Peter Collins (racing driver)
Peter John Collins was a British racing driver. He was killed in the 1958 German Grand Prix, just weeks after winning the RAC British Grand Prix, he started his career as a 17-year-old in 1949, impressing in Formula 3 races, finishing third in the 1951 Autosport National Formula 3 Championship. Born on 6 November 1931, Collins grew up in Kidderminster, in Worcestershire; the son of a motor-garage owner and haulage merchant, Collins became interested in motor vehicles at a young age. He was expelled from school at 16 owing to spending time at a local fairground during school hours, he began competing in local trials races. In common with many British drivers of the time, Collins began racing in the 500 cc category, when his parents bought him a Cooper 500 from the fledgling Cooper Car Company. Success for Collins started once he switched to the JBS-Norton in 1951; those small vehicles, powered by Norton motorcycle engines, were the proving ground of many of Collins's F1 contemporaries, including Stirling Moss.
His breakthrough came, away from the track, when at a party hosted by the great pre-war lady racer, Kay Petre, Collins managed to inveigle himself with John Wyer, the team principal at Aston Martin, earning his test drive at Silverstone. During that test, Aston was joined by the Formula 2 team, HWM – and by the time the teams were preparing to leave, Collins had a contract with both. At HWM Collins he became part of a three-car team with Lance Macklin and Moss, they competed in most of the F2 races in Britain and in Europe. Collins showed in speed, but the underfinanced HWM-Alta finished a race, his best result was second place in the Grand Prix des Sables d'Olonne. Collins got his Formula One break in 1952, with HWM, his best result in a World Champion event was sixth in the Grand Prix de l'ACF at Rouen-Les-Essarts. Success did not come the team's way, Collins left after the 1953 season. Not known for his technical knowledge, Collins was happy to have his mechanics set up his car, he drove it with his consummate natural skill.
This was evident in 1954, when Tony Vandervell signed Collins to drive the fearsome "Thinwall Special". The potent machine was a crowd pleaser at Formula Libre events, he was amongst the first to handle the "Vanwall Special" on the world stage, but he only finished seventh in the Grand Premio d'ItaliaAfter being a constant thorn in BRM's side, he joined the team for the 1955 season. He raced a Maserati 250F belonging to team owner, Alfred Owen, winning the BRDC International Trophy and the London Trophy; these results led to a drive with the works Maserati in the Gran Premio d'Italia. Meanwhile, he had better success in sportscars. Throughout the first half of the 1950s, Collins was a stalwart performer for the Aston Martin team, scoring a sensational victory at the 1952 Goodwood Nine Hours race; the following year he took the Aston Martin DB3S he shared with Pat Griffith to victory in the RAC Tourist Trophy at Dundrod. Further successes included second places in an Aston Martin DB3S at Le Mans in 1955 and 1956 with Paul Frère and Moss respectively.
For the 1956 season, Collins joined Ferrari on the strength of a superb drive in the previous year's Targa Florio, in which he partnered Moss to victory in a Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR. This proved to be a turning point, with a solid second-place finish behind Moss at the Grand Prix Automobile de Monaco, wins at the Grote Prijs van Belgie and Grand Prix de l'ACF. In those early days at Ferrari, Collins earnt the unstinting admiration of Enzo Ferrari, devastated by the untimely death from muscular dystrophy at age 24 of his son and who turned to Collins for solace, treating him as a member of the family. Collins was on the verge of becoming Britain's first F1 World Champion when he handed his Lancia-Ferrari D50 over to team leader Juan Manuel Fangio after the latter suffered a steering-arm failure toward the end of the Gran Premio d'Italia at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza. Collins finished second, but the advantage handed to Moss, the extra points gained by Fangio's finish, demoted Collins to third place in the championship.
