Economy and Population
Mercedes is a commercial port city and an important center of commerce. Agriculture is the largest segment of the economy, with paper manufacturing and small industry also contributing. The population was 42,032 in the 2004 census.
The climate of Mercedes is typical of the coastal regions of Uruguay: temperate and humid. The four seasons are well defined, though snow is very uncommon. The average annual temperature is approximately 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
The city was founded in 1788 by Manuel Antonio de Castro y Careaga, a Spanish priest. Mercedes is known as the birthplace of the nation of Uruguay. José Gervasio Artigas, Uruguay's national hero, returned from exile and issued the Mercedes Proclamation on April 11, 1811, launching the revolution against Spain.
Mercedes' beautiful "rambla," or seaside road, is the widest in the country. The waterfront promenade brilliantly combines many classical and modern architectural styles. The castle of the Viscount of Mauá has an active winery and paleontological museum, and the cathedral of Nuestra Señora de las Mercedes (Our Lady of Mercy) is in the heart of the city.
Mercedes offers excellent opportunities for watersports and exploration of nature. Flora and fauna in the surrounding areas are impressive year-round.
Article Written By Timothy Aldinger
Timothy Aldinger brings 20 years of experience as an instructional design consultant and corporate training strategist in the automotive, environmental, health and insurance industries. His professional writings have been published by Ford Motor Company, Chrysler Corporation, General Motors, Volkswagen, Toyota, Nissan and many other major corporations. Aldinger received his Bachelor of Arts in political theory from Michigan State University.