Uruguay is home to 3.3 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the metropolitan area of its capital and largest city, Montevideo. With an area of approximately 68,000 sq mi, Uruguay is geographically the second-smallest nation in South America after Suriname. Uruguay was inhabited by the Charrúa people for approximately 4000 years before the Portuguese invaded.
- Portugal established Colonia del Sacramento, one of the oldest European settlements in the country, in 1680.
- Montevideo was founded as a military stronghold by the Spanish in the early 18th century, signifying the competing claims over the region.
- Uruguay won its independence between 1811 and 1828, following a four-way struggle between Spain, Portugal, Argentina and Brazil.
- It is regarded as a high income country (top group) by the UN, the only one in Latin America.
- The only documented inhabitants of Uruguay before European colonization of the area were the Charrúa, a small tribe driven south by the Guarani of Paraguay.
- In response to the annexation, the Thirty-Three Orientals, led by Juan Antonio Lavalleja, declared independence on 25 August 1825 supported by the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata (present-day Argentina).
- The Colorados favored the exiled Argentine liberal Unitarios, many of whom had taken refuge in Montevideo while the Blanco president Manuel Oribe was a close friend of the Argentine ruler Manuel de Rosas.
- In 1865, the Triple Alliance was formed by the emperor of Brazil, the president of Argentina, and the Colorado general Venancio Flores, the Uruguayan head of government whom they both had helped to gain power.
- The United States and Uruguay have also cooperated on military matters, with both countries playing significant roles in the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti.