Uruguay is a small country on the southeastern coast of South America. It has an area of 176,000 sq km, making it the second smallest country in South America after Suriname. Uruguay is home to millions of people, most of whom live in the capital, Montevideo. Since it is on the coast, Uruguay has lovely beaches for surfing and scuba-diving. It also has lush green parks with amazing trails to walk on.


Around five hundred years ago, the Spanish were the first Europeans to come to Uruguay. The Portuguese made the first permanent settlement in 1680 at Colonia as competition against the Spanish who had built the city of Buenos Aires on the opposite shore of the Rio de la Plata. The Spaniards responded by building a fortress in 1726 in Montevideo. From then on, Montevideo became a major Spanish port.

Uruguay soon became a place of a "tug-of-war" game between the Spanish and Portuguese, both of whom wanted that land to be theirs. Soon it became an independent country in the middle of Argentina and Brazil which both tested the "fragile independence" of Uruguay.

In 1815, José Gervasio Artigas, a Uruguayan hero, declared Uruguay independent with his "revolution of the poor." But in 1816, Brazil attacked Montevideo, and after a long fight, Uruguay became a part of Brazil in 1821. On August 25, 1825, Juan Antonio Lavalleja and his men produced a declaration of independence. After three years of fighting, a peace treaty between Argentina and Brazil was brokered by Britain and it was signed on August 28, 1828 granting Uruguay its independence.

From 1864 to 1870, Uruguay teamed up with Brazil and Argentina against Paraguay for the War of the Triple Alliance. Many historians believe that this war started with the influence of the British, who needed a new cotton source due to the Civil War in the United States.

In 1930 and 1950, Uruguay won the FIFA World Cups.

In 1973, Uruguay's government was taken over by military forces and the country entered a hard military dictatorship. This lasted for 12 years. In the year 1985, the dictatorship was over and the country became a constitutional republic once again.

Between 2007 and 2009, Uruguay was the only country in South America that did not experience a recession. In 2009, it became the first country in the world to provide every child with a free laptop with wireless internet. In the same year, it became it the first country in South America to allow gay adoption.

Flag Colours
The flag was created on July 11, 1830 which has made it one of the world's oldest flags. The sun in the flag means the 'Sun of May.' It represents independence and freedom. The nine stripes represent the nine provinces the country had in 1830.

As of February 21, 2011, there were 3,493,809 people in Uruguay. Making up this population are 88% Whites, 8% Mestizos (mixed European and Native American heritage or descent), and 4% Blacks.

The official language of Uruguay is Spanish. The Spanish spoken here has some modifications due to Italian immigrants. Other languages, though, are Riverense Portunol and Rioplatense Spanish. The literacy rate in Uruguay is 95-96%.

There are many religions being practised in Uruguay. Of the more than 3.49 million people, 52% are Roman Chatholic, 16% are Protestant or other Christian, 1% are Jewish, and 30% practise other small religions or don't practise any at all.

Uruguay uses Uruguayan Pesos (UYP) as their money. One Uruguayan Peso is equivalent to 0.05168 USD. Uruguay is ranked 83rd in the world with an average per capita income of USD (US Dollars) 7980.


Government and President
Uruguay is a constitutional republic. A constitutional republic is where the head of the state and other officials must be representatives of the people and must rule according to the constitutional law that limits the government's power on the citizens. The elected president, who is the chief of state and the head of the government, serves a five-year term. The current president of Uruguay is José Alberto Mujica Cordano.

Mujica was born on May 20, 1935 in the capital of Uruguay, Montevideo. He joined the Tupamaros movement, a political group that would steal food and distribute it to poor people in Montevideo, in the early 1960s. He was a guerilla leader and participated in the conquering of the town of Pando in 1969, but was captured by authorities. Mujica escaped Punta Carretas Prison in 1971 along with other political prisoners. He was then taken into custody in 1972 and was shot six times by the police. He was transfered to a military prison where he served 14 years. In 1985, he was freed under amnesty laws. On March 1, 2010 he became the president of Uruguay.

Industries and Exports
Uruguay has many major industries and exports. Three industries are agriculture, fishing and oil refining. The exports are meat, rice and leather goods.

