Argentina, is the eighth-largest country in the world. Once known for being a 'European nation in South America', Argentina offers a dynamic and rich cultural life in its cities, and sparsely-populated grasslands, mountains and glacial parks in the south.
The name Argentina derives from argentinos, the Ancient Greek diminutive (tinos) form for silver (argentos), which is what early Spanish explorers sought when they reached the region in the 16th century. In the first decade of the 20th century, Argentina became the richest nation in Latin America, its wealth symbolized by the opulence of its capital city, Buenos Aires. European immigrants flowed into Argentina, particularly from the northern parts of Italy and Spain; by 1914 nearly 6 million people had come to the country. After World War II, a long period of Peronist rule in subsequent governments was followed by a military junta that took power in 1976. Democracy returned in 1983 but a painful economic crisis at the turn of the 21st century devalued the Argentine peso by a factor of three and ushered in a series of weak, short-lived governments along with social and economic instability.