Here are the top interesting facts about Uruguay:
#1 It is the 2nd-smallest South American country (covering an area of 68,000 square miles) and is situated in the southeastern part of South America. This country is bordered by the Uruguay River to the west, Brazil to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the southeast, the estuary of the Rio de la Plata to the southwest, and the Rio Grande do Sul to the south.
#2 It is the only country in Latin America that is completely outside of the tropics. Also, it has 410 miles (660 kilometers) of coastline along the Atlantic Ocean and its estuary, the Río de la Plata.
#3 Europeans discovered these lands in 1516 (explorer Juan Diaz de Solis), however, it was settled by the Portuguese in 1680. Furthermore, before the Portuguese colonization of the New World, the only inhabitants of these remarkable lands were Charrua Indians.
#4 This country was claimed by Argentina but annexed by Brazil in 1821. Four years later, Uruguay declared its independence and secured its freedom in 1828 after a 3-year struggle. On July 18, 1830, the nation’s first constitution was adopted.
#5 The capital of this country is called Montevideo, and it covers an area of 526 square kilometers (203 square miles) and has a population of 1,270,737 (2017).
#6 It was founded by the Spanish in 1726 as a military stronghold and became an important commercial center. In the present day, this city blends well-appointed shopping centers and tall office towers with historic areas. The Montevideo Shopping Mall was the first shopping mall to be built, in 1985.
#7 Just two hours away from Montevideo, you can visit chic resort city Punta del Este and a historic quarter which is a UNESCO World Heritage site, named – Colonia del Sacramento. Also, one of the most beautiful parks is the Prado, that has a fantastic botanical garden which contains thousands of plant species.
#8 Palacio Salvo is a building in Montevideo, located at the intersection of Plaza Independencia and 18 de Julio Avenue. Palacio Salvo was designed by Mario Palanti, an Italian architect and it has everything you could imagine, from a hotel to a cinema.
#9 The President of this country is Jose Mujica, a former Marxist guerrilla who spent 14 years in prison. After he legalized marijuana, he was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize by a Dutch pro-drugs institute. Lucía Topolansky, his wife, served 13 years behind bars after her involvement in the guerrilla movement.
#10 Gregorio Alvarez, also known as El Goyo, the last military dictator in this country, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for numerous human rights violations and the murder of 37 people.
#11 The national flag was designed by Joaquín Suárez and was first adopted on December 16, 1828. It has a field of 9 equal horizontal stripes alternating blue and white. The canton is white, charged with the Sun of May, from which 16 rays extend, alternating between wavy and triangular.
#12 This country has a literacy rate of 98.1 percent for adults. This is thanks to the provision of free, compulsory education. Plus, in 2009, it became the first nation in the world to provide every school child with free wireless internet and a laptop.
#13 It became the 1st country in the world to legalize the sale, cultivation, and consumption of marijuana for recreational use, in December 2013.
#14 In 2012, it was the 2nd country in Latin America to legalize abortions.
#15 On April 10, 2013, this country also legalizes same-sex marriage. One of the main reasons this country is liberal-minded and gay-friendly is due to the fact that since 1916 there has been a strict separation between religion and state.
#16 It is one of the few countries in America where 100 percent of the population has access to clean water.
#17 The national anthem that lasts about six minutes is the world’s longest regarding the performance duration. It has eleven verses and contains the line “No one insults the image of the sun!” It was written by Francisco Acuña de Figueroa who also wrote the national anthem of Paraguay.
#18 The whites constitute approximately 80% of the population. The blacks, mestizos, and Amerindian are the other ethnic groups in the country.
#19 Around 95 percent of the electricity is generated from renewable resources, mainly from wind farms.
#20 Santa Teresa national park features spectacular forested areas and beautiful beaches, and it is found on the 9 route at km 302.
#21 The highest point is Cerro Catedral at 1,684ft (514m) above sea level. Interestingly, it is the lowest country highpoint in South America.
#22 Casapueblo is a building constructed by Carlos Páez Vilaró and is located in Punta Ballena. This nine-story building resembles the white buildings in Santorini.
#23 One of the most popular beverages in this country is mate, a tea-like beverage produced from dried yerba mate leaves.
#24 It is one of the top 5 wine producers in Central and South America (along with Chile, Argentina, Peru, and Brazil).
#25 In 1930, the first-ever FIFA World Cup was held in this country. Montevideo hosted all the matches during the competition.