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  • Uruguay is a country in South America. It has a South Atlantic Ocean coastline and lies between Argentina to the west and Brazil to the north. It is the second-smallest country in South America. 

    The name Uruguay means river of the colorful birds. It is a word in Guarani that was spoken by the natives of the area.

    Often called the Switzerland of South America not for geographical features but for a stable democracy and social benefits such as free education, but mostly due to a developed financial sector based on bank secrecy. In 2002 Uruguay faced one of its biggest economic crises which had very negative effects on crime. Although economic activity by 2008 had returned to pre-crisis levels, crime remains relatively high compared to historical levels, but is still low by South American standards. Long a desired country for immigration, Uruguay has been suffering from high levels of emigration for almost four decades, mainly of highly trained workers and people with high-level studies ("brain drain") seeking better opportunities abroad.

    Uruguay has a rich agricultural and civic history among its indigenous people. The dominant pre-20th century live stock driving techniques are still utilized in the country, and are less visited tourist attractions than the pleasant beaches and city centres. The country has a mostly low-lying landscape. Cerro Catedral, the country's highest point, is 514m high.