50 Fascinating Facts About Uruguay

Uruguay is a small country in South America, having 3.4 million people. It's also one of the most stable democracies in Latin America due to its strong rule of law and respect for human rights. Travelers often overlook it, but it's worth checking out. From the stunning nature to the delicious food, soccer, to salsa dancing, Uruguay has plenty of attractions for those who want to explore outside their comfort zone without going too far from home. In this blog post, you'll find 50 fascinating facts about Uruguay that might make you want to visit!

Fascinating facts

1
Uruguay has the highest percentage of women in government in all of Latin America, with more than 40% of elected officials being women.
2
Uruguay's literacy rate is ranked among the highest in the world at nearly 99%. In addition to the impressive literacy rate, Uruguay also boasts a high level of university attendance.
3
The country is one of only three nations worldwide to have no trains to a high-speed train system in just ten years.
4
Uruguay is also home to one of the world's most advanced online education platforms, which offers more than 1,000 courses to students of all ages.
5
The country has a long history of being a leader in human rights, being the first in Latin America to recognize women's and children's rights and granting its citizens the right to vote.
6
Uruguay was also one of the first countries worldwide to legalize same-sex unions and adopt a marijuana marketplace.
7
Today, it has some of the most liberal abortion and same-sex marriage policies in Latin America and is working towards allowing euthanasia.
8
Uruguay is the most politically stable in Latin America, with a comprehensive democracy bolstered by many checks and balances.
9
The country's innovative open-source data policy ensures copyrights are not violated when information is distributed widely on the internet.
10
Almost all Uruguayans are literate in English owing to the country's high quality of education.
11
The majority of Uruguayans are of European descent, mainly Spanish and Italian, with smaller numbers of French, Welsh, Irish, Swiss, Russians, and Croatians, amongst others. An estimated 10% are black or mestizo (mixed race).
12
Uruguay has the least income disparity in Latin America, with a Gini coefficient of just 0.31.
13
Uruguay also has one of the lowest crime rates in South America, with a homicide rate of just 6 per 100,000 inhabitants.
14
Montevideo, the capital city, is home to more than 1/3 of the country's population and is located on the Atlantic coast.
15
The second-largest city is the port of Punta del Este, a popular holiday destination for wealthy Brazilians and Argentines.
16
Uruguay has a rich musical heritage and is the birthplace of tango, candombe, and milonga music styles.
17
Tango was initially conceived as a dance of the city, and candombe is a fusion of African rhythms with European influences.
18
Montevideo also has one of South America's largest Chinatowns, almost entirely populated by Chinese immigrants at its peak in the early 20th century.
19
Since 1964, Uruguayans have been allowed to play casino games in dedicated establishments, making Uruguay the only country in South America to offer casino games legally.
20
The gaming industry is also closely regulated, with casinos paying out more than 70% of revenues and all proceeds taxing at 35%.
21
Fortune tellers are also licensed in Uruguay, but they can only make vague predictions or say nothing about the future.
22
Uruguay is a major producer of beef and has one of the most efficient cattle-ranching systems in the world.
23
The country also has a well-developed dairy industry, and its cheese is prized for its high quality and distinctive flavor.
24
Uruguay's wine industry is among the youngest in South America, but it has already earned international recognition for its wines.
25
The country is also highly regarded for its yerba mate production, a plant containing natural caffeine that can be prepared as both tea and an infusion or drunk straight from the gourd through a metal straw called a bombilla.
26
Most Uruguayans are of European ancestry, but a sizable indigenous community is also there. English is widely spoken in both communities.
27
Uruguay has the highest percentage of atheists anywhere in South America at around 37%. This number is significantly higher than any other country in the region, including Brazil (10%) and Argentina (8%).
28
The country ranks highly for its well-developed social safety net and low levels of corruption compared to other countries in Latin America. However, it is also one of the most expensive places in South America, and crime rates are still high by international standards.
29
The 11th-largest country in the world and 5th largest in South America, Uruguay has over 3 million people concentrated between Montevideo and Punta del Este.
30
The economy is well diversified, with a strong agricultural sector, significant manufacturing sector, and growing services industry.
31
Uruguay is one of the most open economies in the world, ranking 5th on the Heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom.
32
The country has a well-educated workforce, with over 95% of the adult population literate.
33
Uruguay is a member of the Mercosur trade bloc, including Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Venezuela.
34
The Uruguayan peso is the official currency, but US dollars are also widely accepted.
35
Uruguay has a mixed economy, with a large private sector and government involvement in transportation, energy, telecommunications, and banking.
36
Uruguay has a largely homogenous population, but it is also home to over 150,000 immigrants from Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.
37
The number of mosques in Uruguay has risen from two in 2007 to seven in 2012.
38
In 2008, the country's Ministry of Education launched a series of controversial adverts promoting homosexuality as a normal and healthy lifestyle choice.
39
The adverts provoked a strong response, with Christian groups condemning them as an attempt to "indoctrinate" children into homosexuality.
40
Uruguay is one of the few countries in the world where abortion is legal on demand up to 12 weeks gestation.
41
The country has a population of just over 3 million people concentrated between Montevideo and Punta del Este.
42
Uruguay has a largely homogenous population, but it is also home to over 150,000 immigrants from Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.
43
The number of mosques in Uruguay has risen from two in 2007 to seven in 2012.
44
The economy is well diversified, with a strong agricultural sector, significant manufacturing sector, and growing services industry.
45
Uruguay is one of the most open economies in the world, ranking 5th on the Heritage Foundation's Index of Economic Freedom.
46
The country has a well-educated workforce, with over 95% of the adult population literate.
47
Uruguay is a member of the Mercosur trade bloc, including Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, and Venezuela.
48
The Uruguayan peso is the official currency, but US dollars are also widely accepted.
49
The country has a temperate climate, with 18-25 degrees Celsius.
50
Uruguay has a highly developed social safety net and low levels of corruption compared to other countries in Latin America. Still, it is also one of the most expensive places in South America, and crime rates remain high.

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