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Cuisine/Food Custom


Ancient Peoples

Before the Spanish, Uruguay was inhabited by the Charrúa Indians. Like many Pre-Columbian Indians, the Charrúas were very savage-like people (Charrúa). These people were also hunters and gatherers who lived upon the banks of the Rio de la Plata.
They kept to themselves and lived the same way for years until the Spanish arrived (Redman par. 3). The first Spaniards to arrive were explorers under Juan Díaz de Solís who came to explore the Rio de la Plata in 1516 (Juan Díaz de Solís). When they arrived, the Charrúas killed him and his explorers (Redman par.3) After Solís and his men were killed, more and more Spaniards were coming to Uruguay which then caused the Charrúas to trade with the Spaniards (Redman par. 3). During this time, Portugal and Spain were having conflicts with each other about the land. In 1778, when the Spanish seized Uruguay from Portugal, the Charrúa Indians had all died (Uruguay).

Spanish Conquering

The first Spaniard to visit Uruguay was Juan Díaz de Solís (Uruguay). While he was there, the land was home to native Indians called the Charrúas (Uruguay). The Natives didn’t give him a very good welcome so they killed him and his men (Redman par.3).
Although the Spaniards were the first to visit Uruguay, they weren’t the first to settle there. It was the Portuguese who were the first to settle in Uruguay (Uruguay). Over time, due to disagreements and competition, the Spaniards grew angry about how Portugal had settled in Uruguay. As a result, the Spaniards seized Uruguay from the Portuguese in 1778 (Uruguay). After this, the Spaniards had control of Uruguay and the Charrúas were extict (Uruguay).

The Spaniards would rule Uruguay until 1817 when the Portuguese took back Brazil (History of Uruguay).

Fight for Independence

As, the Spanish ruled over Uruguay, the native peoples of Uruguay didn’t like the way the Spaniards were handling things. In 1811, the natives revolted against the Spaniards (History of Uruguay).
This revolt lasted for six years. Then, in 1817, the Portuguese, who were settled in Brazil, took Brazil from the Spaniards (Uruguay). After the Portuguese took over Uruguay, in 1825 a man named Juan Antonio Lavalleja, issued a declaration of independence (Uruguay). After three years, a peace treaty was signed between Argentina and Brazil to stop fighting (History). With the peace treaty, Uruguay was independent in 1828.



The art in Uruguay ranges for a time of several centuries and has changed much over that time. Starting with the early indigenous people of South America to the influence of explorers and conquistadors, Uruguayan art has seen a lot throughout history.

Figura Femenina - http://www.artemercosur.org.uy/ jpeg/museos/pr2.jpeg
Figura Ornitomorfa - http://www.artemercosur.org.uy/jpeg/ museos/uy1.jpeg

Uruguay like other countries in central and South America has art whose roots stretch to the Pre-Columbian time period. This time period stretches back from before European colonizers landed in these areas in the 16th century (Pre Columbian Art and Architecture). The styles of these works can be seen reflected in Mayan and Aztec works. The forms of this kind of art in Uruguay come prominently in clay sculptures and pots. Here, two examples can be seen: Figura Ornitomorfa (right) and Figura femenina (left). Currently the government and other groups have made programs like the Rock Art Research of Uruguay organization who try protecting works like this from being lost to the world. A museum that specializes in Pre-Columbian art is Museo Municipal Precolumbio y Colonial that shares findings from the excavation of Atonio Tadde (Uruguay: Art).

Since then, art evolved quickly. In the late 18th and early 20th centuries artists like Pedro Figari (Candombe), Juan Manual , and Joaquín Torres García
paved a new way for artists during their time. They explored new styles such as surrealism with a native style called Candombe which is found in other forms as well (The Art in Uruguay). There are many museums that show the style of these painters. Another common style of this time period is planismo art that was developed in 1920-1930 and focuses on color plane relation (Uruguay: Art). Most recently, the dictatorship that had controlled Uruguay for several years has since fallen, giving artists more freedom to publish their work (The Military Government, 1973-85). This freedom has led to a large inflow of new-age artists that seem to congregate in the city of Montevideo where early artists and traders met in a different time (City of Montevideo). A good example of this is “The Hand ,” near Punta Del Este. It features a larger than life hand sculpture coming out of the sand (Punta del Este: Hand Sculpture).


Just like Uruguayan art, music has changed a lot through history. Like in art the music in Uruguay follows the candombe style and has advanced and compounded with modern rock. Music wasn’t just a medium of entertainment but was a popular activity to bring people together and meet. The people of Uruguay have created unique styles that are not seen anywhere else in the world.

