros" even started an armed struggle against the military, after which a witch hunt for the Peronists was unleashed. On September 23, 1955, Eduardo Lonardi became president, succeeded less than a month later by General Pedro Aramburu. At the time, economic policy was aimed at fighting inflation, lifting the state monopoly and attracting foreign capital.

In 1958, the radical Arturo Frondizi was elected president with the support of communists and Peronists. Frondizi's foreign policy (he sought rapprochement with the United States) aroused a lot of resistance and in 1959 alone he faced 25 government crises. In 1962 the Peronists were allowed to participate in the elections again and they achieved a great triumph. However, this led to the departure of Frondizi, after which a period of crisis ensued and the military was in effect in control. They appointed José Maria Guido president in March 1962 and the hold of the army was increasing; for example, the communist party was banned.

In July 1963, the radical Arturo Illia was elected president. He proclaimed a policy of economic nationalism and called on the armed forces to settle their differences. In December 1964, ex-president Perón made an attempt to return to Argentina, but he was not admitted. His wife, Isabel Perón, was admitted, after which she tried to take over the leadership of the Peronists in January 1966. In the elections for the Chamber of Deputies, the Peronists with their new party Union Popular, again came out as the strongest party.

On June 28, 1966, President Illia was deposed and succeeded by General Onganía. Onganía banned all political parties and gave top priority to economic development. The social peace that was desperately needed for this led to a certain collaboration with the Peronist trade union federation CGT. In 1969, a major popular uprising started in the city of Córdoba, but was bloody suppressed by the military. The call for Perón's return grew louder and the military leader of the time, Lanusse, Onganía's successor, responded. He called for presidential elections, Perón was even allowed to return to Argentina and the ban on the Partido Justicialista was lifted.

However, his return was not such a success. Fighting broke out between various Peronist groups and the secret police, resulting in hundreds of deaths. However, this did not prevent Perón from being re-elected president on September 23, 1973 with his wife Isabel Perón as vice president.

At the time, however, Perón was no longer physically and mentally up to his difficult task, and both left and right groups committed acts of terrorism, and murders and kidnappings were the order of the day. He was also confronted with a strong division in the Peronist movement between left and right groups. In 1974, Perón died and his wife Isabel became president under a state of emergency. Real government, however, was in the hands of the Minister of Welfare, López Rega. He founded Argentina's Anti-Communist Alliance, the AAA. Everything left was now outlawed and in a few years thousands of people lost their lives in the battle between the left-wing guerrilla and the AAA. The economic situation was very bad during this time, corruption was rampant, so the military thought it was high time to carry out another coup d'état, the fifth time in 40 years. In the meantime, unions, politicians and soldiers managed to persuade the president to resign López Rega. On March 24, 1976, Isabel Perón was deposed and arrested by the military. She was released in June 1981, after which she too went into exile in Spain.

Videla's military rule, 1976-1983

Jorge Videla ArgentinaJorge Videla ArgentinaPhoto: Edgardo E. Carbajal in the public domain

A junta of three soldiers came to power, Emilio Messera and Orlando Agosti and General Videla as president. The plans for reconstruction and the fight against "terrorism" soon turned out to be empty talk. Anyone who had some left-wing or progressive ideas was suspect, could just be arrested and his life was no longer safe. In this fairly short period, according to human rights organizations, about 30,000 people disappeared; in 1984 an official commission of inquiry documented the abduction by military personnel of 8,960 people.

In 1978, the Montoneros were defeated in the so-called "dirty war" (guerra sucia) and the united resistance was broken. In 1978, when the FIFA World Cup was held in Argentina, the "Foolish Mothers" of the Plazo de Mayo made their name for the first time. They soon became world famous and still walk in the square to get more information about their missing children or family. The leader of one of the human rights organizations, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1980.

The military had a plan to get the economy back on track, but it failed completely. The many loans taken out by the government made the external debt too high. The international economy continued to decline and the pressure on government increased. On March 29, 1981, Videla was succeeded by General Roberto Viola, but already on December 22, 1981, the extreme nationalist General Leopoldo Galtieri took over the presidency.

It was also he who declared war on England in March 1982 on the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas). This archipelago had been conquered by the English from the Argentines since 1833 and has been a point of contention ever since. The Argentines expected no response from the British, but the British government decided to send an expeditionary force. On June 16, 1982, the Argentine commander in the Falkland Islands, General Mario Menéndez, surrendered. Approx. 800 Argentine and 200 British soldiers were killed in the war. Due to disastrous economic policies and the defeat in the Falkland Islands, General Galtieri resigned as President and Commander in Chief of the Army and was succeeded on June 22, 1982 by General Reynaldo Bignone, who was tasked with arranging the return to civilian rule.

