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History of Uruguay

History of Uruguay

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This is about the history
History
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

 of Uruguay
Uruguay
Uruguay ,officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay,sometimes the Eastern Republic of Uruguay; ) is a country in the southeastern part of South America. It is home to some 3.5 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the capital Montevideo and its metropolitan area...

.

Pre-Columbian times and colonization


The only documented inhabitants of Uruguay
Uruguay
Uruguay ,officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay,sometimes the Eastern Republic of Uruguay; ) is a country in the southeastern part of South America. It is home to some 3.5 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the capital Montevideo and its metropolitan area...

 before European colonization of the area were the Charrua
Charrua
The Charrúa were an indigenous people of southern South America in the area today known as Uruguay and southern Brazil. They were a nomadic people that sustained themselves through fishing and foraging...

, a small tribe driven south by the Guaraní of Paraguay
Paraguay
Paraguay , officially the Republic of Paraguay , is a landlocked country in South America. It is bordered by Argentina to the south and southwest, Brazil to the east and northeast, and Bolivia to the northwest. Paraguay lies on both banks of the Paraguay River, which runs through the center of the...

. There have also been identified examples of ancient rock art
Rock art
Rock art is a term used in archaeology for any human-made markings made on natural stone. They can be divided into:*Petroglyphs - carvings into stone surfaces*Pictographs - rock and cave paintings...

, at locations such as Chamangá
Chamangá
Chamangá is an area within a rocky terrain in the Flores Department of Uruguay, where a considerable quantity of ancient rock art has survived..The Chamangá River, a tributary of the Yí River, flows nearby....

, and elsewhere.

The Spanish
History of Spain
The history of Spain involves all the other peoples and nations within the Iberian peninsula formerly known as Hispania, and includes still today the nations of Andorra, Gibraltar, Portugal and Spain...

 arrived in the territory of present-day Uruguay in 1516, but the people's fierce resistance to conquest, combined with the absence of gold and silver, limited settlement in the region during the 16th and 17th centuries. Uruguay became a zone of contention between the Spanish and the Portuguese empires. In 1603 the Spanish began to introduce cattle
Cattle
Cattle are the most common type of large domesticated ungulates. They are a prominent modern member of the subfamily Bovinae, are the most widespread species of the genus Bos, and are most commonly classified collectively as Bos primigenius...

, which became a source of wealth in the region. The first permanent settlement on the territory of present-day Uruguay was founded by the Spanish in 1624 at Soriano
Villa Soriano
Villa Soriano is a town in the Soriano Department of Uruguay. Historically, it was also known as Santo Domingo de Soriano. It is located on the northwest end of Route 96, on the south bank of the river Río Negro, before it discharges into Río Uruguay....

 on the Río Negro
Río Negro (Uruguay)
The Río Negro is the most important river in Uruguay. It originates in the southern highlands of Brazil, just east of Bagé, and flows west across the entire width of Uruguay to the Uruguay River. The course of the Río Negro across Uruguay effectively divides the south of the country from the north...

. In 1669-71, the Portuguese built a fort at Colonia del Sacramento
Colonia del Sacramento
Colonia del Sacramento is a city in southwestern Uruguay, by the Río de la Plata, facing Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is the oldest town in Uruguay and capital of the departamento of Colonia. It has a population of around 22,000.It is renowned for its historic quarter, a World Heritage Site...

. Spanish colonization increased as Spain sought to limit Portugal
Portugal
Portugal , officially the Portuguese Republic is a country situated in southwestern Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. Portugal is the westernmost country of Europe, and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the West and South and by Spain to the North and East. The Atlantic archipelagos of the...

's expansion of Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

's frontiers.

Montevideo
Montevideo
Montevideo is the largest city, the capital, and the chief port of Uruguay. The settlement was established in 1726 by Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, as a strategic move amidst a Spanish-Portuguese dispute over the platine region, and as a counter to the Portuguese colony at Colonia del Sacramento...

 was founded by the Spanish in the early 18th century as a military stronghold; its natural harbor soon developed into a commercial center competing with Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires is the capital and largest city of Argentina, and the second-largest metropolitan area in South America, after São Paulo. It is located on the western shore of the estuary of the Río de la Plata, on the southeastern coast of the South American continent...

. Uruguay's early 19th century history was shaped by ongoing fights between the British, Spanish, Portuguese, and colonial forces for dominance in the La Plata basin. In 1806 and 1807, the British (enemies of Spain in the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

) launched the British invasions of the Río de la Plata
British invasions of the Río de la Plata
The British invasions of the Río de la Plata were a series of unsuccessful British attempts to seize control of the Spanish colonies located around the La Plata Basin in South America . The invasions took place between 1806 and 1807, as part of the Napoleonic Wars, when Spain was an ally of...

