Colonia del Sacramento

Colonia del Sacramento
Colonia del Sacramento
—  Capital city  —
Basilica del Sanctísimo Sacramento
Colonia del Sacramento is located in Uruguay
Colonia del Sacramento
Coordinates: 34°28′17″S 57°50′39″W / 34.47139°S 57.84417°W / -34.47139; -57.84417Coordinates: 34°28′17″S 57°50′39″W / 34.47139°S 57.84417°W / -34.47139; -57.84417
Country  Uruguay
Department Colonia Department
Founded 1680
Founder Manuel Lobo
Elevation 27 m (89 ft)
Population (2004)
 - Total 21,714
Time zone UTC -3
Postal code 70000
Area code(s) +598 452

Colonia del Sacramento (formerly the Portuguese Colónia do Sacramento) is a city in southwestern Uruguay, by the Río de la Plata, facing Buenos Aires, Argentina. It is the oldest town in Uruguay and capital of the departamento of Colonia. It has a population of around 22,000.

It is renowned for its historic quarter, a World Heritage Site. Modern Colonia del Sacramento produces textiles and has a free trade zone, in addition to a polytechnic centre and various government buildings.



In 2004 Colonia del Sacramento had a population of 21,714.[1]

Year Population
1963 13,337
1975 17,046
1985 19,102
1996 22,200
2004 21,714

Source: Instituto Nacional de Estadística de Uruguay[2]


Founded in 1680 by Portugal as Colónia do Sacramento, the colony was later disputed by the Spanish who settled on the opposite bank of the river at Buenos Aires. The colony was conquered by José de Garro in 1680, but returned to Portugal the next year. It was conquered again by the Spanish in March 1705 after a siege of five months, but given back in the Treaty of Utrecht. Another attack during the Spanish-Portuguese War, 1735-1737, failed.

It kept changing hands from crown to crown due to treaties such as the Treaty of Madrid in 1750 and the Treaty of San Ildefonso in 1777, until it remained with the Spanish. It then transferred to Portuguese control again, being later incorporated in Brazil after 1816, when the entire Banda Oriental (Uruguay) was seized by the government of the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves and renamed the Cisplatina province.

Now part of the independent country of Uruguay, Colonia del Sacramento has expanded to the north and east, but the original Barrio Histórico (historic quarter) retains its irregular, terrain-fitting street plan built by the Portuguese, contrasting with the wider, orthogonal calles in the newer Spanish area.

Timeline of rule

The rule from 1680 to present (with flag of the period) is:

From To Rule Reason for Handover
1680 1680 Flag Portugal (1667).svg Portugal     conquered by José de Garro
1680 1681 Flag of New Spain.svg   Spain Provisional Treaty of Lisbon
1681 1705 Flag Portugal (1667).svg Portugal conquered in the War of Spanish Succession
1705 1713 Bandera de Costas 1700-1771.png   Spain Treaty of Utrecht
1714 1762 Flag Portugal (1707).svg Portugal First Cevallos expedition
1762 1763 Bandera de Costas 1700-1771.png   Spain Treaty of Paris (1763)
1763 1777 Flag Portugal (1707).svg Portugal Second Cevallos expedition
1777 1811 Flag of Spain (1785-1873 and 1875-1931).svg   Spain Revolt led by José Gervasio Artigas   
1811 1817 Flag of Artigas.svg Liga Federal Luso-Brazilian invasion
1817 1822 Flag United Kingdom Portugal Brazil Algarves.svg Portugal Brazilian Declaration of Independence
1822 1828 Flag of the Second Empire of Brazil.svg Brazil Argentina-Brazil War
1828 present Flag of Uruguay.svg Uruguay
Colonia del Sacramento
Climate chart (explanation)
Average max. and min. temperatures in °C
Precipitation totals in mm
Source: Zoover (in Portuguese)


Colonia del Sacramento has a mild humid subtropical climate, described by the Köppen climate classification as Cfa. Summers are warm and winters are cool, with relatively frequent frosts and fog. The precipitation is evenly distributed throughout the year, with an average of 1,039 mm (40.91 in), and the annual average temperature is 17 °C (63 °F).

Points of interest

The Barrio Histórico (historic quarter) section of Colonia del Sacramento is designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It is a popular tourist attraction for visitors from Buenos Aires, and there is frequent ferry service across the Río de la Plata between the two cities, with fast ferries completing the journey in just 50 minutes. The historical section of Colonia, which has some cobblestone streets built by the Portuguese in the 17th century, is within walking distance of the ferry terminal. Among the notable visitor attractions around the tree-lined Plaza Mayor (main square) are:

Historic Quarter of the City of Colonia del Sacramento *
UNESCO World Heritage Site
Country Uruguay
Type Cultural
Criteria iv
Reference 747
Region ** Latin America and the Caribbean
Inscription history
Inscription 1995 (19th Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List
** Region as classified by UNESCO
  • Portón de Campo – the City Gate and wooden drawbridge
  • Lighthouse and convent ruins of the 17th century Convent of San Francisco
  • Basilica del Sanctísimo Sacramento – the Basilica of the Holy Sacrament, built of stone by the Portuguese in 1808
  • Portuguese Museum – constructed in the 18th century, it exhibits Portuguese furnishings, jewelry, uniforms and old maps of Portuguese naval expeditions
  • Casa de Nacarello – an 18th century Portuguese house
  • Municipal Museum – rebuilt by the Spanish in 1835 as the Casa del Almirante Brown, it exhibits artifacts and documents of the city's different periods and cultures
  • Viceroy's House – the Casa del Virrey, reconstructed from the original ruins
  • Iglesia Matriz – the oldest church in Uruguay, dating from 1695–99
  • Plaza de toros Real de San Carlos, a Bullring included in an old tourist complex now abandoned.



Colonia del Sacramento is served by three ferry boat lines from Buenos Aires, Argentina: "Buquebus", "Seacat Colonia" and "Colonia Express".

Two principal highways terminate at Colonia: Highway #1 connects Colonia to Montevideo and points east; Highway #21 connects to points north, including the Aarón de Anchorena National Park, 30 kilometres (19 mi) distant, and Fray Bentos. There is also a local airport which can receive light aircraft. There is a project in planning to lengthen the runway and recommence flights to Buenos Aires (this was done in the past)and other cities within Uruguay.

The city is served by Laguna de los Patos International Airport located 17km from Colonia along route 1.

Consular representation

Argentina maintains a consulate in Colonia del Sacramento.

Twin town/sister city

See also


  1. ^ "2004 Census of Colonia department" (XLS). INE. 2004. Retrieved 27 June 2011. 
  2. ^ "1963–1996 Statistics / C" (DOC). Instituto Nacional de Estadística de Uruguay. 2004. Retrieved 27 June 2011. 
  3. ^ (Portuguese) Cidades-irmãs de Pelotas terão espaço na Fenadoce, Prefeitura Municipal de Pelotas - accessed on June 4, 2007.

External links

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