Map of Uruguay




Montevideo, founded by the Spanish in 1726 as a military stronghold, soon took advantage of its natural harbor to become an important commercial center. Claimed by Argentina but annexed by Brazil in 1821, Uruguay declared its independence four years later and secured its freedom in 1828 after a three-year struggle. The administrations of President Jose BATLLE in the early 20th century launched widespread political, social, and economic reforms that established a statist tradition. A violent Marxist urban guerrilla movement named the Tupamaros, launched in the late 1960s, led Uruguay’s president to cede control of the government to the military in 1973. By yearend, the rebels had been crushed, but the military continued to expand its hold over the government. Civilian rule was not restored until 1985. In 2004, the left-of-center Frente Amplio Coalition won national elections that effectively ended 170 years of political control previously held by the Colorado and Blanco parties. Uruguay’s political and labor conditions are among the freest on the continent.





Southern South America, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Argentina and Brazil

Geographic coordinates:

33 00 S, 56 00 W

Map references:

South America


total:  176,215 sq km

land:  175,015 sq km

water:  1,200 sq km

Area – comparative:

slightly smaller than the state of Washington

Land boundaries:

total:  1,648 km

border countries:  Argentina 580 km, Brazil 1,069 km


660 km

Maritime claims:

territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200 nm or edge of continental margin


warm temperate; freezing temperatures almost unknown


mostly rolling plains and low hills; fertile coastal lowland

Elevation extremes:

lowest point:  Atlantic Ocean 0 m

highest point:  Cerro Catedral 514 m

Natural resources:

arable land, hydropower, minor minerals, fisheries

Land use:

arable land: 10.25%
permanent crops: 0.22%
other: 89.52% (2011)


Irrigated land:

1,810 sq km (2003)

Natural hazards:

seasonally high winds (the pampero is a chilly and occasional violent wind which blows north from the Argentine pampas), droughts, floods; because of the absence of mountains, which act as weather barriers, all locations are particularly vulnerable to rapid changes in weather fronts

Environment – current issues:

water pollution from meat packing/tannery industry; inadequate solid/hazardous waste disposal

Environment – international agreements:

party to:  Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands

signed, but not ratified:  Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban

Geography – note:

second-smallest South American country (after Suriname); most of the low-lying landscape (three-quarters of the country) is grassland, ideal for cattle and sheep raising




3,332,972 (July 2014 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 21% (male 356,851/female 344,576)
15-24 years: 16% (male 269,820/female 262,830)
25-54 years: 38.9% (male 639,766/female 658,257)
55-64 years: 10.1% (male 158,170/female 178,194)
65 years and over: 13.9% (male 185,132/female 279,376) (2014 est.)

Population growth rate:

0.26% (2014 est.)

Birth rate:

13.18 births/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Death rate:

9.48 deaths/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Net migration rate:

-1.08 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2014 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.66 male(s)/female
total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2014 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 8.97 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 9.95 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 7.95 deaths/1,000 live births (2014 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 76.81 years

male: 73.67 years
female: 80.06 years (2014 est.)

Total fertility rate:

1.84 children born/woman (2014 est.)

HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate:

0.7% (2012 est.)

HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS:

13,200 (2012 est.)

HIV/AIDS – deaths:



noun:  Uruguayan(s)

adjective:  Uruguayan

Ethnic groups:

white 88%, mestizo 8%, black 4%, Amerindian, practically nonexistent


Roman Catholic 47.1%, non-Catholic Christians 11.1%, nondenominational 23.2%, Jewish 0.3%, atheist or agnostic 17.2%, other 1.1% (2006)


Spanish (official), Portunol, Brazilero (Portuguese-Spanish mix on the Brazilian frontier)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98.1%
male: 97.6%
female: 98.5% (2010 est.)



