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By M. H. J. Finch

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Extra info for A Political Economy of Uruguay since 1870

Example text

7 per cent if the definition of 'urban population' is extended to include those living in centres of more than 5000. 5 per cent, the highest concentration of population in urban areas of any Latin American country. 18 These figures are particularly remarkable in view ofthe importance of rural production to the national economy, and of the modest level of population density15 per square kilometre, approximately the average for Latin America as a whole-in a territory almost all of which is economically utilised.

Hence although the ideology of the rural elite by the end of the nineteenth century had broadened to include advocacy of arable production, and of immigration to introduce the skills and aptitudes which Uruguayans themselves neither possessed nor particularly valued, the principal consequence was a limited increase in the area cultivated, an impoverished sector of small-scale producers, and a concentration of immigrants in the capital. There was no dilution of the hard core of livestock-raising estancieros in the rural elite.

In part their failure was also due to a weakening of the ruling political alliance as a result of international political developments. Terra decked out his regime with some rather halfhearted fascist traits, but among the Herreristas there was unquestionably considerable sympathy with the Axis powers, which was sustained into the Second World War. Such feeling was not in general shared by the Colorado group in the pact, especially after Alfredo Baldomir replaced Terra in 1938, and it carried the further embarrassment that in spite of considerable German economic penetration in the 1930s Britain remained by far the most important export market.

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