Paraguay - 19th Century Encyclopedia Entries

Brockhaus 1809-1811, Brockhaus 1834-1838, Brockhaus 1837-1841, Pierer 1857-1865, Meyer 1885-1892

Brockhaus Conversations-Lexikon 1809-1811, Article : Paraguay
Paraguay, (1) In its wider meaning, Paraguay comprised of, before in 1776 many parts of it were included in the newly created Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata in Spanish South America, a large stretch of land which extends from Brasil until behind Chile and Peru, and the once so-called Amazon country, and consisted of 7 large provinces. The eastern part of Paraguay belongs to the Portuguese.
(2) In its more restricted meaning, Paraguay belongs to one of those provinces now belonging to the aforementioned Viceroyalty Rio de la Plata, which is traversed by the large Rio Paraguay. The country's air is mild and healthy. The main products are corn, cotton, sugar, Paraguay tea, spices etc. The capital la Assumption is located on the river Paraguay, and a few years ago had only 400 inhabitants. Paraguay has achieved notoriety by the Jesuit settlements there. In the first half of the last century, the Spanish court permitted the Jesuits to establish missions there, to civilize the semi-wild inhabiants of Paraguay. It also believed to see in these establishments a protective wall against the nearby Portuguese. The Jesuits promised to teach everybody Spanish, and to pay the crown 1 Piaster (1 Thaler and 8/10 Gute Groschen) for every adult American. The Jesuits soon engratiated themselves to such an extent, in manifold ways, among the inhabitants of Paraguay (who owe them a lot of their] culture), that after humble beginnings they were able to establish 31 missions or doctrinas with about 100,000 Americans. Here they were simultaneously priests and commanders-in-chief. However, their main purpose was the enrichment and enlargement of the Order, and for a long time they ware able to achieve it. They barred all Spaniards and Portuguese from entering their establishments, with the pretext to maintain the customs of their proteges. Far from teaching the latter the Spanish language, they taught them to hate the Spanish and the Portuguese; they even managed to obtain by fraud the permission to arm their proteges. The latter did not own any property; instead the Order, by trading with the products of the country, enriched itself immensely. Long they managed to hide the true conditions from the Spanish court by false reports, and describe the missions as being poor, this is why they had to pay only a small head tax. The court has been informed about this deceit, but in vain; the Jesuits were able to maintain their good name. But when finally a border revision treaty was siggned with Portugal in 1752, which cut through their missions and terminated their trade, they first tried to undermine the treaty by cabals at court, and when this strategy was unsuccessful, they threw off their masks and let their men take up their arms. They had a well-equipped and not unskilled army of 20,000 men, and they could not be defeated decisively. In 1767 the Jesuits were expelled from the Spanish Empire, and so ended their state in Paraguay. See under Jesuits.

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Brockhaus Damen-Conversations-Lexikon 1834-1838, Article : Paraguay
Paraguay, the garden of South America, a flourishing, fertile land between Brazil, Blivia and the La Plata States, with 600,000 inhabitants and 7,000 square miles, mostly plain, and crossed by the rivers Parana and Paraguay. Innumerable herds of buffalo and wild horses graze on the meadows rich in grass (llanos). The forests are populated by a large number of colofrul-feathered birds, but also by 20 different species of snakes, among them the feared boa constrictor and the rattlesnake. Of their products the Paraguay tea has become a daily necessity in all of South America; further, tobacco, indigo, sugar, silk, coton, leather, wax, timber etc. are exported in quantity. But mining is nof no importance. Paraguay was discovered by the Spanish in 1516, later was under the Jesuits, whose activities here turned out to be a blessing, for 150 years, and after their expulsion in 1756 fell back to Spain. Since 1814 it is a republic, governed by the famous Dr. Francia, who resides in Asuncion, a city with 8,000 inhabitants. The women of the population, which consists of Creoles, Mestizos and Indios, are slim, have wonderfully small hands and feet. Their teint would appear brown, if it were not off-set by the raven-black hair. Also they have the dark-glowing eyes of the Spanish woman, mimic facial expressions, easily blushing and fading cheeks. In conversation they show a charming vitality, and all foreigners agree in them being Paraguay's most valuable treasure.
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Brockhaus Bilder-Conversations-Lexikon 1837-1841, Article : Paraguay
Paraguay is the name of an independent area of about 7,000 square miles with 800,000 inhabitants in South America, which in the east against Brazil is bordered by the Parana River, in the north, west and south by the states Bolivia and the La Plata Union. The land is divided in two inequal halves by the Paraguay River, which has its source in the Brazilian landscape Mato Grosso, and which merges with the Parana at the southern border of Paraguay, and from here on forms the Rio de la Plata. The areas east of the Paraguay are mountainous and resemble the plateaus of Brazil, but not without fertile valleys, to the west of that river, until the foot of the Andes, spread wide plains, which are covered in part by (occasionally swampy) jungles, in part by lush grasslands, and which to the north of the river Pilcomayo (coming from Bolivia) are called Llanos de Chaco, to the south of it Llanos de Tucuman. Here large herds of semi-feral cattle and horses are kept, the skins of which are the country's main export products besides Paraguay tea or mate, which is produced almost exclusively in Paraguay, of leaves of a species of holly, and which is a necessity to the white population of South America. But also tobacco, cotton and other South American products are exported. Only mining products are not exported, as there is no mining industry. The soil is fertile almost everywhere, the very warm climate only in swampy areas not good for health. The population consists of Creoles, Mestizos and mostly resident Indians, mainly of the tribe of the Guarani, and the Guarani language dominates, but everywhere Spanish is understood. Livestock keeping, agriculture, crafts and trade are the inhabitants' main occupations. The government, laely with unlimited authority, was in the hands of the Dictator Dr. Francia, of whom will be reported further down. The entire area is subdivided in 8 departments named after insignificant main places. The only city of importance is Assumpcion or La Assumcion, with 10,000 inhabitants, on the Paraguay, which was established in 1536, but which has been rebuilt by Dr. Francia.
