The inhabitants of Uruguay before European colonization of the area were various tribes of hunter gatherer native Americans, the most well known being the Charrúa Indians, a small tribe driven south by the Guaraní Indians of Paraguay.

The Plaza Independencia ("Independence Square"), in Montevideo, hosts the tomb of José Artigas, late leader of the Provincia Oriental and the Liga Federal. In front of the square, the Palacio Salvo can be seen.

Europeans arrived in the territory of present-day Uruguay in 1516, but the absence of gold and silver limited settlement in the region during the 16th and 17th centuries.


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