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Cheap flights to Paris from Montevideo
Montevideo is the capital and largest city of Uruguay. According to the 2011 census, the city proper has a population of 1,319,108 (about one-third of the country’s total population) in an area of 201 square kilometres (78 sq mi). The southernmost capital city in the Americas, Montevideo is situated on the southern coast of the country, on the northeastern bank of the Río de la Plata.
The city was established in 1724 by a Spanish soldier, Bruno Mauricio de Zabala, as a strategic move amidst the Spanish-Portuguese dispute over the platine region. It was also under brief British rule in 1807. Montevideo is the seat of the administrative headquarters of Mercosur and ALADI, Latin America’s leading trade blocs, a position that entailed comparisons to the role of Brussels in Europe.
The 2017 Mercer’s report on quality of life, rated Montevideo first in Latin America, a rank the city has consistently held since 2005. As of 2010, Montevideo was the 19th largest city economy in the continent and 9th highest income earner among major cities. In 2019, it has a projected GDP of $47.7 billion, with a per capita of $27,542.
In 2018, it was classified as a beta global city ranking eighth in Latin America and 84th in the world. Montevideo hosted every match during the first FIFA World Cup, in 1930. Described as a “vibrant, eclectic place with a rich cultural life”, and “a thriving tech center and entrepreneurial culture”, Montevideo ranked eighth in Latin America on the 2013 MasterCard Global Destination Cities Index. In 2014, it was also regarded as the fifth most gay-friendly metropolis in the world, first in Latin America. It is the hub of commerce and higher education in Uruguay as well as its chief port. The city is also the financial and cultural hub of a larger metropolitan area, with a population of around 2 million.
Montevideo is situated on the north shore of the Río de la Plata, the arm of the Atlantic Ocean that separates the south coast of Uruguay from the north coast of Argentina; Buenos Aires lies 230 kilometres (140 mi) west on the Argentine side. The Santa Lucía River forms a natural border between Montevideo and San José Department to its west. To the city’s north and east is Canelones Department, with the stream of Carrasco forming the eastern natural border. The coastline forming the city’s southern border is interspersed with rocky protrusions and sandy beaches. The Bay of Montevideo forms a natural harbour, the nation’s largest and one of the largest in the Southern Cone, and the finest natural port in the region, functioning as a crucial component of the Uruguayan economy and foreign trade. Various streams criss-cross the town and empty into the Bay of Montevideo. Its coastline near the emptying rivers are heavily polluted.
The city has an average elevation of 43 metres (141 ft). Its highest elevations are two hills: the Cerro de Montevideo and the Cerro de la Victoria, with the highest point, the peak of Cerro de Montevideo, crowned by a fortress, the Fortaleza del Cerro at a height of 134 m (440 ft). Closest cities by road are Las Piedras to the north and the so-called Ciudad de la Costa (a conglomeration of coastal towns) to the east, both in the range of 20 to 25 km (16 mi) from the city center. The approximate distances to the neighbouring department capitals by road are, 90 km (56 mi) to San Jose de Mayo (San Jose Department) and 46 km (29 mi) to Canelones (Canelones Department).
Montevideo enjoys a mild humid subtropical climate (Cfa, according to the Köppen climate classification). The city has cool winters (June to September), warm summers (December to March) and volatile springs (October and November); there are numerous thunderstorms but no tropical cyclones. Rainfall is regular and evenly spread throughout the year, reaching around 950 millimetres (37 in).
Winters are generally wet, windy and overcast, while summers are warm and humid with relatively little wind. In winter there are bursts of icy and relatively dry winds and continental polar air masses, giving an unpleasant chilly feeling to the everyday life of the city. In the summer, a moderate wind often blows from the sea in the evenings which has a pleasant cooling effect on the city, in contrast to the unbearable summer heat of Buenos Aires.
Montevideo has an annual average temperature of 16.7 °C (62.1 °F). The lowest recorded temperature is −5.6 °C (21.9 °F) while the highest is 42.8 °C (109.0 °F). Sleet is a frequent winter occurrence. Snowfall is extremely rare: flurries have been recorded only four times but with no accumulation, the last one on 13 July 1930 during the inaugural match of the World Cup, (the other three snowfalls were in 1850, 1853 and 1917); the alleged 1980 Carrasco snowfall was actually a hailstorm.
As of 2010, the city of Montevideo has been divided into 8 political municipalities (Municipios), referred to with the letters from A to G, including CH, each presided over by a mayor elected by the citizens registered in the constituency. This division, according to the Municipality of Montevideo, “aims to advance political and administrative decentralization in the department of Montevideo, with the aim of deepening the democratic participation of citizens in governance.” The head of each Municipio is called an alcalde or (if female) alcaldesa.
Of much greater importance is the division of the city into 62 barrios: neighbourhoods or wards. Many of the city’s barrios—such as Sayago, Ituzaingó and Pocitos—were previously geographically separate settlements, later absorbed by the growth of the city. Others grew up around certain industrial sites, including the salt-curing works of Villa del Cerro and the tanneries in Nuevo París. Each barrio has its own identity, geographic location and socio-cultural activities. A neighbourhood of great significance is Ciudad Vieja, that was surrounded by a protective wall until 1829. This area contains most important buildings of the colonial era and early decades of independence.
In 1860, Montevideo had 57,913 inhabitants including a number of people of African origin who had been brought as slaves and had gained their freedom around the middle of the century. By 1880, the population had quadrupled, mainly because of the great European immigration. In 1908, its population had grown massively to 309,331 inhabitants. In the course of the 20th century the city continued to receive large numbers of European immigrants, especially Spanish and Italian, followed by French, Germans or Dutch, English or Irish, Polish, Greek, Hungarians, Russians, Croats, Lebanese, Armenians, and Jews of various origins. The last wave of immigrants occurred between 1945 and 1955.
According to the census survey carried out between 15 June and 31 July 2004, Montevideo had a population of 1,325,968 persons, compared to Uruguay’s total population of 3,241,003. The female population was 707,697 (53.4%) while the male population accounted for 618,271 (46.6%). The population had declined since the previous census carried out in 1996, with an average annual growth rate of −1.5 per thousand. Continual decline has been documented since the census period of 1975–1985, which showed a rate of −5.6 per thousand. The decrease is due in large part to lowered fertility, partly offset by mortality, and to a smaller degree in migration. The birth rate declined by 19% from 1996 (17 per thousand) to 2004 (13.8 per thousand). Similarly, the total fertility rate (TFR) declined from 2.24 in 1996 to 1.79 in 2004. However, mortality continued to fall with life expectancy at birth for both sexes increasing by 1.73 years. In the census of 2011, Montevideo had a population of 1,319,108.
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