Global True Lithuania Lithuanian communities and heritage worldwide

Uruguay

With a population of 3,3 million Uruguay is similar to Lithuania. Most of Uruguay's 10 000 live in the capital Montevideo (the district of Cerro which is separated from downtown by a bay). In the first half of 20th century slaughterhouses thrived in Cerro attracting many European immigrants. Unlike most Latin American countries Uruguay has a strong White majority (88%). They mostly immigrated before World War 2 when Uruguay was richer than many European nations.

On a hill in Cerro there is a Lithuanian church dedicated to Our Lady of Fatima (Bélgica 1765). Completed in 1954 together with Jesuit house it had been partly funded by Lithuanian American donations as the Uruguay Lithuanian community was quite small (~6000-10000 migrants entered between the World Wars).

Lithuanian church of Cerro, Montevideo. Google Street View.

Additionally the Lithuanian-Uruguayan community was plagued by Soviet-funded communists who promoted atheism among Lithuanians (the communist activity among Lithuanian-Uruguayans was unprecedented anywhere else as with the Soviet occupation of Lithuania "Lithuanian" and "Anti-communist" have been almost synonymous). Regardless of this activity Uruguay never recognized the Soviet occupation of Lithuania.

Lithuanian Uruguayan cultural society (Rio de Janeiro 4001) and Lithuanian club (near Hollanda and Grecia street corner) are also in Cerro. Previously Cerro also housed a Lithuanian school named after the "Patriarch of the Nation" Jonas Basanavičius which had been funded by interwar Lithuanian state which also provided teachers. After the Soviet occupation of Lithuania the school disintegrated.

Lithuanian Uruguayan Cultural Society. Google Street View.

The streets of Cerro are named after foreign nations and cities. One of them is Lithuania (Lituania) street. Immigrant square marks the center of the district and is a location for festivals of immigrant cultures where Lithuanian dance and singing groups also participate.

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