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CIA World Factbook

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Flag of Argentina - CIA World Factbook

Argentina

The Argentine Republic

Population: 43,886,748

Area (sq km): 2,780,400

Capital City: Buenos Aires

National Holiday: 1810-05-25

Argentina, the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world, is one of the two countries that shares the Southern part of South America. It is bordered by Bolivia and Paraguay on the North, Brazil and Uruguay on the Northeast, the Atlantic Ocean on the East, and Chile on the West. Argentina also claims part of Antarctica, called Argentine Antarctica.

The capital of Argentina is Buenos Aires, which is also its most populous city. The population of Argentina is mostly all in the North and central regions, with the Southern part of the country being sparsely populated.

The economy of Argentina relies mainly on farming (produce and livestock), manufacturing, oil processing, services, and tourism.

Argentina was home to a large number of different native groups across the country, though the Southern part of the country weren't quite as populated as the central and Northern parts. Starting in the 16th century, Spanish conquistadors started coming to the country and began a long campaign to take the country from the natives. This is most evidenced by the Conquest of the Desert, a military campaign in the 1870s where Argentina endeavoured to take Patagonia away from the natives that lived there. Due to this, and a general indifference to the natives, there are not many descendants left in the nation, as a number native peoples have gone extinct.

From when it was first discovered by the Spanish, Argentina has always been a Spanish colony. It gained its independence from Spain on July 9 1816, along with the rest of what was called the United Provinces of the Rio Plata. Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay claimed their independence first, and the rest of that land mass was what became Argentina. May 25th is considered Argentina's national holiday, to commemorate the country's first Argentinian government, the Primera Junta, after a revoultion.

The sun in the centre of the flag is called the "Sun of May", and its facial features are that of the Incan god of the sun Inti. The sun commemorates the appearance of the sun through cloudy skies on the first independence demonstration on May 25, 1810. The blue bars represent the clear skies, and the white bar represents the snow of the Andes.

Argentina was originally called "Tierra Argentina", meaning "silvery land", referring to the estuary of the Rio Plata in the East of the country. Over time, the name was shortened to just Argentina.

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