Skip to main content
Create interactive lessons using any digital content including wikis with our free sister product
. Get it on the
Pages and Files
Shea Hendry. Liz Rybalchenko. Ryan Riches. Nicki Coleman.
Paraguay is a small, landlocked country in the heart of South America and it boarders Argentina, Brazil, and Bolivia (Chena Ventures). The population of Paraguay is 6,667,147
and the majority is
, who are the native people (Chena Ventures). Paraguay is divided into two regions by the Rio Paraguay, the eastern region is known as Paranena, and the western part is known as the Chaco (wiki). The Majority of the population is located in the Paranena region because the
region is covered by dense marsh and jungle, as the Paranena is a sloping plain (infoplease). The south eastern border of Paraguay is marked by the Parana River. In this river is the
, which is shared with Brazil (wiki).According to a census taken in 2002 in Paraguay, nearly 90% of the population is Roman Catholic (wiki). This is over 5 million people, which does not leave much room for other religions like Evangelical Christians (7%), or people who practice other types of religion (3%). Paraguay works under a constitutional republic government, in which the president is the head of state, and the head of government. The name of the capital is Asuncion and is located in the southern region of Paraguay (wiki). Paraguay has two official languages including Spanish and the Guarani native tongue. Paraguay is about the size of California and takes up
157,046 square miles
(infoplease). The main economic activity is involved in Agriculture and stockbreeding. Paraguay exports many goods like sugarcane, soybeans, cotton, wheat, corn and the Yerba mate. They also produce a large assortment of tropical fruits and vegetables. Paraguay’s livestock production includes avariety of cattle, sheep, and horses (Chena Ventures). Paraguay’s
also based on the native people and their official currency is the Guarani. Although Paraguay is a small country, it has an immense amount of culture and historic background that make it a very interesting and unique place.
History of Paraguay
Paraguay has had almost no archeological research done, and the
history is very vague and poorly documented. However, archeologists have at least been able to determine that the eastern half of Paraguay was once inhabited by the Guaraní Indians (wikipedia). They probably occupied Paraguay for around a thousand years before the Spanish Conquest.
The little evidence we have recovered today indicates that the Guaraní had developed some sort of independent political system. This system was made up of semi-sedentary villages that were grouped into multi-village chiefdoms (wikipedia). This political autonomy is considered sophisticated for the time frame in which the Guaraní Indians lived. The rest of what we know about the Guaraní isn’t based in factual evidence, but comes from their surviving legends.
One such legend, explains that the ancestors of the Guaraní sailed from a distant land and crossed a spacious ocean to reach the Americas. They found the land both dangerous and wonderful. Then, the Guaraní cleared and civilized the land so it could come to prosper (noborders). Other legends include the titles of the Guaraní deities. Pa' i Shume is a tall, fair skinned, blue-eyed god who descended from the sky to show his pleasure for the Guaraní by bringing them religious knowledge, and agricultural knowledge to benefit them in times of drought and pestilence. Ivy-Marae was the goddess who brought peace after death (noborders). These legends, can’t be read for concrete facts, but they do show the culture of the ancient Guaraní’s.
In the sixteenth century Spanish conquerors invaded Paraguay and their Spanish culture mixed with that of the Guaraní’s to change the direction of Paraguay’s history.
Spanish settlers first arrived in Paraguay in the year 1524 (culturegrams). In that year, and again in 1529 the explorer,
sailed up the Paraná and Paraguay rivers (infoplease). He and his crew were the first foreign men to reach Paraguay and meet the Guarani Indian tribes. Thirteen years from that original exploration, in 1537, Spain
established the first successful colony in the Río de la Plata area at Asunción (country reports)
Paraguay would then be governed by Spanish colonial rule until the 19th century.
During the initial conquest Paraguay was the second most important Spanish dominion in all of South America. It was second only to Peru. However, Paraguay’s significance to Spain didn’t last long because it didn’t produce any gold or silver. When Paraguay could give Spain a constant supply of money and precious metals it quickly dropped in importance.
