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Argentina (ärjəntēˈnə, Span. ärhāntēˈnä), officially Argentine Republic, republic (2020 est. pop. 45,380,000), 1,072,157 sq mi (2,776,889 sq km), S South America. Argentina is bordered by Chile on the west, Bolivia and Paraguay on the north, Brazil and Uruguay on the northeast, and the Atlantic Ocean on the east. Buenos Aires is the country's capital and largest city.


Argentina is triangular in shape and stretches c.2,300 mi (3,700 km) from its broad northern region near the Tropic of Capricorn to Tierra del Fuego, an island shared with Chile, in the south. On the northeast, Argentina fronts on the Río de la Plata (an estuary and one of the major waterways of the Western Hemisphere), which separates Argentina from S Uruguay; its tributaries also act as international boundaries—the Uruguay River, with W Uruguay and S Brazil, and the Paraná, Paraguay, and Pilcomayo rivers, with Paraguay. The northwest boundary with Bolivia lies in the Gran Chaco and the Andes Mts. The western boundary with Chile follows the crestline of the Andes. The Atlantic Ocean borders Argentina on the east; there, off S Argentina, are the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), and the South Georgia, South Sandwich, and South Orkney islands, all dependencies of Great Britain that are claimed by Argentina.

Argentina also claims a sector of Antarctica. The climate of Argentina varies from subtropical in the north to cold and windswept in the south, with temperate and dry areas found throughout much of the country. Precipitation, lowest along the E Andean slopes, increases markedly N and E across Argentina. The chief rivers of Argentina are the Paraná with its tributary, the Salado; the Colorado River; the Río Negro; and the Chubut.

Argentina may be divided into six geographical regions—the Paraná Plateau, the Gran Chaco, the Pampa (see under pampas), the Monte, Patagonia, and the Andes Mts. The Paraná Plateau in the extreme northeast is an extension of the highlands of S Brazil. It is the wettest part of Argentina and has a dense forest cover; tobacco, timber, and yerba maté are the chief products there. The spectacular Iguaçu Falls are in a national park located at the point where Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay meet.

In N Argentina the Gran Chaco, with the physiographically similar Mesopotamia (between the Paraná and Uruguay rivers), is a predominantly flat alluvial plain with a subtropical climate. The region is seasonally flooded, and marshlands remain for long periods during the year because of poor drainage. Livestock, cotton, and wood from the quebracho tree are the main products.

South of the Gran Chaco is the Pampa, a vast, monotonous natural grassland that extends to the Colorado River (roughly from lat. 30°S to 40°S) and is c.400 mi (640 km) wide from the Atlantic Ocean to the Andean foothills. The Pampa's deep, rich soil is the basic wealth of the country. The “Wet Pampa,” the more humid eastern part of the region, is Argentina's principal agricultural area and produces most of the nation's exports. It is the granary of South America, with wheat, alfalfa, corn, and flax the principal crops. Cattle ranching is prevalent throughout the Pampa and especially in the southeast and north; sheep are also raised there. Dairying is important in the vicinity of Buenos Aires. The Pampa has the densest transportation network of roads and railroads in South America.

Most of the principal cities of Argentina and most of its industry are found in the region. Buenos Aires, a port city on the Río de la Plata, is one of the largest cities of South America and the chief industrial center and transportation hub of S South America; it is surrounded by smaller industrial cities. Elsewhere on the Pampa are La Plata, a meatpacking and oil-refining center; Rosario, the third largest city of Argentina, an iron and steel and oil-refining center, and a huge grain port on the Paraná River; Santa Fe, a northern commercial and industrial center at the junction of the Salado and Paraná rivers; Mar del Plata, a resort and fishing center on the Atlantic Ocean; and Bahía Blanca, the largest Argentine port directly on the Atlantic Ocean, a gateway to the S Pampa and the oil fields of Neuquén prov., and a meatpacking and wool-processing center. On the western edge of the Pampa is Córdoba, the nation's second largest city, which reflects the transition from the “Dry Pampa” to the Monte, the desolate Andean foothills.

The Monte, an arid region in the rain shadow of the Andes, has natural vegetation varying from short grasses in the east to cacti in the west. Scattered throughout the great arid stretches are small but highly productive oases such as Jujuy, Salta, Tucumán, San Juan, and Mendoza, which were settled from Peru and Upper Peru (Bolivia) in the second half of the 16th cent. The oases, whose growth and importance greatly increased after they were linked by railroad to the east coast, produce wine, sugar, fruits, and corn; stock raising is also carried on there. The varied mineral deposits of this region (especially oil, lead, zinc, tin, copper, and salt) are being exploited. Mendoza and Tucumán are major industrial areas engaged in food processing, oil refining, and chemical production.

Occupying the southern part of Argentina is Patagonia, a vast, bleak, and windswept dissected plateau. Several large rivers flow in deep valleys eastward across Patagonia to the sea. Sheep raising (chiefly for wool) and oil and natural gas production (the area around Comodoro Rivadavia is the chief oil-producing region of Argentina) are the principal economic activities of Patagonia. The poor soils of Patagonia and its cool and dry climate do not favor cultivation, although irrigated agriculture is practiced in the Negro and Colorado river valleys. Patagonia is sparsely populated and largely undeveloped, with a few small river-mouth ports on the Atlantic coast such as Viedma, Rawson, Puerto Deseado, and Río Gallegos. Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, on Canal Beagle, is the world's southernmost town.

The Andes Mts. region of Argentina, broad in the north, where it is similar to the Bolivian altiplano, and becoming narrower toward the south, extends along the length of Argentina's western border. The region, which contains some of the world's highest elevations outside Asia—including Aconcagua (22,835 ft/6,960 m high; the highest point of the Western hemisphere), Bonete, Tupungato, Mercedario, and Llullaillaco—acts as a barrier to the moist westerly winds, thus giving the eastern slopes of the Andes a desert condition that contrasts with the heavy snowfall on the higher elevations. There are timber and mineral resources, but they are not readily exploitable because of the region's inaccessibility. Cattle are raised on the grassy Andean foothills. There are many beautiful lakes in the region, especially where it merges with the Patagonian plateau; Lake Nahuel Huapí in Nahuel Huapí National Park, adjoining the Chilean lake district, is an attractive resort area.


Argentina, unlike most Latin American nations, has a population that is principally of European descent, especially of Italian and Spanish origin. The mestizo portion of Argentina's population is very small, except in the northwest, because there has been little mixture between European and indigenous peoples. The native population, which has steadily declined since the coming of the Europeans, is still strong only in parts of the Gran Chaco and the Andean highlands. Italian, Spanish (including Basque), French, German, British, Swiss, and East European immigrants came to Argentina during the 1880s; other large in-migrations of Europeans occurred in the 1930s and following World War II. There has also been some in-migration of Chileans, Bolivians, and Paraguayans.

The gaucho, or Argentine cowboy, the nomadic herder of the Pampas—depicted in Martín Fierro, the great Argentine folk epic by José Hernández—is still a legendary national symbol. Many gauchos were people of mixed Spanish and African descent who had crossed the border from Brazil to escape slavery. By the 1990s, however, Argentina had a predominantly urban population with about four fifths of its people living in cities and towns; more than a third of the total population lives in and around Buenos Aires.

About 90% of the population is at least nominally Roman Catholic. The Jewish population, while only accounting for about 2% of the people, is the largest in Latin America and the fifth largest in the world. Spanish is the country's official language, although English, Italian, German, and French are spoken as well. Argentina has one of South America's lowest population growth rates (under 1%).


Argentina's economy has traditionally been based on agriculture, but the industrial and service sectors have also grown in importance in recent years. Livestock (cattle and sheep) and grains have long been the bulwark of its wealth; its cattle herds are among the world's finest. As an exporter of wheat, corn, flax, oats, beef, mutton, hides, and wool, Argentina rivals the United States, Canada, and Australia. Its other agricultural products include oilseeds, lemons, soybeans, grapes, and tobacco. Argentina is the world's largest source of tannin and linseed oil. The Pampa is the nation's chief agricultural area; however, since the 1930s there has been a great rise in production in other areas, especially in the oases of the Monte and the irrigated valleys of N Patagonia.

Although Argentina has a variety of minerals, they are of local importance and are not completely adequate to support the country's industries. Domestic oil and gas production has made the nation self-sufficient in energy; pipelines connect the oil and gas fields with Buenos Aires and other major refining centers. Argentina also exploits its ample hydroelectric resources. The large coal field of S Patagonia has low-grade coal.

Food processing (in particular meatpacking, flour milling, and canning) is the chief manufacturing industry; motor vehicles, textiles, chemicals, petrochemicals, and steel are also major products. Argentina's principal imports are machinery, motor vehicles, chemicals, metals, plastics, and other manufactured goods. The chief trading partners are Brazil, the United States, China, and Chile. Argentina is a member of Mercosur.

In recent decades Argentina has experienced both inflation and recession. Privatization and other economic reforms begun by President Menem in the early 1990s produced unprecedented economic growth, but significant economic problems remained, including high unemployment and a massive national debt (due to freehanded government spending and widespread tax evasion). The economy was hurt by Brazil's recession and currency devaluation in the late 1990s, but the pegging of the peso to the dollar combined with Argentina's own economic problems resulted in economic collapse in 2001. The economy did not begin to grow strongly again until 2003. In the early 21st cent., the government reversed some of the privatization that had occurred in the 1990s.


Argentina is composed of 23 provinces and one federal district (Buenos Aires). It is governed by the 1853 constitution as revised in 1898 and 1994, and has a federal system of government. The president and vice president are elected by popular vote for four-year terms and can be reelected once. The popularly elected bicameral national congress is composed of 72 senators (three from each province and the federal district), who serve six-year terms, and 257 deputies (based on proportional representation), who serve four-year terms. There is a nine-member supreme court. Each province has its own elected governor and legislature and its own judicial system.


Early History

Little is known of the earliest inhabitants of the region. Only in NW Argentina was there a native population with a material culture. They were an agricultural people (recalled today by ruins N of Jujuy), but their importance was eclipsed later by the Araucanians from Chile. Europeans probably first arrived in the region in 1502 in the voyage of Amerigo Vespucci. The southern inhabitants at that time primarily hunted and fished, while the northwestern Incas were agricultural and quite advanced, having built a highway before the arrival of the Spanish. The search for a Southwest Passage to Asia and the East Indies brought Juan Díaz de Solís to the Río de la Plata in 1516. Ferdinand Magellan entered (1520) the estuary, and Sebastian Cabot ascended (1536) the Paraná and Paraguay rivers. His delight in native ornaments may be responsible for the names Río de la Plata [silver river] and Argentina [of silver].

Pedro de Mendoza in 1536 founded the first settlement of the present Buenos Aires, but native attacks forced abandonment of the settlement, and Asunción became the unquestioned leading city of the Río de la Plata region. Buenos Aires was refounded in 1580 by Juan de Garay. His son-in-law, Hernando Arias de Saavedra (Hernandarias), secured the division of the Río de la Plata territories, and Buenos Aires achieved (1617) a sort of semi-independence under the viceroyalty of Peru.

The mercantilist system, however, severely hampered the commerce of Buenos Aires, and smuggling, especially with Portuguese traders in Brazil, became an accepted profession. While the cities of present W and NW Argentina grew by supplying the mining towns of the Andes, Buenos Aires was threatened by Portuguese competition. By the 18th cent., cattle (which were introduced to the Pampas in the 1550s) roamed wild throughout the Pampas in large herds and were hunted by gauchos for their skins and fat.

In 1776 the Spanish government made Buenos Aires a free port and the capital of a viceroyalty that included present Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, and (briefly) Bolivia. From this combination grew the idea of a Greater Argentina to include all the Río de la Plata countries, a dream that was to haunt many Argentine politicians after independence was won.

Independence and the Nineteenth Century

A prelude to independence was the British attack on Buenos Aires. Admiral Sir Home Popham and Gen. William Carr Beresford took the city in 1806 after the Spanish viceroy fled. An Argentine militia force under Jacques de Liniers ended the British occupation and beat off a renewed attack under Gen. John Whitelocke in 1807.

On May 25, 1810 (May 25 is the Argentine national holiday), revolutionists, acting nominally in favor of the Bourbons dethroned by Napoleon (see Spain), deposed the viceroy, and the government was controlled by a junta. The result was war against the royalists. The patriots under Manuel Belgrano won (1812) a victory at Tucumán. On July 9, 1816, a congress in Tucumán proclaimed the independence of the United Provinces of the Río de La Plata. Other patriot generals were Mariano Moreno, Juan Martín de Pueyrredón, and José de San Martín.

Uruguay and Paraguay went their own ways despite hopes of reunion. In Argentina, a struggle ensued between those who wanted to unify the country and those who did not want to be dominated by Buenos Aires. Independence was followed by virtually permanent civil war, with many coups by regional, social, or political factions. Rule by the strong man, the caudillo, alternated with periods of democratic rule, too often beset by disorder.

Anarchy was not ended by the election of Bernardino Rivadavia in 1826. The unitarians, who favored a centralized government dominated by Buenos Aires, were opposed to the federalists, who resented the oligarchy of Buenos Aires and were backed by autocratic caudillos with gaucho troops. The unitarians triumphed temporarily when Argentines combined to help the Uruguayans repel Brazilian conquerors in the battle of Ituzaingó (1827), which led to the independence of Uruguay. The internal conflict was, however, soon resumed and was not even quelled when Gen. Juan Manuel de Rosas, the most notorious caudillo, established a dictatorship that lasted from 1835 to 1852. Ironically, this federalist leader, who was nominally only the governor of Buenos Aires, did more than the unitarians to unify the country. Ironically, too, this enemy of intellectuals stimulated his political opponents to write in exile some of the finest works of the Spanish-American romantic period; among the writers were Domingo F. Sarmiento, Bartolomé Mitre, José Mármol, and Esteban Echeverría.

Rosas was overthrown (1852) by Gen. Justo José de Urquiza, who called a constituent assembly at Santa Fe. A constitution was adopted (1853) based on the principles enunciated by Juan Bautista Alberdi. Mitre, denouncing Urquiza as a caudillo, brought about the temporary secession of Buenos Aires prov. (1861) and the downfall of the Urquiza plans. Under the administrations of Mitre (1862–68), Sarmiento (1868–74), and Nicolás Avellaneda (1874–80), schools were built, public works started, and liberal reforms instituted. The War of the Triple Alliance (see Triple Alliance, War of the), 1865–70, brought little advantage to Argentina.

In 1880 federalism triumphed, and Gen. Julio A. Roca became president (1880–1886); Buenos Aires remained the capital, but the federal district was set up, and Buenos Aires prov. was given La Plata as its capital. Argentina flourished during Roca's administration. The conquest of the indigenous peoples by General Roca (1878–79) had made colonization of the region in the south and the southwest possible. Already the Pampa had begun to undergo its agricultural transformation. The immigration of Europeans helped to fill the land and to make Argentina one of the world's granaries.

Establishment of refrigerating plants for meat made expansion of commerce possible. The British not only became the prime consumers of Argentine products but also invested substantially in the construction of factories, public utilities, and railroads (which were nationalized in 1948). Efforts to end the power of the great landowners, however, were not genuinely successful, and the military tradition continued to play a part in politics, the army frequently combining with the conservatives and later with the growing ranks of labor to alter the government by coup.

The Early Twentieth Century

The second administration of Roca (1898–1904) was marked by recovery from the crises of the intervening years; a serious boundary dispute with Chile was settled (1902), and perpetual peace between the two nations was symbolized in the Christ of the Andes. Even before World War I, in which Argentina maintained neutrality, the wealthy nation had begun to act as an advocate for the rights and interests of Latin America as a whole, notably through Carlos Calvo, Luis M. Drago, and later Carlos Saavedra Lamas.

Internal problems, however, remained vexing. Electoral reforms introduced by Roque Sáenz Peña (1910–14) led to the victory of the Radical party under Hipólito Irigoyen (1916–22). He introduced social legislation, but when, after the presidency of Marcelo T. de Alvear, Irigoyen returned to power in 1928, his policies aroused much dissatisfaction even in his own party. In 1930 he was ousted by Gen. José F. Uriburu, and the conservative oligarchy—now with Fascist leanings—was again in power.

The administration (1932–38) of Agustín P. Justo was opposed by revolutionary movements, and a coalition of liberals and conservatives won an election victory. Radical leader Roberto M. Ortiz became president (1938), but serious illness caused him to resign (1942), and the conservative Ramón S. Castillo succeeded him. In 1943, Castillo was overthrown by a military coup. After two provisional presidents a “palace revolt” in 1944 brought to power a group of army colonels, chief among them Juan Perón. After four years of pro-Axis “neutrality,” Argentina belatedly (Mar., 1945) entered World War II on the side of the Allies and became a member of the United Nations. A return to liberal government momentarily seemed probable, but Perón was overwhelmingly victorious in the election of Feb., 1946.

