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Careers, Jobs and Education Resources for: Uruguay

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Montevideo, founded by the Spanish in 1726 as a military stronghold, soon took advantage of its natural harbor to become an important commercial center. Claimed by Argentina but annexed by Brazil in 1821, Uruguay declared its independence four years later and secured its freedom in 1828 after a three-year struggle. The administrations of President Jose BATLLE in the early 20th century established widespread political, social, and economic reforms that established a statist tradition. A violent Marxist urban guerrilla movement named the Tupamaros, launched in the late 1960s, led Uruguay's president to cede control of the government to the military in 1973. By yearend, the rebels had been crushed, but the military continued to expand its hold over the government. Civilian rule was not restored until 1985. In 2004, the left-of-center Frente Amplio Coalition won national elections that effectively ended 170 years of political control previously held by the Colorado and Blanco parties. Uruguay's political and labor conditions are among the freest on the continent. (from the CIA)


Economic Overview

Uruguay's economy is characterized by an export-oriented agricultural sector, a well-educated work force, and high levels of social spending. after averaging growth of 5% annually during 1996-98, in 1999-2002 the economy suffered a major downturn, stemming largely from the spillover effects of the economic problems of its large neighbors, argentina and brazil. for instance, in 2001-02 argentina made massive withdrawals of dollars deposited in uruguayan banks, which led to a plunge in the uruguayan peso and a massive rise in unemployment. total gdp in these four years dropped by nearly 20%, with 2002 the worst year due to the banking crisis. the unemployment rate rose to nearly 20% in 2002, inflation surged, and the burden of external debt doubled. cooperation with the imf helped stem the damage. uruguay in 2007 improved its debt profile by paying off $1.1 billion in imf debt, and continues to follow the orthodox economic plan set by the fund in 2005. the construction of a pulp mill in fray bentos, which represents the largest foreign direct investment in uruguay's history at $1.2 billion, came online in november 2007 and is expected to add 1.6% to gdp and boost already rising exports. the economy has grown strongly since 2004 as a result of high commodity prices for uruguayan exports, a strong peso, growth in the region, and low international interest rates.

Environmental Issues

Water pollution from meat packing/tannery industry; inadequate solid/hazardous waste disposal

Government Type

Constitutional republic


3,477,778 (july 2008 est.)


Southern south america, bordering the south atlantic ocean, between argentina and brazil


Total: 176,220 sq km land: 173,620 sq km water: 2,600 sq km

Slightly smaller than the state of washington

Country Aliases

Conventional long form: oriental republic of uruguay conventional short form: uruguay local long form: republica oriental del uruguay local short form: uruguay former: banda oriental, cisplatine province


Name: montevideo geographic coordinates: 34 53 s, 56 11 w time difference: utc-3 (2 hours ahead of washington, dc during standard time) daylight saving time: +1hr, begins second sunday in october; ends second sunday in march

Military Service

18 years of age for voluntary and compulsory military service; enlistment is voluntary in peacetime, but the government has the authority to conscript in emergencies (2007)

International Disputes

In jan 2007, icj provisionally ruled uruguay may begin construction of two paper mills on the uruguay river, which forms the border with argentina, while the court examines further whether argentina has the legal right to stop such construction with potential environmental implications to both countries; uncontested dispute with brazil over certain islands in the quarai/cuareim and invernada streams and the resulting tripoint with argentina

Sources: Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)

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