THE NAME “ARGENTINA”
The name “Argentina” comes from the latin “argentum” which means silver. The origin of the name goes back to the voyages made by the first Spanish conquistadors (conquerors) to the Rio de la Plata (Silver River). The shipwrecked survivors of the expedition mounted by Juan Diaz de Solis discovered indians in the region who presented them with silver objects. The news about the legendary Sierra del Plata, a mountain rich in silver, reached Spain around 1524. From this date the Portuguese named the river Solis, the Silver River. Two years later the Spanish used the same name. Since 1860 the official name of the country has been the Republica Argentina (Republic of Argentina).
LOCATION, AREA AND FRONTIERS
Located in the southern part of South America and thus in the southern hemisphere, Argentina has an area of almost 3.8 million square kilometres, of which 2.8 are on the continent and the remain in the Antarctic. It’s length of 3800 kms goes from latitude 22 degrees to 55 degrees. It’s frontier with Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia and Chile has a perimeter of 9.376 kms and the coast, on the Atlantic Ocean, is 5.117 kms long.
The fundamental characteristic of Argentina is the enormous contrast between the immense eastern plains and the imposing mountain range of the Andes to the west. This is the frontier with Chile and has the highest peak in the west, the Aconcagua, 6 959 metres long.
In it’s passage from Jujuy to Tierra del Fuego the range presents marvellous contrasts, the plateaus of the nortwest, the lake region, the forest and the glaciers of the Patagonian Andes.
To the north, Chaco is a forested area which follows the rivers Bermejo, Sabado and Pilcomayo. Between the Parana and Uruguay, the Mesopotamia Argentina (the provinces of Entre Rios, Corrientes and Misiones) is formed by low hills where pools and marshlands show the ancient courses of these great rivers.
Occasionally there are fissures which provide such spectacular phenomena as the Falls of Iguazu.
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