. Buenos Aires was invaded in 1806, and then liberated by forces from Montevideo led by Santiago de Liniers
Santiago de Liniers
Jacques de Liniers was a French officer in the Spanish military service, and a viceroy of the Spanish colonies of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata. He is more widely known by the Spanish form of his name, Santiago de Liniers...

. A new and stronger attack in 1807 aimed to Montevideo first, which was occupied by a 10,000-strong British force. The British forces were unable to invade Buenos Aires a second time, and Liniers demanded the liberation of Montevideo in the terms of capitulation. The British gave up their attacks over Spanish territories when the Peninsular War
Peninsular War
The Peninsular War was a war between France and the allied powers of Spain, the United Kingdom, and Portugal for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when French and Spanish armies crossed Spain and invaded Portugal in 1807. Then, in 1808, France turned on its...

 turned Britain and Spain into allies against Napoleon.

Struggle for independence



In 1811, José Gervasio Artigas
José Gervasio Artigas
José Gervasio Artigas is a national hero of Uruguay, sometimes called "the father of Uruguayan nationhood".-Early life:Artigas was born in Montevideo on June 19, 1764...

, who became Uruguay's national hero, launched a successful revolt against Spain, defeating Spanish forces on May 18 in the Battle of Las Piedras
Battle of Las Piedras
The Battle of Las Piedras was fought on May 18, 1811 as part of the Uruguayan struggle for independence.-Background and development of events:...

. In 1814 he formed the Liga Federal
Liga Federal
The Federal League or League of Free Peoples was a confederal state based around Montevideo from 1815 to 1820...

 (Federal League) of which he was declared Protector.

The steady growth of influence and prestige of the Federal League frightened the Portuguese government, which did not want the League's republicanism to spread to the adjoining Portuguese colony of Brazil. In August, 1816 forces from Brazil invaded the Eastern Province
Banda Oriental
The Banda Oriental del Uruguay was the South American territory east of the Uruguay River and north of the Río de la Plata, coinciding approximately with the modern nation of Uruguay, the Brazilian State of Rio Grande do Sul and some parts of Santa Catarina...

 (with Buenos Aires's tacit complicity), with the intention of destroying the protector and his revolution. The Portuguese forces, thanks to their numerical and material superiority, occupied Montevideo on January 20, 1817, and finally after struggling for three years in the countryside, defeated Artigas in the Battle of Tacuarembó
Battle of Tacuarembó
The Battle of Tacuarembó was a battle between the Portuguese forces under the Count of Figueira, José de Castelo Branco Correia, and the Artiguist forces of Andrés Latorre in Tacuarembó, modern-day Uruguay....

.
In 1821, the Eastern Province of the Río de la Plata
Banda Oriental
The Banda Oriental del Uruguay was the South American territory east of the Uruguay River and north of the Río de la Plata, coinciding approximately with the modern nation of Uruguay, the Brazilian State of Rio Grande do Sul and some parts of Santa Catarina...

 (present-day Uruguay), was annexed by Brazil under the name of Província Cisplatina
Cisplatina
The Cisplatina Province was a Portuguese and later a Brazilian province in existence from 1815 to 1828...

. In response, the Thirty-Three Orientals
Thirty-Three Orientals
The Treinta y Tres Orientales was a militant revolutionary group led by Juan Antonio Lavalleja against the Empire of Brazil. Their actions culminated in the foundation of modern Uruguay...

 led by Juan Antonio Lavalleja
Juan Antonio Lavalleja
Juan Antonio Lavalleja was an Uruguayan revolutionary and political figure. Today's Lavalleja Department is named after him.-Pre-Independence role:...

 declared independence on August 25, 1825 supported by the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata, present-day Argentina.

This led to the 500-day Argentina-Brazil War
Argentina-Brazil War
The Cisplatine War or the Argentine–Brazilian War was an armed conflict over an area known as Banda Oriental or "Eastern Shore" in the 1820s between the United Provinces of River Plate and the Empire of Brazil in the aftermath of the United Provinces' emancipation from Spain.-Background:Led by...

. Neither side gained the upper hand, and in 1828 the Treaty of Montevideo
1828 Treaty of Montevideo
Treaty of Montevideo : In a treaty signed on August 27, 1828, after British mediation, Brazil and Argentina recognized the independence of Uruguay....

