Argentina stretches 4,000km from its sub-tropical north to the sub-Antarctic south.
Its terrain includes part of the Andes mountain range, swamps, the plains of the Pampas and a long coastline.
Argentina is rich in resources, has a well-educated workforce, and is one of South America's largest economies. In cultural terms, it has given the world major writers like Jorge Luis Borges, and the tango dance phenomenon.
But its political life has been troubled by military coups and the vagaries of the populist Peronist movement, while the economy has been prey to dramatic booms and recessions.
ARGENTINE REPUBLIC: FACTS
- Capital: Buenos Aires
- Area: 2,780,400 sq km
- Population: 47.3 million
- Language: Spanish, plus Guaraní, Quechua, Qom, Mocoví, Wichí, Welsh
- Life expectancy: 73 years (men) 80 years (women)
President Alberto Fernandez
Centre-left Peronist Alberto Fernández has been president since winning the 2019 presidential election, defeating the incumbent Mauricio Macri, which reflected public unhappiness with recession, high inflation and austerity.
On taking office Fernandez vowed to improve wages and benefits to counter Argentina's economic crisis.
However, there have been little sign that the country's economic crisis has eased. Argentina's economy minister, Martin Guzmán, resigned in 2022 amid disagreements in the government over policy. He had been leading negotiations with the International Monetary Fund over the restructuring of the national debt.
Argentina has one of South America's biggest media markets.
TV is the dominant medium and the main networks are operated by large privately-owned companies.
The media are generally free from official censorship.
The country has one of the region's highest rates of internet use. Facebook is the top social platform.
16th Century - Spanish colonisation of the River Plate coast and inland areas begins.
1810-18 - War of Independence ends in separation from Spain, but is followed by a series of civil conflicts between centralist and federalist forces until 1880.
1916-22 - President Hipolito Yrigoyen enacts a series of progressive social reforms. He is re-elected for another stint as president in 1928.
1930 - Great Depression hits Argentina hard as demand for its agricultural exports dries up. Armed forces seize power in coup, setting a precedent for military intervention that only ends in the 1980s.
1955 - President Juan Peron, an authoritarian populist who drew his support from Argentina's poor, is ousted in coup as the economy goes into decline.
1974 - Peron dies in July. His third wife, Isabel, succeeds him. Terrorism from right and left escalates, leaving hundreds dead amid strikes, protests and rampant inflation.
1976 - Armed forces seize power and launch 'Dirty War' in which thousands are killed on suspicion of left-wing sympathies.
1982 - Argentine military invade British Falkland Islands in South Atlantic, but are expelled months later by British armed forces after bloody battles.
1983 - Junta, reeling from Falklands fiasco, restores democracy. Raul Alfonsin becomes president.
1990 - Full diplomatic relations with the United Kingdom are restored, although Argentina maintains claim to Falklands.
1994 - A Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires is bombed, 86 people are killed, and more than 200 injured in Argentina's worst terrorist atrocity. Prosecutors accuse Iran and its Lebanese Hezbollah allies of responsibility.
2001 - Economic crisis. Argentina makes history with the largest ever sovereign debt default of more than $80bn (£42bn). Peronist government of President Nestor Kirchner restores stability.
2015 - Conservative President Mauricio Macri launches programme of market reforms to reign in state role in economy.
2019 - Peronist candidate Alberto Fernández wins the presidential election, becoming the first challenger to oust a sitting president.