Uruguay, officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay (Spanish: República Oriental del Uruguay), is a country located in the southeastern part of South America. It is home to 3.46 million people, of whom 1.7 million live in the capital Montevideo and its metropolitan area. An estimated 94.6% of the population are of mostly European descent.
Uruguay's only land border is with Brazil to the north. To the west lies the Uruguay River, to the southwest lies the estuary of Río de la Plata, with Argentina only a short commute across the banks of either of these bodies of water, while to the southeast lies the South Atlantic Ocean. Uruguay is the second smallest country in South America, larger only than Suriname.
Colonia del Sacramento, Uruguay's oldest European settlement, was founded by the Portuguese in 1680. Montevideo was founded by the Spanish in the early 18th century as a military stronghold. Uruguay won its independence in 1825-1828 following a three-way struggle between Spain, Argentina and Brazil. It is a constitutional democracy, where the president fulfills the roles of both head of state and head of government.
The economy is largely based on agriculture (making up 10% of GDP and the most substantial export) and the state sector. According to Transparency International, Uruguay is the least corrupt country in Latin America (along with Chile), with its political and labor conditions being among the freest on the continent.
Uruguay is one of the most economically developed countries in Latin America, with a high per capita Gross Domestic Product and the 45th highest quality of life in the world. It was the first Latin American country, and the second in the South American Continent, to legalize same and different sex civil unions at a national level in the year 2007.
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