In the sixteenth century,
the Spanish explorers came down the West Coast
of South America, just as the Portuguese were
sailing down the East Coast, and they confronted
each other in the River Plate. This is why
Uruguay is so central to an understanding
of the history of the region.
Colonia del Sacramento, just opposite Buenos
Aires, is a World Heritage Site because of
the way in which this lovely colonial city
reflects the successive waves of Spanish and
Portuguese occupation, while Montevideo itself
came into being as a Spanish response to the
threat of a Portuguese settlement.
There’s a lot to be discovered in the
Uruguayan capital: the Spanish colony, the
British invasions, the fight for independence,
the emergence of the nation under the influence
(again) of the British… it’s all
here in the wide avenues, the tranquil squares
and the quietly fading beauty of Montevideo.