Uruguay

Uruguay

Situated in south-eastern South America, Uruguay returned to civilian government in  1985, after 12 years of military rule. Most land is used for farming: Uruguay is a major wool exporter.

Geography: Low, rolling grasslands cover 80% of the country. Narrow coastal plain. Alluvial floodplain in southwest. Five rivers flow westward and drain into the Uruguay River.

 Climate: Temperate throughout the country. Warm summers, mild winters, and moderate rainfall.

 People and Society: Uruguayans are largely second-or third-generation Italians or Spaniards. Wealth derived from cattle ranching enabled the country to establish the first welfare state in South America. Despite economic decline since the 1950s, a large, if less prosperous, middle class remains. Though a Roman Catholic country, Uruguay is liberal in its attitude to religion and all forms are tolerated.

 The Economy; Exports wool, meat, hides, rice, wood, soy. Rebounded from 1999–2002 economic crisis. Mineral potential.

 Insight: Uruguay’s rich pastures are ideal for raising livestock; animal products bring in over 40% of export earnings

Fact-File:

 Official Name: Eastern Republic of Uruguay

 Date of Formation: 1828

 Capital: Montevideo

 Population: 3.36 million

 Total Area: 68,039 sq. miles (176,220 sq. km)

 Density: 50 people per sq. mile

 Languages: Spanish*

 Religions: Roman Catholic 66%, other 30%, Jewish 2%, Protestant 2%

 Ethnic Mix: White 90%, Mestizo 6%, Black 4%

 Government: Presidential system

 Currency: Urug. peso = 100 centésimos

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