Provinces of Argentina

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Updates: 

I've updated the populations to the 2011 census figures.

For now (2014), Argentina is not observing daylight saving time, so I removed the column showing which provinces were observing it.

Update 5 to Geopolitical Entities and Codes, the successor to FIPS PUB 10-4, was issued on 2011-08-31. It changes the status of Ciudad de Buenos Aires from district to autonomous city.

Newsletter II-2, an update to the ISO 3166-2 standard, is dated 2010-06-30. The only change for Argentina is to reflect the new formal name for Ciudad de Buenos Aires.

Country overview: 

Short nameARGENTINA
ISO codeAR
FIPS codeAR
LanguageSpanish (es)
Time zone-3
CapitalBuenos Aires

 

Argentina has been an independent country throughout the 20th century. It has maintained its boundaries relatively unchanged during that period. It has had border disputes and adjustments with Chile. Argentina has also claimed the Islas Malvinas, or Falkland Islands, but was unable to enforce its claim in the 1982 war with Great Britain. It has claims in Antarctica which have been held in abeyance by the Antarctic Treaty. Areas and populations are given here without the claims.

Other names of country: 

  1. Danish: Argentina
  2. Dutch: Argentinië, Argentijnse Natie (formal)
  3. English: Argentine Republic (formal)
  4. Finnish: Argentiina
  5. French: Argentine, République f Argentine f (formal)
  6. German: Argentinien n
  7. Icelandic: Argentína
  8. Italian: Argentina f
  9. Norwegian: Argentina, Republikken Argentina (formal)
  10. Portuguese: Argentina, República f Argentina f (formal)
  11. Russian: Аргентина, Аргентинская Республика (formal)
  12. Spanish: Argentina, República f Argentina f (formal)
  13. Swedish: Argentina
  14. Turkish: Arjantin, Arjantin Cumhuriyeti (formal)

Origin of name: 

Explorers saw that natives had silver objects (Latin argentum: silver).

Primary subdivisions: 

Argentina is divided into 23 provincias (provinces) and a distrito federal (federal district).

ProvinceHASCISOFIPSIATAUPUPopulationArea(km.²)Area(mi.²)Capital
Buenos AiresAR.BABAR01BABA15,625,084307,571118,754La Plata
CatamarcaAR.CTKAR02CAC367,828102,60239,615(San Fernando del Valle de) Catamarca
ChacoAR.CCHAR03CHCHO1,055,25999,63338,469Resistencia
ChubutAR.CHUAR04CBCHT509,108224,68686,752Rawson
Ciudad de Buenos AiresAR.DFCAR07CF2,890,15120378Buenos Aires
CórdobaAR.CBXAR05CDCBA3,308,876165,32163,831Córdoba
CorrientesAR.CNWAR06CRCTS992,59588,19934,054Corrientes
Entre RíosAR.EREAR08ERER1,235,99478,78130,418Paraná
FormosaAR.FMPAR09FOF530,16272,06627,825Formosa
JujuyAR.JYYAR10PJJ673,30753,21920,548(San Salvador de) Jujuy
La PampaAR.LPLAR11LPLP318,951143,44055,382Santa Rosa
La RiojaAR.LRFAR12LRLR333,64289,68034,626La Rioja
MendozaAR.MZMAR13MDMZA1,738,929148,82757,462Mendoza
MisionesAR.MNNAR14MIMS1,101,59329,80111,506Posadas
NeuquénAR.NQQAR15NEN551,26694,07836,324Neuquén
Río NegroAR.RNRAR16RNRN638,645203,01378,384Viedma
SaltaAR.SAAAR17SAS1,214,441155,48860,034Salta
San JuanAR.SJJAR18SJSJ681,05589,65134,614San Juan
San LuisAR.SLDAR19SLSL432,31076,74829,633San Luis
Santa CruzAR.SCZAR20SCSC273,964243,94394,187Río Gallegos
Santa FeAR.SFSAR21SFSF3,194,537133,00751,354Santa Fe
Santiago del EsteroAR.SEGAR22SESE874,006136,35152,645Santiago del Estero
Tierra del FuegoAR.TFVAR23TFTF127,20521,5718,329Ushuaia
TucumánAR.TMTAR24TUT1,448,18822,5248,697(San Miguel de) Tucumán
24 divisions40,117,0962,780,4031,073,520
  • Province: These divisions are provincias (provinces), except for Ciudad de Buenos Aires (an autonomous city).
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes. The last two letters are the same as the subdomain codes
    assigned by Argentina to identify Internet URLs by province, except that I added the code for Ciudad de Buenos
    Aires, which is not covered by this standard.
  • ISO: Codes from ISO 3166-2.
  • FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4.
  • IATA: Codes from the IATA Airline Coding Directory, used to locate airports by province.
  • UPU: Old province codes from "Postal Addressing Systems". The UPU advises that these have been superseded
    by the ISO codes.
  • Population: 2010-10-27 census.
  • Capital: Common name is the part not in parentheses; adding parenthetical parts gives formal name.