Country name:

conventional long form:  Oriental Republic of Uruguay

conventional short form:  Uruguay

local long form:  Republica Oriental del Uruguay

local short form:  Uruguay

former:  Banda Oriental, Cisplatine Province

Government type:

constitutional republic



Administrative divisions:

19 departments (departamentos, singular – departamento); Artigas, Canelones, Cerro Largo, Colonia, Durazno, Flores, Florida, Lavalleja, Maldonado, Montevideo, Paysandu, Rio Negro, Rivera, Rocha, Salto, San Jose, Soriano, Tacuarembo, Treinta y Tres


25 August 1825 (from Brazil)

National holiday:

Independence Day, 25 August (1825)


several previous; latest approved by plebiscite 27 November 1966, effective 15 February 1967; amended several times, last in 2004 (2013)

Legal system:

civil law system based on the Spanish civil code


18 years of age; universal and compulsory

Executive branch:

chief of state: President Jose “Pepe” MUJICA Cordano (since 1 March 2010); Vice President Danilo ASTORI Saragoza (since 1 March 2010); note – the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Jose “Pepe” MUJICA Cordano (since 1 March 2010); Vice President Danilo ASTORI Saragoza (since 1 March 2010)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president with parliamentary approval

(For more information visit the World Leaders website Opens in New Window)

elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for five-year terms (may not serve consecutive terms); election last held on 29 November 2009 (next to be held in October 2014)
election results: Jose “Pepe” MUJICA Cordano elected president; percent of vote – Jose “Pepe” MUJICA Cordano 54.8%, Luis Alberto LACALLE 45.2%

Legislative branch:

bicameral General Assembly or Asamblea General consists of Chamber of Senators or Camara de Senadores (30 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms; vice president has one vote in the Senate) and Chamber of Representatives or Camara de Representantes (99 seats; members elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: Chamber of Senators – last held on 25 October 2009 (next to be held in October 2014); Chamber of Representatives – last held on 25 October 2009 (next to be held in October 2014)
election results: Chamber of Senators – percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – Frente Amplio 16, Blanco 9, Colorado Party 5; Chamber of Representatives – percent of vote by party – NA; seats by party – Frente Amplio 50, Blanco 30, Colorado Party 17, Independent Party 2

Judicial branch:

highest court(s): Supreme Court of Justice (consists of 5 judges)
judge selection and term of office: judges nominated by the president and appointed in joint conference of the General Assembly; judges appointed for 10-year terms, with re-election after a lapse of 5 years following the previous term
subordinate courts: Courts of Appeal; District Courts (Juzagados Letrados); Peace Courts (Juzagados de Paz); Rural Courts (Juzgados Rurales)

Political parties and leaders:

Broad Front (Frente Amplio) – formerly known as the Progressive Encounter/Broad Front Coalition or EP-FA [Monica XAVIER] (a broad governing coalition that includes Popular Participation Movement (MPP), New Space Party (Nuevo Espacio) [Rafael MICHELINI], Progressive Alliance (Alianza Progresista) [Rodolfo NIN NOVOA], Socialist Party [vacant], Communist Party [Eduardo LORIER], Uruguayan Assembly (Asamblea Uruguay) [Danilo ASTORI Saragoza], and Vertiente Artiguista [Enrique RUBIO])
Colorado Party (Vamos Uruguay) [Martha MONTANER]
Independent Party [Pablo MIERES]
National Party or Blanco [Luis Alberto HEBER]

Political pressure groups and leaders:

Chamber of Commerce and Export of Agriproducts

Chamber of Industries (manufacturer’s association)
Exporters Union of Uruguay
National Chamber of Commerce and Services
PIT/CNT (powerful federation of Uruguayan Unions – umbrella labor organization)
Rural Association of Uruguay (rancher’s association)
Uruguayan Network of Political Women
other: B’nai Brith; Catholic Church; students

International organization participation:


Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Carlos Alberto GIANELLI Derois (since 11 September 2012)
chancery: 1913 I Street NW, Washington, DC 20006
telephone: [1] (202) 331-1313 through 1316
FAX: [1] (202) 331-8142
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York

Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Julissa REYNOSO (since 30 March 2012)
embassy: Lauro Muller 1776, Montevideo 11200
mailing address: APO AA 34035
telephone: [598] (2) 1770-2000
FAX: [598] (2) 1770-2128

