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Missionary Spotlight – Fact File

May 2003

Area: 1 million square miles.

 

Neighbouring countries

:

Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay, Brazil and Uruguay.

 

Environment

:

Argentina’s climate, although mainly temperate, varies from subtropical in the north to subantarctic in the south-west. Its terrain ranges from fertile Pampas in the north to Patagonian steppes in the south. The Andes lie to the west (Aconcagua 6,960 metres).

 

Population

:

38 million.

 

Infant mortality

:

18 deaths/1,000 live births.

 

Life expectancy

:

75 years.

 

Capital

:

Buenos Aires conurbation (17.9 million).

 

Other cities

:

Cordoba (1.4 million); San Justo (1.2 million); Rosario (1.2 million).

 

Urbanisation

:

88%.

 

Ethnic groups

:

European (especially Spanish and Italian) 81%; Mestizo 10%; Amerindian, including Quechua 4%; others, including Arabs, Jews, Korean, Japanese and Chinese 5%

 

Languages

:

Spanish (official), other European, indigenous.

 

Literacy

:

95%.

 

Economy

:

Argentina has rich natural resources. Its rolling grasslands produce beef, dairy products and grain. In the north-east, rice, tea and citrus fruit are grown; in the west, peaches, plums, apples, wine and olives. Copper and gold are mined in the north-west, oil and natural gas in the southern cold desert. But unemployment stands at 16%, and 37% of the population are below the poverty line.

Exports include meat, oil seeds, cereals, animal feed, petroleum products and motor vehicles.

 

Religions

:

Roman Catholic 91% (mainly nominal); non religious 3%; Protestant 2%; Muslim 1%; Jewish 1%; cults 1%; others 1%. Roman Catholicism is officially favoured.

 

Protestant denominations

:

Various Pentecostal and Baptist, Christian Brethren, Evangelical Lutheran, Anglican, and over 100 others.

 

History

:

Argentina gained independence from Spain in 1816. After World War 2, there was a long spell of Peronist dictatorship, followed by a military junta from 1976. Argentina disputes ownership of the Falkland Islands (Malvinas) with the UK.

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Argentina