Uruguay Brief History

By | December 20, 2021

The colonial age and independence. Populated by indi charrúa, visited for the first time by the Spaniard J. Díaz de Solís in 1516, the region located between the Atlantic and the eastern bank of the Uruguay river (called for this reason by the Spaniards Banda oriental) for many years did not know serious attempts at colonization. During the 17th century in the territory, included in the province of Rio della Plata, the breeding of cattle and sheep was introduced; with the foundation of Colonia del Sacramento by the Portuguese (1680), the Banda oriental became the subject of contention between them and the Spaniards, who in 1726 created the garrison of Montevideo and with the Peace of San Ildefonso (1777) saw their sovereignty over the region. Part of the viceroyalty of the Rio della Plata, the Banda oriental was administratively subjected to Buenos Aires, against which reasons for resentment soon arose; also for this reason the province initially remained loyal to Spain when Buenos Aires deposed the viceroy and established an autonomous government junta (May 1810). In February 1811 an independence movement supported by Buenos Aires and led by JG Artigas promoted an anti-Spanish insurrection; soon, however, the insurgents were forced to fight not only against the realists, barricaded in Montevideo, but also against the Portuguese and against the troops of Buenos Aires, which considered the Banda oriental its province and rejected the federalist principles advocated by Artigas. He managed to impose his authority on the entire eastern territory only at the beginning of 1815, Artigas opened the ports to foreign traders and distributed the lands stolen from the royalists to his soldiers. However, a new Portuguese intervention forced him into a difficult guerrilla war and in 1821 the Banda oriental was incorporated into the Portuguese empire with the name of Estado Cisplatino, becoming the following year an independent province of Brazil. In 1825 JA Lavalleja at the head of a few men entered eastern territory and managed to defeat the Brazilians and to proclaim the adhesion of the region to the united provinces of the Rio della Plata; a conflict ensued between them and Brazil, resolved with the birth of a buffer state between the two powerful neighbors, the República oriental del Uruguay. The first years of life of the Uruguay independent were characterized by the contrast between the caudillos JF Rivera (liberal, exponent of the merchant class and the upper urban bureaucracy, president in 1830-35) and M. Oribe (conservative, expression of the great landowners and breeders of the interior, president in 1835-38), whose followers were called respectively colorados and blancos. The rivalry between the two resulted in a war (1838-51), in which Argentina also participated, in support of Oribe, and Brazil, France and Great Britain, sided with Rivera. Ended with the victory of the Colorados, the war left the country in dire economic conditions. In 1865, Brazil and Argentina aided Colorado in the conquest of powerV. Flores in exchange for the entry into the war of the Uruguay against Paraguay (1865-70). The presidents who succeeded Flores from 1868, all expressed by the Partido colorado (PC), were unable to prevent the growing influence on the public life of some provincial caudillos, whose violence ended in 1875 with a coup d’etat the army, which remained in power until 1890. For Uruguay history, please check areacodesexplorer.com.

The 20th century. In the period of government of the colorados following the military interlude there was a gradual rise of the middle classes, the needs of which were carried by the current of the PC headed by J. Batlle y Ordóñez, president in 1903-07 and in 1911-15. These promoted numerous reforms that made the Uruguay one of the most advanced countries on the American continent, they partially freed it from British economic protection and took away part of the power from the breeding, financial and commercial oligarchy. In 1919 a new constitution introduced universal suffrage and softened traditional presidentialism. With the First World War, in which it sided with the Allies, the Uruguay experienced a phase of great economic expansion, but the crisis of 1929 caused great difficulties, accompanied by an authoritarian change: in 1933 G. Terra, president since 1931, assumed the provisional dictatorship. Continued with A. Baldomir (1938-43), the authoritarian parenthesis ended with the presidency of JH Amézaga (1943-48), who in 1945 broke off relations with Germany and Japan. After the Second World War, the country experienced a phase of development and stability, which was followed by a period of recession in the mid-1950s. In 1958 i blancos (or Partido nacional, PN). In the face of the persistence of the crisis, the strikes spread and continued even after the return of the CP to the government in 1966. The degradation of living conditions favored the growth of the urban guerrilla movement of the Tupamaros and in 1972 the new president M. Bordaberry decreed the “State of internal war”, entrusting the army to fight the Tupamaros. In 1973 a military regime was established, which in 1976 replaced Bordaberry with A. Méndez. The dictatorship gave the Uruguay the sad world record of the highest percentage of political prisoners in relation to the population, while economic conditions worsened further. The return to democracy came with the 1984 elections, which Colorado wonJM Sanguinetti, who had to face the difficult knot of national reconciliation. The poor results achieved by the PC in economic policy favored the victory of the blanco LA Lacalle in 1989, but in 1994 Sanguinetti returned to the presidency. The elections also sanctioned the end of the political monopoly of the traditional parties and the affirmation of the opposition of the left forces, presented under the name of Encuentro progresista (EP).

The 21st century. The growth of the opposition forces emerged dramatically in the 1999 elections, when the Frente amplio-Encuentro progresista became the first party in both the House and the Senate. In the contemporary presidential elections, however, the leftist candidate TR Vázquez Rosas was defeated in the ballot by the Colorado candidate J. Battle. Between 2001 and 2002 the country experienced a new economic crisis linked to the collapse of the Argentine economy and the 2004 elections saw the affirmation of the left: Vázquez Rosas became president with a program based on the defense of welfare and on the inversion of liberal address of previous years. In 2010, the former Tupamaro guerrilla J. Mujica took over.

Uruguay independence