Official Name: Republic of Paraguay
Established: 14 May 1811 (Independence from Spain), 24 October 1945 (Admitted to the United Nations)
Population: 7,292,672 (2020 estimate)
Religion: 88.3% Roman Catholic, 7.8% Other Christian
Language(s): Spanish, Guarani
Order of Visit: Thirty-Third
First Visit: 13 December 2009
Last Visit: 13 December 2009
Duration: 1 Day
Visit Highlights: Itaipu Dam
Places Visited: Itaipu Dam
Paraguay Journal Entry
History and Geography
Paraquay is a country located in South America covering 406,757 square kms and is bordered by Argentina to the south and southwest, Brazil to the east and northeast, and Bolivia to the northwest. Paraguay is divided by the Río Paraguay into two well differentiated geographic regions.
Spanish conquistadores arrived in 1524, and in 1537 established the city of Asunción, the first capital of the Governorate of the Río de la Plata. During the 17th century, Paraguay was the centre of Jesuit missions, where the native Guaraní people were converted to Christianity and introduced European culture. After the expulsion of the Jesuits from Spanish territories in 1767, Paraguay increasingly became a peripheral colony.
Following independence from Spain in the early 19th century, Paraguay was ruled by a series of authoritarian governments characterised by nationalist, isolationist and protectionist policies. This period ended with the disastrous Paraguayan War (1864–1870), during which the country lost half its pre-war population and around 25–33% of its territory to the Triple Alliance of Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay.
Paraguay later won the Chaco War (1932–35) against Bolivia. Afterwards, the country came under a succession of military dictatorships, culminating with the 35-year regime of Alfredo Stroessner, which lasted until his overthrow in 1989 by an internal military coup. This marked the beginning of Paraguay’s democratic era, which continues to this day.
What I experienced
Unfortunately I only visited Paraguay for one day but I did get to do some very cheap shopping and then to see the amazing engineering marvel that is Itaipu Dam which generates most of Paraguay’s energy and is a huge export earner supplying 20% of Brazil’s energy needs. This is a very good practical renewal energy source. The border crossing showed a country with little control as it was easy to enter without reporting to border officials.