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Uruguay Information - Page 2
The Portuguese founded Colonia del Sacramento on the Rio de la Plata in 1680. In 1726 the Spanish built a fortress in Monetevideo. Fifty years later Uruguay became part of the Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata, ruled from Buenos Aires (Argentina).

The nineteenth century was a turbulent time in Uruguay's history. 1808 saw a Uruguayan rebellion against the Viceroyalty. Later, the Spanish from Argentina and the Portuguese from Brazil fought for control of the country. The British, who had commercial interests in Uruguay, took on a peace-making role; the Treaty of Rio de Janerio ensured Uruguay's independence (1828).

Following independence, civil war broke out in 1838. Factions known as the "Whites" and the "Reds" fought for many years. Then, between 1865 and 1870 Uruguay joined with Argentina and Brazil in a war against neighbouring Paraguay.

At the beginning of the twentieth century a number of social reforms were introduced by the government of Jose Batlle y Ordonez. Batlle not only gave Uruguay one of the world's earliest welfare systems but also introduced free education for children and votes for women.

During the second half of the century confrontation broke out between the government and a revolutionary group known as the Tupamaros. This situation led to a coup in 1973 and military rule until 1985. Julio Maria Sanguinetti, elected to lead a civilian government, took office in March 1985.

Uruguay has traditionally been dependent on livestock and related industries. Nowadays, agriculture earns the smallest percentage of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Agricultural products are rice, wheat, soybeans and barley. Cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens and horses are reared. The fishing industry provides fish for export.

Major industries are petroleum products, chemicals, transport equipment, electrical machinery, textiles, food processing and beverages.

The services sector provides the largest percentage of the country's GDP and employs the largest number of the working population. Many people work for the government, others work in commercial sectors such as banking. Tourism is an increasingly important industry. (2011)

Famous Uruguayan artists include Juan Manuel Blanes (1830-1901), Pedro Figari (1861-1938) and Joaquin Torres Garcia (1874-1949). In the world of literature, Juan Zorrilla de San Martin (1855-1931) is known as Uruguay's national poet.

Carnival, the week before Lent, is an opportunity for the celebration of traditional music and dance.

Cultural institutions in Uruguay include the Uruguay Symphony Orchestra, the Orquesta Filarmonica de Montevideo, the Centro Cultural de Musica, and the Teatro Solis. Museums can be found in all Uruguay's cities.

Uruguay won the first Football World Cup in 1930. Twenty years later Uruguay took the Cup for the second time. The top football clubs in Uruguay are Nacional and Penarol. Other team games played in Uruguay are basketball and volleyball.

Horse-jumping, horse-racing and polo are popular in Uruguay. Rodeos are held throughout the country.

The Atlantic coastline provides plenty of opportunities for water sports such as swimming and fishing.

Christmas, Easter and all religious holidays are celebrated. Other days celebrated include New Year's Day - 1 January, Landing of the 33 Patriots - 19 April, Labour Day - 1 May, Battle of Las Piedras - 18 May, General Artigas Day - 19 June, and Independence Day - 25 August (1825 from Brazil).

News from Uruguay is available from Newslink.

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