To add the Paraguay’s Spanish insignificances, is the fact that Paraguay always had a very small European population. To the Spanish, landlocked Paraguay was a very remote colony and the European men that settled there were immediately encouraged to take Indian wives. These mixed unions were popular from the very beginning and encourage peaceful relations between the two separate denominations (country reports).
, people of both Spanish and Indian decent, now make up a large portion of Paraguay’s population. The Spanish conquest and settlement of Paraguay was much more peaceful and humane than it was elsewhere in South America.
Fight For Independence
In 1811 Paraguay officially declared its independence from Spain (countryreports). Their fight for independence began a long time before 1811 when the Viceroyalty of Peru was given most of the dominion over Paraguay around 1537. At the time Madrid neglected the colony. The ruling governors in Paraguay didn’t have a royal army at their disposal, only willing colonists, and the Paraguayan people rebelled earning the right to chose and fire their own governors. Eventually, the colony would earn the reputation of being in a constant rebellion (Wikipedia).
In 1720 a larger full-scale rebellion emerged over growing tensions between royal authorities and settlers. This rebellion, known at the
weakened the governing of all of Paraguay and forced the Jesuits out of Paraguayan society and rule. The Comunero Revolt is largely seen as a rehearsal for the final fight for Paraguayan independence in 1811.
On May 25, 1810 Buenos Aires revolted, getting rid of their Spanish Viceroy and vowing to serve under Ferdinand VII. This action had a huge effect on Paraguay. The citizens of Paraguay were both stunned by the news and enraged that they would have to take orders from the new leader. The forcefully resolve the problem governors from Buenos Aires sent 1,100 troops, lead by Manuel Belgrano, into Paraguay. The citizens of Paraguay destroyed this army in two different battles and Paraguayans soon were able to sense the weakening of Spanish rule in South America. After an poor decision by the Paraguayan governor to flee a battle against Belgrano the citizens of Paraguay overthrew Spanish rule once and for all. Independence was official declared May 17, 1811 after two days of fighting on the 15th and 16th of May (wikipedia). The fight for independence had been easier than in other South American countries.
Timeline of Significant Events
The first successful Spanish colony is established in
Asunción near the Rio de la Plata area of present day Paraguay.
The Jesuits, members of the Roman Catholic Society of Jesus , arrive in Paraguay to begin converting the Indian population.
Paraguay officially declares its own independence from Spain.
Paraguay begins a war with Brazil. Then Argentina refuses to let the Paraguayan army travel through their territory, so Paraguay also declares war on Argentina. The War of the Triple Alliance begins.
In the Triple Alliance Wa
r where Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay fight Paraguay, Paraguay loses half of its population, 55,000 square miles of territory, and is now stuck with massive amounts of dept.
The War of the Triple Alliance ends and President Lopez of Paraguay is killed.
The Colorado Party, a Paraguayan political party, is founded by war hero General Bernardion Caballero. The new party will come to dominate Paraguayan politics from 30 years.
The Chaco War between Bolivia and Paraguay begins.
The Chaco War officially ends and a formal peace treaty is signed awarding Paraguay 20,000 square miles of land in their victory.
