Uruguay Emigration and Immigration

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Uruguay Online Sources[edit | edit source]

Uruguay Offices to Contact[edit | edit source]

The Dirección Nacional de Migración (National Directorate of Migration) is a department of the Ministry of the Interior and is in charge of controlling the entry and stay of foreigners in Uruguay. It has several immigration records from 1920 onwards. To consult them, it is necessary to request it in writing to the agency.

Dirección Nacional de Migración
Central Office
Misiones 1513
Montevideo, Uruguay
Telephone 2030 1800
Citizen Service Center 2030 1804

Instructions for Requesting Access

General de la Nación de Uruguay (General Archive of Uruguay)
Convención 1474.
11100 Montevideo

Tel.: (00 598 2) 900 7232
E-mail: consultas@agn.gub.uy

The records of entry of passengers between 1829 and 1865 can be found among the documentary collection of the Police of Montevideo. In the reading room of the archive, there is a database to search for passengers in this documentary series.

Dirección Nacional de Identificación Civil (National Directorate of Civil Identification) Rincón 665 esq. Bartolomé Mitre. Montevideo

This contains the documentation on all those emigrants who obtained an identification document in Uruguay, which began to be issued after 1912.

Finding the Town of Origin in Uruguay[edit | edit source]

If you are using emigration/immigration records to find the name of your ancestors' town in Uruguay, see Uruguay Finding Town of Origin for additional research strategies.

Uruguay Emigration and Immigration[edit | edit source]

"Emigration" means moving out of a country. "Immigration" means moving into a country.
Emigration and immigration sources list the names of people leaving (emigrating) or arriving (immigrating) in the country. These sources may be passenger lists, permissions to emigrate, or records of passports issued. The information in these records may include the emigrants’ names, ages, occupations, destinations, and places of origin or birthplaces. Sometimes they also show family groups.===Immigration to Uruguay===

  • Spaniards, Italians, and descendants of African slaves together formed the backbone of modern day Uruguayan culture and society.
  • Minor immigrant groups that, although are small in number, still play an important role in Uruguayan society, include:
  • French: Making 10% of Uruguay's population (c. 300,000), Frenchmen began immigrating to South America during the 1800s. French Uruguayans are the third largest ancestry group in Uruguay, behind Spaniards and Italians. Ever since French immigrants entered Uruguay, French influence has always been strong in Uruguayan culture.
  • Germans: Uruguay does contain a number of Germans: about 10,000 German expatriates and 40,000 people of German descent. Uruguay has also adopted some of Germany's culture, and a variety of German institutions.
  • Jews: Uruguay has about 12,000-20,000 Jews, and even though it isn't a large number, it's one of the biggest Jewish communities in the world, and one of the biggest religions in Uruguay. The majority of Jews entered during World War I and World War II, the most being Ashkenazi Jews, German Jews, and Italian Jews.
  • Lebanese: There are about 53,000-70,000 Lebanese in Uruguay; it is one of the oldest immigrant groups in South America, dating the first wave back around the 1860s.
  • Other significant minorities include: Armenians, Austrians, Basque, Britons, Bulgarians, Croats, Greeks, Hungarians, Irish, Scots, Syrians, Lithuanians, Poles, Russians, Romani, Slovaks, Slovenes, Swiss, Ukrainians. There are very small Asian communities, mainly from China, Japan and Korea.
  • There is a very recent inflow of Latin Americans: Peruvians, Bolivians, Paraguayans, Venezuelans. The University of the Republic is free, which means that several Chilean students come to study in Uruguay.
  • Many people from neighboring Argentina and Brazil, who frequently travel to Uruguay to spend their holidays, have chosen it as permanent residence. In a very recent trend, North Americans and Europeans also choose Uruguay to retire.
  • There are over 12,000 foreign workers from 81 countries registered in the Uruguayan social security.
  • As of October 2014, Uruguay received a new immigration flow of Syrian people as a consequence of the Syrian Civil War.[1]

Spanish Uruguayans[edit | edit source]

  • Between the 15th and early 19th centuries, the Spanish Empire was the sole colonial power in the Banda Oriental (now Uruguay). Thus, before 1811, a great part of the European settlers in Uruguay were from Spain, and they carried the Spanish colonial administration, including religious affairs, government and commercial business. A substantial Spanish-descended Criollo population gradually built up in the new cities, while some mixed with the indigenous populations (mestizos), with the Black slave population (mulattoes) or with other European immigrants.
  • The Spanish immigrants arriving between 18th and 20th century have different origins, but a significant number of them are from the Canary Islands, Catalonia, Galicia and the Basque Country.