Collins's selfless act gained him respect from Enzo Ferrari and high praise from Fangio: "I was moved to tears by the gesture... Peter was one of the finest and greatest gentlemen I met in my racing career." Meanwhile, in sports cars, he finished second in a Ferrari 860 Monza in the Mille Miglia and at the Swedish Sports Car GP in a Ferrari 290MM with Wolfgang von Trips in 1956. These three were back-to-back, his last World Sports Car Championship podium was another second place at the'Ring with Mike Hawthorn. In 1956, Collins moved to Monaco to avoid compulsory military service in the British Army and thus continue his racing career. In January 1957, Collins married American actress Louise King, daughter of the executive assistant to UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjöld, the couple took up residence on a yacht in Monaco harbour. In the same year, Collins was joined at Ferrari by Hawthorn; the two became close friends arranging to split their winnings between each other, together engaged in a fierce rivalry with fellow Ferrari driver Luigi Musso.
However, despite a third-place finish at the Groβer Preis von Deutschland, Ferrari were disadvantaged for much of the season as the 801 model was overweig
A podium is a platform used to raise something to a short distance above its surroundings. It derives from the Greek πόδι. In architecture a building can rest on a large podium. Podia can be used to raise people, for instance the conductor of an orchestra stands on a podium as do many public speakers. Common parlance has shown an increasing use of podium in American English to describe a lectern. In sports, a type of podium is used to honor the top three competitors in events such as the Olympics. In the Olympics a three-level podium is used. Traditionally, the highest level in the center holds the gold medalist. To their right is a somewhat lower platform for the silver medalist, to the left of the gold medalist is an lower platform for the bronze medalist. At the 2016 Summer Games in Rio, the Silver and Bronze were equal in elevation. In many sports, results in the top three of a competition are referred to as "podiums" or "podium finishes". In some individual sports, "podiums" is an official statistic, referring to the number of top three results an athlete has achieved over the course of a season or career.
The word may be used, chiefly in the United States, as a verb, "to podium", meaning to attain a podium place. Podia were first used at the 1930 British Empire Games in Hamilton and subsequently during the 1932 Summer Olympic Games in Los Angeles and the 1932 Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid; the winner stands in the middle, with the second placed driver to his right and the third place driver to his left. Present are the dignitaries selected by the race organisers who will present the trophies. In many forms of motorsport, the three top-placed drivers in a race stand on a podium for the trophy ceremony. In an international series, the national anthem of the winning driver, the winning team or constructor may be played over a public address system and the flags of the drivers' countries are hoisted above them; the recordings are short versions of the national anthems, ensuring the podium ceremony does not exceeded its allocated time. Should a driver experience problems with his car on a slow lap in Formula One, that driver is transported to the pit lane via road car by the Formula One Administration security officer.
Following the presentation of the trophies, the drivers will spray Champagne over each other and their team members watching below, a tradition started by Dan Gurney following the 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans race. The drivers will refrain from spraying champagne if a fatality or major accident occurs during the event. In countries where alcohol sponsorship or drinking is prohibited, alcoholic beverages may be replaced by other drinks, for example rose water; the term has become common parlance in the media, where a driver may be said to "be heading for a podium finish" or "just missing out on a podium" when he is heading for, or just misses out on a top three finish. The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, the highest level of stock car racing in the United States, does not use a podium in post-game events or statistics. Instead, the winning team celebrates in victory lane, top-five and top-ten finishes are recognized statistically; those finishing second to fifth are required to stop in a media bullpen located on pit lane for interviews.
