Historical and geographical information

Colonia is an Uruguayan department placed in the south-west of the country, on the coast where they drain the rivers Parana and Uruguay. It borders to the north on Soriano, to the North-East on Flores, to this one on San Jose, and on the south and on the west on the capital of the Argentina, Buenos Aires, from which the estuary of the Río de la Plata separates it.

His surface is 6.106 km², and it has a dear population of 119.266 inhabitants according to the census of 2004, which turns it into one of the sectors most filled with the Uruguay. The departmental capital is the city of Colonia del Sacramento, placed to 177 km from Montevideo.

History of Colonia
Colonia of the Sacrament, today considered Patrimony of the Humanity, was founded in 1680 by the Portuguese troops that settled on the coasts from the River Plate region. For that one then, the kingdoms of Spain and Portugal were in a constant and insatiable war, position to whom both countries were trying to expand his power spending for high place bilateral agreements. As result, both the city in strict sense and the department were from his beginning, witnesses of the warlike clash to nivelgeopolítico more excellent of the River Plate. The emplacement was taken in several occasions by the Spanish, going on from hand in hand up to falling down again under domain lusitano and of this one to the Brazilian one.

One would finish the dilemma after is proclaimed the Declaration of the Independence of which there was in this moment the Province Cisplatina, which would happen to be known as the Oriental Republic of the Uruguay, somewhere near August, 1825. These events did of the capital of Colonia, a crucible of architectural styles, buildings to the typically Portuguese colonial style that were including houses of massive stone with roofs from two to four waters, in a rich contrast with those housings of Spanish freightage that preferred the use of other materials and skills of construction as the brick and the roofs.

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Colonia del Sacramento was located on the peninsula of San Gabriel, and his old town understands only 12 hectares of his western end, and works at present as a “Historical National Park” in which holding a permit visits offer covering museums, fortifications and primitive housings. The plane of the city is also of Portuguese character, and it contrasts with the standard that was legislating in the Spanish law on the Indies, being characterized also by his narrow streets of stone, which highlight his military tradition.

Geography of Colonia
Colonia is a part of the so-called “flatness platense”, that is characterized by his low grounds, the territorial plain and the prairies pampeanas bathed of rivers and runnels that end in the River Plate and his tributaries.

Orography of Colonia
The soil coloniense consists of crags that give place to stones seas, since it is the case of the Saw of Mal Abrigo. The rest of the department is constituted of slimes, sand and deposits of clay. The chopper of San Salvador in the limit with Soriano is the most important as for relief of height.

Hydrography
He has the limited one although not less important wealth of rivers and creeks that end, mostly, in the River Plate. These are: the rivers Rosary and Saint John, and the creeks of the Cows, the Vipers, Cufré and Miguelete.

Climate in Colonia
The climate is humid and moderate, with a few annual temperatures that bring aproximate 17 and 18 grades C, and an index of precipitations that is estimated concerning 1.000 mm of annual average. This favorable situation, along with the natural composition of his soils, makes way to the use of the prairies gramíneas in the direction of the cattle sheep and bovine industry.

Flora and wildlife in Colonia
aperea
The vegetation is merely pampeana: green and juicy pastures, shrubs, trees of medium height (eucalyptus, carob, ficus, weeping willow, ombu, pine, etc). The fauna composes of cattle (bovine, sheep, equine, porcine), poultry, teros, colibríes, venteveos, field parrots, zorrillos, hares, rabbits and wild mice. On the coast from the River Plate region different types of fish are observed, and to the famous dolphin of the Silver.

Communications in Colonia del Sacramento
Located opposite to the coast of the Argentine capital, Colonia presents a geographical privileged position, and of that many people have wanted to take advantage along the history. To little less than 60 km from the from Buenos Aires center, it is a cozy option for the immense majority of those who reside in the nearby shore. Often, it is frequented of step and it receives the tourists biggest volume during the weekend or in the holy week. It is possible to arrive to Colonia for water from the republic Argentina. Of the same form, those who come from other sectors of the country usually embark in Cologne in the direction of the Argentina, following the same trajectory and arriving in the full federal capital, in a stretch that changes from an hour until three hours of trip (time estimated in crossing the estuary of the Silver of side to side, and depending on the climatic conditions.

