Croatian Diaspora in Uruguay

Photo /iseljenistvo/urugvaj.jpg

Number of Croats in Uruguay and their immigration

Today third and fourth generation of Croatian descendants lives in Uruguay and they estimate that their number is around 5, 000. 
First Croatian immigrants came to Uruguay in the second half of the 18th century; mainly they were Croatian sailors who decided to leave Venetian and Spanish ships and settle in  South America. The oldest records of that is the will of Šimun Matanić, drawn up around 1790 which states that he was born in Postira on the island of Brač in the Republic of Venice. Several other names and surnames of Croats are mentioned in the will as Matanić put them in charge of his estates in Buenos Aires and Montevideo. In 1837 the sailor Filip Lukšić. from Sutivan on the island of Brač settled in Montevideo. There he made a fortune and became a successful shipowner. In that period other Croatian emigrants mostly sailors settled in Uruguay, but not in large numbers.
Significant emigration from Croatia started in the late 19th century, most immigrants came from Dalmatia but they did not manage to establish their colony and leave any significant trace in the society of their new homeland. Just before and after WWI (especially between 1924 and 1936) a larger number of Croats came to Uruguay and settled mostly in Montevideo but also in Cochillas (quarry), Colonia and Carmelo. Most of them were sailors.

Croatian associations and Catholic Missions

Croats founded Hrvatski dom- Hogar Croata Montevideo in 1928. In 2018 they celebrated  its 90th anniversary.  Hrvatski dom is the place where Croat descendants gather and socialize. There is a sports club (football, chess) and the library. They also organized classes of Croatian. There are no other Croatian clubs in this country. Uruguay- Croatian Commercial Chamber has been established in Montevideo. There are no Croatian Catholic Missions in Uruguay but occasionally, a priest from Buenos Aires says a mass for Croatian immigrants. 

Publishing and Media

On Sunday radio station from Montevideo broadcasts the program in Croatian and Spanish for members of Croatian Diaspora.

Interesting facts

On 8 July, 2001, in Punta del Este, Square of the Republic of Croatia has been blessed and opened.  The square was opened thanks to the great efforts made by the members of Croatian community from Montevideo and Punta del Este, headed by Frano Čizmić.