The capital of Argentina, Buenos Aires is also its most populous city. While the main city itself has a population of around 2-3 million, the metropolitan area surrounding the city has a population of around 15 million. Buenos Aires is located on the Northeastern coast of Argentina, in the estuary of Río de la Plata.
Buenos Aires was first founded in 1536 by Pedro de Mendoza, but was abandoned in 1542 after a number of attacks from the natives. It was re-settled permanently in 1580 by Juan de Garay. It became a major trade centre from that time due to its location near a number of large rivers.
Buenos Aires' name can be translated from Spanish to mean "fair winds", as given to the city by its founders in the 16th century. The original name of the city was "Ciudad de Nuestra Señora Santa María del Buen Ayre", meaning "City of Our Lady Saint Mary of the Fair Winds", named after Our Lady of Bonaria, the patron saint of Sardinia.