Period Alfonsín

Raul Alfonsin Argentinia Raul Alfonsin ArgentinaPhoto: Roosewelt Pinheiro in the public domain

The general election of October 30, 1983 was won by the Radical Civil Union of Raúl Alfonsín, who was installed as the new civilian president on December 10. After nearly eight years of oppression and terror, the population had high hopes for the new president. However, he was unable to keep his promise of "a hundred years of peace and prosperity", also because Argentina was in an economically dire situation. The investigation into the thousands of disappeared persons, entitled "nunca mas = never again", was also very difficult. Generals like Videla and Galtieri were convicted, but not everyone was arrested. Alfonsín was under heavy pressure from the military, who wanted absolutely no massive convictions and were always ready to commit a new coup.

In the Alfonsín period, the economy went badly, inflation soared and the World Bank demanded the borrowed money to be paid back. In addition, the president had to deal with a bureaucratic civil service that consumed almost the entire budget. In 1985 Alfonsín announced a price freeze, combined with severe budget cuts. Furthermore, the peso, the national currency, was replaced by the austral, but all these measures barely worked. The criticism of Alfonsín increased rapidly and it was therefore not surprising that he lost the presidential election of May 14, 1989 with flying colors. The elections were won by ex-governor Carlos Menem of the province of La Rioja and member of the Partido Justicialista, the Peronist party. In April 1987 and in January and December 1988 some army units revolted, but this ultimately had no serious consequences

Period Menem

Carlos Menem ArgentinaCarlos Menem ArgentinaPhoto: Public domain

Under Carlos Menem, Argentina's economic recovery was somewhat better. The cuts worked out well and the hyperinflation came to an end. Military pressure was greatly reduced by granting amnesty to suspected soldiers. That the Peronist principles were largely abandoned was taken for granted by the population. For example, the free market economy was embraced and the peso, the national currency, returned. Furthermore, import restrictions were sharply reduced and many large state-owned companies were nationalized. In the early 1990s, Argentina and Great Britain restored diplomatic relations, although the Argentine did not give up claims to the islands. In December a mutiny of a number of soldiers was put down by pro-government troops. In Dec. In 1990 Menem granted amnesty to the members of the former juntas and some other senior officers and civilians, who were sentenced in 1985 to long prison terms for human rights violations during the military dictatorship. They included ex-presidents Videla and Viola.

From 1994 there was no more inflation and the country became more and more economically stable. Unfortunately, it was mainly the rich who benefited from this, while the weak groups in society continued to suffer from great poverty, also due to the increasing unemployment as a result of the privatization of state-owned companies. In 1995, the Argentinean economy was hit by the financial crisis in Mexico, but Argentina recovered quickly from this situation, achieving very high economic growth year after year.

Menem was involved in many scandals during his first reign, including corruption through the appointment of friends and acquaintances to important posts. He also managed to push through a constitutional amendment that made it possible to get a second term as president. The May 1995 presidential elections were still won by Menem, but the 1997 midterm elections for half of the seats in the Chamber of Deputies were lost by the Peronists and they lost the majority in parliament at that time. In 1998 Menem stated that he would not run for the 1999 presidential election.

Fernando de la Rúa, the Alianza candidate, defeated the Peronist candidate Eduardo Duhalde in the primaries. At that time he was mayor of Buenos Aires. In the simultaneous elections held for half of the seats in the House of Representatives, the Alianza obtained 63 seats and the PJ 50. The coalition of De la Rúa obtained 127 of the 257 seats in the House of Representatives as a result of this election result, while the Peronists went back to 101 seats.

Period De la Rúa

On December 10, 1999, De la Rúa was sworn in as president, and he pledged to tackle corruption and give more attention to social policy. The problem, however, was that the new governing coalition did not have a majority in parliament.

Due to the ongoing economic malaise and ongoing street protests, De la Rúa was forced to resign on December 20, 2001. A very restless Christmas period followed with three interim presidents, successively Ramón Puerta, Adolfo Rodriguez Saá and Eduardo Caamaño. Parliament intervened and appointed Peronist Eduardo Duhalde to complete De la Rúa's term of office until the elections of March 30, 2003.

