Switzerland–Uruguay relations

Uruguay-Swiss relations



Switzerland–Uruguay relations are foreign relations between Uruguay and Switzerland. Both countries share a long history of mutual economic relations, and they established diplomatic relations in 1828.[1][2] Uruguay became a popular destination for Swiss migrants starting in the 1860s.[3] In the 20th century, Uruguay has looked to Switzerland as a model for government, historical and cultural ties go back to at least the 19th century.[4] There were 956 people with Swiss passports residing in Uruguay in 2008.[5] Uruguay was described as the "Switzerland of the Americas" in a 1951 New York Times article for its popularity as a haven for capital fleeing Europe at the time and its adoption of Swiss-inspired banking laws.[6] Thomas J. Knight also wrote that "Uruguay has for most of its history been the 'Switzerland' of South America."[7]


In 1860 the Basel bank of Siegrist und Fender purchased farm land in Uruguay. It was not long before the first Swiss citizens moved to Uruguay with the goal of working the land as farmers where they founded the colony of Nueva Helvecia around 1862.[1][2][3][8] In 1931, Uruguay called for a Swiss style parliamentary system.[9]

During both World Wars, Switzerland acted as an intermediary between Uruguay and Germany. Near the end of World War I, in 1918 and following an incident where a German submarine captured a delegation sent by Uruguay to France, "Uruguay caused Germany to be asked through Switzerland, whether Germany understood a state of war to exist between the two countries."[10] Again, during World War II, Switzerland, as protecting power, represented Uruguay in Germany, Italy, Hungary and France.[11]

A Swiss Chamber of Commerce has been in Uruguay since 1944.[2] After the Korean War, Uruguay adopted Swiss style banking laws and became the "Switzerland of the Americas".[6][12]

Swiss exports to Uruguay in 2008 were CHF 127.6 million, and Swiss imports in 2008 were CHF 66 million.[5]

Embassies and consulates

The embassy of Uruguay on Kramgasse in Bern.

Uruguay has an embassy in Bern, a general consulate in Geneva and an honorary consulate in Basel. Since 1947, Switzerland has a diplomatic representation in Montevideo.

Swiss representations in Montevideo:


Uruguayan nationals resident in Switzerland. This does not include dual citizens.[13]

Year Population
1995 688
2000 563
2005 491
2007 478

Bilateral agreements

See also

Notes and references

  1. 1 2 3 4 "Uruguay and Switzerland — cultural and economic Benefits from new Market opportunities". Mercosur. Retrieved 2009-05-14.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 "Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs about relations with Uruguay". Switzerland. Retrieved 2009-05-14. The independent Republic of Uruguay came into being in 1828 and became a popular destination for Swiss migrants. It was German-Swiss farmers who in 1862-63 founded the colony of Nueva Helvecia. They introduced cheese-making and other agricultural innovations. Immigrants from Ticino were successful as skilled builders, artists and also footballers.
  3. 1 2 "Uruguay to Honor the Swiss". New York Times. June 4, 1944.
  4. Lijphart, Arend (1980). Democracy in plural societies. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-02494-0.
  5. 1 2 "Key data for the Oriental Republic of Uruguay". Switzerland Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. Retrieved 2009-05-14.
  6. 1 2 "Gold Flows to 'Switzerland of Americas' Since Korean War". New York Times. January 3, 1951. Retrieved 2009-05-14. Uruguay's role as the "Switzerland of the Americas" was emphasized late in 1950 as ...
  7. Thomas J. Knight, Latin America comes of age (Scarecrow Press, 1979), 24.
  8. "... a la que pusieron por nombre Nueva Helvecia". Swissinfo (in Spanish). 2005-10-28.
  9. "President Calls for Commission Government Like Switzerland's to Overcome Defects.". New York Times. September 21, 1931. Retrieved 2009-05-14.
  10. American Historical Association, James Alexander Robertson, JSTOR (Organization), Project Muse, The Hispanic American historical review 1 (Board of Editors of the Hispanic American Review, 1918), 207.
  11. Janner, A. (1948). "Über die völkerrechtliche Stellung und die Aufgaben der Schutzmacht im Kriege, auf Grund der Erfahrungen der Schweiz im Zweiten Weltkrieg". Schriftenreihe des Instituts für internationales Recht und internationale Beziehungen (in German and French). 7. Basel: Helbing & Lichtenhahn.
  12. Friedland, Jonathan (February 13, 1997). "Like Switzerland, Uruguay Offers Bank Secrecy, Low Taxes". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 2009-05-14.
  13. Swiss Federal Statistical Office: Wohnbevölkerung nach detaillierter Staatsangehörigkeit, 1995-2007
  14. Traité d'extradition du 27 février 1923 entre la Suisse et la République de l'Uruguay of 1923-02-27, SR/RS 0.353.977.6 (D·F·I)
  15. Accord commercial entre la Confédération suisse et la République orientale de l’Uruguay of 1938-03-04, SR/RS 0.946.297.761 (D·F·I)
  16. Accord relatif aux transports aériens entre la Suisse et la République de l'Uruguay
  17. "Switzerland and Uruguay agreement on the reciprocal promotion and protection of investments" (PDF). United Nations. Retrieved 2009-05-14.
  18. Accord entre la Confédération suisse et la République orientale de l'Uruguay concernant la promotion et la protection réciproques des investissements / Acuerdo de promoción y protección recíprocas de inversiones entre Suiza y Uruguay of 1988-10-07, SR/RS 0.975.277.6 (D·F·I)

Further reading

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