Uruguay (/ˈjʊərəɡwaɪ/(listen); Spanish: [uɾuˈɣwaj](listen);
Portuguese: Uruguai), officially the Oriental Republic of 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. Uruguay covers an area of approximately 176,000 square kilometers (68,000 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.
The area that became Uruguay was first inhabited by groups of
hunter–gatherers 13,000 years ago, 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 relatively late compared with neighboring countries. Montevideo was founded as a military stronghold by the
Spanish in the early 18th century, signifying 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
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 put an end to a democratic period that had begun in the early 20th century, culminating in a
1973 coup, 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.
Montevideo (Spanish pronunciation: [monteβiˈðeo]) is the
largest city of
Uruguay. According to the 2011 census, the
city proper has a population of 1,319,108 (about one-third of the country's total population) in an area of 201 square kilometers (78 sq mi). The southernmost capital city in the
Americas, Montevideo is situated on the southern coast of the country, on the northeastern bank of the
Río de la Plata.
Image 11A map showing European immigration around the world, with the majority of Uruguay (and parts of Argentina and southern Brazil, respectively) having more than 90% of European ancestry (from Culture of Uruguay)
Image 21Senor Montero de Bustamante, Uruguayan Chargé d'Affaires in the United Kingdom, speaking at a 1943 ceremony to name a
Royal Air Force Spitfire fighter funded by Uruguayan donations. (from History of Uruguay)
Image 22Estado Centenario, the main stadium of the 1930 World Cup (from History of Uruguay)
Image 23The Uruguayan National Football Team winning the 2011 edition of the Copa America, hosted by Argentina (from Culture of Uruguay)
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