Perón, an admirer of Mussolini, established a type of popular dictatorship new to Latin America, based initially on support from the army, reactionaries, nationalists, and some clerical groups. His regime was marked by curtailment of freedom of speech, confiscation of liberal newspapers such as La Prensa, imprisonment of political opponents, and transition to a one-party state. His second wife, the popular Eva Duarte de Perón, helped him gain the support of the trade unions, thereafter the main foundation of Perón's political power. In 1949 the constitution of 1853 was replaced by one that permitted Perón to succeed himself as president; the Peronista political party was established the same year.

To cure Argentina's serious economic ills, Perón inaugurated a program of industrial development—which advanced rapidly in the 1940s and early 50s, although hampered by the lack of power resources and machine tools—supplemented by social welfare programs. Perón also placed the sale and export of wheat and beef under government control, thus undermining the political and economic power of the rural oligarchs. In the early 1950s, with recurring economic problems and with the death (1952) of his wife, Perón's popular support began to diminish. Agricultural production, long the chief source of revenue, dropped sharply and the economy faltered. The Roman Catholic church, alienated by the reversal of close church-state relations, excommunicated Perón and, finally, the armed forces became disillusioned with him. In 1955, Perón was ousted by a military coup, and the interim military government of Gen. Pedro Aramburu attempted to rid the country of Justicialismo (Peronism). Perón fled to Paraguay and in 1960 went into exile in Spain.

Argentina During the Exile of Perón

In 1957, Argentina reverted to the constitution of 1853 as modified up to 1898. In 1958, Dr. Arturo Frondizi was elected president. Faced with the economic and fiscal crisis inherited from Perón, Frondizi, with U.S. advice and the promise of financial aid, initiated a program of austerity to “stabilize” the economy and check inflation. Leftists, as well as Peronistas, who still commanded strong popular support, criticized the plan because the burden lay most heavily on the working and lower middle classes.

Frondizi later fell into disfavor with the military because of his leniency toward the regime of Fidel Castro in Cuba and toward Peronistas at home, who, in the congressional elections of 1962, scored a resounding victory. Frondizi was arrested and José María Guido assumed the presidency, but the military was in control. The Peronista and Communist parties were banned before presidential elections were held in 1963. Following the election of the moderate liberal Dr. Arturo Illia, many political prisoners were released and relative political stability returned. The new president was faced, however, with serious economic depression and with the difficult problem of reintegrating the Peronist forces into Argentine political life.

In 1964 an attempt by Perón to return from Spain and lead his followers was thwarted when he was turned back at Rio de Janeiro by Brazilian authorities. The Peronists, however, remained the strongest political force in the country; unwilling to tolerate another resurgence of Peronism, a junta of military leaders, supported by business interests, seized power (1966) and placed Gen. Juan Carlos Onganía, a long-time right-wing opponent of Illía, in the presidency. Under Onganía, the new government dissolved the legislature, banned all political parties, and exercised unofficial press censorship; Onganía also placed the national universities under government control.

Widespread opposition to the rigid rule of the Onganía regime grew, and the military deposed him (1970), naming Gen. Roberto M. Levingston president. Economic problems and increased terrorist activities caused Gen. Alejandro Lanusse, the leader of the coup against Onganía, to dismiss (1971) Levingston and initiate an active program for economic growth, distribution of wealth, and political stability. His direct negotiations with Juan Perón and his call for national elections and a civilian government led to the return of Perón to Argentina in 1972.

The Late Twentieth-Early Twenty-First Centuries

After failing to achieve unity among the various Peronist groups, Perón declined the nomination from his supporters to run for president in the Mar., 1973, elections, which were won by Dr. Hector Cámpora, the Peronist candidate, who subsequently resigned from office to make way for Perón's return. When new elections were held in Sept., 1973, Perón was elected president and his third wife, Isabel Martínez Perón, vice president. Perón died in July, 1974, and was succeeded by his widow. Her government faced economic troubles, labor unrest, political violence, and deep divisions within the Peronista party.

In 1976, Isabel Perón was deposed by a military junta under the leadership of Jorge Rafael Videla, who served as president until 1981. The government suspended political and trade union activity, dissolved the congress, made alterations to the constitution, and removed most government officals. During the military rule thousands of citizens suspected of undermining the government disappeared in what became known as the “dirty war.” In 1981 Argentina petitioned the United Nations for possession of the Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas), which had been occupied and claimed by the British since 1832. Tensions escalated until, on Apr. 2, 1982, Argentina, now under the rule of Lt.-Gen. Leopoldo Galtieri, invaded and occupied the islands. British forces responded quickly, forcing a surrender by Argentine forces within 6 weeks. The Argentine defeat led to Galtieri's resignation and subsequently to the end of military rule. Retired Gen. Reynaldo Bignone succeeded Galtieri as president and oversaw the return to democracy.

In 1983, Raúl Alfonsín won the presidency, but persistent economic problems plagued his tenure in office. Carlos Saúl Menem was elected president in 1988, bringing the Peronist Justicialist party back into power. A reform-minded leader, he stimulated economic growth and subdued hyperinflation in the early 1990s by instituting a major program of privatization, encouraging foreign investment, and tying the Argentine peso to the U.S. dollar. Constitutional amendments approved in 1994 placed curbs on presidential power and increased opposition power in the senate, while clearing the way for Menem to seek a second successive term as president. He was reelected in 1995. The Justicialists lost legislative elections to the opposition Alianza coalition in 1997, as the country struggled with recession and continuing high unemployment. Argentina's relations with Paraguay soured in 1999 when Menem's government sheltered Paraguayan Gen. Lino Oviedo for eight months; Oviedo was wanted for the murder of Paraguay's vice president.

In Oct., 1999, Fernando de la Rúa of Alianza was elected president, soundly defeating the Peronist candidate. De la Rúa's victory was in part a rejection of Menem's perceived flamboyance and tolerance of corruption during his last term. The new president moved quickly to institute austerity measures and reforms to improve the economy; taxes were increased to reduce the deficit, the government bureaucracy was trimmed, and legal restrictions on union negotiations were eased. De la Rúa also purged (2000) the army and state intelligence agency of the last suspected participants in the “dirty war” of the 1970s and 80s.

By late 2000, however, de la Rúa's presidency was under siege on two fronts. Several senators, mainly from the Justicialist party, were accused of taking bribes to vote for the government's labor-code revisions, and two cabinet members were also implicated. When the cabinet members were retained after a reorganization, Vice President Carlos Álvarez resigned in protest. The Argentine economy had slipped into recession in late 1999, and Argentina was forced in to seek help from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and private banks to reduce its debt. In Dec., 2000, an aid package of nearly $40 billion was arranged, and the government announced a $20 billion public works program that was designed to help revive the economy.

Further economic measures designed to revived the ailing economy were adopted in 2001, including the pegging of the peso for imports and exports to the average value of the dollar and the euro combined, additional government austerity measures, and additional billions in IMF aid. The economy remained in recession, however, aggravating the problems posed by the debt and by the restrictions that the IMF imposed in return for aid, and unemployment rose to around 20% at the end of 2001. In legislative elections in Oct., 2001, the opposition Justicialist party became the largest party in both houses of the national congress. In November the government began restructuring the debt, putting it essentially in default. Ongoing economic problems led to a crisis of confidence as depositors began a run on the banks, resulting in limits on withdrawals (largely lifted a year later), and the IMF took a hard line, insisting on a 10% cut in the budget before making further payments.

Nationwide food riots and demonstrations erupted in late December, leading the president to resign. A series of interim presidents and renewed demonstrations ended with the appointment of Justicialist senator Eduardo Alberto Duhalde as president in Jan., 2002. Duhalde, who had been a free-spending provincial governor and the Peronists' 1999 presidential candidate, devalued the peso, which lost more than two thirds of its value. The depressed economy, meanwhile, remained in disarray until early 2003, when it showed some signs of slow improvement.

Néstor Carlos Kirchner, the governor of Santa Cruz prov. in Patagonia, won the spring 2003 presidential race when former president Menem withdrew from the runoff election; polls indicated that Kirchner would win by a landslide. Congress subsequently repealed two amnesty laws, passed in the 1980s, that had protected military officers accused of human rights offenses, and in 2005 the supreme court upheld the move, overturning the amnesty laws as unconstitutional. Pardons given to several military government leaders were subsequently also overturned by the court, and arrest warrants were issued for Isabel Perón, who was in exile in Spain, and others. A number of former military officers and others were later convicted of human-rights crimes, including former Presidents Bignone and Videla.

Kirchner won favorable terms from from the IMF in Sept., 2003, refusing to make concessions in exchange for refinancing Argentina's debt. Kirchner's government continued into 2004 its policy of aggressively seeking more favorable terms, but was not successful in negotiating new terms for repaying private creditors until 2005, when some three quarters of its bondholders agreed to accept partial repayment. The economy grew strongly in 2003–5, reducing the unemployment rate, but the effects of the 2001–2 economic collapse continued to hurt many Argentines.

In Oct., 2005, the popular Kirchner benefited from the improved economy when his Peronists won control of the senate and a plurality in the lower house. With a strengthened political hand, Kirchner replaced his respected but more conservative economy minister with an ally. Argentina paid off its IMF debt in Jan., 2006, in an effort to regain greater flexibility in its economic policy. Kirchner also used the influence of his office to fight inflation by pressuring Argentinian companies into holding down price increases. His presidency also saw a trend toward renationalization of certain Argentinian businesses, including railroads and telecommunications companies.

In 2006 there were tensions with Uruguay over plans there to build pulp mills along the Argentina border on the Uruguay River. Argentinians fearing possible pollution from the mills blockaded several bridges into Uruguay, and Argentina accused Uruguay of contravening the treaty on joint use of the river. Argentina took the issue to the International Court of Justice, which accepted it but allowed construction of the one mill that Uruguay ended up building to proceed while the court decided the case. The court also refused to order Argentina to halt the protests, which continued until June, 2010. In 2010 the court largely ruled in favor of Uruguay, determining that it had met its environmental obligations under the treat, and it refused to order the mill to close.

Kirchner chose not to run in 2007 for a second term, but his wife, Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who had served as a provincial and national deputy and national senator, mounted her own candidacy. Running strongly and promising to continue her husband's policies, she was elected in Oct., 2007, becoming the first woman to be elected president. In a court case in Florida, U.S. prosecutors later (Dec., 2007) alleged that $800,000 found (Aug., 2007) by Argentinian customs officers on a private flight from Venezuela was intended to be a secret Venezuelan government contribution to Fernández de Kirchner's campaign. The Argentinian government denounced the allegation, but two Venezuelans and a Uruguayan arrested in the United States in connection with the money pleaded guilty to acting as unregistered foreign government agents and revealed details of the payment and its coverup; and a third Venezuelan was convicted on similar charges in Nov., 2008.

Beginning in Mar., 2008, farmers protested increased export taxes on farm products by striking and blockading roads, leading to some food shortages in major cities at times. The government abandoned the tax increases in July after the Senate narrowly failed to approve them. Tensions between the government and farmers continued, however, into 2009, aggravated by drought and falling demand. In Mar., 2009, both sides reached accords on compensation for several clases of farm products.

In Oct, 2008, the government moved to nationalize 10 private pension plans. The government asserted it was acting to protect them from the global financial crisis, but many viewed it as a repudiation of the privatizations of the 1990s and also possibly as an attempt to secure funds in the face of a looming budget shortfall. The move caused stocks and the Argentinian peso to fall sharply; the national airline was also nationalized. The government subsequently used some of the pension assets as part of an economic stimulus package. Congressional elections in June, 2009, resulted in losses for the governing party, which failed to secure majorities in both houses.

In Jan., 2010, a move by the government to use foreign currency reserves to repay some of Argentina's international debt sparked a conflict between the president and the head of the central bank, Martín Redrado, who refused to transfer the reserves. The president sought to remove Redrado by emergency decree, but a court ruled that she could neither remove him nor use the reserves. Redrado, however, subsequently resigned. In Mar., 2010, the president issued new decrees transferring $6.6. billion of the reserves, and an appeals court upheld the decrees when the opposition challenged them. Debt swaps agreed to by June by most of the holders of the remaining bonds that Argentina had defaulted on in 2001 left about 8% of the original bonds outstanding.

The start of oil exploration in the waters surrounding the Falkland Islands in Feb., 2010, led the Argentinian government to impose restrictions on vessels traveling through its waters to the islands. The islands' status became an increasingly contentious issue in Argentina's international relations in subsequent months, leading to strained relations with Great Britain by the time of the 30th anniversary of the Falklands War in Apr., 2012. In Oct., 2011, President Fernández de Kirchner, bouyed by significant economic growth, easily won reelection and her Front for Victory won control of Congress, but high inflation associated with the growth was an increasing concern and led to government regulations designed to control capital flight. Discontent over the economy and other issues led to demonstrations and strikes beginning in 2012. In May, 2012, the Congress approved the nationalization of the former national oil company, which had been privatized in 1999. The Front for Victory retained control of Congress after the Oct., 2013, elections. In December, police strikes over pay in many of the country's provinces led to outbreaks of looting across Argentina.

In Jan., 2014, after the government's long-standing efforts to support the peso had depleted its currency reserves, it abandoned those efforts, which led to a drop in the peso's value, and then relaxed foreign exchange controls. In June, 2014, Argentina lost its appeal against a U.S. court decision that required it to pay the owners of the outstanding bonds that it defaulted on in 2001 if the country paid bond owners who had exchanged their defaulted bonds in the debt swaps of 2005 and 2010. Argentina subsequently refused, and in September the country was declared in contempt of court; the case restricted Argentina's access to international credit markets. Also that month, Vice President Amado Boudou was charged with corruption in connection with government aid received by a printing company he was accused of secretly owning; he was convicted in 2018.

In early 2015 the president was accused by a prosecutor of shielding Iranians involved in a 1994 terrorist bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires in order to secure a trade deal. The prosecutor's death by a gunshot wound sparked a public crisis. A second prosecutor sought to pursue the charges, but they were dismissed. The president denounced the affair as a plot by Intelligence Secretariat agents to undermine her government, and had the congress vote to reorganize the agency.

Fernández de Kirchner was barred from running in the 2015 presidential election. Although the first round in October was won by the Front for Victory candidate, Daniel Scioli, he did not win by a large enough margin to avoid a runoff. In the November runoff, the candidate of the Let's Change coalition, Mauricio Macri, the center-right mayor of Buenos Aires, won 51% of the vote. In office Macri ended most currency controls and devalued the peso, resolved (2016) the outstanding bond claims that remained from the 2001 default, and moved to reduce government spending that subsidized the price of utilities and other items. In the Oct., 2017, legislative elections Macri's coalition won a plurality of the seats.

The withdrawal of international investments in the first half of 2018, due to changing international conditions and concerns about the Argentinian economy, created a liquidity crisis and led Macri to seek IMF aid, and the IMF approved a $50 billion credit line (later increased to more than $57 billion). Argentina's economy, however continued to be plagued by inflation (which approached 50% in 2018), devaluation, and a contracting economy. Late in 2018 the government adopted an austerity budget.

In Aug., 2019, President Macri placed a distant second in the country's open presidential primary to Alberto Fernández, the candidate of the main opposition coalition, the Peronist Frente do Todos; Fernández's running mate was former president Fernández de Kirchner. Macri subsequently announced a number of economic relief measures. In October, Fernández won the presidential election in the first round. In December, the new government's economic emergency package, including tax and spending increases and emergency government powers, was enacted. The subsequent COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 worsened the economic crisis, and the government sought to restructure its foreign debt, reaching a deal with private creditors by Sept., 2020. In fall 2021, former president Macri's conservative coalition outperformed expectations in the country's midterm elections, seriously weakening President Fernández. Soon after, in Dec. 2021, Macri was charged with conducting illegal surveillance against the relatives of sailors who died in a 2017 submarine accident, which he claimed were politically motivated charges.


See F. P. Munson et al., Area Handbook for Argentina (1969); M. Goldwert, Democracy, Militarism and Nationalism in Argentina, 1930–1966 (1972); L. Randall, An Economic History of Argentina (1977); J. E. Corradi, The Fifth Republic: Economy, Society, and Politics in Argentina (1985); P. Lewis, The Crisis of Argentine Capitalism (1990); N. Shumway, The Invention of Argentina (1991).

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



Republic of Argentina (República Argentina).

Argentina is the second largest country in South America (after Brazil) in territory and population. It occupies the southeastern part of the South American continent, the eastern part of the island of Tierra del Fuego, and the neighboring Estados Islands and others. It is bounded on the west by Chile and on the north and northeast by Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil, and Uruguay. To the east it reaches the Atlantic Ocean. Its area is 2.8 million sq km (not including the Falkland or Malvin Islands, which are disputed by Argentina and Great Britain). The population is 23.6 million (1968, estimate). The capital is Buenos Aires.

