Argentina Country Guide
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The Name Argentina comes
from the Latin word "Argentum", which means silver. The origin of this
name comes from the voyages of the first Spanish Conquistadores to the Rio de la
Plata. (The Silver River). The survivors of the shipwreck of the expedition led
by Juan Díaz de Solís found indigenous people in the region, who brought them gifts
of objects made out of silver; and they later took with them back to Spain in 1524
the news of the existence of a mountain, Sierra de la Plata (Silver Mountain), a
place full of this precious metal. Since that time, the Portuguese gave the name
of Rio de la Plata to the River, a name that the Spaniards also adopted two years
The Argentine National Constitution of 1853 included the name of "República
Argentina" amongst the official names used to designate the Government and
Territory of the new Nation.
Argentina is situated at the extreme South of South America, on the Eastern side
of the Andes. It is the second largest country in South America and the eighth in
size in the world.
Consisting of plains (Prairies and Savannahs), the famous Pampa Argentina, around
23% of high mountain plain mesetas and another 23% of mountain ranges and peaks
- and what is left made up of the Antarctica sector.
It borders with Bolivia and Paraguay in the North, with Brazil, Uruguay and the
Atlantic Ocean in the East, with the
Atlantic Ocean and Chile
to the East and the South.
The basic characteristic of the Argentinean landscape relief is the enormous contrast
found between the immense Eastern plains and the impressive Andean Mountain range
in the West, with the highest peak in the Western hemisphere: the Aconcagua, with
6,959 metres above sea level.
From its northernmost part in Jujuy to the Tierra del Fuego, the Argentinean Andes
show off the marvellous variety of its landscapes: From the high north-eastern plains
- desert tundra with valleys,
gorges and colourful mountains
- to the region of the lakes, forests and glaciers of Patagonia. To the North, the
Chaco is a forest area associated to the Bermejo, Salado andPilcomayo Rivers.
Between the Parana and Uruguay Rivers, the Argentinean Mesopotamia (The Provinces
of Entre Rios, Corrientes and Misiones) is made up of low hills, lakes and marshes,
which show where the old courses of these big rivers used run. In some places, in
the midst of the subtropical jungle, there are abrupt chasms that favour phenomena
as spectacular as the Iguazu Falls.
In the Central part of Argentina, the Pampas Region is the most extensive and best
known. Under heavy agricultural and livestock exploitation
it comprises the Province of Buenos Aires, the north-eastern part of the Province
of La Pampa and the southern parts of the Cordoba and Santa Fe Provinces. Its flat
landscape is interrupted in the south by the small mountain ranges of Tandil and
Ventana, and to the east by the Cordoba Mountains.
To the south, from the Andes to the sea, extend the sterile and stony Patagonian
high plains, scoured by the wind most of the year.
The Atlantic seaboard, with a high cliffy shoreline, takes on sinuous shapes, like
the Valdes Peninsula, with its spectacular rookeries and marine animal colonies.