The City of Mercedes was founded in 1788 as a result of an initiative taken by priest Manuel Antonio de Castro y Careaga.
About 200 years before, more precisely in 1520, the expedition led by Ferdinand Magellan stepped on these lands and years later, in 1527, Sebastian Cabot founded Fort San Salvador on the shores of the river bearing the same name.
On February 28, 1811, a significant historic event took place in the surroundings of the city: the famous Grito de Asencio (Asencio’s Scream). This was the beginning of the Eastern Revolution, with the first territorial division in the country, where the tasks carried out by General Artigas stood out. He established his general headquarters in the City of Mercedes, in the venue occupied by Nuestra Señora del Huerto College today, where he issued the Declaration of Mercedes on April 11, in the same year.
Due to all these events and to the fact that the city is the capital of the Department of Soriano, the legend written on the coat of arms of such department is more than applicable, as it reads: “Our country started here”.
Years later, after Artigas’ exploits and the creation of the Uruguayan State, the Department of Soriano was created in 1828 and Mercedes became its capital.