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Paraguay

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Officially the Republic of Paraguay is a landlocked country in South America. It is 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 América, or the Heart of America.As of 2009 the population was estimated at 6.3 million. The capital and largest city is Asunción. The official languages are Spanish and Guaraní, both being widely spoken in the country. Most of the population is mestizos.The Guaraní have been living in Paraguay since prior to the arrival of Europeans in the 16th century, when Paraguay became part of the Spanish colonial empire. Paraguay gained independence from Spain in 1811.Pre-Columbian society in the wooded, fertile region which is now present-day Paraguay consisted of semi nomadic tribes, who were recognized for their fierce warrior traditions. These indigenous tribes were members of five distinct language families, and 17 separate ethno linguistic groups still remain today.Europeans first arrived in the area in the early sixteenth century, and the settlement of Asunción was founded on August 15, 1537, by the Spanish explorer Juan de Salazar de Espinosa. The city eventually became the center of a Spanish colonial province, as well as a primary site of the Jesuit missions and settlements in South America in the eighteenth century. Jesuit Reductions were founded and flourished in eastern Paraguay for about 150 years until the expulsion of the Jesuits by the Spanish crown in 1767. Paraguay overthrew the local Spanish administration on May 15, 1811. They became independent from Spain, but the relation with Buenos Aires was limited to a non-aggression pact; Paraguayan independence from Argentina was declared in 1842.Paraguay fought the War of the Triple Alliance against Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, and was defeated in 1870 after five years of the bloodiest war in South America. According to William D. Rubinstein, "The normal estimate is that of a Paraguayan population of somewhere between 450,000 and 900,000, only 221,000 survived the war, of whom only 28,000 were adult males." Paraguay also suffered extensive territorial losses to Brazil and Argentina.The Chaco War was fought with Bolivia in the 1930s, and Bolivia was defeated. Paraguay re-established sovereignty over the region called the Chaco, but forfeited additional territorial gains as a price of peace.The official narrative of Paraguay's history is fraught with disputes among historians, educators and politicians. The "authentic" version of historical events, wars in particular, varies depending on whether it was written in Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Bolivia, Europe, or North America.Both the Colorado Party and Liberal Party maintain distinct official versions of Paraguayan history. During the pillaging of Asunción in 1869, the Brazilian Imperial Army ransacked and relocated the Paraguayan National Archives to Rio de Janeiro where they have been kept in secrecy, making Colonial and early National Period Paraguayan history difficult to study.Between 1904 and 1954, Paraguay had thirty-one presidents, most of whom were removed from office by force.From 1954 to 1989, the country was ruled by Alfredo Stroessner and the Colorado party. The dictator oversaw an era of economic expansion, but at the cost of a poor human rights and environmental record. Torture and death for political opponents was routine. After his overthrow, the Colorado continued to dominate national politics until 2008.L

Tags:Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Buenos Aires, Paraguay, Spain, Uruguay




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