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  • Published on: 15th October 2019
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Trever Wells

The Country of Uruguay

Uruguay is a sovereign state in the south-east region of South America. The country borders Brazil, Argentina, Rio de la Plata as well as the Atlantic Ocean. Around 3.44 million people live in Uruguay, however, almost half of the country’s total population lives in Uruguay’s capital city of Montevideo. Uruguay is estimated to be around 68,000 square miles and is the second smallest nation in South America.

In the year 1280, Uruguay was inhabited by the Charrua people. Four thousand years later, the Portuguese established Colonia del Sacramento which is a city in Uruguay and serves as the Colonia Department. Later, in the early 1700’s, the Spanish founded Uruguay’s capital city, Montevideo, as a military stronghold. Years later, in 1825, Uruguay finally gained independence after a land argument between Spain, Portugal, Argentina and Brazil.

The country consists of many plains and hills as well as marsh, beaches, and lowland. The climate in Uruguay is most of the time mild but can have drastic weather changes due to no mountains being located in Uruguay. The population in Uruguay consists of 9% of people living in rural areas and the other 91% of people living in urban areas. The country is geographically divided into nineteen different administrative departments each consisting of their own capital town. Although Uruguay has a population of 3.44 million, it is believed that around the same amount of people are of Uruguay descent, but live in other countries due to emigration.

The language spoken in Uruguay is a mixture of Spanish languages known as Rioplatense and Platelleno. However, along the border of Brazil, a language known as basirelo is spoken. Basirelo is a mix of Spanish and Portuguese language.

In Uruguay, the color blue represents freedom and is the reason four blue stripes are present on the Uruguay flag. In Uruguay soccer is the national sport and has a massive fan base. The ceibo is the national flower of Uruguay. A man of the name Jose Gervasio Artigas in considered to be the father of independence and political nationalism across Uruguay.

The main food in Uruguay is beef, particularly meat. The parrillada is the most common dish in Uruguay and it consists of tortillas and entrails. The national food/dish of Uruguay is the asado which is barbecued meat. Due to Italian immigration during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, pasta is also considered a national dish in Uruguay. However, pasta in Uruguay is typically only eaten on Sundays. In Uruguay, a normal fast food restaurant is known as a chivito and normally serve steak sandwiches. The most popular deserts in Uruguay and pastries as well as different types of pudding. A “mate” is a beverage in Uruguay that is typically drunk at home, work, or event soccer games or other events. Mates include ground leaves of yerba mate mixed with hot water. For meals in Uruguay, breakfast is usually a light meal while lunch and dinner are considered as more main meals.

The economy in Uruguay consists of services, agricultural production, industry, high levels of social spending and even payment levels. The main natural resources located across Uruguay are pastures, agriculture, hydro power and fisheries. There are very few mineral resources across Uruguay. The country is also one of the few countries to not produce petroleum. The government in Uruguay operates and owns the railroads, airlines, alcohol production factories as well as cement factories.

About half of Uruguay’s exports go to Argentina and Brazil. Imports come from Mercosur partners, the United States and the European Union. In rural areas of Uruguay, jobs are only typically found based on family connections. The main place to get a job in Uruguay is an industrial job. However, due to industries being owned by the government, many job openings are linked with the political party in power at the present time.

Uruguay faces massive problems in poverty. About 16% of Uruguay’s population live in poverty and the unemployment rate is very high.

The name for the country actually comes from a river named the Uruguay River. This means “river of painted birds.” However, the country’s official name is “Republica Oriental de Uruguay.”

Across all of Latin America, Uruguay is the least corrupt country. This is very impressive due to the circumstances Uruguay was once under. In fact, Uruguay’s final dictator, General Gregorio Conrado Alverez was charged with 37 counts of murder and human rights violations and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Many people say that Uruguay is a very nice place to live. It is known for a laid back and safe environment and politically stable as well. Personally, I would love to visit Uruguay one day if I had such an opportunity.

Fun Facts about Uruguay-

Uruguay has a human population of around 3 million. However, the cow population in Uruguay is approximately 12 million.

Uruguay’s national anthem is the longest of any country. It lasts about five minutes.

Uruguay is the only country in Latin America that is based outside of the tropics.

Uruguay is one of the least religious countries in the entirety of Latin America.

In Uruguay, Christmas Day is known as Family Day and Holy Week is known as Tourism Week.

The Uruguay soccer team has won the world cup twice.

Uruguay was the very first country to legalize marijuana in December 2013.

In 2009, Uruguay became the first country to grant every student with a laptop and wifi access for studying and other school work.

Across all of Latin America, Uruguay was the first country to establish a welfare state.

The first ever FIFA World Cup was held in Uruguay in 1930.

Uruguay is approximately the size of the U.S. state of Oklahoma.

Same sex marriage was legal in Uruguay even before the United Kingdom. Uruguay was the 20th country out of all to legalize same sex marriage.

It is illegal to smoke in enclosed public spaces in Uruguay even though smoking marijuana is legal in the country.

Uruguayan politician, Jose Mujica, is the poorest politician ever. He donates 90% of his salary to charity and lives in a one bedroom home.

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