- Country name : Uruguay
- Official name : Oriental Republic of Uruguay.
- System of government : Constitutional republic.
- National anthem :
- Area : 176 220 km².
- Capital : Montevideo.
- Border countries : Argentina, Brazil.
- Population : 3,4 millions (2004).
- Language(s) : Spanish (official).
- Religions : Roman Catholic (66 %), Protestant (2 %), Jewish (2 %), other (30 %).
>The economy of Uruguay is basically agricultural and pastoral. Live animals, meat and wool are the most important exports. The principal crops are sugar cane, sugar bet, wheat, rice, potatoes and maize.
>Manufacturing is increasing in importance. The leading industrial activities are the manufacture of woollen, cotton, the processing of food, oil-refining, cement-manufacturing and the production of clothing.
>Although its greatest natural resource is its rich agricultural land, Uruguay lacks of mineral resources.
>Tourism contributes much to the national income.
>About 4,000 years ago, Charrua and Guarani peoples arrived in the territory now included in Uruguay.
>Juan Dias de Solis, a Spanish explorer, was the first European to visit Uruguay in 1516.
>17th - 18th cent. : Spanish-Portuguese rivalry, ending with the establishment of Spanish rule in the territory.
>19th cent. : Uruguay revolted against Spain in 1811. The Uruguayan independence was recognized in 1828 but was repeatedly threatened militarily by Argentina and Brazil.
>Uruguay became one of the more stable and prosperous nations of Latin America, under President Jose Battle y Ordoñez, who ruled from 1903 to 1915.
>In the 50s, declining wool prices and curtailed meat exports led to increasing unemployment and inflation. Throughout the 1960s and early 70s, the economic decline continued, accompanied by massive social unrest.
>1973 : a military coup ousted the civilian government.
>1985 : return to democratic traditions (with the election of a civilian government ) and process of national reconciliation.
>1991 : Uruguay became a member of Mercosur, the South American common market.
>1999 : Jorge Batlle is elected president.