Period Kirchner

Nestor Kirchner Argentinia Nestor Kirchner ArgentinaPhoto: Casa Rosada CC 2.0 Unported no changes made

The presidential elections of that day were won by former president Carlos Menem, but with too few votes to immediately become president again. In the following polls, Menem fell far behind his competitor Nestor Kirchner. Menem then decided to withdraw, after which Kirchner became the new president of Argentina on May 25, 2003.

President Kirchner's popularity is high, not least due to the unexpectedly favorable economic recovery that occurred during his presidency. President Kirchner cashed in on his popularity in parliamentary seats in the October 2005 congressional elections, but clashed severely with his previous patron Duhalde when he took over from Duhalde's Peronist party apparatus in Buenos Aires Province (40% of voters) .

The political cards are being shuffled in view of the upcoming elections in October. This again shows that politics is more focused on the personality of a leader than on a party. Attempts to support or stop the current president Kirchner lead to all kinds of alliances that cause parties to split up and merge. For example, part of the “radical” party, the UCR, supports President Kirchner (Peronist) they are called the “K” Radicals. Also within the same party are the “L” Radicals of former economy minister Lavagna who was fired by President Kirchner in 2006 and is now one of the main rivals in the upcoming presidential election. There is another split-off within the “radical” party, the “R” Radicals, who support neither President Kirchner nor Lavagna. This split-off is headed by the general secretary of the UCR, Margarita Stolbizer. The “R” Radicals are now trying to form an alliance with the center-left Alternativa para una República Igualitaria (ARI), a party that split in 2001 from the UCR.

The divisions within UCR and also within the other opposition parties ensure that President Kirchner is the favorite in the run-up to the elections. President Kirchner, however, still has doubts about whether he will actually run for election. It is also possible that his wife, Senator Cristina Fernández, also popular, will join him instead.

Period Fernandéz

Argentina Cristina FernandézArgentina Cristina FernandézPhoto: Presidencia de la N. Argentina CC 2.0 no changes made

In October 2007, Cristina Fernández won the elections and in December 2007 she was appointed president of Argentina. In July 2009, President Fernandez's Peronist party loses the absolute majority in parliament. At the end of 2009 and in February 2010, the row between Great Britain and Argentina continues over the control of sea areas, partly as a result of a British plan to drill for oil. In 2011, Cristina Fernández wins the elections again, due to strong economic growth. In July 2012, Videla was sentenced to 50 years in prison. In 2013, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires is elected Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. He is the first South American to hold this position. In November 2013, President Fernández made changes to her government squad. 2014 was dominated by the debt crisis, Congress decided to restructure in September.

Period Macri

In November 2015, Mauricio Macri, the conservative mayor of Buenos Aires, wins the presidential election of Peronist Daniel Scioli. He will take office as the new president in December. In February 2016 Argentina enters into a debt payment agreement to a US hedge fund, thus regaining access to the international credit market. In October 2017, the coalition around Macri wins the parliamentary elections, which is seen as a test of his reform policy. In November 2017, the court sentenced 48 defendants for their role in torture and disappearances during the Videla regime. At the same trial, Julio Poch, the Argentinian / Dutch pilot who was held in custody for 8 years for alleged involvement in death flights, is acquitted. In May 2018, the government is raising interest rates in an effort to stop the fall of the Peso.

Alberto Ángel Fernández, President of ArgentinaAlberto Ángel Fernández, president of ArgentiniaPhoto: Argentina Presidency of the Nation CC 2.5 Argentina no changes made

Period Fernández

In August 2019, Macri unexpectedly loses the preliminary round of the presidential election to center-left candidate Alberto Ángel Fernández, who also wins the presidential election later in October of that year and is the new president since 10-12-2019.


Composition, distribution and demographics

Tango Ensemble Argentina

Tango Ensemble ArgentiniaPhoto: Sergio grazioli CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

Argentina has a largely white population (80%) that is mainly of Italian and Spanish descent. There are also many Argentines of German, English and Eastern European descent, and Argentina is, more than any other country in Latin America, a nation of immigrants. Approx. 5% of the total population consists of mestizos (people of mixed Indian-white descent) or "cabezitas negras", who mainly live in the poor south and west of the country.

From 1850, the first wave of immigrants came to Argentina, mostly farmers and pastoralists from Ireland, Wales and the Basque Country. From the late nineteenth century to 1930, the second wave of immigrants came, mainly from Italy, but also from Spain, Lebanon, Poland, Ukraine, Greece and Yugoslavia. Most were manual laborers who went to live in the big cities.

