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Uruguay, country on the southeastern coast of South America between Brazil and Argentina. It is the second smallest country in South America, after Suriname. The capital and chief economic center of Uruguay is the coastal city of Montevideo (pronounced mahn teh vih DAY oh).

Uruguay was a part of the colonial empire of Spain in the Americas until the early 1800s. After a brief period of Portuguese rule, Uruguay became an independent nation in 1828. Its Spanish past influences many aspects of Uruguayan culture. Spanish is the official language of Uruguay. The country’s formal name in Spanish is Republica Oriental del Uruguay.

A small country about the size of the state of Oklahoma, Uruguay is heavily urbanized. More than 90 percent of all Uruguayans live in urban areas, and more than 40 percent live in the capital city. Most of Uruguay’s people are of European descent.

Tourism plays a major role in Uruguay’s economy. The country’s picturesque beaches attract visitors from all over the world. Agriculture also is an important economic activity, especially the raising of livestock.


For younger readers

Haverstock, Nathan A. Uruguay in Pictures. Lerner, 1987. For readers in grades 5 to 7.

Morrison, Marion. Uruguay. Children's Press, 1992. For readers in grades 5 to 8.


Gillespie, Charles. Negotiating Democracy: Politicians and Generals in Uruguay. Cambridge University Press, 1991. A study of civilian-military relations.

Gonzalez, Luis E. Political Structures and Democracy in Uruguay. University of Notre Dame Press, 1991. A political history of Uruguay from its democratic beginnings to dictatorship to the restoration of democracy in 1984.

McLean, David. War, Diplomacy and Informal Empire: Britain and the Republics of La Plata, 1836-1853. St. Martin's, 1995. Examines the struggle for control of Uruguay.


Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation.

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smallest country, state of Oklahoma, European descent, small country, urban areas, capital city, Suriname, capital, people, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, size, Tourism, country, Americas, percent, visitors

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