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Departments of Uruguay

This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
Foreign relations

Uruguay consists of 19 departments:

  1. Artigas Department, formed in 1884 from part of Salto Department. It is the only department to border two countries: Argentina in the west and Brazil in the north and east.
  2. Canelones Department, one of the original 6 departments created in 1816. The original name was Villa de Guadalupe Department.
  3. Cerro Largo Department, formed in 1821.
  4. Colonia Department, one of the original 6 departments created in 1816.
  5. Durazno Department, formed in 1822. The original name was Entre Ríos Yí y Negro Department.
  6. Flores Department, formed in 1885 from part of San José Department.
  7. Florida Department, formed in 1856 from part of San José Department.
  8. Lavalleja Department, formed in 1837. Was named Minas Department until 1927.
  9. Maldonado Department, one of the original 6 departments created in 1816. The original name was San Fernando de Maldonado Department.
  10. Montevideo Department, one of the original 6 departments created in 1816.
  11. Paysandú Department, formed in 1820.
  12. Río Negro Department, formed in 1868 from parts of Paysandú Department.
  13. Rivera Department, formed in 1884 from part of Tacuarembó Department.
  14. Rocha Department, formed in 1880 from part of Maldonado Department.
  15. Salto Department, formed in 1837.
  16. San José Department, one of the original 6 departments created in 1816.
  17. Soriano Department, one of the original 6 departments created in 1816. The original name was Santo Domingo Soriano Department.
  18. Tacuarembó Department, formed in 1837; geographically the largest of the Uruguayan Departments.
  19. Treinta y Tres Department, formed in 1884 from parts of Cerro Largo Department and Lavalleja Department.


  • Populations and areas 1
  • History 2
  • Municipalities 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Populations and areas

Population stated as per 2011 Census.

Department Area
Population Density Capital
Artigas 11,928 73,378 6.15 Artigas
Canelones 4,536 520,187 114.68 Canelones
Cerro Largo 13,648 84,698 6.21 Melo
Colonia 6,106 123,203 20.18 Colonia del Sacramento  
Durazno 11,643 57,088 4.90 Durazno
Flores 5,144 25,050 4.87 Trinidad
Florida 10,417 67,048 6.44 Florida
Lavalleja 10,016 58,815 5.87 Minas
Maldonado 4,793 164,300 34.28 Maldonado
Montevideo 530 1,319,108 2,489 Montevideo
Paysandú 13,922 113,124 8.13 Paysandú
Río Negro 9,282 54,765 5.90 Fray Bentos
Rivera 9,370 103,493 11.04 Rivera
Rocha 10,551 68,088 6.45 Rocha
Salto 14,163 124,878 8.82 Salto
San José 4,992 108,309 21.70 San José de Mayo
Soriano 9,008 82,595 9.17 Mercedes
Tacuarembó 15,438 90,053 5.83 Tacuarembó
Treinta y Tres   9,676 48,134 4.97 Treinta y Tres


The first division of the Republic in six departments happened on 27 January 1816. In February of the same year, two more departments were formed, and in 1828 one more was added. When the First Constitution was signed in 1830, there were nine departments. These were the departments of Montevideo, Maldonado, Canelones, San José, Colonia, Soriano, Paysandú, Durazno and Cerro Largo. At that time, the department of Paysandú occupied all the territory north of the Río Negro, which included the actual departments of Artigas, Rivera, Tacuarembó, Salto, Paysandú and Río Negro.

On 17 June 1837 a new division of Uruguay was made and this northern territory was divided in three parts by the creation of the departments of Salto and Tacuarembó. At the same time the department of Minas (which was eventually renamed to Lavalleja) was created out of parts of Cerro Largo and Maldonado. Then in 1856 the department of Florida was created and on 7 July 1880 the department of Río Negro was split from Paysandú and the department of Rocha was split from Maldonado. In 1884 the department of Treinta y Tres was formed from parts of Cerro Largo and Minas, while also the department of Artigas was split from Salto, and in the same year the department of Rivera was split from Tacuarembó. Finally in the end of 1885 the department of Flores was split from San José.

Series of maps showing the gradual formation of the actual 19 departments of Uruguay.


Since 2009 (Law No. 18567 of 13 September 2009),[1] the Uruguayan departments have been subdivided into municipalities. As Uruguay is a very small country (3 million inhabitants, of which roughly one-half lives in the national capital), this system has been widely criticized as a waste of resources. Nevertheless, in the municipal elections of 2010 the local authorities were elected and they assumed office months later. Currently there are 89 municipalities scattered all over the country.

See also


  1. ^ Ley Nº 18.567 del 13 de septiembre de 2009

External links

  • Congreso Nacional de Intendentes (Spanish)
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