POPULATION:
4,730,100 Million

LITERACY RATE:
98%
SELF DEFENSE FORCES:
National Armed Forces of Uruguay
LANGUAGES:
 Spanish, Portunol, or Brazilero (Portuguese-Spanish mix on the Brazilian frontier), English, French, German,
ETHNIC GROUPS:
 white 88%, mestizo 8%, black 4%, Amerindian (practically nonexistent)
BORDERING COUNTRIES:
Argentina, Brazil
URUGUAY - This small country, sandwiched between the twin powerhouses of Argentina and Brazil, has managed to avoid all of the tribulations that have affected the rest of the continent thanks to the shelter provided by it's larger neighbours. It has developed into a stable and relatively wealthy country but as it lacks significant resources it has done this without the corporate entanglements common elsewhere.

Sheep and cattle are raised on it's hills and plains and cereal crops are grown on it's fertile coastland. Whilst these are exported it's main income comes from the tourism. Thanks to immigration during the 1800s as well as an almost complete lack of native amerindians means that almost 95% of the population is of European descent and this lends the country a European air that attracts wealthy Brazilians and Argentinians eager for some culture but unwilling to meet the travel costs and visa requirements of the real Europe.

Uruguay's economy has developed to cater to this crowd, offering nightclubs and casinos where anything goes. Alongside this, Uruguay has also developed itself as a duty free zone. With Buenos Aries only 2 1/2 hours away by hydrofoil the capital, Montevideo, has become a mecca for the Argentinian middle classes seeking some bargain electronics or perfumes. It is rumoured that almost anything is available under the counter as long as you know who to ask, but don't cause trouble as the police are quick to respond and as European as the country feels, this is still South America.

Politically, Uruguay is one of the most progressive countries on the continent, with a representative democracy and multi-party system, although as none of the parties are willing to rock the boat there is very little to choose between them. There is a large and well established middle class here as well as established civil and workers rights and a constitution that allows the ordinary citizens to challenge laws via a referendum. This last right has been used several times to overturn laws that would have given Corporations undue influence in the country. It's army is small and mainly concerned with border patrols, looking to keep out unwanted migrants.

The future looks good for this tiny country (one of the smallest on the continent) but it's fate is closely tied to those of it's neighbours, and any problems in their markets will also be felt here.
     



(Written by Bookwyrm with assistance from Mike Van Atta.)