Uruguay Map

Introduction   People   History   Culture   Life   Land   Animal   Economy   Language   Politics   Government   Education   Defence   Time   Currency   Legal   Communications  Legal system Organization   Provinces   Disputes  
Uruguay    Plants and Animal Back to Top

Crop production in Uruguay has never been as valuable as farm animal raising. Only about 8% of the land area was dedicated to growing crops in the mid-1980s, compared with 75% dedicated to farm animal. The amount of land under cultivation has varied according to the world price of farm animal products. When beef prices have declined, for example, ranchers have planted wheat or corn. Rising farm animal prices in the 1980s resulted in a considerable decrease in the area dedicated to most crops. Because crop production had gradually become more efficient through mechanization, crop yields did not necessarily decline.

The dairy industry, based in the departments near Montevideo, expanded considerably in the 1980s. Milk production increased from 400,000 tons in 1979 to 635,000 tons in 1987. Even though many dairy farmers still relied on natural pastures, limiting the milk output per cow, Uruguay was more than self-sufficient in dairy products and exported to other Latin American countries. Most domestic milk processing and marketing was controlled by the National Dairy Products Cooperative, which distributed dairy products throughout the nation.

Uruguay    Communications Back to Top

general assessment: some modern facilities
domestic: most modern facilities concentrated in Montevideo; new nationwide microwave radio relay network
international: satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Uruguay    Culture Back to Top

Uruguay was once known as the "Switzerland of South America" as a result of its relative governmental stability, advanced level of economic development, and social peace. Indeed, in the creation of a welfare state, it was far ahead of Switzerland during the first half of the 20th century. Starting in the 1950s, Uruguay's economy began to stagnate, and the oncevaunted welfare state became increasingly poor. Commentators talked of the "Latin Americanization" of Uruguay as it descended from the ranks of the developed nations to the level of the Third World. Political and social unrest eventually culminated in the military coup of 1973; by then the case for seeing Uruguay as very different from the rest of Latin America was largely undermined.

In sum, Uruguayan society in 1990 presented a contradictory picture of advanced social indicators and declining economic status. In many ways, it remained unlike other Latin American and Third World countries.

Uruguay    Defence Back to Top

Military branches: Army, Navy (includes Naval Air Arm, Coast Guard, Marines), Air Force, Police (Coracero Guard, Grenadier Guard)
Military manpower - availability: males age 15-49: 817,535 (2001 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service: males age 15-49: 661,777 (2001 est.)

Uruguay    International Disputes Back to Top


Uruguay    Economy Back to Top

Agriculture, specifically stock raising, is of primary importance to the economy, although manufacturing is increasing in significance. Most businesses are privately owned, but the government operates the state railways, electrical power and telephones, and the official broadcasting service. In 1998 budget figures showed $6.7 billion in revenue and $6.9 billion in expenditure.

The foundation of Uruguay's economy is said to have been laid in 1603, when a governor of Paraguay, Hernando Arias de Saavedra, shipped a number of cattle and horses downstream from Asunción. The animals were landed on the Uruguayan riverbank, where they were left to run wild. Later in the century the herds were so extensive that they attracted gauchos, who crossed the Río de la Plata from Buenos Aires and began a trade in hides. As more cattlemen arrived, boundaries had to be fixed, setting the stage for the development of the great estancias of the nation.

Uruguay's economy is characterized by an export-oriented agricultural sector, a well-educated workforce, comparatively even income distribution, and high levels of social spending. After averaging growth of 5% annually in 1996-98, in 1999-2000 the economy suffered from lower demand in Argentina and Brazil, which together account for about half of Uruguay's exports. contempt the severity of the trade shocks, Uruguay's financial indicators remained more stable than those of its neighbors, a reflection of its solid reputation among investors and its investment-grade sovereign bond rating - one of only two in Latin America. Challenges for the government of President Jorge BATLLE include expanding Uruguay's trade ties beyond its MERCOSUR trade partners and reducing the costs of public services. GDP fell by 1.1% in 2000 and will grow by perhaps 1.5% in 2001.