In the past Paraguay belonged to those sections of the Spanish Empire, where in the 17th century numerous Jesuit missions were located, around which the Jesuits established villages which together were inhabited by more than 100,000 Indians, who had been converted to Christianity, and whom the Jesuits turned into spineless tools of their greed. They did teach the Indians agriculture, crafts and the arts, but the entire produce ended up in the storage facilities of the Jesuits, who controlled all trade. The inhabitants were given clothes, food and tools, but never property. The clever fratres managed, by promises, a low tax and by false reports, to get the Spanish government to grant them free hand, and even permit the expulsion of all Europeans from the mission territories, as the latter were said to threaten the morality of the natives. Even an army was established, and finally used to defend the indivisibility of this priest state, when in 1752 Spain and Portugal concluded a treaty according to which part of the missions were ceded to the latter. Both governments immediately agreed to expel the Jesuits from these areas, which was implemented by force in 1756. The fate of the Indians, who had been held in religious limitation and general patronization, in these regions now did not improve, as they no longer were protected from the oppression by individual officials (as they had been by placating the greed of the Order), many left their houses to return to a nomadising life. During the unrest which spead in South America early in this century, also Paraguay declared its independence in 1811, and at that time Jose Gaspar Rodriguez Francia, as secretary of the governing junta, began his remarkable career as a statesman. He was the son of a Portuguese who had immigrated from Lisbon, and of a Creole, born in 1758 or 1763, and at first determined for a career in the clergy, he was given a theological doctorate at the college of Cordoba de Tucuman. Inclination lead him to legal studies, and in 1811 in Asumpcion he had the reputation of a skilled and incorrupt advocate. With his limitless ambition, the most talented man in the country could only be satisfied by the highest position in the country. While he was consul of Paraguay for two years together with Fulgencio Yegros, he president of that junta, he cleverly prepared his proclamation as dictator for three years in 1814, as dictator for lifetime in 1817. Because of his energetic, irreconcilable character, which even prevented him to reconcile with his father on the latter's deathbed, his government could not lack elements of tyrannical arbitrariness. On the other hand, it seems to have been conducted selflessly, and aiming at providing everyone with basic education. Everyone had to learn to read, write and count, and in Assumcion there are institutions for higher learning. With timid severity he tried to prevent any close contact of Paraguay with its neighbouring countries and with Europe. The French scholar of nature, Bonpland, who seemed suspicious to the dictator, was held back by him for many years. His contempt of the Spanish he showed in a law which forbade them to marry within the borders of Paraguay, except if they would marry a negro or mulatto; in all other aspects the law code written by him for Paraguay is based on the full equality of the inhabitants. After having dismissed his chaplain in 1820, he dissolved the monaseries in 1824, forbade processions, reduced the number of holidays; the monks who refused to rejoin the world he declared useless members of the state. He spent special attention to the army, in addition to a militia of 30,000 men he held a force of 8,000 paid soldiers and a few armed vessels to defend the rivers. The independence of Paraguay was recognized by Dom Pedro of Brazil only in 1827, where Dr. Francia was able to maintain his reputation until his death in 1838.

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Pierer's Universal-Lexikon 1857-1865, Article : Paraguay
Paraguay, in the Guarani language para-qua-y, source of the sea.
(2) in the past a general term for a wide region covering he modern states of the Argentine Confederation, the republics Uruguay and Paraguay, the southern provinces of Brazil, and the southwestern waste part of Bolivia. Only by regulations by the Spanish government in 1620 respectively by treaties with Portugal concluded in 1776 both rivers Paraguay (in the west) and Parana (in the east) were established as borders; this area was under Spanish sovereignty and belonged to the Viceroyalty of La Plata.
