Uruguay Modern History Part I

By | December 20, 2021

The territories east of the Uruguay river – already in the century. XVII known with the name of Banda Oriental del Uruguay to distinguish them from the Banda occidental, including the territories today Argentine – they were part, since 1618, of the Spanish governorate of Río de la Plata, whose center was Buenos Aires.

Placed on the edge of the Spanish and Portuguese areas established by the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494), they were the scene of a deaf and incessant struggle due to the possession of the Colonia del Sacramento (now Colonia) founded by the Portuguese, almost opposite Buenos Aires, in 1680. To halt the continuous Portuguese expansion, the governor of Buenos Aires, BM de Zabala, founded Montevideo in 1726, populating it with settler families from Buenos Aires. But the struggle did not stop for this, and after various events, only with the treaty of San Ildefonso (1777), which established the borders of the Banda Oriental with Brazil, Cologne was definitively assigned to the Spaniards. Meanwhile, on December 22, 1649, the government of Montevideo had been founded which in 1776, created by Charles III, the viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, was included in the Buenos Aires intendency. For Uruguay political system, please check politicsezine.com.

For this period v. also america: History of Latin America; Argentina: History; brazil: History.

At the beginning of the century XIX Montevideo had to defend itself from the attacks of the English who, for seven months, until 7 September 1807, exercised effective dominion over the city.

As the independence movement against Spain developed (May 1810) and a revolutionary junta was established in Buenos Aires, Montevideo, loyal to Spain, was for some time the seat of the viceroyalty. A first revolutionary attempt in the Banda Oriental was organized by a parish priest, Silverio Antonio Martínez, but failed (February 11, 1811). Then José Gervasio Artigas, one of the nicest figures of American independence, enters the scene. Artigas, posting to the service of the junta of Buenos Aires, managed in a short time to conquer the whole band, but his work was frustrated due to the attitude of the junta of Buenos Aires which, in the face of the intervention of the Portuguese of Brazil urged by the same Spanish viceroy, recognized the Spanish authority in the Banda Oriental. éxodo del pueblo oriental). From this moment on, the contrast, characteristic of all this first period of Uruguayan history, emerges between the local patriots wishing for independence from Spain, but also for autonomy in the face of Buenos Aires, and the Argentine junta, which desires independence of the Band only to aggregate it to its own domain and that, in the face of resistance from the patriots, does not disdain to resort to Brazilian intervention.

On April 4, 1813, Artigas gathers the first National Congress of Uruguay, which recognizes the constituent of Buenos Aires on condition that the autonomy of the province is respected. Faced with the Argentine resistance, Artigas abandons the siege of Montevideo, tightened by the Argentines and the English, and, having lifted the provinces of the coast, wages war on the Argentines who on 10 January 1815 are seriously defeated by the lieutenant of Artigas, Fructuoso Rivera. On 9 July 1816, the first congress of the United Provinces of Río de la Plata meeting in Tucumán declared independence from Spain. But Artigas fights for the independence of the Banda Oriental and hopes for a moment to have reached it when this is from the Argentines, worried by the revolt of other provinces, left to itself.

Taking advantage of the situation the Portuguese who, in September 1816 invade the Band: on January 3, 1817, despite the activity of Artigas, they are masters of Montevideo. Beaten again in January 1820 by the Portuguese, taken behind by the Argentines, Artigas ends up retiring to Paraguay. On July 18, 1821, an assembly of Uruguayans (the so-called Cisplatin Congress) decides the acceptance of the Portuguese constitution and the union of Uruguay with the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarve, with the name of the Cisplatin State.

The separation of Brazil and its establishment as an empire (1822) also had repercussions in the Band: in the disputes between the partisans of the Lusitanian monarchy and Don Pedro I, the Sociedad de los Caballeros orientales works for the autonomy of the state, in agreement with the Uruguayan patriots who emigrated to Buenos Aires. An ancient officer of Artigas, Juan Antonio Lavalleja, places himself at the head of the movement and on April 19, 1825 he lands with thirty-two companions on the beach of La Agraciada. The following day begins the famous march of the “Treinta y Tres” who in a short time manage to lift the whole town. A national government is elected chaired by Manuel Calleros who convenes the General Assembly of the Orientals which in Florida, on August 25, proclaims the independence of the country against any foreign power and the will of the Uruguayan people to be free to decide their own destiny. After this claim of the right of self-government, the assembly decides that the “Oriental Province” will join the united Provinces of the Río de Ia Plata, a necessary condition for obtaining the military support of the Argentines, support which, despite the discord between Argentine leaders and Uruguayans and of these among them, will be decisive.

On February 20, 1827, the Brazilian army was finally defeated in Ituzaingo. Don Pedro I, emperor of Brazil, also faced with the triumphal invasion of the territory of Las Misiones by the Uruguayan general Rivera, proposed peace, which, with the mediation of the British minister in Rio de Janeiro, consecrated the will of the Uruguayan people (25 August 1828).

Elected head of the provisional government the Argentine general José Rondeau (22 December 1828), four days after the evacuation of the Brazilians from Montevideo, the new constitution was approved on 10 September 1829 and sworn on 18 July 1830: from this day it is customary to date the existence of the “República oriental del Uruguay”.

Uruguay political system