• Barry Turner
Part of the The Statesman’s Yearbook book series (SYBK)


From around 4000 BC Uruguay was populated principally by Charrüa and Guarani Indians. The Charrüa migrated seasonally between coastal and inland areas, while the Guarani settled in the eastern forests and in the north. Smaller groups also settled the region and lands were fought over vigorously. In 1516 the first Europeans to enter the territory, Spanish navigator Juan Diaz de Solis and his party, were killed. Other Spanish and Portuguese expeditions followed and in the late 16th century the Spanish laid claim to the Rio de la Plata. In 1603 Spanish governor Hernando Arias de Saavedra is said to have shipped cattle and horses from the Paraguay region into Rio de la Plata, and Spanish, Portuguese and English settlers began livestock farming. The native peoples resisted the European colonizers but were killed in large numbers in warfare and by European disease.


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Further Reading

  1. Gonzalez, L. E., Political Structures and Democracy in Uruguay. Univ. of Notre Dame Press, 1992Google Scholar
  2. Sosnowski, S. (ed.) Repression, Exile and Democracy: Uruguayan Culture. Duke Univ. Press, 1993Google Scholar
  3. National library: Biblioteca Nacional del Uruguay, 18 de julio de 1790, Montevideo.Google Scholar
  4. National Statistical Office: Instituto Nacional de Estadistica (INE), Rio Negro 1520, Montevideo.Google Scholar
  5. Website (Spanish only):

Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barry Turner

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