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Río Negro
San Javier, Plaza de la Libertad - Homage to Russian inmigrants.
San Javier, Plaza de la Libertad - Homage to Russians inmigrants.
Flag of Río Negro
Coat of arms of Río Negro
Coat of arms
Location of Río Negro, in red, in Uruguay
Location of Río Negro, in red, in Uruguay
Country  Uruguay
Creation 20 March 1880
Capital Fray Bentos
 • Total 9,282 km2 (3,584 sq mi)
 • Total 54,765
 • Density 5.9001/km2 (15.2813/sq mi)
Time zone UTC-03 (UYT)
ISO 3166 code UY-RN
Website Official website:

The Río Negro department (Spanish: Departamento de Río Negro) is a department of Uruguay. The capital is the city of Fray Bentos.

Its ISO 3166-2 code is UY-RN.


The Río Negro department was created on 20 March 1880. Before that time, its territory was part of the Paysandú department.


RioNegro Department map
Map of Río Negro

The Río Negro department is in the western part of Uruguay, along the Uruguay river. It has an area of 9,282 km2 (3,584 sq mi). The population is 54,765 inhabitants (2011 census), one of the departments with fewest inhabitants, for a population density of 5.9 inhabitants/km2.

There are two chains of low hills in the department. These chains of low and rounded hills are named cuchillas in the country. The two cuchillas in the department are cuchilla de Navarro to the south and forming the border with the Durazno department, and cuchilla de Haedo that goes from the northeast to the southwest.

There are two protected areas in the department: National Park Esteros de Farrapos e islas del río Uruguay (Spanish: Parque Nacional Esteros de Farrapos e islas del río Uruguay) and the Esteros y algarrobales del río Uruguay.



The main rivers in the department are:

  • Uruguay, to the west and that forms the border with Argentina; and
  • Río Negro that flows along the southern border of the department, forming the natural border with the departments of Durazno to the southeast and Soriano to the south.


The inhabitants of the Río Negro department (and of the city of Paysandú) are known, in Spanish, as Rionegrenses.

Evolution of the population in Río Negro

Rural population

According to the 2011 census, the Río Negro department has a rural population of 5,212, that represents 9.5% of the total population of the department.

Main towns
City / Town Population
Fray Bentos 24,406
Young 16,756
Nuevo Berlín 2,450
San Javier 1,781


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