45 Interesting Facts About Uruguay

Last updated on November 13th, 2017

Interesting and important facts about Uruguay’s education, urbanization, life quality and more…

#21. Uruguay is among Latin America’s most highly electrified countries with more than 95% of its region covered with access to a consistent supply of power.

#22. The country has the lowest poverty and population-growth rates in South America. Interestingly, they also have the highest urbanization and literacy rates in the region.

#23. Uruguayans have free access to education, which is why their literacy rate is highest in South America. Education is compulsory in Uruguay.

#24. The country is the first in the world to provide a free laptop and Wi-Fi connection to its school children.

#25. Uruguay has scenic, beautiful beaches along its coastline, which covers 500 kilometers in total length.

#26. Grassland covers almost three-quarters of Uruguay.

#27. The highest point in Uruguay is Cerro Catedral, at 1684 feet (514 meters) above sea level.

Related: Interesting facts about Colombia

Some interesting and weird facts about Uruguay, its people, religion, smoking ban and more…

#28. Marijuana trade has been legal in the country since December 2013. The cost is approximately one dollar per gram.

#29. Uruguayans are very fond of naming their houses, which is why every single house in the country has its own name. Their houses are not marked with numbers as in other countries. They also name their cities from a collection of names that they use for many other cities. For this reason, you may get confused if you are traveling from one city to the other!

#30. Did you read the name carefully – ‘Uruguay’? It is the only country whose name in English has the same letter repeated three times in its first five letters. The repeated letter is ‘U’.

#31. Uruguay is the second-smallest country in South America, after Suriname.

#32. Uruguay is the most non-religious country in the Americas. So much so that they have renamed many of their traditional holidays. Now, Christmas is called Family Day and Holy Week is called Tourism Week.

#33. Uruguayans go to bars not just to become intoxicated, but to socialize.

#34. Uruguay has the longest national anthem in the world in terms of duration of music (105 bars; almost six minutes.)

#35. Smoking is banned in Uruguay in enclosed public places. Almost one-third of its population smokes, which is why strict measures were adopted to curb this deadly habit. A campaign called “A Million Thanks” was launched by the president to reference the number of smokers. Interestingly, the legislation was supported by close to 70% of its smoking population.

#36. Uruguay’s national flag has nine strips and a sun with a human face in the upper left-hand corner. Their national anthem also contains the line “No one insults the image of the sun!”

Flag of Uruguay

Flag of Uruguay
Flag of Uruguay. Image credit – CIA

#37. More than half of its population lives in its capital city, Montevideo.

#38. Advertising is done by means of large speakers installed on the tops of vans running across the city. Van drivers use microphones to deliver advertisements.

#39. The name Uruguay, when translated, means “river of painted birds.”

world's poorest politician
They have the world’s poorest politician – Jose Mujica

#40. Amazingly, Uruguay has the world’s poorest politician. Yes, their president lives in simplicity, donating 90% of his salary to noble causes. He owns a one-bedroom house and a three-legged dog.

#41. Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay, during the colonial period was a hub for slave trade in South America. As a result, at least 10 percent of the population of the country is descended from slaves.

#42. In 1913, Uruguay had a divorce law in force that would allow Uruguayan woman to seek divorce at their sole request. Chile on the other hand, legalized divorce in 2004.

#43. Uruguay produced almost 95% of its electricity from renewable sources in 2015.

#44. A woman in Uruguay was recently stopped from aborting her child by court. Actually, her boyfriend filled a law suit in the court claiming that he is willing to up bring the child on his own even if the mother of the child is not interested. The court ruled in favor of the boyfriend, which however, is against the rule of the country where abortions are legally permitted until the 12th week of pregnancy. The women, however has decided that she would appeal against the decision as she does not want to give birth to the child.

#45. Philip Morris, a leading tobacco giant, was asked by the court to pay Uruguay a hefty fine of $7 million over a disputed cigarette advertisement.

Related: Interesting facts about Paraguay

Uruguay – country at a glance

Independence25 August 1825 (from Brazil)
Capital CityMontevideo
(34°53′S 56°10′W)
Largest CityMontevideo
(34°53′S 56°10′W)
Official LanguageSpanish
Population3,351,016 (July 2016 est.)
Literacy rate98.5%
Suffrage18 years of age; universal and compulsory
Total area176,215 sq km
Government typepresidential republic
PresidentTabaré Vázquez
Vice-PresidentRaúl Sendic
National Anthem"Himno Nacional" (National Anthem of Uruguay)
note: adopted 1848; the anthem is also known as "Orientales, la Patria o la tumba!" ("Uruguayans, the Fatherland or Death!"); it is the world's longest national anthem in terms of music (105 bars; almost five minutes); generally only the first verse and chorus are sung
National symbolSun of May (a sun-with-face symbol)
National colorsblue, white, yellow
BordersArgentina and Brazil
DemonymUruguayan
CurrencyUruguayan peso (UYU)
ReligionNon-religious
Life expectancy77.19 years (2016)
Life expectancy at birth indicates the number of years a newborn infant would live if prevailing patterns of mortality at the time of its birth were to stay the same throughout its life.
Terrainmostly rolling plains and low hills; fertile coastal lowland
Climatewarm temperate; freezing temperatures almost unknown
Natural resources:arable land, hydropower, minor minerals, fish
Agricultural land 87.2%
Birth rate13 births/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Death rate9.4 deaths/1,000 population (2016 est.)
Sex ratio0.94 male(s)/female (2016 est.)
Industriesfood processing, electrical machinery, transportation equipment, petroleum products, textiles, chemicals, beverages
Exports$9.042 billion (2016 est.)
beef, soybeans, cellulose, rice, wheat, wood, dairy products; wool
Imports$9.075 billion (2016 est.)
refined oil, crude oil, passenger and other transportation vehicles, vehicle parts, cellular phones
GDP - per capita (PPP)$21,600 (2016 est.)
Time ZoneUYT (UTC−3)
Internet country code.uy
Calling Code+598
Drives on theRight
Data sourcesCIA, Wikipedia
Table last updatedSeptember 01, 2017