(3) presently one of the South American republics, a landlocked country, in the north and east bordered by Brazil, the northern section of the western border is shared with Bolivia, the entire western border is formed by the Rio Paraguay, the eastern, southeastern and southern border by he Rio Parana. The size has not been established with certainty; in the country the figures given as its size range between 7,200 and 12,000 square miles. According to the newest planimetric maps, the area does measue only 4,132.20 geographical square miles; inhabited and cultivated are at best 1,200 to 1,500 square miles. The entire country is a plain slightly declining in north-southerly direction (part of the large Pampas), only in the north mountain ranges from Brazil extend into the country, which rarely reach the altitude of 1000 feet. The most important of these chains is the Sierra de San Jose, which forms the watershed between the Rio Parana and Rio Paraguay. The two main rivers are the Paraguay, the Parana, the most important lake the Mataras. he climate is semi-tropical, very favorable for vegetation, in the summer (December, January, February) very hot, in winter (June, July, August) cool, at night often 0 degrees Reaumur. Products corn, cotton, sugar, tobacco, yerba mate or Paraguay tea, large herds of semi-feral cattle and horses, domesticated sheep, .., panthers and similar animals, ornated by color, ostriches, rattlesnakes, pythons etc., but no precious metals, at least now the country's mineral wealth has not yet been studied. Because of the large number of Indian tribes, a figure for the total population can no be given with certainty; it is estimated by some as 300,000, by others up to 800,000 souls. The majority are Indians (mainly of the tribe of the Guarani, the language of whom is the dominant language in Paraguay; for the most part they have converted to Christianity), the remainder mestizos, whites (Creoles) and negroes. The Creoles are beautiful and strong, the Mulattos proud and faithless, the negroes show great loyalty to their masters. The women rarely appear in society, but there show more decorum than the men; in the cities they wear European fashion, in the countryside they go barefoot in long embroidered shirts and a skirt with girdle. The boys go almost naked, at best with straw hat and vest. The schools in general are bad, only a few girls attend. Now a few private institutions exist. Despite the recent achievements of President Lopez in this area, education in general is still on a very low level. Occupation agriculture and plantation culture; mostly produced is maize, which together with meat broth, milk and eggs is processed into a cake, the main nourishment of the population, and even is fed to animals. Further are grown a lot of manioc and of sweet potatoes, of mani (a legume), sugar cane, cotton, millet, wheat, rice, melons, tobacco, indigo. Of importance are the production of Paraguay tea, livestock keeping, the trade in animal skins, plantation and forest products. The industry barely is in its beginnings.
Constitution : at the head of the executive stands a president elected for seven years (1857-1864), Carlos Antonio Lopez, the cabinet consists of 4 ministers (for foreign affairs, the interior, war and finances). The legislative assebly (congress) convenes every 5 years; in important cases the president convokes the Stae Council, which consists of two supreme judges, the bishop of Assuncion and three respected citizens. For jurisdiction a supreme court in Asuncion, at lower levels justices of peace. In Asuncion a police commissioner and an advocate for minors and slaves are employed. State religion is Roman Catholicism, with a bishop in Asuncion (bishop of Corycium in part.); the finances produce a surplus. Revenues are calculated at 1 1/2 million Pesos. Paraguay does not have foreign debts, but does have a state treasure. Trade in 1859 : import 1,540,000 Pesos, export 1,766,000 Pesos, the main export items were tobacco, skins, Paraguay tea etc., the import items included linen cloth, textiles, silkwares, woolwares, salt and others. Military : 8,000 men (but only a small part of them is under arms), further 30,000 men militia. Navy : a few river vessels. Divided in 85 districts (partidos), with commanders at the helm. Capital : Nuestra Senora de la Asuncion; other cities : Villa Rica del Espiritu Santo, Villareal de la Concepcion, Itapua. The number of the remaining missions from the time of the Jesuits is 19, with 400 to 3,000 heads each, the number of slave-pueblos is 7. For the purpose of protection against Indian raids from the Chaco territory, now belonging to the Argentine Confederation, a number of blockhouses were established. In Paraguay, Pesos or Piaster are used as currency (Spanish Dollars = 1 Thaler 12 1/2 Silbergroschen). Measures and weights as in the Argentine Confederation.
Paraguay was discovered in 1516 by the Spaniard Diaz de Solis, the first Spanish settlements established in 1526 on the Paraguay and the colony Buenos Ayres soon were abandoned because of attacks by the Indians, in 1533 Asuncion was established, it burnt down almost completely in 1543. From here Juan Ortis de Zarate lead colonists back to Buenos Ayres, and Paraguay, in its woder meaning, placed under the Viceroyalty of La Plata. Missionaries continued to try convert the Indians, but the Indians, maltreated by the greedy colonists, rejected Christianity. Since 1608 he Jesuits had possessions and congregations here, gained the confidence of individual Indians and were granted the right by the Spanish government to alone engage in mission there, to which they offered in return to pay 1 Peso per adult man, and to organize a militia against the Portuguese and against other Indians. They instructed the natives in agriculture and livestock keeping, in arts and crafts, but barred all Europeans from immigration. The number of their mission districts grew to almost 40, with more than 100,000 Indians well-trained in the use of arms, who lived in permanent settlements (Reducciones), and had a proper theocratic constitution. The centers of their administraion were in their colleges at Asuncion and Cordoba, in the latter city resided the governing principal with his four consultants. In every settlemen there was a priest, simultaneously functioning as the highest authority, who administrated it together with his vicar. Police was exercised by a Cazique elected by and from the Indians, he ensured that the Indians properly did their share of work. The work consuisted of the cultivation of grain, maize, tobacco, cotton, in he collection of Paraguay tea, in herding the herds of animals, in the work of craftsmen (as carpenters, locksmiths, weathers, silver- and goldsmiths), the women were occupied with household work, sewing, knitting and embroidery. All works were done for the general good, the production was stored in magazines, by which the Indians were supplied with their necessities; the remainder was sold by the Jesuits. This trade was so profitable, that they not only could finance the administration of Paraguay and pay the taxes to the government, but also could transfer significant sums to Europe. The Indians were educated in Christianity, had to learn to read and write. The dress of the men was shirt and pants, that of the women skirt and girdle. The native language, Guarani, was maintained. But he Jesuits did not olerate any Spaniards or other Europeans in their state, they even nourished the hatred of the Indians toward all Europeans. So the state of the Jesuits lasted for one and a half centuries. On a couple of occasions, the stadholders, who resided here since 1620, wanted to limit their authority, but every time they managed to regain their earlier privileges at the Spanish court. Neither the party of the Comuneros, i.e. the Spanish colonists in Paraguay, who wanted to deprive the Jesuits of their trade monopoly, were able to achieve anything against them, nor the reports of Archbishop Juan de Palafox of Mexico about the greed of the Jesuits, who respected neither the rights of the crown nor that of the local clergy, resulted in any change, as they were able to defame the archbishop. The true condition of the country remained hidden, until according to a treaty between Spain and Portugal, 7 missions, among them Asuncion, were to be ceded to the latter. The Jesuits first resisted the implementation by intrigues, them since 1754 by armed force, but afer several skirmishes in 1758 they were, 20,000 men strong, defeated by the united Spaniards and Portuguese, in 1768 they all were arrested and deported, the Indians fled into the forests, deserts or mountains or were enslaved, after which the Spanish and the Portuguese divided the country and handed over the missions to the civilian authorities, which allowed them to decline to their previous barbaric state. In 1778 Paraguay was allocated to the Spanish province of La Plata, including the Banda Oriental with Montevideo, and since 1801 the province of the missions was ceded to Brazil.
