General Information of Uruguay
The Republica Oriental del Uruguay is
situated in South America, has frontier up on the north
and on the east with Brazil, and on the west with Argentina
while on the southeast the Atlantic Ocean.
Its name comes from the guarani language and means
“river of the painted birds”. It is the second
smallest nation of South America and is one of the most
stable considering the political and economical facts.
The official language is Spanish.
Uruguay as “The Swiss of America”
At the end of XIX century, Uruguay completed
its organization and during the batllista period finally
established its democracy and got high levels of welfare,
similar to European countries. Due to this reason, the country
started to be known as “the Swizz of America”.
After the economical prosperity, arrived important football
deeds, in the Olimpic Games (Paris 1924 and Amsterdam
1928) and the world cups of 1930 (the seat was the city
of Montevideo) and 1950 in Brazil, these contribute to create
the myth of the “gold age” of Uruguay.
Govern and Politic of Uruguay
In Uruguay there is a mixed or semi-representative
democracy in which dominates the representative character
of the govern and certain ways of direct govern (such as,
referendums and plebiscitos).
Democracy has deep roots in the Uruguayan population. They
learn how to deal with problem avoiding violence and choosing
for the ballot box.
The republic has a presidential system and its govern is
divided into three independent powers:
- The Executive Power is ejected by the
President of the Republic, who acts together with the Vice- President and the
Ministers Council. The Executive Power is done by the president of the Republic
who acts together with the vice-president and the minister council.
The President is simultaneously the head of the State and the Government
and is chosen at the same time as the vice-president by a direct popular election,
they are the ones who design the ministers' council. The president governs for 5
years without immediate reelection unless one period after his government has
passed. In case no candidate gets the absolute majority of the votes, valotage
is done. In this occasion, the candidate who gets a simple majority is the
winner. Since 1º of March 2005 the president is Tabare Vazquez.
- Legislative Power
has its seat in the General Assembly; this one is composed
by the Senator chamber of thirty members (elected for
a period of 5 years) and the chamber of Representatives
of 99 members, also elected for a period of five years.
- The Judicial Power
is lead by the Supreme Justice Court, whose members are
elected by the General Assembly and they must have a majority
of 2/3 and their period last 10 years. The Supreme Justice
Court is the last instance of appellation and is also
the one in charge of judging the constitutionality of
the laws. The judicial power is also integrated by the
Appellation Tribunal, judges, and peace judges.
Economy of Uruguay
The national coin is the “Uruguayan Peso”.
The Uruguayan economy is based in catlle production. Ovine
and bovine are the most important ones; meat, wool, leather
and other sub products are the main exported things. Growing
crops have got less relevance, some of these are: line,
rice, and sugar beet.
There are not many mineral resources but the industry has
grown due to the importation of oil and organic matter.
The main industry is foodstuff, followed by textile and
chemical industry. Besides, the motorways are good and tourism
is quickly improving. Tourism and financial services are
important economical resources.
As in other countries of the region, in the ’90 economic
politics (Mercosur) and State reforms were done. Anyway
not as many changes have been done as in other close countries.
Traditionally, Uruguay has high levels of education, social
welfare and health care.
Weather in Uruguay
Uruguay is the unique South American country
all located in the template zone. The winds are originated
on the Brazilian or Paraguayan territory and come here under
the influence of the semi permanent anticyclone of the Atlantic
and get here charged of humidity and high temperatures.
The temperature is higher up on the north due to the diminution
of the latitude (from 35º to 30º). Because of
the influence of the sea, the isotherms go up from SE to
NW. In Montevideo the hottest month is January and the coldest
is July, with an average difference of 12º C. The maximum
temperatures are of nearly 15º C in winter and 32º
C in summer.
The most typical winds are the North and the Pampero (from
the southwest). The north wind is slightly warm and humid
and determines a global increase of clouds resulting in
low pressure air. The Pampero wind comes from far regions
(the Pacific Ocean) and after 2 or 3 days clears the sky
The moderated winds get to 15 km/h and sometimes there
are strong ones that reach 100 km/h. Annually rains are
of 1300 mm. in the country.