Uruguay    Education Back to Top

Uruguay had the highest literacy rate in Latin America, at 96 % in 1985. There was no appreciable difference in literacy rates between males and females, but there were discrepancies between urban and rural rates .Uruguay's system of universal, free, and secular education required a total of nine years of compulsory school attendance, from ages six to fourteen. The proportion of children of primary school age listed in school had long been virtually 100 %. Furthermore, from 1965 to 1985 the proportion of children of secondary school age listed in some form of secondary school grew from 44 to 70 %, also the highest rate in Latin America. The postsecondary education enrollment rate was about 20 %. Coeducation was the norm, and females and males attended school in near-equal numbers at all levels. As is typical of any nation, rates of schooling were higher in urban areas than in rural areas.

Uruguay has one of the highest rates of literacy in Latin America. Primary education is compulsory, and Uruguay is one of the few nations in the Western Hemisphere in which all education, including college and postgraduate work, is free. In 1996 primary schools numbered 2,415 and were attended by 345,600 students; secondary schools had an enrollment of 170,700. Institutions of higher education include the University of the Republic and about 40 teacher-training schools.

Uruguay    Government Back to Top

Government: Republic with three separate branches of government. Constitution of 1967 institutionalized strong presidency, subject to legislative and judicial checks. administrator power exercised by president (elected for five-year term by simple majority of the people through unique voting system), vice president (who served as president of bicameral General Assembly), and Council of Ministers. General Assembly consisted of thirty-member Senate and ninety-nine-member Chamber of Representatives; members of both chambers elected to five-year terms through proportional representation system. Independent judicial branch headed by Supreme Court of Justice. nation's administrative subdivisions consisted of nineteen departments, each headed by a governor, subordinate to central government and responsible for local administration. Unusual electoral system combined primaries and a general election in one event characterized by a "double simultaneous vote," allowing each party's factions to run rival lists of candidates.

Politics: Civilian government restored in 1985 after twelve years of military rule. Lacalle of conservative National Party (Partido Nacional, usually referred to as Blancos)--elected president in November 1989 in nation's first free election since 1971--succeeded Sanguinetti of liberal Colorado Party (Partido Colorado) on March 1, 1990. Two-party system of these rival parties had controlled since nineteenth century but was dealt strong challenge in November 1989 elections by win of mayorship of Montevideo by Broad Front (Frente Amplio), a leftist coalition. Other parties in 1989 elections included various factions of Colorado Party and National Party and new left-of- center, social democratic coalition, New Sector (Nuevo Espacio).

International Relations: Guided historically by principles of nonintervention, respect for national sovereignty, and reliance on rule of law to settle disputes. traditionally an active participant in international and regional organizations. During 1973-85 time of military rule, "military diplomacy" focused on national and regional subversion and geopolitical concerns. Sanguinetti renewed relations with Cuba, Nicaragua, and China and strengthened relations with Soviet Union. Excellent bilateral relations with United States during 1985-90 time. Lacalle continued orthodox guidelines of Uruguayan foreign policy and placed emphasis on regional integration, particularly with Argentina and Brazil. Although somewhat ambivalent toward United States policy on drug trafficking, Lacalle strongly endorsed President George H.W. Bush's free-trade Enterprise for the Americas Initiative of June 1990.

Uruguay    History Back to Top

When spaniards determined the territory of present-day Uruguay in 1516, they found only a rolling prairie populated by groups of Indians living in primitive conditions. When confronted by the Spaniards, the Indians fiercely defended their freedom and their independent way of life. their continued ferocious resistance to Spanish conquest, combined with the absence of gold and silver, discouraged settlement in this region during the 16th and early 17th centuries. Colonization by Spain began to increase, when Portugal showed an interest in expanding Brazil's frontiers to the Río de la Plata Estuary in the late 17th century. Indeed, the early history of Uruguay is controlled by the fight between Spain and Portugal and then between Brazil and Argentina for control of the Banda Oriental -as Uruguay was then known, the eastern side, or bank, so called because the territory lies to the east of the Río Uruguay, which forms the border with Argentina and flows into the Río de la Plata.

