Early history[ edit ] Between and , Portugal founded the city of Colonia do Sacramento in the region across the bay from Buenos Aires. This city met with no resistance from the Spanish until , when they began to place fortifications on the elevations around Montevideo Bay. On 22 January , the Spanish forced the Portuguese to abandon the location and started populating the city, initially with six families moving in from Buenos Aires and soon thereafter by families arriving from the Canary Islands who were known as Guanches or Canarians. There was also one significant early Italian resident by the name of Jorge Burgues. The earliest securely dated picture of the city. During the May Revolution of and the subsequent uprising of the provinces of Rio de la Plata, the Spanish colonial government moved to Montevideo.