In 1783 the lieutenant of Dragons Eusebio Vidal, by order of the viceroy Juan José de Vértiz, settled on the banks of the “San Jose” and founded a town ” with 29 wagons, 204 Indians and forty heads of the family “. The nucleus of the first settlers was 43 Asturian families, Castilian 5, Galician 2, Andalusian one.
It turns out to be curious that he is called to “maragatos” his inhabitants. Nobody seems to meet the why of this denomination.
The official date of foundation fixed 1st of June, 1783 (the original record got lost). As the first colonists of Canelones, Minas and Rocha, those of San Jose belonged to the games of Spanish who came to populate the Patagonia. This project failed due to the inhospitable ambience, and the immigrants were redistributed in the Oriental Band. The first years of San Jose, were hard since the settlers should have fought against the estate owners of the zone who were trying to brake his growth.
On June 19, 1894 in the square Independence of San Jose placed the fundamental stone of the first monument that should erect in homage José Artigas. The base obtained of a mass of granite of seven tons that was transported by train from a quarry in La Paz, Canelones. The design of the monument was entrusted to Juan Luis Blanes, who died to a little time, from what the sketch was finished by his father, the painter Juan Manuel Blanes. The Italian sculptor Dante Costa shaped the statue in clay, formed her in plaster and melted it in bronze, in Florence.