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THE COUNTRY, ITS SITUATION, AREA, PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY, AND RESOURCES
Uruguay, officially known as "la República Oriental del Uruguay" [the Eastern Republic of the Uruguay], is situated on the eastern coast line of South America, in the temperate zone, and is the smallest of the independent States of that continent, but one of the most favored in climate, soil, and geographical situation. The country is also known as " Banda Oriental del Uruguay" and "Estado Oriental," from its position on the eastern side of the river Uruguay.
It lies between 30° and 35° south latitude and 53° and 58° 30′ longitude west of Greenwich; is bounded on the north, northeast, and east by Brazil, from which it is partly separated by the river Cuareim, the Cuchilla de Santa Anna, the river Yaguarón, Lake Merim, and the river Chuy. The Atlantic Ocean bounds it on the southeast and south, and the Rio de la Plata on the south and southwest, while the Argentine Republic, separated by the river Uruguay, stretches along the western confines.
The area of the country is officially stated to be 186,920 square kilometers, equivalent to 72,172 English square miles. It is an irregular polygon in shape, with a perimeter of about 1,075 miles, 355 miles of which extend along the Atlantic Ocean and the Rio de la Plata on the southeast and south, and 270 miles along the river Uruguay on the west, while the northern and eastern border has a length of 450 miles along the Brazilian border.
About five miles from the southern coast, in the Rio de la Plata, Bull. 61-1
belonging to the department of Canelones, are three small islands, and upon one of them, Isla de Flores, there is stationed the lazaretto, comprising two large buildings capable of accommodating 1,000 persons. To the east of the coast, off Maldonado, are two islands belonging to that department. Garriti, one of these islands, about two miles from the port of Maldonado and protecting its harbor, was at one time a fortified place.
The island of Lobos, about four miles from the coast, in the Atlantic Ocean, is one of the principal seal islands of the country. On these several small islands and three groups off the coast of Rocha, some of which are employed for pasturage, seals are found in abundance in the winter season, and their capture, regulated by the State, forms one of the chief industries of the inhabitants along the coast. There are some small and unimportant islands in the Rio de la Plata off Colonia, on one of which, Faralón, there is a light-house of considerable size, and there are besides, numerous small ones along the course of the Uruguay, many of them suitable for agriculture and affording rich fields for pasturage.
The coast line possesses very few bays or natural harbors, that of Montevideo being the only one of any importance. Cabo Santa María, which divides the Rio de la Plata from the ocean, is the principal cape of the coast line.
The Atlantic coast is low and sandy. On the Rio de la Plata the shore, indented by several open bays, is high and rocky. The country along the Uruguay is generally low, though in places table lands of a moderate elevation skirt the shore. The interior of the country presents an almost continuous undulation formed by the numerous chains of low mountains and hills with grassy slopes extending in all directions, while luxuriant groves stretch along the banks of its principal rivers and streams, which, descending in great numbers from the hills and winding through the country, water its fertile pasture lands.
The country in the south and southeast is diversified and