Argentina, officially the Argentine Republic (Spanish: República Argentina), is a federal republic in the southern half of South America. Sharing the bulk of the Southern Cone with its neighbor Chile to the west, the country is also bordered by Bolivia and Paraguay to the north, Brazil to the northeast, Uruguay and the South Atlantic Ocean to the east and the Drake Passage to the south. With a mainland area of 2,780,400 km², Argentina is the eighth-largest country in the world, the second largest in Latin America and the largest Spanish-speaking one. The country is subdivided into twenty-three provinces (Spanish: provincias) and one autonomous city (ciudad autónoma), Buenos Aires, which is the federal capital of the nation (Spanish: Capital Federal) as decided by Congress. 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 (Spanish: Islas Malvinas), and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands. The earliest recorded human presence in the area of modern-day Argentina dates back to the Paleolithic period. The country has its roots in Spanish colonization 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 massive waves of European immigration radically reshaping its cultural and demographic outlook. The almost-unparalleled increase in prosperity led to Argentina becoming the seventh wealthiest developed nation in the world by the early 20th century.
After 1930 Argentina descended into political instability and periodic economic crisis that pushed it back into underdevelopment, though it nevertheless remained among the fifteen richest countries until the mid-20th century. Argentina retains its historic status as a middle power in international affairs, and is a prominent regional power in the Southern Cone and Latin America. Argentina has the second largest economy in South America, the third-largest in Latin America and is a member of the G-15 and G-20 major economies. It is also a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, World Trade Organization, Mercosur, Union of South American Nations, Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the Organization of Ibero-American States. It is the country with the highest Human Development Index in Latin America with a rating of "very high". Because of its stability, market size and growing high-tech sector, Argentina is classified as a high-income economy.
In 1819, Sir Stamford Raffles founded colonial Singapore as a trading post of the East India Company; after the establishment of the British Raj, the islands were ceded to Britain and became part of its Straits Settlements in 1826. During World War II, Singapore was occupied by Japan. It gained independence from Britain in 1963, by federating with other former British territories to form Malaysia, but was expelled two years later over ideological differences. After early years of turbulence, and despite lacking natural resources and a hinterland, the nation developed rapidly as an Asian Tiger economy, based on external trade and its human capital.
Singapore is a global commerce, finance and transport hub. Its standings include: "easiest place to do business" (World Bank) for ten consecutive years, most "technology-ready" nation (WEF), top International-meetings city (UIA), city with "best investment potential" (BERI), 2nd-most competitive country (WEF), 3rd-largest foreign exchange centre, 3rd-largest financial centre, 3rd-largest oil refining and trading centre and one of the top two busiest container ports since the 1990s. Singapore's best known global brands include Singapore Airlines (SIA) and Changi Airport, both amongst the most-awarded in their industry. For the past decade, it has been the only Asian country with the top AAA sovereign rating from all major credit rating agencies, including S&P, Moody's and Fitch.
Singapore ranks high on its national social policies, leading Asia and 11th globally, on the Human Development Index (UN), notably on key measures of education, healthcare, life expectancy, quality of life, personal safety and housing. Although income inequality is high, 90% of citizens own their homes, and the country has one of the highest per capita incomes, with low taxes. Singapore is home to 5.5 million residents, 38% of whom are permanent residents and other foreign nationals. Singaporeans are mostly bilingual in a mother-tongue language and English as their common language. Its cultural diversity is reflected in its extensive ethnic "hawker" cuisine and major festivals—Chinese, Malay, Indian, Western—which are all national holidays.
It is noted for its effective, pragmatic and incorrupt governance and civil service, which together with its rapid development policies, is widely cited as the "Singapore model". Gallup polls shows 84% of its residents expressed confidence in the national government, and 85% in its judicial systems—one of the highest ratings recorded. Singapore has significant influence on global affairs relative to its size, leading some analysts to classify it as a middle power. It is ranked as Asia's most influential city and 4th in the world by Forbes.
Singapore is a unitary, multiparty, parliamentary republic, with a Westminster system of unicameral parliamentary government, but is classified as being "partly free" by Freedom House. The People's Action Party has won every election since self-government in 1959. One of the five founding members of the ASEAN, Singapore is also the host of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Secretariat, and a member of the East Asia Summit, Non-Aligned Movement, and the Commonwealth of Nations. In addition, Singapore is a permanent observer state in the Arctic Council.
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Singapore" as of 17 Oct 2016, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.