Administratively, Argentina is divided into 22 provinces (1969), the territory of Tierra del Fuego, and the Federal (capital) District (see Table 1). The official calendar is the Gregorian calendar.

Table 1. Administrative division
Administrative unitArea (sq km)Population (1965, est.)Administrativecenter
Distrito Federal..........2003,275,000Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires..........307,6007,693,000La Plata
Jujuy ..........53,200272,000Jujuy
Catamarca ..........99,800193,000Catamarca
Córdoba ..........168,9001,1,971,000Córdoba
La Pampa ..........143,400174,000Santa Rosa
La Rioja ..........92,300143,000La Rioja
Mendoza ..........150,800936,000Mendoza
Misiones ..........29,800447,000Posadas
Neuquén ..........94,100125,000Neuquén
Rio Negro ..........203,000218,000Viedma
Salta ..........154,800468,000Salta
San Luis ..........76,700193,000San Luis
Santa Cruz ..........201,60059,000Rio Gallegos
Santa Fe ..........133,0002,077,000Santa Fe
San Juan ..........36,100399,000San Juan
Santiago del Estero ..135,300527,000Santiago del Estero
Tucumán ..........22,500881,000Tucumán
Formosa ..........72,100203,000Formosa
Chaco ..........99,600602,000Resistencia
Entre Rios ..........76,200889,000Paraná
Tierra del Fuego..........20,9008,000Ushuaia

Argentina is a federal republic. Its constitution was adopted in 1853; a constitution adopted in 1949 remained in effect from 1949 to 1957, and in 1957 the constitution of 1853 was restored. Since 1966 the constitution has in effect been inoperative. In 1972 a number of amendments (the Basic Statute) to the constitution of 1853 and to the electoral system law were adopted.

Under the constitution, the head of state and government is the president, elected by the population for a six-year term (since 1972, in indirect elections). The president has broad powers—he is also the commander in chief and enjoys extensive legislative powers. The national congress (parliament) is elected by the population for a four-year term. The government of Argentina consists of ministers and state secretaries who are appointed by the president. The ministries control the respective secretariats.

Under the constitution of 1853, the provinces enjoy autonomy and can have their own constitutions. Local administration in municipalities is in the hands of partially appointed and partially elected organs; their functions are extremely limited.

The judiciary of Argentina includes a supreme court whose members are appointed by the president, appellate courts in the capital and provinces, and courts of original jurisdiction (administrative, civil, labor, criminal, and others). The government exercises control over the activity of the courts through an attorney’s office under the Ministry of Justice.

N. N. RAZUMOVICH [updated]

The territory of Argentina resembles a triangle, narrowing toward the south. The maximum distance from north to south is about 3,700 km. The coastline is weakly indented. In the north, from the gulf of the La Plata to the gulf of El Rincón, the coast is low lying. In the south, the bays of San Matías, Golfo Nuevo, San Jorge, and Bahía Grande do not cut deeply into the land; the first two virtually separate the Valdés Peninsula from the mainland.

Terrain. Argentina is sharply demarcated into the vast eastern region, primarily plains, and the mountainous west. The entire northeast of the country lies in the La Plata depression, consisting in the northwest of the Gran Chaco plains, which slope gently down from the Andes foothills toward the east (down to 25–60 m), Mesopotamia (the Paraná and Uruguay rivers) in the northeast, and the flat eastern pampas in the south. The land is broken up in the northern Mesopotamia only by the Brazilian plateau, with elevations of 300–400 m; in the southern pampas there are the alluvial highlands of Sierra del Tandil and Sierra de la Ventana (the mountain Tres Picos, 1,243 m). The western pampas (west of 64°W long.) is an elevated plain (500–1,000 m). Between the Gran Chaco, the pampas, and the Andes lie the pampan Sierras and the Cordillera foothills—block massifs 2,000–6,000 m in altitude, separated by deep, vast hollows. The southwest of the country is taken up by the steplike Patagonian plateau (up to 2,000 m in the west), cut through in places by river valleys.

The extreme northwest is occupied by the southeastern part of the central Andean upland, consisting in the west of the Puna desert plateau, about 4,000 m in elevation, with saline cavities and ridges of mountain ranges and volcanoes (Ojos del Salado, 6,880 m), and in the east of ancient regional mountain ranges (up to 6,720 m) and young sub-Andean chains (up to 2,500 m). South of 28°S lat., the Andes are extended by the Cordillera Frontal, which from 31°S lat. is joined from the west by the Cordillera Principal. At 35°S lat. they contain many peaks—including volcanoes—of over 6,000 m (the highest point in South America is Mt. Aconcagua, 6,960 m); there are passes at heights exceeding 3,500 m. Farther south there is only the Cordillera Central, called the Patagonian Cordillera, from 39°S lat., where elevations decrease to 3,000–4,000 m, active volcanoes in Argentina disappear, and the mountains are deeply dissected by ancient glacial and river valleys. The Argentinian section of Tierra del Fuego is low lying in the north and mountainous in the south.


Geological structure and mineral resources. Three main structural elements are evident in Argentina: the southern region of the Brazilian platform, the Patagonian Paleozoic fold region, and the eastern section of the Andean fold region. In the south of the Brazilian platform, Precambrian formations are overlapped by a platform cover of marine deposits of the early and middle Paleozoic and continental deposits of the Mesozoic and Cenozoic eras. To the south of the platform, in the Patagonian system, there are intermediate massifs—the Patagonian and the Deseado. They are composed of Precambrian gneiss which is inconsistently overlapped by shallow and continental volcanogenic Cenozoic formations. These rocks make up the platform cover in other sections of Patagonia (in the basins of the Neuquén, Rio Colorado, and Rio Deseado; in these areas, folded and metamorphic late Devonian formations are exposed through the platform. In the eastern spurs of the Andes, in the Patagonian Cordillera, the Cordillera Frontal, and the Cordillera Principal, there are dislocated, metamorphic, and granite-ridden marine sedimentary and effusive rocks of the Precambrian, Paleozoic, and Mesozoic eras, up to 20 km thick and inconsistently overlapped by continental and volcanogenic Cenozoic formations with a general thickness of about 25 km. Folding movements occurred there in pre-Triassic and late Cretaceous times. Folding, overthrusts, and upthrusts in the Andes also occurred in the Miocene and Pliocene epochs and continued in Pleistocene and An-thropogene times.

Deposits of oil and gas in Argentina are encountered within the boundaries of the Brazilian platform and the Mesozoic cover of Patagonia; iron ores are found in the Precambrian fundament of the platform; and polymetal, uranic, tungsten, and lithium deposits are found in the Andean folded belt.


Climate. The climate of Argentina is determined by its location in three climatic belts (tropical, subtropical, and temperate) and by the presence of the mountainous barrier of the Andes in the west and the Atlantic Ocean in the east. In the tropical belt, in the extreme northeast, there is a constant damp, hot climate; in Gran Chaco, a warm, damp summer climate; and in Puna, a continental high-mountain desert climate. In the subtropics—the eastern pampas and Mesopotamia—the climate is uniformly damp and warm; in the western pampas and the region of the pampan Sierras and the pre-Cordillera, it is arid with hot summers and cool winters. Patagonia has a semidesert, cool climate. The mean temperature in January on the plains of Argentina is between 28°C (maximum 46°C) in the Gran Chaco and 10°C in Tierra del Fuego; the respective temperatures for July are 18°-1°C, but in the plateaus of Patagonia, temperatures as low as -33°C are possible, and winds from the south (pamperos) produce frosts even in the north of the country.

At lower latitudes, moisture comes from the Atlantic Ocean; as a result, the quantity of precipitation in the north and center of Argentina decreases from east to west. The annual total of precipitation is up to 1,600 mm in the northeast, 400–1,400 mm in the Gran Chaco, about 1,000 mm in the eastern pampas, 400–600 mm in the west, 100–300 mm in Patagonia, less than 100 mm in Puna, and over 2,000 mm on the eastern slopes of the southern Andes. (The maximum in Argentina is about 5,000 mm.) The snow cover is permanent only in the Andes, but snowfall is observed up to 30° S lat. Depending on the climate, the snow line in Puna rises to 6,000 m; toward 33°-34° S lat. it lowers to 4,200 m; and by 41° S lat., to 2,700 m. South of 32° S lat. there is network glaciation.

Rivers and lakes. The most important deep and navigable rivers—the Paraná, the Paraguay, and the Uruguay—flow in northeastern Argentina. West of 61° W long., the plains-and-hollows region of Argentina has no drainage into the ocean; the rivers there (the Pilcomay, Rio Bermejo, Rio Salado, and others) are deep only in summer. Patagonia is crossed by transit rivers, which originate in the Andes and contain large sources of hydroelectric energy in their upper reaches (the Rio Negro, Rio Colorado, the Chubut, and others). In the Andes, south of 39° S latitude, there are large glacial lakes (Nahuel, Huapí, Buenos Aires, Viedma, Lago Argentino, and others). There are huge salt marshes in the hollows of the pampan Sierras and in Puna (Salinas Grandes, Arizaro, and so on); there are many swamps in Gran Chaco, central Mesopotamia, and the pampas.

Soils and flora. Depending on the moisture supply, there are damp tropical forests in the tropical belt in northeastern Mesopotamia and on the eastern slopes of the Andes; in the Gran Chaco there are dry scrub forests (made up of quebracho, algorroba, and so on) on reddish brown soils; in Puna there is high-mountain tropical desert. Along the Pilcomay, Rio Bermejo, Paraguay, and Paraná rivers, and in central Mesopotamia, there is swamp, forest, and grassy vegetation. There is savanna in the subtropical south of Mesopotamia; in the eastern pampas there are humid, prairielike meadow steppes—the pampas (now cultivated or used as pasture)—on reddish-black and meadow soils. In the western pampas there are dry, brushy steppes on gray-brown soils; further to the west, including on the slopes of the Andes, there is brushy semidesert vegetation on sierozems. The same vegetation, but on brown soils, is also prevalent in the temperate belt in Patagonia, changing in the pre-Andean basin and in the south to steppes, on chestnut or chernozem soils. South of 37° S lat., the eastern slopes of the Andes are covered with humid evergreen forests; and south of41° S lat., at first with mixed, then with primarily deciduous subant-arctic forests.

Fauna. The fauna of Argentina belongs almost exclusively to the Chilean-Patagonian zoogeographic subregion of the neotropical region. There are llamas, armadillos, ostriches, nandus, and others. In the pampas and Mesopotamia, wild animals have virtually been eliminated; in other regions, the coypu, viscacha, and lyncodon have commercial importance.

The large preserves (national parks) are Iguassu, Lanin, and Nahuel Huapi.

Natural regions. The natural regions of Argentina are Mesopotamia, Gran Chaco, the pampas, Patagonia, the Central Andean Plateau, the area of the pampan Sierras and the pre-Cordillera (including the adjacent arid slopes of the Andes), and the humid subtropical Andes.


Lukashova, E. N. luzhnaia Amerika. Moscow, 1958.
La Argentina: Suma de Geografia, vols. 1–4. Buenos Aires, [1958–59].
Daus, F. A. Geografia de la Repáublica Argentina, [part 1]. Buenos Aires, [1957].
Herrera Amilear, O. Los recursos minerales de America Latina. Buenos Aires, 1965.


The population of Argentina was formed mainly by European immigrants (primarily Spaniards and Italians). Much of the present population (over 80 percent of the 23.6 million estimated as of 1968) is Argentine. Italians (over 1 million) and other comparatively recent emigrants from Europe live in Argentina; among the others are Ukrainians (by some data, about 150,000), Spaniards, Poles, Germans, and French (a total of more than 1 million people), Jews (380,000) and migrants from the countries of Asia (Arabs, Turks, and others–a total of about 150,000), and immigrants from Paraguay, Chile, Uruguay, and other countries of Latin America. To a large extent, the native population–the Indians-was exterminated in the process of European colonization. The Indian population (20,000–30,000) has survived only along the border with Paraguay (seminomadic tribes of different language families and groups—the Tupi-Guaraní, Mataco-Mataguayos, Guaycurües, and others). In addition, there are groups of mestizos (over 200,000), who have partially retained the Quechua language, living in mountainous regions in the northwest. The state language of Argentina is Spanish, and the religion of most of the population is Catholicism.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the influx of European immigrants swelled as a result of the increased demand for labor brought on by the development of commodity agricultural production in the country. This was the main factor in the rapid population growth. By the time of the first census (1869) the population was 1,737,000; according to the census of 1895 it had grown to 3,955,000, and by the 1914 census, to 7,885,000. After the worldwide economic crisis of 1929–33, immigration to Argentina nearly ceased. It increased again during the first years after World War II (1939–45) and then declined again. The natural population growth has declined. During the period 1945–50, it averaged 1.6 percent per year; during 1960–65, it was 1.4 percent.

The economically active population (according to the 1960 census) was 7.6 million. Of this figure, 19.2 percent were engaged in agriculture, forestry, and fishing; 0.6 percent in the mineral-extraction industry; 25.2 percent in the processing industry; 5.6 percent in construction; 1.2 percent in municipal services; 12.0 percent in trade; 6.3 percent in transportation and communications; 20 percent in services; and 9.9 percent in other branches. Of the economically active population, 5.3 million (70 percent) are wage laborers. By some estimates, the entire working class of Argentina amounts to 3 million people.

More than three-fifths of the population lives in the eastern part of the country—the pampas. Here the population density is as high as 20 per sq km; outside the pampas the density exceeds 10 per sq km only in two provinces (Tucumán and Misiones). In other provinces, the density is 5–6 per sq km, and south of the Rio Negro (the provinces of Rio Negro, Chubut, and Santa Cruz and the territory of Tierra del Fuego) the density is less than 1 per sq km. The average density for the country is 7 per sq km (1960).

Argentina is one of the most urbanized countries of Latin America—over 70 percent of the population lives in cities. About one-half of the urban population, and almost one-third of the entire population of the country, is concentrated in the capital and its suburbs (greater Buenos Aires; 7 million people). Most of the country’s large cities with populations over 100,000 are located in the pampas. The large cities (1960) are Rosario (672,000), Córdoba (589,000), La Plata (330,000), Tucumán (272,000), Santa Fe (260,000), Mar del Plata (211,000), Bahía Blanca (150,000), Paraná (125,000), Salta (117,000), Mendoza (109,000), and San Juan (107,000).


Narody Ameriki, vol. 2. Moscow, 1959. (Bibliography on p. 630.)
Naselenie zemnogo shara: Spravochnikpo stranam. Moscow, 1965.
Natsii Latinskoi Ameriki. Moscow, 1964.
La población latinoamericana, problemas y perspectivas. Havana, 1967.
Scobie, James R. Argentina: A City and a Nation. New York, 1964.


Argentina to the beginning of the 16th century. In ancient times, the territory of Argentina was settled by numerous Indian tribes, who maintained communal-family relations until the early 16th century. The most highly developed were the Indians of the northwest, known under the aggregate name of the Diaguitas. The Diaguitas led a sedentary existence—they engaged in agriculture, knew how to melt nonferrous metals, did weaving, and built roads, bridges, and irrigation works. The northeast and center of the country were inhabited by the Guaraní, Chane, Charrúa, and Querandíes. These tribes also were sedentary; they engaged in agriculture, farming, and fishing. The Querandíes and Charrúa were warlike people. The Araucani and Teuelche were nomads in the south. The Araucani, who left Chile, were (next to the Diaguitas and Guaraní) the most civilized of the native population. They engaged in barter of woven goods, hides, and ostrich feathers with neighboring tribes.

The colonial period (early 16th to early 19th centuries). In the early 16th century, the territory of Argentina was conquered by the Spanish, who named the country La Plata after the Rio de la Plata (Spanish for “silver river”); they believed that it was here that the richest sources of silver were to be found. The Spanish conquest disrupted the independent development of the Indian tribes. The Spanish colonists dealt cruelly with the Indians, turning most of them into slaves or dependent day laborers; the tribes that would not be subdued were driven to the cold southern regions and the Andean foothills. Large landlord and church landholdings began to take shape and develop on the lands conquered by the Spanish. The main form of exploiting the Indians was the encomienda. Some of the Indians performed corvée (mita) in mines. In the 17th century, as the supply of workers proved inadequate, the Spanish began to import Negro slaves from Africa. Although the exploitation of slaves played an important role, in La Plata as a whole feudal relations consolidated in the 16th century. A fierce struggle between the oppressors and the oppressed took place. The first great offensive against the enslaving conquerors was the uprising in the province of Sante Fe in 1580. Later, Indian uprisings spread throughout the territory of Argentina; the largest were in 1630, 1657, and 1710–11.

The Spanish regime prohibited the production in La Plata of manufactured goods and agricultural products exported by Spain (silk and cotton cloth, olive oil, wine, and so on). Cattle raising became the main branch of the economy in the colonial period. Trade with other colonies and with European countries other than Spain was prohibited. In the 1760’s to 1780’s, certain reforms were implemented in La Plata—a number of restrictions in the area of trade were abolished, manufacturing was permitted (1785), and natives of the colony were admitted to the administration of trade and navigation.

