Uruguay Facts: 40 Interesting And Crazy Facts About Uruguay

Uruguay, officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, is a country in the southeastern region of South America. With these 40 interesting facts about Uruguay, let’s learn about its culture, economy, history, people, education, trade, industries, sports, religion; and some funny and weird facts about Uruguay.

Uruguay facts about the country’s economy, trade, major industries and more…

Fact 1: There are more sheep in Uruguay than humans! In 2005, Uruguay, which is well suited for raising sheep and cattle, had 9,712,000 sheep, which was second highest in South America after Brazil. The production costs for raising livestock are low, but the quality of production is high in Uruguay.

Fact 2: Exports of meat and wool made Uruguay prosperous during the early 20th century.

Fact 3: Uruguay exported $1 billion worth of livestock in 2000.

Fact 4: Uruguay is the only country to keep track of 100% of their cattle. There are three cows for every person in the country.

cattle in Uruguay
Interesting facts about Uruguay: Cattle in Uruguay. Source

Fact 5: Uruguay’s industrial economy is mainly dependent on petroleum products, transportation equipment, electrical machinery and food processing.

Fact 6: Brazil and Argentina are major trade partners of Uruguay.

Interesting facts about Uruguay’s sports, size and more…

Fact 7: Until 1985, Uruguay was under a military dictatorship.

Fact 8: It is one of the few countries in South America to have access to clean water for its entire population.

Fact 9: Uruguayan countrymen played test cricket in the mid-nineteenth century. Between 1868 and the Second World War, they played Argentina – 29 times.

Fact 10: Uruguay won its only Olympic gold medals in the 1924 and 1928 Olympics. They won these medals in football (soccer). They also won the FIFA World Cup in 1930.

Fact 11: The first-ever FIFA World Cup was held in Uruguay in 1930.

Fact 12: Uruguay is comparable in size to Oklahoma.

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Facts about Uruguay’s corruption, legalization of abortions, same-sex marriages, disease outbreak and more…

Fact 13: Uruguay’s military ruler Gregorio Alvarez was sentenced to 25 years in prison for the murder of 37 people and numerous human rights violations.

Fact 14: Uruguay has ranked as one of the least corrupt nations at 19 out of 177 by Transparency International.

Fact 15: After Chile, Uruguay is the second-least corrupt country in South America.

Fact 16: In 2010, Uruguay’s president Juan Maria Bordaberry was also sentenced to 30 years for murder and his role in the 1973 military coup.

Fact 17: In 2012, a bill was approved by its Senate to legalize abortions during first-trimester pregnancies. This bill attracted a lot of attention among other countries in Latin America.

uruguay map
Interesting facts about Uruguay: Uruguay Map

Fact 18: Uruguay became the 20th country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage in 2013. This was even before the U.K. did so.

Fact 19: Foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in Uruguay in 1999 caused several nations to stop the import of beef and lamb from the country. Efforts were then made to eradicate the disease successfully.

Fact 20: In 1998, Uruguay exceeded its quota under international fishing regulations by catching more than 930 tons of Swordfish.

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

Fact 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.

Fact 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.

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

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

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

Fact 26: Grassland covers almost three quarters of Uruguay.

Fact 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…

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

Fact 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!

Fact 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’.

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

Fact 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.

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

Fact 34: Uruguay has the longest national anthem in the world. It is six minutes long and very engaging.

Fact 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.

Fact 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!”

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

Fact 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.

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

They have the world’s poorest politician

world's poorest politician
Interesting facts about Uruguay: World’s Poorest Politician

Fact 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.

Related: Interesting facts about Paraguay

Quick facts about Uruguay

Independence25 August 1825 (from Brazil)
Capital CityMontevideo
34°53′S 56°10′W
Largest CityMontevideo
34°53′S 56°10′W
Government typepresidential republic
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
Total area176,215 sq km
National symbol(s)Sun of May (a sun-with-face symbol); national colors: blue, white, yellow
Population3,351,016 (2016)
Official LanguageSpanish
BordersArgentina and Brazil
CurrencyUruguayan peso (UYU)
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.
Time ZoneUYT (UTC−3)
GDP - per capita (PPP)$21,500 (2015 est.)
Calling Code+598
Drives on theRight
Terrainmostly rolling plains and low hills; fertile coastal lowland
Natural resources:arable land, hydropower, minor minerals, fish
Agricultural land 87.2%
Birth rate13.07 births/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Death rate9.45 deaths/1,000 population (2015 est.)
Sex ratio0.94 male(s)/female (2015 est.)
Industriesfood processing, electrical machinery, transportation equipment, petroleum products, textiles, chemicals, beverages
Exports$7.672 billion (2015 est.)
beef, soybeans, cellulose, rice, wheat, wood, dairy products; wool
Imports$9.8 billion (2015 est.)
refined oil, crude oil, passenger and other transportation vehicles, vehicle parts, cellular phones
Internet country code.uy
Internet users2.159 million
percent of population: 64.6% (July 2015 est.)


  1. http://www.factmonster.com/country/uruguay.html
  2. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/southamerica/uruguay/10911471/World-Cup-2014-10-surprising-facts-about-Uruguay-that-every-England-fan-should-know.html
  3. http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/uruguay-8-interesting-facts-legalised-7290467
  4. http://www.express.co.uk/life-style/top10facts/483317/Top-10-facts-about-Uruguay
  5. http://www.theguardian.com/world/shortcuts/2013/oct/22/nine-things-never-knew-uruguay-legal-marijuana
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smoking_in_Uruguay
  7. http://www.explore-uruguay.com/interesting-facts-about-uruguay.html#.Vhdlbvmqqkp
  8. http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/facts-about-uruguay-2030.html


  1. There are some mistakes, while there are a lot of named houses and flats and in some touristic areas like Punta del Este it’s hard to find a house that is not named, we mostly just go by house number in the rest of the cities.

    Also, our “blueness” is a major characteristic of the population, I know it would be a rather sad fact, but some of us are even proud of our lack of optimism.