The flag of Uruguay © Sean Connolly, shanboqolThe flag of Uruguay © Sean Connolly, shanboqol

Uruguay at a glance

Location South America – on the northeastern shore of the Río de la Plata (River Plate), between Brazil, Argentina and the Atlantic Ocean. Uruguay shares borders with Brazil to the north (1,068km) and Argentina to the west (580km). 

Size 176,215km² (68,037 square miles)

Climate Warm-temperate

Time Uruguay is 3 hours behind UTC (GMT –3), thus 4 hours behind France and Germany, 2 hours ahead of Washington and New York and 5 hours ahead of California. Daylight Saving Time is generally in effect from the first Sunday of October until the second Sunday in March.

Electricity 220V, 50Hz. Plugs have either two European-style round pins (sometimes with an earth pin between them) or three (sometimes two) angled flat pins.

International telephone code +598

Status Presidential republic

Currency Peso (UYU) (for up-to-date rates, visit the XE website)

Population 3,351,016 (2016 estimate) 

Population growth per year 0.27% (2016 estimate) 

Life expectancy at birth 77.2 years (male 74.1, female 80.5; 2016 estimate)

Economy Dominated by agriculture, forestry and tourism. GDP US$54 billion at the official exchange rate, or US$74 billion at purchasing power parity, and US$21,600 per capita (2016) 

Capital Montevideo (population 1.8m; 2016)

Main cities Punta del Este, Colonia, Paysandú, Salto 

Language Spanish (Español or Castellano)

Religion Roman Catholic 56% (nominally), Protestant 11%, Jewish 0.3%, atheist or agnostic 17%, other 16%

Flag The pabellón nacional (national flag) bears five horizontal white stripes alternating with four blue stripes, with a white square in the upper hoist corner with a yellow sun bearing a human face. The flag of Artigas (a white stripe between two blue stripes, with a diagonal red stripe, used mainly by the military) and the flag of the Treinta y Tres Orientales (a white stripe bearing the words ‘Libertad o Muerte’ – Liberty or Death – between a blue stripe and a red stripe) are also official national symbols. 

Public holidays 1 January (New Year’s Day), 6 January (Epiphany; Día de los Reyes), February/March (Carnaval; the two days before Ash Wednesday), February/March (five days for Holy Week; dates vary from year to year), 19 April (Day of the Landing of the 33 Orientales), 1 May (Labour Day), 18 May (Battle of Las Piedras), 19 June (Birthday of Artigas; also marking the end of the dictatorship), 18 July (Constitution Day), 25 August (Independence Day), 12 October (Columbus Day; Dia de la Raza), 2 November (All Saints), 25 December (Christmas; Día de la Familia)

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