In 1776, the viceroyal administration of Rio de la Plata, separate from the viceroyal administration of Peru (in which it had been included since 1536), was established; it also included the territory of what later became Bolivia, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Around this time, fairly large cities developed (Buenos Aires, Mendoza, San Luis, and others). Handicrafts developed, and weaving, brick-making, woodworking, and other manufacturing enterprises sprang up in these cities. Shoots of new, bourgeois relations began to grow in the soil of feudal society, but the Spanish colonial regime was an obstacle to their development. A stratum of progressive intelligentsia took shape in the cities and openly opposed colonial oppression. The war for independence of the North American colonies of Great Britain (1775–83) and the French Revolution helped to intensify the liberation movement in La Plata. Large Indian uprisings in Peru and Chile had a direct effect on the development of the liberation struggle in Argentina. By the early 19th century, the crisis of Spain’s colonial rule achieved serious proportions. During 1806–07, Great Britain exploited the crisis of the Spanish colonial administration to launch two armed intervention campaigns in La Plata in order to make it its own colony. Detachments of the popular militia created by patriotic forces led the defense of Buenos Aires and drove out the English. This victory reinforced the striving of broad sections of the population of La Plata to liquidate Spanish rule.

The May Revolution of 1810. The development of the country after the establishment of an independent state (to 1917). On May 25, 1810, an anti-Spanish liberation uprising erupted in Buenos Aires. The patriots overthrew the viceroy and established the provisional government of La Plata, which implemented a number of antifeudal measures. The events that took place in Buenos Aires in May 1810 received the name of the May Revolution, and May 25 became the national holiday of the Argentine people. The national May Revolution was a constituent part of the war for independence of the Spanish colonies in America (1810–26). The peasantry, the nascent bourgeoisie, the landlords, and the intelligentsia participated in the revolution. The popular masses were the decisive force.

The struggle for independence corresponded objectively to the requirements of capitalist development and was an important stage in the formation of the Argentine nation. The General Constitutional Assembly of 1813 adopted laws abolishing encomiendas, mitas, poll taxes, and other burdensome obligations; it passed a law on “freedom of birth,” by which children born of slaves would henceforth be free, and a law abolishing corporal punishment. On July 9, 1816, the National Congress in Tucumán proclaimed the independence of the United Provinces of La Plata, which in 1826 became the Federal Republic of Argentina, or Argentina (literally “silver,” from the Latin argentum, silver). Two political groupings arose in the 1820’s in the course of the struggle for the creation of a unified, centralized state—the unitarians, who objectively expressed the interests of the nascent bourgeoisie, and the federalists, whose core was made up of large feudal landowners and clerical landowners. The major landowners, cattle raisers, and monasteries, exploiting the economic and political contradictions between individual provinces and inflaming the separatist movements and internecine conflict, expanded their holdings. In 1829, one of the largest landowners of Buenos Aires province, J. M. Rosas, came to power and established a dictatorship of landlords and clerics in Argentina. British capital began to make greater inroads into the Argentine economy. British vessels gained the rights of uncontrolled navigation on the La Plata River. A broad popular movement against the dictatorship developed, and as a result the regime of Rosas fell (February 1852).

The progressive liberal governments of D. F. Sarmiento (1868–74) and his successor N. Avellaneda (1874–80) implemented a series of reforms aimed at developing the economy and culture of Argentina. As a result of these reforms and the influx of immigrants, the development of sheep raising and farming—Argentina’s main economic branches—was accelerated. From the end of the 19th century, Argentina gradually became a large exporter of grains. The number of small property owners and renters increased. Railroads and highways were built, cities grew (the population of Buenos Aires was 76,000 in 1852 and 664,000 in 1895), ports were constructed (Santa Fe, Rosario, and others), trade and industry developed, and a national bank was established (1872). An industrial bourgeoisie and a proletariat began to take shape. Trade union organizations appeared. The first trade union was the Society of Printers of Buenos Aires, which was founded in 1857. By 1895 there were more than 24,000 industrial enterprises (with 175,000 workers) in Argentina. The development of capitalism and the formation of the Argentine nation proceeded under two unfavorable conditions—the large role of the landlords’ oligarchy in the economic life of the country and the increased penetration of Argentina by British capital.

As a result of the bloody campaigns of extermination against the Indians in the 1870’s and 1880’s, landlords and foreign companies gained 41.8 million hectares (ha) of land during the period 1876–93. The interests of major landowners and cattle raisers in Argentina, both on the domestic and foreign market, came into conflict with the interests of foreign—primarily English—monopolies, which by the start of World War I (1914–18) had seized control of the key branches of the Argentine economy (transportation, ports, the meat industry, electricity, gas, banks, municipal services, and so on). By this time, British capital investment in Argentina reached $1,897,000,000. Great Britain, which was attempting to turn Argentina into its own source of agricultural goods and raw materials, obstructed the development of the nascent national industry. Foreign capital deformed Argentina’s economy, heightening the unequal economic development of the different regions. However, the growth of productive forces and the inclusion of Argentina in the turnover of world trade in the 1880’s brought important changes in the country’s domestic circumstances. The landlords’ latifundia of the feudal type changed into farms of the Prussian Junker type, employing hired agricultural workers but preserving some vestiges of semifeudalism.

The Argentine nation was basically formed by the beginning of the 20th century. By this time, also, the bourgeoisie (the bulk of which came from local landlords and cattle raisers who had become bourgeois) and the proletariat (primarily formed from the mass of European immigrants) were also formed. Language differences, heterogeneity, and differences in ideology among the immigrants made it difficult for them to organize. Nonetheless, a number of trade centers and federations of workers were established in the 1890’s and early 20th century. The early 20th century was marked by the intensification of class conflicts, the first mass actions by workers (the general strikes of 1905, 1907, and 1909), the formation of the political parties of the bourgeoisie (the Radical Civic Union was founded in 1891, and the Progressive Democratic Party was founded in 1909), the establishment of workers’ and peasants’ parties and organizations (the Socialist Party was founded in 1896; the Agrarian Federation in 1912), and so on. Argentina maintained a policy of neutrality during World War I. The economic influence of Great Britain in Argentina weakened during this period, and this facilitated the development of national industry, in particular light industry and the food industry.

After 1917. A revolutionary upsurge, produced by domestic processes of development (the movement of peasants for land and the struggle of the proletariat to improve their material and legal situation) and by the influence of the Great October Socialist Revolution in Russia, was evident in Argentina during 1917–22. The high point of revolutionary events in the country was the armed class battles of the proletariat of Buenos Aires in 1919. In January 1918 the International Socialist Party of Argentina was formed; at the end of 1920 it was renamed the Communist Party of Argentina (PCA). A movement to establish diplomatic relations with Soviet Russia unfolded in Argentina during May-July 1924, brought on by the recognition of the Soviet Union by a number of capitalist countries. The government’s foreign policy, however, was oriented toward British imperialism, and it refused to establish diplomatic relations with the USSR. Under pressure by the masses, the government of the Radical Party (1916—30) was forced to implement a series of progressive measures in the 1920’s—the proclamation of fundamental bourgeois freedoms, the introduction of limited workers’ legislation, and the nationalization of oil sources in 1929 (the drilling of oil began in Argentina in 1907). However, the reforms did not affect the basic problems of the national economy. Large private property in land was maintained as before, while the masses of peasants suffered from a shortage of land. Foreign enterprises expanded. Along with English capital, the position of the monopolies of the United States in Argentina was strengthened. The direct capital investments of the United States in Argentina amounted to $40 million in 1913, $100 million in 1918, and $331.8 million in 1929. In 1920 the United States nearly reached the level of Great Britain’s trade with Argentina. The worldwide economic crisis of 1929–33 extended to Argentina, increased unemployment and the poverty of the laboring masses, and sharpened the class struggle. It was under these conditions that the major landlord J. Uriburu came to power in September 1930 with the support of the American imperialists. A terrorist dictatorship was established, based on the support of latifundist landlords, big capitalists, and the upper ranks of the Catholic Church. The fascist movement in Argentina gained strength in the 1930’s, after Hitler came to power in Germany. Various subversive organizations and groups, generally directed from abroad, began to appear and grow strong in the country. The profascist mood was particularly strong in the army. The working class and broad masses of the people struggled stubbornly against the dictatorship and the onslaught of reaction, working for the establishment of the Popular Front. Committees of the Popular Front sprang up in the capital and provinces in 1935. By this time the strike movement was gaining greatly in scope. The workers combined their class demands with slogans of struggle against fascism. Under pressure from progressive public opinion, the Ortiz government (in power 1938–42) in 1939 dissolved the Fascist Party and the so-called Labor Front, which operated among Argentines of German descent. (However, they quickly resumed their activities, simply changing their names.) The expenditures of the German mission for subversive activity in Argentina amounted to 850,000 pesos in 1938–39, 3,397,600 pesos in 1939–40, and 5,983,000 pesos in 1940–41. The democratic forces of Argentina waged a courageous struggle against the onslaught of fascism.

The class struggle intensified further during World War II (1939–45). Amid the growth of the forces of democracy and the weakening of the landowner-bourgeois dictatorship, nationalistic circles of the Argentine bourgeoisie led by high-ranking military officers (General A. Rawson, General P. P. Ramírez, and Colonel J. D. Perón) executed a military coup in June 1943. Having remained formally neutral almost throughout the war (in January 1944, Argentina broke off diplomatic relations with Germany and Japan, and in March 1945 it declared war against them), Argentina took advantage of military circumstances to strengthen its economic position. In its domestic policies the Argentine government, proclaiming the principle of the corporate structure of society, in effect liquidated all constitutional guarantees. Perón was successful in the presidential elections of 1946. As the opposition strengthened and democratic anti-imperialist forces grew in the postwar years, Perón’s government made certain concessions to the masses. Raising the wages of certain categories of industrial and agricultural workers, the Peronists unleashed broad social demagoguery, propagating the theory of “class harmony,” the special path of Argentine development.

In 1949, after a period of relative economic upsurge, an economic depression began in Argentina. The material situation of the laboring classes deteriorated sharply. The strike movement assumed broad dimensions (the general strike of 130,000 workers of the sugar industry in 1949, the strike of 160,000 railroad workers in 1950–51), as did the campaign for peace (the large antiwar demonstration in Rosario in July 1950, and so on). Perón’s government unleashed repression against the striking workers and fighters for peace. The repressive regime and the sharp decline in their standard of living gave birth to serious dissatisfaction among the working masses and generated political instability in the country. Extreme right-wing reactionary groups opposing the Peronist regime exploited this discontent. In September 1955, by means of an armed coup, major landlords, the church hierarchy, and foreign monopolies (whose political role in Argentina had weakened somewhat during the period of the bourgeois nationalist regime) overthrew the Peronist government. Traditional representatives of the landed oligarchy and financial-industrial capital returned to power. The provisional governments of General E. Lonardi (September-November 1955) and General P. E. Aramburu (1955–58) openly defended the interests of major landowners and bourgeoisie, American and English imperialism, and the Catholic reaction. The condition of the masses deteriorated still further, producing a strike movement in the country. Two huge general strikes, in which over 4 million people participated, took place in September-October 1957. Aramburu’s government was forced to set a date for presidential elections. The elections of 1958 brought to power A. Fron-dizi, the leader of the Intransigent Radicals (founded in 1957). His government abolished some reactionary laws, declared a political amnesty, and permitted all political parties and organizations to operate. In October 1958, Argentina signed an economic agreement with the USSR by which the Soviet Union supplied Argentina with equipment for its oil industry. The masses demanded from the Frondizi government a limitation of the power of the monopolies and protection of the national economy, as well as the implementation of agrarian reforms aiming at the partition of large landlord latifundia and the allotment of these lands to the peasants. However, the government embarked on a path of capitulation to imperialism and domestic reaction. It altered its preelection program and imposed a proimperialist, antipopular course on the country, granting oil and other concessions to foreign—primarily American—monopolies. The agreements concluded by Frondizi’s government with the monopolies of the United States (1958–61) provoked discontent among broad areas of the Argentine public. A wave of strikes and demonstrations swept over the country. The government responded with repression. The PCA and various progressive organizations were banned in April 1959. The reactionary policies of Frondizi’s government deprived it of support among democratic and national forces. In 1961 right-wing forces and the military clique took advantage of the situation to launch a number of attempts at a coup d’etat. At the end of the year, Frondizi’s government introduced to congress a legislative project for the “defense of democracy,” giving the government the right to do away with any opposition organization or party. The government of J. M. Guido came to power in March 1962 and continued the policy of repressive legislation. Many progressive newspapers, organizations, and workers’ unions were shut down. Extreme right-wing circles of the military cliques attempted to establish a fascist dictatorship. The PCA played an important role in the struggle against fascism—in particular, the suppression of the mutiny of September 1962. On its initiative, an interparty junta was established, including representatives of the PCA, the Peronists, the socialists, and other parties—an important step on the way to the creation of a pan-democratic front.

A. Illía, the leader of the Radical Civic Union of the People (founded in 1957), was victorious in the general elections of July 1963. His preelection program consisted of a number of general democratic and anti-imperialist positions—the abolition of repressive legislation, the restoration of constitutional rights, and the redistribution of the national income. In November 1963, Illía’s government annulled the contracts signed with the oil monopolies of the United States during 1958–61. The masses demanded that the government implement socioeconomic reforms capable of ending the crisis in the country; however, the government showed in-decisiveness and vacillation and made vital concessions to foreign monopolies and domestic reaction. The failure of Illía’s government to carry out its preelection program, the deterioration of the economic situation in the country, and the accompanying lowering of the standard of living of the people and growth of unemployment produced discontent with the government and led to the decline of its authority among the general public. A coup d’etat was carried out on June 28, 1966. The military command swept Illía out of office. Having seized power, the so-called revolutionary junta dissolved the National Congress and the provincial legislative organs and banned all political parties. Lieutenant General J. C. Onganía was appointed president. The so-called revolutionary statute adopted by his government provided that the president of the republic would fulfill all legislative functions which the constitution of the country delegated to the congress. Onganía’s government declared the “extermination of communist activity” to be one of the primary goals of its domestic policy. As early as August 1967, a law for the “defense against communism” was adopted; it provided that individuals charged with activities “based on communist ideology” were subject to imprisonment for a period of one to eight years, and individuals “regarded as communists” were to be dismissed both from state service and from work in private enterprises. At the same time, the government of Onganía adopted a “civil defense” law, by which all citizens 14–60 years of age could be mobilized in case of domestic disturbances. Clinging to a policy of so-called free enterprise in the economy, the government in 1967 adopted a law on oil and one on the renting of land. The onslaught of reactionary circles against the social victories won by the laboring classes, the decline in the standard of living of the people, and the increased cost of living produced a wave of protest. As armed demonstrations of workers in large industrial centers (Córdoba, Rosario) became more common, in July 1969 the government proclaimed a state of siege in the country, abolishing constitutional guarantees and carrying out numerous arrests. In the area of foreign policy, the government of Onganía adhered to the line of the United States; at the same time, it expanded its economic relations with Western European countries (West Germany, England, Spain, France, and others). During Onganía’s tenure as president, a sharp battle for power took place among groups of the high command of Argentina’s army. As a result of this struggle, Onganía was replaced in June 1970, and General R. M. Levingston became president. But as early as March 1971 a military coup d’etat took place, after which General A. Lanusse became president. He undertook practical measures aimed at the restoration of the party and parliamentary forms of administration.

In April 1971 the activity of all political parties (with the exception of the Communist Party) was permitted. After the elections in March 1973 the candidate of the Justicialist Liberation Front, H. Cámpora, became the president of Argentina.


Ocherki istorii Argentiny. Moscow, 1961.
Ghioldix, R. Oktiabr’skaia sotsialisticheskaia revoliutsiia i razvitie revoliutsionnogo dvizheniiaν Argentine. Moscow, 1957. (Translated from Spanish.)
Codovilla, V. Stat’i i rechi, 1926–56. Moscow, 1957. (Translated from Spanish.)
Marianetti, B. Argentina: Sovremennoe polozhenie i perspektivy. Moscow, 1966.
López, V. F. Historia de la República Argentina, 6th ed., vols. 1–8. Buenos Aires, 1960.
Levene, R., ed. Historia de la nación argentina, vols. 1–10. Buenos Aires, 1939–55. (Bibliography.)
Palacio, E. Historia de la Argentina (1515–1957), [2nd ed.], vols. 1–2. Buenos Aires, 1957.
Cortes Conde, R., and E. Gallo. La formación de la Argentina moderna. Buenos Aires, 1967.
Ingenieros, J. La evolución de las ideas argentinas, vols. 1–2. Buenos Aires, 1951.
Conil Paz, A., and G. Ferrari. Política exterior argentina 1930–1962. Buenos Aires, 1964.
Iscaro, R. Origen y desarrollo del movimiento sindical argentino. Buenos Aires, 1958.
DiTella, T. S. Socialismo en la Argentina. Buenos Aires, 1965.