Flag description:

nine equal horizontal stripes of white (top and bottom) alternating with blue; there is a white square in the upper hoist-side corner with a yellow sun bearing a human face known as the Sun of May and 16 rays alternately triangular and wavy



Economy – overview:

Uruguay has a free market economy characterized by an export-oriented agricultural sector, a well-educated work force, and high levels of social spending. Following financial difficulties in the late 1990s and early 2000s, economic growth for Uruguay averaged 8% annually during the period 2004-08. The 2008-09 global financial crisis put a brake on Uruguay’s vigorous growth, which decelerated to 2.6% in 2009. Nevertheless, the country managed to avoid a recession and keep positive growth rates, mainly through higher public expenditure and investment, and GDP growth reached 8.9% in 2010 but slowed in 2012-13, the result of a renewed slowdown in the global economy and in Uruguay’s main trade partners and Common Market of the South (Mercosur) counterparts, Argentina and Brazil. Uruguay has sought to expand trade within Mercosur and with non-Mercosur members. Uruguay’s total merchandise trade with Mercosur since 2006 has increased by nearly 70% to more than $5 billion while its total trade with the world has almost doubled to roughly $23 billion in 2013.


$56.27 billion (2013 est.)

$54.37 billion (2012 est.)
$52.31 billion (2011 est.)
note: data are in 2013 US dollars

GDP – real growth rate:

3.5% (2013 est.)

3.9% (2012 est.)
6.5% (2011 est.)

GDP – per capita:

$16,600 (2013 est.)

GDP – composition by sector:

agriculture: 7.5%
industry: 21.5%
services: 71% (2013 est.)

Population below poverty line:

18.6% (2010 est.)


lowest 10%: 1.9%
highest 10%: 34.4% (2010 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

8.3% (2013 est.)

Labor force:

1.7 million (2013 est.)

Labor force – by occupation:

agriculture: 13%
industry: 14%
services: 73% (2010 est.)

Unemployment rate:

6.5% (2013 est.)


revenues: $17.14 billion
expenditures: $18.62 billion (2013 est.)


food processing, electrical machinery, transportation equipment, petroleum products, textiles, chemicals, beverages

Industrial production growth rate:

6.6% (2013 est.)

Electricity – production:

9.5 billion kWh (2011 est.)

Electricity – consumption:
7.96 billion kWh (2011 est.)
Electricity – exports:
19 million kWh (2011 est.)
Electricity – imports:
477 million kWh (2011 est.)
Electricity – installed generating capacity:
2.588 million kW (2010 est.)
Electricity – from fossil fuels:
39.8% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Electricity – from nuclear fuels:
0% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Electricity – from hydroelectric plants:
59.4% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Electricity – from other renewable sources:
0.8% of total installed capacity (2010 est.)
Crude oil – production:
1,183 bbl/day (2012 est.)
Crude oil – exports:
0 bbl/day (2010 est.)
Crude oil – imports:
38,680 bbl/day (2010 est.)


 $12.5 billion (2013 est.)

Agriculture – products:

soybeans, rice, wheat; beef, dairy products; fish; lumber, cellulose


$10.5 billion (2013 est.)

Exports – commodities:

beef, soybeans, cellulose, rice, wheat, wood, dairy products; wool

Exports – partners:

Brazil 18.6%, China 17.9%, Argentina 6.2%, Germany 4.3% (2012)

Imports – commodities:

refined oil, crude oil, passenger and other transportation vehicles, vehicle parts, cellular phones

Imports – partners:

China 16.4%, Brazil 14.9%, Argentina 14.6%, US 9.1%, Paraguay 7.3% (2012)

Debt – external:

$17.61 billion (31 December 2013 est.)


