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Home ¬Ľ Uruguay ¬Ľ Maldonado

Maldonado, Uruguay

Skillful wayfarerSkillful wayfarerSkillful wayfarer Alex Montgomery
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The history of this city is inevitably linked to its geography due to the natural vessel protection offered by Maldonado bay. In 1594, Phillip II of Spain ordered the colonization of the island of Maldonado, today called island of Gorriti, alarmed after being informed that a stone in the island was engraved with the coat of arms of Portugal. In 1600 the governor of Buenos Aires, Diego Valdez de la Banda, decided to create a port to ship the silver mined in Potosi to Spain. The initiative collapsed because the area was inhospitable: ? sand dunes, no water or wood close by?. 155 years later, in 1755, the governor of Montevideo, Joaquin de Viana, sent settlers and the city of Maldonado was born with 98 inhabitants.

During a conflict between Spain and Portugal, Maldonado acquired importance due to its strategic position. In 1789 a Viennese traveler called Haencke, describe Maldonado as ?a small village in a green plain, with humid grounds and marshes?There are 100 thatched houses at most and very few with tiles. All the walls are made of sun-dried bricks or stakes. Each house has its own back garden, growing pumpkins and fruits and climbing plants. From a distance they are charming to observe.?

In 1816 Uruguay under Spanish domination, was divided into provinces, Maldonado was one of them. In 1833 Charles Darwin visited the province of Maldonado to conduct a survey of plant and animal species in the area. In 1837 Italian Risorgimento advocate Giuseppe Garibaldi who was fighting in Brazil, visited the place, his stay is remembered as ?the week of Garibaldi?.

The coasts of Maldonado were witnesses of hundreds of shipwrecks and pirating during the last four centuries, which gave birth to legends about pirates or treasures.

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