Postal codes: 

In April, 1999, Argentina's postal service opened a new type of postal code to public use. It is called CPA, for Código Postal Argentino. A CPA postal code consists of a letter, four digits, and three more letters. The first letter is a province code. The postal service calls it a "letra de la vieja patente" (letter of the old patent), and it appears to be the same as the ISO 3166-2 code for the province. The four digits are the same as the old postal code. The final three letters are a routing code for an individual block.

Further subdivisions:

See the Departments of Argentina page.

The provinces are further subdivided into departamentos (departments), except for Buenos Aires, which is divided into partidos (parts), and Ciudad de Buenos Aires, which has no internal divisions on this level, but contains 15 comunas.

The lowest-level administrative divisions are municipios (municipalities), often called partidos. These vary from province to province. In some provinces there are several classes of municipality. Also, in some provinces there is territory not included in any municipality.

Territorial extent: 

Buenos Aires province includes Isla Martín García, which is surrounded by Uruguayan waters in the Río de la Plata estuary.

Corrientes province includes Isla Apipé, an island separated from the rest of the province by a channel of the Alto Paraná River which belongs to Paraguay.

Tierra del Fuego includes the Argentine section of the island of Tierra del Fuego, as well as several unrecognized claims of Argentina. These claims are to the Islas Malvinas (Falkland Islands), its associated islands (South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands), and a sector of Antarctica. I list the Antarctic claim under Antarctica.

Argentina and Chile have had numerous boundary disputes and border adjustments over the years.

There is a four-corners boundary where the provinces of Mendoza, La Pampa, Neuquén, and Río Negro come together. The borders are defined by the Río Colorado and the meridian of 68° 15' W.

Origins of names: 

  1. Buenos Aires: = Good Winds. Former name Nuestra Señora Santa Maria de los Buenos Aires, after the Virgin Mary, revered in Seville as protectress of sailors.
  2. Catamarca: from Quechua qata: slope and marka: region.
  3. Chaco: from Guaraní chako: hunting ground.
  4. Córdoba: named by Jerónimo Luis de Cabrera for his wife's home, the city of Córdoba, Spain.
  5. Corrientes: = Currents. Originally the city was named Ciudad de San Juan de las Siete Corrientes (= City of Saint John of the Seven Currents), for seven branches of the Paraná River.
  6. Distrito Federal: = Federal District
  7. Entre Ríos: = Between Rivers. The province lies between the Paraná and Uruguay Rivers where they meet to form the estuary of Río de la Plata.
  8. Formosa: Portuguese = Beautiful
  9. Jujuy: named for Xuxuyoc, the last Inca governor of the area.
  10. La Pampa: = The Prairie
  11. La Rioja: from the region of that name in Spain.
  12. Los Andes: from the mountain range, which was probably named for an ethnic group called Anti.
  13. Mendoza: after Pedro de Mendoza, early explorer, or Don Garcia Hurtado de Mendoza, Chilean governor.
  14. Misiones: = Missions, for Jesuit missions to the natives.
  15. Río Negro: from the river of that name (= Black River).
  16. Santa Cruz: = Holy Cross; Magellan reached the site of the port on 1520-09-14, the feast day of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.
  17. Santa Fe: = Holy Faith
  18. Santiago del Estero: = Saint James of the Estuary
  19. Tierra del Fuego: = Land of Fire. Magellan saw fires burning on the island.
  20. Tucumán: possibly Aymara tucu man: the place where it ends.

