Montevideo, founded by the Spanish in 1726 as a military stronghold, soon became an important commercial center due to its natural harbor. Claimed by Argentina but annexed by Brazil in 1821, Uruguay declared its independence in 1825 and secured its freedom in 1828 after a three-year struggle.
The administrations of President Jose BATLLE in the early 20th century launched widespread political, social, and economic reforms that established a statist tradition. Uruguay's political and labor conditions are among the freest on the continent.
Earm temperate; freezing temperatures almost unknown
White 87.7%, Black 4.6%, Indigenous 2.4%, other 0.3%, none or unspecified 5% (2011 est.)
Uruguayans stand very close when conversing (in both social and business settings), often touching shoulders and/or holding arms while talking. The North American "OK" sign (thumb and index finger in a circle) is considered very rude.
Chivito — a sandwich filled with slices of churrasco (grilled/roasted and thinly sliced beef), ham, bacon, tomatoes, lettuce, melted mozzarella, and a topping of fried (or sometimes boiled) eggs
High-income, export-oriented South American economy; South America’s largest middle class; low socioeconomic inequality; growing Chinese and EU relations; 2019 Argentine recession hurt; key milk, beef, rice, and wool exporter