, fostered by Britain, gave birth to Uruguay as an independent state. The nation's first constitution
Constitution of Uruguay
The Constitution of Uruguay is the supreme law of Uruguay. Its first version was written in 1830 and its last amendment was made in 2002. A new amendment is in talks as of April 2007....

 was adopted on July 18, 1830. For the remainder of the 19th century, under a series of elected and appointed presidents, Uruguay saw interventions by — and conflicts with — neighboring states, political and economic fluctuations, and large inflows of immigrants, mostly from Europe.

The "Guerra Grande" 1839-1852



The political scene in Uruguay became split between two parties, the conservative Blancos
National Party (Uruguay)
The National Party , also known as the White Party , is a major right-wing conservative political party in Uruguay, currently the major opposition party to the ruling Frente Amplio government....

 ("Whites") and the liberal Colorados
Colorado Party (Uruguay)
The Colorado Party is a political party in Uruguay.- Aims :It unites Conservative, Moderate and Social democratic groups. It was the dominant party of government almost without exception during the stabilisation of the Uruguayan republic....

 ("Reds"). The Colorados were led by Fructuoso Rivera
Fructuoso Rivera
José Fructuoso Rivera y Toscana was an Uruguayan general and patriot who assisted in the efforts to force Brazilians out of the Banda Oriental.-Founder of Colorado Party and President of Uruguay:...

 and represented the business interests of Montevideo; the Blancos were headed by Manuel Oribe
Manuel Oribe
Manuel Ceferino Oribe y Viana was the fourth president of Uruguay.-Biography:Manuel Oribe was the son of Captain Francisco Oribe and María Francisca Viana, a descendant of the first governor of Montevideo, José Joaquín de Viana...

, who looked after the agricultural interests of the countryside and promoted protectionism. The two groups took their names from the color of the armbands that they wore; initially, the Colorados wore blue, but when it faded in the sun, they replaced it with red. The Uruguayan parties became associated with warring political factions in neighbouring Argentina. The Colorados favored the exiled Argentinian liberal Unitarios
Unitarian Party
Unitarianists or Unitarians were the proponents of the concept of a Unitary state in Buenos Aires during the civil wars which shortly followed the Declaration of Independence of Argentina in 1816. They were opposed to the Argentine Federalists, who wanted a federation of independent provinces...

, many of whom had taken refuge in Montevideo, while the Blanco president Manuel Oribe
Manuel Oribe
Manuel Ceferino Oribe y Viana was the fourth president of Uruguay.-Biography:Manuel Oribe was the son of Captain Francisco Oribe and María Francisca Viana, a descendant of the first governor of Montevideo, José Joaquín de Viana...

 was a close friend of the Argentine governor Juan Manuel de Rosas
Juan Manuel de Rosas
Juan Manuel de Rosas , was an argentine militar and politician, who was elected governor of the province of Buenos Aires in 1829 to 1835, and then of the Argentine Confederation from 1835 until 1852...

. Oribe took Rosas's side when the French navy blockaded Buenos Aires in 1838. This led the Colorados and the exiled Unitarios to seek French backing against Oribe and on June 15, 1838, an army led by the Colorado leader Rivera overthrew the president, who fled to Argentina. The Argentinian Unitarios formed a government-in-exile in Montevideo and, with secret French encouragement, Rivera declared war on Rosas in 1839. The conflict would last thirteen years and become known as the "Guerra Grande" (the "Great War"). In 1840, an army of exiled Unitarios attempted to invade northern Argentina from Uruguay but they had little success. Two years later, an Argentinian army overran Uruguay on Oribe's behalf. They seized most of the country but failed to take the capital. The siege of Montevideo, which began in February 1843, would last nine years and capture the world's imagination. Alexandre Dumas, père
Alexandre Dumas, père
Alexandre Dumas, , born Dumas Davy de la Pailleterie was a French writer, best known for his historical novels of high adventure which have made him one of the most widely read French authors in the world...

 compared it to a new Trojan War
Trojan War
In Greek mythology, the Trojan War was waged against the city of Troy by the Achaeans after Paris of Troy took Helen from her husband Menelaus, the king of Sparta. The war is among the most important events in Greek mythology and was narrated in many works of Greek literature, including the Iliad...

. The besieged Uruguayans called on resident foreigners for help and a French and an Italian legion were formed. The latter was led by the exiled Giuseppe Garibaldi
Giuseppe Garibaldi
Giuseppe Garibaldi was an Italian military and political figure. In his twenties, he joined the Carbonari Italian patriot revolutionaries, and fled Italy after a failed insurrection. Garibaldi took part in the War of the Farrapos and the Uruguayan Civil War leading the Italian Legion, and...

