There are also some limited extensions of gallery forests and palm tree savannas.
The main cultural differences are related to rural (9 percent) versus urban populations (91 percent), and whether people live in the capital or the interior towns.
Originally, they were equestrian hunters of cattle for hides, beef or salting, and horses for riding.
Later they traded in contraband, worked on the cattle and sheep ranches, and served as militia during the struggle for independence and as mercenaries for post-independence caudillos .
The country is divided into nineteen administrative departamentos, each with a capital town. About half of the population lives in the capital, Montevideo, and its metropolitan area.
About half of the population lives in the capital, Montevideo, and its metropolitan area. The second largest city, Salto, has ninety thousand inhabitants. As a result of emigration, there could be as many people of Uruguayan descent living outside as inside the country.
The Charrúa, a dominant fierce and independent regional First Nation, although annihilated by the Europeans, is imagined to still live in the spirit of the gaucho mestizo and the Uruguayans (who sometimes called themselves "charruas").
The land area is about 68,020 square miles (176,220 kilometers).
Africans, 4 percent of the population, mainly in Montevideo, were imported as slaves to work in the ports, in the processing of meat and hides, and as servants. The prevalent language is a variety of Spanish known as Rioplatense or Platellano .
In rural areas, gauchesco/criollo, the creole dialect spoken by the eighteenth- and nineteenth-century gauchos, is still influential.
The original gauchos were an equestrian ethnic group similar to North American cowboys and Ukrainian Cossacks.
Cattle and horses introduced by the Spanish in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries multiplied in the grasslands and roamed freely over the land.