Uruguayan peso (UYU)

Currency code:


Exchange rates:

Uruguayan pesos (UYU) per US dollar –
20.58 (2013 est.)
20.311 (2012 est.)
20.059 (2010 est.)
22.568 (2009)
20.936 (2008)

Fiscal year:

calendar year




Telephones – main lines in use:
1.01 million (2012)
Telephones – mobile cellular:
5 million (2012)
Telephone system:
general assessment: fully digitalized
domestic: most modern facilities concentrated in Montevideo; nationwide microwave radio relay network; overall fixed-line and mobile-cellular teledensity has reached 170 telephones per 100 persons
international: country code – 598; the UNISOR submarine cable system provides direct connectivity to Brazil and Argentina; satellite earth stations – 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2011)
Broadcast media:
mixture of privately owned and state-run broadcast media; more than 100 commercial radio stations and about 20 TV channels; cable TV is available; many community radio and TV stations; adopted the hybrid Japanese/Brazilian HDTV standard (ISDB-T) in December 2010 (2010)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
1.036 million (2012)
Internet users:
1.405 million (2009)




total: 1,641 km

standard gauge:  1,641 km 1.435-m gauge (1,200 km operational) (2010)


total: 77,732 km

paved: 7,743 km
unpaved: 69,989 km (2010)


1,600 km 

Ports and harbors:

Fray Bentos, Montevideo, Nueva Palmira, Paysandu, Punta del Este, Colonia, Piriapolis

Merchant marine:

total: 16)


133 (2013)

Airports – with paved runways:

total: 11
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 4
under 914 m: 2 (2013)

Airports – with unpaved runways:

total: 122
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 40
under 914 m:
79 (2013)


   Transnational Issues

Disputes – international:

in 2010, the ICJ ruled in favor of Uruguay’s operation of two paper mills on the Uruguay River, which forms the border with Argentina; the two countries formed a joint pollution monitoring regime; uncontested boundary dispute between Brazil and Uruguay over Braziliera/Brasiliera Island in the Quarai/Cuareim River leaves the tripoint with Argentina in question; smuggling of firearms and narcotics continues to be an issue along the Uruguay-Brazil border

Thanks  to: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/us.html



Estado de América del Sur que limita al N. con el Brasil, al E. con el Atlántico, al S. con el Rió de la Plata y al O. con Argentina, de la cual esta separado por el rió Uruguay.

  • Población: 3.332.972(July 2014 est.)
  • Población urbana :85%
  • Densidad :17 hab./km2
  • Área :177.410. km2
  • Capital : Montevideo
  • Idioma : Castellano
  • Unidad Monetaria : Peso uruguayo.
  • Fiesta Nacional : 25-VIII, Independencia (1825); 18-VII 1a Constitución (1830).
  • Salud : 1 medico por cada 880 hab. (1986) y 1 lecho de hospital por cada 80 (1986).
  • Mortalidad infantil: 25 cada 1.000 niños menores de 5 años.
  • Agua Potable : 73% de la población tiene acceso (88/90).



El suelo uruguayo es suavemente ondulado, y su sistema ortográfico, prolongación de las estribaciones del sur del Brasil, esta limitado por una serie de elevaciones monótonas, de estructura cristalina, llamadas cuchillas, cuya altitud oscila entre 200 y 500 metros. Sobresalen la Cuchilla Grande, entre el rió Negro, el Plata y el Atlántico, y la Cuchilla de Haedo, prolongada en el limite con el Brasil por la Negra y la Santa Ana. En la parte meridional del territorio se alzan serranías como la de las Animas , donde se halla el cerro del mismo nombre, que es el mas alto del país (501 metros). Existe un tapiz vegetal casi continuo de pasturas naturales, aptas para la cría de ganado bovino y ovino.

Costas e islas

El país posee unos 450 km. de costas a lo largo del Plata y 220 de costas marítimas. Este litoral ofrece una sucesión de playas arenosas, de gran interés turístico (Pocitos, Atlántida, Piriapolis, Punta del Este, La Paloma, etc.), alternadas con puntas pedregosas. La costa del Atlántico, mas regular que la platense, es anegadiza en algunos sitios, y a lo largo de ella abundan las lagunas. Las principales islas, próximas al litoral, son las de Juncal, Flores, Gorriti y Lobos.


