History of Montevideo

Brief history of Montevideo summarized

From the capital of Uruguay, a pleasant overview of the history of Montevideo, briefly.

Creation of Montevideo

Created as a result of a Spanish-Portuguese squabble, Montevideo has not enjoyed a quiet history.

Dissatisfied with Portuguese advances into southern Brazil, the governor of Buenos Aires, Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, founded Montevideo in 1726. The Portuguese had established a city across the water from Buenos Aires in 1680, and it was time to kick them out..

The city was initially home to soldiers and a handful of Spanish immigrants, but gradually became a vital trading base.

Various occupations

In 1807, the British arrived in the city, occupying it for a few months until the Spanish took it from them.

And so a series of occupations and skirmishes continued, with Spanish, Argentine, Portuguese and Brazilian forces taking turns controlling the city.

Independent Uruguay

Uruguay became independent from Brazil and Argentina in 1828, with Montevideo as its capital. But not everything was easy from there. Disputes between rival political factions failed to find common ground and civil war ensued. Montevideo was subjected to a nine-year siege from 1843 to 1851.

While an Argentine-Uruguayan army laid siege to the city, French and British forces were busy supplying the city by sea. The port of Montevideo ended up doing quite well.

At the end of the siege, Montevideo expanded and prospered, implementing important infrastructure projects throughout the 19th century.

Twentieth century

In the early 20th century, Spanish and Italian immigrants were arriving in droves, with new neighborhoods left, right, and center.

During World War II, it was in neutral Montevideo that a German captain decided to sink his ship, the Admiral Graf Spee, rather than risk the lives of his crew.

In the 1950s, the city was in decline. From the end of the 1960s and throughout the dictatorship of the 1970s and 1980s, political violence shook Montevideo.

Uruguay today

Democracy was restored in 1980, but a banking crisis in 2002 caused untold economic damage. Since then, Montevideo has not stopped recovering.

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