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Port city (pop., 2004: 1,383,416), capital of Uruguay. Situated on the northern shore of the Río de la Plata estuary, it was founded by the Spanish in 1726 to stem the Portuguese advance into the area from Brazil. From 1807 to 1830 it was alternately occupied by British, Spanish, Argentine, Portuguese, and Brazilian forces. It became the capital of newly independent Uruguay in 1830. A major seaport of South America, it is the commercial, political, and cultural centre of Uruguay. It is the site of Uruguay's only institutions of higher education, which include the Universidad de la República and the Universidad del Trabajo del Uruguay.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Montevideo, visit Britannica.com.