The earliest traces of human presence are about 10,000 years old, and belong to the hunter-gatherer cultures of Catalanense and Cuareim cultures which are extensions of cultures originating in Brazil. The earliest discovered bolas is about 7,000 years old. Examples of ancient rock art have been found at Chamanga. About 4,000 years ago Charrúa and Guarani people arrived here. During pre-colonial times Uruguayan territory was inhabited by small tribes of nomadic Charrua, Chana, Arachán and Guarani peoples who survived by hunting and fishing and probably never reached more than 10,000 to 20,000 people. It is estimated that there were about 9,000 Charrúa and 6,000 Chaná and Guaraní at the time of first contact with Europeans in the 1500s. The native peoples had almost disappeared by the time of Uruguay's independence as a result of European diseases and constant warfare.
European genocide culminated on April 11, 1831 with the Massacre of Salsipuedes, when most of the Charrua men were killed by the Uruguayan army on the orders of President Fructuoso Rivera. The remaining 300 Charrua women and children were divided as household slaves and servants among Europeans. Language used is Spain.