Geography of Uruguay

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Uruguay is a country in Southern South America, bordering the South Atlantic Ocean, between Argentina and Brazil. Uruguay is located in the Southern Hemisphere on the Atlantic seaboard of South America between 53 and 58 west longitude and 30 and 35 south latitude. It is bounded on the west by Argentina, on the north and northeast by Brazil, and on the southeast by the Atlantic Ocean.

To the south, it fronts the Río de la Plata, a broad estuary that opens out into the South Atlantic. Montevideo, the capital and major port, sits on the banks of the Río de la Plata and is on approximately the same latitude as Cape Town and Sydney. Uruguay is the smallest Spanish-speaking nation in South America with a land area of 173,620 km² and a water area of 2,600 km².

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Topography and hydrography

Most of Uruguay is a rolling plain that represents a transition from the almost featureless Argentine pampas to the hilly uplands of southern Brazil. The country itself has flat plains on its eastern, southern, and western edges. The narrow Atlantic coastal plain is sandy and marshy, occasionally broken by shallow lagoons. The littorals of the Río de la Plata and the Río Uruguay are somewhat broader and merge more gradually into the hilly interior.

The remaining two-quarters of the country is a rolling plateau marked by ranges of low hills that become more prominent in the north as they merge into the highlands of southern Brazil. Even these hilly areas are remarkably featureless, however, and elevations seldom exceed 200 meters.

Uruguay is a water-rich land. Prominent bodies of water mark its limits on the east, south, and west, and even most of the boundary with Brazil follows small rivers. Lakes and lagoons are numerous, and a high water table makes digging wells easy.

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