Sunday, August 7, 2022

History Of Paraguay

South AmericaParaguayHistory Of Paraguay

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The first inhabitants of Paraguay were the indigenous people. The Guaraníes were the largest indigenous group inhabiting what is now eastern Paraguay. They lived as semi-nomadic hunters who also practised subsistence agriculture. Other groups of indigenous tribes lived in the Chaco region, such as the Guaycurú and the Payaguá, who survived by hunting, gathering and fishing.

In the 16th century, Paraguay, once called “the giant province of the Indies”, emerged as a result of the encounter of the Spanish conquistadors with the indigenous groups. The Spaniards started the colonisation, which lasted for three centuries. Since the founding of Asunción in 1537, Paraguay has managed to preserve much of its indigenous character and identity. Today, mestizos (Spaniards + Amerindians) make up more than 80% of the country’s 6.6 million inhabitants and Guarani is the official language, along with Spanish.

In the past, Franciscan and Jesuit missions were intertwined with the Guaraní dream of Yvy maraë’y, a land without evil, producing unique societies. The ruins of the Jesuit missions of La Santisima Trinidad de Parana and Jesus de Tavarangue, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and several villages throughout the country bear witness to this peaceful past. On 15 May 1811, a revolution ended Spanish colonial rule and this day is celebrated as Paraguayan Independence Day.

Shortly after independence, the paranoid dictatorship of Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia (1814-1840), who was convinced of assassination attempts against him, declared that Asunción’s buildings had to be low enough that he could see who was on the roof when he was riding, and that he had to be able to see in all four directions around every corner, so that potential assassins would have nowhere to hide. The destruction of colonial buildings that did not fit this scheme deprived Asunción of some architectural gems.

But Paraguay also has a history of wars, having fought with all its neighbours. It was one of the richest countries in the mid-19th century (the only one in the Americas with railways at the time) before the disastrous Triple Alliance War of 1865-70. Paraguay was invaded by the allied forces of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay. After 5 years of fierce fighting and complete destruction, the country surrendered. The result was the loss of two thirds of all adult males and a large part of its territory.

A unique event saw the first ever attempt at communism when 700 people left Balmain, Sydney, Australia in 1893 to form the ‘New Australia’. Shortly after their arrival, a split occurred when some of the arrivals began to mingle with the local ladies who were suffering from a shortage of men due to the Triple Alliance War. Two-thirds of the immigrants eventually returned to Australia, but about 2,000 Paraguayans can trace their ancestry to Australia.

To add to the disputes with its neighbours, another war broke out in the 1930s, the Chaco War of 1932-35, in which Paraguay fought with Bolivia over ownership of the Chaco region. At the end of the war, large economically important areas of the Chaco that belonged to Paraguay were ceded to Bolivia under the 1938 peace treaty.

After the Second World War, Paraguay received many immigrants who fell in love with the hospitality of the people and decided to stay and call Paraguay home. New colonies of Germans, Russians, Italians, Ukrainians, Japanese and Mennonites were established in different parts of rural Paraguay.

The 35-year military dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner was overthrown in 1989 and, despite a significant increase in political conflict in recent years, democratic governments have been in power since then. Modern Paraguay is largely characterised by political uncertainty and economic difficulties. Since the early 1980s, Paraguay has made the difficult decision to move to a more modern market economy. In recent years, the economy has developed and democratic elections have been held. While Asuncion is full of new economic opportunities and construction projects, much of the country remains underdeveloped and consists of poor infrastructure.

How To Travel To Paraguay

By air Paraguay has no national airline and, despite its central location in South America, air services are not numerous. Currently, the only intercontinental flight is the twice-weekly Air Europa service between Madrid and Asuncion. Most foreign travellers therefore have to change planes in São Paulo (for those coming from...

How To Travel Around Paraguay

By taxi Taxis are the most efficient and reliable means of transport, although you can probably also get there by bus, or colectivo as the Paraguayans call it. Taxis are expensive compared to other prices in Paraguay, and in Asunción, fares are determined by the taximeter. Tipping in taxis is...