At the beginning of the revolutions in South America, Paraguay remained loyal to Spain, until the Spanish governor Velasco, during an attack by the Republic of Buenos Ayres on them in 1811 abandoned them to their fate, in response to which they deposed him, and replaced him in 1811 by a governing junta consisting of a president, 2 members and a secretary. The secretary was Dr. Jose Gaspar Rodriguez de Francia. Soon he became the soul of the new government, the junta was dissolved, a congress convened, which electede two consuls, Francia was given the position of first consul, his fellow was ex-president Fulgencio Yegros. Already in 1812 Francia was appointed dictator for 5 years, in 1817 dictator for life. He governed with an iron hand, forbade any contact with the other insurgent Spanish provinces and with Brazil under the pain of death, had Europeans who came there arrested and prevented their return, broke the power of the church and in 1824 closed down the monasteries. He promoted agriculture and industry, built roads, and fortresses on the borders, gave laws severely punishing theft, begging and idleness. Only with Brasil, which recognized him in 1827, he maintained communication, which he later terminated. In 1830 he eased communication with foreign countries, released the foreigners; he died in 1840. His death resulted in several shifts of public affairs and in repeated coup attempts. Governor Vidal continued Francia's system in a milder form. In 1842 congress reconvened after not having met for some time, and elected two nephews of Dr. Francia, Don Alonso and Don Carlos Antonio Lopez, as consuls; on March 13th 1844 congress accepted a new constitution, and in concordance on March 14th appointed Don Carlos Antonio Lopez president for the next ten years. After the latter had informed the president of the La Plata States, Rosas, by this new organization of affairs, by decree of May 20th 1845 he opened the borders and to foreign communication under the condition that incoming vssels had to sail under the flag of La Plata. However, Rosas did no recognize the independence of Paraguay and forbade all communication with the latter. In reponse, Paraguay on November 11th entered into an alliance with Corrientes, which also had left the La Plata Federation, and on December 4th declared war on Rosas. The alliance was renewed in 1847. In 1851 the alliance was joined by Brazil, Uruguay, and the state of Entre Rios, which also had left the La Plata Federation, in order to topple Rosas; this aim was achieved in February 1852. In July 1852 the Argentine Confederation recognized Paraguay's independence, as did Britain by the Treaty of Asuncion on January 3rd 1853 (confirmed on March 4th 1853). after the independence of Paraguay since 1845 had been recognized first by the United States, then by Brazil, Uruguay, then by Great Britain, Portugal and Rome. In consequence president Lopez concluded trade and navigation treaties with Britain, France, North America and Sardinia, on the basis of free navigation on the rivers of Paraguay, which regulated trade, and in which on the British side free exercise of religion was demanded for foreigners. All public institutions of the Jesuits had already been closed under the Spanish and the Portuguese. Dr. Francia neglected them completely, so Lopez had to newly create almost everything, he regulated jurisdiction, created a police force, established schools and a scientific society, improved he condition of the clergy, took care of roads and paths, established an ironworks on the banks of the Rio Ibicuy. The North Americans were the first to make use of the freedom of navigation. One of their steamers appeared off Asuncion in November 1853. Only their manners were too rough, they soon entered into a dispute with the president, in consequence of which the American consul was deprived of his exequatur, and on October 3rd 1854 all foreign warships were forbidden to navigate the rivers of Paraguay. A steamer of the North American navy which on February 1st 1855 still tried to navigate up to Asuncion, was forced to return by cannon fire. Also several disputed matters were to be addressed with Brazil, regarding the correction of the border, the navigation of the rivers, the case of a Brasilian emissary who had been expelled a few years earlier, by the latter point soon was solved in a way satisfying both sides. Also a trade and navigation treaty with Brazil was agreed upon in 1855, but its implementation prevented by Lopez. At the instigation of his son Solano Lopez, who had spent some time in England and France, Paraguay made the attempt to increase its population, improve its agriculture and more quickly multiply her products by bringing in immigrants from Europe. A group of Frenchmen, who were given land free of charge and who were promised aid, immigrated in the spring of 1855 and founded New Bordeaux. The costs for transit and the maintenance of their colony in the first years were to be replaced by a quarter of their production in the following years. Only the lands given to them were so bad, and already in August the government terminated the shipments to the colonists, who had to suffer abuse of all kinds. Only because of he interference of the French government in the following year they were permitted to leave Paraguay at the expense of the French government (these costs were repaid to the French government in 1857). The president also caused Britain's displeasure by decreeing that all children born of foreigners in Paraguay were Paraguayan citizens. At the end of 1856, Lopez had himself reelected as president by congress for further seven years; he remained absolute ruler. Toward Brazil, which prepared serious measures of retaliation, Lopez gave in and lifted regulations with which he had made impossible the navigation on the streams of Paraguay, an obligation taken on in he navigation treaty with Brazil. Early in 1850 in Paraguayan waters a North American squadron appeared to emand satisfaction for the many insults and injuries afflicted on the union, which the president soon granted, by reneweing the treaty of 1853, by giving a satisfactory explanation for the incident in which the North American ship was fired upon, by compensating injured Americans, and by giving free navigation on the country's rivers for scientific purpose. Asked to mediate in the conflict between Buenos Ayres and the Argentine Confederation, he sent his son, who succeeded in achieving the reunification of boh based on a treaty.
