The Online Library of Knowledge

South America

Uruguay

A map of UruguayA map of Uruguay Uruguay lies sandwiched between its huge neighbours, Brazil and Argentina. Much of the country is covered by the grassy plains of the Pampas. Low ranges of hills called cuchillas rise from these plains. Uruguay is criss-crossed by rivers. The largest, the Rio Negro (“Black River”) flows across the country from east to west, while the River Uruguay forms the western border with Argentina. Along the coast are sandy beaches, dunes and lagoons. Uruguay has a mild temperate climate.

A map of UruguayA map of Uruguay

Street drummers, MontevideoStreet drummers, Montevideo

People

Nearly all Uruguayans are descendants of the thousands of Spanish and Italian immigrants who arrived in the country after independence in 1828. The official language is Spanish, but on the border with Brazil many people speak a mixture of Portuguese and Spanish, called “Portuñol”. About half the entire population lives in the capital, Montevideo.


The city and port of MontevideoThe city and port of Montevideo

Lunarejo Valley, near the border with BrazilLunarejo Valley, near the border with Brazil

Uruguay is a peaceful, liberal country. Its citizens enjoy a high standard of living; everyone has access to a good education, clean water, healthcare and social security. However, many skilled, educated Uruguayans, especially those under 25, have left the country to look for work in the US and Spain. The result is an ageing population.

With 11 verses, Uruguay’s national anthem is the longest in the world. Usually, only the first two verses are sung.

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