Change history: 

I have found several Web sources for Argentina's change history. To help evaluate their contents, here are some reformatted excerpts from each page.
The Electronic Government page on the formation of the Argentine state (source [4]) says:
1776: Río de la Plata viceroyalty (virreinato) formed.
1803: Río de la Plata viceroyalty divided into eight intendencies (intendencias) by the Royal Ordinance of Governors (Real Ordenanza de Intendentes). Three of these intendencies correspond to parts of present-day Argentina: Córdoba del Tucumán, Salta del Tucumán, and Buenos Aires.
1816: United Provinces of South America (Provincias Unidas de Sudamérica) declare independence from Spain. In the ensuing period, the General Constitutional Congress (Congreso General Constituyente) drafts a constitution.
1820: General Constitutional Congress dissolved; Buenos Aires council (Cabildo) resumes control of the city and province of Buenos Aires.
1826-12: New constitution drafted for an Argentine Republic, but failed to take effect when ratified only by Banda Oriental.
1831: Federal Pact adopted by Santa Fe, Buenos Aires, and Entre Ríos provinces. Soon the other provinces join, forming an Argentine state, organized as a republic.
1852-04-06: Protocol of Palermo signed by emissaries from Buenos Aires, Santa Fe, Corrientes, and Entre Ríos provinces.
1853-07-09: Constitution for a confederation ratified by all provinces except Buenos Aires.
1859 or 1860: Buenos Aires province joins the confederation.

The Electronic Government page on the history of the Argentine provinces (source [5]) says:
1776-07-27: Río de la Plata viceroyalty provisionally created by King Carlos III. It consisted of seven provinces: Buenos Aires, Tucumán, Cuyo (consisting of territory which is part of modern Argentina), Paraguay, Potosí, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, and Charcas.
1782-01: Viceroyalty divided into eight intendencies (intendencias). The three intendencies comprising parts of modern Argentina included the first fourteen Argentine provinces. Buenos Aires intendency consisted of Buenos Aires, Santa Fe, Entre Ríos, Corrientes, Misiones, and Banda Oriental provinces. Córdoba del Tucumán intendency included Córdoba, Mendoza, San Juan, San Luis, and La Rioja provinces. Salta intendency covered Salta, Jujuy, Tucumán, Santiago del Estero, and Catamarca provinces.
1812-01-13: Buenos Aires province given a separate government.
1813-10: Cuyo province formed. Its capital was Mendoza.
1814-09-10: Provinces of Entre Ríos and Corrientes created.
1814-10-08: Tucumán province split from Salta.
1819-04-12: Peace (treaty?) of San Lorenzo signed, as a result of which Santa Fe province split from Buenos Aires.
1819-11-11: A military mutiny occurs, leading to a new constitution for Tucumán, which declares it an independent republic.
1820-01-17: Córdoba province proclaimed independence.
1820-01-24: La Rioja province split from Córdoba.
1820-02: National government dissolved by the defeat of General José Rondeau, leaving the fourteen provinces independent.
1820-03-01: San Juan province proclaimed its autonomy.
1820-04: Santiago del Estero province split from Tucumán.
1820-09: Entre Ríos Republic formed from Entre Ríos and Corrientes provinces and Misiones territory. It was dissolved later that year or in 1821.
1821: Misiones province formed.
1821-08-25: Catamarca province split from Tucumán.
1821-08-28: Republic of Tucumán falls. Province of Tucumán established to replace it in 1822-05.
~1823: San Luis province created.
1827: Corrientes province annexed Misiones by force.
1834: Jujuy province split from Salta.
1853: Constitution of Argentine Republic adopted.
1862-10: Under law no. 28, all territories not lying within some province as of 1853-05-01 became national territory.
1872: Chaco government (gobierno) created following the War of the Triple Alliance.
1874: Chaco gobierno divided; the territory south of the Bermejo River became Chaco gobernación under law no. 686.
1878: U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes arbitrates territorial dispute between Argentina and Paraguay. Subsequently, the territory north of the Bermejo River (formerly in Chaco gobierno) became Formosa gobernación.
1878-10: Gobernación created in the Patagonian national territories.
1881-12: Borders of Corrientes province established by law no. 1149, leaving part of its former land as national territory.
1884: Law no. 1532 divided national territory into the goverments (gobernaciones) of La Pampa, Río Negro, Neuquén, Chubut, Santa Cruz, Tierra del Fuego, Misiones, Formosa, and Chaco.
1899-03-10: Los Andes territory formed in land ceded to Argentina by Bolivia.
1902: Salta ceded land to Los Andes including the city of San Antonio de los Cobres, which became capital of Los Andes.
1943: Los Andes territory split up among Salta, Catamarca, and Jujuy provinces.
1951-08: Chaco and La Pampa territories changed to provinces under law no. 14037. Capital of La Pampa was Santa Rosa.
1953-12: Missiones territory became a province under law no. 14294.
1955-06: Formosa, Neuquén, and Rio Negro became provinces under law no. 14408. At the same time, the maritime gobernación of Tierra del Fuego and the military gobernación of Comodoro Rivadavia were suppressed, and two more provinces, Chubut and Patagonia, were created for the territories delimited by the same law. The capitals of these provinces, excluding Formosa, were provisionally set as Neuquén, Viedma, Rawson, and Río Gallegos.
~1955: Provisional government of the 1955 revolution divided the territory of Patagonia in two parts. Modifying law no. 14408, it created Santa Cruz province (capital Río Gallegos), with the same land as the old Santa Cruz territory, before the military gobernación of Comodoro Rivadavia was formed. Soon afterward, Tierra del Fuego, Antártida e Islas del Atlántico Sur national territory created by annexing Argentine claims to the Malvinas and Antarctica to Tierra del Fuego.

