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The name Oriental Republic of Uruguay República Oriental del Uruguay, derives from the fact that the country lies east of the Uruguay River, a major tributary of the Rio de la Plata estuary.
Before independence, it was known as Banda Oriental del Uruguay .
Most of the indigenous population was exterminated by the nineteenth century, and those who survived were assimilated.
The ethnic composition of the population is 90 percent European (predominantly Spanish and Italian), and 6 percent of the people are partly of Native American descent.
The Charrúa, a dominant fierce and independent regional First Nation, although annihilated by the Europeans, is imagined to still live in the spirit of the gaucho mestizo and the Uruguayans (who sometimes called themselves "charruas").
Grasslands and agricultural lands cover the majority of the country.
The name Jeremy Enigk is instantly recognizable to any fan of the early emo scene of the 1990s.
Enigk was the lead singer of early emo-innovators Sunny Day Real Estate.
The many beaches are an important tourist attraction.
The climate is generally mild, and freezing temperatures are almost unknown.
The gaucho image has become the embodiment of the national character.