Uruguay is a country in the southeastern region of South America. It is bordered by Argentina to its west and Brazil to its north and east, with the Atlantic Ocean to the south and southeast. 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 176,000 square kilometres (68,000 sq mi), Uruguay is geographically the second-smallest nation in South America after Suriname.
Uruguay remained largely uninhabited until the establishment of Colonia del
Sacramento, one of the oldest European settlements in the country, by the Portuguese 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 remained subjected to foreign influence and
intervention throughout the 19th century, with the military playing a recurring
role in domestic politics until the late 20th century. Modern Uruguay is a
democratic constitutional republic, with a
president who serves as both head of state and head of government. It frequently ranks as
one of the most developed and prosperous countries in Latin America.