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April 2013

Argentina

Argentina

Argentina

Argentina

Early April brought heavy rains and serious flooding to the province of Buenos Aires, Argentina. The city of La Plata was hardest hit with more than 50 deaths. La Plata is 5 mi (8 km) inland from Ensenada, on the Río de la Plata. La Plata is the provincial capital; it is less than 40 miles southeast of Buenos Aires (national capital).

Argentina declared independence from Spain in 1816. The largest immigration took place from 1860 to 1930 with most coming from Italy and Spain. Up until about the mid-20th century, much of Argentina's history was dominated by periods of internal political conflict between Federalists and Unitarians and between civilian and military factions. After World War II, an era of Peronist populism and direct and indirect military interference in subsequent governments was followed by a military junta that took power in 1976. Democracy returned in 1983 after a failed bid to seize the Falkland Islands. A severe economic crisis in 2001-02 led to violent public protests and the successive resignations of several presidents.

Argentina is the second largest country in South America. It is strategically located between the South Pacific and South Atlantic Oceans. Its climate is mostly temperate, arid in the southeast, subantarctic in the southwest. Argentina has the rich plains of the Pampas in the north, the flat to rolling plateau of Patagonia in the south, and the rugged Andes mountains along the western border with Chile. The natural hazards facing Argentina include: earthquakes in the Andes, violent windstorms in the pampas and northeast, heavy flooding, and volcanic activity in the Andes. The natural resources of Argentina include: the fertile plains of the pampas, lead, zinc, tin, copper, iron ore, manganese, petroleum, and uranium.

Argentina has 23 provinces and one autonomous city (Buenos Aires, the capital). The president (Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner) is both the chief of state and head of government. The Congreso Nacional is bicameral and consists of 72 Senators and 257 members in the Chamber of Deputies. Argentina benefits from rich natural resources, a highly literate population, and a diversified industrial base. Although one of the world's wealthiest countries 100 years ago, Argentina suffered during most of the 20th century from recurring economic crises.

CIA World Factbook; The Columbia Gazetteer, 3/2013; 4/2013

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