Population: 98. 000
Surface: 9. 370
It distances of Montevideo: 501 km
The foundation of Villa de Ceballos (ancient name of the department) answered to the intention of the Uruguayan government of creating a barrier to the Brazilian influence, which was imposing in the north of the Black River (Río Negro) his language, his customs and his power.
Deputy García Sienra said in 1862, during the discussion of the law that it created the Villa de Ceballos.
In the tops of the Cuñapirú, place of smugglers’ passage of cattle and faeneros, near to the Brazilian Holy town Ann do Livramento, there was created on May 7, 1862 the Villa de Ceballos, current city of Rivera. His founders were Italian, Spanish, Argentine, French, Brazilian and oriental.
Until the middle of the XIXth century the territory of the current department of Rivera was pasajeobligado for everything the one that was travelling towards the Jesuitical missions and the center of the Brazil.
They were times of wild cattle, few population and uncertain safety.
The Indians charrúas and minuanes they were proving to be slightly friendly with the newly come ones. There are scarce the papers that has been preserved.
The absence of authority was propitiating the presence of the Portugueses who, in his emulation of expansion, were plundering few wild existing stays and arreaban the cattle towards the north.
Newly at the beginning of the XIXth century the Blandengues with José Artigas in his lines patrolled the border to the north of the Black river (Río Negro), putting little order in that kingdom in which there was reigning the lawlessness and the law of the strongest.