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By: Sterling Reamer, Jake Mussallem, Zac Griggs, and Tyler Heline
Population and Religion
The population of Uruguay is approximately 3,494,382, of that 1,352,968 live in Montevideo (CIA). This means that eighty percent of Uruguay’s population lives in urban areas.
The population growth rate is about .466%. The average age for males is 32 and the average age for females is 34.8 (CIA). Uruguay is a secular sate meaning that the church and state are separated (country reports). The major religion is Roman Catholic which 47.1% of Uruguayans are. There are numerous religions in Uruguay; 47.1% are Roman Catholic, 11.1% are non-catholic Christians, 23.2% are nondenominational, 0.3% are Jewish, 17.2% are atheist or agnostic, 1.1% are other (2006 est.) (CIA).
Uruguay is in the
Southern subtropical zone of the South America. This results in it having warm summers and mild winters (Discover Uruguay). It has a quite temperate climate, which results in the coastal areas hardly ever seeing frost. It has grass covered plains in the south and hills in the north; both are broken by valleys, meadows, and rivers. There are five rivers that flow towards western Uruguay and into the Rio Uruguay. The
Rio Uruguay then meets up with the
Paraná River make the
Río de la Plata estuary
The grass lands cover three-fourth of Uruguay’s area (Discover Uruguay). Five percent is forested and ten percent is for agricultural use. The Atlantic coast line is 200 miles long on the western part of Uruguay. The highest point in Uruguay is
Cerro Catedral translates to cathedral hill; it’s has an altitude of 513.66 meters or 1,685 feet (Peak Bagger). It is located in the
hill range in the northern part of Uruguay (Peak Bagger).
There is hardly any pollution in any of the cities due to continues winds and the lack of polluting industries (Discover Uruguay). In the summer the temperature ranges between 70°F- 82°F, while the average temperature during the winter is 50°F- 61°F. The warmest month of the year is January and the coolest month is June.
Rainfall is even throughout the year resulting in there being no rainy season and no dry season (Discover Uruguay).
The capital of Uruguay is Montevideo; it’s located in the southern part of the country. Uruguay is a constitutional republic, and has a legislative branch, a judicial branch, and an executive branch. The president is
Tabaré Ramón Vázquez Rosas
, and the vice president is
Rodolfo Nin Novoa
(country reports). The vice president and the president are elected on the same ticket for five year terms by popular vote. The general assembly consists of a chamber of senators and a chamber of representatives (country reports). The chamber of senators has thirty seats, the senator are elected by popular vote, serve five year terms, and the vice president has one vote. The chamber of representatives has 99 seats; the representatives are elected by popular vote, and also serve five year terms (country reports). The judicial branch is made up of a supreme court. The Supreme Court judges are first nominated by the president and then they are elected to ten year terms by the general assemblies (country reports). There are numerous parties such as the Colorado Party, the Independent Party, the Movement of Popular Participation or MPP, the Progressive Encounter/Broad Front Coalition or EP-FA, the Socialist Party of Uruguay, and the Uruguayan Assembly (country reports).
The exchange rate for Uruguayan pesos to US dollars is 20.936 (2008 est.) (CIA). Uruguay imports from six different countries and exports to 6 countries as well, some of these countries are the same while the others are different (CIA). They import 19.1% of their good from Brazil, 17.9% from Argentina, 9.5% from the United States, 9.1% from China, 7.7% from Paraguay, and 4.7% from Nigeria (CIA). The goods they import are crude petroleum and petroleum products, machinery, chemicals, road vehicles, paper, and plastics (CIA). They export 15.5% of their goods to Brazil, 9.4% to the United States, 8.4% to Argentina, 6.6% to Mexico, 6.1% to China, 4.8% to Germany. The goods they export are meat, rice, leather products, wool, fish, and dairy products (CIA).
Like most of the South American countries, Uruguay was home to several indigenous peoples before the Europeans began settling there.
The largest and most well known of these tribes were the
and the Guarani.(History- Uruguay)
Unfortunately, there is close to no information about either of these tribes that wasn’t destroyed in the many wars fought by the Europeans on Uruguayan soil.
