Uruguay Travel Information

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Uruguay > Map Economy History

Facts About Uruguay

Background: A violent Marxist urban guerrilla movement, the Tupamaros, launched in the late 1960s, led Uruguay's president to agree to military control of his administration in 1973. By the end of the year the rebels had been crushed, but the military continued to expand its hold throughout the government. Civilian rule was not restored until 1985. Uruguay's political and labor conditions are among the freest on the continent.
Government type: republic
Capital: Montevideo
Currency: 1 Uruguayan peso ($Ur) = 100 centesimos

Geography of Uruguay

Location: Southern South America, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Argentina and Brazil
Geographic coordinates: 33 00 S, 56 00 W
Area:
total: 176,220 sq km
land: 173,620 sq km
water: 2,600 sq km
Land boundaries:
total: 1,564 km
border countries: Argentina 579 km, Brazil 985 km
Coastline: 660 km
Maritime claims:
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
territorial sea: 200 nm; overflight and navigation guaranteed beyond 12 nm
Climate: warm temperate; freezing temperatures almost unknown
Terrain: mostly rolling plains and low hills; fertile coastal lowland
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Cerro Catedral 514 m
Natural resources: arable land, hydropower, minor minerals, fisheries
Land use:
arable land: 7%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 77%
forests and woodland: 6%
other: 10% (1997 est.)
Irrigated land: 7,700 sq km (1997 est.)
Natural hazards: seasonally high winds (the pampero is a chilly and occasional violent wind which blows north from the Argentine pampas), droughts, floods; because of the absence of mountains, which act as weather barriers, all locations are particularly vulnerable to rapid changes in weather fronts
Environment - current issues: water pollution from meat packing/tannery industry; inadequate solid/hazardous waste disposal
Environment - international agreements:
party to:  Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Life Conservation, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified:  Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban
Geography - note: second-smallest South American country (after Suriname); most of the low-lying landscape (three-quarters of the country) is grassland, ideal for cattle and sheep raising.

People of Uruguay

Uruguayans share a Spanish linguistic and cultural background, even though about one-quarter of the population is of Italian origin--most are Roman Catholic. Church and state are officially separated.

Uruguay is distinguished by its high literacy rate, large urban middle class, and relatively even income distribution. The average Uruguayan standard of living compares favorably with that of most other Latin Americans. Metropolitan Montevideo, with about 1.4 million inhabitants, is the only large city. The rest of the urban population lives in about 20 towns. During the past two decades, an estimated 500,000 Uruguayans have emigrated, principally to Argentina and Brazil. As a result of the low birth rate, high life expectancy, and relatively high rate of emigration of younger people, Uruguay's population is quite mature.

Population: 3,415,920 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years:  24.39% 
15-64 years:  62.61%
65 years and over:  13%
Population growth rate: 0.78% 
Birth rate: 17.36 births/1,000 population 
Death rate: 9.03 deaths/1,000 population 
Net migration rate: -0.51 migrant(s)/1,000 population 
Infant mortality rate: 14.7 deaths/1,000 live births 
Life expectancy at birth:
total population:  75.44 years
male:  72.11 years
female:  78.96 years 
Total fertility rate: 2.36 children born/woman 
Nationality:
noun: Uruguayan(s)
adjective: Uruguayan
Ethnic groups: white 88%, mestizo 8%, black 4%, Amerindian, practically nonexistent
Religions: Roman Catholic 66% (less than one-half of the adult population attends church regularly), Protestant 2%, Jewish 1%, nonprofessing or other 31%
Languages: Spanish, Portunol, or Brazilero (Portuguese-Spanish mix on the Brazilian frontier)
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97.3%
male: 96.9%
female: 97.7% (1995 est.)

SOURCES: The World Factbook, U.S. Department of State

Mother Earth Travel > Country Index > Uruguay > Map Economy History