Independence Year : 1811
Population : 5496000
Life Expectancy : 73.7
Capital : 2885
GNP : 8444.00
GNP Old : 9555.00
Local Name : Paraguay
Government Form : Republic
Location : Central South America, northeast of Argentina
Terrain : East of the Paraguay River--grassy plains, wooded hills, tropical forests; west of the Paraguay River (Chaco region)--low, flat, marshy plain.
Climate : Temperate east of the Paraguay River, semiarid to the west
Ethnic Group : Mixed Spanish and Amerindian (mestizo) 95%.
Religions : Roman Catholic 90%; Mennonite and other Protestant denominations
Official Website : www.presidencia.gov.py
Genral Information - Paraguay
In the early 16th century Europeans arrived in the area inhabited by seminomadic Guarani-speaking tribes called Cayua or Caingua, "men of the forest". In 1537 the Spaniards founded Asuncion which became the center of a Spanish colonial province. Paraguay declared its independence by overthrowing the local Spanish authorities in 1811.
In the disastrous War of the Triple Alliance fought between Paraguay and the allied countries of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay (1865-70), Paraguay lost two-thirds of all adult males and much of its territory. It stagnated economically for the next half century. In the Chaco War of 1932-35, large, economically important areas were won from Bolivia.
The 35-year military dictatorship of Alfredo STROESSNER was overthrown in 1989, and, despite a marked increase in political infighting in recent years, relatively free and regular presidential elections have been held since then.