Spanish settlement in Uruguay, that is the arrival of Spanish emigrants in the country known today as Uruguay, took place firstly in the period before independence from Spain, and again in large numbers during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The Spanish settlement, along with the Italians, formed the backbone of today's Uruguayan society. Like its neighbour country Argentina, the culture of Uruguay exhibits significant connections to Spanish culture; in terms of language, customs and traditions.
The concept Spanish Uruguayans may refer to Uruguayans of post-independence Spanish immigrant descent, as long as they have retained a Spanish cultural identity; typically there are thousands of Galician immigrants. During the Spanish Civil War, thousands of Spaniards fled from Spain to Uruguay.The Spanish republicans fled Franco's regime as well, seeking to escape retribution from the new government.
The 2011 Uruguayan census revealed 12,776 people who declared Spain as their country of birth. Thousands of Uruguayan nationals are holders of Spanish passports.
Goebel, Michael. "Gauchos, Gringos and Gallegos: The Assimilation of Italian and Spanish Immigrants in the Making of Modern Uruguay 1880–1930," Past and Present (August 2010) 208(1): 191-229 doi:10.1093/pastj/gtp037