-- Argentine Republic --

Argentina officially the Argentine Republic is a federal republic located in southeastern South America. Covering most of the Southern Cone, it is bordered by Bolivia and Paraguay to the north, Brazil to the northeast, Uruguay and the Atlantic to the east, Chile to the west and the Drake Passage to the south.

Argentina is derived from the Latin argentum ("silver"). La Plata Basin does not have any sources of silver, but the first Spanish conquerors arrived in the area following rumors of the existence of silver mountains, hence the name. The first use of the name Argentina can be traced to La Argentina, a 1602 poem by Martín del Barco Centenera. Although this name for the La Plata Basin was already in common usage by the 18th century, the area was formally called Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, and United Provinces of the Río de la Plata after independence. The earliest recorded human presence in the area now known as Argentina is dated from the Paleolithic period. The Spanish colonization began in 1512. Argentina rose as the successor state of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, a Spanish overseas colony founded in 1776. The declaration and fight for independence (1810–1818) was followed by an extended civil war that lasted until 1861, which ended with the country's reorganization as a federation of provinces with Buenos Aires as its capital city. During the last two thirds of the 20th century Argentina faced several military coups and political instability, along with periodic economic crisis that restrained its full development.

-- Economy --

The economy of Argentina is an upper middle-income economy, and Latin America's third-largest. The country benefits from rich natural resources, a highly literate population, an export-oriented agricultural sector and a diversified industrial base. Historically, however, Argentina's economic performance has been very uneven, in which high economic growth alternated with severe recessions, particularly during the late twentieth century, and income maldistribution and poverty increased. Early in the twentieth century it was one of the richest countries in the world and the third largest in the Southern hemisphere. Though now an upper-middle income economy, Argentina maintains a relatively high quality of life and GDP per capita.

Prior to the 1880s, Argentina was a relatively isolated backwater, dependent on the salted meat, wool, leather, and hide industries for both the greater part of its foreign exchange and the generation of domestic income and profits. The Argentine economy, however, began to experience swift growth after 1875 through the export of livestock and grain commodities, as well as through British and French investment, marking the beginning of a significant era of economic expansion.

Argentina is one of the world's major agricultural producers, ranking among the top producers and, in most of the following, exporters of beef, citrus fruit, grapes, honey, maize, sorghum, soybeans, squash, sunflower seeds, wheat, and yerba mate. Agriculture accounted for 9% of GDP in 2010, and around one fifth of all exports (not including processed food and feed, which are another third). Commercial harvests reached 103 million tons in 2010, of which over 54 million were oilseeds (mainly soy and sunflower), and over 46 million were cereals (mainly maize, wheat, and sorghum). Soy and its byproducts, mainly animal feed and vegetable oils, are major export commodities with one fourth of the total; cereals added another 10%. Cattle-raising is also a major industry, though mostly for domestic consumption; beef, leather and dairy were 5% of total exports. Sheep-raising and wool are important inPatagonia, though these activities have declined by half since 1990. Biodiesel, however, has become one of the fastest growing agro-industrial activities, with over US$2 billion in exports in 2011.

Fruits and vegetables made up 4% of exports: apples and pears in the Río Negro valley; rice, oranges and other citrus in the northwest and Mesopotamia; grapes and strawberries in Cuyo (the west), and berries in the far south. Cotton and tobacco are major crops in the Gran Chaco, sugarcane and chile peppers in the northwest, and olives and garlic in the west. Yerba mate tea (Misiones), tomatoes (Salta) and peaches (Mendoza) are grown for domestic consumption. Organic farming is growing in Argentina, and the nearly 3 million hectares (7.5 million acres) of organic cultivation is second only toAustralia. Argentina is the world's fifth-largest wine producer, and fine wine production has taken major leaps in quality. A growing export, totalviticulture potential is far from having been met. Mendoza is the largest wine region, followed by San Juan.

-- Politics --

Argentina is a federation of twenty-three provinces and one autonomous city, Buenos Aires. The administrative divisions of the provinces are thedepartments, and the municipalities, except for Buenos Aires Province, which is divided into partidos. The City of Buenos Aires is divided intocommunes. The provinces hold all the power that is not specifically delegated to the national government.

Provinces must be representative republics and must not contradict the Constitution and federal laws. Beyond this they are fully autonomous: they enact their own constitutions, freely organize their local governments and own and manage their resources. Some provinces have bicameral provincial legislatures, while others have unicameral ones.

An 1862 law determined that the territories under control of Argentina but outside the frontiers of the provinces would be called national territories. In 1884 this resulted in the establishment of the national territories of Misiones, Formosa, Chaco, La Pampa, Neuquén, Río Negro, Chubut, Santa Cruz and Tierra del Fuego. Argentina is a federal constitutional republic and representative democracy. The government is regulated by a system of checks and balances defined by theConstitution of Argentina, the country's supreme legal document. The seat of government is the city of Buenos Aires, as designated by Congress. Suffrage isuniversal, equal, secret and mandatory.

-- Trade in Argentina --

Major exports of Argentina : Soybean oilcake (12%), Soya beans (7%), Soya-bean oil, crude (6%), Cars (6%), Maize (corn) seed (5%)

Major imports of Argentina : Cars (11%), Parts and accessories of the motor vehicles (8%), Petroleum oils, refined (3%), Automatic data processing machines (3%), Telephones (3%)

Major trade partners of Argentina (Exports) : Brazil (21%), China (8%), Chile (7%), United States (5%), Netherlands (3%)

Major trade partners of Argentina (Imports) : Brazil (41%), United States (14%), China (10%), Germany (7%), Mexico (4%)