August 25 – Independence Day in Uruguay

Posted on August 25, 2018

Today we focus on the second smallest (in area) nation of South America, Uruguay.

For thousands of years the Charrúa people lived in this "corner" of the continent. In the very late 1600s some Portuguese folks established a town in the region, and in the early 1700s Spanish forces established Montevideo (now Uruguay's capital) as a military stronghold.

Flash forward another century, and the various nations of South America were fighting for and gaining their independence. Uruguay became mired in a four-way struggle.

Did the region of the Charrúa people belong to Spain or Portugal, Argentina or Brazil?

The answer ended up being "none of the above." On this date in 1825, Uruguay declared its independence. It took 500 days of war before full independence was achieved.

Like other new nations, Uruguay had some significant problems, including a coup and a harsh military government. But the happy ending of the story is that modern Uruguay is a democratic constitutional republic!

Here are some of Uruguay's best qualities:

#1 in Latin America in democracy
#1 in Latin America in peace
#1 in Latin America in e-government
#1 in Latin America in low corruption
#1 in South America in freedom of press
#1 in South America in prosperity
#1 in the world for number of troops sent to U.N. peacekeeping missions (per capita)

Uruguay ranks high in a variety of economic and freedom categories, and is one of the most liberal nations in the world as far as social justice and personal rights go. For example, since 2013 both same-sex marriage and use of marijuana have been legal.

And here are some more rather wonderful aspects of the nation:

Sand dunes of Cabo Polonio,
above and below.

"The Hand," Punta del Este



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