Croatian Diaspora in Uruguay

Uruguay is sixth in South America by the number of Croatian immigrants and their descendants. The Uruguayan Community is one of the smallest in South America, as only around 3,400 Croatians live here. It is in relative stagnation today. Most Uruguayan Croatians live in the capital.

Today, there are about ten thousand South Croatian descendants in Uruguay. Approximately 3,400 Uruguayan descendants are aware of their origin. They know the Croatian language or at least understand it. The community of Croats around Montevideo is interesting. It is one of the oldest in South America, where Croats have been around for nearly three centuries. Here are mostly Unitarian-Yugoslav emigrants.

Uruguay, along with Argentina and Brazil, was one of the first South American countries where, from the middle of the 18th century, our first overseas emigrants came to South America to the Montevideo port, but for most of them, Montevideo was only a temporary port station. They often went further, mostly in Argentina and Chile. The largest number of Uruguayan Croats are from Dalmatia. Many descendants from later generations or with higher education don’t speak Croatian. Most of them worked in maritime, shipbuilding, and fisheries around Montevideo, and immigrants who came from central Croatia mostly worked in agriculture.

One of the most prominent Uruguayan Croats at the turn of the 19th century was Nikola Mihanović. He was a wealthy shipowner from Brač who started his career in Montevideo and later moved to Buenos Aires. He owned the entire merchant fleet and hired about 5,000 of our Adriatic seafarers. It is also important to point out the renowned painter Sonja Vidovich Imhof, poet Elena Rivero Vidovich and writer and historian Eduardo R. Antonich.

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