1. In Uruguay, Cows outnumber people in the ratio of 4-1, the highest per capita in the world. With 3.44 head of cattle per capita, it has the most cattle per capita in the world followed by New Zealand & Argentina. Only five countries have more cattle than people: Uruguay, New Zealand, Argentina, Australia & Brazil. Uruguay is the only country to keep track of 100% of their cattle.
2. Now this one is special for the football geeks. The first-ever FIFA World Cup was held in Uruguay in 1930. Uruguay defeated Argentina by 4–2 and won the FIFA World Cup in the same year.
3. José Mujica, Uruguay’s president from 2010-2015, donated 90% of his income to charity and earned himself the nickname of the world’s poorest president. He only owns a one-bedroom house and a three-legged dog.
4. In 2009, Uruguay became the first country in the world to provide every schoolchild with a free laptop and Wi-Fi access. Besides laptops, the government provides online English classes to rural students with teachers based in the capital.
5. In 2012, a bill was approved by its Senate to legalize abortions during first-trimester pregnancies. This bill attracted a lot of attention among other countries in Latin America. The only other country in Latin America where abortion is legal is Cuba. Uruguay also became the 20th country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage in 2013. This was even before the U.K. did so.
6. Uruguay is among Latin America’s most highly electrified countries with more than 95% of its region covered with access to a consistent supply of power. The country also has the lowest poverty and population-growth rates in South America. Interestingly, they also have the highest urbanization and literacy rates in the region. Uruguayans have free access to education, which is why their literacy rate is the highest in South America. Education is compulsory in Uruguay.
7. Every house in Uruguay assigns a name for itself. Yes, Uruguayans adore of naming their houses, which is why every single house in the country has its own name. Their houses are not marked with numbers as in other countries. They also name their cities from a collection of names that they use for many other cities. For this reason, you may get confused if you are travelling from one city to the other!
8. Did you read the name carefully – ‘Uruguay’? It is the only country whose name in English has the same letter repeated three times in its first five letters. The repeated letter is ‘U’.
9. Uruguay is the most non-religious country in the Americas. So much so that they have renamed many of their traditional holidays. Now, Christmas is called Family Day and Holy Week is called Tourism Week.
10. Uruguay is the least corrupt country in Latin America. It is ranked first in the region for democracy, peace, lack of corruption, quality of living, e-Government, freedom of press, size of the middle class, prosperity and security which is all the more impressive considering the country was ruled by a military dictatorship until 1985. In 2009, General Gregorio Conrado Álvarez, the country’s final dictator, was sentenced to 25 years in prison for 37 counts of murder and human rights violations.