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Originally, they were equestrian hunters of cattle for hides, beef or salting, and horses for riding.
About half of the population lives in the capital, Montevideo, and its metropolitan area. The second largest city, Salto, has ninety thousand inhabitants. As a result of emigration, there could be as many people of Uruguayan descent living outside as inside the country.The original gauchos were an equestrian ethnic group similar to North American cowboys and Ukrainian Cossacks.Cattle and horses introduced by the Spanish in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries multiplied in the grasslands and roamed freely over the land.There are also some limited extensions of gallery forests and palm tree savannas.The main cultural differences are related to rural (9 percent) versus urban populations (91 percent), and whether people live in the capital or the interior towns.
Africans, 4 percent of the population, mainly in Montevideo, were imported as slaves to work in the ports, in the processing of meat and hides, and as servants. The prevalent language is a variety of Spanish known as Rioplatense or Platellano .