The month when there are less rainy days is December all
along the country, more or less of 100 mm. in Artigas and
60 mm in Rocha and Maldonado.
Foggy days are frequent in winter, mainly on the south
and in the center of the country. The media of humidity
is of 70% and 75%. The foggiest month is July, the media
in this month is of 80%, and the driest month is January,
Seasons in Uruguay
- Summer from 21 December to 21 March
- Autumn from 21 March to 21 June
- Winter from 21 June to 21 September
- Spring from 21 September to 21 December
Geography of Uruguay
Its territorial surface is of 176.220 km2, it
also has sovereignty over 136.935 km2 of marine water, rivers,
On the south the landscape is similar to the pampas and
there are quite undulated plains little hills. The most
important ones are those that belong to Haedo and Grande
“cuchilla”. Its highest hill is Cathedral 514m
over the sea level.
The most important river is Uruguay, and is also used as
a mean of communication. The basin of the De la Plata river
is integrated by short rivers. The basin of Merin
lagoon is integrated by Yaguaron, Tacuari
and some other rivers.
The weather is warm; there are a lot of rains all over
the country. 75% of the territory is pasture. Forest is
just 25% of the Uruguayan lands.
Demography of Uruguay
The Uruguayan population is mainly constituted
by group of immigrants. The Indian groups have almost disappeared,
that is why, nowadays, and the majority of the Uruguayans
are Spanish and Italian descendants and just a few guaranies
However, recent studies have proved that an important
percentage of Uruguayans are indigena descendants.
Culture of Uruguay
Religion: lay country.
There is absolute cult liberty. Most people practice Catholicism,
66%, even though most of them do not practice it. 2% are
Protestants and 1% Jew. Nearly 31% of the population does
not practice any religion.
Education: The main characteristics of
the Uruguayan education are: laicism, compulsory and complete
free as it was proclaimed by Jose Pedro Varela.
Music: The rioplatense music is essentially
Tango (and its little sister, la milonga) but Uruguay has
also exclusive rhythms such as, Candombe y Murga which has
its peak moment in the “llamadas” of Carnival.
Among the musicians and singers we must mention Carlos Gardel,
Julio Sosa, Jaime Roos, Jorge Drexler, Eduardo Mateo, Ruben
Rada and Alfredo Zitarrosa.
Painting: In painting we must mention,
Juan Manuel Blanes, Joaquin Torres Garcia,
Carlos Saez, Rafael Barradas, Pedro Figari, Carmelo
de Arzadum, Ernesto Laroche, Felipe Seade and Jose
Sculpture: here we must mention, Juan
Manuel Ferrari, Manuel Pena, Jose Belloni, Jose
Luis Zorrilla de San Martin, Carlos Moler de Berg,
G. Fonseca y G. Cabrera.
Literature: Poetry was born due to Bartolome
Hidalgo who began the “gauchesca” poetry and
author of the famous “cielitos”. The romantics
are represented by Adolfo Berro.
In 1900 Julio Herrera y Reissig is the precursor
of the Hispano-American modernist poetry. Among the lyrics
there are Emilio Frugoni and Emilio Oribe. Among the intellectual
who are still writing and producing we must mention, Juan
Carlos Onetti, Carlos Martinez Moreno, Eduardo Galeano,
Mario Benedetti y Jorge Majfud. In Theatre, Florencio Sanchez.
Other poets are: Juana de Ibarbourou and Delmira Agustini.
The main exponent of the actual Uruguayan cinema is Pablo
Stoll who together to Juan Pablo Rebella won the Goya prize
in 2005 for the best foreign film of Hispanic language,
“Whisky”. This prize had already been won by
another Uruguayan in 2003 when Diego Arsuaga won it for
his film “El ultimo tren”. Other recommended
Uruguayan productions are “25 watts” and “En
la puta vida”.