Montevideo (usu. Mon-tey-vid'e-o; Span. pron. Monteyveeday'o), the capital of the republic of Uruguay, is situated on the north shore of the La Plata estuary, 125 miles E. by S. of Buenos Ayres. It was built originally on a low promontory between the ocean and a horse.
shoe-shaped bay, 2 miles across; but its extensive suburbs now stretch far into the flat country behind, and have crept round the bay to the landmark which gives the city its name - the Cerro, a smooth, isolated cone, 505 feet high, crowned with a lighthouse and an old fort. At its base there are nearly a score of great saladeros, or beef-salting establishments, where 200,000 cattle yearly are killed; and here, too, is the largest of the city's dry-docks. High above the flat house-roofs rises the cathedral (133 feet), with two side towers and a dome. Other buildings are the large opera-house, town-hall, customhouse, exchange, the Cabildo (law-courts and parliament house), the school of arts and trades, the university, museum, the English and Basque churches, etc. Tramcars run in all directions ; there are local electric lighting and telephone companies; and water is brought from a distance of 34 miles. The depth of water in the bay ranges from 9 to 15 feet, and vessels of heavy draught are compelled to anchor in the exposed roadstead outside; but great port improvements were begun in 1901. Pop. (1877) 110,200; (1905) 208,000, of whom nearly one-third were foreigners. A fort was built on the Cerro, by the Spaniards, in 1717, and the first settlement of the town made in 1726 ; in 1828 it became the capital of the newly-formed republic of Banda Oriental. See Uruguay.