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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 .
Because of the absence of mountains, all the regions are vulnerable to rapid changes in weather.
Grasslands and agricultural lands cover the majority of the country.
Soccer is the national sport and occupies a central place in the life of the nation.
The remainder consists of fertile coastal and riverine lowlands, including a narrow sandy and marshy coastal plain.
Many figures of speech and cultural metaphors revolve around soccer.
Another central symbolic element is the figure of the gaucho.
The Atlantic Ocean is on the east and the estuary of the Río de la Plata is on the south.
The land area is about 68,020 square miles (176,220 kilometers).