, who was working as a mathematics teacher in Montevideo when the war broke out. Garibaldi was also made head of the Uruguayan navy. He was involved in many famous actions during the war, notably the Battle of San Antonio, which won him a worldwide reputation as a formidable guerrilla leader. The Argentinian blockade of Montevideo was ineffective as Rosas generally tried not to interfere with international shipping on the River Plate. But in 1845, when access to Paraguay was blocked, Britain and France allied against Rosas, seized his fleet and began a blockade of Buenos Aires, while Brazil joined in against Argentina. Rosas reached peace deals with Great Britain and France in 1849 and 1850 respectively. The French agreed to withdraw their legion if Rosas evacuated Argentinian troops from Uruguay. Oribe still maintained a loose siege of the capital. In 1851, the Argentinian caudillo
Caudillo
Caudillo is a Spanish word for "leader" and usually describes a political-military leader at the head of an authoritarian power. The term translates into English as leader or chief, or more pejoratively as warlord, dictator or strongman. Caudillo was the term used to refer to the charismatic...

 Justo José de Urquiza
Justo José de Urquiza
Justo José de Urquiza y García was an Argentine general and politician. He was president of the Argentine Confederation from 1854 to 1860.He was governor of Entre Ríos during the government of Juan Manuel de Rosas, governor of Buenos Aires with powers delegated from the other provinces...

 turned against Rosas and signed a pact with the exiled Unitarios, the Uruguayan Colorados and Brazil against him. Urquiza crossed into Uruguay, defeated Oribe and lifted the siege of Montevideo. He then overthrew Rosas at the Battle of Caseros
Battle of Caseros
The Battle of Caseros was fought near the town of Caseros, more precisely between the present-day train stations of Caseros and Palomar in Buenos Aires Province, Argentina, on 3 February 1852, between the Army of Buenos Aires commanded by Juan Manuel de Rosas...

 on February 3, 1852. With Rosas's defeat and exile, the "Guerra Grande" finally came to an end. Slavery was abolished in 1852.

War of the Triple Alliance



In 1855, new conflict broke out between the parties. It reached its high point during the War of the Triple Alliance
War of the Triple Alliance
The Paraguayan War , also known as War of the Triple Alliance , was a military conflict in South America fought from 1864 to 1870 between Paraguay and the Triple Alliance of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay...

. In 1863, the Colorado general Venancio Flores
Venancio Flores
Venancio Flores Barrios was a Uruguayan political leader and general. Flores was President of Uruguay from 1854 to 1855 and from 1865 to 1868.-Background and early career:...

 organized an armed uprising against the Blanco president, Bernardo Prudencio Berro
Bernardo Berro
Bernardo Prudencio Berro was the President of Uruguay from 1860 to 1864.-President of Uruguay :...

. Flores won backing from Brazil and, this time, from Argentina, who supplied him with troops and weapons, while Berro made an alliance with the Paraguayan leader Francisco Solano López
Francisco Solano López (politician)
Francisco Solano López Carrillo was president of Paraguay from 1862 until his death in 1870. He was officially the eldest son of president Carlos Antonio López, whom he succeeded...

. When Berro's government was overthrown in 1864 with Brazilian help, López used it as a pretext to declare war on Uruguay. The result was the War of the Triple Alliance, a five-year conflict in which Uruguayan, Brazilian and Argentinian armies fought Paraguay, and which Flores finally won, but only at the price of the loss of 95% of his own troops. Flores did not enjoy his Pyrrhic victory for long. In 1868, he was murdered on the same day as his rival Berro.

Both parties were weary of the chaos. In 1870, they came to an agreement to define spheres of influence: the Colorados would control Montevideo and the coastal region, the Blancos would rule the hinterland with its agricultural estates. In addition, the Blancos were paid half a million dollars to compensate them for the loss of their stake in Montevideo. But the caudillo
Caudillo
Caudillo is a Spanish word for "leader" and usually describes a political-military leader at the head of an authoritarian power. The term translates into English as leader or chief, or more pejoratively as warlord, dictator or strongman. Caudillo was the term used to refer to the charismatic...

 mentality was difficult to erase from Uruguay and political feuding continued culminating in the Revolution of the Lances
Revolution of the Lances
The Revolution of the Lances occurred in Uruguay from September 12, 1870 to April 6, 1872.-Parties to the conflict:...

 (Revolución de las Lanzas) (1870–1872), and later with the uprising of Aparicio Saravia
Aparicio Saravia
Aparicio Saravia da Rosa was a Uruguayan politician and military leader...

, who was fatally injured at the Battle of Masoller
Battle of Masoller
The Battle of Masoller, which occurred on September 1, 1904, was the final battle of the intermittent Uruguayan Civil War which marked much of 19th century Uruguay, resulting in the victory of the Colorado forces.-Location and historical background:...

