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Colonia, department of Uruguay with 112,800 inhabitants and city of 21,714 (2004) inhabitants west of Montevideo, on the shores of the Río De La Plata. This historical emplacement was founded in 1680 by the governor of Río de Janeiro, Manuel de Lobo, according to instructions from the Portuguese crown to occupy for Brazil the northern shore of the estuary to counteract the influence of Buenos Aires on the southern shore. Because there had been no significant Spanish presence on the northern shore since Captain Juan Romero's colonization attempt had been foiled by the Charrúa Indians in 1552, the Portuguese established a colony and fortified a small town overlooking the estuary. The threat of a Portuguese enclave in the middle of the Spanish Río de la Plata, aggravated by the active smuggling of French and English merchandise, called for immediate action from Buenos Aires. Since repeated attempts to forcefully dislodge the invaders failed, Colonia del Sacramento was put under siege by Pedro Antonio de Cevallos in 1762. It was not until the signing of the Treaty of San Ildefonso (1777) that the Spanish regained control of the settlement and Portugal withdrew its claims on the Río de la Plata.

In the early 2000s, Colonia is a picturesque and pleasant town, an active station on the route between Montevideo and Buenos Aires via a hydrofoil that crosses the 25-mile-wide estuary, and a vacation spot for residents of Montevideo. Vineyards, fruit groves, and vegetable gardens dot the route connecting Colonia with Montevideo, 95 miles away.

See alsoUruguay, Geography .


Assunção, Fernando. Etopeya y tragedia de Manuel Lobo: Biografía del fundador de Colonia del Sacramento. Montevideo, Uruguay: Linardi y Risso, 2003.

Blixen, Diego. De prostituta a señora: La historia reciente de Colonia del Sacramento. Montevideo, Uruguay: Ediciones del Caballo Perdido, 2005.

Moreira, Omar. Colonia del Sacramento (Montevideo, 1984).

                                       CÉsar N. Caviedes

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