Uruguay is located south of Brazil and east of Argentina.
Area 176,215 sq.km.
The captial is Monteviedo
Uruguay uses the peso for currency
The 5 biggest citys are Montevideo, Salto & Paysandu
Population of the country is 3,477,778
Income per person $7,000
Many people are non-Religious and Spiritist
Total number of people groups is 30
Total % of people groups reached 3.3%
Uruguayan society has been characterized
by secularism and hope in man for over 100 years.
Lack of knowledge of God has given opening
to a spirit of error.
Evangelical churches have struggled throughout
the past century to make an impact on Uruguayan society.
The poor are a growing segment
of society with 40% of children now being born into poverty
as the middle class shrinks.
Type: Constitutional republic.
Independence: August 25, 1825.
Constitution: First 1830, current 1967, most recently amended
Branches: Executive--president (chief of state and head of
government). Legislative--General Assembly elected by proportional
representation consisting of a 99-seat Chamber of Deputies
and a 30-seat Senate. Judicial--Supreme Court of Justice.
Administrative subdivisions: 19 departments with limited autonomy.
Political parties/coalitions: Colorado Party, Blanco (National)
Party, Frente Amplio, Independent Party.
Suffrage: Universal and compulsory at 18.
Gross domestic product (GDP): $32.3 billion (2008); $24.3
billion (2007); $20.0 billion (2006); $17.4 billion (2005);
13.7 billion (2004).
Annual growth rate: +8.9% (2008); +7.6% (2007); +4.6% (2006);
+7.5% (2005); +5.0% (2004). Per capita GDP: $9,660 (2008); $7,300 (2007);
$6,044 (2006); $5,254 (2005); $4,146 (2004). Natural resources: Arable land, pastures,
hydroelectric power, granite, marble, fisheries.
Agriculture (10% of GDP): Products--beef, wool, rice, wheat,
barley, corn, soybeans, fish, forestry.
Industry (16% of GDP): Types--food processing, electrical
machinery, wool, textiles, leather, leather apparel, beverages
and tobacco, chemicals, cement, petroleum products, transportation
equipment. Services: About 60% of GDP. Trade: Exports (2008, f.o.b.)--$6.0 billion
($7.2 billion including exports of cellulose pulp and beverage
concentrates from free trade zones): beef, rice, dairy products,
wood, soy and leather. Major markets--Brazil, Argentina, Nueva
Palmira Free Trade Zone, Russia, Venezuela, U.S. Imports (2008,
c.i.f.)--$7.1 billion: oil, planes, telephony equipment, insecticides,
vehicles. Major suppliers--Brazil, Argentina, China, United
States, Canada, Russia.
Uruguayans share a Spanish linguistic and cultural background,
even though about one-quarter of the population is of Italian
origin. Most are nominally Roman Catholic although the majority
of Uruguayans do not actively practice a religion. Church
and state are officially separated.
Uruguay is distinguished by its high literacy rate, large
urban middle class, and relatively even income distribution.
The average Uruguayan standard of living compares favorably
with that of most other Latin Americans. Metropolitan Montevideo,
with about 1.3 million inhabitants, is the only large city.
The rest of the urban population lives in about 20 towns.
During the past two decades, an estimated 500,000 Uruguayans
have emigrated, principally to Argentina and Spain. Emigration
to the United States also rose significantly. As a result
of the low birth rate, high life expectancy, and relatively
high rate of emigration of younger people, Uruguay's population
is quite mature.
The only inhabitants of Uruguay before European colonization
of the area were the Charrua Indians, a small tribe driven
south by the Guarani Indians of Paraguay. The Spanish discovered
the territory of present-day Uruguay in 1516, but the Indians'
fierce resistance to conquest, combined with the absence of
gold and silver, limited settlement in the region during the
16th and 17th centuries. The Spanish introduced cattle, which
became a source of wealth in the region. Spanish colonization
increased as Spain sought to limit Portugal's expansion of
Montevideo was founded by the Spanish in the early 18th century
as a military stronghold; its natural harbor soon developed
into a commercial center competing with Argentina's capital,
Buenos Aires. Uruguay's early 19th century history was shaped
by ongoing conflicts between the British, Spanish, Portuguese,
and colonial forces for dominance in the Argentina-Brazil-Uruguay
region. In 1811, Jose Gervasio Artigas, who became Uruguay's
national hero, launched a successful revolt against Spain.
In 1821, the Provincia Oriental del Rio de la Plata, present-day
Uruguay, was annexed to Brazil by Portugal. The Provincia
declared independence from Brazil in August 25, 1825 (after
numerous revolts in 1821, 1823, and 1825) but decided to adhere
to a regional federation with Argentina.
The regional federation defeated Brazil after a 3-year war.
The 1828 Treaty of Montevideo, fostered by the United Kingdom,
gave birth to Uruguay as an independent state.
The nation's first constitution was adopted in 1830. The
remainder of the 19th century, under a series of elected and
appointed presidents, saw interventions by neighboring states,
political and economic fluctuations, and large inflows of
immigrants, mostly from Europe. Jose Batlle y Ordoñez,
president from 1903 to 1907 and again from 1911 to 1915, set
the pattern for Uruguay's modern political development. He
established widespread political, social, and economic reforms
such as a welfare program, government participation in many
facets of the economy, and a plural executive. Some of these
reforms were continued by his successors.
By 1966, economic, political, and social difficulties led
to constitutional amendments, and a new constitution was adopted
In 1973, amid increasing economic and political turmoil,
the armed forces closed the Congress and established a civilian-military
regime, characterized by repression and widespread human rights
abuses. A new constitution drafted by the military was rejected
in a November 1980 plebiscite. Following the plebiscite, the
armed forces announced a plan for return to civilian rule.
National elections were held in 1984. Colorado Party leader
Julio Maria Sanguinetti won the presidency and served from
1985 to 1990. The first Sanguinetti administration implemented
economic reforms and consolidated democracy following the
country's years under military rule.