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Argentina Information - Page 2
History
In the early sixteenth century Spanish explorers claimed a number of countries in South America: Francisco Pizarro invaded Peru and Pedro de Mendoza colonized Argentina. Other Spanish territories in South America included Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Revolution against Spanish rule took place in South America in the early nineteenth century. Two of the most prominent leaders were Simon de Bolivar and Jose de San Martin. Jose de San Martin, the son of a Spanish officer, born in Argentina, liberated Argentina and Chile and fought with Simon de Bolivar to free Peru.

Since Argentina's independence there have been periods of military and civilian rule. One of the most famous periods of Argentine history is the Peron era. In 1946 President Juan Domingo Peron was elected President of Argentina and his legendary wife, Eva, became responsible for labour relations. Eva died from cancer in 1952 and Peron's popularity waned. In 1955 a military coup forced Peron into exile.

Peron returned to Buenos Aires in 1973 but died within less than a year of becoming President. Soon after his death the military took control once again.

1982 saw the war between Argentina and the United Kingdom over the British held Islas Malvinas (Falkland Islands). Following Argentina's defeat, the country returned to a civilian government.

Economy
Around a century ago Argentina was one of the world's wealthiest countries. However, the last hundred years or so has seen a number of economic crises. 2001-2002 was the most serious financial crisis in the country's history.

Argentina benefits from rich natural resources. Industry is supported by deposits of copper, iron ore, lead, manganese, tin, uranium, zinc and petroleum. Major industries are metallurgy, steel, motor vehicles, consumer durables, chemicals, petrochemicals, printing, textiles and food processing.

Agriculture accounts for a relatively small percentage country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Produce includes wheat, maize, soybeans, citrus fruits, grapes, peanuts, sunflower seeds, tea and tobacco. Raising livestock is traditionally part of Argentina's agricultural sector.

The services sector is important in Argentina's economy accounting for the highest percentage of the country's GDP. The tourist industry is a key area for growth and employment. (2011)

Arts
Argentina's earliest example of art is the Cueva de las Manos (Cave of the Hands), in the Rio Pinturas, dating back between 9,500 and 13,000 years. As well as outlines of hands, there are pictures of guanacos, animals that still inhabit the region.

Argentine artists have their own distinctive styles of painting and sculpture. Arts, including traditional crafts such as ceramics, weaving and silverwork, are promoted by the National Foundation for the Arts.

In the world of music and dance, Argentina is well known for the tango, whilst the Teatro Colon in Buenos Aires is renown for performances of opera, ballet and classical music.

The national epic of Argentina is Martin Fierro by Jose Hernandez. Written in the 1870s the story is of the gaucho, an Argentine cowboy of the Pampas.

Jorge Luis Borges, the novelist, is an important twentieth century figure in Argentine literature. Julio Cortazar is known for Blow Up, a short story, made into a British film.

Sport
Many sports are played in Argentina, but perhaps Argentina is best known for football, winning the Football World Cup in 1978 and 1986. The legendary Argentine player, Diego Maradona, missed the 1978 game but led Argentina's National Team to victory in Mexico.

Argentina is also particularly well known for polo and horse racing. Other popular sports in Argentina include rugby, tennis, swimming, mountain climbing and skiing.

Holidays
The religious holidays of Easter and Christmas are celebrated. Other holidays include New Year's Day (1 January), Labour Day (1 May), Revolution Day (25 May) and Independence Day (9 July).

Carnivals and street processions are popular throughout Argentina.

News
News is available from Newslink.

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