Uruguay on a map of South America
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Uruguay is South America's second smallest independent country, after Suriname. It is a land of grassy plains and hills.
About 90 percent of the people now live in cities and towns. Native Americans once occupied Uruguay, but only a few Amerindians remain. The country was part of a Spanish colony until 1828 People of European descent make up 86 percent of the population, mestizos 8 percent, and descendants of black Africans 6 percent.
Area: 177.414 sq km (68.500 sq miles)
Highest point: Mirador Nacional. 501 m (1,644 ft)
Capital and largest cities Montevideo (pop 1,379.000)
Other large cities: Salto (80,000) Paysand (76.000)
Official language: Spanish
Religions: Christianity (Roman Catholic 78%, Protestant 8%). other 14%
Textiles arc among the leading manufactures produced in Uruguay. Other manufactures include beer, cement, and processed food. Uruguay is one of the more prosperous of the developing countries in South America.
Livestock farming is the most valuable form of agriculture in Uruguay. Sheep and cattle ranches make up four-fifths of the land. Major products include beef, hides and leather goods, and wool. Crops include mai/e. potatoes, sugar beets, and wheat.
Montevideo, Uruguay's capital and chief port, stands on the coast where the Rio de la Plata estuary meets the Atlantic Ocean. Founded in 1726. Montevideo and its suburbs contain most of Uruguay's industries.
Tourism is a leading activity, employing many people in the coastal resorts. About two million people visit Uruguay's sandy beaches every year. The tourists come mainly from Argentina.
Unman Catholicism is the
chief faith in Uruguay, as it is in most of South America. The country's arts are also greatly influenced by Spanish culture, though local themes, such as gaucho legends, are also popular.
Gaucho rodeos attract many spectators, but soccer is the most popular sport. Uruguay has a fine record in international soccer competitions. Other sports include basketball and rugby.