Other routes of access (for terrestrial route) are: the national nº 1 (also acquaintance as Brigadier Manuel Oribe), who is born in Montevideo in felt west and understands to the department of San Jose; the nº 2 (or of Asencio’s Scream) that goes out of Brother Bentos and dies in Rosary; or the nº 11 (José Batlle y Ordoñez) who comes from Cannelloni and intersect with the nº 1 in the locality maragata from Ecilda Paullier, to a few kilometers before coming to Piece of news Helvecia.

Finally, the departmental capital has a small national and regional airport that the companies deprived of flight usually use.
The iron line that route San Jose was coming to Montevideo is closed from 1991. The line that borders on the department in direction of Favors, closed in 1996, is during reopening.

Economy
The department is the first one at national level as for the production of milk. All his derivatives are exported, be already a cheese (in different varieties), butter, yoghurt, sweet of milk and double cream (or cream, between others.
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For this motive many multinational companies have decided to install his divisions and to exploit the raw material of the region.The beekeeping has being a tradition since there was coming an enormous influence of European immigrants proceeding from Italy and Switzerland, principally. Cities as Piece of news Helvecia, whose inhabitants are to a great extent progeny of Swisses, it possesses perhaps the biggest development of honey of the country.

In her and in other zones of Cooloniait is common to find handmade farms where the tourists and the places are welcome to tasting the jams, the home-loving sweet of milk, the cheese colony and a wide scale of wines of wine vault. Also, sheep, bovine and porcine cattle grows up.

The agriculture understands the plantation and harvests of corn, sunflower, linen, barley, vine, fruits, olives and some plants forrajeras. Also there are quarries of talc, limestones and stones for the construction. The principal port activity concentrates on Juan Lacaze, Colonia del Sacramento, Piece of news Palmira and Carmelo. The stone extraction, the industrial producing plants of role, fibers synthetic and textiles, as well as the mills of refinement of flour, the shipyard and the articles of aluminum, suppose another important revenue of capital.

Culture
Along with Canelones and Montevideo, Colonia is the third department with major index of population of italo-Swiss origin. Nevertheless, in contrast to the first ones, the quantity of his inhabitants is quite low and they are dispersed in several urban emplacements of minor consideration.

Therefore, this has favored the evolution of small communities detached from the life style and from the customs of other corners of Uruguay. It is necessary to clarify that they are not rooted out peoples not independentistas but, on the contrary, they have adapted themselves to the Uruguayan environment and to his customs and theirs did not lose. This event takes place at the end of the XIXth century and at the beginning of the XXth, when the economic situation of Europe was unstable and numerous families were looking for a better future in America.

Colonia, considering his condition of port, it lodged to an immigrants’ considerable mass of different origins, between them, of Switzerland, Italy, Poland, Spain, and of France and Germany in minor measurement.
In the course of time it would do to itself to notice the foreign influence on the place, being founded new peoples and rural properties and doing it counts to new traditions.

Although his mother tongue has been getting lost with the years to the detriment of Spanish, the legacy that they have left is invaluable, to the end of that is impossible to speak about Cologne without alluding to his Swiss cheeses (I semilast, typically “colonia”, handmade, rocquefor, etc), to his pizzas, to his home-loving jams, to his gastronomy by means of fish, Italian sauces (as the carusso), you graze (añolotis, ñoquis, sorrentinos), and to his wine-growing.

The cities that have been founded by the immigrants are: Nueva Helvecia (earlier so-called Colonia Suiza), Colonia Valdense, and Colonia Piamontesa (created by citizens native to Piamonte, region of the north of Italy).
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