See : Muratori, Christianesimo felice nelle missione nel Paraguay, Venice 1713, Charlevoix, Geschichte von Paraguay, in German Nürnberg 1768, 2 vols., Neue Nachrichten von den Jesuiten in Paraguay, trsl. from the Spanish, Hamburg 1768, Ibagnez, Jesuitisches Reich in Paraguay, from the Italian by le Bret, Leipzig 1774, Azara, Voyage dans l'Amerique meridionale, Paris 1809, 4 vols., Denis, Buenos Ayres et le Paraguay, Paris 1823, 3 vols., Pauke, Reisen in die Missionen nach Paraguay, Wien 1829, Rengger and Longchamp, Die Revolution von Paraguay und die Regierung Francias, Stuttgart 1827, Rengger, Reise nach Paraguay 1818-1826, Aarau 1835, Robertson, Lettres on Paaguay, Londonm 1838, 2 vols., Rosenskiöld, O Paraguay, suo passado, presend e futuro, Rio de Janeiro 1848, Castelnau, Expedition dans les parties centrales de l'Amerique du sud 1843-1857, Paris 1850-1851, 6 vols., Page, Le Paraguay et les republiques de La Plata, Paris 1851.

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Meyer's Konversationslexikon 1885-1892, Article : Paraguay
Paraguay, a free state in South America, consists of Paraguay proper between Rio Paraguay and Rio Parana, and of a part of the Chaco, which was allocated to Paraguay by the arbitrary judgment of the president of the United States in November 1878. These borders were regulated by treaties concluded after a war lasting 5 years (1865-1870) with Brazil and the Argentine Republic, and by later treaties with the Argentine Republic (February 3rd 1876) and with Bolivia (October 1879). So Paraguay is located between 22 and 27 degrees southern latitude and it consists of proper Paraguay (146,886 square km or 2667,6 square miles) and the part of the Chaco locatd between 22 degrees southern latitude and the Pilcomayo (91,404 square km or 1660 square miles). The total area thus is 238,290 square km (4,327.6 square miles).
Physical conditions ...
Population. The number of inhabitants for 1857 was given at 1,337,441, but the horrible war of 1865-1870 caused devastation of such a kind, that the opulation by 1873 had shrunken to 221,079, of whom only 28,746 were male inhabitants over 15 years of age. By 1879 again 346,048 inhabitants were counted, while the census of 1887 only counted 231,878 souls, among whom only 94,868 were of male gender. Further live in the territory 60,000 semi-civilized and 70,000 wild Indians. Among the resident population in 1887 were 825 Italians, 478 Germans, 300 Spaniards and 40 Britons. The indigenous population mainly consists of mestizos. Created by a blending of Spaniards with the Guarani, from generation to generation it tends more and more toward the ancestors of white skin colour. The Paraguayans are of beautiful stature, vivid spirit, hospitable and noble, but also very careless. They have gloriously proven their pariotism and courage in the war wih Brazil and its allies. The civilized Indians are almost all Guarani, and the Guarani language until into the most recent times was generally spoken. The "wild" Indians in the Chaco belong to the tribes of the Lengua, Toba, Enimanga and Guaycuru. They are bold riders and prefer hunting and theft over livestock keeping and agriculture. Also in Paraguay's north wild Indians still live, so the Mbaya and Guana who migrated there from the Chaco. The number of negroes and mulattos (the children of slaves already in 1843 were declared free) never was of importance. Attempts made in recent times to attract European immigrants into the country were not very successful (see San Bernardino). Educational institutions consist of one high school (colegio) in Asuncion and of (1885) 149 schools with 5,100 students.
Occupations. Agriculture and livestock keeping form the main occupations. In 1881 about 162,800 ha were under cultivation, namely maize, the staple food, further manio and sweet potatoes, mani (an oil plant), sugar cane, wheat, rice, pumpkins, melons and watermelons are grown. Also tobacco and cotton. One of the most important products is the yerba-mate (Paraguay tea, see under Ilex), and the Yerbales, or forests where it grows, shall cover more than 1 1/4 million ha. The Yerbales in the south are rented out, for a fee of 1 Perso per ton, in the north everyone is free to collect, who has obtained a permit from the government. Agriculture is conducted in the most primitive way, neither crop rotation nor fertilization is practiced. Livestock production is much affected by inundations and insects; in 1886 the number of head of cattle was estimated at 634,606. The horses (62,286) are good and have well preserved shape and character of their Andalucian ancestors. While some iron is produced near Ibiquy and copper and gold have been found, the country hardly has a mining industry. Manufacturing industry produces cotton textiles, ponchos, mantas, horse blankets, leatherwares, saddles, there are also sugarmills, cigar factories, soap and brick factories.
