Regional Office for Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean

Portal of Culture of Latin America and the Caribbean

Uruguay - Barrio histórico de la ciudad de Colonia del Sacramento (Historical neighbourhood in the city of Colonia del Sacramento)

Colonia del Sacramento constitutes the most representative site of the Atlantic and regional character of the slave experience in La Plata River, since it was probably the first landing site of slaves in the eastern strip. From Colonia, both slaves and merchandize were smuggled into Buenos Aires until the Spanish finally expelled the Portuguese in 1777. Under Portuguese rule, Colonia del Sacramento was the port of landing for slave ships and site of distribution of enslaved Africans to the rioplatense and alto Peruvian regions. It is difficult to offer certainty of the amount of slaves brought by the Portuguese to Colonia due to the illegal character of such traffic; a first estimated established that the Portuguese introduced between 1680 and 1776 approximately 20.000 slaves. The port activity of Colonia towards the mid 18th century congregated Portuguese and Spanish slave traders, enslaved and free Africans, as well as free persons of African descent born in the region.

See more

In year 2014 UNESCO distinguished the Historical Neighbourhood of Colonial del Sacramento as Memory Site associated to the Slave Route project.

File supplemented with excerpts from the publication “Sitios de Memoria y culturas vivas de los afrodescendientes en Argentina, Paraguay y Uruguay. Volume I Huellas e Identidades”, Historical Centre of Colonia del Sacramento, Karla Chagas, Natalia Stalla, Alex Borucki.

Accessibility: It is accessible the 365 days of the year, 24 hrs. A day. It lies on a cape formed by the tips of San Pedro and Santa Rita in the historical neighbourhood comprising 12 hectares from the western point of the city of Colonia. A wide range of public transportation connects with Montevideo and Buenos Aires. 
See less

Other data of interest


Historical name

Colonia del Sacramento

Founding Date

January 1680


Está ubicada en la ribera norte —izquierda— del Río de la Plata, a 177 kilómetros de Montevideo (capital de Uruguay) y frente a las costas de Buenos Aires (capital de Argentina), de la que dista solo unos 50 kilómetros (en línea recta). / Situated on the northern bank —left— of La Plata River,  177 Km. away from Montevideo (capital of Uruguay) and in front of the coasts of Buenos Aires (capital of Argentina), at a distance of only 50 Km. (in straight line). , PC: 70000 .

Phone numbers

598 4522 1256 (Oficina Técnica de Colonia del Sacramento) - +598 2916 0916 (Comisión del Patrimonio Cultural de la Nación) - +598 4522 6379, +598 4522 7000 internos 279/291 (Unidad de Patrimonio de la Intendencia de Colonia)

Responsible entity

Commission of Cultural Heritage of the Nation (CPCN), together with the city council of Colonia.

Management plan

The management of the Historical Neighbourhood of Colonia is competence at the national level of the Commission of Cultural Heritage of the Nation (CPCN), which depends from the Ministry of Education and Culture together with the city council of Colonia, through its Heritage Unit. The Technical Office of Colonia del Sacramento is the seat of the CPCN in the heritage site.

Web link (Comisión del Patrimonio Cultural de la Nación)


Intangible heritage expression



Access level


Current Use

Tourist, residential, heritage

Original use

Residential, military

Property kind


Heritage documents under its protection


  • Declaration of Historic Monuments for Cultural Assets of the Historical Neighbourhood of the city of Colonia 24 August 1976, by Resolution 989/976
  • Inscribed in the List of World Heritage December 1995, Nº 747
  • Declaration of Historical Monuments for buildings that are part of the Historical Neighbourhood in the city of Colonia 2 July 1998, by Resolution N° 564/998