The Fundación MAPFRE TAVERA (source [6]), devoted to preservation of historical documents of the Iberoamerican community, says:
1776: La Plata viceroyalty (virreinato) created. Its jurisdiction included the old provinces of Tucumán, Buenos Aires, and Paraguay, the governments (gobiernos) of Upper Peru, and the region of Cuyo, which split from the old Captaincy General of Chile. Its territory corresponds roughly to modern Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, and the eastern part of Uruguay.
1782: The viceroyalty was subdivided into the general superintendency of Buenos Aires and the intendencies of Asunción, Córdoba del Tucumán (Córdoba, la Rioja, and Cuyo), Salta del Tucumán (Salta, Jujuy, Santiago del Estero), Chaves or Chuquisaca, Potosí, Cochabamba, and La Paz.

The Argentine Embassy to Spain (source [8]) says:
1880: Buenos Aires, the city, was federalized under the name "Capital Federal".
1882: La Plata was founded as capital of Buenos Aires province.

Ambitoweb, a travel service (source [7]), says:
1617: Buenos Aires became capital of the Government (Gobierno) of Río de la Plata.
1776: Río de la Plata viceroyalty created.
1816: National independence proclaimed. Buenos Aires declared capital of the United Provinces of Río de la Plata.
1880: Congress constituted a federal state with Buenos Aires as capital.
1887: Buenos Aires (city) separated administratively from Buenos Aires province, whose capital moved to La Plata. Buenos Aires's chief executive was always designated by the National President until the Constitutional Reform of 1994 gave rise to the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires.

