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Provincia Oriental

Provincia Cisplatina

Republica Oriental del Uruguay

Armed Forces




The Spanish arrived in the territory of present-day Uruguay in 1516, but the people's fierce resistance to conquest, combined with the absence of gold and silver, limited settlement in the region during the 16th and 17th centuries. Uruguay became a zone of contention between the Spanish and the Portuguese empires. The first permanent settlement on the territory of present-day Uruguay was founded by the Spanish in 1624 at Soriano on the Río Negro. In 1669-71, the Portuguese built a fort at Colonia del Sacramento on the Northern bank of the Plata River. Spanish colonization increased as Spain sought to limit Portugal's expansion of Brazil's frontiers.

In the Spanish empire Uruguay was a part of the Vice kingdom of Rio de la Plata, separated from the Vice kingdom of Peru in 1776, and the Intendencia of Buenos Aires.

In 1806 and 1807, the British (enemies of Spain in the Napoleonic Wars) launched the British invasions of the Río de la Plata. Buenos Aires was invaded in 1806, and then liberated by forces from Montevideo led by Santiago de Liniers. A new and stronger attack in 1807 aimed to Montevideo first, which was occupied by British forces. They however were unable to invade Buenos Aires a second time, and the liberation of Montevideo was demanded in the terms of capitulation. The British gave up their attacks on Spanish territories when the Peninsular War in Europe (1807-’14) turned Britain and Spain into allies against Napoleon.

In May, 1810, the colonists of the Plata River vice kingdom set up a provisional government of their own under the control of the Junta of Buenos Aires. Shortly afterwards a period of reverses set in for the patriots, for the revolution did not spread among the outlying Provinces of Uruguay and Paraguay in 1810 as had been confidently expected by the leaders. A year later, José Gervasio Artigas, an officer of the King’s constabulary in Uruguay, severed the ties that bound him to the Crown, crossed the broad River Plata and offered his sword to the leaders in Buenos Aires.

In 1814, Artigas organized the Liga de los Pueblos Libres (League of the Free Peoples), of which he was declared Protector. In the following year, he liberated Montevideo from the control of the “Unitarians” from Buenos Aires.

In 1815, Artigas attended the Proto-congress of the Independence of Argentina, held in Arrollo de la China (today known as Concepción del Uruguay).

It was at this congress that the Provincia Oriental (today the country of Uruguay), together with  Córdoba, Corrientes, Entre Ríos, Misiones and Santa Fe declared themselves independent from Spain and formed the Liga Federal ("Federal League"). The Liga Federal invited other provinces of the former Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata to join them under a federal system.

The continued growth of influence and prestige of the Federal League frightened the governments in Buenos Aires (because of its federalism) and Portugal (because of its republicanism), and in August 1816, Portugal invaded the Provincia Oriental (with tacit complicity from Buenos Aires), with the intention of destroying Artigas and his revolution.

After the Portuguese forces had captured Artigas and his deputies and occupied Montevideo on 20 January 1817, the Provincia Oriental was annexed in 1821 by Brazil and received the name of Provincia Cisplatina. Some territories of the former Oriental Province were then annexed by Rio Grande do Sul.

On 25 August 1825, Juan Antonio Lavalleja proclaimed the independence of Uruguay; war followed, until in 1828 Brazil recognized Uruguayan independence.




In the time of Spanish rule the heraldic emblems of Spain and the Spanish Indies were valid in Rio de la Plata as well as on the Northern bank of the Rio de la Plata.

In the short period of English occupation of Montevideo the royal achievement of the United Kingdom was seen in the head of the Southern Star/Estrella del Sur, edited by the British to propagate their regime.


First number of the Estrella del Sur, 23.05.1807


Provincia Oriental



At the Proto-congress of the Independence of Argentina, Artigas ratified the use of the flag created by Manuel Belgrano (which would later become the flag of the Argentine Republic), but added a diagonal festoon in red, the color of federalism in Argentina at that time for the Provincia Oriental.


Sketch of the achievement of the Provincia Oriental, 1814.


An achievement for the Provincia Oriental seems to have been designed in 1814. A sketch of it in ink and pencil has been preserved and has recently been published. [1] It was presented to Artigas on 12 June 1815 by Father Larrañaga, in the provisional capital of the Provincia Oriental, Paysandú.

In May 1816 it was published for the first time in Montevideo.[2] It is:


Achievement of the Provincia Oriental, 1815


Arms: Argent, a lower arm holding a balance proper, and a chief Or, a rising sun radiant also Or.

