Senegal, Jordan, Moldova, Niger, and so on – around a dozen countries in the world owe their name to a river. In some cases, the name-giving waters, in turn, is a border river, as in this case. The image of the European satellite “Sentinel-2B” shows the lower reaches of the Rio Uruguay in South America. He is the namesake of the eponymous Republic, the second-smallest state in South America, but still half as big as Germany.

Officially, the country is “Republica Oriental del Uruguay, Eastern Republic of Uruguay”. Accordingly, it is seen to the right in the picture, on the left of the neighboring country of Argentina. Where the river itself got its name, is not clear. There are several approaches to interpretation, especially with reference to the indigenous languages of the Region. The name of the “river of the colorful birds”, or by “snail river” derived could be.

Important protection area for birds and amphibians

The satellite image of the Rio Uruguay comes from the 17. August of last year, but was released just a few days ago. What is striking is the strong brown colour of the water is. It goes back to the large amounts of sediment that the river carries.

of The more than 1800 kilometres long, the power comes from the Brazilian highlands. In the shown in the picture Region, it splits into numerous arms. Here is the national Park Esteros de Farapos e islas de Uruguay, with its 24 Islands, with lagoons, marsh and forest areas. Important the protected area, especially for birds – more than a hundred species of them to live in the Park, and amphibians. But also 30 mammal species are at home there, for example, the maned wolf.

The surrounding Region is heavily influenced by humans, particularly through agriculture, with its bright green in the image appearing surfaces. As a gray area on the left at the bottom of the satellite photo, the Argentine city of Gualeguaychú, which is, among other things, for its carnival, is known.


On the other side of the river, at the bottom of the intake, is the port city of Fray Bentos in Uruguay. There has been since the middle of the 19th century. Century in a large factory of meat extract according to a method by the German chemist Justus von Liebig produced and exported all over the world. Today, the historic assets of the holding belong to the world cultural heritage of Unesco.

In the vicinity of Fray Bentos, a pulp plant is located. His wood comes from the dark green in the image appearing forest of Uruguay areas. The work there was the beginning of the Millennium, by the way, the dispute between Argentina and Uruguay, even the International court of justice had to deal with in The Hague.

The Argentines saw violated by the activities of the smaller neighbouring country, a Treaty, according to which one must agree jointly on the use of the river. They alleged that the neighbors, the factory polluting the Rio Uruguay without permission.

The international court recognized in the proceedings, although, in fact, errors on the part of Uruguay, but no fundamental breach of the law. The factory was allowed to stay. Since then, however, there is a joint Commission of the two countries, to cater for the needs of the river – in order to prevent further dispute in the future.


Sam Yoon has many years of experiences in journalism. He has covered such areas as information technology, science, sports and politics. Yoon can be reached at 82-2-6956-6698.