Previously known changes:
1776: Río de la Plata viceroyalty (virreinato) formed, with Buenos Aires as capital.
1878-10-11: Patagonia gobernación (territory) created, with Mercedes de Patagones as capital
1879-07-04: Name of capital of Patagonia changed from Mercedes de Patagones to Viedma
1880: City of Buenos Aires split from Buenos Aires province
1884-10-16: Patagonia split into Chubut, Neuquén, Río Negro, Santa Cruz, and Tierra del Fuego gobernaciones. At the same time, the gobernaciones of Chaco, Formosa, La Pampa, and Misiones were created
1904: Ushuaia became the capital of Tierra del Fuego
~1920: Capital of Neuquén moved from Chos Malal to Neuquén
~1935: Capital of La Pampa moved from General Acha to Santa Rosa
1943-09-23: Los Andes territory (capital: San Antonio de los Cobres) divided among Catamarca, Jujuy, and Salta provinces. In the division, Catamarca received the departamento of Antofagasta de la Sierra, about 27,886 sq. km.; Jujuy got Susques departamento, 9,554 sq. km.; and Salta got Pastos Grandes and San Antonio de los Cobres departamentos, 25,200 sq. km.
1946: Comodoro Rivadavia territory split from Chubut, taking approximately the southern half of the territory. They were reunited in 1957.
1950: Chaco territory renamed Presidente Juan Perón
1951-08-10: Status of Presidente Juan Perón and La Pampa changed from territories to provinces
1952-01-29: Name of La Pampa province changed to Eva Perón (unromantically, the two Perón provinces were about 750 km. apart at their closest)
1953: Misiones changed from territory to province
1955-06-15: Chubut, Formosa, Neuquén, and Río Negro changed from territories to provinces; Patagonia province formed by merging Santa Cruz and Tierra del Fuego
1956-04-27: Presidente Juan Perón and Eva Perón provinces renamed Chaco and La Pampa, respectively
1957: Patagonia province split to form Santa Cruz province and Tierra del Fuego national territory, officially named Tierra del Fuego, Antártida e Islas del Atlántico Sur
1991-06-01: The status of Tierra del Fuego was changed from national territory to province (its constitution took effect on this date)
1996-08-06: Under the constitutional reform of 1994, Distrito Federal gained a new constitution. Its official name is now "Ciudad de Buenos Aires" or, with equal standing, "Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires" (Autonomous City of Buenos Aires). The date I have chosen to mark this transition is that when the Chief and Vice-chief of Government assumed their duties. It is also the date of the first issue of the Official Bulletin, reporting appointments made on that date.
The names Distrito Federal and Capital Federal have both been used for this entity. From the documents I have available, it appears that its official name was Distrito Federal when it split from the province of Buenos Aires in 1880. Capital Federal is undoubtedly common in popular use, even under the new constitution, but it doesn't necessarily follow that it is or ever has been the official name. The Statesman's Year-Book calls it "Federal Capital", and has at least since 1957, but this represents an English translation of the name and may not be an indication of the Spanish original. The Rand McNally New International Atlas used the name Distrito Federal at least until 1990. The Office of the Geographer (source [10]) says, "the accompanying map [dated 1963-12] lists the Capital Federal. This has been recently changed to the Distrito Federal". The CIA World Factbook used the name Distrito Federal until at least its 2000 edition, but currently calls it "Buenos Aires Capital Federal". I would be grateful if anyone can provide me with documentation proving that the official name was ever Capital Federal, or better yet, specifying the date on which it became official.
There have also been minor boundary adjustments over the years, both external (with Chile) and internal (between adjacent provinces, especially in the north and west).

Other names of subdivisions: 

  1. Buenos Aires: Baires (informal); Buenos Ayres (obsolete)
  2. Chaco: El Chaco (obsolete); Presidente Juan Perón (obsolete)
  3. Córdoba: Cordova (obsolete-English)
  4. Ciudad de Buenos Aires: Capital Federal (obsolete-variant); Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires (formal); Distrito Federal (obsolete); Distretto Federale (obsolete-Italian)
  5. Entre Ríos: Entre-Rios (Portuguese)
  6. La Pampa: El Pampa (obsolete); Eva Perón (obsolete)
  7. Misiones: Missões (Portuguese)
  8. Neuquén: Neuquém (Portuguese-obsolete)
  9. Santa Fe: Santa Fé (variant)
  10. Tierra del Fuego: Ateş ülkesi (Turkish); Feuerland (German); Terra del Fuoco (Italian); Terre de Feu (French); Terra do Fogo (Portuguese); Tierra del Fuego, Antártida e Islas del Atlántico Sur (formal); Tierra del Fuego, Antarctica and South Atlantic Islands (formal-English)
  11. Tucumán: Tucumão (Portuguese-obsolete)

Population history:

