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It occupies an area of 1.4 million square miles (3.7 million square kilometers).

This includes the Antarctica and the South Atlantic Islands, territories over which Argentina claims national sovereignty.

Threatened by the influx of European immigrants at the turn of the century, some landed elite sectors chose to adopt gauchos as a cultural icon.

These rural versions of nationality generally clashed with more secular, urban, and modern versions of national identity.

A large part of the territory is in a temperate zone, mainly plains and the pampas grazelands which are ideal for ranching.

These lands occupy 826,254 square miles (2.14 million square kilometers).

In the northwest the influence of Pre-Columbian Andean indigenous traditions is very strong while in the northeast (mainly in Corrientes and south of Misiones province) the Guaraní indigenous influence is apparent in speech styles, music, food, local customs, and beliefs. The Argentine Republic is located at the southernmost part of South America.

A dominant version portrays Argentines as sophisticated and highly educated people of European origin.

This is a more inclusive concept, as it refers to the culture of Uruguayans and Argentines inhabiting the River Plate Basin region.

Official conservative interpretations of the Argentine culture have often emphasized the Spanish and Catholic heritage, rooted in the early contributions made by Queen Isabel of Castille and Ferdinand of Aragon, artifices of the conquest of the Americas in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century.

Ambivalence dominates the Argentines' self-identity. Depending on the political climate of the times and the dominant ideological orientations, residents of this country oscillate between an identity stressing commonalities with other Latin-American nations; a shared history of four centuries of Spanish rule; and an identity highlighting the uniqueness of this nation, an alleged Europeanized cosmopolitan national culture.

Some regional cultural traditions are quite distinct.

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