After the Second World War, a new wave of immigration of mainly economic refugees. In recent decades, many immigrants from South Korea and Japan have come to work in Argentina, and the greater prosperity also attracts many Chileans, Bolivians and Paraguayans.

The number of Indians is estimated at between 300,000 and 340,000, and that number is still decreasing. Until well into the nineteenth century, hundreds of Indian tribes (including Araucanos, Querandies and Guaranies) still lived in colonial Argentina, but lived in isolation in small communities. Argentina has never known highly developed peoples such as Incas or Maya.

At the moment there are still 15 Indian people living in Argentina. Many Indians still live in the province of Chaco, namely the Tobas, Matacos and Pilagás. Guaraní Indians live in Misiones province and Tehuelche Indians in Chubut and Santa Cruz provinces. Mapuche Indians live in the vicinity of Esquel and in the northwest, in Jujuy, Catamarca and Salta, a small group of Coyas still live.

The Argentinian Jewish community (approx. 300,000) is the largest in Latin America and the fifth in importance in the world. It wasn't until 1998 that Congress passed a law against racial discrimination and hatred of Jews. Yet this turned out not to be nearly enough to end anti-Semitism in Argentina. As late as 1994, more than 100 people were killed in a bomb attack on a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires.

Due to the economic problems, many Argentines seek refuge in other countries, including Spain, Italy and the United States. It is estimated that there are currently approximately 600,000 Argentines living abroad.

Population composition by origin::

It may be clear that there are hardly any direct descendants of all these population groups. Most Argentines have long been a mix of different origins. Yet these are the official figures of the Argentine government. At the moment about 13% of the population was born abroad.

Of the Argentine population, which numbered almost 44.3 million souls in 2017, 92% live in cities. Buenos Aires is the largest city with 3 million inhabitants and Greater Buenos Aires (including the urban area) has even 15.2 million inhabitants. About half of Argentina's population lives in the province of Buenos Aires.

Other large urban agglomerations are Córdoba, La Matanza (San Justo) and Rosario. Villas miserias (slums) are located around the big cities, but less so than in other Latin American countries. The least populated is Patagonia, where only 1% of the population lives; the most densely populated is the La Plata basin.

Age structure (2017)

The birth rate was 16.7 per 1000 inhabitants in 2017

The death rate in 2014 was 7.5 per 1000 inhabitants

Life expectancy at birth: men 74.2 years, women 80.6 years


Spanish language mapSpanish language mapPhoto: Public domain

The official language of Argentina is Spanish, which differs slightly in terms of grammar, pronunciation and word choice from European (Castilian) Spanish. These many small differences make Spanish-Argentinean a very own language. The Italians have made the Spanish-Argentinean language lilting and softer in sound.

In addition to certain dialects of Spanish, several other languages are also spoken. The second language is English, which is still spoken mainly by many people in the cities. In Buenos Aires, the "lunfardo" has been spoken since the end of the nineteenth century. This slang language contains many Italian, Portuguese, French, German and African words.

The large immigrant groups, such as the Italian, French and German, still speak some of their own languages. In addition, a few Indian languages are spoken, including Guaraní, Quechua and Aymara. Because the surviving Indian tribes are getting smaller and smaller, the Indian languages are in danger of disappearing quickly.


Procession ArgentinaProcession ArgentinaPhoto: Nestor Troncoso CC2.0 Generic no changes made

More than 90% of the population belongs to the Roman Catholic Church, although only 20% of Catholics still regularly attend church. There is freedom of religion, the Roman Catholic Church is not a state church. Until recently, presidential candidates had to be Catholic. It was not until 1994 that the relevant article was deleted from the constitution. The Roman Catholic Church has always had a lot of influence on Argentine society, including education. For a long time, the leadership of the church supported the aristocracy in particular and later the many military juntas. Until 1966, the Catholic Church was even constitutionally under government control. During the Videla regime, the Church did not distance itself until the end of the frequent violence. There are 13 archdioceses and 44 dioceses. In 2013, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires is elected Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. He is the first South American to hold this position.

The patron saint of Argentina is the Blessed Virgin Mary, "La Virgen de Luján. Every year on May 8 and in the first week of October, millions of pilgrims from all parts of the country flock to Luján to pray to the Virgin Mary.

