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August 27, 2020
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September 24, 2020

Colonia del Sacramento

Colonia, as it is known in Uruguay, is a city on the Rio de la Plata that runs between Uruguay and Argentina.

The city, like Uruguay, has a contentious past. Colonia, founded in 1680, was initially Portuguese, then Spanish, Portuguese, Spanish, Portuguese, then Spanish, Portuguese again, and then Spanish before becoming part of various leagues, only to become part of Brazil between 1822-1828, after which in 1828, it finally became a city of the independent country called Uruguay with the Treaty of Montevideo. The treaty, overseen by the British diplomat, Lord Posonby, created an independent country as a buffer state between Brazil and Argentina, and Uruguay has remained independent ever since.

The calm waters in the photograph of the river hide a history that has seen great violence and many vicissitudes. According W. H. Hudson in his The Purple Land That England Lost, the British had the opportunity to make Uruguay a British colony, but negotiated instead for its independence, the return of British troops held prisoner in Argentina, and the Falkland Islands as a British holding. This may not have been the wisest of transactions, but nonetheless, Uruguay exists today — and for that I am truly thankful.

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