Trade, in regard of the country's resources, is poorly developed, and this does not wonder regardung the high tariffs. Exports (1881 : 1,928.545 Persos, 1886 : 1,571,000 Pesos) consist mainly of yerba-mate and tobacco, further of cigars, oranges, skins, manioc flour, orange flower essance, timber, leather etc., while among the imports (1881 : 1,204,465 Pesos, 1886 : 1,621,000 Pesos) textiles dominate. Three quarters of the imports come from Britain. In 1882 696 ships with 104,819 tons left Paraguayan ports. The only railroad, 72 km long, connects Asuncion and Villarica. Since 1881 Paraguay is member of the Universal Postal Union, and in 1886 its postal service delivered 304,617 items. Political Conditions The present constitution was proclaimed after the death of dictator Lopez on November 25th 1870. It placed legislative power into the hands of a congress, the executive power into the hands of a president who is elected for 4 years, who is assisted by a vice president and five responsible ministers. The congress consists of a senate and a house of deputees double the size of the former; both are elected by the people. The president receives a salary of 6,000 Pesos, the ministers of 1600, the congress members of 500 Pesos. State church is the Toman Catholic church, but all oher confessions are permitted to freely practice theirs. Capital, and seat of the supreme court, is Asuncion. For the country's administration 23 partidos (districts) exist. Until the begin of the unhappy war with the neighbour countries the finances were in orderly condition, but in 1871 for the first time Paraguay took on a foreign loan of 1 million Pound Sterling, and in the following year a second loan of 2 million Pound Sterling. For these loans, of which only a small part arrived in the state treasury, since 1874 no interest has been paid. In addition Paraguay had taken on the obligation to pay a war indemnity of 236 million Pesos to the allied states Brasil, Argenina and Uruguay. On the other hand, until 1886 the internal debt has been reduced by the sale of state owned land etc. to 331,730 Pesos, and the British creditors, according to an agreement arrived at in December 1885, were satisfied with 4,250,000 Pesos. This debt disregarded, the finances now are in orderly condition, as in 1886-1887 the revenues amounted to 873,241 Pesos, expenses only 823,580 Pesos. Customs tariffs and the rent for the yerbales produced the larger part of the revenues. During the war with the allied South American countries, Paraguay sen an army of 60,000 men into the field. Now the armed force is limited to 57 officers and 550 men; in case of war, the naional guard can be called upon. The coat of arms consists of a white shield with a golden horn, surrounded by a laurel and a palm twig, with the motto : Republica del Paraguay - Paz y justicia. The flag consists of three horizontal stripes, blue, white, blue, with a lion and the coat of arms in the white stripe.
Paraguay was discovered by the Spaniards under Don Juan de Solis, who reached the mouth of the La Plata in 1515,but here was killed by the natives. His discovery was further explored in 1525 by Diego Garcia. and then by Sebastian Caboto (Cabot). Juan de Ayolas on August 15th 1536 founded Asuncion, and with 200 Spaniards overland got as far as Peru, but on his return on the Paraguay he and his entire expedition were slain by the Indians.Asuncion now became the center of the entire further colonization. At the time of the conquest of this part of South America the name Paraguay was perceived to encompass part of the later Viceroyalty of Rio de La Plata and even several provinces of Brasil, the latter of which were called Portuguese Paraguay. The first captain general of Paraguay was Alvaro Nunez Cabeza de Vaca (1542-1544). During the excellent administration of Hernandez Arias de Saavedra (c. 1608) the first Jesuits arrived in Paraguay. They soon gained the trust of the Indians and instructed them in agriculure, crafts and animal husbandry. Their efforts to prevent oppression and arbitrary actions, which were caused by the system of encomiendas, despite of all decrees in favour of the natives, resulted in conflicts with the owners of those lands, the masters of Indians living in servitude, the Encomenderos, and several missionaries were chased out. Philipp III. issued a decree in favour of the Jesuits, but this only increased the repugnance of the Spaniards in Paraguay toward them, and the governor Diego Martin Negroni (1609-1615) therefore told them to focus on the two peoples of the Guaycuru and Guarani,but told them not to interfere in the affairs of all other regions of Paraguay. Wihin the limits set to them, the Jesuits founded a theocratic-patriarchal state, which formally was under Spanish sovereignty, of which, for a long time and with great care, they were able to fend off any Spanish influence. Their mission districts (doctrinae) increased to almost 40, with more than 170,000 converted Indians, who lived in permanent settlements (reduciones) from the Andes to the Brasilian coastal mountain range.The administrative centers of the Jsuits were the colleges at Asuncion and Cordoba. In the latter city the governing provincial and his four consultadores resided.In every setlement there was a priest who simultaneously functioned as the supreme authority, and a vicar who ran the administration. The police was in the hands of a Cacique elected by the Indians, who made sure that the Indians did their share of agricultural and carftsman's work. All work was done for the general good; produce was stored in magazines, from which the Indios were supplied with all necessities. The surplus was sold by the Jesuits, and this trade conducted with great skill was so profitable for them, that they were able to send large sums to Europe. They tolerated neither Spaniards nor other Europeans in their settlements, they even taight the Indians to hate the former. The Guarani language remained dominant, but every Indian had to learn to read and write. In their domestic affairs the Indians were lead by the padres like children, at regular hours lead to prayer, to work, to relaxation. They were generously provided with clothing and food, treated mildly, and everywhere, where there was no collision with the interests of the order, given advice with their best in mind.
