Uruguay Table of Contents
The colonial Watchman's Tower at Maldonado
Courtesy Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress
The military history of Uruguay is rooted in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century clashes between settlers from Spain's Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata ruled from Buenos Aires to the west and settlers from Portugal's Viceroyalty of Brazil to the northeast (see The Struggle for Independence, 1811-30 , ch. 1). At stake was the territory on the east bank of the Río Uruguay known as the Banda Oriental (eastern side, or bank), which formed a buffer between the two viceroyalties. In 1720 Spanish colonists built a fortress at Montevideo as an overt manifestation of their interest in the Banda Oriental and to put a stop to Portuguese expansion.
Data as of December 1990