Crest: An indian crown of six feathers and the name Provincia Oriental  on a scroll

Supporters: A halbaert, a spear and two national flags, in saltire and a bow and quiver, a sword and a drum and a heap of cannonballs between two cannon in saltire arranged around the lower half of the shield all proper.

Garland: A branch of olive and an palm-leaf proper.

Motto: CON LIBERTAD NI OFENDO NI TEMO (No offence nor Fear when Free) on a bordure around the shield.


The sun symbolizes the rising sun of Liberty.

The balance symbolizes equality for the law.


Provincia Cisplatina



In the time of the annexation by Brazil the heraldic emblems of the Kingdom and Empire of Brazil were valid in the province. Also a flag was flown consisting of three stripes green-white-green with the Brazilian cross and armillary sphere on the white stripe.


Republica Oriental del Uruguay





At the national assembly held in Canelones in the neighbourhood of Montevideao, on the 16th of December, 1828, an act was passed providing for the national flag as it appears today. Following is the official transcript of the measure:


Canelones, December 16, 1828.

The honorable General Constituent and Legislative assembly of the State, at its session of yesterday, has resolved in reply to the note of the most excellent substitute governor and captain general, the following, as of the date of the 17th:

“Sole Article. The flag of the State shall be white with none azure (azule celeste) stripes, horizontal and alternate, leaving in the upper corner neat theflagpole a white square in whgich shall be depicted a sun.

“In transmitting the presentresolution to the most excellent Government the subscriber has the honor to exprss his great respect, etc.

“Silvester Blanco, President.

“Carlos de San Vicente, Secretary

“To the Most Excellent Sr. Don Joaquin Suarez,

“Substitute Governor and Captain General.”


Later, on July 11, 1830, after the Government was installed in the capital of the country, the following reformatory act was passed:


The national flag shall be made up of four hosizontal blue stripes, distributed equally over a white field; in other respects it shall conform to the design provided for in the decree of December 16, 1828.


The nine strtipes symbolize the nine political Departmentsd into which the Republic was divided, and it will be noited that in the second of the above laws the same number - nine white and azure stripes - is preserved, and thus the Uruguayan flag  of today is formed.

Thus it will be seen that the blood-red bar of Artigas’s flag gave place to the full-blazing sun that appears now in the upper left hand corner, “El Sol de Mayo,” fixed into the country’s emblem to symbolize the awakening of the colony into independent national life.


Coat of Arms



Closely following the flag legislation came the provision, by the same assembly, for a national coat of arms. On March 14, 1829, that body, then in session at the town of Aguada, enacted the following:


The escutcheon of the State shall be an oval crowned with a sun and divided into four quarters. In te upper right-hand division shall be depicted, on a field of blue, a pair of scales symbolizing equality and justice; in the upper left-hand division, on a field of silver, the Cerro of Montevideo, as a symbol of power; in the lower right-hand division, on a field of silver, a horse running loose, symbolizing liberty, and in the left-hand lower quarter, on a blue field, an ox, as a symbol of abundance. The shield is to be adorned with military and naval trophies and symbols of commerce.


By the act of Uruguayan Congress of July 5, 1906, the above law was modified. Following is the text:


Article 1. The coat of arms of the State, created by the law of March 14, 1829, shall be inclosed within two branches of olive and laurel joined at the bottom by a bow of azure.

Art. 2. The military and naval trophies, decreed by the law above cited, shall be eliminated.


On October 26, 1908, the ministry of the interior prescibed certain regulations for designing the coat of arms, which are practically the same as those embodied in the laws above quoted. [3]


Æ See illustration in the head of this essay


Coin with Crest




Presidential Sash (1985 ca-


Presidential Flag 1930-?


Presidential flag 1998-



Logo of the Presidency until August 2011




Logo of the Presidency





Logo of the Ministry of Defense







Ejercito Nacional




Adopted by decree 345/998 of 24.11.1998 changing the Regulations of the Uniforms RG 29-4.




Chief Army Commander




Armada Nacional

Founded in Montevideo 09.08.1776 / 15.11.1817






Naval Jack 19th century-1930

Naval Jack 1930-1935



Naval Jack 1935-1998

Naval Jack 1998-


Cap Badge


Chief Navy Commander


General Navy Staff, achievement




General Navy Command, achievement (ancient)

General Command of the Fleet


Cuerpo de Fusileros Navales



Air Force


Fuerza Aerea Uruguaya

Founded 19.03.1913





Cap Badge

General Air Force Staff distinctive


Chief Commander




Policia Nacional

Founded 1829




Shoulder patch, ancient

Shoulder patch, new



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