With the increase in number of the Jesuit missions, which covered the larger part of eastern and southeastern Paraguay (1618), also the Paulistas expanded at the same pace, a colony, which had been established by the Portuguese in the middle of the 16th century, and between both a consistent border war was fought, with changing fortune. Constantly molested by the Paulisas, the Jesuits finally decided to relocate their missions from the province of Guyara into the land between Uruguay and Parana, and it took a lot of effort to convince the Indians. In 1726 the Jesuits obtained a royal decree, which separated their missions on the Parana from Paraguay, and which placed them under the governor of La Plata, i.e. which made them almost independent. Now Paraguay became more than a batleground of the parties, and after Ignacio Sorotea (who had been appointed governor by the Viceroy of Lima) had been sent back with the use of force in January 1731, a formal civil war broke out. Despite all threats of interdiction, the Jesuits, suspected of supporting Spanish interests, were expelled from Asuncion. But in 1733 the Governor of Buenos Ayres, Zavala, at the head of 3,000 Guarani, forced the opponents of the Jesuits into submission and took bloody revenge for the expulsion of the latter, so that peace was restored for the time being. On January 16th 1750 John V. of Portugal and Ferdinand VI. of Spain signed a border correction treaty concerning the American possessions of both countries, according to which the land between the Uruguay, Yacuy and Ybicuy, with seven missions of the Jesuits (among them Asuncion) in exchange for the Colonia del San Sacramento was to be ceded to Portugal. In 1754-1758 the Jesuits put up armed resistance against the implementation of this treaty, but after several victorious skirmishes they were defeated by the combined Spanish and Portuguese armies sent against them, and when the expulsion of the Jesuit Order from Spain was decided, in 1768 the Jesuits were arrested in all Spanish-American possessions and expelled from the country, theur missions, over 40 with more than 100,000 inhabitants, divided between Spain and Portugal, and handed over o civilian authorities.
The new government differed from the previous one only by her rough, oppressive severity and greed. The Spaniards took over the work begun by the Spaniards, but did not manage to maintain and continue it, and within a short time the Indians gave up cultivation of the land, and returned to live in the wilderness. In 1776 Paraguay was allocated to the Viceroyalty of La Plata, and also included the Banda Oriental with Montevideo; in 1801 the province of the missions was ceded to Brazil. But the connection of the land with Buenos Ayres was a rather loose one. When here in 1810 the independence movement formed, Buenos Ayres dispatched General Belgrano to Paraguay, to topple Spanish rule here. The general was defeated on January 19th 1811 near Paraguari, and forced to surrender on March 9th, but he still managed to bring about a bloodless revolution in Asuncion on May 14th, which replaced the Spanish government by a junta. In 1813 the Paraguayan congress elected 2 consuls, Francia and Yegros, in 1814 the former for 3 years, in 1817 for lifetime. Francia ruled the country with an iron hand and isolated it against the neighbouring countries, but secured it against the Brazilian and Argentinian desires to annex it, and by prudent measures raise the prosperity considerably. After the death of the dictator (1840) Don Mariano Roque Alonso, the capital's quatermaster, allied with a nephew of Francia, Don Carlos Antonio Lopez, both took on the itle consul and in 1842 convened a congress, which approved all laws presented to it, which repeated the declaration of independence and which confirmed the two consuls, but in such a way that Lopez became first consul and Alonso second consul. A new congress in 1844 adopted a constitution and in accordance appointed Lopez on March 14th president for 10 years, with rather unlimited authority. Lopez placed one of his brothers at the helm of the Clergy, as archbishop, his second brother became minister of the interior, his son was given command over the army which was 5,000 men strong. A decree of May 20th 1845 opened the country to foreigners and to traffic, another one of January 2nd 1846 changed the customs tariffs in the sense of a free trade system. The port of Villa del Pilar was opened to trade, but trade remained mainly in the hands of Lopez aqnd his son, who bought up the most important products of the country, and who transported them on their ships into foreign countries. By the United States of North America, Brazil, Uruguay and most European states the independence of Paraguay was recognized. The Argentine Republic under Rosas, who regarded Paraguay as one of her provinces, refused such recognition, so that war broke out, in which the Argentine states Corrientes and Entre Rios supported Paraguay. After Rosas had been toppled, the Argentine Confederation on July 15th 1852 recognized Paraguay's independence; Grea Britain followed in the Treaty of Asuncion January 4th 1853. Among Lopez' achievements are he improvement of jurisdiction, the establishment of schools, the regulation of the finances by the strictest thriftyness, the improvement of infrastructure. At the end of 1856 Lopez had himself appointed president for 7 years by congress, but he died on September 10th 1862 after 18 years of amost unlimited government, after which by testament he had transferred the presidency to his son Francisco Solano Lopez, who also was recognized as president by congress.
