Of all the states of Latin America, Uruguay is one of the smallest in terms of both area and population. A little more than three million people live on an area of 176, 000 square kilometers. And Uruguay got its name from the river of the same name, translated from the language of the local Indians "Uruguay" is "a river of colorful birds".
12 interesting facts about Uruguay
- Before the appearance of Europeans, the territory of modern Uruguay was inhabited by the Charrua Indians. They put up a desperate resistance to the colonialists, as a result of which almost all the men of the Charrua were exterminated or driven out of their usual places, and women and children were enslaved. It is almost impossible to meet purebred Charrua Indians, their descendants have survived only from mixed marriages. And in the capital of Uruguay, the city of Montevideo, there is a monument called "The Last Charrua".
- Uruguayan Jose Mujica bears the unofficial title of "the world's poorest president." He was in the presidential office in 2010-2015. Of the president's monthly salary, which was $ 12, 500, he kept only a tenth for himself, claiming that this amount was enough for him, and most of his compatriots did not receive that kind of money. He currently lives in an ordinary farmhouse near Montevideo. Even the ex-president has to carry water from a well.
- The economy of Uruguay is based on agriculture. There are about 12 million sheep in the country. It is interesting that not so long ago in Uruguay, along with the local currency, the so-called "sheep tokens" were in circulation. The owners of large farms invited workers to shear the sheep, paying them with tokens, which indicated the name of the farm and the number of sheared animals. After the completion of the work, the tokens were exchanged for money. But, many shops accepted such tokens for payment, and then received real money from livestock breeders.
- There are a lot of casinos in Uruguay. Moreover, these establishments are designed not so much for local residents as for tourists from neighboring Brazil, where gambling has been banned since 1946. Often, for the convenience of guests, casinos are built near the Brazilian border.
- Until 1992, duels were officially allowed in the country, however, in order to conduct a duel, it was required to obtain a corresponding document from officials. Since 1992, duels have been banned, and the participants face a serious sentence. The permission for a duel in another state of Latin America - Paraguay has been preserved. But, and there is one condition, both participants must be blood donors.
- A lot of things may seem strange to our motorists who find themselves in Uruguay. for example, the speed bumps are concave, not convex. Gasoline is quite expensive here - about $ 1.50 per liter. But, drunken traffic offenses in Uruguay are considered a mitigating circumstance, not an aggravating circumstance.
- Almost every second Uruguayan lives in the capital, Montevideo. The population of Montevideo is 1, 300, 000 people. Interestingly, Salto, the country's second most populous city, has only 100, 000 inhabitants. Tourists who have visited Uruguay claim that there is only one city, all the rest are like big villages.
- Uruguayans, like most other South Americans, celebrate holidays on a grand scale. Five holidays a year are national - New Year (January 1), Labor Day (May 1), Constitution Day (July 18), Independence Day (August 25), Christmas (December 25). There is an interesting New Year's tradition in the country - to tear and throw out old calendars from home.
- The Uruguayan anthem is written by the local poet Francisco Acuña de Figueroa, who wrote it in 1833. His work is recognized as the longest of all national anthems in the world: it has 11 verses, and it takes more than 5 minutes to perform. Therefore, most often only the first two verses sound. The hymn begins with the words: "Uruguayans, homeland or grave!"
- Football is the number one sport in Uruguay. The national team of this country won the Olympic Games twice (1924 and 1928) and the same number of world championships - in 1930 and 1950. Moreover, in 1950, the Uruguayans sensationally beat the Brazilian national team in the decisive match, and not just anywhere, but at the Maracanã stadium in Rio de Janeiro. For the Brazilians, this was a real tragedy.
- In 1930, Hector Castro became world champion in the Uruguay national team. At the age of 13, a teenager was cut off the right hand with an electric saw, but this did not prevent him from becoming a famous athlete. In addition to winning the World Championship, Hector Castro was an Olympic champion and won the South American Championship twice.
- At the end of the 19th century, the first migrants from the Russian Empire arrived in Uruguay. Now there are about 10, 000 Russians here, most of them have long forgotten the native language of their ancestors. Some of our compatriots have made a great contribution to the development of Uruguay. For example, a street in Montevideo is named after geographer Georgy Chebotarev.