The first division of the Republic in six departments happened on 27 January 1816. Later in that year two more departments were formed. At the time, Paysandú Department included all the territory north of the
Río Negro, which included the current departments of Artigas, Rivera, Tacuarembó, Salto, Paysandú and Río Negro. On 17 June 1837 a new division of Uruguay was made and this territory was divided in three parts. In the new division, Paysandú Department also included the current department of Río Negro, until it was split from it in 1868.