Located in the southern part of the continent of South America, Uruguay has a land area of 68,039 square miles (176,220 square kilometers) and an estimated population in 2006 of 3.4 million, most of them concentrated in Montevideo, the capital. Uruguay is a flat and fertile plain interrupted only by small elevations in the south and east that do not exceed 1,640 feet (500 meters). The coast is low and sandy, and the climate mild with occasional strong winds. The dense fluvial network, dominated by the Uruguay River, and adequate precipitation explain why around 70 percent of the country is constituted by natural pastures grazed by the livestock introduced by the Spaniards in the 17th century, Many of the environmental problems of Uruguay, a ...

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