The INDYCAR Verizon IndyCar Series does not use a podium at either the Indianapolis 500 or at Texas Motor Speedway. The Indy 500 has a long tradition of the winning driver and team celebrating in victory lane, while Texas Motor Speedway president Eddie Gossage has stated that victory lane should be reserved for the winner of the race. However, the series does use a podium at all other races road course events. Architectural podiums are consist of a projecting base or pedestal at ground level, they have been used since ancient times. Sometimes only meters tall, architectural podiums have become more prominent in buildings over time, as illustrated in the gallery. Lectern
Paul Frère was a racing driver and journalist from Belgium. He participated in eleven World Championship Formula One Grands Prix debuting on 22 June 1952 and achieving one podium finish with a total of eleven championship points, he drove in several non-Championship Formula One races. He won the 1960 24 Hours of Le Mans, driving for Ferrari with fellow Belgian teammate Olivier Gendebien. Frère was born at Le Havre in 1917, he drove with Peter Collins. After retiring from active racing in 1960, he worked as an automotive journalist based in Europe, he had numerous acquaintances amongst vehicle design engineers in Japan at Honda and Mazda and worked as a consultant to automobile manufacturers. He had the opportunity to test numerous road and racing cars as a journalist, one of the highlights being the Audi R8 which he tested and demonstrated during a break in the proceedings of the Test Day of the 2003 24 Hours of Le Mans. At the time he was 86 years old, making him the oldest racing driver to drive a then-current sportscar.
Frère, along with Piero Taruffi and Denis Jenkinson, was one of the first writers to treat motor racing as a skill that could be analyzed and taught. His 1963 book, Sports Car and Competition Driving is still a standard reference in the field, it influenced the development of competition driving schools, such as those founded by Jim Russell, Bob Bondurant and many others. Frère was an expert on Porsche cars, in particular the Porsche 911, writing the definitive book on this series, The Porsche 911 Story, he maintained a close relationship with Porsche over the years. He was considered an advisor and expert on the 911 by Alois Ruf, a respected Porsche tuner and manufacturer as head of Ruf Automobile, who consulted Frère during the development of Ruf's RGT8 Model. In 1967, Frère had a cameo appearance in The Departure, a Belgian film about a car-obsessed young man trying to get possession of a Porsche 911 for a race. Only weeks before his 90th birthday in January 2007, he was badly injured in an accident near the Nürburgring and was hospitalized for 14 days in intensive care.
Frère died on 23 February 2008 in Saint-Paul-de-Vence. Turn 15 at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps the first part of the Stavelot corner, has been renamed in his honour. Frère was a successful rower winning three Belgian championships. In 1946 and 1947 he won the national title in a coxless four. In 1946, he won it with the coxed four
Alta Car and Engineering Company
The Alta Car and Engineering Company was a British sports and racing car manufacturer known as Alta. Their cars contested five FIA World Championship races between 1950 and 1952, as well as Grand Prix events prior to this, they supplied engines to a small number of other constructors, most notably the Connaught and HWM teams. The company was founded by engineer Geoffrey Taylor in Surbiton and produced its first automobile in 1929. Alta's first vehicle was a sports car powered by a 1.1L engine, featuring an aluminium block, wet liners, shaft-driven twin overhead camshafts, which Taylor designed himself. It was offered in aspirated or supercharged form giving 49 or 76 bhp. A choice of four speed non-synchromesh or pre-selector gearboxes was available; these were mounted on a low-slung chassis frame with open two- or four-seat bodies. Thirteen were made; this design, its 1.5L and 2L sister cars, sold but in limited numbers, right up to the outbreak of war in 1939. With the highest power option the car was capable of 0 -- 60 mph in 7 seconds.
In 1937 the company introduced front independent suspension to the chassis. They became popular among club racers due to their ability to be converted from 1.5L to 2L or vice versa, allowing drivers on a limited budget to contest more than one class without having to buy a second car. In 1934, Taylor produced the first Alta to be designed for competition; the resulting light-weight, off-set single seat voiturette cars achieved quite a reputation in shorter events such as hill-climbs and time-trials. Once again, Alta's keen pricing, in comparison to the expensive ERA models, resulted in many sales to amateur racers. However, a lack of reliability kept the Alta name out of the long distance Grand Prix events. A revised voiturette design appeared with independent front suspension. George Abecassis had some success with this design, winning a string of events before the Second World War interrupted; as war approached, Taylor was drafting designs for a new straight-8 engine and a third-generation voiturette, this time with independent suspension.