2% of the population, mainly of German descent, is Protestant, 2% is Jewish. In Buenos Aires there is a church for every religion, such as mosques, synagogues, a Russian Orthodox church and even a Danish Protestant church.

In some areas the Roman Catholic Church adapted to Native American religions. The different cultures mingled for centuries, especially in the folk festivals. In the northwest, for example, the religion of the Coya Indians is still emphatically present with its own rituals such as the burning of a Judas figure during the Easter feast.

The carnival is often still closely linked to Indian mythology. The festivities then begin with the excavation of the earth goddess, Pachamama, who is returned to the earth on the last day of the festival.


State structure

Argentina Congreso Nacional Argentina Congreso NacionalPhoto: Roberto Fiadone CC 2.5 Generic no changes made

Argentina formally has a federal presidential democracy, enshrined in the constitution dating back to 1853. There is separate executive, legislative and judicial branches, with a president at the head of the executive branch. The president, whose power has been somewhat curtailed under the new 1994 constitution, appoints and dismisses the prime minister and the ministers. He is also Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces and may be re-elected once for a further four years. The president can be fired by Congress through an impeachment procedure. The nomination by the president of the prime minister may be rejected by a majority vote of Congress.

The legislative branch consists of the National Congress (Congreso Nacional), formed by the Senate of 72 members and the Chamber of Deputies with 257 members. Senators have been elected directly by the population for six years since 2001 and members of the Chamber of Deputies for four years. A lottery procedure is used to determine which senators will stay on for two, four or six years. The Senate is headed by the Vice President.

The president and vice president are elected for a four-year term by direct election. Elections are held every two years for one third of the Senate seats and half of the seats in the House.

Voting is compulsory for all citizens aged 18 to 70. At the provincial level, each province elects its own governor. The current political situation is described in the chapter history.

Administrative division

Argentina ProvincesArgentina ProvincesPhoto: Bleff CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

Argentina consists of 22 provinces, the federal district of Buenos Aires and the national area Tierra del Fuego (Tierra del Fuego). The provincial parliament elected by direct elections elects a governor.

The new 1994 constitution gives the provinces greater autonomy.

provincecapital citysurfacepopulation
Buenos AiresLa Plata307.571 km14.000.000
CatamarcaCatamarca102.602 km340.000
ChacoResistencia99.633 km990.000
ChubutRawson224.686 km420.000
CórdobaCórdoba165.321 km3.100.000
CorrientesCorrientes88.199 km935.000
Distrito FederalBuenos Aires203 km2.800.000
Entre RíosParaná78.781 km1.165.000
FormosaFormosa72.066 km490.000
JujuyS.Salvador de Jujuy53.219 km615.000
La PampaSanta Rosa143.440 km305.000
La RiojaLa Rioja89.680 km300.000
MendozaMendoza148.827 km1.600.000
MisionesPosadas29.801 km970.000
NeuguénNeuguén94.078 km480.000
Río NegroViedma203.013 km560.000
SaltaSalta155.488 km1.100.000
San JuanSan Juan89.651 km625.000
San LuisSan Luis76.748 km370.000
Santa CruzRío Gallegos243.943 km200.000
Santa FeSanta Fe133.007 km3.100.000
Santiago d. EsteroSantiago d. Estero136.351 km810.000
Tierra del FuegoUshuaia21.571 km105.000
TucumánS.Miguel de Tucumán22.524 km1.350.000


Argentina white school uniformsArgentina white school uniformsPhoto: Public domain

About 10 million Argentines are in education. Children are of compulsory school age and must attend primary school for seven years and some form of further education for three years. Then they can go to high school or university. The literacy rate is one of the highest in Latin America at more than 95%. Nevertheless, the quality of public primary, secondary and university education has declined in recent years due to reduced accessibility and the quality of teacher training. As a result, private schools are on the rise and a quarter of all Argentinian pupils now follow this type of education.

Argentina has more than 50 universities, including 24 state universities.

The University of Buenos Aires is one of the oldest educational institutions in Argentina, with more than 170,000 students.

Typically Argentinian

Tango La Boca Buenos Aires Tango La Boca Buenos AiresPhoto: WiDi CC 3.0 Unported np changes made


The tango dance originated in the port areas of Buenos Aires, La Boca and San Telmo. In the nineteenth century people of European and African descent mingled with the local population, and from the different kinds of music and dance that were brought along, the tango was created in the late nineteenth century. The tango was initially only danced by the poor people in the "conventillo", tenements where these people lived, but over the years it has become a popular dance form among all population groups. Especially when well-known musicians included the tango in their repertoire, dance became all the rage in Europe.

