Despite its natural beauty, incredible culture, and interesting history, Paraguay is a tiny country that gets little media attention and is not on the top of anyone’s vacation wish-lists. What it lacks in mega-attractions that tourists often look for, Paraguay makes up for it though its sheer beauty and experience.
Paraguay gained its freedom from its Spanish overlords all the way back in 1811 but the years have not been kind to it, and the country is still struggling to keep its economy stable.
The country lies deep in the heart of South America, landlocked between famous nations like Argentina, Brazil and Bolivia. There are many amazing things about Paraguay that many do not seem to be aware of. Here are the top 8 facts you should know about this amazing country:
1. The Guarani trifecta – Paraguay is named after the Guarani tribe that resided here long before the Europeans ever found this region. Guarani also happens to be the name of the official currency of Paraguay. Out of the two languages that have been given official status by Paraguay, one of them is called the Guarani language. The main river of Paraguay on the other hand is called the Paraguay river.
2. Major losses in the late 19th century war – Out of the wars that Paraguay has taken part in, the 1865-70 was led to some of the highest losses the country ever suffered. By the end of the war, Paraguay lost close to 66% of its adult male population. In the Chaco war, which the country took part in between 1932-35 allowed Paraguay to reclaim some of its land lost in the earlier war, giving Paraguay a chance to recover economically and recoup its earlier monetary and territorial losses.
3. Railroad network in just 3 years – Paraguay was able to complete the its first railroad network across the nation in just 3 years, thanks to the expertise of British engineers who oversaw the project.
4. Home to the Mestizo – An overwhelming majority of the people living in Paraguay is a mix of Spanish and Americindian. At 95%, they are the majority group in the country and are called the Mestizo. Most of the 6 million people of the country live in the eastern half of the country, marked by a natural boundary created by the Paraguay river.
5. The legal system is a real mashup – Paraguay has a legal system that makes use of the best legal practices from around the globe and utilizes the Roman law principles in conjunction with legal precedents and terms laid down by France and Argentina.
6. Amazing feats in the field of green energy – Despite its small size, the nation is the largest producer of hydroelectricity in the world. This is largely due to the Itaipu Dam, which was built as a joint effort of Brazil and Paraguay, and is co-owned by the two nations. The Itaipu Dam also happens to be the single largest hydroelectric dam on this globe!
7. Paraguay was once a dictatorship – After reclaiming its freedom from the Spanish, Paraguay struggled as a democratic country for over a century, until Alfredo Stroessner took control of the nation in 1955. It wasn’t until the year 1989 that nation was free from his rule, and it took Paraguay a few years more until it was able to institute a constitution again in the year 1992.
8. You can challenge another person to a duel in Paraguay – Duelling is recognized and allowed in Paraguay as long as you meet one specific condition. You as well as the person you are challenging need to be registered as blood donors.