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La "República Oriental del Uruguay" (the Eastern Republic of Uruguay, here in after referred to as Republic of Uruguay or Uruguay) owes its name to its location to the East of the Uruguay River. It is because of this geographical factor, and for certain historical reasons, that Uruguayans used to be called -and still are at times- "Oriental" although Uruguay obviously belongs to the Western Hemisphere. As to the word "Uruguay" itself, it comes from the Guarani language and can be translated as "the river of the beautifully colored birds".*


1. Official Name: República Oriental del Uruguay*.

2. Area: approximately 68,000 square miles (176,000          square kilometer), excluding the continental shelf*.

3. Population: 3.3 million*.

4. Capital: Montevideo*.

5. Population of the Capital: 1.3 million in Montevideo and surroundings*.

6. Languages: Spanish is official language. The teaching of French and English has traditionally been emphasized, and English is the foreign language most used by the business community. Currently, learning Portuguese is also widespread as a result of the MERCOSUR*.

7.  Date it became a member state: 1946* 

8.  National Heroes: José Gervasio Artigas*

9. Description*:
10. Government*:
11. History*:

12. Economy:
13. Photographs*

*Source: Permanent Mission of Uruguay to the OAS. Copyright 2003 Embassy of Uruguay in Washington, DC, Ministry Of Foreign Affairs. All Rights Reserved.

* Source: Permanent Mission of Uruguay to the OAS.

* Source: "Doing Business in Uruguay", Chapter1. "Uruguay- A Profile", Uruguay XXI, June 30th, 2002. Information provided by the Permanent Mission of Uruguay to the OAS.


Updated: 20 May 2008