Uruguay, officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, is a country in South America. It shares borders with Argentina to its west and southwest and Brazil to its north and northeast; while bordering the Río de la Plata to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the southeast. Uruguay covers an area of approximately 176,000 square kilometers and has a population of an estimated 3.51 million, of whom 2 million live in the metropolitan area of its capital and largest city, Montevideo.
The area that became Uruguay was first inhabited by groups of Hunter-gatherers 13,000 years ago, the predominant tribe at the moment of the arrival of Europeans was the Charrúa people, when the Portuguese first established Colónia do Sacramento in 1680; Uruguay was colonized by Europeans relatively late compared with neighboring countries. Montevideo was founded as a military stronghold by the Spanish in the early 18th century, signifying the competing claims over the region. Uruguay won its independence between 1811 and 1828, following a four-way struggle between Portugal and Spain, and later Argentina and Brazil.