What little we know is that these two tribes were constantly fighting over territory and generally, the Charrua were more successful. (History of Uruguay-1)
The first European settlers to set foot on what is now Uruguay arrived in 1516. (About Uruguay)
However, due to the fierce resistance of the natives and the lack of silver and gold, no major settlements were settled until midway through the 17th century. (History of Uruguay-2)
In 1624, the Spanish became the first to permanently settle in Uruguay near the Rio Negro. (History of Montevideo Uruguay)
Later in 1669, the Portuguese also started settling the Uruguay through the expansion of Brazil which was currently under Portugal’s control. (History of Uruguay-1)
Uruguay’s largest city,
was founded by the Spanish in the 18th century. (History of Montevideo Uruguay)
This became a place of interest in the coming wars as a strong hold for those defending it, and looking to attack elsewhere. (About Uruguay)
The Uruguayan people began searching for freedom from their European controllers soon after Portugal and Spain began fighting for central control over Uruguay. (Jose Gervasio Artigas)
In the Battle of Las Piedras, Jose Gervasio Artigas launched a successful revolt against Spain.
After this he became the national hero of Uruguay. (History of Uruguay-2)
On the political side of things, the country was divided into two separate parties, the “Reds” and the “Whites.” (History of Uruguay- 1)
The Whites were aided by the Argentinean leader, while the Reds were supported by the French.
So in 1839, the Reds declared war on the Whites.
The resulting war would become known as the “
” or the Great War. (History- Uruguay)
Both sides attempted invasions, with the Whites being the most successful.
However, they never managed to take control of the capital of Montevideo.
When a quick victory was unavailable, the Whites laid siege to Montevideo for nine years. (About Uruguay)
The Uruguayans called out for help and the French and Italian legions answered their call.
Later, when the Whites blockaded Paraguay as well, the British and French navies were sent over to break of up Whites attempts. (History of Uruguay-1)
While it looked like the Reds were going to win, a former General for the Uruguayans turned rogue, and made a deal with the Whites who quickly gained control over Montevideo. (Montevideo History)
In Battle of Caseros in February of 1852, the Red leader Rosas was finally overthrown and the Great War came to an end. (History- Uruguay)
Just a few years later Uruguay was once again thrust into war with the Triple Alliance War.
Being fought between the two parties again, the Reds gained backing from Argentina and Brazil.
While the Whites had support form Paraguay. (History of Uruguay-2)
The resulting battles had a price of up to 95% of troops and the eventual victory of the Reds.
In 1870 they came to an agreement with each party having control over their own region of the country. (History of Uruguay-2)
After the Great War, the number of immigrants from all over Europe increased dramatically.
Today, Uruguay has a very diverse population.
The majority speaks Spanish; however, a few of the native languages remain. (History- Uruguay)
Jose Gervasio Artigas is celebrated as the national hero, and has his own day named after him. (Hamre)
All that this little country has been through has made it unique and given it many different aspects of origin making it one of a kind.
Uruguayan customs in cuisine relate very similarly to the food of Uruguay’s origins from Italy, Spain, and Portugal (Uruguayan Cuisine). Influenced by these countries, many Uruguayans eat a lot of meat. Beef and lamb are the main entrées for Uruguay because they are fairly cheap, and easily obtained (Discover Uruguay). Many restaurants accompany them with a side dish and a dessert. Uruguayans have many different ways of preparing the meat, which makes their style unique; however,
asado con cuero
is Uruguay’s most popular style of preparing meat. Uruguayan
asado con cuero
is one of the most sought after barbecues in the world, and really sets apart Uruguayan cuisine (Country Reports).
Typical family meals in Uruguay consist of three things: an entrée, a side dish, and a dessert. Some interesting entrées found in Uruguay include
, pasty turnovers, and
, fast food sandwiches. Side dishes usually include a plate of potatoes, salad, or bread, and
dulce de leche
is the most popular element in a typical Uruguayan dessert (Uruguay). The name originating from its ingredients: milk with sugar,
dulce de leche
is a cream with a caramel-like flavor that many Uruguayans love (Uruguayan Cuisine). There is a lot of debate on whether
dulce de leche
originated in Argentina or Uruguay, however there is no history behind it, so there is no way to prove its country of origin.
Uruguayan culture also has many different beverages. The most popular drink in Uruguay, as well as most of South America, is
, made from Yerba Mate leaves (Uruguay). Mate has a lot of caffeine in it, and it kind of mimics coffee in Northern American culture. Many Uruguayans keep a water thermos with them at all times so they can prepare a fresh cup of Mate whenever they feel its necessary (Discover Uruguay). Some other beverages that Uruguay specializes in comes from wine. The most popular wine choice is
a mixture of fruit juice and white wine. Another popular beverage is
medio y medio
, which involves mixing sparkling wine with white wine (Uruguay).