 (1904).

Social and economic developments up to 1890


After the "Guerra Grande" there was a steady rise in the number of immigrants, above all from Italy and Spain. The number of immigrants had risen from 48% of the population in 1860 to 68% in 1868. In the 1870s, a further 100,000 Europeans arrived, so that by 1879 about 438,000 people were living in Uruguay, a quarter of them in Montevideo.

In 1857, the first bank was opened; three years later a canal system was begun, the first telegraph line was set up, and rail links were built between the capital and the countryside. The Italians set up the Camera di Commercio Italiana di Montevideo (Italian Chamber of Commerce of Montevideo) which played a strategic role in trade with Italy and building up the Italian middle class in the city.

The economy saw a steep upswing after the "Guerra Grande", above all in livestock raising and export. Between 1860 and 1868, the number of sheep rose from three to seventeen million. The reason for this increase lay above all in the improved methods of husbandry introduced by European immigrants.

Montevideo became a major economic centre of the region. Thanks to its natural harbour, it became an entrepot for goods from Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay. The towns of Paysandú
Paysandú
-Transportation:The city is served by Tydeo Larre Borges International Airport.-Climate:Paysandú has a humid subtropical climate, described by the Köppen climate classification as Cfa. Summers are warm to hot and winters are cool, with the occurrence of frosts and fog...

 and Salto
Salto, Uruguay
Salto is the capital city of the Salto Department in northwestern Uruguay and the second largest city of the country. It is located on Route 3, about northwest of Montevideo, and on the east bank of Río Uruguay, across the city Concordia of Argentina...

, both on the River Uruguay, also experienced similar development.

Modernization


José Batlle y Ordóñez
José Batlle y Ordóñez
José Pablo Torcuato Batlle y Ordóñez was the president of Uruguay in 1899 and from 1903 until 1907 and for a further term from 1911 to 1915. He was the son of former president, Lorenzo Batlle y Grau. His children César, Rafael and Lorenzo Batlle Pacheco were actively engaged in politics...

, president from 1903 to 1907 and again from 1911 to 1915, set the pattern for Uruguay's modern political development. He established widespread political, social, and economic reforms such as a welfare program, government participation in many facets of the economy, and a plural executive. Some of these reforms were continued by his successors.

Around 1900 infant mortality rates (IMR) in Uruguay were among the world's lowest, indicating a very healthy population. By 1910, however, the IMR leveled off, while it continued to drop in other countries. The leading causes of death – diarrheal and respiratory diseases – did not decline, indicating a growing public health problem.

During World War I
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

, Uruguay sided against Germany and broke off diplomatic relations. It did not play a role in the combat operations.

In 1930, Uruguay was chosen as the site of the first Football World Cup. Although the field was much smaller than the competitions of today, the event provided national pride when the home team won the tournament over their neighbors Argentina.

World War II


On December 13, 1939 the Battle of the River Plate
Battle of the River Plate
The Battle of the River Plate was the first naval battle in the Second World War. The German pocket battleship had been commerce raiding since the start of the war in September 1939...

 took place off the coast of Uruguay between British forces and the German "pocket battleship" Admiral Graf Spee
German cruiser Admiral Graf Spee
Admiral Graf Spee was a Deutschland-class heavy cruiser which served with the Kriegsmarine of Nazi Germany during World War II. The vessel was named after Admiral Maximilian von Spee, commander of the East Asia Squadron that fought the battles of Coronel and Falkland Islands in World War I...

. After a 72-hour layover in port of Montevideo
Montevideo
Montevideo is the largest city, the capital, and the chief port of Uruguay. The settlement was established in 1726 by Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, as a strategic move amidst a Spanish-Portuguese dispute over the platine region, and as a counter to the Portuguese colony at Colonia del Sacramento...

 the captain of the Graf Spee, believing he was hopelessly outnumbered by the British, ordered the ship to be scuttled. Most of the surviving crew of 1,150 were interned in Uruguay and Argentina and many remained after the war. A German Embassy official in Uruguay said his government has sent an official letter stating its position as to whether Germany claims ownership of the vessel. The German claim would be invalid because early in 1940 the Nazi government sold salvaging rights to the vessel to a Uruguayan businessman who was acting on behalf of the British government. However, any salvaging rights would have expired under Uruguayan law. By 1940 Germany had threatened to break of diplomatic relations with Uruguay. Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 protested that Uruguay gave safe harbor to the HMS Carnarvon Castle after it was attacked by a Nazi raider. The ship was repaired with steel plate reportedly salvaged from the Graf Spee.

