It is home to 3.46 million people, of whom 1.7 million live in the capital Montevideo and its metropolitan area.
Uraguay is bordered by Brazil to the north, by Argentina across the bank of both the Uruguay River to the west and the estuary of Río de la Plata to the southwest, and the South Atlantic Ocean to the southeast. Its surface is 176.214 km² being by its territorial extension the second smallest country in South America, larger only than Suriname and the French overseas department of French Guiana.
Montevideo was founded by the Spanish in the early 18th century as a military stronghold. Uruguay won its independence in 1825-1828 following a three-way struggle between Spain, Argentina and Brazil. It is a constitutional democracy, where the president fulfills the roles of both head of state and head of government.
The economy is largely based on agriculture (making up 10% of GDP and the most substantial export) and the state sector. Uruguay's economy is on the whole more stable than in its surrounding states, and it maintains a solid reputation with investors.