V. I. ERMOLAEV (to 1955) and A. GRAN (since 1955) [updated]

Political parties. The Justicialist Party (Partido Justicialista) developed in 1958 from the Peronist Party, which existed from 1947 to 1955. It includes workers, employees, middle strata of the urban bourgeoisie, and landowners, and it came to power in March 1973. The Radical Civic Union (Unión Cívica Radical) was established in 1891; it includes part of the middle and petite bourgeoisie, the middle urban intelligentsia, and students. The Movement of Integration and Development (Movimiento de Integración y Desarollo) was established in 1963 as a result of a split in the Radical Civic Union of Intransigents. It is made up of upper middleclass compradors, a section of the petite bourgeoisie, the intelligentsia, and petty landowners. The Intransigent Party (Partido Intransigente) developed in 1963 from the Radical Civic Union of Intransigents. Its ranks are filled by members of the national bourgeoisie, middle urban strata, and workers. The New Force (Nueva Fuerza) is an extreme rightwing party that was established in 1971; it includes representatives of the land oligarchy, financial and economic strata, and foreign monopolies. The Christian Revolutionary Party (Partido Revolutionário Cristiano) developed from the left wing of the Christian Democratic Party and reflects the interests of the petite bourgeoisie, the intelligentsia, and the Catholic working people. The Communist Party of Argentina (Partido Comunista de Argentina; PCA) was established in 1918 by the left wing of the Socialist Party; until 1920 it was called the International Party.

A. N. GARNZEV [updated]

Trade unions and other social organizations. The General Confederation of Labor was established in 1930 and includes a number of trade union associations, the largest of which are the Trade Union Organization of “62” (after the number of earlier member trade unions), which was established in 1957 and in which the Peronists have dominant influence, and the Movement for Unity and Coordination of Action of Trade Unions, which was established in 1959 and is influenced by the PCA. In the 1960’s the “Independents” and “Nonparticipants” left the trade organizations of the “62” and “32” (established in 1957). These trade unions are led by representatives of various parties. The “Commission of 25,” which was established in 1969, includes representatives of the trade union organization of the “62,” the “Nonparticipants,” and groups of trade unions whose leadership favors cooperation with the government.

The Communist Youth Movement was established in 1921 and is under the influence of the PCA. The General Economic Confederation was established in 1951 and includes primarily national middle and small entrepreneurs. The Coordinated Action of Associations of Free Entrepreneurs was established in 1958 and includes large industrial entrepreneurs, merchants, and financiers connected with foreign capital and landlord latifundists. The Argentine Council for Peace was created in 1948. The Union of Argentine Women was established in 1947.


General state of the economy. Argentina is an agrarian-industrial country, one of the economically more developed countries in Latin America. Its economy is characterized by backward agrarian relations, the subjugation of key sectors of the economy by foreign capital, and dependence on the foreign market. Agrarian specialization of the economy took shape in the second half of the 19th century in accordance with the needs and interests of European countries. The export character of Argentina’s economy became increasingly sharply defined. By the early 20th century, Argentina had become one of the largest regions for the production of cereals and livestock products in the capitalist world. The increasing penetration of foreign capital (initially, mostly British; then American) into the Argentine economy made Argentina dependent on it. The total sum of private foreign capital investment in Argentina’s economy by 1967 was estimated at $2.5 billion; the United States accounted for one-half of this, Great Britain for one-fifth, Italy for one-seventh, and West Germany for 3 percent. The penetration of Argentina by foreign—particularly West German—capital became more intense after the military coup of 1966. Foreign capital controls more than one-third of the country’s industrial output and has large landholdings (26 million ha). Whereas the United States and Italy hold the strongest positions in industry, Great Britain occupies a more prominent place in agriculture and forestry.

Fundamental displacements in the structure of Argentina’s economy occurred during and after World War II (1939–45). This was reflected above all in the establishment of a number of branches of manufacturing—primarily heavy—industry. The relative importance of mining industry also grew. As a result, the value of industrial produce exceeded that of agriculture. In 1965 agriculture yielded 16.6 percent of the total social product; the mining industry, 1.4 percent; the manufacturing industry, 35.1 percent; construction, 3.6 percent; municipal services, 1.8 percent; commerce, 16.9 percent; transportation and communications, 7.5 percent; and services, 17.1 percent. However, Argentina’s place in the international division of labor has continued to be determined by agriculture. Argentina is one of the main world exporters of agricultural produce. As a result of the economic depression that began in 1949, the deterioration of Argentina’s position in the world market for agricultural products has been evident. Thus, Argentina’s share in the world export of wheat has declined from 25–30 percent in the 1930’s to 8–10 percent in the 1960’s; maize has declined from 66 percent to 16 percent. The country’s export difficulties are connected with its stagnation in agricultural production (the result of social relations in agriculture) and with the growth of agricultural production both in competing countries on the world market (the United States, Canada, and Australia) and in the Western European countries— traditional consumers of Argentine agricultural goods.

The state capitalist sector developed noticeably after the Second World War; it accounts for about one-fifth of the total capital investment in the economy (including 60 percent of oil drilling and steel smelting, all coal mining and extraction of natural gas, and three-fourths of the output of electric power).

The largest state companies are the electric power company (Agua y Energía Electrica), the gas company (Gaz del Estado), and the oil company (Yacimientos Petroliferos Fiscales), which has jurisdiction over the country’s oil fields. However, foreign capital (mainly from the United States) has penetrated state companies. Thus, the activity of foreign monopolies in the oil industry has expanded as a result of the law of 1967, which allows private companies to prospect for and extract oil in unworked areas.

Agriculture and forestry. Agrarian relations in Argentina are characterized by the dominance of major landlord holdings. (For the structure of landholding, see Table 2.)

Table 2. Structure of landholding (1960 census)
Categories of farms allotments, ha)Number of farms (percent)Agricultural area (percent)
up to 25 ..........39.71.0
25–100 ..........27.94.4
100–1000 ..........26.720.2
over 1000 ..........5.774.4

Although Argentina is one of the leading countries of Latin America in terms of the level of its capitalist development in agriculture, precapitalist forms of rent still survive (métayage and work payment); usury is prevalent. Small farms are being ruined, and this is accompanied by the influx of rural inhabitants to the cities and the growth of the agricultural proletariat, which constituted 40.8 percent of all those engaged in agriculture in 1937, 68.9 percent in 1948, and 70 percent in 1960. The number of people employed in agriculture is declining not only in relative terms (from 25.9 percent in 1947 to 19.5 percent in 1960) but also in absolute terms. (Over this same period, the number declined by almost 300,000.) The total area of agricultural land is 138 million ha (by the census of 1960); of this, one-fifth is cultivated land, and the rest is used for hay and pasture. Over much of Argentina, farming is possible only with irrigation; however, only 1.5 million ha is irrigated. Only one-sixth to one-fifth of the cultivated land is worked by tractors. (There were 173,000 machines in 1964.)

Livestock raising is important in agriculture. (The number of livestock is shown in Table 3.)

Table 3. Livestock population (millions of head)
Cattle ..........43.147

The most important branch is the breeding of horned cattle for meat (70 percent of the livestock). The pampas contain four-fifths of the cattle population of Argentina. A total of 10–12 million head are slaughtered annually. Dairy livestock raising is developed only near large cities. Sheep raising is another important branch of livestock raising. Argentina is one of the leading countries in the world in clipping (up to 200,000 tons annually) and exporting (100,000–150,000 tons) of wool. The southern pampas and Patagonia contain four-fifths of the sheep population.

Since World War II, a tendency to increase the relative importance of plant-growing agriculture, primarily of industrial crops, has been evident. Nonetheless, grain remains the leading component of plant growing (it yields over one-third of the value of plant-growing produce). The area and yield of the main agricultural crops appear in Table 4.

The main cereal crop is wheat. Argentina’s harvest and export (3–4 million tons a year) are among the largest in the world. Argentina is also among the leaders in production (up to 8 million tons) and export (4–5 million tons) of fodder grains (maize, barley, and oats). Oilbearing plants—flax and sunflowers—are also cultivated for export. Cereals and oil-bearing plants are grown in the pampas, where much area is also covered with fodder grasses, primarily alfalfa. Plant growing in other regions is generally for the supply of the domestic market. The main crops in the north are sugarcane, cotton, tobacco, rice, yerba maté (Paraguayan tea), and tea. Orchard peasant farming and viticulture are carried on in the west, in the valleys of the Rio Negro and Rio Colorado.

The total forested area of Argentina (UN data) is 70 million ha (one-fourth of the country’s territory). The main regions of timber exploitation are Mesopotamia, where coniferous forests are prevalent (the araucaria is especially valuable), and the Gran Chaco, with dry tropical scrub forests where the quebracho is important (it is used to obtain tannic extract, of which Argentina is the main supplier for the world market—though its production has been sharply curtailed because of the competition of other forms of extract and the spread of leather substitutes). There is fishing in the coastal waters and the Paraná and Uruguay rivers (241,000 tons in 1967).

Industry. The manufacturing industry accounts for 95 percent of the value of industrial output. The branches engaged in the processing of agricultural produce continue to be primary, although they are in a state of stagnation. Machine-building, petroleum chemistry and refining, and ferrous metallurgy were developed after World War II. Heavy industry accounts for more than one-third of the industrial output. It does not, however, produce the most important and complex means of production; many of its branches are controlled by foreign capital—for example, the mining and machine-building industries (United States), automobile and tractor construction (Italy), chemicals, ferrous metallurgy, and automobile construction (West Germany). New enterprises are mainly equipped with imported equipment, which makes Argentine industry dependent on the import of spare parts. Small enterprises predominate; most large enterprises belong to foreign monopolies.

EXTRACTIVE INDUSTRY. In the extraction of natural fuels, oil (confirmed and estimated petroleum supplies were 440 million tons in 1968) and gas (225 billion cu m) are most important; supplies of coal are insignificant. The main oil and gas basins are Comodoro Rivadavia (over one-half of the resources and output of the country), Mendoza (one-fourth of the output), the provinces of Neuquén (the deposits at Plaza Huincul), Salta (Madrejones and Campo Durán), and Tierra del Fuego. After World War II, the exploitation of coal deposits began in Rio Turbio (with resources estimated at 300 million tons). The extraction of uranic ores is mainly in the province of Mendoza. Argentina has considerable exploitable deposits of beryllium ores (Las Tapias in the province of San Luis), tungsten (Los Condores in the province of San Luis), and also lead and zinc (Castaño Viejo in the province of San Juan and El Aguilar in the province of Jujuy). The only workable deposits of iron ore, which are small, are at Zapla. Copper, manganese, and tin are also mined; of the nonmetallic minerals, sulfur is mined. The dynamics of extraction of the most important minerals is shown in Table 5.

POWER. The power production of Argentina is based almost exclusively on oil and gas. In 1965 oil and natural gas constituted 85.6 percent of the energy balance, vegetable fuel 9.5 percent, coal 3.4 percent, and hydroelectric energy 1.5 percent. Hydroelectric resources were 11 million kW. (The largest sources were the Paraná, Uruguay, and Rio Negro rivers.) The capacity of all electric power stations

Table 4. Area and yield of main agricultural crops
  Area (ha)  Yield (tons) 
1 Yearly average
2 Seed
3 Fiber
Wheat ..........6,978,0004,487,0004,421,0005,214,0005,650,0005,175,0005,725,0006,247,000
Barley ..........449,000540,000742,000411,000394,000656,000800,000438,000
Flax ..........2,631,000799,0001,172,000801,0001,540,0002513,0002818,0002577,0002
Cotton ..........324,000470,000499,000441,000112,0003124,0003 116,0003
Table 5. Output of most important minerals
By content of metal
Oilmillion tons..........3.38.915.95
Natural gas, billion cu m1.44.8
Coal, tons.....175,000411,000
Lead ore, tons’ ..........17,80026,70032,200
Zinc ore, tons’ ..........12,60035,40027,200
Tungsten (W03), tons .....101487133
Manganese ore, tons’ .....50013,8009,100
Sulfur, tons..........9,00028,00033,000

(1965) was 5.3 mW (5.3 million kW), of which about 10 percent was in hydroelectric plants. The city of Buenos Aires accounts for almost one-half of the electric energy produced and three-fourths of the electric energy consumed.

MANUFACTURING INDUSTRY. The leading branch of the manufacturing industry for export is the food industry, mainly meat-packing (one-third of the value of the produce of the food industry). Argentina is one of the largest producers (2.8 million tons in 1967) and exporters (600,000 tons a year) of meat in the world. Most beef slaughterhouses and refrigeration plants are concentrated in and around Buenos Aires, and mutton slaughterhouses are concentrated in the port cities of Patagonia. A significant proportion of the slaughterhouses and refrigeration plants are controlled by American companies. The production of vegetable oils, and to some extent sugar, also contributes to exports. Flour-milling, wine-making (28 million hectoliters in 1967—one of the highest outputs in the capitalist world), and the canning industry are developed. Among the branches of light industry the textiles and leather and shoe industries (Buenos Aires and elsewhere) are notable.

Ferrous metallurgy is based primarily on imported raw materials. Argentine production satisfies one-half of the country’s need for steel and over 70 percent of its need for rolled metal (1965). There are factories with full metallurgical cycles in the cities of San Nicolás and Zapla. Nonferrous metallurgy consists of a small amount of lead, zinc, and copper smelting. The main branches of machine building are agricultural machinery (the cities of Buenos Aires and Cordoba), electrotechnical machinery (Buenos Aires), and automobile construction (Córdoba). The main centers of oil refining are the cities of La Plata, Buenos Aires, and Campana; the total capacity of oil refineries is 22 million tons (1966). One of the most rapidly developing branches of industry is petroleum chemistry (the cities of San Lorenzo and Campana). There is a paper and pulp industry (the main regions are Mesopotamia and Buenos Aires). The geographical distribution of manufacturing industry in Argentina is characterized by high concentration in port cities, above all Buenos Aires (over 60 percent of industrial production). The dynamics of production of the most important articles of industrial produce are shown in Table 6.

Table 6. Production of most important industrial articles
Electric energy, billion kW-hr ...4.610.512.4
Iron, tons ..........17,000181,000610,000
Steel, tons ..........122,000277,0001,325,000
Coke, tons ..........160,000424,000
Sulfuric acid, tons ..........75,000132,000154,000
Paper (excluding newsprint), tons..111,000159,000469,000
Synthetic rubber, tons ......17,100

Transportation. In foreign freightage, marine transport is most important; in domestic freightage, railroads and motor vehicle transport. The entire transportation network has a radial configuration with Buenos Aires at the center. Railroads belong to the state; their total length is 48,000 km (1960). The freight turnover of railroads was 11.355 billion ton-km in 1967. There were more than 100,000 km of highway in 1960, including about 30,000 km of paved road. There were 1.8 million motor vehicles in operation in 1967 (including 1.2 million automobiles). Domestic water transportation is important in the haulage of freight, mainly on the Paraná and Uruguay rivers; the total navigable length is 3,000 km. Oil and gas pipelines stretch from the north and south to the region of the pampas.

Sea transport carries 95 percent of Argentina’s foreign trade. The tonnage of the commercial fleet is 1.2 million gross registered tons (1968), of which the tanker fleet accounted for 479,000 gross registered tons. More than 60 percent of the tonnage of the fleet belongs to the state. The Argentine fleet is engaged mainly in coastal transport; it also accounts for about one-fifth of the import-export freight. The main seaport is Buenos Aires (85 percent of the country’s import and about 40 percent of its export); its freight turnover is about 20 million tons—one-third of the freight turnover of the Argentine ports. Livestock produce is exported mainly through Buenos Aires, grains mainly through Rosario, Necochea, Bahía Blanca, and Mar del Plata. Argentina has regular air communications with America and Europe; its main airport is Ezeiza (near Buenos Aires).

Foreign trade. Argentina annually exports 15–20 percent of the total value of its agricultural and industrial produce; it satisfies more than 25 percent of its needs for equipment and 15 percent of its need for raw materials from imports. More than 90 percent of the country’s exports is composed of agricultural products, primarily meat (one-third of the world capitalist exports), cereals (primarily wheat, up to one-tenth), wool (one-tenth), raw leather (one-fifth), vegetable oils, flaxseed, and fruits; about 5 percent is made up of manufactured articles. Machines and equipment (almost one-half of the value), and also raw materials (iron ore, coal, and oil), predominate among imports.