In 1967 the Colorados regained power, but President Jorge Pacheco Areco enforced a limited state of siege throughout most of his tenure. He applied a price- and wagefreeze policy to fight inflation, banned leftist groups, and called in the military to repress the Tupamaros, whose acts of urban terrorism posed a major national security threat. In 1972 Pacheco's successor, President Juan María Bordaberry Arocena ,supported by the military, declared a state of "internal war," closed the General Assembly, persecuted the opposition, banned unions and leftist parties, and curtailed civil liberties. The military dictatorship that he instituted also implemented a neoliberal, monetarist, economic policy that sought to reverse years of capital flight and economic stagnation by increasing exports and controlling inflation. Although it scored some economic successes, the military suffered a defeat in 1980 after submitting an authoritarian constitution to a plebiscite. From then on, civil political leaders returned to the political scene, and in 1984 the majority of the political parties and the military agreed to call for elections in November 1985, thus allowing for a transition to democracy.

Uruguay    Introduction Back to Top

Uruguay (in Spanish, República Oriental del Uruguay), republic in south-eastern South America, bordered on the north and east by Brazil, on the east and south by the Atlantic Ocean, on the south by the Río de la Plata, and on the west by Argentina. It is the second smallest nation on the continent. The Uruguay River forms the entire western boundary. The area of Uruguay is 176,215 sq km (68,037 sq mi). Montevideo is the nation's capital, chief port, and economic centre.

Official Name- Eastern Republic of Uruguay
Capital City- Montevideo
Languages- Spanish (official)
Official Currency- Uruguayan Peso
Religions- Catholic, others
Population- 3,412,000
Land Area- 174,810 sq km (67,494 sq miles)
Uruguay    Land Back to Top


Uruguay    Languages Back to Top

Freedom of religion is guaranteed by the constitution of Uruguay. Three-quarters of the people belong to the Roman Catholic Church. Spanish is the official language.

Uruguay    Legal Back to Top

Legal system: based on Spanish civil law system; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction vote: 18 years of age; universal and compulsory administrator branch: chief of state: President Jorge BATLLE (since 1 March 2000) and Vice President Luis HIERRO (since 1 March 2000); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government head of government: President Jorge BATLLE (since 1 March 2000) and Vice President Luis HIERRO (since 1 March 2000); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president with parliamentary approval elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for five-year terms; election last held 31 October 1999 with run-off election on 28 November 1999 (next to be held NA 2004) election results: Jorge BATLLE elected president; % of vote - Jorge BATLLE 52% in a runoff against Tabare VAZQUEZ 44% Legislative branch: bicameral General Assembly or Asamblea General consists of Chamber of Senators or Camara de Senadores (30 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) and Chamber of Representatives or Camara de Representantes (99 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) elections: Chamber of Senators - last held 31 October 1999 (next to be held NA 2004); Chamber of Representatives - last held 31 October 1999 (next to be held NA 2004) election results: Chamber of Senators - % of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - Encuentro Progresista 12, Colorado Party 10, Blanco 7, New Sector/Space Coalition 1; Chamber of Representatives - % of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - Encuentro Progresista 40, Colorado Party 33, Blanco 22, New Sector/Space Coalition 4 Judicial branch: Supreme Court (judges are nominated by the president and elected for 10-year terms by the General Assembly)

Uruguay    Life Back to Top

By the beginning of the twentieth century, the orthodox pattern of patriarchy was breaking down in Uruguay. The relative emancipation of women put Uruguay far ahead of the rest of Latin America in terms of legal rights and social custom. Civil marriage became legally required in 1885, and the determine of the church declined. Divorce on the grounds of cruelty by the husband was legalized in 1907, and in 1912 women were given the right to file for divorce without a specific cause. Married women were allowed to maintain separate bank accounts as early as 1919. Women also were provided with equal access to educational opportunities at all levels early in the 20th century, and they began to enter the professions in increasing numbers. In 1938 women voted for the first time in national elections. Nevertheless, there was a paternalistic flavor to many of the reforms, which were often seen as protecting women rather than guaranteeing their inalienable rights.

