Unknown Facts About Uruguay

Uruguay, is a South American country that truly has the whole package. An interesting history, some breathtaking geography, and, of course, its own unique culture. There are many facts about this country that are unknown. Let’s get to know it a little better.

Unusual Uruguay

It is against the law to harm dogs in Uruguay. Stray dogs are well-fed, and extremely healthy ones are even shipped to train and become hunting dogs.

Uruguay’s struggle for independence, its culture, its importance in Latin America, and other such aspects are truly fascinating. In this article, we have attempted to throw light on some of these facts about Uruguay, which will be a sound addition to your knowledge bank about it.


First, let us begin with some basic information about Uruguay, which will help you to understand the fundamentals of the country better. So, here are some geography related facts that you might like to know.

  • Area-wise, Uruguay is one of the smallest countries in South America, bigger than only Suriname.
  • Cerro Catedral is the highest point in Uruguay, which lies in Sierra CarapĂ©, a hill range in southern Uruguay.
  • Its area is around 176,220 sq. km., which is even smaller than Washington state.
  • The capital city of Uruguay is Montevideo. Almost 85% of the population of Uruguay resides in its capital city.
  • The Uruguayan Peso is the currency here.
  • The topography of Uruguay includes land forms like plains, and low hills. High mountains are not found much.
  • Uruguay enjoys a temperate climate.
  • A majority of the population thrives on agriculture.
  • The type of government operational in Uruguay, is a Constitutional Republic.
  • Major exports of Uruguay include wool, rice, leather and meat.
  • Industries of petroleum, transport equipment and food processing etc., flourish here.
  • It has a coastline of just 193 km on the Atlantic ocean.


After geography, let’s move on to the next logical information that you would like to know. Namely, the history of this country. Uruguay has a history filled with violent struggles for freedom. Let’s read a little about this history in the following facts.

  • First inhabited by people from different races, Portugal conquered Uruguay in 1680.
  • Spain defeated Portugal, and took over Uruguay in 1778.
  • Uruguay began an uprising against the Spanish colonists, but were defeated by Portuguese, who came from Brazil.
  • Finally, after a prolonged struggle, Uruguay achieved its freedom in 1825, with aid from Argentina.
  • It became a republic in 1828.
  • Even after gaining independence there was a lot of internal conflict in the country.
  • From violent militia, to left-wing terrorist rule, this country has seen it all, in the years succeeding 1973.
  • Then, in 1985, after 12 years of struggle, and revolts, finally a civilian government was elected, and it now is a Constitutional Republic.


It is the culture of a country that makes it distinct from the others. It is the culture that binds citizens of the same country, even if they happen to meet somewhere far away from home. Let us now see some interesting facts about Uruguay’s culture that make it stand apart from the other nations of the world.

  • Even though Uruguay is a small country, it is rich in arts, literature, and traditions.
  • Education is compulsory in Uruguay and is free from the pre-primary level until the university level.
  • Uruguay does not call any religion its official one. The dominant religion (almost 50%) is Christianity, followed by Agnostics (around 18%), and the rest of the population has people who are Jewish or follow African religions like Umbanda.
  • People in Uruguay absolutely love theater, and dance.
  • Though the roots may be European, the people have successfully embedded their own local flavor to them.
  • The gaucho attire, that is, cowboy attire is quite popular among men.
  • Women wear colorful dresses here.
  • Since it is a small country, simple things like owning a car, and being passionate about something as simple as football, are seen as a symbol of high social stature.
  • Sports like rugby, basketball, horse racing etc., are very popular here.
  • Uruguay’s flag has 9 blue and white stripes, with a sun on the top left corner. The 9 stripes represent the 9 regions into which Uruguay is politically divided into. The sun with its 16 wavy and straight rays, stand for Uruguay’s freedom. The colors and pattern are very similar to the flag of Argentina.
  • Most houses in Uruguay have names.
  • If you harm any dog that roams about, you can be criminally charged for it.
  • Buseca, a rich stew, is one of the most popular foods in Uruguay.
  • Also, an Italian influence, pasta, is served quite often with a sauce called Caruso Sauce, which has cream, mushrooms, onions, and meat in it.
  • One of the majorly popular drinks in Uruguay is a drink called mate. Other drinks are clerico (fresh fruit juice in white wine), medio y medio, tea, etc.
  • Jams, and empanadas (meat wrapped in bread) are the other typical food items in the cuisine of Uruguay.
  • A delicious meat sandwich, called chivito plato is the national dish of Uruguay.

Other Tidbits

Apart from the hard facts about this wonderful nation, there are some more things that you’re sure to find interesting. Here they are.

  • Uruguay ranks 33rd on the Global Peace Index as per the data for 2012. This is the lowest it has ever ranked, otherwise always being in the early 20 ranks.
  • In the year 2007, Reader’s Digest ranked Uruguay 9th in its list of the cleanest and greenest countries and cities in the world.
  • Homosexuality was decriminalized in the year 1964. Homosexuals are allowed to serve in the military, and the freedom of sexual orientation is protected by well-maintained anti-discrimination laws. Civil unions (same-sex or opposite sex) are legal in Uruguay.
  • People from all over the world visit Punta del Este, an upper class resort, along with their dogs. Many people leave their dogs behind while returning. This is the reason for the large number of stray dogs roaming around in the country.

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