At that time Paraguay was in excellent condition. It had no debts, but several millions in cash were held by the treasury, but by Lopez' strife for extending his power, to found a large Guarani Empire, Paraguay in a short time was drawn into a fatal war. In the neighbouring state of Uruguay Blancos and Colorados were involved in a hot conflict; Brazil took the side of the head of the latter, ex-president General Flores, and threatened with intervention and occupation of he country. On August 30th 1864 Paraguay protested against these measures. When the Brasilians still invaded Uruguay, Lopez opened hostilities, by having the Brasilian postal ship Marquez de Olinda, on its way to the province of Mato Grosso, confiscated on November 16th 1864, and by invading the province of Mato Grosso. As Lopez had excellently organised the military forces of Paraguay, which numbered 60,000 men with 200 pieces of artillery, and as he commanded over person and property of his subjects with absolute authority, the prospects for Paraguay were not unfavorable. But the Brasilians succeeded in helping Flores to become the ruler of Uruguay, and hus to draw that state to their side, and the Argentine Republic was provoked to enter the war by Lopez himself in an outrageously careless manner. In April 1865 suddenly Paraguayan ships appeared in the port of Corrientes, a city in the Argentine, took Brasilian ships anchoring here, and occupied the city without war having been declared. In consequence, on May 5th 1865 Brasil, Argentina and Uruguay allied for a coordinated campaign against Paraguay. A campaign Lopez conducted against Uruguay failed totally. But Paraguay successfully withstood the superiority of her opponents, as Uruguay and Argentine were weakened by internal unrest, and the latter state because of its claim for the supreme military command entered into a dispute with Brazil. In 1865-1866 the war therefore made no progress, but losses were extraordinary, all the more as in May 1867 a cholera pandemic broke out. In July 1867 the Brasilians, who had to carry the burden of waging the war almost on their own, under Caxias attacked Humaita, the best fortified point in Paraguay, on the river Paraguay. At the end of the year they succeeded, despite Lopez, determined and courageous, again and again lead offensive expeditions, in partially surrounding the fortress. In the February of 1868 a Brasilian flotilla on the Rio Paraguay was freed from a dangerous situation in which they had been by being blocked between Curupaity and Humaita, then the Estancia de Santa Anna, a fortification located to the north of Humaita was stormed. Now Lopez gave up Humaita, the small but courageous garrison only surendered on June 24th, defeated by hunger, and he withdrew toward the north, to where the Brasilian fleet followed him up the stream, as did the land army. Lopez' fortified camp near Lomas-Valentinas was stormed on December 15th after a fight lasting six days, Asuncion was occupied in January 1869. Still the dictator continued the war with desperate tenacity, and by cruel suppression of any opposition forced the population to sacrifice their last energies for his lost cause. At the beginning of May 1869 the Count d'Eu, husband of the crown princess of Brazil, took over supreme command of the Brasilian army; on August 12th the fortified position of Lopez near Piriteba was stormed, on August 15th Lopez was completely defeated at Curupaity. Lopez had to withdraw to the northwestern forests and hills of Paraguay and continued the unbalanced fight, until he was caught up with on March 1st 1870, and killed. This was the final act of a cruel war lasting five years, which laid Paraguay devastated at the feet of the vistors. Hunger and epidemic diseases raged among the remainder of the population. Four fiths of the population perished in the war and of its consequences.
On December 10th 1870, a National Assembly provisionally elected C.A. Rivarola president, a former sergeant in Lopez' army, and Cupo Miltos vice president. At the same time the present, very democratic constitution was adopted, and based on it, on December 12th 1871, Don Salvador Jovellanos was elected president for three years. In the peace treaty with Brasil (April 1872) the most northeaserly part was ceded to Brazil. In October Argentina concluded a treaty with Paraguay, which defined the Pilcimayo as temporary border in the disputed Chaco territory. The president of the North American nion, Hayes, was charged with deciding the matter; on November 12th 1878 he decided in favour of Paraguay. In the May of 1879 the larger part of the Chaco was returned to Paraguay. Only in June 1876 the last foreign troops left the territory of Paraguay. The Paraguayan army was reduced to 2000 men; a loan signed n London was used to address the most urgend financial needs. On November 25th 1874 J. Bautista Gill of the popular Colorado Party was elected president, but on April 12th 1877 murdered in an act of personal revenge. After vice president Uriarte provisorically leading the government, on November 25th 1878, Bareiro, an honest and educated man, was elected president. He tried to maintain order and to raise the country's prosperity, but died already in September 1880. He was followed by General Caballero, and the latter in 1886 by Escobar.
See : Rengger, Reise nach Paraguay 1818-26 (Aarau 1835); de Castelnau, Expedition dans les parties centrales de l'Amerique du Sud 1843-47 (Paris 1850 1851, 6 vols. and 6 further scientific supplements); Demersay, Histoire physique, economique et politique du Paraguay (Paris 1860-65, 2 vols. and Atlas); Dugraty, La republique du Paraguay (2nd ed., Brussels 1865); Mulhall, Handbook of the River Plate republics (5th ed., London 1885); Washburn, The history of Paraguay (London 1871, 2 vols.); Schneider, Der Krieg der Tripelallianz gegen die Republik Paraguay (Berlin 1872-75, 3 vols.); von Versen, Reisen in Amerika und der südamerikanische Krieg (Breslau 1872; Lambel, Le Paraguay (Tours 1878); Mevert, Reisen in Paraguay (2nd ed., Wandsbeck 1885); Töppen, Hundert Tage in Paraguay (Hamburg 1884); Guevara, Historia de la conquista de Paraguay (Buenos Ayres 1885). maps of Paraguay by Mouchez (1862), du Graty (1861-66), Habenicht (in supplementary issue no.39 of Petermanns Mitteilungen, 1875), Wisner von Morgenstern (1875) and Beyer (Buenos Ayres 1886).

source in German, posted by Retro Bibliothek


This page is part of World History at KMLA
First posted on March 9th 2009

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