Food and Cuisine
Nearly every country around the world has unique food and cuisine customs. The South American country of Paraguay is full of these traditional food customs. Each dish around the world is based on a main food. The basics for all Paraguayan food include
(Maps). Cassava is “a tuber with generous roots” (Paraguayan). For example, the base of the Paraguayan soup Bori Bori is corn and cheese (Maps). While corn and cassava are key ingredients in Paraguayan food, meat dishes commonly include chicken, pork, or lamb. A popular meat dish for “Sunday barbeques” is beef (Paraguayan). Each country has different meals every day, depending on what types of food grow there. The most popular breakfast in Paraguay is an omelet made of cheese and cassava starch called mebyu (Maps). In Paraguay, typical meals consist of foods like locro, chipa guazu, and mbaipy so’o (Nagel). Locro is a type of corn soup, chipa guazu is a mix of cheese, corn, and a corn soufflé, and mbajpy so’o is a corn pudding full of scrumptious beef pieces (Nagel). For dinner, the most enjoyed dishes are typyraty, farina, and aimidon (Maps). All of these foods have cassava as their base. While these delicious cuisines can be eaten at any meal of the day, the “main meal of the day is eaten at noon” and is usually made of corn (Nagel). For important ceremonies such as the
, the main dish is usually bread made with cassava starch, eggs, milk, and cheese (Paraguayan). Not only are corn and cassava-based foods eaten, an assortment of tropical fruits are also consumed. While eating one of those appetizing meals, a typical Paraguayan drink is consumed. A Paraguayan tea called
makes up most Paraguayan drinks and is drunk every day by Paraguayans (Nagel). Two kinds of mate can be created from this tea: mate cocido and tetere. Mate cocido is boiled mate that can be combined with milk and tetere is cold mate that can be refreshing in the warm Paraguayan summers (Paraguayan). The leaves of this tea can be heated to create a tasty tea that is taken in the morning or late day, too (Nagel). While there are several options of what to eat at a typical Paraguayan meal, there are many other popular foods and drinks.
Some countries are famous for one or two foods; however, Paraguay is full of delicious dishes. The most popular Paraguayan foods include chipas, sopa paraguaya, soo-yosopy, palmitos, and surubi (Paraguay). Chipas is corn bread made with egg and cheese, sopa paraguaya is a soup flavored with mashed corn, cheese, milk, and onions, soo-yosopy is a type of soup full of ground beef and cornmeal, palimitos are “palm hearts”, and surubi is a kind of “fish found in the Parana” (Paraguay). A typical cheese made by artists from the Paraguayan countryside is called quesu paraguai (Paraguayan). The dish known as bife koygua, a “juicy beef cu
t with onions and fried eggs” (Paraguayan), is popular amongst Paraguayans and tourists. After eating one of these scrumptious meals, Paraguayans as well as tourists often eat some mouth-watering desserts. Popular desserts of Paraguay include kaguyiy, kiveve, kosereva, ka’i ladrillo, dulce de mamon, and arro kamby. Kaguyiy is created from mashed corn, sugar, and honey, kieve is made with pumpkin and corn flour, kosereva is created with citrus fruits like the sour orange, peanuts is the base of ka’i ladrillo, genip is the base of dulce de mammon, and arro kamby is the local type of Europe’s rice pudding (Paraguayan). While these popular dishes can be found at nearly any restaurant, several thirst-quenching drinks can also be found throughout Paraguay. Some of Paraguay’s specialty drinks include mosto, cana, and yerba mate. Mosto is a delicious “sugar cane juice” and cana is an “alcoholic version of mosto, distilled from sugar cane and honey” (Paraguay). Because these foods and drinks are very popular, they are found in several restaurants throughout Paraguay.
After Paraguayans have had a rough day at work, they enjoy cooling down by eating at a nice, traditional restaurant. Some of Paraguay’s most important restaurants include Capo Restaurant, La Paraguayita, Churrasquaria Acuarela, La Pergola Jardin, La Preferida, Mburicao, Talleyrand, and Tio Lucas (Maps). Nearly each of these restaurants is
Tio Lucas Menu
located in the heart of Paraguay, in the town of Asuncion. While most of these trendy restaurants serve Paraguayan food, some also provide an assortment of other dishes. The Capo Restaurant, for example, serves a variety of Italian food. Other places such as La Pergola Jardin and La Preferida serve a mix of continental and international food. (Fodor’s). Also, a mixture of foods can be eaten at Mburicao and Talleyrand (Fodor’s). Traditional Latin American food can be devoured at La Paraguayita and if one is in the mood for Brazilian food, they may dine at Churrasquaria Acuarela (Fodor’s). Even though delicious foods can be eaten at each of those fine restaurants, the true Paraguayan food can be found at Tio Lucas, located in San Miguel de Allende (Tio). This fascinating restaurant is a favorite place of locals and tourists to devour mouthwatering dishes, such as steak. (Tio). A welcoming and pleasant feeling is given off at Tio Lucas as one dines in tables “set around an open courtyard”, under a “hanging tree decorated with red lamps” (Tio). Entertaining music and preparation of food right before one’s eyes adds the extra excitement to one of Paraguay’s finest restaurants.
