The "southern cone" of South America has a vibrant yet checkered history. Argentina in 1920 was a productive and wealthy nation, yet by the 1980s was reduced to virtual third world status. Chile has a long history of internal strife, usually with representative politics until authoritarians seized power in 1973. Chile was influenced by Spanish conquerors; Argentina's Italian and German immigrants made it the most "European" of any South American country.
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