Between 1920 and 1930 tango reached its peak: many tango schools were formed and there were countless tango orchestras. The most important Argentine tango singer ever was Carlos Gardel, who was born Charles Romualdo Gardés in 1890 in France.

The tango is usually played in a small line-up of guitar, bass, violin, piano and one or two bandonéons, a small accordion.

In Buenos Aires you can study tango at Fundacíon del Tango.

Gauchos ArgentinaGauchos ArgentinaPhoto: José María Pérez Nuñez CC 2.0 Generic no changes made


The word gaucho comes from the Native American Quechua word "huacho", which means "orphan". The gauchos, often mestizos, have long been the symbol of Argentina. As early as the eighteenth century, they traveled across the grasslands of pampas, taming wild horses and herding cows. At the end of the eighteenth century, large tracts of land were sold by the government to wealthy people. They drove the gauchos from their work area, leaving the gauchos in social isolation. In effect, they were forced to enter the service of the "estancias", the gigantic agricultural and livestock companies.

Gauchos are easily recognizable by a "bombacha", loose-fitting trousers, a belt with a silver buckle and a "poncho", a kind of cape. Furthermore, they always carry with them a "facón", a long silver knife, and the "boleadoras", a lasso with three long leather straps at the ends with a leather ball or stone attached to it. Fleeing cattle are caught with this throwing rope. The boleadoras was originally an invention of the Tehuelche Indians. The horse they ride is called "caballo criollo".


Post-war economic history in a nutshell

National Bank of ArgentinaNational Bank ArgentinaPhoto: Barcex CC 2.5 Generic no changes made

Until the beginning of World War II, Argentina was one of the most prosperous countries in the world. The export of grains, hides and meat was mainly to blame for this, and the proceeds from these were used to develop the industry.

In the 1950s, the Argentine economy went wrong. Agriculture was facing increasing competition from other, cheaper countries and industry was not yet developed enough to compete with other industrialized countries.

In the period Perón a monetary depreciation was set in motion that lasted until 1991 and, for example, in 1984 yielded an inflation rate of up to 700%. The structural causes of the economic downturn (low productivity, poor export position, high government spending, speculation and capital flight by the financial elite) were not addressed and the economy failed to modernize.

In the 1970s, a huge amount of money was borrowed abroad to reduce the government deficit; however, this did not yield much more than a tenfold increase in foreign debt. In addition, the military regime irresponsibly speculated with the money and bought military goods from it. The real issues were not addressed.

The Alfonsín government sought and received support from the IMF, on the condition that significant cuts would be made in government spending. As a result, the population's disposable income decreased, which caused the economy to stagnate. In 1991 an anti-inflation program was started which was a success. The national currency was pegged to the US dollar, causing monetary devaluation to drop to 1% in the late 1990s. In addition, state-owned companies were privatized and government spending was slashed. This was followed by another economic recession and the economic crisis. Unemployment is still a major problem.

Agricultural sector.

Argentina Animal husbandryArgentina Animal husbandryPhoto: Alister.flint CC 3.0 Unported no changes made


The share of agriculture in the GNP (gross national product) has decreased in recent decades to 10.9% (2017). About 5.3% of the labor force is employed in this sector, which is still responsible for 35% of the foreign exchange income. More than 80% of Argentina's total exports are agricultural products, processed or as raw material. More than 70% of the total surface area is used for agriculture, of which the largest part is for livestock (52%), and Buenos Aires is the most important agricultural province. Large land ownership is still abundant in Argentina: approximately 70% of the cultivated land was in the hands of 6% of the landowners in the 1970s. Despite much-announced agricultural reform measures, agricultural property relations have hardly been affected in recent decades.

The main export destination for Argentinian agricultural products is the European Union. Argentina is a major player on the world market in terms of both production and export.


The main arable products are wheat, grain, maize, oil fruits, soy and flax in the pampas, wine around Mendoza and sugar cane in Tucumán. In Entre-Rios yerba maté (bitter tea) and rice are grown.

Cattle breeding

The cattle stock numbers more than 50 million heads. Almost 90% of meat production is consumed domestically. 180,000 tonnes of beef is exported to more than 50 countries, the most important of which are Egypt, Bulgaria, Brazil and Israel.