Through the inimitable food and cuisine customs of Paraguay, one may understand why Paraguay is such a popular travel destination. While some countries have bland, tasteless foods and drinks, Paraguay is full of delightful dishes and drinks. It would be a privilege for anyone to experience these magnificent Paraguayan traditions.
Arts and Entertainment
Paraguay is a country filled with diverse people, cultures, and opinions. However, when it comes to their arts and entertainment, Paraguay, together as a country, seems to agree on the same things.
There are three very important types of art in Paraguay. The first are feathered ornaments and basketwork. This is an old tradition that the people of Paraguay have kept up with. Wickerwork and weaving were started by the Guarani people. To produce beautiful, yet very diverse basketwork, they use many different types of materials. Some of these materials include the pindo palm, tacuarembo, and caraguata. Feather art was used for many special ceremonies. This art comes from a few very different ethnicities; The Guarani and Nivacle are just a couple of these ethnicities. This style of art is used to make things such as headdresses, plumes, bracelets, anklets, etc. The Guarani shamans used to wear a very detailed cloak made of beautiful feathers. Now, the people of Paraguay have carried on this tradition, though they are more lenient on who gets to wear them today. “These cloaks are one of the most impressive feather art creations” (Paraguay). The second most important type of art in Paraguay is
. They used ceramics for pieces such as funerary urns or jugs for cooking purposes. Ceramic works from Western Paraguay show some of the Andean influences. “It gives us a look into their past culture and history” (Paraguay). Other designs on pottery and ceramic pieces are done with engobe and are usually urucu drawlings. Finally, wood carving is very popular in Paraguay. This style is important to make things used every day, around the house, etc. This type of art is also used for some religious purposes. These purposes include ethnic ritual masks, pipes, small chairs (also known as an apyka), and many types of animal or human figures used as simple artwork, or religious tools. Wood carving was very popular in jewelry making as well. The flowery cross, or the “Kurusú poty,” is
one piece of jewelry that you can see a lot of wood carvers make (Paraguay). The wood carving techniques, guidelines, etc, really influenced the mestizo era, or also known as folk art (Paraguay). This appeared with colonization in Paraguay. Crafts such as harps, guitars, gold and silver jewelry, and leather pieces are probably the most popular in Paraguay. The most traditional, famous craft, however, would have to be the production of spider web lace (Paraguayans). There are also four very important art museums in Paraguay: the Andres Barbero Ethnographic Museum, the Guido Boggiani Museum, the Museum of Indigenous Art, and the Barro Museum. These galleries display samples of art from different ethnicities that exist in Paraguayan territory. The galleries also carry a great amount of modern works.
Paraguay has two styles of music that truly identify it. These two styles are the
and the Guarania. The polka has a much faster beat, while the Guarania is slower and has a more sentimental beat (Paraguayan Music). The style, Guarania, was created by Jose Asuncion Flores in 1925 (Paraguay). He was a really famous, great Paraguayan musician. Paraguayan polka is super popular in Paraguay. The biggest difference between this polka and the European version is that the Paraguayan genre blends
together binary and ternary rhythms. The European uses only binary (Paraguayan Music). Guarania is an even more popular, famous style of music in Paraguay. Its combination of sad stories and slow rhythms produces many great songs. Another popular genre of traditional music in Paraguay is the
. Paraguayans use every kind of instrument to make their music, however, the two most popular would have to be the guitar and harp (Paraguayan Music). The guitar comes from Spain, while the harp is European. Paraguayan is extremely European in its music, unlike most of Paraguay’s neighbors. However, all of their songs are almost always sung in Guarani. Agustin Pio Barrios is an eminent composer and guitarist in Paraguay. He is very famous for his music. Overall, music is extremely popular in Paraguay. The radio is very cheap and affordable and one of the few things that practically every Paraguayan owns (Jermyn). Therefore, music is shared throughout the whole country.