Italian Uruguayans[edit | edit source]

  • It is estimated that more than one third of Uruguayans are of Italian descent. Outside of Italy, Uruguay has one of the highest percentages of Italians in the world.
  • The first Italians arrived in Spanish and Portuguese colonies of South America in the 16th century. In what is now Uruguay, the first Italians were primarily from the Republic of Genoa and worked in the business and commerce related to the transoceanic shipping between "old and new world".
  • The Italian population continued to grow into the 19th century. and when the constitution of Uruguay was adopted in 1830, there were thousands of Italian-Uruguayans, mostly in the capital, Montevideo.
  • Immigrants from other areas of Italy followed with Lombardi exiles, craftsmen, farmers, the followers of Garibaldi, Southern Italians of various trades and even those active in many other ways, including a minority of adventurers.
  • From 1875 to 1890, Italians were the largest part of a wave of immigration to Uruguay from Spain and Italy. That continued in the 20th century until the early 1960s, but was followed by a sharp reduction, coinciding with economic and political upheavals in both Uruguay and Italy. Then, Italian immigration continued to decline because of greater attraction exerted by Argentina, Brazil and the United States. By the end of the 20th century, the trend finally began to run out.
  • The first Italian immigrants who arrived in the land were almost all of Genoese, Piedmontese, Neapolitan, Sicilian and Venetian origin.[2]

French Uruguayans[edit | edit source]

  • French Uruguayans form the third largest ancestry group after Spanish Uruguayans and Italian Uruguayans. Until 1853, France constituted the main source of immigrants to Uruguay.
  • During the first half of the 19th century, Uruguay received most of French immigrants to South America. It constituted back then, the second receptor of French immigrants in the New World after the United States. 13,922 Frenchmen, most of them from the Basque Country, Béarn, and Bigorre, left for Uruguay between 1833 and 1842.
  • Frenchmen made up 41.5% of immigrants to Uruguay between 1835 and 1842, representing the main source of immigration to the country. Until 1853, French Basques constituted the most numerous group among all immigrants in Uruguay.
  • Another great wave of French immigration to Uruguay occurred during the Paraguayan War until the 1870s. 2,718 French immigrants settled in the country between 1866 and 1867, 10.1% of the immigration at the time.[3]

Emigration from Uruguay[edit | edit source]

  • Emigration from Uruguay began tentatively about a century ago, but experienced a significant increase since the 1960s. Successive economic crises (notably in 1982 and 2002), plus the small size of the country's economy and population, were decisive factors that pushed thousands of Uruguayans out of their country of birth.
  • Economic migrants traveled primarily to other Spanish-speaking countries with bigger economies.
  • As Uruguay has a relatively well-developed educational system and free access to the University of the Republic, many Uruguayan professional graduates and scholars found their country too small to achieve their own goals, which resulted in a brain drain.
  • The 12-year-long military dictatorship that ruled from 1973 to 1985 also forced many Uruguayans to go into exile due to ideological differences and political persecution, in the context of the Cold War.[4]

For Further Reading[edit | edit source]

There are additional sources listed in the FamilySearch Catalog:

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Immigration to Uruguay", in Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_to_Uruguay, accessed 4 June 2021.
  2. "Italian Uruguayans", in Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italian_Uruguayans, accessed 4 June 2021.
  3. "French Uruguayans", in Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/French_Uruguayans, accessed 4 June 2021.
  4. "Emigration from Uruguay", in Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emigration_from_Uruguay, accessed 4 June 2021.