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Flag of Uruguay
Map of Uruguay
Introduction Uruguay
A violent Marxist urban guerrilla movement, the Tupamaros, launched in the late 1960s, led Uruguay's president to agree to military control of his administration in 1973. By the end of the year the rebels had been crushed, but the military continued to expand its hold throughout the government. Civilian rule was not restored until 1985. Uruguay's political and labor conditions are among the freest on the continent.
Geography Uruguay
Southern South America, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Argentina and Brazil
Geographic coordinates:
33 00 S, 56 00 W
Map references:
South America
total: 176,220 sq km
land: 173,620 sq km
water: 2,600 sq km
Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than the state of Washington
Land boundaries:
total: 1,564 km
border countries: Argentina 579 km, Brazil 985 km
660 km
Maritime claims:
contiguous zone: 24 NM
territorial sea: 12 NM
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
exclusive economic zone: 200 NM
warm temperate; freezing temperatures almost unknown
mostly rolling plains and low hills; fertile coastal lowland
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Cerro Catedral 514 m
Natural resources:
arable land, hydropower, minor minerals, fisheries
Land use:
arable land: 7.21%
permanent crops: 0.27%
other: 92.52% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
1,800 sq km (1998 est.)
Natural hazards:
seasonally high winds (the pampero is a chilly and occasional violent wind which blows north from the Argentine pampas), droughts, floods; because of the absence of mountains, which act as weather barriers, all locations are particularly vulnerable to rapid changes from weather fronts
Environment - current issues:
water pollution from meat packing/tannery industry; inadequate solid/hazardous waste disposal
Environment - international agreements:
party to: Antarctic-Environmental Protocol, Antarctic-Marine Living Resources, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Modification, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Marine Dumping, Marine Life Conservation, Nuclear Test Ban
Geography - note:
second-smallest South American country (after Suriname); most of the low-lying landscape (three-quarters of the country) is grassland, ideal for cattle and sheep raising
People Uruguay
3,386,575 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 24.4% (male 422,826; female 402,324)
15-64 years: 62.6% (male 1,047,740; female 1,072,032)
65 years and over: 13% (male 181,522; female 260,131) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.79% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
17.28 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
9 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
-0.41 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
14.25 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 75.66 years
female: 79.17 years (2002 est.)
male: 72.32 years
Total fertility rate:
2.35 children born/woman (2002 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.33% (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
6,000 (1999 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
150 (1999 est.)
noun: Uruguayan(s)
adjective: Uruguayan
Ethnic groups:
white 88%, mestizo 8%, black 4%, Amerindian, practically nonexistent
Roman Catholic 66% (less than half of the adult population attends church regularly), Protestant 2%, Jewish 1%, nonprofessing or other 31%
Spanish, Portunol, or Brazilero (Portuguese-Spanish mix on the Brazilian frontier)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 97.3%
male: 96.9%
female: 97.7% (1995 est.)
Government Uruguay
Country name:
conventional long form: Oriental Republic of Uruguay
conventional short form: Uruguay
local short form: Uruguay
former: Banda Oriental, Cisplatine Province
local long form: Republica Oriental del Uruguay
Government type:
constitutional republic
Administrative divisions:
19 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento); Artigas, Canelones, Cerro Largo, Colonia, Durazno, Flores, Florida, Lavalleja, Maldonado, Montevideo, Paysandu, Rio Negro, Rivera, Rocha, Salto, San Jose, Soriano, Tacuarembo, Treinta y Tres
25 August 1825 (from Brazil)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 25 August (1825)
27 November 1966, effective February 1967, suspended 27 June 1973, new constitution rejected by referendum 30 November 1980; two constitutional reforms approved by plebiscite 26 November 1989 and 7 January 1997
Legal system:
based on Spanish civil law system; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction
18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Jorge BATLLE Ibanez (since 1 March 2000) and Vice President Luis HIERRO (since 1 March 2000); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Jorge BATLLE Ibanez (since 1 March 2000) and Vice President Luis HIERRO (since 1 March 2000); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the president with parliamentary approval
elections: president and vice president elected on the same ticket by popular vote for five-year terms; election last held 31 October 1999, with runoff election on 28 November 1999 (next to be held NA 2004)
election results: Jorge BATLLE Ibanez elected president; percent of vote - Jorge BATLLE Ibanez 52% in a runoff against Tabare VAZQUEZ 44%
Legislative branch:
bicameral General Assembly or Asamblea General consists of Chamber of Senators or Camara de Senadores (30 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms) and Chamber of Representatives or Camara de Representantes (99 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: Chamber of Senators - last held 31 October 1999 (next to be held NA 2004); Chamber of Representatives - last held 31 October 1999 (next to be held NA 2004)
election results: Chamber of Senators - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - Encuentro Progresista 12, Colorado Party 10, Blanco 7, New Sector/Space Coalition 1; Chamber of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - Encuentro Progresista 40, Colorado Party 33, Blanco 22, New Sector/Space Coalition 4
Judicial branch:
Supreme Court (judges are nominated by the president and elected for 10-year terms by the General Assembly)
