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Flag of Uruguay
Map of Uruguay
Introduction Uruguay
Background:
Montevideo, founded by the Spanish in 1726 as a military stronghold, soon took advantage of its natural harbor to become an important commercial center. Annexed by Brazil as a separate province in 1821, Uruguay declared its independence four years later and secured its freedom in 1828 after a three-year struggle. The administrations of President BATLLE in the early 20th century established widespread political, social, and economic reforms. A violent Marxist urban guerrilla movement named the Tupamaros, launched in the late 1960s, led Uruguay's president to agree to military control of his administration in 1973. By yearend, the rebels had been crushed, but the military continued to expand its hold throughout the government. Civilian rule was not restored until 1985. In 2004, the left-of-center EP-FA Coalition won national elections that effectively ended 170 years of political control previously held by the Colorado and Blanco parties. Uruguay's political and labor conditions are among the freest on the continent.
Geography Uruguay
Location:
Southern South America, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Argentina and Brazil
Geographic coordinates:
33 00 S, 56 00 W
Map references:
South America
Area:
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
Coastline:
660 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
contiguous zone: 24 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
continental shelf: 200-m depth or to the depth of exploitation
Climate:
warm temperate; freezing temperatures almost unknown
Terrain:
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: 7.77%
permanent crops: 0.24%
other: 91.99% (2005)
Irrigated land:
2,100 sq km (2003)
Natural hazards:
seasonally high winds (the pampero is a chilly and occasional violent wind that 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
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
Population:
3,431,932 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 22.9% (male 399,409/female 386,136)
15-64 years: 63.9% (male 1,087,180/female 1,104,465)
65 years and over: 13.3% (male 185,251/female 269,491) (2006 est.)
Median age:
total: 32.7 years
male: 31.3 years
female: 34.2 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.46% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
13.91 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
9.05 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
-0.25 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.04 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.98 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.69 male(s)/female
total population: 0.95 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 11.61 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 12.9 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 10.27 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 76.33 years
male: 73.12 years
female: 79.65 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.89 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.3% (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
6,000 (2001 est.)
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
less than 500 (2003 est.)
Nationality:
noun: Uruguayan(s)
adjective: Uruguayan
Ethnic groups:
white 88%, mestizo 8%, black 4%, Amerindian (practically nonexistent)
Religions:
Roman Catholic 66% (less than half of the adult population attends church regularly), Protestant 2%, Jewish 1%, nonprofessing or other 31%
Languages:
Spanish, Portunol, or Brazilero (Portuguese-Spanish mix on the Brazilian frontier)
Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98%
male: 97.6%
female: 98.4% (2003 est.)
Government Uruguay
Country name:
conventional long form: Oriental Republic of Uruguay
conventional short form: Uruguay
local long form: Republica Oriental del Uruguay
local short form: Uruguay
former: Banda Oriental, Cisplatine Province
Government type:
constitutional republic
Capital:
name: Montevideo
geographic coordinates: 34 53 S, 56 11 W
time difference: UTC-3 (2 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins second Sunday in October; ends second Sunday in March
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
Independence:
25 August 1825 (from Brazil)
National holiday:
Independence Day, 25 August (1825)
Constitution:
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
Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Executive branch:
chief of state: President Tabare VAZQUEZ Rosas (since 1 March 2005) and Vice President Rodolfo NIN NOVOA (since 1 March 2005); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Tabare VAZQUEZ Rosas (since 1 March 2005) and Vice President Rodolfo NIN NOVOA (since 1 March 2005); 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 (may not serve consecutive terms); election last held 31 October 2004 (next to be held October 2009)
election results: Tabare VAZQUEZ elected president; percent of vote - Tabare VAZQUEZ 50.5%, Jorge LARRANAGA 35.1%, Guillermo STIRLING 10.3%; other 4.1%
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; vice president has one vote in the Senate) 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 2004 (next to be held October 2009); Chamber of Representatives - last held 31 October 2004 (next to be held October 2009)
election results: Chamber of Senators - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - EP-FA 16, Blanco 11, Colorado Party 3; Chamber of Representatives - percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - EP-FA 52, Blanco 36, Colorado Party 10, Independent Party 1
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 [Julio Maria SANGUINETTI]; Independent Party (Partido Independiente) [Pablo MIERES]; Movement of Popular Participation or MPP [Jose MUJICA]; National Party or Blanco [Jorge LARRANAGA]; New Sector/Space Coalition (Nuevo Espacio) [Rafael MICHELINI]; Progressive Encounter/Broad Front Coalition (Encuentro Progresista/Frente Amplio) or EP-FA [Tabare VAZQUEZ]; Socialist Party of Uruguay or Socialists [Reinaldo GARGANO]; Uruguayan Assembly or Asamblea Uruguay [Danilo ASTORI]
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Architect's Society of Uruguay (professional organization); Catholic Church; Chamber of Uruguayan Industries (manufacturer's association); Chemist and Pharmaceutical Association (professional organization); PIT-CNT (powerful federation of Uruguayan unions); Rural Association of Uruguay (rancher's association); students; Uruguayan Construction League
International organization participation:
CSN, FAO, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICCt, ICRM, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITU, LAES, LAIA, Mercosur, MIGA, MINURSO, MINUSTAH, MONUC, NAM (observer), OAS, ONUB, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, UN, UNAMSIL, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNFICYP, UNIDO, UNMEE, UNMOGIP, UNOCI, UNOMIG, UPU, WCL, WCO, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Carlos Alberto GIANELLI Derois
chancery: 1913 I Street NW, Washington, DC 20006
telephone: [1] (202) 331-1313 through 1316
FAX: [1] (202) 331-8142
consulate(s) general: Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York
consulate(s): San Juan (Puerto Rico)
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Charge d'Affaires James D. NEALON
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 with 16 rays that alternate between triangular and wavy
Economy Uruguay
Economy - overview:
Uruguay's well-to-do economy is characterized by an export-oriented agricultural sector, a well-educated work force, and high levels of social spending. After averaging growth of 5% annually during 1996-98, in 1999-2002 the economy suffered a major downturn, stemming largely from the spillover effects of the economic problems of its large neighbors, Argentina and Brazil. For instance, in 2001-02 Argentina made massive withdrawals of dollars deposited in Uruguayan banks, which led to a plunge in the Uruguayan peso and a massive rise in unemployment. Total GDP in these four years dropped by nearly 20%, with 2002 the worst year due to the banking crisis. The unemployment rate rose to nearly 20% in 2002, inflation surged, and the burden of external debt doubled. Cooperation with the IMF helped stem the damage. A debt swap with private-sector creditors in 2003 extended the maturity dates on nearly half of Uruguay's then $11.3 billion of public debt and helped restore public confidence. The economy grew about 10% in 2004 as a result of high commodity prices for Uruguayan exports, a competitive peso, growth in the region, and low international interest rates, but slowed to 6.1% in 2005.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$32.96 billion (2005 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
$13.24 billion (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
6.5% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$9,600 (2005 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 9.3%
industry: 31.1%
services: 59.6% (2005 est.)