This last prewar car was advanced for its time, was nearly complete in late 1939. However, as soon as war was declared, Alta's production capabilities were given over to the war effort, production of the new designs was halted. Despite Alta's diminutive size, their status as a road car manufacturer, Alta was in fact the first British constructor to produce a new Grand Prix car following the end of World War II. Austerity limitations of raw materials did not stop Taylor beginning production of designs he had been developing throughout the war years, the Alta GP car appeared in 1948, he restarted production of the road-going sports cars, although without further development funding the popularity of these models dwindled. Prior to 1948, the last pre-war Alta was campaigned with varying degrees of success; the Alta GP car was a development of the pre-war design, but was powered by a supercharged 1.5L engine, developing 230bhp, retained the 4-speed pre-selector gearbox of the prewar cars. Taylor developed the independent suspension design further, introducing wishbones and rubber linkage bushings.
The first car was supplied to privateer driver George Abecassis, who campaigned it throughout 1948 and into 1949, but only finished once. Abecassis would go on to use Alta engines to power his HWM team from 1951 to 1955. Modifications were made to the bodywork and gearchange for the subsequent 1949 and 1950 GP2 and GP3 vehicles, GP3 gaining a two-stage supercharger. Once again they were built to order, supplied to Geoffrey Crossley and Joe Kelly respectively. Crossley could only manage seventh place. In 1950 he set a number of speed records over 50 km and 100 km at the Montlhéry circuit. Kelly concentrated on Irish races, his best finish was third in the 1952 Ulster Trophy. Both drivers took their respective chassis to the 1950 British Grand Prix, the first Formula One World Championship race. However, while Kelly finished, he was unclassified. Kelly carried out extensive modification and rebuilding work on GP3, running it as the Irish Racing Automobiles car during 1952 and 1953, his most significant change was to replace the Alta engine with a Bristol unit.
Lacking the funding necessary to develop a Formula One successor to the GP design, Taylor decided to move into the junior Formula Two category. The engine produced was a 1970 cc inline 4-cylinder aspirated unit, developing around 130 bhp. Alta's own chassis design followed the preceding GP car closely, this resulted in an overweight car considering the reduced power available from the unsupercharged motors. Tony Gaze and Gordon Watson took F2/1 and F2/2 on a tour of European races, but good results were hard to come by. Indeed, the F2 chassis was so much like the GP design that the uncompleted GP/4 machine was converted and became F2/3. F2/3 was no more successful than its siblings. F2/4 followed in construction and was sold to Orlando Simpson before Peter Whitehead placed an order for what was to become the last Alta car built: F2/5; this F2 Alta was entered for World Championship Grands Prix events, first driven by himself in the 1952 French Grand Prix, by his half-brother Graham Whitehead at the 1952 British Grand Prix.
Neither run produced a points finish, but this was not to be the last time that the Alta name appeared in Formula One. While the F2 engine
Scuderia Ferrari S.p. A. is the racing division of luxury Italian auto manufacturer Ferrari and the racing team that competes in Formula One racing. The team is nicknamed "The Prancing Horse", with reference to their logo, it is the oldest surviving and most successful Formula One team, having competed in every world championship since the 1950 Formula One season. The team was founded by Enzo Ferrari to race cars produced by Alfa Romeo, though by 1947 Ferrari had begun building its own cars. Among its important achievements outside Formula One are winning the World Sportscar Championship, 24 Hours of Le Mans, 24 Hours of Spa, 24 Hours of Daytona, 12 Hours of Sebring, Bathurst 12 Hour, races for Grand tourer cars and racing on road courses of the Targa Florio, the Mille Miglia and the Carrera Panamericana; as a constructor, Ferrari has a record 16 Constructors' Championships, the last of, won in 2008. Alberto Ascari, Juan Manuel Fangio, Mike Hawthorn, Phil Hill, John Surtees, Niki Lauda, Jody Scheckter, Michael Schumacher and Kimi Räikkönen have won a record 15 Drivers' Championships for the team.