Province1895191419401947-05-101960-09-301970-09-301980-10-221991-05-152001-11-182010-10-27
Buenos Aires921,1682,066,1653,486,4304,408,3737,139,0008,775,00010,796,03612,594,97413,827,20315,625,084
Catamarca90,161100,391149,766145,216179,000172,000206,204264,234334,568367,828
Chaco10,42246,274329,400443,922559,000567,000692,410839,677984,4461,055,259
Chubut3,74823,06586,100105,500151,000190,000262,196357,189413,237509,108
Córdoba351,223735,4721,271,4941,455,2221,829,0002,060,0002,407,1352,766,6833,066,8013,308,876
Corrientes239,618347,055516,671570,967559,000564,000657,716795,594930,991992,595
Entre Ríos292,019425,373737,300776,280825,000812,000902,2411,020,2571,158,1471,235,994
Federal District663,8541,576,5972,364,2633,000,3713,040,0002,972,0002,908,0012,965,4032,776,1382,890,151
Formosa4,82919,28156,900112,056189,000234,000292,479398,413486,559530,162
Jujuy49,71376,631113,144166,783253,000302,000408,514512,329611,888673,307
La Pampa25,914101,338148,700167,562161,000172,000207,132259,996299,294318,951
La Rioja69,50279,754110,537109,386133,000136,000163,342220,729289,983333,642
Los Andes4772,4877,100       
Mendoza116,136277,535513,527590,548869,000973,0001,187,3051,412,4811,579,6511,738,929
Misiones33,16353,563186,200244,123415,000443,000579,579788,915965,5221,101,593
Neuquén14,51728,86675,20085,601116,000155,000241,904388,833474,155551,266
Río Negro9,24142,242135,200132,419203,000263,000383,896506,772552,822638,645
Salta118,015140,927212,307290,063435,000510,000662,369866,1531,079,0511,214,441
San Juan84,251119,252216,844260,714370,000384,000469,973528,715620,023681,055
San Luis81,450116,266196,677167,620180,000183,000212,837286,458367,933432,310
Santa Cruz1,0589,94818,70024,65155,00084,000114,479159,839196,958273,964
Santa Fe379,188899,6401,546,8801,700,0261,928,0002,136,0002,457,1882,798,4223,000,7013,194,537
Santiago del Estero161,502261,678484,649538,383489,000495,000652,318671,988804,457874,006
Tierra del Fuego 2,5042,3004,9027,00016,00029,45169,369101,079127,205
Tucumán215,742332,933530,664604,526818,000766,000968,0661,142,1051,338,5231,448,188
Totals3,954,9117,885,23713,496,95316,105,21420,902,00023,364,00027,862,77132,615,52836,260,13040,117,096

 

(1940 figures are estimated)

Sources: 

  1. [1] Censo 2010 , Año del Bicentenario. INDEC. Censo Nacional de Población, Hogares y Viviendas 2010 (retrieved 2004-03-14).
  2. [2] Fifth United Nations Conference on the Standardization of Geographical Names. Vol. II. New York: United Nations, 1991.
  3. [3] Argentine Embassy to Spain website (http://www.portalargentino.net/municipios.htm, dead link, retrieved ).
  4. [4] Gobierno Electronico (Electronic Government) page on the formation of the Argentine state (http://www.gobiernoelectronico.ar/sitio/nuestro_pais/historia/form_est_arg.htm, dead link, retrieved 2003-07-31).
  5. [5] Gobierno Electronico page on the history of the Argentine provinces (http://www.gobiernoelectronico.ar/sitio/nuestro_pais/historia/provincias_argentinas.htm, dead link, retrieved 2003-07-31).
  6. [6] Fundación MAPFRE TAVERA (http://www.tavera.com/tavera/informe/argentina/argintr.htm, dead link, retrieved 2003-07-31).
  7. [7] Ambitoweb, a travel service (http://www.ambitoweb.com/servicios/datosparaviajar/capfed/capfed.asp?ProvinciaId=24, dead link, retrieved 2003-07-31).
  8. [8] The Argentine Embassy to Spain website (http://www.portalargentino.net/municipios.htm, dead link, retrieved 2005-11-28).
  9. [9] Geographic Report No. 10 (revised). Office of the Geographer, U.S. Department of State, 1968-08-01.
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