Uruguay is one of the countries of the Southern Cone of South America. Colonized by Spain, it was then claimed by Argentina, annexed by Brazil in 1821, but became independent in 1828, suffering through the War of the Triple Alliance. After a military dictatorship, and a violent guerrilla war with the Tupamaro insurgents, civilian rule was reestablished in 1985 and multiparty democracy in 2004.
It has a well-developed, export-oriented agricultural economy with increasing industrialization. The export economy is now part of MERCOSUR. The population is well educated and there is substantial social infrastructure. There is also substantial state investment in the economy.
After economic crises early in the 21st century, linked to problems in Argentina and Brazil, Uruguay, with IMF assistance, restructured its external debt, and has returned to an average 8% growth rate since 2004.