Inhabited by Indian tribes, the Paraguay was visited between 1521 and 1526 by the expedition led by the Spanish A. Garcia, followed by that of S. Caboto (1526-32). In 1537 Asunción was founded, a Spanish stronghold against Portuguese expansion and a starting point for expeditions to conquer the southern regions of the American continent. The local populations, who had welcomed the Spaniards well, were reduced to semi-slavery with the introduction of the encomienda. Included in the viceroyalty of Peru (1542), the Plata region was formed in adelantazgo (1544), by virtue of which a private person who conquered a territory at his own expense received in exchange the powers of governor and hereditary privileges. In 1591 the region of Plata was constituted in gobernación and entrusted to H. Arias de Saavedra, who obtained from Madrid the division of the Paraguay from the region of Plata (1617).
From the 17th century. the Jesuits began to set up their own missions ( reducciones ) along the Paraná River. Deprived of precious metals, Paraguay remained economically underdeveloped, as well as subject to a rigid administrative dependence. In 1721 the governor José de Antequera took up arms against the colonial authorities; executed Antequera (1731), the rebellion of the comuneros continued with Fernando Mompó de Zayas and was eradicated in 1735. With the establishment of the viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata (1776) all autonomy for the Paraguay disappeared; the capital Buenos Aires controlled Paraguayan exports on which it imposed heavy customs tariffs and the situation did not improve when the region was constituted in intendencia of the new viceroyalty (1782). The territories that had been ruled by the Jesuits until their expulsion (1767) had a similar status (1803).
According to localcollegeexplorer, the anti-Spanish revolution broke out in Buenos Aires in May 1810, the governor of the Paraguay, Bernardo de Velasco, convened a cabildo abierto in Asunción who decided to recognize the sovereignty of the Spanish Regency Council and to maintain cordial relations with Buenos Aires, without however accepting it. the authority. After independence in 1811, a National Congress entrusted power to a junta formed by the military PJ Caballero and F. Yegros and by the lawyer JG Rodríguez de Francia. In 1813 the Republic of the Paraguay was proclaimed, under the authority of the consuls Yegros and France; a year later France was appointed supreme dictator for 5 years and finally, in June 1816, perpetual dictator.
Subjected the Spaniards to a regime of severe discrimination, France also eliminated the great Creole owners as a political force; some of them, who had organized a plot to depose him (1820), were discovered, put to death and stripped of their lands and slaves, who became part of the national patrimony. All political activity banned, the circulation of books and newspapers banned, the Church stripped of its privileges, the Fr was kept in almost total isolation. With France dead (1840), power was entrusted to two consuls until a new Constitution was promulgated (1844), which attributed enormous powers to the president; one of the consuls, CA López, was elevated to this office, who ruled with dictatorial methods until his death (1862). For border issues, relations with Brazil remained difficult, but above all with Argentina, which only after the fall of the dictator JM de Rosas recognized the independence of Paraguay and put an end to his isolation.
With López dead, the presidency was assumed by his son Francisco Solano. Eager to affirm the role of Paraguay in the balances of the Plata region, in response to the invasion of Uruguay by Brazilian troops (1864), he ordered his army to occupy the Brazilian region of Mato Grosso, then also declared war on the ‘Argentina. In 1865 Brazil, Argentina and the Uruguayan government signed the Triple Alliance treaty to defeat López: the Paraguay’s war ended only with the death of the president (1870) and cost the country almost half of its population and territorial losses.
After the promulgation of a new Constitution (1870), a phase of great political instability began; the Asociación Nacional Republicana (ANR, also known as Partido colorado), conservative and pro-Brazilian, managed to prevail over the pro-Argentine Liberal Partido and tried to revive the country’s disastrous economy by favoring production for foreign markets (leather, tobacco, maté, tannin and timber).
The 20th century
The military insurrection of General B. Ferreira inaugurated the dominance of the liberals in 1904. The granting of incentives to free enterprise and foreign investment made it possible for the large estates to flourish again, benefiting above all from British, French and Argentine companies. The presidency of E. Schaerer (1912-16) was able to profit from the increased demand for Paraguayan products following the First World War.
Under President E. Ayala (1924-28) a special legislation aimed to create a class of small owners and to favor the colonization of the peripheral regions; this project was carried out in particular in the Chaco Boreale region, for the possession of which a dispute with Bolivia had been going on for years; the interests of some US oil companies convinced of the existence of important fields in the disputed region were not unrelated to the contrast. In 1932 the hostilities began (➔ Gran Chaco) that lasted for 3 years. The Paraguay was victorious but the price to pay was a growing influence of the military in the political life of the country, which culminated in 1954 with the coup that brought General A. Stroessner to the government.
With the help of the Partido colorado, Stroessner maintained power for over 30 years, giving life to a bloody regime. The authoritarian traits of the regime did not diminish even after the approval of a new Constitution (1967). The repression and systematic violation of human rights practiced by the regime against opponents led, during the 1970s, the US administration of the Democrat J. Carter to reduce aid to the Paraguay; Stroessner therefore approached Brazil, in turn ruled by an authoritarian regime. The dictator was finally overthrown in 1989 by the coup led by General Andrés Rodríguez, who legalized parties and was elected president in 1989. Relying on the traditional alliance between party, armed forces and bureaucracy, but by listening more to the demands of entrepreneurs and large owners, the new government continued its wage freeze policy and refused to address the issue of land reform.
From 1993, with the victory of JC Wasmosy, the government returned to civilians. In 1996, the internal struggle of the colorados resulted in the attempted coup of General L. Oviedo, commander-in-chief of the army, who later ran for the presidential elections in 1998. Arrested on Wasmosy’s orders, Oviedo was later sentenced by a special military court to 10 years in prison for his failed coup attempt. However, the elections were won by the colorados and the presidency went to R. Cubas-Grau, who immediately ordered the release of Oviedo. The release of Oviedo and, above all, the assassination of the vice-president LM Argaña, whose principals were indicated in Cubas-Grau and in Oviedo itself, led 2/3 of the Congress to vote the impeachment for the president (which fled to Brazil, while Oviedo was taking refuge in Argentina). The presidency was then assumed by the president of the Congress, the senator of the Partido colorado L. Gonzáles Macchi.
The 21st century
After a new coup attempt by the military loyal to Oviedo, in 2002 a sharp worsening of economic conditions triggered serious social unrest. In 2003 the new presidential elections were won by N. Duarte Frutos, from the Partido colorado, who formed a coalition government with a vast economic and social reform program. However, government action was heavily hampered by scandals, a high crime rate, and political opposition to the privatization plans. The victory in 2008 of the deconsecrated Catholic bishop and candidate of the center-left coalition Patriotic Alliance for Change (APC), F. Lugo, ended the long line of presidents of the Partido Colorado.In June 2012 Lugo was dismissed from Parliament by a large majority vote of impeachment and was succeeded by his deputy, F. Franco; at the presidential elections held in April 2013, H. Cartes, exponent of the Partido Colorado, was elected president, who obtained 45.98% of the votes against the 36.93% awarded by the contender, the liberal E. Alegre. Cartes has composed a technocratic and conservative government which, despite the modernization effort of the Paraguay through the reform of the public administration and the modernization of infrastructures, has not proved capable of relieving the country from the serious economic crisis, thus increasing discontent. popular and the erosion of consensus in favor of government forces. In April 2017,Stroessner; in April of the following year he was replaced by M. Abdo Benítez, also from the Partido colorado, who obtained 46.5% of the votes.