|Capital of Department||Artigas|
|• Intendant||Patricia Ayala|
|• Ruling party||Frente Amplio|
|• Total||11,928 km2 (4,605 sq mi)|
|Population (2011 census)|
|• Density||6.2/km2 (16/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UYT (UTC-3)|
|ISO 3166 code||UY-AR|
Artigas Department (Spanish: Departamento de Artigas, Spanish pronunciation: [arˈtiɣas]) is the northernmost department of Uruguay, located in its northwestern region. Its capital is the city of Artigas, which borders on the Brazilian city of Quaraí. Artigas Department has an area of 11,928 square kilometres (4,605 sq mi), making it the fifth largest in the country. The population is 73,378 inhabitants, according to the 2011 census.
It is bordered on the north and east by Brazil, from which it is separated by the Cuareim River. To the south, Artigas Department borders on Salto Department, and to the west is Argentina, from which it is separated by the Uruguay River. Artigas is the only Uruguayan department that borders two other countries.
The department and its capital city are named after José Gervasio Artigas (1764–1850), leader of the Orientales (inhabitants of the Banda Oriental, the Eastern bank of the Uruguay River) during Uruguay's wars of independence.
Uruguay's first administrative division, into six departments, happened on 27 January 1816. Two more departments were formed later in that year. At the time, Paysandú Department included all the territory north of the Río Negro, which included present-day departments of Artigas, Rivera, Tacuarembó, Salto, Paysandú and Río Negro. On 17 June 1837, a new division of Uruguay was made and Salto Department was created, including the territory of today's Artigas Department. The current borders were defined on 1 October 1884, when Artigas Department was split from Salto by Law no. 1854.
The Battle of Masoller, a noteworthy event in Uruguayan history, was fought on 1 September 1904. Masoller is located in neighbouring Rivera Department, but next to the border tripoint with Artigas and Salto.
Geography and climate
Two portions of the department's border with Brazil are disputed (Isla Brasilera or Brazilian Island near Bella Unión, and an area called Rincón de Artigas near Masoller), but unlike many border disputes between Latin American countries, this issue has not strained Uruguay's relations with Brazil, which remain friendly.
Two main geostructural regions can be found inside Artigas' limits:
- The central and eastern area, which includes a basaltic cuesta, and some sedimentary plains near the Cuareim River. Also found in the region are some hill ranges, such as Cuchilla de Belén.
- The western area, which consists of a narrow alluvial plain.
Artigas Department's average temperature is the highest in the whole country (over 19°C or 66°F, and may go as high as 47°C or 116°F during the summer months). So are its precipitation levels (up to an annual average of 1400 mm).
The unique climatic conditions of Artigas has made possible the development of an important agro-industrial centre around the city of Bella Unión. Several crops are planted, namely fruits and vegetables, sugar cane, and rice. In the rest of the department, the main economic activity is livestock raising.
Semi-precious gemstones, such as agates and amethysts, are also found in the department, and an entire industry has risen up around their extraction and manufacturing, especially near the capital city of Artigas.
The proximity of the department to Brazil has made it possible for an important flow of trade to be established here, but unfortunately this is generally unfavorable to Uruguayan economic interests. Nevertheless, this partially compensates for the fact that the per capita income is the lowest of the country, and the percentage of households in poverty is the highest in the country (13.19% of the inhabitants).
Population and Demographics
As of the census of 2011, the Artigas Department had a population of 73,378 (36,079 male and 37,299 female) and 26,231 households.
Demographic data for Artigas Department in 2010:
- Population growth rate: -0,006%
- Birth Rate: 15.48 births/1,000 people
- Death Rate: 7.05 deaths/1,000 people
- Average age: 28.2 (27.2 male, 29.2 female)
- Life Expectancy at Birth:
- Total population: 75.43 years
- Male; 72.03 years
- Female: 79.35 years
- Average per household income: 19,273 pesos/month
- Urban per capita income: 6,994 pesos/month
2010 Data Source:
|Main Urban Centres||Other towns and villages|
|Population stated according to the 2011 census.|
- Rural population
According to the 2011 census, Artigas department has a rural population of 3,524.
- List of populated places in Uruguay#Artigas Department
- Uruguayan-Brazilian border dispute
showing all populated places and full geographic details.
See full size version in Commons.
- Domínguez, Carlos María (2004). El norte profundo. Montevideo: Ediciones de la Banda Oriental. (Spanish)
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