El país esta recorrido por numerosos ríos, afluentes casi todos del rió Uruguay. Este, de mas de 1.600 kms. de curso, nace en el Brasil y es navegable, incluso por buques de gran calado, hasta Paysandu; entre sus afluentes figuran el Cuareim, Arapey, Dayman, Queguay, y el rió Negro, de 600 km. que procede también del Brasil, atraviesa el país de este a oeste y recibe a su vez los ríos Yi y Tacuarembo, entre otros. Hacia el rió de la Plata y la laguna Merin, que es la principal laguna del litoral, van ríos de poca importancia. El territorio que esta bien regado por numerosos cursos de agua, presenta algo mas de 1.100 kms. de aguas navegables.



La margen oriental del rió Uruguay estaba habitada por charruas, chanaes, guaranies, tapes y arachanes. Fueron los charruas los mas característicos de la región y los que ofrecieron mayor resistencia a los europeos. La llegada de los españoles coincidió con la extensión por todo el territorio de la influencia  guaraní, cuya lengua unifico la región. Divididos en pequeñas poblaciones, que vivían sobre todo de la caza, los charruas no alcanzaron un grado de civilización muy elevado.

El descubrimiento de la costa uruguaya fue realizado por Juan Díaz de Solís, quien tomo posesión del territorio, en nombre del rey, en febrero de 1516; la expedición termino con la muerte de Solís a manos de los pobladores de las orillas del Plata. En su ruta de circunnavegación del globo, Magallanes toco sin duda en la costa uruguaya y dio probablemente nombre a Montevideo (1520).

Sebastián Gaboto fue el primer europeo que penetro en los ríos Paraná y Uruguay en 1527 y levanto el primer establecimiento español en el territorio. Pero los colonizadores ignoraron la margen oriental del Uruguay por mas de un siglo, hasta que la introducción de ganado por el gobernador de Asunción, Hernando Arias de Saavedra (Hernandarias), en 1611, transformo a la región en la “Vaquería del Mar”. En 1603, ya Hernandarias había tratado de penetrar en la Banda Oriental, pero fue detenido por los charruas.

Los Adelantados del Río de la Plata, ocupados en la pacificación de Buenos Aires y en la exploración del Paraguay, prestaron poca atención a la Banda Oriental, nombre que se daba entonces al territorio uruguayo. Las buenas pasturas y el clima templado, permitieron la reproducción del ganado a gran escala, lo que atrajo a los “faeneros” (extractores de cueros) desde Brasil y Buenos Aires. El mestizaje entre faeneros e indios (cuya civilización había sido totalmente transformada por la introducción de la carne de vaca en su dieta, y del caballo como medio de obtenerla) dio origen al “gaucho”.

La practica de quemar los pastizales altos (para permitir el crecimiento de pasturas bajas, mas adecuadas a la alimentación bovina) se hizo frecuente en el siglo XVIII y condujo a la extinción de muchos mamíferos autóctonos, a la reducción de la diversidad vegetal y al empobrecimiento del suelo, desde entonces mas susceptible a la erosión. Los indígenas que no se adaptaron a esta nueva vida fueron desplazados hacia las misiones jesuíticas, en el norte, o sufrieron un gradual genocidio que tuvo su punto mas alto en el siglo XIX.

En busca del ganado y también de los ríos que llevaban al interior de la cuenca del Plata, los portugueses avanzaron por la entonces llamada Banda Oriental (territorio que correspondía aproximadamente al Uruguay actual) y fundaron Colonia do Sacramento frente a Buenos Aires, en 1680. La Colonia fue objeto durante mucho tiempo de disputas entre España y Portugal. En 1724, España ordeno al Gobernador de Buenos Aires, Bruno Mauricio de Zabala que cruzara el Río de la Plata y fundara una plaza fuerte en la Bahía de Montevideo.

El territorio uruguayo fue adjudicado a la Gobernación del Río de la Plata cuando esta fue creada (1617). El primer gobernador, Diego de Góngora (1618-1623), confió a los misioneros franciscanos y jesuitas la penetración en la Banda Oriental. Esta política fue continuada por su sucesor y su consecuencia fue la fundación de Santo Domingo de Soriano, en 1624. Los charruas se mostraron rebeldes a la presencia de los misioneros, pero los chanaes aceptaron pacíficamente la creación de las reducciones.