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Argentina is a country located almost in the southern half of South America. The border country in the west is Chile, in the north Bolivia and Paraguay, Brazil is in the northeast, Uruguay and the South Atlantic Ocean is in the east, and the Drake Passage is in the south. The mainland area is 2,780,400 sq. km. Argentina is the eighth-largest country in the world, the fourth largest in the Americas, the second largest in South America after Brazil, and the largest Spanish-speaking nation. The sovereign state is subdivided into twenty-three provinces. Buenos Aires is the federal capital of the nation. The provinces and the capital have their own constitutions, but exist under a federal system. Argentina claims sovereignty over part of Antarctica, the Falkland Islands, and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.
The earliest recorded human presence in modern-day Argentina dates back to the Paleolithic period. The Inca Empire expanded to the northwest of the country in Pre-Columbian times. The country has its roots in Spanish colonisation of the region during the 16th century. Argentina rose as the successor state of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, a Spanish overseas viceroyalty founded in 1776. The declaration and fight for independence (1810–1818) was followed by an extended civil war that lasted until 1861, culminating in the country's reorganisation as a federation of provinces with Buenos Aires as its capital city. The country thereafter enjoyed relative peace and stability, with several waves of European immigration, mainly Italians and Spaniards, radically reshaping its cultural and demographic outlook; 62.5% of the population has full or partial Italian ancestry, and the Argentine culture has significant connections to the Italian culture. The almost-unparalleled increase in prosperity led to Argentina becoming the seventh wealthiest nation in the world by the early 20th century.
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