The United States, Great Britain, Italy, and West Germany accounted for 40–45 percent of Argentina’s foreign-trade turnover in 1965–66. The countries of the Latin American Association for Free Trade accounted for more than 15 percent (mainly Brazil, Chile, and Peru); more than 40 percent of Argentina’s export of finished articles goes to these countries. Argentina exports agricultural goods to the socialist countries and imports ferrous metals, diesel fuel, coal, and equipment from them. The USSR accounted for about 0.8 percent of Argentina’s exports and about 0.7 percent of its imports in 1962.

The state budget has a systematic deficit. It is covered primarily by foreign loans, and as a result Argentina’s foreign debt reached $3.2 billion by 1968. The monetary unit is the peso. In the exchange rate of the State Bank of the USSR, 100 Argentine pesos = 25.7 kopeks (on Jan. 1, 1970).

Economic and geographic regions. The pampas region (the provinces of Buenos Aires, Entre Rios, Córdoba, La Pampa, and the southern part of Santa Fe province) stands out sharply as the leading industrial and main agricultural area of the country in terms of its level of economic development. It occupies one-fourth of the territory of Argentina. Over three-fifths of the country’s population lives here, and the pampas account for more than 80 percent of industrial production and 70 percent of the length of railways. Almost all heavy industry is concentrated in this region. The pampas yield more than one-half of the produce of plant growing and three-fourths of the produce of livestock raising, as well as more than 80 percent of Argentina’s exported agricultural produce. Almost the entire economic life of the pampas is linked to the city of Buenos Aires. Other important economic centers include Rosario, Córdoba, Santa Fe, La Plata, and Bahía Blanca.

The western region has a comparatively high level of economic development; it includes the provinces of Mendoza, San Juan, and San Luis. It is the main region for viticulture and wine-making (the most important centers are the cities of Mendoza and San Juan), subtropical orchard farming, and vegetable growing and the canning industry based on it. This is the main region of irrigated agriculture (over one-half of the irrigated lands in the country). The mining industry is also developed here (oil drilling and tungsten, beryllium, lead, and zinc mining). The northwest, Chaco, and Mesopotamia—economically underdeveloped territories—are regions of plantation agriculture. The problem of water is acute for the arid regions of the northwest and the Chaco. The northwest (the provinces of Jujuy, Salta, Tucu-mán, Catamarca, and La Rioja) is the leading region for the cultivation of sugarcane and the production of sugar. Rice and tobacco are also cultivated; goats and sheep are bred in high mountain pastures. The northwest is the country’s base for minerals and raw materials (oil drilling and the mining of iron ore, lead-zinc ores, sulfur, and tin). The main economic centers are the cities of Tucumán, Jujuy, and Campo Durán. The Chaco (the provinces of Santiago del Estero, Chaco, Formosa, and northern Santa Fe) is the main region of cotton cultivation (90 percent of all the area under cotton in the country) and also of the exploitation of quebracho lumber and the production of the tannic extract derived from it. The important cities of this region are Resistencia, Formosa, and Santiago del Estero. The humid subtropical Mesopotamia area (the provinces of Corientes and Misiones) is the main region for the cultivation and harvest of yerba maté and citrus plants. Tobacco, tea, and tung trees are cultivated for export. Mesopotamia is one of the most important regions for forestry and the paper and pulp industry. Its economic centers are the cities of Posadas and Corientes. Patagonia (the provinces of Neuquén, Rio Negro, Chubut, Santa Cruz, and the national territory of Tierra del Fuego) is the least developed and settled territory of Argentina; it occupies about one-third of the country’s area, but only 3 percent of the population lives there. Most of the country’s reserves of oil, coal, and iron ore and about one-third of its hydroelectric resources are concentrated in Patagonia. At present primarily the oil deposits (two-thirds of the oil drilled in Argentina), and to some extent the coal deposits, have been exploited. The main branch of agriculture is sheep raising, which serves as the basis for the meat-packing industry and the initial processing of wool. The main economic centers are Comodoro Rivadavia, Neuquén, Río Gallegos, and Puerto Deseado.


Marianetti, B. Argentina: Sovremennoe polozhenie i perspektivy. Moscow, 1966. (Translated from Spanish.)
Volkov, A. V. Argentina. Moscow, 1956.
Fux, Jaime. Proniknovenie amerikanskikh trestov ν Argentinu. Moscow, 1959. (Translated from Spanish.)
Vol’skii, V. V. Latinskaia Amerika, neft’ i nezavisimost’. Moscow, 1964.
Arnolds, A. Geografia económica argentina. Buenos Aires, 1963.
Carlevari, I. J. F. La Argentina, 2nd ed. Buenos Aires, 1964.
Fuchs, J. Argentina, su desarrollo capitalista. Buenos Aires, 1965.
Ferrer, A. La economía argentina: las etapas de su desarrollo y problemas actuales. Mexico City, 1963.
Relevamiento de la estructura regional de la República Argentina. Buenos Aires, 1965.


Argentina’s armed forces consist of land troops, air force, and navy. In early 1970 the total armed forces of the country amounted to 165,500 men. There were about 80,000 federal and provincial police. The president is the commander in chief. The supreme body of military administration is the Military Committee, which includes the president and the three commanders in chief of the branches of the armed forces; the Joint Staff is subordinated to it. Regular forces are recruited on the basis of a universal military service law. Men at least 20 years of age are drafted. The term of active military service is one year. The country is divided into four military zones, and an army corps is stationed in each. Land forces (about 107,000 men) consist of infantry, mountain, armored cavalry, mechanized, and paratroop brigades, which are brought together in the four army corps. The land forces also include the national gendarmerie. The armament of the land forces is basically obsolete, but they are being rearmed with modern weapons. The air force (20,000 men) has four commands—air force legions, air operations, personnel, and materiel-technical supply. The air force has five air brigades. The airborne fleet (about 130 fighters and 160 trainers) consists mainly of obsolete planes of foreign manufacture; the A-4B Skyhawk and Gloucester Meteor fighter-bombers and the F-86 Sabrejet fighter are used as battle planes. The navy (about 38,500 men) includes a fleet, marines, naval aircraft, and a naval prefecture (police). The fleet numbers more than 80 fighting ships and 30 auxiliary vessels (1970). The main classes of fighting ships (two aircraft carriers, two cruisers, nine torpedo-boat destroyers, and two submarines) were constructed between 1937 and 1969 and purchased from the United States, Great Britain, and the Netherlands. The naval air force consists of about 160 planes and helicopters; the marines, of one regiment and seven individual battalions.

Medicine and public health. The birthrate per 1,000 of population in 1967 was 22.5, the general death rate, 8.8; infant mortality was 58.3 per 1,000 live births. In the pattern of disease in 1966, tuberculosis (50 per 10,000 population), neoplasms, cardiovascular disease, endemic goiter, and intestinal infections (typhoid fever and paratyphoid, 0.52; brucellosis, 0.52; poliomyelitis, 0.27; and dysentery, 2.2 per 10,000 population) were of particular importance. In 1965, 10,321 cases of leprosy were recorded.

In the northern medical region, which is least populated (the provinces of Salta, Jujuy, Formosa, Chaco, Catamarca, and certain others), intestinal diseases, tuberculosis, skin and membrane leishmaniasis, Chagas’ disease (more than 20 percent of the rural population are sufferers), and malaria are widespread. In the western region, at the base of the Andes, there are areas of endemic goiter (in the province of Salta, goiter appears among 45 percent of the population). In the densely settled central region (the provinces of Buenos Aires, Mendoza, Córdoba, La Pampa, San Luis, Santa Fe, and La Rioja), cases of brucellosis (in the provinces of Mendoza, Córdoba, and La Rioja up to 80 percent of the population is afflicted), icteric leptospirosis, echinococcus (the province of Buenos Aires accounts for 68 percent of all this disease in the country), taeniasis, amebiasis, and ancylo-stomiasis (up to 60 percent of the population is afflicted) are common. Goiter is endemic in the provinces of Mendoza and San Luis. In the southern region (the province of Rio Negro and elsewhere) there are many people afflicted with endemic goiter. Cases of leptospirosis, mycosis, tuberculosis, and intestinal disease are recorded. Cases of poisonous bites of snakes, spiders, and scorpions are frequently encountered.

The central organ of public health is the Ministry of Social Services and Public Health; locally, municipal organs are responsible for the organization of medical services. In 1966 there were 3,353 hospitals and institutions for medical assistance (426 general institutions, 1,719 rural, 28 children’s, 57 psychiatric, 30 tuberculosis clinics, 37 lying-in hospitals, 5 hospitals for lepers, and 1,051 others); they have a total of 141,200 beds (6.3 per 1,000 of population). Outpatient care (1966) is delivered by 271 units attached to hospitals, 5 polyclinics, 14 health centers, 121 medical aid stations, and 2,611 public health institutions. In 1966 there were 31,800 doctors (1 doctor per 713 residents), of which 19,600 were in state medical institutions; there were 11,584 dentists, 28,100 graduate nurses, and 7,092 midwives. Doctors are trained at nine medical faculties at the universities. (About 1,900 doctors are graduated annually.)


Veterinary services. The pathology of agricultural livestock in Argentina is diversified. Foot-and-mouth disease (4,286 outbreaks in 1965, 5,225 in 1966), anthrax (1,124 outbreaks in 1965–66), and black quarter (4,154 outbreaks in 1965–66) are unfavorable for livestock raising as a whole. The annual loss of cattle from brucellosis amounts to 5 billion Argentine pesos. On some farms, 75–100 percent of the cows are afflicted with brucellosis; it affects 12 percent of horned cattle, 15.5 percent of swine, and 20 percent of goats in the country. Encephalomyelitis of horses (the Venezuelan type of virus) and pasteurellosis of cattle are widespread. With respect to certain transmitted (passed through carriers) and other parasitic diseases, the natural regions of Argentina have definite peculiarities. The northern part of the country and mountainous regions have endemic piroplasmosis of cattle and leptospirosis (with a fatality rate of 39 percent among afflicted sheep). In the steppes and semidesert areas of the south, skin diseases of livestock and myiasis predominate. In the high mountain regions of the east, braxy and noninfectious agalactia of sheep and goats are observed. Helminthiasis, especially echinococcus, is common everywhere.

Argentina has 2,200 veterinary doctors (1966). Specialists with advanced qualifications are trained in the veterinary faculties of the universities. There is a considerable number of scientific research veterinary institutions (an institute for livestock pathology, an institute of zoonoses, and a foot-and-mouth institute); they are exploring questions in the struggle against livestock diseases and searching for ways to increase productivity. Veterinary services are directed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock. Programs for campaigns against foot-and-mouth disease, echinococcus, and mastitis of livestock have been developed.


The first schools in Argentina were established by missionaries in the earliest period of Spanish colonization (16th century). After Argentina proclaimed its independence (1816), a system of schools began to take shape, initially under the supervision of the universities. The first compulsory elementary education law was adopted in 1844. The work of D. F. Sarmiento (president 1868–74) was extremely important for the development of public education.

Public education is under the general direction of the Ministry of Education and Justice. The departments of agriculture, transportation, and public works and the military administration also are involved with the organization of specialized education. The national universities are involved in supervising the work of the schools, especially the secondary schools. The Catholic Church has a strong influence on education. Compulsory free elementary education has been established for children from six to 14 years of age. There is a considerable number of private schools (primarily religious). According to official data, the literacy rate is about 90 percent.

The initial link in the system of public education is the preschool institution for children three to six years of age. At the age of six, children enter seven-year elementary schools. About 10 percent of the elementary schools, primarily in rural areas, are staffed by a single teacher who teaches all grades. The secondary school has a five-year program with two cycles (three and two years of instruction); the first cycle concentrates on general education, and the second is subdivided into classical and practical divisions. Completion of the full secondary school program gives the student the right to enter the university. In 1968 there were about 177,000 children in preschool institutions. In the 1968 school year, 3,480,500 students were enrolled in elementary schools, and over 887,000 in secondary schools. Technical schools with five- to six-year programs follow elementary school (industrial, commercial, applied arts, and other schools). Students completing technical schools have the right to enroll in trade institutes. In the 1967 school year 454,700 people were studying in technical schools. Elementary school teachers are trained in five-year teacher-training schools, which accept graduates of elementary schools. Upon graduating from teacher-training schools, they may enroll in four-year pedagogical institutes that train teachers for secondary schools.

Among institutions of higher education there are 13 state and 14 private universities, three advanced technological institutes, a conservatory, and so on. The largest universities are located in Buenos Aires (founded 1821), Córdoba (1613), La Plata (1884), and Santa Fe (1919). In the 1968 academic year there were 265,300 students in institutions of higher education in Argentina.

The largest libraries are the National Library (founded 1810; over 682,000 volumes), the university library in Buenos Aires (over 870,000 volumes), and the library of the National Congress (founded 1859; 300,000 volumes). The museums of natural science (founded 1823), art (1895), and history (1889) and the Sarmiento school museum (1910) are all in Buenos Aires. There are a museum of natural history (founded 1911) and others in Mendoza.


Natural and technical sciences. Until Argentina’s emancipation from Spanish colonial rule (1816), higher education and science were controlled by Catholic monastic orders. For a long time there was only one university in the country (founded in Córdoba in 1613), which trained theologians and officials. During the colonial period (early 16th to early 19th centuries) only geographical research developed somewhat. There were three geographical expeditions into the Cordilleras (in 1662, 1703, and 1767) and research on the basin of the Pilcomay River (1721), the coast of Patagonia (1745), and other areas. Also, individual monks were engaged in astronomical observations and the study of local flora and fauna (especially herbal plants). Among the scholars of the colonial period, B. Suarez, an Argentine educated in Europe who published a number of works on astronomy, and the Dominican monk M. Torres, who in 1787 discovered the first complete skeleton of the megathere, subsequently studied in detail by G. Cuvier, are well known.

After Argentina attained independence, measures were undertaken to expand higher education and develop research in the natural sciences. Over a number of years the following institutions were established in the country: the Academy of Mathematics and Military Art (founded 1816), the university in Buenos Aires (1821), the Society of Physico-Mathematical Sciences (1822), and the National Academy of Medicine in Buenos Aires (1822), which in 1823 began to publish its Annals, the first scientific journal in the country. A national museum, which became the center for the development of geological and biological sciences, was established in Buenos Aires in 1823. Scholars were invited from Europe to teach natural sciences. These included the Italian physicist and astronomer O. Mossotti, who also performed meteorological observations, and the botanist A. Bonpland, the well-known companion of A. Humboldt in his travels through South America (in 1818 he settled in Argentina). The great paleontologist and doctor F. Muñiz occupied a prominent place among the few Argentine scholars of the 19th century.

The development of national studies proceeded slowly in Argentina. Economic backwardness restricted the possibilities for the development of science. A breakthrough came after the overthrow of the Rosas dictatorship in 1852. In 1870, on the invitation of president D. F. Sarmiento, the American astronomer B. Gould came to Argentina, building an astronomical observatory in Córdoba and conducting research on the southern sky—until then little studied—over a period of 15 years. During his stay in Córdoba, Gould published three stellar catalogs. He also did much for the organization of meteorological observation in Argentina. In 1872 the National Meteorological Administration was established; it was subsequently reorganized as the Administration of Meteorology, Geophysics, and Hydrology.

The rapid development of Argentina’s economy in the second half of the 19th and the early 20th centuries demanded the creation of a scientific-technical base and the expansion of scientific research. A number of new scientific institutions were established in this period—the Scientific Society of Argentina (founded 1872) and the National Academy of Sciences in Córdoba (1868), which have remained the country’s leading scientific institutions to the present time; the Geographical Institute (1879), which existed for about 50 years and published the first monumental geographic atlas of the country; and the observatory in La Plata (1882). On the initiative of the Argentine Scientific Society, scientific congresses attended by the scholars of Latin America began to be held regularly (beginning in 1898). New universities were established.

In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the level of development of geological-geographical and biological sciences—most essential for the study and exploitation of the country’s natural resources—was most notable among the natural sciences in Argentina. During this period much was done for the development of the natural sciences in the country by the first president of the National Academy of Sciences, the zoologist and paleontologist H. Burmeister; the paleontologist F. Moreno; the botanist P. Lorenz (who initiated a systematic study of the flora of Argentina); the zoologist K. Berg (an émigré from Russia); and the paleontologist and geologist F. Ameghino, an Argentine who achieved international recognition for his work on the phylogenesis of animals. Applied and technical sciences also began to develop at the end of the 19th century. In 1895 the National Technical Center was organized; it published the country’s first technical journals.