Famous Person
Diego Forlán Corazo was born on 19 May 1979 in Montevideo to a soccer playing family. His father and grandfather were both soccer players for Uruguay. Forlán has played for many South American clubs. He played in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and won the Golden Ball, an award given to the tournament's best player and was also one of the top scoring players with five goals.

Local Dish
Chivitos are one of the most popular dishes in Uruguay. They are sandwiches consisting of bacon, filet mignon and many other succulent ingredients.

2 slices of bacon
1/4 inch filet mignon slice
1 egg
1 hard bread roll
1 slice ham
1 slice cheese
2 tomato slices
1 onion slice
Salt and pepper

1) Fry the bacon in a skillet and when cooked, drain, but leave bacon fat in the skillet.
2) Pound the filet mignon until it is about the size of the bread roll, sprinkle salt and pepper on it on both sides, fry in bacon fat, and remove it when it is pink in the center,
3) Fry the egg and remove it when the yolk is cooked, but still runny.
4) Slice and toast the bread roll, spread the mayonnaise on both sides and add condiments from bottom to top in this order: filet mignon, ham, cheese, egg, bacon, lettuce, tomato, and then onion.

Tourist Destinations
There are many beautiful places to go and fun things to do in Uruguay.
The Hand in the Sand: It was built in 1982 by the Chilean artist Mario Irrazábal when he took part in the 1st International Meeting of Modern Sculpture in the Open Air in Punta del Este on Brava Beach on a spot called Parada 4. It took him one week to finish the magnificent sculpture while facing the wind and the blowing sand. It is photographed each year by thousands of people and is the face of most Uruguayan postcards. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions.

Plaza Independencia (Spanish for Independence Square): It is the name of Montevideo's most important plaza. Plaza Independencia splits Ciudad Vieja, the oldest part of Montevideo, from downtown Montevideo. It holds many important buildings such as the President's office and the Solis Theatre. The Plaza is very beautiful and has many places to just walk around and enjoy the scenery.

Museo del Mar: This museum houses thousands of shells and starfish from Uruguay, Africa and other extrinsic places. It also keeps preserved seabirds and sea animals as well as a skeleton of a whale. There are two tanks full of starfish of every shape and size. It is always a great place to go and see the wonders of sea life.


Duck Hunting: A great place to go duck hunting is the Rio Branco Lodge. It is a nice place to go hunting with your friends and family. The Lodge's employees will provide you and your three friends with guns.

Dorado Fishing: La Zona is a perfect spot to go freshwater fishing. It hosts some of the largest dorados in South America. Golden dorado can be up to 50 pounds which would be some catch. It is quite possible that you could catch at least 15 fish in La Zona.

Beaches: The beaches of Uruguay are beautiful with the blue sea and sandy white beaches. Because of the calmness and appearance of these beaches, they are quite famous. You could surf, swim, go para-sailing, windsurfing, water skiing, or rent a boat and take it out to sea.

1-Day Itinerary

-Wake up to the breathtaking view in The Conrad Punta del Este Resort and Casino. This five star hotel has 296 guest rooms including 31 appointed suites all with beautiful views of the ocean. It has five restaurants ranging from a casual lunch to a formal dinner. It is located in Punta del Este.
-Get dressed and head down to the breakfast buffet of Las Brisas Restaurant with a wide selection of filling choices.
-Grab your camera because you are headed to the Museo del Mar.

-After you visit the Museo del Mar, grab some lunch in your hotel at the Las Brisas Café Terrace (a Californian-style restaurant that serves barbeque, pizza and even breakfast).
-You may want to rest a while to save energy for the fun packed evening, but if not you can go shopping at the Punta Shopping Mall where you will find over 100 stores and the “most complex cinema” in the region.

-Get dressed and head to Brava Beach where you will encounter the Hand in the Sand, a famous sculpture created in 1982.
-Come back to the hotel, freshen up and pay the St. Tropaz Restaurante an elegant visit. This Italian restaurant is known for it’s gourmet fine dining and great service.
-After your meal, go back to your room where you will be able to see the beautiful ocean and city lights as you get ready for a comfortable night at The Conrad Punta del Este Resort and Casino.