Artigas Department is the northernmost department of Uruguay, located in its northwestern region. Its capital is the city of Artigas, which borders on the Brazilian city of Quaraí. Artigas Department has an area of , making it the fifth largest in the country. The population is 73,378 inhabitants, according to the 2011 census.
It is bordered on the north and east by Brazil, from which it is separated by the Cuareim River. To the south, Artigas Department borders on Salto Department, and to the west is Argentina, from which it is separated by the Uruguay River. Artigas is the only Uruguayan department that borders two other countries.
The department and its capital city are named after José Gervasio Artigas (1764–1850), leader of the Orientales (inhabitants of the Banda Oriental, the Eastern bank of the Uruguay River) during Uruguay's wars of independence.
Uruguay's first administrative division, into six departments, happened on 27 January 1816. Two more departments were formed later in that year. At the time, Paysandú Department included all the territory north of the Río Negro, which included present-day departments of Artigas, Rivera, Tacuarembó, Salto, Paysandú and Río Negro. On 17 June 1837, a new division of Uruguay was made and Salto Department was created, including the territory of today's Artigas Department. The current borders were defined on 1 October 1884, when Artigas Department was split from Salto by Law no. 1854.
The Battle of Masoller, a noteworthy event in Uruguayan history, was fought on 1 September 1904. Masoller is located in neighbouring Rivera Department, but next to the border tripoint with Artigas and Salto.