Montevideo, a city, capital of Uruguay, South America, and of the department of its own name, on the N. shore of the estuary of the Rio de la Plata, 130 m. E. S. E. of Buenos Ayres, in lat. 34° 53' S., Ion. 56° 15' W.; pop. in 1872,105,296. It is built on a gentle elevation, at the extremity of a tongue of land jutting into the bay, and is defended by a citadel mounting 20 guns. It comprises two divisions, the old and the new town, between which traces of the old wall are still visible. A mountain in the rear, to which it owes its name, is surmounted by an antique Spanish castle. The streets an- very regular, well paved, and lighted with gas. The bouses are substantial; many of them have two and even three stories. Excellent water is brought from a ciigtance of 34 m. The principal square, with an area of two acres, is tastefully planted with trees and flowers, and has a superb fountain. On the S. side is the parish church, with turrets 225 ft, above the level of the bay; and on the N. side is the cabildo, containing the law courts, senate house, and prison. The government house is a miserable edifice.
The old market, once the citadel of Montevideo, and a complete fortress in itself, is the most interesting relic of the colonial period; it was erected by 2,000 Guarani Indians, who worked seven years without pay. It is now a sort of bazaar, and serves as a barrack for troops in revolutionary times. The custom house is a fine building of modern style, 900 by 300 ft. The post office is one of the best appointed in South America; and the average number of letters and papers passing through it annually is 2,000,000. Facing the post office are the museum and the library, containing 3,653 volumes. The exchange, of modern construction, ranks among the finest public buildings on the southern continent; it cost $160,000. There are, besides the cathedral, six churches and chapels, several convents, and an Episcopal and a Methodist church. The educational establishments comprise a university, schools for medicine, law, and other sciences, 58 public and 54 private schools, with an aggregate attendance of 10,048. The institute of public instruction is a sort of volunteer committee for the diffusion of useful knowledge. There are four large markets, six banks, savings banks, numerous clubs, mercantile associations, three theatres, a bull ring, and several ball and concert rooms.
An immigrants' asylum affords adequate protection to thousands every year. The total number of immigrants landed at Montevideo in 1836 was 5,000; in 1858, 8,359; in 1868, 17,381; and in 1872, 20,000, probably including many who afterward proceeded to Buenos Ayres. The city has several prisons and a house of correction for females called los ejercicios. Besides the public hospitals, there are charitable institutions under the direction of the sisters of mercy, an orphan asylum, a home for the poor, and a lunatic asylum. There are three cemeteries, one of which is British. The city is the cleanest and healthiest in South America; and the suburbs, watering places, and surrounding country are extremely picturesque. The bay of Montevideo resembles a horse shoe in shape; it is about 4 m. long and 2 m. broad, but has only from 14 to 19 ft. of water, having diminished 5 ft. since the beginning of this century; but the bottom is soft, and vessels receive no damage by grounding. It can conveniently anchor 500 ships drawing 15 ft.; but it is open to the S. S. W. winds. All vessels receive and discharge their cargoes by means of launches. There are two dry docks with every facility for repairing ships. The trade of Montevideo is very considerable.
The exports consist chiefly of salt beef, hides, hair, tallow, wool, bones, bone .ashes, etc.; copper is brought overland from Chili and sometimes shipped here, as well as mate or Paraguay tea. The principal imports are cottons, woollens, hardware, flour, wine, spirits, sugar, tobacco, salt, boots, etc. The imports from the United States are flour, chairs, refined sugar, whiskey, cordage, agricultural implements, etc, and chiefly lumber from New York, Boston, and Philadelphia. Sugar, coffee, mate, and spices are brought from Brazil; and three fourths of the manufactured goods, hardware, and machinery come from Europe. A large trade in wool, hair, etc, also exists between Montevideo and the United States. The value of the exports and imports for three years was as follows:
The value of the imports for 1873 was estimated at $22,500,000. The custom-house receipts in 1872 amounted to $6,417,812, and in 1873 to $6,478,209. The port movements for the same year were: entered, 1,817 vessels, tonnage 877,058; cleared, 1,839, tonnage 898,-907. About 60 of the vessels 'were under the United States flag, and 253 were British steamers. Six British mail steamers visit the port monthly, besides four French packets, three Italian, two Brazilian, and one Anglo-Belgian. The coasting trade averages 2,000 entries annually. The city is connected by railway with Florida, 72 m. distant; a branch line to Colo-nia was to be commenced in 1874; and a line eastward was in course of preparation. Four lines of street horse cars are in operation. Montevideo is in telegraphic communication with Buenos Ayres, the chief towns of the interior, and the Brazilian system. The commercial and industrial establishments number 5,663, comprising 3 steam saw mills, 8 found-eries, 93 factories, 13 tanneries, 52 brick kilns, 7 steam flour mills, and 9 abattoirs, in which last upward of 300,000 head of cattle are slaughtered yearly. - Montevideo (or with its full name, San Felipe de Montevideo) was founded in 1717 by the viceroy Lavala; but it remained a mere military outpost till 1726, when Francisco Alzeibar introduced the first settlers from the Canaries. In 1778 it was by royal decree declared a port, and its population and commerce rapidly increased.
The city was fortified by the Spaniards in 1777. In February, 1807, it was besieged and taken by the British, who were expelled in July. After the independence of the Plate Provinces in 1811, the Brazilians seized it, but were forced to surrender it after a long siege in 1814. They retook it in 1821; and in 1828 it regained its independence by treaty, and was made the capital of Uruguay. (See Uruguay).