Since Räikkönen's title in 2007 the team narrowly lost out on the 2008 drivers' title with Felipe Massa and the 2010 and 2012 drivers' titles with Fernando Alonso. Michael Schumacher is the team's most successful driver. Joining the team in 1996 and departing in 2006 he won five drivers' titles and 72 Grands Prix for the team, his titles came consecutively between 2000 and 2004, the team won consecutive constructors' title from 1999 until the end of 2004. Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc are the two main race drivers; the team is known for its passionate support base known as the tifosi. The Italian Grand Prix at Monza is regarded as the team's home race; the Scuderia Ferrari team was founded by Enzo Ferrari on 16 November 1929 and became the racing team of Alfa Romeo and racing Alfa Romeo cars. In 1938, Alfa Romeo management made the decision to re-enter racing under its own name, establishing the Alfa Corse organisation, which absorbed what had been Scuderia Ferrari. Enzo Ferrari disagreed with this change in policy and was dismissed by Alfa in 1939.
The terms of his leaving forbade him from motorsport for a period of four years. In 1939, Ferrari started work on a racecar of his own, the Tipo 815; the 815s, designed by Alberto Massimino, were thus the first Ferrari cars. World War II put a temporary end to racing, Ferrari concentrated on an alternative use for his factory during the war years, doing machine tool work. After the war, Ferrari recruited several of his former Alfa colleagues and established a new Scuderia Ferrari, which would design and build its own cars; the team was based in Modena from its pre-war founding until 1943, when Enzo Ferrari moved the team to a new factory in Maranello in 1943, both Scuderia Ferrari and Ferrari's roadcar factory remain at Maranello to this day. The team owns and operates a test track on the same site, the Fiorano Circuit built in 1972, used for testing road and race cars; the team is named after Enzo Ferrari. Scuderia is Italian for a stable reserved for racing horses and is commonly applied to Italian motor racing teams.
The prancing horse was the symbol on Italian World War I ace Francesco Baracca's fighter plane, became the logo of Ferrari after the fallen ace's parents, close acquaintances of Enzo Ferrari, suggested that Ferrari use the symbol as the logo of the Scuderia, telling him it would'bring him good luck'. In May 1947, Ferrari constructed the 12-cylinder, 1.5 L Tipo 125, the first racing car to bear the Ferrari name. A Formula One version of the Tipo 125, the Ferrari 125 F1 was developed in 1948 and entered in several Grands Prix, at the time a World Championship had not yet been established. In 1950, the Formula One World Championship was established, Scuderia Ferrari entered in this first season, it is the only team to have competed in every season of the World Championship, from its inception to the current day. In fact the Ferrari team missed the first race of the championship, the 1950 British Grand Prix, due to a dispute about the'start money' paid to entrants, the team debuted in the 1950 Monaco Grand Prix with the 125 F1, sporting a supercharged version of the 125 V12, three experienced and successful drivers, Alberto Ascari, Raymond Sommer and Gigi Villoresi.
The company switched to the large-displacement aspirated formula for the 275, 340, 375 F1 cars. The Alfa Romeo team dominated the 1950 Formula One season, winning all eleven events it entered, but Ferrari broke their streak in 1951 when rotund driver José Froilán González took first place at the 1951 British Grand Prix. After the 1951 Formula One season the Alfa team withdrew from F1, causing the authorities to adopt the Formula Two regulations due to the lack of suitable F1 cars. Ferrari entered the 2.0 L 4-cyl Ferrari Tipo 500, which went on to win every race in which it competed in the 1952 Formula One season with drivers Ascari, Giuseppe Farina, Piero Taruffi. In the 1953 Formula One season, Ascari won only five races but another world title; the 1954 Formula One season brought new rules for 2.5 L engines. Ferrari had only two wins, González at the 1954 British Grand Prix and Mike Hawthorn a
The United Kingdom the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, sometimes referred to as Britain, is a sovereign country located off the north-western coast of the European mainland. The United Kingdom includes the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern part of the island of Ireland, many smaller islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the United Kingdom that shares a land border with another sovereign state, the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the United Kingdom is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, with the North Sea to the east, the English Channel to the south and the Celtic Sea to the south-west, giving it the 12th-longest coastline in the world; the Irish Sea lies between Great Ireland. With an area of 242,500 square kilometres, the United Kingdom is the 78th-largest sovereign state in the world, it is the 22nd-most populous country, with an estimated 66.0 million inhabitants in 2017. The UK is constitutional monarchy; the current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II, who has reigned since 1952, making her the longest-serving current head of state.
