About Colonia del Sacramento

Colonia del Sacramento, now considered a World Heritage Site, was founded in 1680 by Portuguese troops who settled on the River Plate coast.

By that time, the kingdoms of Spain and Portugal were in a constant and insatiable war, since both countries sought to expand their power by disregarding bilateral agreements.


The history of Colonia is intertwined with the very history of Uruguay. As in no other Uruguayan city, the historic is breathed in Colonia del Sacramento, as its main charm and tourist attraction. In the Old Town houses and monuments of the 17th and 18th centuries are preserved, which make this mythical neighborhood a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

In permanent struggle with the Spanish settlers, the Portuguese chose this strategic point of the Costa del Plata coast to settle their first colony in the region. The oldest city in the country was founded in 1680 by Manuel Lobo on the peninsula of San Gabriel, where control of the entrance to the rivers Uruguay and Paraná. In addition to founding the "Nova Colonia do Sacramento", Lobo appropriated the Martín García and San Gabriel Islands.

Conflicts with Spain over colonial boundaries marked the history of the city throughout a century, in which it passed from one domain to another on several occasions. The mixture of architectural styles accompanied this history of confrontations. Of its Portuguese origin preserves its unique layout in Uruguay: narrow streets of military style, contrasting with the Spanish checkerboard.

In 1777, the Treaty of San Ildefonso gave to Spain dominion of the city until 1820, in which new Portuguese invasions incorporated to Cologne to the Empire of Brazil. In 1828, after the Portuguese defeat in the Battle of Ituzaingó and the declaration of independence of Uruguay, Colonia is vacated by Portugal and is integrated to the new Republic. From the colonial period countless constructions are conserved like the Street of the Sighs, the House of the Viceroy, the Church Matrix, the ruins of the Convent San Francisco and the Door of the Citadel.