Favorable economic circumstances in the period between World War I and World War II, during World War II, and in the early postwar years facilitated the development of exact and applied sciences, which had been comparatively little developed in Argentina. The present organizational structure of Argentine science took shape during this period. The role of the state expanded in the financing, coordination, and development of scientific research. In February 1958 the National Council on Scientific and Technical Research was created; it is directly responsible to the president of the republic. The council coordinates research in the exact and natural sciences, finances individual research projects, and in addition maintains its own scientific institutes (limnology, radio astronomy, cosmic ray research, and oceanography). Analogous functions in individual branches of science are performed by the National Academy of Exact, Physical, and Natural Sciences in Buenos Aires, the National Institute of Mining and Geology (founded 1963), the National Academy of Agronomy and Veterinary Science, the National Institute of Industrial Technology (1957), and the National Academy of Medical Sciences. The National Atomic Energy Commission (founded 1950, with a number of laboratories and four atomic reactors under its control) and the National Commission for Space Research (1960) have grown into large scientific organizations. The work of the National Institute for Agricultural Technology (1956) is important in the area of agricultural research; it essentially consists of a scientific center with ten institutes and ten regional centers of agricultural technology, to which in turn 40 experimental agricultural stations are subordinated. The activities of the institute are financed by taxes on the export of agricultural products.

J. Pastor, who moved to Argentina from Spain in 1921, and the Italian mathematician B. Levi, who headed the Mathematical Institute in Rosario in 1938, contributed greatly to the development of mathematics in Argentina in the 20th century. In 1958 the Regional Mathematical Center of UNESCO for Latin America, created to coordinate mathematical research under way in Argentina and other Latin American republics, was established in Buenos Aires. In 1961 the Computer Center was organized at the university in Buenos Aires.

Among the notable Argentine scholars in other fields are the physicist J. Vurshmidt, the chemist O. Damianovich, the astronomer F. Aguilar, the astrophysicists H. Hartmann and E. Gavióla, and the geologist J. Frenguelli. Significant successes have been achieved in the field of biological science, especially physiology, primarily through the efforts of B. A. Houssay, the Nobel laureate in physiology and medicine in 1947 and the founder of the Institute of Physiology in Buenos Aires, the Institute for Experimental Biology and Medicine, and the Argentine Biological Society; he is also the author of research on the functions of the hypophisis and adrenal glands, the mechanism of hypertension, and so on. Notable among other researchers in the biological sciences are the Argentine physiologist E. Menendez, the parasitologist S. Mazza, the histologist P. del Rio Ortega, the embryologist M. Fernandez, and the neurobiologist K. Jakob. Outstanding botanists include C. Spegazzini, K. Jiken, and M. Lilo (the author of an important work on dendrology); zoologists include the entomologist A. Galiardo, who is engaged in the study of problems of cellular division.

Argentine scholars have also achieved notable success in areas of science and technology new for Argentina. Research is under way in the country on the mesostratosphere (along with the United States and Brazil), the construction of solid-fuel rocket engines, problems of the use of atomic energy (there are four atomic reactors in Argentina), defense against atomic radiation, and problems of transplanting organs (heart and liver transplant operations have been carried out). Argentina participates in research on the antarctic and the south pole.


Social sciences, PHILOSOPHY. Philosophical thought in Argentina began with the scholastic philosophy that entered the country in the period of colonization (the 16th and early 17th centuries) from the motherland, Spain. At the end of the 18th and early 19th centuries, the ideas of French materialism were disseminated. Propagandists for these ideas included M. Belgrano, I. Vieytes, J. C. Lafinur, M. Moreno, and J. M. Fernández de Agüero. Saint-Simonianism acquired considerable influence (E. Echeverría, who laid the basis for Argentine sociological thought, and others). The Young Argentina organization, which arose in 1838, sought to reorganize society along the principles of Utopian socialism. The progressive ideas of J. B. Alberdi and D. F. Sarmiento were disseminated in the 1840’s-1880’s. Positivism became popular in the 1870’s, and by the early 20th century it had become dominant (A. Bassi, V. Mercante, P. Scalabrini, J. A. Ferreira, J. B. Justo, L. Herrera, and M. Herrera). As science developed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Argentina, the ideas of natural-scientific materialism were disseminated (F. Ameghino and J. Ingenieros). At the same time, the sociological works of P. Grasan, J. Ingenieros, and others appeared.

In the early 20th century, Western European idealistic tendencies became popular in Argentina: neo-Kantianism (A. Korn and R. Rivarola), neo-Thomism (N. O. Derisi, T. D. Casones, I. Kiles, J. R. Sepich, and others), and subsequently existentialism (C. Astrada and V. Fatone). A position close to Christian spirtualism was developed by A. Rouges, and A. Vassallo developed ideas close to the theistic metaphysics of the French philosopher M. Blondel. The philosophy of life (F. Romero), which took shape under the influence of phenomenology and philosophical anthropology, was popular among the Argentine intelligentsia.

Marxist ideas began to enter Argentina at the end of the 19th century; however, Marxism was widely disseminated only after the establishment of the Communist Party of Argentina (PCA) in 1918. The press organs of the PCA played a large role in working out the fundamental questions of communist ideology. R. Ghioldix, V. Codovilla, A. Kuhn, A. Lalman, E. Muller, and A. Ponce emerged as propagandists of Marxist ideas. Theoretical questions of art were reflected in the works of the Marxist researchers E. Agosti and A. Ponce.

The most important centers of philosophical science are the Institute of Philosophy in Córdoba (founded 1934), the Argentine Institute of Social and Juridical Philosophy in Buenos Aires (1938), and the Institute of Philosophy in Mendoza (1943). Special attention is given to sociological problems, which are studied in the National Academy of Law and Social Sciences, the Institute of Sociology (1942), the Institute of Applied Sociology (1960), and the Center for Comparative Sociology. The first national philosophical congress was held in 1949.

The following philosophical journals are published: Cuadernos de cultura (since 1950), Revista de filosofía (since 1950), Sapientia (since 1946), Criterio (since 1928), and others.


HISTORY. The birth of historical science in Argentina dates to the early 19th century, when the chronicles of F. Azara, A. Huloa, and R. de Guzman on the history of the viceroyal administration of La Plata of the 16th—I8th centuries were published. The main schools and orientations of Argentine historiography began to take shape in the second half of the 19th century. In the last third of the 19th and first quarter of the 20th century, the liberal-positivist orientation was dominant in Argentina (the schools of V. López, B. Mitre, and R. Levene); it was characterized by the empirical, chronicled exposition of history with the use of a great number of sources. This orientation developed in the struggle against the clerical-reactionary school, represented by G. Funes, P. Losana, J. Guevara, and A. Basa y Bustos. At the very end of the 19th century, the social reformist trend arose (J. B. Justo). Historians of this orientation postulated that class contradictions could be resolved by an evolutionary, cooperative restructuring of social life within the limits of the bourgeois structure. The reactionary orientation of biological determinism, whose partisans considered force the main motive power of history (L. Ayarragaray and C. Ibarguren), gained strength during the 1920’s-1940’s. The apology for reactionary dictatorship, disregard for the history of the popular masses, and falsification of the history of the workers’ and communist movement underlay the historical work of the proponents of this orientation. After World War II (1939–45), as class struggle sharpened and the workers’ movement gained force, reactionary historians (E. deGandia, E. Palacio, and others) presented a “new” historical conception, which aimed at reexamining and modernizing the history of Argentina in order to justify the domination of the exploiting classes and to inculcate the masses with the spirit of nationalism. This orientation is known in historiography as the school of historical revisionism. This school strives to represent the history of the workers’ movement in the most distorted light.

A Marxist current began to have increasing importance in Argentine historiography in the 1940’s (B. Marianetti, L. Paso, R. Iscaro, A. Ferrari, and F. Nadra). In the works of progressive Argentine historians, questions of the country’s history are studied on the basis of the analysis of socioeconomic development and the class struggle. Important centers of research in history and of concentration of historical documents are the National Library (founded 1810), the National Archive (1821), the National Museum of History (1889), and especially the National Academy of History (1893). Useful research is being conducted by historians and sociologists of a liberal democratic orientation in the Sarmiento Institute (1911) and the Institute of Sociology (1942).

Materials on history are published in the journals Boletin de la Academia Nacional de la historia (since 1924) and Revista del Museo Mitre (since 1948). They are also published in the monthly sociopolitical and theoretical journal of the PCA, Nueva era (since 1949.)


ECONOMICS. The formation of economic thought in Argentina dates from the first quarter of the 19th century, when the country achieved independence. Later, however, as the influence of foreign monopolies grew in Argentina, economics was not sufficiently developed. The growing movement against the dominance of foreign capital in the early 20th century furthered the intensive growth of economic science. Argentine scientists directed most of their attention to problems of the economic independence of the country and of accelerating the tempo of economic development. The anti-imperialist orientation (R. Prebisch, R. Frijerio, and others), maintaining the “theory of economic growth,” was most influential. Among its basic propositions were the implementation of industrialization, increased state intervention in the economy, the restriction of foreign capital, and the stimulation of national capital. Social reforms were to be implemented while the bases of private property were maintained.

Agrarian problems receive much attention in economic research. Some economists (V. Pellegrini, A. Frondizi, and others) see the solution in providing agriculture with technical equipment while maintaining landlord property, except for partial redemption of some landlord lands. Progressive economists (P. Alberdi, J. Fux, and others) believe that the resolution of agrarian problems lies in the elimination of landlord latifundia. Attempts to work out the most effective path for the country’s economic development have led to the detailed study of its economic history (A. Bunge, R. Ortiz, A. Ferrari, and others). In light of the fact that foreign capital plays a large role in the country’s economy, much attention is given to research on problems of foreign trade, finance, credit, and so on.

Marxist ideas and the publication of the works of V. I. Lenin in the first half of the 20th century have had an enormous influence on the development of economics in Argentina. Argentine Marxist economists (in particular, P. Alberdi, J. Fuchs, M. Isakovich, R. Olivari, B. Marianetti, M. Lebedinskii, and E. Agosti) bring to light in their works the reasons for Argentina’s economic backwardness and indicate the means to overcome it.

In 1914 the Academy of Economics was formed; it publishes the scientific journal Anales (since 1916) and others. In 1960 the Center for Economic Research of the Torquato di Telia Institute was created; it includes prominent Argentine economists and combines scientific research work with instruction and propagandistic activity. As a result of the strengthening of integrationist tendencies (the formation of new types of capitalist interstate associations) in Latin America, the Institute for Problems of Integration of Latin America was established in 1965. The country also has the A. Bunge Institute for Economic and Social Research, the American Institute for Economic, Juridical, and Social Research, and the Institute of Economic and Social Development. There are economic centers for the study of market conditions, the dynamics of supply and demand, and other problems pertaining to large private companies.

The most notable economics journals are Problemas deeconomía (since 1962), Revista de Ciencias Económicas (since 1948), and Revista de econó mia argentina (since 1918). Argentina is the leading Latin American country in volume of published economics literature.


Scientific institutions. The first scientific institutions in Argentina arose in the 19th century, when a number of academies uniting small groups of scholars (usually 20–30 people) working in different branches of science were established. In 1968 there were 13 such academies in Argentina, including 11 in Buenos Aires—the National Academy of Exact, Physical, and Natural Sciences (founded 1874), the National Academy of Law and Social Sciences (1874), the Argentine Academy of Literature (1931), the Academy of Fine Arts (1936), the National Academy of Sciences in Buenos Aires (1937), the National Academy of Geographical Sciences (1956), the National Academy of Agronomy and Veterinary Science, and others. There are two academies in Córdoba—the National Academy of Sciences (1868) and the National Academy of Law and Social Sciences (1941). In addition to the academies, there are 30 scientific research institutes and over 130 scientific societies in the largest cities of Argentina.



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Gordon, Wendell C. The Political Economy of Latin America.New York-London, 1965.
Prebisch, R. The Economic Development of Latin America and Its Principal Problems.New York, 1950.

In 1969 more than 300 daily newspapers, with a total circulation of about 4 million, were published in Argentina. More than 20 newspapers, with a total circulation of 2.2 million, were published in Buenos Aires. The largest newspapers and periodicals are La Razón (since 1905; circulation 550,000), Clarín (since 1945; circulation 400,000), La Prensa (since 1869; circulation 250,000–300,000; expresses the interests of the big bourgeoisie and latifundist landlords linked to American capital), La Nación (since 1870; circulation 250,000; expresses the interests of the landed oligarchy and the upper commercial-industrial bourgeoisie), Nuestra Palabra (since 1950; the organ of the PCA), and the periodical Nueva era (since 1949; monthly; organ of the PCA). Progressive periodicals include Cuadernos de cultura (since 1950; appears bimonthly) and Problemas de economía (since 1962; quarterly).

There are more than 70 state and private radio stations in Argentina. The largest, in Buenos Aires, are Radio Nacional, Radio Belgrano, and Radio el Mundo. A television network began to develop in the country in the early 1950’s. In 1969 there were ten television broadcasting centers in Argentina.

The folklore of the Indian tribes which inhabited Argentina has not survived. In the colonial period (early 16th-early 19th centuries), the literature of Argentina developed under the influence of the literature of the mother country, Spain. Popular poetry, however, retained its distinctiveness. In the late 18th and early 19th centuries, educative tendencies appeared in the works of M. de Lavarden, D. de Ascuenaga, and other writers influenced by the revolutionary ideas of Europe and North America. During the period of the anti-Spanish wars of 1810–26 and the national liberation movement, revolutionary-patriotic classicism was dominant in the publicist works of B. de Monteagudo and the poetry of V. López y Planes, E. de Luca, and J. Cruz Varela.

The first artistic tendency to appear in the literature of Argentina after it proclaimed its independence (1816) was romanticism, which put forward the slogan of national self-affirmation. This current developed during the period of the Rosas landlord-clerical dictatorship (1829–52) and was represented in the works of his opponents, who created the secret revolutionary organization, the May Association, in 1838. The poet and philosopher E. Echeverría was an ideologist of the romanticist tendency. J. M. Gutiérrez was not only a poet but a prose writer as well, the author of the short stories “The Ant Man” and “Captain of the Patricians” (both 1838), the first models of Argentine romantic prose. Other members of the May Association were the writer and publicist J. B. Alberdi, and the prose writer V. F. López. The works of D. F. Sarmiento and J. Mármol—the author of the first national novel, Amalia (1855)—were connected with the association. The “gaucho” literature and poetry, based on folklore of the inhabitants of the pampas, was, properly speaking, an Argentine literary phenomenon. Its creators were B. Hidalgo, I. Ascasubi, E. del Campo, and J. Hernández, whose verse narrative Martín Fierro (parts 1–2, 1872–79) became the national epic of Argentina. “Cos-tumbrist” literature (descriptions of mores and manners), which marked the start of the transition to realism, developed in the second half of the 19th century. The well-known costumbrists were L. V. Lopez, E. Wilde, M. Cané, the poet C. Guido y Spano, and others. One of the first works of critical realism in Argentine literature was the novel of J. Martel, Exchange (1890), which sharply denounces the capitalist order. Other writers in the same vein were the satirist J. S. Alvarez (pseudonym Fray Mocho), the novelist and playwright R. Payro, the playwright F. Sánchez, and others. Naturalist and decadent tendencies, distinctively combined with the search for national spiritual identity, began to spread in Argentine prose literature at the end of the 19th century. An example of this is the poetry of L. Lugones.

A new stage in the literature of Argentina commenced after World War I (1914–18) and the October Revolution in Russia. Two strong groups of writers emerged in the 1920’s—the “Florida group” (Lugones, the poet J. L. Borges, and the prose writer U. Vast), which defended the slogan “art for art’s sake;” and the “Boedo group,” whose slogan was “art for life” (R. Arlt, A. Yunque, and others). The specific character of national life was embodied in the social novels of B. Lynch (Vultures of Florida, 1916, and others) and R. Güiraldes (Don Segundo Sombra, 1926). The poetry of the 1920’s was dominated by different currents of the avant-garde movement, which expressed anarchist protest against the vulgarity of petit bourgeois life. Later, some avant-garde writers—R. Gonzales Tuñon, C. C. Iturburu, and others—turned to social poetry.

Toward the middle of the 20th century, the struggle between progressive, realistic art and various tendencies of decadent literature intensified sharply. The conceptions of contemporary modernist art are reflected in the novels of E. Sabato (Tunnel, 1948; and On Hews and Graves, 1965), H. Mujica Lainez (Bomarso, 1965), and J. Bianco {Rats, 1943); these novels are dominated by pessimism and disillusionment with the powers of the intellect. These same features are evident in the last novels of E. Mallea (Possession, 1958; Ice Ship, 1969), who began with social novels (History of a Passion, 1937) and stories. The progressive, realistic wing of Argentine literature is represented by the novelists E. L. Castro (The Islanders, 1944; Plowed Field, 1953), B. Verbitskii (Villa Miseria Is Also America, 1957), L. Gu-diño Kramer (The Better to Eat You, 1968), C. Ruiz Daudet (Sandovali, 1965), A. Varela (Dark River, 1943; Revolutionary Cuba, 1960), and J. Cortázar (Hopscotch); the poets L. Herrero (the anthology My Weaknesses, 1965) and J. Pedroni (the anthology Song to Cuba, 1960); the playwrights O. Dragun and A. Kuzzani; the Marxist critic E. Agosti (the book Nation and Culture, 1959), and others.


