The Oriental Republic of Uruguay (Republica Oriental del Uruguay) is a wedge-shaped country in the southeastern region of South America. It is bordered by Brazil to the north and east, the Atlantic Ocean to the southeast, the Rio de la Plata to the south, and Argentina to the west. The Charrua people inhabited Uruguay until the Portuguese established Colonia do Sacramento in 1680. Montevideo, the country’s capital and largest city, was a military stronghold founded by the Spanish, denoting the competing claims over the region. Uruguay won its independence from Portugal and Spain in 1811, and from Argentina and Brazil in 1828. Uruguay is an important global exporter of rice, combed wool, soybeans, malt, milk, and frozen beef. It is also regarded as one of the most socially progressive countries in Latin America, being the first in Latin America in terms of democracy, peace, low perception of corruption, e-government, press freedom, size of the middle class, and prosperity.
The national currency of Uruguay is the peso. The Banco Central del Uruguay (Central Bank of Uruguay) was created by decree on September 1967 and assumed central bank functions from the Departamento de Emision. Banco Central del Uruguay (BCU) issued two different series in 1967: a provisional series that were stocks from the previous issuer with an overprint of BCU’s signature titles, and a series of notes specifically printed by Thomas De La Rue & Company for Banco Central del Uruguay. Early peso notes bore the portrait of Jose Gervasio Artigas, the father of Uruguayan nationhood, on the obverse side and different historical events and national landmarks on the reverse side. In 1975, the Uruguayan peso was replaced by nuevos pesos at a rate of 1,000 pesos to 1 nuevo peso. The early Nuevo peso banknotes adopted the same design as its predecessor. In 1989, a new family of new peso notes were issued. These notes honored individuals who made significant contributions to Uruguayan culture by featuring their portraits on the obverse side and highlighting their works on the reverse side. In 1995, the nuevos pesos were replaced by pesos uruguayos at a rate of 1,000 nuevos pesos to 1 pesos uruguayos. Pesos uruguayos banknotes continued the theme of honoring significant Uruguayans, and updated the security features. In 2017, the Banco Central del Uruguay introduced a new 50 peso uruguayos to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Central Bank. This 50 peso uruguayos note is the first polymer note in Uruguay. Smaller denominations of the peso uruguayos will be printed on polymer substrate with the physical size increasing according to their denominations in the future.