In honor of my favorite professional athlete, Lionel Messi, we will be learning about Argentina.  Along with soccer phenom Messi, this South American country has produced legends Diego Maradona and Evita Peron, developed animated and dramatic cinema, and inspired every art form from sculpture to tango.

Location: Southern tip of South America next to the Atlantic Ocean, Chile, Paraguay, and Uraguay and beneath Bolivia and Paraguay.

Capital: Buenos Aires

Population: 40.6 million (about California + 4 million)

Size: 1.1 square miles (about 2 times the size of Alaska)

Religion: Christianity

Language: Spanish (but it sounds a little different)

Government: Republic  (formerly a military dictatorship that was overthrown in 1982). Today the government operates with a judicial, legislative, and executive branch.  The elected president has a cabinet of ministers.  The judicial branch is made up of a supreme court of 9 judges.  The legislative branch consists of a congress split into two parts- Senate (72) and Chamber of Deputies (257).

Economy: use the peso. GNI per capita is US $12,070

Fun Facts: Heavily influenced by its European settlers, Argentina boasts impressive art and architecture around its biggest cities.  It is one of the biggest producers of film and television and was the location of the first ever animated feature film.  Argentina is also the 5th largest producer of wine.