The territory of Uruguay features gently sloping hills and elevations of modest altitude, separated by rivers which flow down to the sea or into other and larger rivers. There are no high mountains or vast plains, no impenetrable forests or desert regions. Earthquakes are unknown. The highest point is the Cerro Catedral, altitude 513 meters. The coastal plain boasts many beaches along the Atlantic coast and on the shores of the Rio de la Plata.
The territory now occupied by the Republic of Uruguay was discovered in 1516 by Juan Diaz de Solis, leader of a Spanish expedition which, looking for a route to the Indies via the New Continent, sailed up the Rio de la Plata. The territory took a long time to conquer, not only because of the strong resistance of the natives, but also by reason of a lack of interest on the part of the Europeans who did not discover there the precious metals they had found in Peru. In 1617 Hernando Arias de Saavedra (Hernandarias), Governor of the Rio de la Plata, realized that the region’s real assets lay in its extensive prairies and its inexhaustible reserves of water, together with its relative flatness and splendid climate, all offering great possibilities for livestock farming. It was the Governor himself who introduced the first bovines; they bred remarkably rapidly, soon spreading all over the country and establishing the bases for its future economy.
Suggested Uruguay Discoveries
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