In Russian translation:

Argentinskie rasskazy. Moscow, 1962.

Poeziia gaucho. Moscow, 1964.


Khudozhestvennaia literatura Latinskoi Ameriki ν russkoi pechati: 1765–1959. Moscow, 1960. (Compiled by L. A. Shur.)
Shur, L. A. Khudozhestvennaia literatura Latinskoi Ameriki ν russkoi pechati, 1960–64. Moscow, 1966.
Rojas, R. Historia de la literatura argentina, vols. 1–8. Buenos Aires, [1948–49].
Historia de la literatura argentina. Edited by R. A. Arrieta. Vols. 1–5. Buenos Aires, 1958–59.
Estafeta literaria, 1967, nos. 379–380. (Special issue devoted to Argentine literature.)
Castagnino, R. H. Literatura dramatica argentina, 1717–1767. Buenos Aires, [1968].


The art of the native Indian population of Argentina in the period prior to colonization (16th century) is represented by cloth with geometric patterns, decorations made of feathers, painted and figured ceramics, and religious sculpture made of stone, wood, and clay. In the colonial period, cities were constructed (Buenos Aires, Córdoba, and Santa Fe) with a right-angle network of streets and a square (with a cathedral, town hall, and palaces) in the center of town or on the shore of the ocean. One-story houses (made of adobe or mud) had patio courtyards, portals with pediments, and windows with lattices; basilica churches were strict in form—wooden beamed ceilings, a cupola over the center of the crossing, and a portico, an arch, or an awning on the western facade. Large churches in the baroque style (and in the second half of the 18th century, in the classic style) were built by architects who came from Europe—F. Lemer, H. Kraus, A. Blanqui, and J. B. Primoli. Classicism and the traditions of colonial times survived in the architecture of Argentina until the 1870’s. Carving on the wooden retablos, the pulpits, and the doors was often executed by Guarani Indians.

After the country achieved independence (1816), fine art began to develop—the romantic genre paintings of R. Mon-voisin, the panoramic landscapes of P. Pueyrredón with scenes from daily life, the sculpture of L. Correa Morales on national themes, and the realistic painting of E. Sivori.

At the end of the 19th century, construction was begun in Buenos Aires of industrial and harbor buildings, multistory houses with mansards, and private residences in the modern style. Contemporary architecture began to develop in Argentina in the late 1920’s; reinforced-concrete public, industrial, and residential buildings (by the architects A. Virasoro, A. Williams, and J. Delpini) and apartment houses with sun-shielding structures were erected. A partial replanning of cities took place. Among the major architectural works were Avenida Nueve de Julio with an underground garage, the Municipal Theater, a bank in Buenos Aires, the city center in Santa Fe, and hotels in Mar del Plata. The main problems of civil and residential construction remained unresolved. Slum areas with shanties and barracks (conventillo) have arisen spontaneously and occupy up to one-half of the territory of cities.

In the early 20th century, the art of Argentina was strongly influenced by impressionism (the landscape painter F. Fader, the sculptor R. Yrurtia). Modernistic currents began to appear in the 1920’s-1930’s (primitivism—R. Soldi, cubism—E. Pettoruti, and surrealism—R. Forner). A national school of “new realism” also developed; it turned to acute social problems and the life of the people (the monumental and easel painting, tending toward large, generalized forms, of J. C. Castanino, L. E. Spilimbergo, A. Berni, and B. Quinquela Martin; the expressive, vividly emotional graphics of A. R. Vigo, A. Guido, and A. Bries). The realistic sculpture of Argentina (A. Bigatti, J. Fioravanti, E. Soto Avendano) is characterized by a striving toward monumental national forms. The newest avant-garde currents developed in Argentina in the 1960’s—pop art, kinetic art, and so on (J. Le Park, A. Berni).


Vystavka sovremennoi grafiki Argentiny: Katalog. Leningrad, 1958.
Polevoi, V. M. Iskusstvo stran Latinskoi Ameriki. Moscow, 1967. (Bibliography.)
Pagano, J. León. Historia del arte argentino. Buenos Aires, 1944.
Kronfuss, J. Arquitectura colonial en la Argentina. Córdoba [no date].
Schiaffino, E. La pintura y escultura en la Argentina. Buenos Aires, 1933.
La pintura y la escultura argentinas de este siglo. Buenos Aires, 1953.
San Martin, M. L. Pintura argentina contemporánea. Buenos Aires, 1961.
Bullrich, F. Arquitectura argentina contemporánea. Buenos Aires, [1963].

Music occupied an important place in the lives and daily routines of the Indian tribes that inhabited the territory of present-day Argentina. The peoples of the Andes—among them the Quechua—had a particularly highly developed and distinctive musical culture; their lyrical songs (the yaraví), dance melodies (the huaino), and musical instruments (the quena flute and various percussion and sound-effect instruments) have survived to our times.

The sources of the folk music of Argentina can be traced back to Spanish folk music, and to some extent professional, music. Subsequently, the art of other European countries also played an important role in the development of the Creole music of Argentina (the Argentine cielito and pericón originated with the English country dance; the cuando can be traced to the French minuet; the chamamé, to the Czech polka; the ranchera, to the Polish mazurka; and so on). The penetration of European musical instruments within Argentina—first and foremost, the six-string guitar and its varieties, and also the more ancient loud and vihuela, the harp, and the violin—was of enormous importance. The characteristic stylistic features of the folk music of Argentina reveal a link to Spanish music; they also have certain specifically local peculiarities, primarily in the areas of rhythmics and harmonic structure.

The national music school of Argentina began to take shape at the end of the 19th century. One of its founders was A. Williams—the founder of the conservatory in Buenos Aires, a composer of primarily European orientation, and the author of orchestral and chamber works. A. Berutti was an important Argentine composer. He wrote the opera Pampa (staged 1897), which reflects the distinctive features of Argentine folk music. Operas by E. Panisa, C. Gaito, P. de Rogatis, F. Boero, J. Gilardi, J. J. Castro, and others were staged.

The Creole trend is represented by the composers F. Ugarte, H. Sicardi, and J. Fischer; others include K. Guas-tavino and R. Arisaga. One of the leading contemporary composers of Argentina is A. Ginastera, the author of ballets, operas, and orchestral and chamber music. The influence of Western European modernism is strong in the work of J. J. Castro and J. C. Paz. In the area of musicology and musical folklore study, the fundamental research of C. Vega stands out.

Buenos Aires is the site of the Colón Opera Theater (founded 1908), two conservatories, and a symphonic orchestra. There are conservatories in Córdoba and La Plata.


Vega, C. Danzas y canciones argentinas. Buenos Aires, 1936.
Vega, C. La música popular argentina, vols. 1–2. Buenos Aires, 1941.
Schiuma, O. Musicos argentinos contemporáneos. Buenos Aires, 1948.
Gesualdo, V. Historia de la música en la Argentina, vols. 1–3. Buenos Aires, 1961.

The ritual customs of the Indian tribes were filled with dance. Folk dance developed further in Argentina under the influence of Spanish dance culture. Many Spanish dances were modified (for example, the tango); at the same time gaucho (cattle raiser) dances developed—the escondido, pericón, and others. In the 18th and 19th centuries, dances were used in dramatic and musical theater presentations—sianetes, pantomimes, and operas. In 1820 the Argentine actor J. Casacuberta, along with the dancer A. Campomake, established a ballet troupe, which performed national dances. Its first presentation was Dance of the Maidens (1832). National ballets were staged in the Colón Theater in Buenos Aires starting in the 1920’s, among them Irupe’s Flower by K. Gaito (1929), The Comet by E. Ortiz (1932), Flight of the Indians by J. Yglesias Villoud (1943), Estate by A. Ginastera (1952), and others. These ballets were produced by foreign choreographers—the Russian émigrés G. Kiaksht, A. Bol’m, B. Romanov, M. Fokine, and others. Productions in the Colón Theater have included the ballets Giselle by A. Adam and Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty by Tschaikovsky. As in the past, ballets of the foreign choreographers G. Balanchine, L. Massine, S. Lifar, A. Milloss, and others are performed. The troupe is led by the dancer M. Ruanova. The Association of Friends of the Dance (since 1962) and the San Martin Theater troupe (since 1968) also stage ballet performances. Ballet groups and companies performing modern dance are periodically formed in Buenos Aires and other cities.


The dances and rituals of the Indian tribes of Argentina contain elements of theatrical action. In the 17th century the Jesuits, disseminating Catholicism, organized dramatized religious presentations and processions that utilized elements of folk art. Dramatic productions were performed in the first half of the 18th century on covered stages in a central square in Buenos Aires. In 1783 the permanent House of Comedy (or Ranchería) theater was opened in Buenos Aires. The first works of national dramaturgy appeared at the end of the 18th century. At this time, national genres of musical comedy—the sainete and tonadilla—began to take shape. The Small (Temporary) Coliseum was built in the capital in 1804; since 1838 it has been called Argentino.

In the period of the Argentine people’s struggle against Spanish rule, theaters staged the plays of the Argentine playwrights L. A. Morante, C. Enriquez, and others. The main theme of these plays was the struggle of the Indians for their independence. The national drama 25 de mayo was especially popular. The well-known actors of the first half of the 19th century included V. Ortega, J. Casacuberta, T. Guevara, and F. Caseres. The growth of a national Argentine theater was interrupted by the Rosas dictatorship (1829–52). The progressive playwrights J. Mármol and P. Echaguë wrote plays in exile reflecting the struggle against Rosas and the heroic past of the people. After the fall of Rosas, the national liberation theme revived in the works of the romanticist playwrights J. Fernández Madrid, J. B. Al-berdi, and others. In the 1880’s the genre of romantic melodrama, named the gaucho theater, arose. The main hero in these plays was the peasant cattle raiser—the victim of social injustice. Many theaters opened in the second half of the 19th century, but they mainly displayed the talents of European guest artists. In the early 20th century, the works of the playwright F. Sánchez (the author of the plays The Foreign Woman and My Son Is a Doctor, which were realistic in nature) began to have an important effect on the development of national dramaturgy.

The Argentine theater experienced a crisis in the 1920’s. Most theaters presented diverting plays of a low artistic level. At this time, companies struggling against the commercial theater to revive theatrical art sprang up. They initiated the so-called independent theaters, which furthered the development of national theatrical art. The figures in this movement (the directors and playwrights L. Barletta, R. Pasano, and others) fought for the training of national actors, directors, and playwrights; they sought to study the experience of the European theater. Prominent playwrights of the 20th century have included A. Cuzzani, C. Gorostiza, A. Berruti, O. Dragun, and A. Lisarraga.

The center for theatrical life in Argentina is Buenos Aires, where both independent theaters (El Pueblo, La Mascara, Fray Mocho) and commercial theaters (the National Comedy Theater, Argentino, Odeon, and others) operate. In 1943 a puppet theater was established. The prominent directors and actors of Argentina include A. Boero, P. Askini, M. Cela, O. Ferrigno, B. Singerman, T. Merelio, L. Sandrini, and F. Petrone.

The National Institute for the Study of Theater is located in Buenos Aires. There are courses in stage arts in a number of universities.


Echaguë, J. P. El teatro argentino. Buenos Aires, 1928.
Morales, E. Historia del teatro argentino. Buenos Aires, 1944.
Ordaz, L. El teatro en el Rio de la Plata. Buenos Aires, 1946.

The first filming in Argentina began in 1897. In 1908 the Italian producer M. Gallo made the first feature film, The Execution of Dorrego, with stage actors. The film Tango of Death, produced by J. A. Ferreira (1917), was the first of numerous films dealing with the tango, a popular dance in the country. Literary works were adapted for the screen. As sound films made their appearance, Argentine cinematography held the leading place among the countries of Latin America. In the 1930’s prominent Argentine poets and writers began to work for the screen as screen writers. Various directors made films connected with the life of Argentina: North Wind (1937), The 111th Kilometer (1938), Prisoners of the Land (1939), and After the Silence (1956), all of which were directed by M. Soffichi; Gaucho War (1942), The Islanders (1951), and Safra (1959), directed by L. Demare; The Troubled Waters Flow (1952) and White Lands (1959), directed by H. Del Carril; and Stone Horizons (1956), directed by R. Vinoli Barreto. E. Muiño, N. Marshall, F. Petrone, T. Merelio, A. Bense, L. Torres, and other actors achieved prominence. A new generation of directors came to Argentine cinematography in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s. Their works were characterized by the attempt to reflect contemporary life in Argentina. Examples of their films are Young Old Men (1961), Birdie Gomez (1965), directed by R. Kuhn), Man From Rosey Corner (1961, directed by R. Mujica), To Answer for One’s Acts (1962, directed by J. Martínez Suarez), The Fall (1959), End of the Holiday (1960), and Hand in a Trap (1961—all three directed by L. Torre-Nilsson), and A Place in the Sun (1964, directed by D. Minniti). These films show contemporary youth, deal with people at the bottom of society in Buenos Aires, and contain elements of social criticism. Documentary films, many of which are marked by a progressive orientation, are issued.

The largest filmmaking companies in Argentina are Argentina Sono Films and Contracuadro. Buenos Aires is the location of the Academy of Cinematographic Art and Science (since 1941), and the National Institute of Cinematography (since 1959). Since 1954 international film festivals have been held in Mar del Plata, and since 1958 national film festivals have been held in Rio Hondo. Some Argentine films have been awarded prizes at international film festivals.

The most popular film actors in Argentina in the 1960’s included L. Sandrini, A. Alcon, F. Luppi, K. Estrada, L. Leblanc, J. Borges, V. Lago, E. Vainer, and I. Sarli.

Problems of cinema are discussed in the magazines Antena, Cinelanda, and Heraldo del cine.


Di Nubila, D. Historia del cine argentino, vols. 1–2. Buenos Aires, 1960.




a genus of fish of the family Argentinidae, order Clupeiformes. There are five species of Argentina, three of which are found in the Atlantic Ocean and two of which are found in the Pacific. Of greatest commercial value is the golden smelt (Argentina silus). The body may be as long as 55 cm. It is golden yellow and flattened on the sides. The head is small, and the eyes are large. The Argentina has large scales with small projections along their back edges.

The Argentina is found in the northern Atlantic and in the USSR, in the southwestern part of the Barents Sea. It spawns from April to September. Its fertility amounts to about 40,000 roe. It matures after eight years. The Argentina feeds on plankton and other fish.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


Official name: Argentine Republic

Capital city: Buenos Aires

Internet country code: .ar

Flag description: Three equal horizontal bands of light blue (top), white, and light blue; centered in the white band is a radiant yellow sun with a human face known as the Sun of May

National anthem: “Himno Nacional Argentino” (first lines: Oíd, mortales, el grito sagrado: “¡libertad, libertad, liber­tad!”), lyrics by Vicente López y Planes, music by Blas Parera

National flower: flower of the ceibo tree (also called seibo, seíbo or bucaré)

Geographical description: Southern South America, bor­dering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Chile and Uruguay

Total area: 1.1 million sq. mi. (2.8 million sq. km.)

Climate: Mostly temperate; arid in southeast; subantarctic in southwest

Nationality: noun: Argentine(s); adjective: Argentine

Population: 40,301,927 (July 2007 CIA est.)

Ethnic groups: European (mostly Spanish and Italian) 97%, mestizo (mixed European and Amerindian), Amerindian or other non-white groups 3%

Languages spoken: Spanish (official), English, Italian, Ger­man, French

Religions: Nominally Roman Catholic 92% (less than 20% practicing), Protestant 2%, Jewish 2%, other 4%

Legal Holidays:

1810 Revolution AnniversaryMay 25
Christmas DayDec 25
Dia de la RazaOct 12
Flag DayJun 20
Good FridayApr 22, 2011; Apr 6, 2012; Mar 29, 2013; Apr 18, 2014; Apr 3, 2015; Mar 25, 2016; Apr 14, 2017; Mar 30, 2018; Apr 19, 2019; Apr 10, 2020; Apr 2, 2021; Apr 15, 2022; Apr 7, 2023
Immaculate ConceptionDec 8
Independence DayJul 9
Islas Malvinas DayJun 10
Labor DayMay 1
Malvinas Veterans and Memorial DayApr 2
National Memorial DayMar 24
New Year's DayJan 1
San Martin DayAug 17
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.


a republic in southern South America: colonized by the Spanish from 1516 onwards; gained independence in 1816 and became a republic in 1852; ruled by military dictatorships for much of the 20th century; civilian rule restored in 1983; consists chiefly of subtropical plains and forests (the Chaco) in the north, temperate plains (the pampas) in the central parts, the Andes in the west, and an infertile plain extending to Tierra del Fuego in the south (Patagonia); an important meat producer. Language: Spanish. Religion: Roman Catholic. Currency: peso. Capital: Buenos Aires. Pop.: 38 871 000 (2004 est.). Area: 2 776 653 sq. km (1 072 067 sq. miles)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005