Many times, Uruguayans get all of their food from stores specializing in particular food products. The grocer has all of the vegetables you need, the butcher has all the meat you can desire, and the fishmonger has the freshest fish around. A lot of working families prefer to buy their food this way because they don't have room in their homes to store food for long amounts of time. Many families do not freeze their food to use later, and do their shopping every couple of days (Uruguay).
Mealtimes in Uruguay are pretty similar to those in Europe. Many Uruguayans have some bread and jam with a cup of mate for breakfast (Country Reports). Following that, lunch time can occur anywhere from noon to 4 p.m., and many Uruguayans go out to their favorite restaurants to eat the meal of the day. Dinner in Uruguay isn't eaten until very late at night, from 9 to 10 p.m. This is because after their lunch meal, many Uruguayans take a short nap, and then resume their jobs until the late hours of the night (Uruguay).
For those who prefer to go out to eat food,
has some of the most fantastic restaurants in Uruguay. The most popular type of restaurant in Uruguay is the
. These types of restaurants serve only meat, and use only wood charcoal for the fires because it brings out the flavor better than a gas barbecue (Uruguay). Gaucho clubs are also famous restaurants in Uruguay. Many gaucho clubs relate to bars as we see here in the United States. They serve beer and asado con cuero as specialties for the men and women who eat there (Country Reports). Many of these gaucho clubs do not even open until after 10 p.m., because many Uruguayans don't go there until after they are done working (Uruguay).
The people of Uruguay love entertainment, as do most people of the world do today. There are three main groups of entertainment: sports, music, and art. Uruguayan entertainment was influenced by other countries. Some examples are the United States, and many European and South American countries.
Many sports are played in Uruguay, but the most popular sport by far is football (mapsofworld). If you didn’t already know, most countries in the world besides the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and a few smaller nations, refer to the game of soccer as football (wikianswers). As a matter of fact, the
1st FIFA World Cup
was played in Uruguay (fifa). Uruguay won the game, and as a result became the 1st World Cup champions. Uruguay is one of five countries to win the world cup two or more times (infoplease). Some famous football players are: Juan Schiaffino, Enzo Francescoli, Alvaro Recoba, and Diego Forlan. Rugby is another popular sport in Uruguay (mapsofworld). It is second only to football. Rugby has gained popularity as the country’s team started winning major events. The rugby team of Uruguay has never won a World Cup, although they have come very close (mapsofworld). Uruguayans also enjoy playing basketball. The Olympic basketball team for Uruguay has always performed admirably. They have received 2 bronze medals throughout their career, and also have other high placements (sports-reference). Finally, Uruguayans are beginning to like tennis. Not many Uruguayans are famous for playing tennis, granted there are some who excel in the sport. Marcelo Filippini, a Uruguayan, made it all the way to the quarter finals of the French Open in 1999 (mapsofworld).
The art of Uruguay is pretty diverse. It began with the native people of South America, and has been continued up to today (escape artist). Forms of art include: drawings, paintings, murals, sculptures, and much more (Wikipedia). The people of also Uruguay enjoy seeing art in museums. Some include: Museo de Artes Decorativas, Museo Municipal de Bellas Artes, Museo Municipal de Historia del Arte, Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales, and Museo Municipal Precolombino y Colonial (universeinuniverse). Some famous artists from Uruguay are Pedro Figari, Francis Luis,
, and Rafael Barradas (universeinuniverse). The thing people find interesting about art is it can be interpreted differently. It is also cool to look at.
There are many popular forms of music in Uruguay. The modern music of Uruguay, like rock and jazz, is heavily influenced by the US, while the tango, murga, milonga, and candombe can be traced back to Uruguay and other South American countries (Wikipedia). Some popular rock groups in Uruguay are: Los Shakers, Los Malditos, Los Iracundos, and Los Mockers (Wikipedia). Los Shakers in particular were following the Beatles example. They were an Uruaguayan imitation of the Beatles. Hundreds of thousands of people will go to the concerts of famous rock bands (Wikipedia). Classical music is widely accepted as well. The Orquesta Filarmónica plays for Montevideo’s City Hall, among other places (Wikipedia). The tango is probably the most popular type of folk music. It was originally used by the poor, but was incorporated into all levels of society (Wikipedia).
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