Paraguay - geography
The climate in Paraguay is tropical. In the hottest months (December-March)
the temperature can vary between 25 °C and 43 °C and there is high
humidity. During the winter months, large temperature fluctuations occur, rarely
all the way down to near freezing point. The fluctuations in winter can happen
from one day to the next, but the coldest periods are only few and short. It
never snows in Paraguay.
During the summer months, the heaviest rain showers are experienced, but rain
falls throughout the year. The largest quantities occur in the southeastern
corner of the country, Itapúa, with an average of 1800 mm per years,
while the northwestern part of the country receives only an average of 400.
The Paraguay River runs down the middle of the country and divides
it into two very different regions. The western region, El Gran Chaco,
is flat and barren, and in large parts of the area the terrain is impassable due
to swamps and dense scrub forest. After the Chaco War (1932-35), the region was
nicknamed the Green Hell. The chaco covers 61% of Paraguay's total area, but
only 2% of the population inhabits this region. A single highway runs through
the area and connects eastern Paraguay with Bolivia, but otherwise the
infrastructure is only sparsely developed. The relatively passable part of the
Chaco is characterized by large estancias (farms), where extensive
cattle farming is practiced. Many estancias are gigantic, several hundred
thousand hectares, and often have their own runway for aircraft.
The largest city in Chaco, Philadelphia, is founded by Mennonites,
immigrants originally from Germany; the first came to Paraguay in the late
1920's. The Mennonites have in and around Philadelphia cleared the natural
vegetation and developed a significant agricultural production that is primarily
built around the dairy sector. In addition to Mennonites, the Chaco is inhabited
by Indians and a small number of other Paraguayans. They have mostly settled
near the Mennonites or along the Paraguay River. See also Chaco.
La Oriental is the eastern region of Paraguay. In the easternmost
part, the landscape is hilly and very lush, and this is where the greatest
amounts of precipitation fall. Here are hills and hills of up to 600 m, and
there are still areas of native rainforest, although large parts have been
cleared. There are no official figures on deforestation, but it is estimated
that 2/3 of the original forest is gone. In particular,
the two types of wood cedar (Cedrela spp.) And lapacho (Tabebuia
spp.) Are sought after in the building and furniture industry, and a large
part of the wood is traded through unofficial channels and sold, among other
things. in Brazil.
In the central part of La Oriental the soil is fertile and large
parts are cultivated. Just under half of the Paraguayan population lives in the
countryside and subsist primarily on agriculture. In Paraguay, cities have grown
slowly and the country has the lowest degree of urbanization among Latin
American countries. At the 1992 census, for the first time, more people lived in
cities (50.5%) than in the countryside. A large part of this urban population
lives in smaller cities. There is only one large city, the capital Asunción with
729,000 residents in the entire urban area. Three other cities have more than
50,000 residents: Ciudad del Este(223,000), Encarnación (70,000) and Pedro
Juan Caballero (64,200). They are all border trading cities on the border with
Brazil or Argentina. The fact that Paraguay has not experienced the same urban
development as other Latin American countries is partly due to the fact that the
country has for decades focused on the development of agriculture, a large part
of which has always been small family farms. At the same time, there has been a
massive migration from country to city, just not towards cities in Paraguay. A
continuous emigration has taken place towards São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in
Brazil and especially towards Buenos Airesin Argentina, where today more than
one million Paraguayans live. It is not only economic conditions but also
political conditions, repression and persecution during the years-long
dictatorship that have caused the emigration from Paraguay.
The population is one of the most ethnically homogeneous in Latin
America. 90% are mestizos, while the rest are white (including about 25,000
Mennonites) and Indians (about 80,000).
Do you know how many people there are in Paraguay? Check this site to see
population pyramid and resident density about this country.
During Spanish colonization, Paraguay was never home to a large number of
Spaniards. The country, which was neither rich in gold nor other raw materials,
functioned primarily as a strategic possession compared to the Portuguese in
Brazil. But the Spaniards who were, mingled and lived with the locals, and in
this lie the roots of Paraguay's mestizo population. The language guaraní has
been maintained by the Paraguayans, and outside Asunción it is common for
guaraní to be spoken rather than Spanish.. When the president meets the people
of the country outside Asunción, it also takes place on guaraní. It is estimated
that approximately 40% of the population do not speak Spanish at all. Conversely, many
city dwellers speak Spanish and master only an "urban" (limited) guaraní. In
that sense, language barriers can arise internally in the Paraguayan population.
Underpopulation is a phenomenon that has existed in Paraguay for several
periods. In the Triple Alliance War (1865-70), Paraguay lost over half of its
population, mostly men; likewise, a very large proportion of the Paraguayan men
in the Chaco War against Bolivia (1932-35) fell. The consequences can be seen in
the current population pattern, where only 3% are over 65 years of
age. Population growth is high, approximately 2.5% annually.
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Agriculture is the cornerstone of the Paraguayan economy. Over 1/3 of
the working age population is employed here, and production represents 22.4% of
GDP (2005). The primary crops are soybeans and sugar cane (for export) as well
as cassava, which targets domestic consumption. Cassava is a tuberous plant and
a typical Paraguayan food, especially in the countryside. The land distribution
is very skewed, and the export crops are grown especially on large farms, the
number of which has been increasing, just as the number of small family farms
has been increasing, and here the families cultivate mainly to feed
themselves. Paraguay has never focused on industrial development; the country is
poor in minerals and other raw materials, so the existing industry is built
around the processing of agricultural products as well as on energy production.
Paraguay - language
Spanish is the official language, but over 90% of the population also
speak Guaraní, which is perceived as a national cultural heritage; Spanish is
most prevalent in cities, while guaraní is strongest in rural areas and as a
home language. In addition, a total of approximately 15 Native American
languages; several are like the guaraní of the linguistic tupí.