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 History of Paraguay

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kosovohp



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Join date : 2010-10-01

PostSubject: History of Paraguay   Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:29 pm

Pre-Columbian society in the wooded, fertile region which is now present-day Paraguay consisted of seminomadic tribes, who were recognized for their fierce warrior traditions. These indigenous tribes were members of five distinct language families, and 17 separate ethnolinguistic 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 gained its independence after overthrowing the local Spanish administration on May 15, 1811.

Paraguay's history has been characterized by long periods of political instability and infighting, and devastating wars with its neighbors.

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. Paraguay's prewar population of approximately 525,000 was reduced to about 221,000 in 1871, of which only about 28,000 were men.[8] 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[citation needed]. During the pillaging of Asuncion (Saqueo de 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[citation needed], 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.[9]

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 (see "Political History"). Torture and death for political opponents was routine.[10] After his overthrow, the Colorado continued to dominate national politics until 2008.

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