Argentina is the second largest country in Latin America encompassing 2.8 million square kilometers. Argentines declared independence from Spain in 1816 along with Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay. Argentina claims the Falkland Islands; however, the Falkland Islands remain under British rule.
The population of Argentina is 42 million people of which 95% are literate. The official language is Spanish; however, Italian, English, German, and French are readily used. This harkens to the large number of immigrants from Europe which comprises 81.4% of the total population. The balance of ethnic groups living in Argentina are Mestizo (10%), Amerindian (3.7%), Middle Eastern (4.7%), and Asian (.02%).
Governmental leadership proved inept throughout the 20th century which left the country impoverished. Following the 1982 defeat in the Falkland Islands and dictatorship in the government, significant changes have lead to religious hunger, a democratic government and some economic recovery.