Montevideo is the capital, largest city, and chief port of Uruguay. Given that it is more than twice as large as any other city in the country, it is considered a primate city. As of April 2006, Montevideo is ranked by Mercer Human Resource Consulting as the city in Latin America with the highest quality of life
The Portuguese founded Colonia del Sacramento in the 17th century despite Spanish claims to the area due to the Treaty of Tordesillas. The Spanish chased the Portuguese out of a fort in the area in 1724. Then, Bruno Mauricio de Zabala – governor of Buenos Aires – founded the city on December 24, 1726 to prevent further incursions.
In 1828, the town became the capital of Uruguay.
The city fell under heavy British influence from the early 19th century until the early 20th century as a way to circumvent Argentine and Brazilian commercial control. It was repeatedly besieged by Argentinean dictator Juan Manuel de Rosas between 1838 and 1851. Between 1860 and 1911, the British built an extensive railroad network linking the city to the surrounding countryside.