During the days of the Spanish conquest, Maldonado used to be the second most important city on the Eastern bank of the Uruguay River. The city was founded in 1757, after José Joaquín de Viana –the then governor of Montevideo- moved a first settlement of Guaraní natives to the place where the historical shell of the city lies today.
The monarchs were always very worried about the growth and development of Maldonado and such concern is evidenced in the buildings that surround the main square. This is a traditional layout in Spain. The cathedral and the cuartel de dragones stand out.
In 1833, the city was visited by Charles Darwin himself, who settled down there in order to carry out a detailed study of the wildlife in the region.
The worst period for the city came after the Guerra Grande (Big War), during which Maldonado was victim of extreme poverty and until it is said to have been forgotten by time. Both the white army and the red army occupied it and, after the Revolución de Lanzas (Spears Revolution), its administration was paralyzed during two long years.
Time gave it back its position and modern times have rescued it from oblivion. The live history of the city is maintained amongst its dwellers and its streets. Although sometimes it may go unnoticed, it refuses to be forgotten.