Uruguay Children’s Encyclopedia

By | December 20, 2021


The eastern pampas

Small and sparsely populated compared to its neighbors, Uruguay struggled for a long time to remain independent, but between the mid-19th and mid-20th centuries it experienced a period of rapid growth and prosperity, attracting hundreds of thousands of immigrants. especially Italians. The dependence on farming, practiced on the vast pastures of the pampas, makes Uruguay economically fragile, like all countries that live off the export of raw materials and agricultural products.

The great prairie

Almost flat (the maximum altitude is 514 m), the territory of Uruguay is bordered to the west by the river from which it takes its name and to the south-west by the Rio de la Plata estuary. Wide lagoons open up to the Atlantic Ocean; other lakes are located in the center of the country. The soil is fertile and the climate temperate and humid enough to allow the cultivation of cereals and the growth of vast natural grasslands, which are the main resource of the country.

The residents are almost all of European origin – descendants of Spanish and Italian immigrants who arrived between the mid-19th and mid-20th centuries – and concentrated in the capital Montevideo (1,379,000 residents) and a series of smaller towns. along the Uruguay River and along the coasts. The capital, with a good port, is also the only industrial center. Once a very rich time thanks to the products of sheep and cattle breeding, in the last decades of the last century Uruguay experienced a period of serious socio-economic crisis, from which it is emerging also thanks to cooperation with neighboring countries.

A strong European footprint

The territory of today’s Uruguay was joined in 1516 by Juan Díaz de Solís. The Spaniards began to settle there from the first decades of the seventeenth century. Partly colonized by the Portuguese in the late 17th century, in 1776 the country became part of the possessions of the Spanish Crown. Shortly afterwards the struggle for independence began, which Uruguay finally reached in 1828, after having escaped the Spanish domination and then the control of Argentina and Brazil. The achievement of independence was followed by a bitter civil war (1839-52) and then, in alliance with Argentina and Brazil, a long war with Paraguay (1864-70). After the war the liberals (the colorados) came to power, but in a context of strong contrasts with the conservatives (the blancos). In 1903 José Battle y Ordóñez, a liberal, went to the government who introduced important reforms, promoting the growth and stability of the country. The crisis of 1929 plunged Uruguay into a severe economic recession, which also had important political repercussions in the 1930s. For Uruguay 2018, please check ethnicityology.com.

After the Second World War the country experienced a phase of development and stability. In the second half of the 1950s, however, a new period of crisis ensued. In 1958 the conservatives went to the government and, in the face of the persistence of the crisis, the strikes spread that continued even after the return of the liberals to the government in 1966. The revolutionary movement of the Tupamaros also established itself, which developed terrorist and guerrilla actions. In 1973, a military-backed dictatorship was established in the country. The return to democracy came with the 1984 elections, won by the liberals. Since then, the political scene has been dominated by an alternation of liberals and conservatives in government and by the opposition of a broad front of leftist forces.

Uruguay Juan Díaz de Solís