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Uruguay

Uruguay.gif Spanish Text


Geography: Uruguay shares border with Brazil in the north. In the west is separated from Argentina by the Uruguay River. To the south is the estuary of Rio de la Plata and to the east is the Atlantic Ocean. Low rolling hills are characteristic of most of the country. The north-west, which is an extension of southern Brazil’s Paraná Plateau, presents greater variety. The plains are covered by alluvial beds. The Rio Negro, Uruguay’s largest river, crosses the country from north-east to south-west and empties into the Uruguay River, which separates Argentina from Uruguay.

History: Uruguay the smallest independent state in South America, called the banda oriental, was ignored by the Spanish more than 200 years. The Portuguese from Brazil founded Novo Colonia do Sacramento in 1680 to compete with Buenos Aires. Cattle released by the early Spanish expeditions multiply rapidly. The herds were followed by roving band of gauchos, who killed them for foods and to sell their hides. Argentine ranchers took over these places employing the gauchos to look after the herds. This way huge estancias were created. The gauchos who never claimed the land were left out entirely. The city of Montevideo was founded in 1726 by the Spanish.

Throughout the 19th century Uruguay was a battlefield between Brazilians and Spanish. The banda oriental was administered by the Viceroyalty of La Plata. When the British captured Buenos Aires they took Montevideo for seven months. When the Argentineans forced the British to evacuate Montevideo, the inhabitants were reluctant to revert to their former status and they declared their own independence of Buenos Aires in 1808. The Brazilians invaded the banda oriental . A long war of attrition lasted until 1827 when the Uruguayans defeated Brazil at Ituzaingo in 1827. The British again intervened and were instrumental in getting Argentina and Brazil to relinquish their claims to the country. In August 1828, Uruguay was declared independent. However the country was divided in two rival factions, one supported by Argentina and the other by Brazil. Uruguay was dragged by Brazil and Argentina in the War of the Triple Alliance against Paraguay.

Uruguay reached prosperity under the presidency of Jose Batlle y Ordoñez. Legislation provided for an 8 hours working day, holiday with pay, retirement pensions, free medical treatment, legalized divorce. Essential industries were nationalized. Bullfighting was abolished. He also set a precedent in South America in not serving two consecutive terms as president.

Spanish narration

Geografía:

Uruguay In construction

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Created on September 2, 1999

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