Melo was founded in 1795 by Captain Agustín de la Rosa and, due to its geographical location, it would gain great importance through the history of the country. This first settlement was a shelter for the military guard and, like the rest of the Northern region, it was the struggle point amongst the natives, the Portuguese and the Spanish.
These armed struggles claimed a large number of victims; therefore, the Cerro Largo Division was created: a group of criollo soldiers whose main aim was to defend the land and the the heritage against all those who might endanger them.
The division managed several victories very significant for the independence of Uruguay and for its subsequent development, especially within an environment that, due to the long distance that separated it from Montevideo, turned out to be faraway and hostile at the same time.
The purpose of Cerro Largo had always been nationalist. As a consequence, the official language of Melo and all its institutions has always been Spanish, despite its proximity to Brazil and its Portuguese.