Uruguay (/ˈjʊərəɡw/ (listen);[11] Spanish: [uɾuˈɣwaj] (listen)), officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay (Spanish: República Oriental del Uruguay), is a country in South America. It shares borders with Argentina to its west and southwest and Brazil to its north and northeast; while bordering the Río de la Plata to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the southeast. It is part of the Southern Cone region of South America. Uruguay covers an area of approximately 181,034 square kilometers (69,898 sq mi) and has a population of an estimated 3.51 million, of whom 2 million live in the metropolitan area of its capital and largest city, Montevideo.

Oriental Republic of Uruguay
República Oriental del Uruguay  (Spanish)
Motto: Libertad o Muerte
"Freedom or Death"
Anthem: Himno Nacional de Uruguay
"National Anthem of Uruguay"
Sol de Mayo[1][2]
(Sun of May)

Location of Uruguay (dark green)

in South America (grey)

and largest city
34°53′S 56°10′W
Official language
Ethnic groups
GovernmentUnitary presidential republic
Luis Lacalle Pou
Beatriz Argimón
LegislatureGeneral Assembly
Chamber of Representatives
from Brazil
25 August 1825
27 August 1828
18 July 1830
18 December 1945
181,034 km2 (69,898 sq mi) (89th)
 Water (%)
 2019 estimate
3,518,552[6] (132nd)
 2011 census
19.8/km2 (51.3/sq mi) (99th)
GDP (PPP)2022 estimate
$94.783 billion[8] (92nd)
 Per capita
$26,663[8] (59th)
GDP (nominal)2022 estimate
$64.283 billion[8] (80th)
 Per capita
$18,083[8] (49th)
Gini (2019) 39.7[9]
HDI (2021) 0.809[10]
very high · 58th
CurrencyUruguayan peso (UYU)
Time zoneUTC−3 (UYT)
Date formatdd/mm/yyyy
Driving sideright
Calling code+598
ISO 3166 codeUY
Internet TLD.uy

The area that became Uruguay was first inhabited by groups of hunter–gatherers 13,000 years ago.[12] The predominant tribe at the moment of the arrival of Europeans was the Charrúa people, when the Portuguese first established Colónia do Sacramento in 1680; Uruguay was colonized by Europeans late relative to neighboring countries. The Spanish founded Montevideo as a military stronghold in the early 18th century because of the competing claims over the region. Uruguay won its independence between 1811 and 1828, following a four-way struggle between Portugal and Spain, and later Argentina and Brazil. It remained subject to foreign influence and intervention throughout the 19th century, with the military playing a recurring role in domestic politics. A series of economic crises and the political repression against left-wing guerrilla activity in the late 1960s and early 1970s put an end to a democratic period that had begun in the early 20th century,[clarification needed] culminating in the 1973 coup d'état, which established a civic-military dictatorship. The military government persecuted leftists, socialists, and political opponents, resulting in several deaths and numerous instances of torture by the military; the military relinquished power to a civilian government in 1985. Uruguay is today a democratic constitutional republic, with a president who serves as both head of state and head of government.

Uruguay is ranked first in Latin America in democracy, peace, low perception of corruption,[13] and e-government.[14][15] It is the lowest ranking South American nation in the Global Terrorism Index, and ranks second in the continent on economic freedom, income equality, per-capita income, and inflows of FDI.[13] Uruguay is the third-best country on the continent in terms of Human Development Index, GDP growth,[16] innovation, and infrastructure.[13] Uruguay is regarded as one of the most socially progressive countries in Latin America.[17] It ranks high on global measures of personal rights, tolerance, and inclusion issues,[18] including its acceptance of the LGBT community.[19] The country has legalized cannabis, same-sex marriage, prostitution and abortion. Uruguay is a founding member of the United Nations, OAS, and Mercosur.

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