To start, candombe is a style that uses rhythms that resemble that of African styles (How's Uruguay's music like?). An instrument often found in candombe is the tamborile, type of drum, and is often celebrated with a large group of people. Another style in Uruguay is the Murgas. The Murgas is a style where people can express themselves through a combination of dancing and music (How's Uruguay's music like?). Groups form and make performances about politics, society, and other things (How's Uruguay's music like?). Also, during the carnival season, groups of Margas form sorts of temporary theaters called Tablados (How's Uruguay's music like?).

A group of people playing candombe music - http://educasitios.educ.ar/grupo1257/?q=node/98

Today, bands of Uruguay continue to produce music. Rock bands in Uruguay continue to meld the candombe rhythm with their new age music so that they’re countries culture may be heard within the songs.


Uruguay has a strong athletic background with many sports teams. Uruguay has sports including rugby and tennis that is popular, but football (soccer) and basketball are the most diehard of the sports. Other than those sports, Uruguay has cycling, boxing and horseracing (Uruguay).
Esteban Batista - http://www.fiba.com/ pages/eng/fc/news/ lateNews/arti.asp?newsid=21668

When the Uruguayan Basketball Federation captured medals in the Olympics, people of Uruguay began follow their basketball team more closely. Most notable of the team’s achievements were the third place that they took in the Olympic Games in Helsinki and Melbourne (Uruguay Sports). Also, one of the most famous players on the team is Esteban Batista (Uruguay Sports). The sport’s popularity in Uruguay is almost overwhelming and is still gaining fans.
Diego Forlan - sandriux. wordpress.com /2008/06/18/ siento-pena/

Like many Central/South American countries, football is a craze. Uruguay’s football team is by far the most popular sports team in the country. The team holds more world titles than any other football team including two gold medals in the Olympics. One achievement is the victory Uruguay gained to be awarded the world cup in 1930 at Montevideo’s Estadio Centenario, the team’s home stadium (Uruguay Sports). Another outstanding achievement was that of the world cup in 1950. Uruguay defeated Brazil in Rio de Janeiro (Uruguay). Some famous players in Uruguay’s football dynasty are Walter Fandiani, Alvaro Recoba , Diego Forlan, and Gonzalez de los Santos (Uruguay Sports). The rich history of the team shows a bright future for the progress of the team.

Cuisine/Food Customs:

Popular Dishes

If you're ever planning on visiting Uruguay, expect to eat plenty of meat! Meat for Uruguay is the same as a hamburger/hot dog to the United States (local, Uruguay.gov), you just have to have it! The national and most popular dish is the Asado (CIA fact, recent), which is a wood burned beef. The asado dish contains Beef ribs, kidneys, salivary glands or sweetbreads, small intestine or large intestine, and sweet blood pudding sausage(Locals and guest, Uruguay). The asado is prepared for all types of dishes in Uruguay. Such as Italian, French, Greek, etc. It is first cooked on a wood burning stove, and then seasoned to whatever type of food the restraunt / dinner / occasion the food is for. Another popular dish
Uruguayp5.jpgin Uruguay, is Chiuito , which is 'fast food' for Uruguay people(Chiquito online, Uruguay). It is a sandwich, stuffed with all kinds of meats, but primarily pork. You can't find many chains you see here in the United States, but their fast food restaurants do offer the same kinds of items. These two dishes are primarily for more city type areas. Because the high demand they are in, and the cost to have Asado made is fairly expensive. In a rural sort of area, barbequed lamb is the most popular dish, because it has a low cost. 88% of Uruguay is rural land(Rural local, Uruguay), so the barbequed land is definitely the most popular cheap food!


To find some of the best restaurants in Uruguay, you're going to travel down to Montevideo(travelguide, Uruguay). The most popular restaurants to go to in Montevideo are the Parilladas (Chef, Parilladas montevideo review). Which are restaurants that serve only meat. They cook the meat on a wood burning grill, and served right off the grill. The way the meat is served is on sticks(infoplease.gov, Uruguay). Where the waitor will keep bringing different types of meat for the table to eat, until you get full, and raise a flag on your table. The waitor then knows you're finished with the meat, and are ready for dessert. This is typical for many South American restaurants, but originated in Uruguay.(CIA world fact book, Uruguay)

Food Customs

Uruguayans have the same food customs as most European countries.(Dept. of State, Uruguay) In the early morning, for breakfast, Uruguayans have Yerba Mate, with some sort of pastry(Yerba news, Uruguay). Then for aww.jpglunch, they have some sort of meat sandwhich, much like the fast food mentioned earlier. This can occur anywhere from 11-3(Yerba news, Uruguay). Dinner is eaten very late at night, because Uruguayans believe in taking naps after every afternoon meal, which includes lunch(Yerba news, Uruguay). So dinner is served from 8-11 at night. This can be asado, or traveling somewhere for dinner, and many other choices to eat. A lot of Uruguayans like the taste of italian food, due to the Euro-Spanish traditions.(CIA fact book, Uruguay)


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