Political parties and leaders:
Colorado Party [Jorge BATLLE Ibanez]; National Party or Blanco [Luis Alberto LACALLE Herrera]; New Sector/Space Coalition or Nuevo Espacio [Rafael MICHELINI]; Progressive Encounter/Broad Front Coalition or Encuentro Progresista/Frente Amplio [Tabare VAZQUEZ]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Hugo FERNANDEZ-FAINGOLD
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, and New York
FAX: [1] (202) 331-8142
telephone: [1] (202) 331-1313 through 1316
chancery: 1913 I Street NW, Washington, DC 20006
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Martin J. SILVERSTEIN
embassy: Lauro Muller 1776, Montevideo 11200
mailing address: APO AA 34035
telephone: [598] (2) 418-7777
FAX: [598] (2) 418-8611
Flag description:
nine equal horizontal stripes of white (top and bottom) alternating with blue; there is a white square in the upper hoist-side corner with a yellow sun bearing a human face known as the Sun of May and 16 rays alternately triangular and wavy
Economy Uruguay
Economy - overview:
Uruguay's economy is characterized by an export-oriented agricultural sector, a well-educated workforce, and high levels of social spending. After averaging growth of 5% annually in 1996-98, in 1999-2001 the economy suffered from lower demand in Argentina and Brazil, which together account for nearly half of Uruguay's exports. Despite the severity of the trade shocks, Uruguay's financial indicators remained more stable than those of its neighbors, a reflection of its solid reputation among investors and its investment-grade sovereign bond rating - one of only two in South America. Challenges for the government of President Jorge BATLLE include reducing the budget deficit, expanding Uruguay's trade ties beyond its Mercosur trade partners, and reducing the costs of public services. GDP fell by 1.3% in 2000 and by 1.5% in 2001.
purchasing power parity - $31 billion (2001 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
-1.5% (2001 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $9,200 (2001 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 6%
industry: 29%
services: 65% (2001) (2001)
Population below poverty line:
6% (1997)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 4%
highest 10%: 26% (1997)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
42 (1989)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
3.6% (2001) (2001)
Labor force:
1.2 million (2001) (2001)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 14%, industry 16%, services 70%
Unemployment rate:
15.2% (2001) (2001)
revenues: $3.7 billion
expenditures: $4.6 billion, including capital expenditures of $500 million (2000) (2000)
food processing, electrical machinery, transportation equipment, petroleum products, textiles, chemicals, beverages
Industrial production growth rate:
-2.4% (2001 est.)
Electricity - production:
7.527 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 7%
hydro: 93%
other: 1% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
7.35 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
950 million kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
1.3 billion kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
rice, wheat, corn, barley; livestock; fish
$2.24 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Exports - commodities:
meat, rice, leather products, wool, vehicles, dairy products
Exports - partners:
Mercosur partners 40%, EU 20%, US 8% (2001 est.)
$2.9 billion f.o.b. (2001 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery, chemicals, road vehicles, crude petroleum
Imports - partners:
Mercosur partners 44%, EU 18%, US 9% (2001 est.)
Debt - external:
$7.7 billion (2001 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
Uruguayan peso (UYU)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Uruguayan pesos per US dollar - 14.3325 (January 2002), 13.3191 (2001), 12.0996 (2000), 11.3393 (1999), 10.4719 (1998), 9.4418 (1997)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Uruguay
Telephones - main lines in use:
929,141 (2001)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
350,000 (2001)
Telephone system:
general assessment: fully digitalized
domestic: most modern facilities concentrated in Montevideo; new nationwide microwave radio relay network
international: satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2002)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 91, FM 149, shortwave 7 (2001)
1.97 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
20 (2001)
782,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
14 (2001)
Internet users:
400,000 (2002)
Transportation Uruguay
total: 2,993 km
standard gauge: 2,993 km 1.435-m gauge
note: of the total route length, 461 km have been taken out of service and 460 km are in only partial use; moreover, not all lines offer passenger service (2001)
total: 8,764 km
paved: 7,800 km
unpaved: 964 km (2001)
1,600 km (used by coastal and shallow-draft river craft)
Ports and harbors:
Colonia, Fray Bentos, Juan La Caze, La Paloma, Montevideo, Nueva Palmira, Paysandu, Punta del Este, Piriapolis
Merchant marine:
total: 2 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 7,752 GRT/5,228 DWT
note: includes some foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Argentina 4, Greece 1 (2002 est.)
ships by type: petroleum tanker 1, roll on/roll off 1
64 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 15
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 5
914 to 1,523 m: 7
under 914 m: 2 (2002)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 49
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 16
under 914 m: 31 (2002)
Military Uruguay
Military branches:
Army, Navy (including Naval Air Arm, Coast Guard, Marines), Air Force, Police (Coracero Guard, Grenadier Guard)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 824,395 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 666,880 (2002 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$250 million (1999)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
1.1% (2000)
Transnational Issues Uruguay
Disputes - international:
uncontested dispute with Brazil over islands in the Rio Quarai (Rio Cuareim) and the Arroio Invernada (Arroyo de la Invernada)

This page was last updated on 19 March 2003