On January 25, 1942 Uruguay broke diplomatic relations with Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

, as 21 American nations did the same (except for Argentina). In 1945, it formally joined the Declaration by United Nations
Declaration by United Nations
The Declaration by United Nations was a World War II document agreed to on January 1, 1942 during the Arcadia Conference by 26 governments: the Allied "Big Four" , nine American allies in Central America and the Caribbean, the four British Dominions, British India, and eight Allied...

.

Economic distress


In the late 1950s, partly because of a decrease in demand in the world market for agricultural products, Uruguay began having economic problems, which included inflation, mass unemployment, and a steep drop in the standard of living for Uruguayan workers. This led to student militancy and labor unrest.

1950 also saw Uruguay win its second FIFA World Cup
FIFA World Cup
The FIFA World Cup, often simply the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of Fédération Internationale de Football Association , the sport's global governing body...

, defeating Brazil 2-1 in the competition's final match to take spot in the championship group, an event that became known as the Maracanazo.

Tupamaros guerrillas


An urban guerrilla movement known as the Tupamaros
Tupamaros
Tupamaros, also known as the MLN-T , was an urban guerrilla organization in Uruguay in the 1960s and 1970s. The MLN-T is inextricably linked to its most important leader, Raúl Sendic, and his brand of social politics...

 formed in the early 1960s, first robbing banks and distributing food and money in poor neighborhoods, then undertaking political kidnappings and attacks on security forces. Their efforts succeeded in first embarrassing, and then destabilizing, the government.

The US Office of Public Safety
Office of Public Safety
The Office of Public Safety was a US government agency, established in 1957 by US President Dwight D. Eisenhower to train police forces of US allies. It was officially part of USAID , and was close to the Central Intelligence Agency . Police-training teams were sent to South Vietnam, Iran, Taiwan,...

 (OPS) began operating in Uruguay in 1965. The US OPS trained Uruguayan police and intelligence in policing and interrogration techniques. The Uruguayan Chief of Police Intelligence, Alejandro Otero, told a Brazilian newspaper in 1970 that the OPS, especially the head of the OPS in Uruguay, Dan Mitrione
Dan Mitrione
Daniel A. Mitrione was an Italian-born American police officer, Federal Bureau of Investigation agent and a United States government advisor for the Central Intelligence Agency in Latin America.- Career :...

, had instructed the Uruguayan police how to torture suspects, especially with electrical implements.

Dictatorship


President Jorge Pacheco
Jorge Pacheco Areco
Jorge Pacheco Areco was a Uruguayan politician and member of the Colorado Party. He served as President of Uruguay from December 6, 1967 to March 1, 1972.-Vice President of Uruguay:...

 declared a state of emergency in 1968, and this was followed by a further suspension of civil liberties in 1972 by his successor, President Juan María Bordaberry
Juan María Bordaberry
Juan María Bordaberry Arocena was a Uruguayan politician and cattle rancher, who first served as President from 1972 until 1976, including as a dictator from 1973 until his ouster in a 1976 coup...

. Pres. Bordaberry brought the Army in to combat the guerrillas of the Movement of National Liberation (MLN), which was led by Raúl Sendic
Raúl Sendic
Raúl Sendic Antonaccio was a prominent Uruguayan Marxist and founder of the Tupamaros.Born in a rural area, near the village of Juan Jose Castro, in the Flores Department, Sendic worked with his father as a peasant on a crab apple farm until he finished high school and left his home to study in...

. After defeating the Tupamaros
Tupamaros
Tupamaros, also known as the MLN-T , was an urban guerrilla organization in Uruguay in the 1960s and 1970s. The MLN-T is inextricably linked to its most important leader, Raúl Sendic, and his brand of social politics...

, the military seized power in 1973. Torture was effectively used to gather information needed to break up the MLN and also against trade union officers, members of the Communist Party and even to regular citizens. Torture practices extended until the end of Uruguayan dictatorship in 1985 Uruguay soon had the highest per capita percentage of political prisoners in the world. The MLN heads were isolated in improvised prisons and subjected to repeated acts of torture. Emigration from Uruguay rose drastically, as large numbers of Uruguayans looked for political asylum throughout the world.
Bordaberry was finally removed from his "president charge" in 1976. He was first succeeded by Alberto Demicheli
Alberto Demicheli
Alberto Pedro Demicheli Lizaso was a Uruguayan political figure. Demicheli was a de facto President of Uruguay in 1976...

. Subsequently a national council chosen by the military government elected Aparicio Méndez
Aparicio Méndez
Aparicio Méndez Manfredini , was a Uruguayan political figure. He was a de facto President of Uruguay from 1976–1981. As a non-democratically elected authority of the Civic-military dictatorship .-Background:...

.

