This country is located in southeast South America, bounded to the north by Brazil, to the west by Argentina, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean and to the south by the River Plate Estuary. It is the second smallest country in South America after Suriname. Uruguayan geography does not show great contrasts; it consists of an alluvial plain and rolling hills called «Cuchillas» («knives» in Spanish) because they separate rainwater run-off, which flows off the ridges throughout the country. These hills are no higher than 500 metres above sea level, for example the Grande and the Haedo Cuchillas. Influenced by the ocean, the temperate climate moderates weather conditions.
The population is mainly urban and of European origin, that is, descendants of Spanish and Italian immigrants, although there are also people of Brazilian, Argentinean and French descent.
Livestock production, especially sheep and cattle raising, is the country’s main economic activity. Meat, wool and leather represent around half of Uruguay’s annual exports.