Argentina is located in the southern half of south America and with an area of almost three million square kilometres and a population of thirty five million, it is the eighth largest country in the world and the second largest in Latin America. It is separated from Chile by the Andes on the west and is bordered on the north by Bolivia, Brazil and Paraguay. To the east the Rio de la Plata separates it from Uruguay and to the south it shares Tierra del Fuego with Chile.
Understandably, a country this vast with so many natural elements will have an extremely diverse and varied landscape. But Argentina’s history is almost as colourful as its natural attractions.
It was first occupied by Europeans in 1516 and in 1580 the Spaniards established a permanent colony where the capital, Buenos Aires, stands today. Since the arrival of these first European visitors to Argentina, immigration has featured highly in its development and it is for this reason that there are so many districts today which are completely occupied by descendants of various European origins.
In the centuries that have elapsed since the first settlers arrived, however, the country has experienced more political turmoil than the Spanish leaders could ever have imagined. Numerous military coups were responsible for the overthrow of several different governments and it was one such coup which led to the legendary Juan Peron coming into power. He was responsible for many positive developments in Argentina but he too was overthrown, you can probably guess how. He was, however, re-elected twenty years later.
Between the time of his death in 1974 and 1989, things were not all that bright for the Argentines, but particularly for the military. Serious economic problems, defeat by the British in the Falklands and charges of corruption completely discredited and discouraged them and led to a gradual move towards democratic rule. This finally came about in October 1983 and since then the ban on political parties had been lifted.