In 1980, in order to legitimize their position, the armed forces proposed a change in the constitution, to be subjected to a popular vote by a referendum. The "No" votes—against the constitutional changes totalled 57.2% of the votes, showing the unpopularity of the de facto government, that was later accelerated by an economic crisis.

In 1981, General Gregorio Álvarez
Gregorio Conrado Álvarez
Gregorio Conrado Álvarez Armelino is a Uruguayan general and former dictator. He served as the de facto president of Uruguay from 1981 until 1985.-Background:...

 assumed the presidency.

In 1984, massive protests against the dictatorship broke out. After a 24 hour general strike, talks began and the armed forces announced a plan for return to civilian rule. National elections were held in 1984; Colorado Party
Colorado Party (Uruguay)
The Colorado Party is a political party in Uruguay.- Aims :It unites Conservative, Moderate and Social democratic groups. It was the dominant party of government almost without exception during the stabilisation of the Uruguayan republic....

 leader Julio María Sanguinetti won the presidency and, following the brief interim Presidency of Rafael Addiego Bruno
Rafael Addiego Bruno
Rafael Addiego Bruno is a Uruguayan jurist and political figure.He was President of Uruguay February - March 1985 as an interim measure, following the resignation, and accession to office, respectively, of Presidents Gregorio Álvarez and Julio María Sanguinetti.-Background:Addiego had been...

, served from 1985 to 1990. The first Sanguinetti administration implemented economic reforms and consolidated democratization following the country's years under military rule. Nonetheless, Sanguinetti never supported the human rights violations accusations, and his government did not prosecute the military officials who engaged in repression and torture against either the Tupamaros or the MLN. Instead, he opted for signing an amnesty treaty called in Spanish "Ley de Amnistia."

Around 180 Uruguayans are known to have been killed during the 12-year military rule from 1973-1985. Most were killed in Argentina and other neighbouring countries, with only 36 of them having been killed in Uruguay. A large number of those killed, were never found and the missing people have been referred to as the 'disappeared' or 'desaparecidos'.

Recent history



Sanguinetti's economic reforms, focusing on the attraction of foreign trade and capital, achieved some success and stabilized the economy. In order to promote national reconciliation and facilitate the return of democratic civilian rule, Sanguinetti secured public approval by plebiscite of a controversial general amnesty for military leaders accused of committing human rights violations under the military regime and sped the release of former guerrillas.

The National Party's Luis Alberto Lacalle
Luis Alberto Lacalle
Luis Alberto Lacalle de Herrera is a Uruguayan lawyer and politician who served as President of Uruguay from 1990 to 1995.-Background:His mother, María Hortensia de Herrera de Lacalle, was the daughter of the Blanco political leader Luis Alberto de Herrera, after whom Lacalle was named. Luis...

 won the 1989 presidential election and served from 1990 to 1995. President Lacalle executed major economic structural reforms and pursued further liberalization of trade regimes, including Uruguay's inclusion in the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR
Mercosur
Mercosur or Mercosul is an economic and political agreement among Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay. Founded in 1991 by the Treaty of Asunción, which was later amended and updated by the 1994 Treaty of Ouro Preto. Its purpose is to promote free trade and the fluid movement of goods, people,...

) in 1991. Despite economic growth during Lacalle's term, adjustment and privatization efforts provoked political opposition, and some reforms were overturned by referendum.

In the 1994 elections, former President Sanguinetti won a new term, which ran from 1995 until March 2000. As no single party had a majority in the General Assembly, the National Party joined with Sanguinetti's Colorado Party in a coalition government. The Sanguinetti government continued Uruguay's economic reforms and integration into MERCOSUR. Other important reforms were aimed at improving the electoral system, social security, education, and public safety. The economy grew steadily for most of Sanguinetti's term until low commodity prices and economic difficulties in its main export markets caused a recession in 1999, which has continued into 2002.

The 1999 national elections were held under a new electoral system established by a 1996 constitutional amendment. Primaries in April decided single presidential candidates for each party, and national elections on October 31 determined representation in the legislature. As no presidential candidate received a majority in the October election, a runoff was held in November. In the runoff, Colorado Party candidate Jorge Batlle, aided by the support of the National Party, defeated Broad Front
Broad Front (Uruguay)
The Broad Front is a Uruguayan left-wing coalition of political parties. It is led by Jorge Brovetto. Frente Amplio has close ties with PIT-CNT trade union and the cooperative housing movement.-History:...

 candidate Tabaré Vázquez
Tabaré Vázquez
Tabaré Ramón Vázquez Rosas is a former President of Uruguay. A physician by training, he is a member of the leftist Frente Amplo coalition . Vázquez was elected president on October 31, 2004, took office on March 1, 2005, and relinquished the office on March 1, 2010...