Cinematography in Paraguay has never been very popular or one of the country’s better aspects. Film in Paraguay has always struggled (Sense of Cinema). They have always lacked a tradition of national styles and genres in cinematography. Also, the few productions that have been produced on location in Paraguay are always made with national talents. Therefore, there is a very small amount of productions that are 100% Paraguayan (Sense of Cinema). However, it wasn’t until recently when Paraguay really began to expand its film production. Three feature films have achieved prominent presence in a few international film festivals. These films were responsible for the peoples rising interest in watching stories of their own on the big screen (Paraguay). The improvements in digital technology and the hiring of new, younger actors and actresses show a promising future for the film industry in Paraguay. There are even around 24 theatres operating in the country now (Sense of Cinema).
Sports are a huge part of Paraguayan culture. Their most famous sports include soccer, basketball, tennis, and even chess. Though, soccer and basketball are by far the most popular (Country Reports). The Paraguayan national basketball team has had a few great achievements. The two most memorable moments would have to be getting second place in the South American Basketball Championship in 1955 an
d 1960 (Maps of the World). Many say that Paraguay is the best place to host an international sports event of any kind, because they are so diverse and lenient in what sports they enjoy (Maps of the World). However, it is a great place to host soccer, especially because it is so popular and famous in Paraguay. The Paraguay national soccer team has also had its memorable moments. They came out to be the best in the Copa America (American Cup) tournaments in the years 1953 and 1979 (Maps of the World). Also, in Athens at the Olympic Games in 2004, they won the silver medal (Maps of the World). A few very famous Paraguayan soccer players are
Dionisio Arce, Arsenio Erico, Carlos Morales Santos, Juan Vicente Lezcano and many more. Soccer is played in every town, fields and at formal clubs, in Paraguay. However, even though soccer and basketball may be the most watched and played sports in Paraguay, they are not the only successful ones. Some of the eminent tennis players are Rossana de los Rios, Victor Pecci, Hugo Chapacu, Francisco Gonzalez, etc. In 1931, Paraguay participated in their first
(Maps of the World). They have always had a strong team.
Paraguay is mostly a very poor and rural place. Leisure time is not always a privilege for many (Jermyn). Therefore, many of their hobbies are those that are more affordable. Swimming is a very common past time in Paraguay. They mainly swim in nearby rivers. Children really enjoy splashing in the water while parents are relieved that they don’t have to pay a cent. Hunting and fishing are also great hobbies. Paraguayans enjoy the activity as well as the food that comes out of it. Television is almost nonexistent in the homes (Jermyn). Therefore, many friends gather together just to go down to the local bars to watch big games on television. These are usually big soccer games. There, Paraguayans have a great time celebrating their team and getting to know new people, etc.
Soccer is a very affordable sport. All you really need is a ball! It’s a popular hobby for children, especially. Many people in Paraguay also love to play volleyball. This is usually played on sand. It really brings many people together. Many Paraguayans own ranches or farms and own horses (Country Reports). This is why horseback-riding has become a widely practiced past time. Horse racing has even become quite popular throughout the country, especially in the capital and major towns. Finally, theater is growing to be very popular in Paraguay. Their productions are staged in Spanish as well as Guarani. Most of these plays are about religion. Many enjoy putting on an opera. Obviously, Paraguayans can find a great amount of affordable, fun things to do in their free time.
help on how to format text
Turn off "Getting Started"