Departments of Uruguay

Last updated
Departamento (Spanish)
Uruguay, administrative divisions - es - colored.svg
Location Oriental Republic of Uruguay
Number19 departments

Uruguay consists of 19 departments (departamentos). Each department has a legislature called a Departmental Board. The Intendente is the department's chief executive.



The first division of the Republic into six departments occurred on 27 January 1816. In February of the same year, two more departments were formed, and in 1828 one more was added. When the First Constitution was signed in 1830, there were nine departments. These were the departments of Montevideo, Maldonado, Canelones, San José, Colonia, Soriano, Paysandú, Durazno and Cerro Largo. At that time, the department of Paysandú occupied all the territory north of the Río Negro, which included the current departments of Artigas, Rivera, Tacuarembó, Salto, Paysandú and Río Negro.

On 17 June 1837 a new division of Uruguay was made and this northern territory was divided in three parts by the creation of the departments of Salto and Tacuarembó. At the same time the department of Minas (which was eventually renamed to Lavalleja) was created out of parts of Cerro Largo and Maldonado. Then in 1856 the department of Florida was created and on 7 July 1880 the department of Río Negro was split from Paysandú and the department of Rocha was split from Maldonado. In 1884 the department of Treinta y Tres was formed from parts of Cerro Largo and Minas, while also the department of Artigas was split from Salto, and in the same year the department of Rivera was split from Tacuarembó. Finally in the end of 1885 the department of Flores was split from San José.

1830 Uruguay in 1830.svg
1837 Uruguay in 1837.svg
1856 Uruguay in 1856.svg
1880 Uruguay in 1880.svg
1884-85 Uruguay in 1884.svg
Series of maps showing the gradual formation of the actual 19 departments of Uruguay.

List of departments

Flag or
Department ISO 3166-2
(2011) [1]
CapitalCapital population
Flag of Artigas Department.svg Artigas UY-AR1884
(from Salto)
11,92873,3786.15 Artigas 40,658
Flag of Canelones Department.svg Canelones UY-CA1816
(as Villa de Guadalupe)
4,536520,187114.68 Canelones 19,865
Flag of Cerro Largo Department.PNG Cerro Largo UY-CL182113,64884,6986.21 Melo 53,245
Flag of Colonia Department.svg Colonia UY-CO18166,106123,20320.18 Colonia del Sacramento   26,231
Flag of Durazno Department.svg Durazno UY-DU1822
(as Entre Ríos Yí y Negro)
11,64357,0884.90 Durazno 34,372
Flag of Flores Department.png Flores UY-FS1885
(from San José)
5,14425,0504.87 Trinidad 21,429
Flag of Florida Department.png Florida UY-FD1856
(from San José)
10,41767,0486.44 Florida 33,640
Flag of Lavalleja Department.svg Lavalleja UY-LA1837
(as Minas)
10,01658,8155.87 Minas 45,638
Flag of Maldonado Department.png Maldonado UY-MA1816
(as San Fernando de Maldonado)
4,793164,30034.28 Maldonado 62,592
Coat of arms of Montevideo Department.svg Montevideo UY-MO18165301,319,1082,489 Montevideo 1,319,108
Flag of Paysandu Department.svg Paysandú UY-PA182013,922113,1248.13 Paysandú 76,429
Flag of Rio Negro Department.png Río Negro UY-RN1868
(from Paysandú)
9,28254,7655.90 Fray Bentos 24,406
Flag of Rivera Department.png Rivera UY-RV1884
(as Tacuarembó)
9,370103,49311.04 Rivera 64,465
Flag of Rocha Department.svg Rocha UY-RO1880
(from Maldonado)
10,55168,0886.45 Rocha 25,422
Flag of Salto Department.svg Salto UY-SA1837
(from Paysandú)
14,163124,8788.82 Salto 104,028
Flag of San Jose Department.svg San José UY-SJ18164,992108,30921.70 San José de Mayo 36,747
Flag of Soriano Department.svg Soriano UY-SO1816
(as Santo Domingo Soriano)
9,00882,5959.17 Mercedes 41,975
Tacuarembo Department Coa.png Tacuarembó UY-TA1837
(from Paysandú)
15,43890,0535.83 Tacuarembó 54,757
Flag of Treinta y Tres Department.svg Treinta y Tres   UY-TT1884
(from Cerro Largo and Lavalleja)
9,67648,1344.97 Treinta y Tres 25,477


Since 2009 (Law No. 18567 of 13 September 2009), [2] the Uruguayan departments have been subdivided into municipalities. As Uruguay is a very small country (3 million inhabitants, of which roughly half live in the national capital), this system has been widely criticized as a waste of resources. Nevertheless, in the municipal elections of 2010 the local authorities were elected and they assumed office months later. Currently there are 125 municipalities scattered all over the country.

See also

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Salto Department Department of Uruguay

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Rivera Department Department of Uruguay

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Tacuarembó Department Department of Uruguay

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  1. "Censos 2011". Instituto Nacional de Estadística. 10 August 2012. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  2. "Ley Nº 18.567 del 13 de septiembre de 2009" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-12-22. Retrieved 2013-08-05.