Argentina country profile
- 28 December 2016
- From the section Latin America & Caribbean
Argentina stretches 4,000 km from its sub-tropical north to the sub-Antarctic south.
Its terrain includes part of the Andes mountain range, swamps, the plains of the Pampas and a long coastline. Its people have had to struggle with military dictatorship, a lost war over the Falkland Islands, and severe economic difficulties.
Argentina is rich in resources, has a well-educated workforce and is one of South America's largest economies. But it has also fallen prey to a boom and bust cycle.
The country remains locked in a territorial dispute with Britain over the Falklands Islands, which are governed as a British overseas territory, but have been claimed by Buenos Aires since the 1830s.
Capital: Buenos Aires
Population 41.1 million
Area 2.8m sq km (1.1m sq miles)
Major language Spanish
Major religion Christianity
Life expectancy 72 years (men), 80 years (women)
President: Mauricio Macri
Buenos Aires Mayor Mauricio Macri defied expectations by winning the 2015 presidential election run-off, beating Peronist candidate Daniel Scioli to become the country's first unambiguously conservative president to win a free and fair election since 1916.
Born into a wealthy business family, Mr Macri was elected mayor of Buenos Aires in 2007, and later emerged as the leader of a reunited conservative opposition to left-wing Peronist presidents Nestor Kirchner and Cristina Fernandez amid a worsening economy.
As president, Mr Macri has promised a clean break with almost all of his predecessor's state-focused policies, in particular pledging to lift currency exchange controls and improve conditions for business.
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Argentina is one of South America's leading media markets. The country has well over 150 daily newspapers, many hundreds of commercial radio stations, dozens of TV stations and one of the world's highest take-up rates for cable TV.
Large media conglomerates have emerged. Public broadcasting plays a minor role. Television is the dominant medium.
Outlets tend to be very polarised.
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16th century - Spanish colonisation of the River Plate coast and inland areas begins.
1810-18 - War of Independence ends in separation from Spain, but is followed by a series of civil conflicts between centralist and federalist forces until 1880.
1916-22 - President Hipolito Yrigoyen enacts a series of progressive social reforms. He is re-elected for another stint as president in 1928.
1930 - Great Depression hits Argentina hard as demand for its agricultural exports dries up. Armed forces seize power in coup setting a precedent for throwing out governments in times of economic trouble.
1955 - President Juan Peron, a populist who drew his support from Argentina's poor and working class, is sent into exile as the economy goes into decline.
1976 - Armed forces seize power and launch 'Dirty War' in which thousands are killed on suspicion of left-wing sympathies.
1982 - Argentine military invades remote Falkland Islands in south Atlantic but is expelled months later by British armed forces after bloody battles.
1983 - Discredited by loss of Falklands War, military government falls and is replaced by civilian President Raul Alfonsin, leader of the center-left Radical Party.
2001 - Economic crisis. Argentina makes history with the largest ever sovereign debt default of more than $80bn (£42bn). Government of President Nestor Kirchner brings about a turn around.
2014 - Argentina defaults on its international debt for the second time in 13 years.
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