As in other countries, the advent of television has reduced movie and theater attendance precipitously, causing more leisure hours to be spent in the home. Uruguayans remained enthusiastic in their participation in competitive sports, however. Amateur soccer continued to thrive among the middle and lower classes, whereas the upper-middle classes preferred tennis, golf, and sailing. For the elite, membership in a nation club was an valuable focus of leisure activity and a symbol of social status.

Uruguay    organization Back to Top
International organization Member


Uruguay    People Back to Top

In 1988 Uruguay's population was around at 3,081,000, up somewhat from the 2,955,241 inhabitants recorded in the 1985 census. From 1981 to 1988, the population growth rate averaged about 0.7 % per year. In South America, only Guyana and Suriname had a lower growth rate. According to projections, the growth rate would continue in the 0.6 to 0.7 range through the year 2020, resulting in an around total population of 3,152,000 in 1995, 3,264,000 in 2000, and 3,679,000 in 2020.

Uruguay is one of the few Latin-American republics not overwhelmingly Roman Catholic. According to Uruguayan census data, about 60 % of the people identify themselves as Roman Catholic, but, in terms of practicing communicants, there are indications of a still lower %age. The establishment of Methodist churches in provincial cities attests to the Protestant missionary efforts of the 1920s. There are also sizable congregations of Anglicans and other Protestant groups. Jews, mostly in Montevideo, make up a very small minority group in Uruguay, but they are nevertheless one of the larger Jewish communities in South America. Mormon missionaries have become increasingly active.

Uruguayd    Politics Back to Top

Colorado Party [Jorge BATLLE]; National Party or Blanco [Alberto VOLONTE]; New Sector/Space Coalition or Nuevo Espacio [Rafael MICHELINI]; Progressive Encounter in the Broad Front or Encuentro Progresista [Tabare VAZQUEZ] Political pressure groups and leaders: NA

Uruguaya    Provinces Back to Top

19 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento); Artigas, Canelones, Cerro Largo, Colonia, Durazno, Flores, Florida, Lavalleja, Maldonado, Montevideo, Paysandu, Rio Negro, Rivera, Rocha, Salto, San Jose, Soriano, Tacuarembo, Treinta y Tres

Uruguay    Time Back to Top
Live Time and Date ( Click Here )

Uruguay    Currency and General Information Back to Top
Uruguay Pesos United States Dollars
1.00 UYU 0.0649351 USD
15.4000 UYU 1 USD

