Portal:Paraguay

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Introduction

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Paraguay (/ˈpærəɡw/; Spanish pronunciation: [paɾaˈɣwaj]; Guarani: Paraguái, [paɾaˈɰwaj]), officially the Republic of Paraguay (Spanish: República del Paraguay; Guarani: Tetã Paraguái), is a landlocked country in central South America, bordered by Argentina to the south and southwest, Brazil to the east and northeast, and Bolivia to the northwest. Paraguay lies on both banks of the Paraguay River, which runs through the center of the country from north to south. Due to its central location in South America, it is sometimes referred to as Corazón de Sudamérica ("Heart of South America"). Paraguay is one of the two landlocked countries (the other is Bolivia) outside Afro-Eurasia, and is the smallest landlocked country in the Americas.

The indigenous Guaraní had been living in eastern Paraguay for at least a millennium before the Spanish arrived in the 16th century. Western Paraguay, the Gran Chaco, was inhabited by nomads of whom the Guaycuru peoples were the most prominent. In the 17th century, Jesuit missions introduced Christianity and Spanish culture to the region. Paraguay was a peripheral colony of the Spanish Empire, with few urban centers and settlers. Following independence from Spain in 1811, Paraguay was ruled by a series of dictators who generally implemented isolationist and protectionist policies. Following the disastrous Paraguayan War (1864–1870), the country lost 60 to 70 percent of its population through war and disease, and about 140,000 square kilometers (54,000 sq mi), one quarter of its territory, to Argentina and Brazil.

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The Chaco War (1932–1935) was fought between Bolivia and Paraguay over control of the northern part of the Gran Chaco region (the Chaco Boreal) of South America, which was incorrectly thought to be rich in oil. It is also known as La Guerra de la Sed (Spanish for "War of Thirst") for being fought in the semi-arid Chaco. It was the bloodiest military conflict fought in South America during the 20th century. The war pitted two of South America's poorest countries both having previously lost territories to neighbors in 19th century wars. During the war both countries faced difficulties in obtaining arms and other supplies since their landlocked situation made their foreign trade and arms purchases dependent on the willingness of neighboring countries to let them pass by. In Particular Bolivia faced external trade problems coupled with poor internal communications. While Bolivia had income from lucrative mining and a better equipped and larger army than Paraguay, a series of factors turned the tide in favour of Paraguay which came by the end of the war to control most of the disputed zone, and was finally also granted the largest portion of the disputed territories in the peace treaties.


Selected biography

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José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia
B. (1766-01-06)January 6, 1766 – d. September 20, 1840(1840-09-20) (aged 74)

Dr. José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia y Velasco (January 6, 1766 – September 20, 1840) was the first leader of Paraguay following its independence from Spain. He ran the country with no outside interference and little outside influence from 1814 to 1840.

Although his father, a native of São Paulo, was simply García Rodríguez Francia, the dictator inserted de to style himself "Rodríguez de Francia y Velasco". He is often referred to simply as "Dr. Francia".


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