Nueva Helvecia

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This article is about the city in Uruguay. For Mexican-era California settlement, see New Helvetia.
Nueva Helvecia
Nueva Helvecia is located in Uruguay
Nueva Helvecia
Nueva Helvecia
Coordinates: 34°17′20″S 57°14′0″W / 34.28889°S 57.23333°W / -34.28889; -57.23333Coordinates: 34°17′20″S 57°14′0″W / 34.28889°S 57.23333°W / -34.28889; -57.23333
Country  Uruguay
Department Colonia Department
Founded 1861
Population (2011)
 • Total 10,630
Time zone UTC -3
Postal code 70201
Dial plan +598 455 (+5 digits)

Nueva Helvecia ("New Helvetia") is a city in the southeastern part of Colonia Department of Uruguay.


The city is located on the intersection of Routes 52 and 53, about 120 kilometres (75 mi) west of Montevideo and 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) north of Colonia Valdense.


A populated centre was founded here in October 1861 and declared as "Pueblo" (village) by Decree of 26 May 1894. Its status was elevated to "Villa" (town) by the Act of Ley Nº 7.257 on 17 August 1920[1] and then to "Ciudad" (city) by the Act of Ley Nº 11.892 on 11 December 1952.[2]

The date of its foundation is considered to be 24 April 1862.[citation needed] This year marked the time when a large number of immigrants, mostly from Switzerland, but with a significant number from Austria, Germany, Italy and France, settled in the area.

The Swiss Colony was established in the mid-nineteenth century. Many Swiss descendants live in this area of the department of Colonia in Uruguay. Nueva Helvecia, Colonia Valdense, La Paz, Rosario, Colonia Miguelete, as well as other cities and towns, are the result of immigration of Swiss, Germans, Austrians, French and Italians to Uruguay. In April 2012, the Swiss Colony is celebrating its 150th anniversary of its founding. Most of the history of the colony is found in Dr. Juan Carlos Wirth's five publications and the detailed resources in his books.

Since its foundation, agriculture has become one of the main sources of sustenance, in particular fruit and dairy products.


In 2011 Nueva Helvecia had a population of 10,630.[3]

Year Population
1908 3,701
1963 8,012
1975 8,587
1985 8,768
1996 9,650
2004 10,002
2011 10,630

Source: Instituto Nacional de Estadística de Uruguay[1]

Economic activity[edit]

This area of Uruguay had a great influence on the economy of Uruguay and the name "Switzerland of America" is often used.

Nowadays, Nueva Helvecia is famous for its milk production.

Places of worship[edit]

See also[edit]

Read also[edit]

  • Annaheim, Hans, Die Kolonie Nueva Helvecia in Uruguay, in: Regio Basiliensis 8, 1967, S. 27-76. ISSN 0034-3293
  • Arlettaz, Gérald, Emigration et colonisation suisses en Amérique 1815-1918, in: Etudes et Sources, Archives Fédérales Suisses, no 5, 1979, pp. 5–236. ISSN 1420-8725
  • Aschwanden, Prisca, Die schweizerische Einwanderung in Uruguay zwischen 1880-1929, Lizentiatsarbeit, Universität Zürich, 1990.
  • Wirth, Juan Carlos F., Historia de la Iglesia Evangelica de Nueva Helvecia. 1944.
  • Wirth, Juan Carlos F., Colonia Suiza hace 80 anos. 1947.
  • Wirth, Juan Carlos F., Historia de colonia suiza [de l'Uruguay], Ed. por el comite ejucutivo pro-festejos del centenario de colonia suiza, Nueva Helvecia, 1962.
  • Wirth, Juan Carlos F., Del Havre al Rio de la Plata an 47 dias. 1974.
  • Wirth, Juan Carlos F., Génesis de la colonia agricola suiza Nueva Helvecia. Historia, documentos y carografia, Ministerio de educacion y cultura, Montevideo, 1980.
  • Zbinden, Carl, Die schweizerische Auswanderung nach Argentinien, Uruguays, Chili und Paraguay, Dissertation, Universität Bern, Affoltern a. A., 1931.
  • Suizos en Uruguay de Sonia Ziegler e Ignacio Naón. 224 pág. Montevideo, febrero de 2007. ISBN 9974-32-320-7
  • Pequeñas historias de grandes mujeres de Sonia Ziegler 246 paginas, 2012. ISBN 978-9974-98-594-0


  1. ^ a b "Statistics of urban localities (1908–2004)" (PDF). INE. 2012. Retrieved 3 September 2012. 
  2. ^ "LEY N° 11.892". República Oriental del Uruguay, Poder Legislativo. 1952. Retrieved 3 September 2012. 
  3. ^ "Censos 2011 Cuadros Colonia". INE. 2012. Retrieved 25 August 2012. 
  4. ^ Schoenstatt Sanctuary (Spanish)

External links[edit]