The United Kingdom's capital and largest city is London, a global city and financial centre with an urban area population of 10.3 million. Other major urban areas in the UK include Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire conurbations, Greater Glasgow and the Liverpool Built-up Area; the United Kingdom consists of four constituent countries: England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their capitals are London, Edinburgh and Belfast, respectively. Apart from England, the countries have their own devolved governments, each with varying powers, but such power is delegated by the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which may enact laws unilaterally altering or abolishing devolution; the nearby Isle of Man, Bailiwick of Guernsey and Bailiwick of Jersey are not part of the UK, being Crown dependencies with the British Government responsible for defence and international representation. The medieval conquest and subsequent annexation of Wales by the Kingdom of England, followed by the union between England and Scotland in 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, the union in 1801 of Great Britain with the Kingdom of Ireland created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Five-sixths of Ireland seceded from the UK in 1922, leaving the present formulation of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. There are fourteen British Overseas Territories, the remnants of the British Empire which, at its height in the 1920s, encompassed a quarter of the world's land mass and was the largest empire in history. British influence can be observed in the language and political systems of many of its former colonies; the United Kingdom is a developed country and has the world's fifth-largest economy by nominal GDP and ninth-largest economy by purchasing power parity. It has a high-income economy and has a high Human Development Index rating, ranking 14th in the world, it was the world's first industrialised country and the world's foremost power during the 19th and early 20th centuries. The UK remains a great power, with considerable economic, military and political influence internationally, it is sixth in military expenditure in the world. It has been a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council since its first session in 1946.
It has been a leading member state of the European Union and its predecessor, the European Economic Community, since 1973. The United Kingdom is a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the Council of Europe, the G7, the G20, NATO, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the World Trade Organization; the 1707 Acts of Union declared that the kingdoms of England and Scotland were "United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain". The term "United Kingdom" has been used as a description for the former kingdom of Great Britain, although its official name from 1707 to 1800 was "Great Britain"; the Acts of Union 1800 united the kingdom of Great Britain and the kingdom of Ireland in 1801, forming the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. Following the partition of Ireland and the independence of the Irish Free State in 1922, which left Northern Ireland as the only part of the island of Ireland within the United Kingdom, the name was changed to the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
Although the United Kingdom is a sovereign country, Scotland and Northern Ireland are widely referred to as countries. The UK Prime Minister's website has used the phrase "countries within a country" to describe the United Kingdom; some statistical summaries, such as those for the twelve NUTS 1 regions of the United Kingdom refer to Scotland and Northern Ireland as "regions". Northern Ireland is referred to as a "province". With regard to Northern Ireland, the descriptive name used "can be controversial, with the choice revealing one's political preferences"; the term "Great Britain" conventionally refers to the island of Great Britain, or politically to England and Wales in combination. However, it is sometimes used as a loose synonym for the United Kingdom as a whole; the term "Britain" is used both as a synonym for Great Britain, as a synonym for the United Kingdom. Usage is mixed, with the BBC preferring to use Britain as shorthand only for Great Britain and the UK Government, while accepting that both terms refer to the United K
Argentina the Argentine Republic, is a country located in the southern half of South America. Sharing the bulk of the Southern Cone with Chile to the west, the country is bordered by Bolivia and Paraguay to the north, Brazil to the northeast and the South Atlantic Ocean to the east, 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 fourth largest in the Americas, the largest Spanish-speaking nation; the sovereign state is subdivided into twenty-three provinces and one autonomous city, Buenos Aires, the federal capital of the nation as decided by Congress. The provinces and the capital exist under a federal system. Argentina claims sovereignty over part of Antarctica, the Falkland Islands, South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands; the earliest recorded human presence in modern-day Argentina dates back to the Paleolithic period. The Inca Empire expanded to the northwest of the country in Pre-Columbian times; the country has its roots in Spanish colonization of the region during the 16th century.
