Artigas Department ( ), with an area of
11,928 km² (4,606 square miles) and 78,019 inhabitants, it is
the northernmost department of Uruguay.
capital is Artigas.
It is named after José
(1764-1850), leader of the orientales
(inhabitants of the Banda Oriental
, the Eastern Bank of
the Uruguay River) during the wars of Independence. He championed
for freedom against colonial powers in the region. His liberal
ways, promoting democracy with no limitations, federalism and a
series of land reforms would inevitable clash with the centralised
and aristocratic views of the Buenos Aires ruling class. He led the
(Federal Coalition, group of Argentinian
provinces including what is now Uruguay opposed to Buenos Aires
strong and heavy handed government) but the war in the region
involving Spain, Portugal (eventually Brazil) and Argentina and the
invasion of the Portuguese saw him taking refuge in Paraguay where
he died in 1850. His forward and revolutionary thinking was never
implemented in Uruguay although he is revered as a national hero.
It took several decades to achieve universal voting and free access
to education for every child. However, his land reforms were never
Geography and climate
Neighbouring departments are Salto to the South
and Rivera to the
Southeast. It limits to the East and North with Brazil, and to the
West with Argentina.
Portions of the department's border with
Brazil are disputed, but, unlike many border disputes among
Latin-American countries, this has not in recent years adversely
affected Uruguay's relations with its giant neighbour.
Two main geostructural regions can be found inside its limits:
- The central and eastern area, which includes a basaltic
cuesta, and some sedimentary plains near the
Cuareim River. Also found in the
region are some hill ranges, such as the Belén Hill
- The western area, which consists of a narrow alluvial
Its average temperature is the highest in the whole country (over
19°C, going as high as 47°C during the Summer months), and so are
its precipitation levels (up to an annual average of
The department was created by law on 1
, with part of the territory
which formerly belonged to Salto.
Battle of Masoller, a noteworthy
event in Uruguayan history, was fought on September 1 1904; Masoller is situated on the boundary between the
departments of Artigas and Salto, close to the Brazilian border.
climatic conditions of Artigas has made possible the development of
an important agro-industrial centre, centered in the city of
Plantations in Bella Unión, north of
This specializes in several crops, namely
fruits and vegetables, sugar cane
.The main economic activity in the rest of
the department is livestock raising.
Semi-precious stones, such as agates and amethysts are also
found in the department, and an entire industry has risen up around
their extraction and manufacturing, especially near the city of
The proximity of the department to Brazil has made it possible for
an important flow of trade to be established here, but
unfortunately this is generally unfavourable to Uruguayan economic
interests. Nevertheless this partially compensates for the fact
that the per capita income is the lowest of the country, and the
percentage of households in a critical situation is the highest in
the country (13.19% of the inhabitants).
Population and Demographics
As of the census of 2004, there were 78,019 people and 21,907
households in the department. The average household size was 3.2.
For every 100 females, there were 100.4 males.
- Population growth rate: 0.113% (2004)
- Birth Rate: 19.36 births/1,000 people (2004)
- Death Rate: 7.46 deaths/1,000 people
- Average age: 27.3 (25.6 Males, 28.8 Females)
- Life Expectancy at Birth (2004):
- Average Family Size: 2.77 children/woman
- Urban per capita income (cities of 5,000 inhabitants or more):
Main Urban Centres
(Towns or cities with 1,000 or more inhabitants listed - data from
the 2004 census, unless noted otherwise)
Other towns and villages
Rivera, Brigadier General Diego Lamas, Camano, Campamento, Cuaro, Fagundez, Javier de
Bolsa, Las Piedras, Paguero,Palma, Palma
Sola, Paso del
Grande, San Gregorio, Sarandi
de Cuaro, Tamandua, Taruman, Topador, Tres