Uruguay ,officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, sometimes the Eastern Republic of Uruguay is a country in the southeastern part of South America. It is home to 3.3 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the capital Montevideo and its metropolitan area. An estimated 88% of the population is of European descent. With an area of approximately 176,000 square kilometres (68,000 sq mi), Uruguay is the second-smallest nation in South America by area, after Suriname.
Colonia del Sacramento, one of the oldest European settlements in the country, was founded by the Portuguese in 1680. Montevideo was founded by the Spanish in the early 18th century as a military stronghold. Uruguay won its independence between 1811–28 following a three-way struggle between the claims of Spain, Argentina and Brazil. It is a democratic constitutional republic, with a president who is both the head of state and the head of government.
Uruguay is one of the most developed countries in South America, with a high GDP per capita and the 48th-highest Human Development Index in the world. It ranks first by human development in Latin America when adjusted for inequality.
Uruguay is also noted for its low levels of corruption, being ranked by Transparency International as the second least corrupt country in Latin America after Chile. Its political and labor conditions are among the freest on the continent. It was the highest rated country in Latin America on Legatum's 2010 Prosperity Index. Reader's Digest ranked Uruguay as the ninth "most livable and greenest" country in the world, and first in all the Americas. Uruguay is ranked highest in Latin America on the Global Peace Index. Uruguay is ranked highest in Latin America and 17th in the world, being one of only 25 "full democracies" in the world, according to the 2011 Democracy Index report by the Economist Intelligence Unit. (See map) Uruguay ranks highest in Latin America and 4th in the world according to the