Background: A bitter war with the Marxist urban guerrillas called “tupamaros”, which began in the late 1960s, forced the president in 1973 to transfer control of the government to the military. By the end of the year, the rebels were defeated, but the military continued to increase its influence on the government. Civilian rule was restored by 1985. Political and working conditions are among the most favorable on the continent.
Location: southern part of South America, Atlantic coast, between Argentina and Brazil.
Geographic coordinates: 33° 00′ S. latitude, 56° 00′ W
Reference map: South America.
Area: total: 176,220 square kilometers; land surface area: 173,620 km2; water surface area: 2,600 km2
Comparative area: slightly smaller than Washington state.
Land borders: total: 1,564 km; with neighboring states: with Argentina 579 km, with Brazil 985 km.
Coastline: 660 km.
Maritime claims: neutral waters: 24 nautical miles; continental shelf: to a depth of 200 m or to the depth of field development; exclusive economic zone: 200 nautical miles; territorial waters: 12 nautical miles.
Climate: warm temperate; cold weather is extremely rare.
Terrain: mostly hilly plains and small uplands; fertile coastal lowlands.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m; highest point: Mount Cathedral 514 m.
Natural resources: arable land, hydropower, small mineral reserves, fish.
Land use: arable land: 7%; cultivated land: 0%; pastures: 77%; forests and plantations: 6%; others: 10% (1997 est.).
Irrigated lands: 7,700 sq. km. (1997 est.).
Natural hazards: strong seasonal winds (pampero – a sudden cold wind that blows from the Argentine pampa), droughts, floods; due to the absence of mountains that would play the role of natural barriers, the country’s territory is subject to rapid weather changes.
Actual environmental problems: water pollution by the meat-packing industry; unsatisfactory situation with the destruction of hazardous and solid waste.
International agreements on environmental protection: party to: Antarctica – Environmental Protection Protocol, Conservation of Marine Life in Antarctica, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Environmental Change, Hazardous Waste, Law of the Sea, Conservation of Marine Life, Protection of the Ozone Layer, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands; signed but not ratified: Marine Pollution, Nuclear Test Ban.
Note to the section “Geography”:
Population: 3,360,105 (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 24.39% (male 419,932; female 399,605); 15 to 64 years: 62.61% (male 1,038,785; female 1,064,891); over 65: 13% (male 180,130; female 256,762) (2001 est.).
Population growth: 0.78% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 17.36 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 9.03 deaths / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Migration: -0.51 people /1000 people (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.06 male/female; under 15: 1.05 male/female; 15 to 64 years old: 0.98 male/female; over 65: 0.7 male/female; for the general population: 0.95 male/female (2001 est.);
Child mortality: 14.7 deaths/1000 births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 75.44 years; men: 72.11 years; women: 78.96 years (2001 est.).
Total fertility rate: 2.36 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of adults infected with HIV: 0.33% (1999 est.).
Number of people infected with HIV: 6,000 (1999 est.).
AIDS deaths: 150 (1999 est.).
Nationality: noun: Uruguayan; adjective: Uruguayan.
Ethnic groups: white 88%, mestizo 8%, black 4%, almost no Indians.
Believers: Roman Catholic 66% (less than half of the adult population regularly attends church), Protestant 2%, Jewish 2%, non-denominational or non-denominational 30%.
Language(s): Spanish, Portuguese, Brazilian (a mixture of Portuguese and Spanish, on the border with Brazil).
Literacy: definition: persons aged 15 and over who can read and write; for the general population: 97.3%; men: 96.9%; women: 97.7% (1995 est.).
Common long form: Oriental Republic of Uruguay;
conventional short form: Uruguay; local long form: Republica Oriental del Uruguay; local short form: Uruguay former: Cisplatan province.
State structure: republic. See politicsezine.com to know more about Uruguay Political System.
Administrative divisions: 19 departments: Artigas, Durasno, Canelones, Colonia, Lavalle-ha, Maldonado, Montevideo, Paysandu, Rivera, Rio Negro, Rocha, Salto, San José, Cerro Largo, Soriano, Tacuarembo, Trainta and Tres, Flores, Florida.
Independence: from August 25, 1825 (until 1825 – as part of Brazil).
National holiday: Independence Day, August 25 (1825).
Constitution: adopted November 27, 1966, entered into force February 1967, suspended June 27, 1973, new constitution defeated by referendum November 30, 1980; two constitutional reforms approved by popular vote on November 26, 1989 and January 7, 1997.
Legal system: based on the Spanish civil law system; subject to the compulsory jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice.
Suffrage: from the age of 18, universal and compulsory.
chief of state: President Jorge BATLLE (since 1 March 2000) and Vice President Luis HIERRO (since 1 March 2000); note – the president is both head of state and head of government;
head of the government: President Jorge BATLE (since March 1, 2000) and Vice President Luis Hierro (since March 1, 2000); note – the president is both head of state and head of government;
government: council of ministers appointed by the president with the approval of parliament; elections: president and vice president are elected on the same list by popular vote for five years; elections last held 31 October 1999, runoff 28 November 1999 (next to be held in 2004); election results: Jorge BATLIER elected president; distribution of votes in the second round: Jorge BATLE 52%, Taba-re VAZQUEZ 44%.
Legislative power: the bicameral General Assembly consists of the House of Senators (30 seats; members are elected by popular vote for five years) and the House of Representatives (99 seats; members are elected by popular vote for five years); elections: House of Senators – last held 31 October 1999 (next to be held in 2004); House of Representatives – last held 31 October 1999 (next to be held in 2004); election results: Chamber of Senators, distribution of votes between parties: NA; party seat distribution: Progressives 12, Colorado 10, Blanco 7, New Space 1; House of Representatives, distribution of votes between parties: no data; Party seat distribution: Progressives 40, Colorado 33, Blanco 22, New Space 4.
Judiciary: Supreme Court (judges are nominated by the president and elected for ten years by the General Assembly).
Political parties and leaders: Colorado Party (Jorge BATLE); National Party (Blanco) (Alberto VOLONTE [Alberto VOLON-TE]); New space (Rafael MICHELINI [Rafael MICHELINI]); Progressives (Encuentro Progresista) (as part of the Broad Front) (Tabare VAZQES).
Political influence groups and their leaders:
Participation in international organizations: CCC, ECLAC, FAO, G-11, G-77, IADB, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC, ICRM, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, IOM, ISO, ITU, LAES, LAIA, Mercosur, MINURSO, MONUC, NAM (observer), OAS, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, RG, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UNIKOM, UNMEE, UNMOGIP, UNMOT, UNOMIG, UNTAET, UPU, WCL, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WToO, WTrO.
US Diplomatic Mission: Head of Mission: Ambassador Hugo FERNANDEZ Faingold; office: 2715 M Street, NW, Washington, DC 20007; phone:  (202) from 331-1313 to 331-1316; fax: [C (202) 331-8142; consulates general: Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, New York.
US Diplomatic Mission: Chief of Mission: Ambassador Christopher C. ASHBY; atog” embassy: Lauro Muller 1776, Montevideo; postal address: APO AA 34035; telephone:  (2) 408-777, 203-6061; fax:  (2) 48 86 11.
Description of the flag: nine equal horizontal alternating stripes of white and blue (white stripes along the edges of the flag), in the upper left corner is a white square depicting a yellow sun with a human face, known as the “May sun”, with sixteen alternating triangular and undulating rays.