.

The Colorado and National Parties continued their legislative coalition, as neither party by itself won as many seats as the 40% of each house won by the Broad Front coalition. The formal coalition ended in November 2002, when the Blancos withdrew their ministers from the cabinet, although the Blancos continued to support the Colorados on most issues.

Batlle's five-year term was marked by economic recession and uncertainty, first with the 1999 devaluation of the Brazilian real
Brazilian real
The real is the present-day currency of Brazil. Its sign is R$ and its ISO code is BRL. It is subdivided into 100 centavos ....

, then with the outbreaks of foot-and-mouth disease
Foot-and-mouth disease
Foot-and-mouth disease or hoof-and-mouth disease is an infectious and sometimes fatal viral disease that affects cloven-hoofed animals, including domestic and wild bovids...

 (aftosa) in Uruguay's key beef sector in 2001, and finally with the political and economic collapse of Argentina. Unemployment rose to close to twenty percent, real wages fell, the peso was devalued and the percentage of Uruguayans in poverty reached almost forty percent.

These worsening economic conditions played a part in turning public opinion against the free market
Free market
A free market is a competitive market where prices are determined by supply and demand. However, the term is also commonly used for markets in which economic intervention and regulation by the state is limited to tax collection, and enforcement of private ownership and contracts...

 economic policies adopted by the Batlle administration and its predecessors, leading to popular rejection through plebiscites of proposals for privatization
Privatization
Privatization is the incidence or process of transferring ownership of a business, enterprise, agency or public service from the public sector to the private sector or to private non-profit organizations...

 of the state petroleum company in 2003 and of the state water company in 2004. In 2004 Uruguayans elected Tabaré Vázquez as president, while giving the Broad Front coalition a majority in both houses of parliament. The newly elected government, while pledging to continue payments on Uruguay's external debt, has also promised to undertake a crash jobs programs to attack the widespread problems of poverty and unemployment.

In 2009, former tupamaro and agriculture minister José Mujica
José Mujica
José Alberto "Pepe" Mujica Cordano is a Uruguayan politician and former guerrilla fighter, a member of the Broad Front and current President of Uruguay....

, was elected president, subsequently succeeding Vázquez on March 1, 2010.

See also

  • History of the Americas
    History of the Americas
    The history of the Americas is the collective history of the American landmass, which includes North and South America, as well as Central America and the Caribbean. It begins with people migrating to these areas from Asia during the height of an Ice Age...

  • History of Argentina
    History of Argentina
    The history of Argentina is divided by historians into four main parts: the pre-Columbian time, or early history , the colonial period , the independence wars and the early post-colonial period of the nation and the history of modern Argentina .The beginning of prehistory in the present territory of...

  • History of Brazil
    History of Brazil
    The history of Brazil begins with the arrival of the first indigenous peoples, thousands of years ago by crossing the Bering land bridge into Alaska and then moving south....

  • History of Latin America
    History of Latin America
    Latin America refers to countries in the Americas where Romance languages are spoken. This definition, however, is not meant to include Canada, in spite of its large French-speaking population....

  • History of South America
    History of South America
    The history of South America is the study of the past, particularly the written record, oral histories, and traditions, passed down from generation to generation on the continent in the Earth's western hemisphere and southern hemisphere. South America has a history that spans a wide range of human...

  • List of Presidents of Uruguay
  • Politics of Uruguay
    Politics of Uruguay
    The Politics of Uruguay abide by a presidential representative democratic republic, under which the President of Uruguay is both the head of state and the head of government, as well as a multiform party system. The president exercises executive power and Legislative power is vested in the two...

  • Portuguese colonization of the Americas
    Portuguese colonization of the Americas
    Portugal was the leading country in the European exploration of the world in the 15th century. The Treaty of Tordesillas divided the Earth, outside Europe, in 1494 into Spanish and Portuguese global territorial hemispheres for exclusive conquest and colonization...

  • Spanish colonization of the Americas
    Spanish colonization of the Americas
    Colonial expansion under the Spanish Empire was initiated by the Spanish conquistadores and developed by the Monarchy of Spain through its administrators and missionaries. The motivations for colonial expansion were trade and the spread of the Christian faith through indigenous conversions...


Historiography

  • Bresciano, Juan Andrés. "L'Immigrazione Italiana in Uruguay Nella Piu Recente Storiografia (1990-2005)." ["Italian immigration to Uruguay in the most recent historiography, 1990-2005"] Studi Emigrazione, June 2008, Vol. 45 Issue 170, pp 287-299

External links