Departments of Uruguay

Uruguay consists of 19 departments. Each department has a legislature called a Departmental Board. The mayor of the department's capital city also serves as the department's chief executive.

Departments of Uruguay
CategoryUnitary state
LocationEastern Republic of Uruguay
Number19 departments
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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.

Series of maps showing the gradual formation of the actual 19 departments of Uruguay.

List of departments

Flag or
Department ISO 3166-2
Formation Area
Capital Capital population
Artigas UY-AR 1884
(from Salto)
11,92873,3786.15Artigas 40,658
Canelones UY-CA 1816
(as Villa de Guadalupe)
4,536520,187114.68Canelones 19,865
Cerro Largo UY-CL 1821 13,64884,6986.21Melo 53,245
Colonia UY-CO 1816 6,106123,20320.18Colonia del Sacramento   26,231
Durazno UY-DU 1822
(as Entre Ríos Yí y Negro)
11,64357,0884.90Durazno 34,372
Flores UY-FS 1885
(from San José)
5,14425,0504.87Trinidad 21,429
Florida UY-FD 1856
(from San José)
10,41767,0486.44Florida 33,640
Lavalleja UY-LA 1837
(as Minas)
10,01658,8155.87Minas 45,638
Maldonado UY-MA 1816
(as San Fernando de Maldonado)
4,793164,30034.28Maldonado 62,592
Montevideo UY-MO 1816 5301,319,1082,489Montevideo 1,319,108
Paysandú UY-PA 1820 13,922113,1248.13Paysandú 76,429
Río Negro UY-RN 1868
(from Paysandú)
9,28254,7655.90Fray Bentos 24,406
Rivera UY-RV 1884
(as Tacuarembó)
9,370103,49311.04Rivera 64,465
Rocha UY-RO 1880
(from Maldonado)
10,55168,0886.45Rocha 25,422
Salto UY-SA 1837
(from Paysandú)
14,163124,8788.82Salto 104,028
San José UY-SJ 1816 4,992108,30921.70San José de Mayo 36,747
Soriano UY-SO 1816
(as Santo Domingo Soriano)
9,00882,5959.17Mercedes 41,975
Tacuarembó UY-TA 1837
(from Paysandú)
15,43890,0535.83Tacuarembó 54,757
Treinta y Tres   UY-TT 1884
(from Cerro Largo and Lavalleja)
9,67648,1344.97Treinta 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 112 municipalities scattered all over the country.

See also


  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.
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