45 Interesting Facts About Uruguay

Last updated on September 8th, 2022

Uruguay, officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, is a country in the southeastern region of South America. It has a total area of 176,215 square km. Montevideo is its capital and largest city. Spanish is its official language. Uruguayan peso (UYU) is its official currency. Its two land bordering countries are Argentina and Brazil.

With these 45 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…

Baby sheeps, Uruguay.
Baby sheeps and mother at traditional rural exhibition at prado neighborhood in Montevideo city, Uruguay.

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.

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

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

Cows at traditional rural exhibition at prado neighborhood in Montevideo city, Uruguay.
Cows at traditional rural exhibition at prado neighborhood in Montevideo city, Uruguay.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

10. Uruguay won its only Olympic gold medals in the 1924 and 1928 Olympics. They won these medals in football (soccer).

11. The first-ever FIFA World Cup was held in Uruguay in 1930. Uruguay defeated Argentina 4–2 and won the FIFA World Cup in the same year.

12. Uruguay is comparable in size to Oklahoma.

Uruguay on the map

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

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.

14. Uruguay has ranked as one of the least corrupt nations at 21 out of 176 by Transparency International. Brazil ranks at the 79th spot while Argentina at the 95th position (2016 stats.)

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

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.

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. The only other country in Latin America where abortion is legal is Cuba. 

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.

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.

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

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