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While gold has been the world's monetary standard for centuries, the abundance of silver in the New World made that metal one of great prominence in the colonies of both Spain and England. The name Argentina, the largest Spanish-speaking country in South America, is actually derived from the Latin word for silver: argentum. In the United States, the change from a gold to silver monetary standard was a major issue in numerous elections, as those with substantial silver holdings would have immediately seen the value of their wealth skyrocket if such a measure had ever passed.