Labor force:
1.52 million (2005 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 14%
industry: 16%
services: 70%
Unemployment rate:
12.2% (2005 est.)
Population below poverty line:
22% of households (2004)
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 3.7%
highest 10%: 25.8% (1997)
Distribution of family income - Gini index:
44.6 (2000)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
4.7% (2005 est.)
Investment (gross fixed):
12.9% of GDP (2005 est.)
Budget:
revenues: $4.468 billion
expenditures: $4.845 billion; including capital expenditures of $193 million (2005 est.)
Public debt:
81.9% of GDP (2005 est.)
Agriculture - products:
rice, wheat, corn, barley; livestock; fish
Industries:
food processing, electrical machinery, transportation equipment, petroleum products, textiles, chemicals, beverages
Industrial production growth rate:
8.5% (2005 est.)
Electricity - production:
8.611 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 0.7%
hydro: 99.1%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0.3% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
7.762 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - exports:
900 million kWh (2003)
Electricity - imports:
654 million kWh (2003)
Oil - production:
435 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil - consumption:
38,000 bbl/day (2003 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA bbl/day
Oil - imports:
NA bbl/day
Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
60 million cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2003 est.)
Natural gas - imports:
65 million cu m (2003 est.)
Current account balance:
-$87.9 million (2005 est.)
Exports:
$3.55 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Exports - commodities:
meat, rice, leather products, wool, fish, dairy products
Exports - partners:
US 19.4%, Brazil 16.3%, Argentina 6.3%, Spain 4.3%, Mexico 4.2%, Germany 4.2% (2005)
Imports:
$3.54 billion f.o.b. (2005 est.)
Imports - commodities:
machinery, chemicals, road vehicles, crude petroleum
Imports - partners:
Argentina 19%, Brazil 18.6%, Paraguay 14.1%, US 8.7%, China 6.2% (2005)
Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$3.079 billion (2005 est.)
Debt - external:
$13.24 billion (2005 est.)
Economic aid - recipient:
$NA
Currency (code):
Uruguayan peso (UYU)
Currency code:
UYU
Exchange rates:
Uruguayan pesos per US dollar - 24.479 (2005), 28.704 (2004), 28.209 (2003), 21.257 (2002), 13.319 (2001)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Uruguay
Telephones - main lines in use:
1 million (2004)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
652,000 (2002)
Telephone system:
general assessment: fully digitalized
domestic: most modern facilities concentrated in Montevideo; new nationwide microwave radio relay network
international: country code - 598; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean) (2002)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 93, FM 191, shortwave 7 (2005)
Radios:
1.97 million (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
62 (2005)
Televisions:
782,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
.uy
Internet hosts:
112,968 (2005)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
14 (2001)
Internet users:
680,000 (2005)
Transportation Uruguay
Airports:
64 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 8
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 4
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 2 (2006)
Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 56
1,524 to 2,437 m: 3
914 to 1,523 m: 22
under 914 m: 31 (2006)
Pipelines:
gas 192 km (2004)
Railways:
total: 2,073 km
standard gauge: 2,073 km 1.435-m gauge
note: 461 km have been taken out of service and 460 km are in partial use (2005)
Roadways:
total: 77,732 km
paved: 7,743 km
unpaved: 69,989 km (2004)
Waterways:
1,600 km (2005)
Merchant marine:
total: 13 ships (1000 GRT or over) 37,683 GRT/19,725 DWT
by type: cargo 2, chemical tanker 1, passenger/cargo 7, petroleum tanker 2, roll on/roll off 1
foreign-owned: 4 (Argentina 3, Greece 1)
registered in other countries: 7 (Argentina 1, The Bahamas 2, Liberia 3, Spain 1) (2005)
Ports and terminals:
Montevideo, Nueva Palmira, Fray Bentos, Colonia, Juan Lacaze
Military Uruguay
Military branches:
Army, Navy (includes naval air arm, Marines, Maritime Prefecture in wartime), Air Force (Fuerza Aerea Uruguaya, FAU) (2006)
Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for voluntary and compulsory military service (2001)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 764,408
females age 18-49: 760,341 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 637,445
females age 18-49: 631,046 (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$371.2 million (2005 est.)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
2.1% (2005 est.)
Transnational Issues Uruguay
Disputes - international:
uncontested dispute with Brazil over certain islands in the Quarai/Cuareim and Invernada streams and the resulting tripoint with Argentina

This page was last updated on 19 September, 2006