Sheep farming is in Patagonia. Milk powder is an important export product, with Brazil, Algeria, Jordan, Chile and Venezuela as the main sales markets. Cheese is another important export product with the United States, Brazil, Mexico and Chile as the main buyers.


The Argentine government is trying to stimulate the forestry sector through favorable investment measures. The government is trying to increase the area of built-up forest to 3 million hectares in the coming years.

Argentina now has economically viable forests covering 22% of its territory. In the northern Gran Chaco area, quebracho extract is extracted from which pharmaceutical products are made, including tannins.


Argentina expanded its territorial waters from 12 to 200 nautical miles in 1969 to secure the rich fish stocks in the southern Atlantic Ocean. However, it has still not come to optimal utilization.

Fishing is important between Mar del Plata and Bahía Blanca (sardines and tuna) and on the Patagonian coast (cod and sardines). Fish is exported mainly to Spain, Brazil, the United States and Japan. The main export fish is the "merluza" or hake.

Mining and energy supply

Nuclear power plant ArgentinaNuclear power plant ArgentinaPhoto: Mcukilo CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

Mining is of little importance for employment and exports; less than 1% of the labor force is employed in this sector. The mineral resources are still unexplored.

The main product is petroleum with extraction areas in Patagonia and in the north and west of the country. The operation is in the hands of the state-owned company YPF and Argentina provides almost all of its oil needs. Forty percent of the oil production is for the domestic market, the rest for export, mainly to Brazil, Chile and Uruguay and the United States. Argentina is Latin America's fourth largest oil producer.

Natural gas is often extracted together with petroleum. The natural gas fields of Argentina were found as a result of the oil exploration. The largest natural gas fields are located in the southwest (Neuquén: half of the total production), south and northwest of the country. Argentina is Latin America's second largest natural gas producer. The entire gas industry is in private hands and our own production covers approximately 80% of the domestic demand. The remainder is imported from Bolivia via a pipeline. Argentina has a strong petrochemical industry due to its large reserves of oil and natural gas. The entire sector produces about 3.3 million tons of products annually. The refineries are mainly located in the provinces of Buenos Aires, Neuquén, Mendoza, Tierra del Fuego and Santa Fé.

Mining is still under development and many of the minerals present are not yet exploited. Most of the mining areas and supplies are in the Andes Mountains and to the west on the border with Chile. The main minerals with metal that are mined are gold, silver, copper, zinc, tungsten and lead. Minerals that are extracted include clay, limestone, gravel and sand.

Coal is mined in the southern province of Santa Cruz and in the northwest of the Andes asbestos and beryllium (used in nuclear energy, among others) are mined.

Since 1992, the Argentine government has privatized and deregulated the electricity sector. Only the nuclear and some hydroelectric power plants are still owned by the national government.

Argentina has great potential for hydroelectricity, which was developed in the 1970s through joint projects with Paraguay on the Paraná River and with Uruguay.

In 1982, the Salto Grande power station was completed on the Uruguay border river. Argentina has nuclear energy. Uranium is mined in the country itself.

With regard to sustainable energy, the focus is mainly on solar and wind energy. According to the plans of the wind energy companies, 15% of Argentina's electricity must be produced using wind technology in ten years' time.


Argentina Export Argentina ExportPhoto: R Haussman, Cesar Hidalgo, et. al CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

The young industry employs about 28.6% of the labor force and provides 28.2% of GDP. The main industries are still linked to the agricultural sector, such as the textile and food industries (especially the meat processing industry), sugar and maté factories. There are also industries where electrical and household appliances, automotive bodies, plastic goods, clothing and the like are produced. Argentina's industry is mainly concentrated around the cities of Buenos Aires, Rosario and Córdoba.

The food industry is well developed, accounting for nearly 5% of GDP and 30% of total exports. Argentina benefits enormously in this sector from Mercosur's membership, giving almost all Argentinian foodstuffs free access to the gigantic Brazilian market. Important products are of course mainly meat and meat products, but also fruit, vegetables, fish, chocolate, wine and edible oils.

Another significant industrial sector is the automotive industry. Most of the Argentinian fleet is assembled in the country itself and some export takes place to neighboring countries.

Service and trade

Buenos Aires business districtBuenos Aires business districtPhoto: Luis Argerich CC 2.0 Genérica. no changes made

This sector has grown strongly, especially under Perón. The government is striving to reduce the bureaucracy that has grown out of its power. Efforts are also being made to privatize public service companies as much as possible. Many small and medium-sized banks have merged to compete with the big banks. Important.