Visa & Passport Requirements for Paraguay

Citizens of Mercosur countries (Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Venezuela) as well as Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia do not need a passport to enter the country, only an identity card (cédula de identidad). All other visitors to Paraguay must have a valid passport. Visas are not required for visitors...

Destinations in Paraguay

Regions Gran ChacoThe great wild and semi-arid plains of the northwest of the country.Paraná PlateauThe forested highlands of eastern Paraguay, along the Paraná River, where the second largest city, Ciudad del Este, is located, right across from the Iguaçu Falls.Paraneña NorthSouthern ParaneñaThis is the centre of the country's population, in...

Weather & Climate in Paraguay

Paraguay is generally warm most of the year. The Tropic of Capricorn runs through the city of Belén in northern Paraguay, dividing the country into a tropical zone in the north and a temperate zone in the south. The hottest time of the year is from November to February,...

Accommodation & Hotels in Paraguay

It is certainly not difficult to find good accommodation in the major cities and it seems reasonably cheap if the parameter is the dollar or the euro. The exception, however, is Ciudad del Este. In Ciudad del Este, the cheapest accommodation is near the bus station, with double rooms...

Things To See in Paraguay

The capital, Asunción, is home to many of the country's attractions.In Trinidad you can visit the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in Paraguay: the Jesuit missions La Santisima Trinidad de Paraná and Jesus de Tavarangue.In the town of Santani (San Pedro), there is a fountain that does not run...

Things To Do in Paraguay

Cruise on the Paraguay River. Cruise on a luxurious wooden boat from the ports of Asunción to the Pantanal and Chaco region. NOTE: Due to maintenance work on the ship, cruises have been suspended since March 2013.Take a walk through the historic centre of the city of Asunción. Many...

Food & Drinks in Paraguay

Food in Paraguay Paraguayan food is one of the most varied in South America. Paraguayans are used to eating typical dishes several times a week throughout the year. You will find much of the standard South American cuisine, as well as some Brazilian influence. Paraguayan food is not particularly spicy,...

Money & Shopping in Paraguay

Paraguay has a very rich and varied handicraft, from silver filigree (luque) to fine cotton lace in the form of Ñanduti (itaugua), everything is present. Also leather goods with local embellishments "repujado" (Atyra) and embroidery ao poi, encaje yu. Clay pottery (Ita) and weaving are also very popular, cheap...

Festivals & Holidays in Paraguay

DateEnglish name1 JanuaryNew Year's EveMarch/AprilMaundy Thursday/BirthdayMarch/AprilGood FridayMay 1stLabour Day14 and 15 MayParaguayan independence12 June and beyondCeasefire in Chaco15 AugustFoundation of Asunción29 SeptemberVictory day at the Battle of Boqueron8 DecemberMaid of Caacupe25 DecemberChristmas Day

Traditions & Customs in Paraguay

It is still considered polite for men to shake hands when they meet. Between a man and a woman or two women, it is customary to shake hands and give a kiss on each cheek. Similarly, when meeting people, they don't ask how you are, but if everything is...

Language & Phrasebook in Paraguay

Both Spanish and Guarani are official languages. Most people in Paraguay speak Spanish and there is very limited use of English. Outside Asunción and the major cities, you will only hear Guarani. Because of the extensive use of Guarani, even those who have managed to learn Spanish do not...

Culture Of Paraguay

Paraguay's cultural heritage can be traced back to the many intermarriages between the first male Spanish settlers and the indigenous Guaraní women. Their culture is strongly influenced by various European countries, including Spain. Therefore, Paraguayan culture is a fusion of two cultures and traditions: a European culture and a...

Stay Safe & Healthy in Paraguay

Stay Safe in Paraguay There are not many big cities and if you use common sense and street smarts you are unlikely to get into trouble. The police are notoriously corrupt and if you are stopped for any reason you will almost certainly be asked to pay a bribe. In...

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