Charrúa's supposed attack on Juan Diaz de Solis expedition to the Rio de la Plata
|Extinct as a tribe|
|Regions with significant populations|
| Argentina 14,649 (2010) 
Part of a series on the
|History of Uruguay|
The Charrúa are an indigenous people of South America in present-day Uruguay and the adjacent areas in Argentina (Entre Ríos) and Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul). They were a semi-nomadic people who sustained themselves through fishing, hunting, and gathering; some think they were related to the Tehuelche people.
According to the Charrúa, the Charrúan people killed Spanish explorer Juan Díaz de Solís during his 1515 voyage up the Río de la Plata, but this was contradicted by researchers who said that the Charrúa people were not cannibalistic and that it was actually the Guaranis who did it. Later, it was proven that there was no direct testimony of this moment. Following the arrival of European settlers, the Charrúa, along with the Chana, strongly resisted their territorial invasion. In the 18th and 19th centuries the Charruas were confronted by cattle exploitation that strongly altered their way of life, causing famine and forcing them to rely on cows and sheep. Unfortunately, those were in that epoch increasingly privatized. Malones (raids) were resisted by settlers who freely shot any indigenous people who were in their way. Later, Fructuoso Rivera - Uruguay's first president, who possessed a hacienda – organized the Charruas's genocide. Since 11 April 1831, when the Salsipuedes (meaning "Get-out-if-you-can") campaign was launched by a group led by Bernabé Rivera, nephew of Fructuoso Rivera, it is said that the Charruas were extinct.
Four surviving Charrúas were captured at Salsipuedes. They were Senacua Sénaqué, a medicine man; Vaimaca-Pirú Sira, a warrior; and a young couple, Laureano Tacuavé Martínez and María Micaëla Guyunusa. All four were taken to Paris, France, in 1833, where they were exhibited to the public. They all soon died in France, including a baby daughter born to Sira and Guyunusa, and adopted by Tacuavé. The child was named María Mónica Micaëla Igualdad Libertad by the Charrúas, yet she was filed by the French as Caroliné Tacouavé. A monumental sculpture, Los Últimos Charrúas was built in their memory in Montevideo, Uruguay.
Since the 80s - after Uruguay's last dictatorship -, a group of people is affirming and vindicating their Charruan ancestry (but they only are alleged descendants, not Charrúas itself, although some claim that are Charrúas without evidence).
Not much is known about the Charrúa due to their cognitive erasure at an early time in the Uruguayan history. The only surviving documents that concern the Charrúas were those of Spanish explorers, archaeologists and anthropologists. A new literature is now emerging about their ethnogenesis and activism.
Uruguayans refer to themselves as "charrúas" when in the context of a competition or battle against a foreign contingent. In situations in which Uruguayans display bravery in the face of overwhelming odds, the expression "garra charrúa" (Charrúan tenacity) is used to refer to victory in the face of certain defeat.
After Salsipuedes, the Charrúa effectively ceased to exist as a nation. It is believed that there are no full-blooded Charrúa remaining, though physical and genetic traces are found amongst Uruguay's population. According to the Argentine census of 2001, there are 676 Charrúa (the majority of whom are of mixed ancestry) living in the province of Entre Ríos.
Charrua is also a name of a Brazilian military tank for troops transportation.
- "Censo Nacional de Población, Hogares y Viviendas 2010" (PDF) (in Spanish). 2010. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
- Renzo Pi Hugarte. "Aboriginal blood in Uruguay" (in Spanish). Raíces Uruguay. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
- Burford 2011, p. 16.
- Alayón, Wilfredo (28 March 2011). "Uruguay and the memory of the Charrúa tribe". The Prisma. Retrieved 20 Dec 2011.
- "El origen de los charrúas" (in Spanish). El País. Retrieved 23 May 2017.
- Burford 2011, p. 12.
- Charrua Hapkido y Tkd Paysandu (May 21, 2012). "El Parto de María Micaëla Guyunusa". chancharrua.wordpress.com (in Spanish). Charruas del Uruguay, La nacion Charrua. Retrieved 16 December 2012.
- "El Parto de María Micaëla Guyunusa". indiauy.tripod.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 23 May 2017.
- Burford 2011, p. 119.
- Burford 2011, p. 173.
- Burford, Tim (2011). The Bradt Travel Guide Uruguay. Bucks, UK: Bradt Travel Guides. ISBN 978-1-84162-316-0.