In 1995 Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil (with Chile and Bolivia as associate members) signed an agreement aimed at economic integration in the region, MERCOSUR. Argentina's foreign trade has doubled in recent years.

The main imports are: machines, semi-finished products, vehicles, fuels and energy, transport equipment, iron and steel products, and chemical products. The main trading partners were Brazil, the United States, China and Germany. Total value of imports was $ 60.38 billion (2017).

The exports mainly concern meat, wheat, fruit, wool, cotton, soya, linseed, hides and skins and quebracho (raw material for tannin extract). The main trading partners were Brazil, Chile, United States and China. The total value of the exports was $ 59.7 billion (2017).


Buenos Aires Subway StationBuenos Aires Subway StationPhoto: Svenska84 in the public domain

The Argentinian road network covers a total of 220,000 km. Approx. 90% of passenger and 60% of freight transport is by road. There are about 12,000 truck companies active in Argentina.

For a long time, the railways were considered the main arteries of the Argentine ytansport network. Rails and rolling stock are obsolete and are gradually being replaced. There are also plans for further electrification of the railway network.

Argentina has four seaports: Buenos Aires, La Plata, Comodoro Rivadavia and Bahía Blanca. The two large southward flowing rivers Paraná and Uruguay are easily navigable. The Colorado and Negro rivers in Northern Patagonia are navigable only by small ships.

More than 95% of container traffic enters Argentina through the port of Buenos Aires.

The airline Aerolíneas Argentinas is the main company. The second airline, Austral Líneas Aéras, was privatized in 1987.

Buenos Aires Airport, Ezeiza, is one of the largest in the world and served by almost all major international airlines. Argentina has 271 airports, 10 of which are international.

Holidays and Sightseeing

Argentina is especially rich in natural beauty and has many recreational opportunities in the field of water sports, sport fishing and hunting. Furthermore, the capital Buenos Aires attracts many domestic and foreign tourists.

Also worth seeing are the city of Córdoba and old provincial capitals in the north such as Tucumán, Jujuy and Catamarca with their buildings from the colonial period, such as Santiago del Estero, the oldest city in the country, founded in 1553, and Salta, an important tourist center. The province of Misiones is also home to the world-famous waterfalls in the Iguaçú River, one of the country's greatest tourist attractions.

Iguacu Waterfalls ArgentinaIguacu Waterfalls ArgentinaPhoto: Flauta CC 3.0 Unported no changes made

In the province of San Luis you can still see rock paintings in caves and caves.

Characteristic for Argentina are the pampas, the almost endless lawns that extend in the province of La Pampa, but also beyond. The province of Mendoza borders this province, which has the highest peaks of the Andes, with the highest peak being the Aconcagua. The province is also famous for its wine and many mineral springs.

There are also famous sources in Rio Hondo (Aguas del Sol) in the province of Santiago del Estero. The lake district of Bariloche (a national park) in the southwest is also popular with tourists. The main town in that area is San Carlos de Bariloche, which is a winter sports center in winter. Cueva de las Manos (Caves of the Hands) is the name of an archaeological site in Río Pinturas, which contains a special collection of cave art from 13,000 to 9,500 years ago.

Buenos Aires ArgentinaBuenos Aires ArgentinaPhoto: Galio CC 2.0 Generic no changes made

Buenos Aires is the capital of Argentina. It is also Argentina's largest city. Some of the must see sights of Buenos Aires include Caminito, Cancha de Boca, and the House of Culture. There are many interesting museums in Buenos Aires. Some provide a glimpse into local history and culture, some contemporary art, some science and technology. A few museums on the local history of Buenos Aires are Cabildo de Lujan, Centro Cultural Recoleta, and Museo Historiographical Nationale. The life of Argentina's most famous woman is explored in the very popular Evita museum. Located in the same building once used by the Eva Peron Foundation in Buenos Aires, you can split the Museo Evita into different sections, each highlighting a different part of Evita Peron's life. Her clothes and her voting card are among the objects on display here. Read more on the Buenos Aires page of Landenweb.

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Van Reemst

Doef, P. van der / Argentinië

Encarta Encyclopedie

Holtwijk, I. / Argentinië : het land van Máxima
Bert Bakker

Thielen, J. / Argentinië : mensen, politiek, economie, cultuur, milieu
Koninklijk Instituut voor de Tropen ; Novib

CIA - World Factbook

BBC - Country Profiles

Last updated December 2021
Copyright: Team Landenweb