Argentina rose as the successor state of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, a Spanish overseas viceroyalty founded in 1776. The declaration and fight for independence was followed by an extended civil war that lasted until 1861, culminating in the country's reorganization as a federation of provinces with Buenos Aires as its capital city; the country thereafter enjoyed relative peace and stability, with several waves of European immigration radically reshaping its cultural and demographic outlook. The almost-unparalleled increase in prosperity led to Argentina becoming the seventh wealthiest nation in the world by the early 20th century. Following the Great Depression in the 1930s, Argentina descended into political instability and economic decline that pushed it back into underdevelopment, though it remained among the fifteen richest countries for several decades. Following the death of President Juan Perón in 1974, his widow, Isabel Martínez de Perón, ascended to the presidency, she was overthrown in 1976 by a U.
S.-backed coup which installed a right-wing military dictatorship. The military government persecuted and murdered numerous political critics and leftists in the Dirty War, a period of state terrorism that lasted until the election of Raúl Alfonsín as President in 1983. Several of the junta's leaders were convicted of their crimes and sentenced to imprisonment. Argentina is a prominent regional power in the Southern Cone and Latin America, retains its historic status as a middle power in international affairs. Argentina has the second largest economy in South America, the third-largest in Latin America, membership in the G-15 and G-20 major economies, it is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, World Trade Organization, Union of South American Nations, Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the Organization of Ibero-American States. Despite its history of economic instability, it ranks second highest in the Human Development Index in Latin America; the description of the country by the word Argentina has been found on a Venetian map in 1536.
In English the name "Argentina" comes from the Spanish language, however the naming itself is not Spanish, but Italian. Argentina means in Italian " of silver, silver coloured" borrowed from the Old French adjective argentine " of silver" > "silver coloured" mentioned in the 12th century. The French word argentine is the feminine form of argentin and derives from argent "silver" with the suffix -in; the Italian naming "Argentina" for the country implies Terra Argentina "land of silver" or Costa Argentina "coast of silver". In Italian, the adjective or the proper noun is used in an autonomous way as a substantive and replaces it and it is said l'Argentina; the name Argentina was first given by the Venetian and Genoese navigators, such as Giovanni Caboto. In Spanish and Portuguese, the words for "silver" are plata and prata and " of silver" is said plateado and prateado. Argentina was first associated with the silver mountains legend, widespread among the first European explorers of the La Plata Basin.
The first written use of the name in Spanish can be traced to La Argentina, a 1602 poem by Martín del Barco Centenera describing the region. Although "Argentina" was in common usage by the 18th century, the country was formally named "Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata" by the Spanish Empire, "United Provinces of the Río de la Plata" after independence; the 1826 constitution included the first use of the name "Argentine Republic" in legal documents. The name "Argentine Confederation" was commonly used and was formalized in the Argentine Constitution of 1853. In 1860 a presidential decree settled the country's name as "Argentine Republic", that year's constitutional amendment ruled all the names since 1810 as valid. In the English language the country was traditionally called "the Argentine", mimicking the typical Spanish usage la Argentina and resulting from a mistaken shortening of the fuller name'Argentine Republic'.'The Argentine' fell out of fashion during the mid-to-late 20th century, now the country is referred to as "Argentina".
In the Spanish language "Argentina" is feminine, taking the feminine article "La" as the i