Here are some top interesting facts about Paraguay:
#1 It is also known as the Heart of South America (which literally translates as Corazon de Sudamerica) due to its central location in the continent. It is bounded by Brazil to the northeast and east, Bolivia to the north and northwest, and Argentina to the west, south, and southeast.
#2 The total land area of this country is 406,750 square kilometers (157,047 square miles) and is divided into 2 main regions by the Paraguay River (that flows about 2,621 kilometers), which after the Amazon is the 2nd longest river in South America.
#3 These lands were originally inhabited by the semi-nomadic people, named – Guarani. The 1st western visit of this country was in 1525 by Alejo Garcia, a Portuguese explorer.
#4 On May 14, 1811, this country got its independence from Spanish rule. Presently, May 14 is celebrated with a lot of festivities and joyfulness every year.
#5 From 1865 to 1870, it fought a war against Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay, which is known as the War of the Triple Alliance, and lost much of its territory and 2/3 of all adult males.
#6 During the 1930s and 1940s, this country was again very unstable because of a period of dictatorships and the Chaco War with Bolivia.
#7 In 1947, there was a civil war and the long dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner (during which he was accused of the torture and murder of many of his political opponents) which left a deep legacy of fear and self-censorship among the people. The government also reacted vigorously against a strong interference of religion and closed the Catholic University in 1968.
#8 In June 1992, a constitution was adopted and established a democratic system of government. The Constitution stipulated, among other, a dramatically improved protection of fundamental human rights.
#9 In 1993, Juan Carlos Wasmosy became president, the first civilian to lead the country in many years. However, Juan Carlos Wasmosy faced many problems, especially with a rapid deforestation and poor agricultural population.
#10 On April 22, 2008, Fernando Lugo became president by winning the elections against the Colorado Party’s candidate. By 2012, few of his new plans for making Paraguay a better place to live had been implemented, mainly because the country’s right-wing faction still had a major influence.
#11 Asuncion is the capital and is one of the oldest cities in South America. It is the cultural and industrial center of the country and has an estimated population of 525,294 (2016). Throughout the age of colonial rule of this country, Asuncion served mainly as a location for Jesuit missions, up to their complete expulsion by the Spanish in the late 1700s.
#12 The capital’s counterpart to the White House is the Palacio de los Lopez (which was built by order of Antonio López), a neoclassical building intended for the dynasty which ruled the country for years in the mid-19th century.
#13 The official currency is the guarani (PYG).
#15 This country has 2 official languages: Guaraní (incorporates the sounds of nature into many of its words) and Spanish. A majority of the country is bilingual in both, with Guaraní spoken by more than 90 percent of the population and Spanish spoken by 87 percent.
#16 The majority of the population belongs to the mixed breed of Amerindians (Mestizo) and Spanish. The main part of the people lives in the Oriental region (divided by the Paraguay River), an area of 61,700 sq. miles (159,800 sq. km).
#17 The main religion is Roman Catholicism with over 86 percent. The remaining 14 percent consist of mainline evangelical Christian, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Mormon, and Baha’i groups.
#18 The national motto is commonly depicted on a banner above a lion with a red cap and is ”Paz y Justicia”, translating as “Peace and Justice“ in English.
#19 This country is presently the world’s biggest exporter of hydroelectric power and soybeans (mostly genetically modified). Other important exports include meat, vegetable oil, and cotton.
#20 The Itaipu Dam, an amazing hydroelectric dam on the Parana River, located on the border between Paraguay and Brazil, is the largest operational hydroelectric energy producer in the world. Its 18 turbine generators are able to produce 12,600 megawatts of electricity.
#21 With an elevation of 2,762 feet (842 meters), Cerro Tres Kandu or Cerro Pero is a peak that represents the highest point of this country.
#22 Cerro Tres Kandu is also a strategic location for the army to place a radio-link for their communication.
#24 Jose Luis Chilavert is a Paraguayan former footballer who played over 500 professional matches in South America and Europe and also played for his country 74 times.
#25 The national food is named – sopa paraguaya, a corn-based bread with onions and cheese. Cassava is also very used by Paraguayans. Furthermore, it is quite usual to see people drinking a tea prepared by infusing yerba mate leaves in hot water.
#26 Animals found in this country include – wild boar, the jaguar (particularly in the Chaco), deer, capybara (the largest rodent in the world), anteater, armadillo, brown wolf, fox, and tapir.