Visiting the Port of Buceo, Montevideo, Uruguay: remembering Admiral Guillermo Brown and a decisive sea battle

Flag of Uruguay
Flag of Uruguay | Source
The Port and Yacht Club of Buceo, Montevideo
The Port and Yacht Club of Buceo, Montevideo | Source
Buceo's harbour in Montevideo, Uruguay
Buceo's harbour in Montevideo, Uruguay | Source
The Capitán Miranda, sailing school vessel of the National Navy of Uruguay
The Capitán Miranda, sailing school vessel of the National Navy of Uruguay | Source
Admiral Guillermo Brown, by Henry Hervè
Admiral Guillermo Brown, by Henry Hervè | Source
Map location of Montevideo, Uruguay
Map location of Montevideo, Uruguay | Source

1930s Art Deco, conspicuous from land and sea

A noted landmark at Buceo, in Uruguay's capital, Montevideo, is its Yacht Club.

Some history and features

The Yacht Club's main building was built between 1934 and 1939, and was the work of architect Jorge Herrán (1897-1969)(1), assisted by Luis Crespi. This striking building's multiple stories make it conspicuous from both land and sea.

A particularly noteworthy feature of the structure is its wide balcony in the distinct form of a ship's bridge. The use of highly visible geometric patterns reveal the influence of Art Deco style.

The building was inaugurated in 1939 by Uruguayan President Alfredo Baldomir Ferrari.

Buceo, as a riverside suburb of Montevideo, is also known for a decisive sea battle fought off its shores in the River Plate (Spanish: Río de la Plata ). This battle was fought in 1814, and resulted in a victory for Argentinian forces against the Spanish navy.

The commanding victor of the Battle of Buceo was Guillermo Brown (1777-1857)(2). As a result of this naval success, Guillermo Brown was promoted Admiral. Today he is known as the founder of the Argentinian navy.

The port of Buceo has close links with the Uruguayan Navy (3). At Buceo it is sometimes possible to see the Navy's flagship full-masted vessel, the schooner ROU Capitán Miranda , docked at the port.

The Capitán Miranda is used in training for seafaring. The vessel engages in trans-ocean journeys and may also be seen regularly at ports around the world, its rigging thus making it somewhat of a highly visible flag-carrier for Uruguay.

The Uruguayan Yacht Club (Spanish: Yacht Club Uruguayo ) was founded in 1906. The Club has branches at Santiago Vázquez in a western area of Montevideo and at Punta del Este, Uruguay's most well-known resort, situated in the department of Maldonado.

July 19, 2012

Notes

(1) Other works by Architect Herrán include the Customs Headquarters (Spanish: Dirección de Aduanas ), Montevideo. In his buildings, Architect Herrán was noted for his judicious use of cement; and was influenced by the Finnish architect Eliel Saarinen. Family biographical note: a daughter, Josefina Herrán de Bordaberry became Uruguay's First Lady in 1972.

(2) Guillermo is the Spanish form of WIlliam, which was Admiral Brown's birth name. An Uruguayan naval figure in some ways comparable to Guillermo Brown would be Pedro Campbell (1782-1832), who, by his mastery of navigating the Uruguay River between what was known as the Banda Oriental and the neighbouring, now Argentinian, provinces, gained tactical advantages for the horse-riding patriots who formed the nucleus of don José Artigas's followers.

(3) The Uruguayan Navy has also had some distinguished, internationally known, historical figures, in its ranks; among these are Giuseppe Garibaldi (1807-1882), also famous as the Italian patriot leader, who, while in exile in Uruguay, served as an Admiral in the country's navy. Uruguayan service personnel aboard the Instituto de Pesca Nº1 were notably involved in a rescue attempt on Sir Ernest Shackleton's Endurance Expedition in 1916, and the navy has played a rôle in servicing Uruguay's Antarctic scientific base, named for don José Gervasio Artigas, the country's leading independence-era patriot. (Interestingly, the origins of the National Navy of Uruguay (Spanish: Armada Nacional del Uruguay ) were found in letters of marque issued by General Artigas in 1817; while the status of letters of marque is sometimes questioned, it must be remembered that even the US Constitution (Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11) sanctions their use; and it is a fact that, after their issue by don José, a fleet of Uruguayan corsairs exercised considerable influence from Madagascar to the coast of Spain.) The Uruguayan armed forces are also heavily involved in UN peacekeeping duties.

Also worth seeing

In Buceo itself is situated the Naval Museum (Spanish: Museo Naval ).

In Montevideo , visitor attractions include: the Cerro Fortresss; the Cerrito; the Legislative Palace; the Salvo Palace; the Independence Building facing Plaza Independencia; the Artigas Mausoleum; the Gateway to the Citadel;the main building of the University of the Republic (UdelaR); the Obelisk; Montevideo Cathedral (Matriz church) in the Old City; and many others.

...

How to get there: LanChile flies to Montevideo , Uruguay from North American destinations including New York and Toronto . The Uruguayan airline PLUNA, which codeshares with VARIG, flies to a number of Latin American regional destinations. Car rental is available at Montevideo Carrasco International airport. Some facilities may be withdrawn, without notice. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. You are advised to contact appropriate consular sources regarding border crossing visa requirements which may be required for citizens of certain nationalities.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

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