Argentina /ˌɑrdʒənˈtiːnə/, officially the Argentine Republic is a federal republic located in southeastern South America. Covering most of the Southern Cone, it is bordered by Bolivia and Paraguay to the north; Brazil to the northeast; Uruguay and the South Atlantic Ocean to the east; Chile to the west 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 nation.Argentina claims sovereignty over part of Antarctica, the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.A historical and current middle power and a prominent Latin American and Southern Cone regional power, Argentina is one of the G-15 and G-20 major economies and Latin America's third-largest. It is also a founding member of the United Nations, WBG, WTO, Mercosur, UNASUR, CELAC and OEI. Because of its stability, market size and increasing share of the high-tech sector, Argentina is classed by investors as a middle emerging economy with a "very high" rating on the Human Development Index.The earliest recorded human presence in the area now known as Argentina is dated from the Paleolithic period. The Spanish colonization began in 1512. Argentina rose as the successor state of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, a Spanish overseas colony founded in 1776. The declaration and fight for independence was followed by an extended civil war that lasted until 1861, which ended with the country's reorganization as a federation of provinces with Buenos Aires as its capital city. From then on—while massive European immigration waves radically reshaped its cultural and demographic outlook—Argentina enjoyed an historically almost-unparalleled increase in prosperity: by the early 20th century it already ranked as the seventh wealthiest developed nation in the world.After 1930, however, and despite remaining among the fifteen richest countries until mid-century, it descended into political instability and suffered periodic economic crisis that sank it back into underdevelopment.