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officially Argentine Republic Spanish Repblica Argentinacountry occupying most of the southern portion or southern cone of South America With an area of 1073399 square miles 2780092 square kmmore extensive than Mexico and the US state of Texas combinedit is the eighth largest country in the world Argentina is shaped like an inverted triangle with its base at the top it is some 880 miles 1420 km across at its widest from east to west and stretches 2360 miles 3800 km from the subtropical north to the subantarctic south This great north-south length embraces regions of striking diversity including the Andes Mountains the thorny scrubland and seasonal swamps of the Gran Chaco the broad fertile plains of the Pampas the stark tableland of Patagonia and an undulating Atlantic coastline of some 2900 miles 4700 km Argentina also claims a portion of Antarctica as well as several islands in the South Atlantic including the British-ruled Falkland Islands Islas Malvinas It is bounded by Chile to the south and west Bolivia and Paraguay to the north and Brazil Uruguay and the Atlantic Ocean to the east Buenos Aires is the capital For many foreigners especially Europeans Argentina has presented the traditional New World image of a land of romance and opportunity It received its name roughly translated as Land of Silver or Silvery One from Spanish explorers of the 16th century who were lured there by rumours of vast mineral wealth In the 19th century the former colony of Spain was the land of gauchos the lone horsemen of the Pampas and of estancieros ranchers who lived like kings on estancias the size of small countries In the last part of the 19th and the first quarter of the 20th century Argentina became for the poor of Europe a place where they could earn a decent living on the expansive farmland of the interior or in the growing cities of the coast During this period millions of
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