Countries Currency Unit USD/Unit Units/USD
DZD Algeria Dinars 0.0129554 77.1877
USD United States Dollars 1.00000 1.00000
ARS Argentina Pesos 0.341293 2.93004
AUD Australia Dollars 0.533413 1.87472
ATS Austria Schillings ** 0.0632609 15.8076
BSD Bahamas Dollars 1.00000 1.00000
BBD Barbados Dollars 0.502513 1.99000
BEF Belgium Francs ** 0.0215788 46.3417
BMD Bermuda Dollars 1.00000 1.00000
BRL Brazil Reals 0.430318 2.32386
GBP United Kingdom Pounds 1.42399 0.702251
BGL Bulgaria Leva 0.447293 2.23567
CAD Canada Dollars 0.627606 1.59336
CLP Chile Pesos 0.00152392 656.202
CNY China Yuan Renminbi 0.120813 8.27726
CYP Cyprus Pounds 1.49883 0.667186
CZK Czech Republic Koruny 0.0281883 35.4758
DKK Denmark Kroner 0.117155 8.53568
XCD East Caribbean Dollars 0.370370 2.70000
EGP Egypt Pounds 0.217271 4.60255
EUR Euro 0.870489 1.14878
FJD Fiji Dollars 0.447227 2.23600
FIM Finland Markkaa ** 0.146406 6.83034
FRF France Francs ** 0.132705 7.53550
DEM Germany Deutsche Marks ** 0.445074 2.24682
XAU Gold Ounces 301.977 0.00331151
GRD Greece Drachmae ** 0.00255463 391.447
HKD Hong Kong Dollars 0.128215 7.79939
HUF Hungary Forint 0.00358416 279.006
ISK Iceland Kronur 0.00999868 100.013
INR India Rupees 0.0205205 48.7319
IDR Indonesia Rupiahs 0.000102055 9,798.61
IEP Ireland Pounds ** 1.10529 0.904738
ILS Israel New Shekels 0.212386 4.70841
ITL Italy Lire ** 0.000449570 2,224.35
JMD Jamaica Dollars 0.0210041 47.6099
JPY Japan Yen 0.00754183 132.594
JOD Jordan Dinars 1.41057 0.708931
LBP Lebanon Pounds 0.000660937 1,513.00
LUF Luxembourg Francs ** 0.0215788 46.3417
MYR Malaysia Ringgits 0.263330 3.79751
MXN Mexico Pesos 0.111007 9.00848
NZD New Zealand Dollars 0.440474 2.27028
NOK Norway Kroner 0.113022 8.84780
NLG Netherlands Guilders ** 0.395011 2.53158
PKR Pakistan Rupees 0.0166945 59.9000
PHP Philippines Pesos 0.0196386 50.9202
XPT Platinum Ounces 510.962 0.00195709
PLN Poland Zlotych 0.243488 4.10699
PTE Portugal Escudos ** 0.00434198 230.310
ROL Romania Lei 0.0000303433 32,956.21
RUR Russia Rubles 0.0321342 31.1195
SAR Saudi Arabia Riyals 0.266668 3.74998
XAG Silver Ounces 4.65692 0.214734
SGD Singapore Dollars 0.542540 1.84318
SKK Slovakia Koruny 0.0208441 47.9751
ZAR South Africa Rand 0.0883340 11.3207
KRW South Korea Won 0.000759354 1,316.91
ESP Spain Pesetas ** 0.00523174 191.141
XDR IMF Special Drawing Rights 1.24862 0.800882
SDD Sudan Dinars 0.00384615 260.000
SEK Sweden Kronor 0.0964189 10.3714
CHF Switzerland Francs 0.593789 1.68410
TWD Taiwan New Dollars 0.0286531 34.9002
THB Thailand Baht 0.0230087 43.4619
TTD Trinidad and Tobago Dollars 0.163399 6.12000
TRL Turkey Liras 0.000000763622 1,309,549.07
VEB Venezuela Bolivares 0.00108696 920.000
ZMK Zambia Kwacha 0.000239866 4,169.00

Uruguay : Geographic coordinates 33 00 S, 56 00 W
Uruguay : Population growth rate 0.78%
Uruguay : Birth rate 17.36 births/1,000 population
Uruguay : Death rate 9.03 deaths/1,000 population
Uruguay : People living with HIV/AIDS 6,000
Uruguay : Independence 25 August 1825
Uruguay : National holiday Independence Day, 25 August
Uruguay : Constitution 27 November 1966
Uruguay : GDP purchasing power parity - $31 billion
Uruguay : GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $9,300
Uruguay : Electricity - consumption 5.89 billion kWh
Uruguay : Exports $2.6 billion meat, rice, leather products, vehicles, dairy products, wool, electricity
Uruguay : Imports $3.4 billion road vehicles, electrical machinery, metal manufactures, heavy industrial machinery, crude petroleum
Uruguay : Telephones 850,000
Uruguay : Mobile cellular 300,000
Uruguay : Radio broadcast stations AM 94, FM 115, shortwave 14
Uruguay : Radios 1.97 million
Uruguay : Television broadcast stations 26
Uruguay : Televisions 782,000
Uruguay : Internet country code .uy
Uruguay : Internet Service Providers (ISPs) 7
Uruguay : Internet users 300,000
Uruguay : Railways 2,073 km
Uruguay : Highways 8,983 km
Uruguay : Waterways 1,600 km
Uruguay : Pipelines N/A
Uruguay : Ports and harbors Fray Bentos, Montevideo, Nueva Palmira, Paysandu, Punta del Este, Colonia, Piriapolis
Uruguay : Merchant marine 2 ships
Uruguay : Airports 64
Uruguay : Heliports N/A
Uruguay : Military branches Army, Navy (includes Naval Air Arm, Coast Guard, Marines), Air Force, Police
Uruguay : Military expenditures $172 million