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History of Paraguay

From Academic Kids

This is the history of Paraguay. See also the history of South America and the history of present-day nations and states.

Contents

Pre-Columbian times and colonization

See Also Government of Rio de La Plata, Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata

Pre-Columbian civilization in the fertile, wooded region that is now Paraguay consisted of numerous seminomadic, Guarani-speaking tribes of Indians, who were recognized for their fierce warrior traditions. They practiced a mythical polytheistic religion, which later blended with Christianity.

Spanish explorer Juan de Salazar founded Asunción on the Feast Day of the Assumption, August 15, 1537. The city eventually became the center of a Spanish colonial province. Paraguay declared its independence by overthrowing the local Spanish authorities on May 14, 1811.

Independence

The country's formative years saw three strong leaders who established the tradition of personal rule that lasted until 1989: José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia, Carlos Antonio López, and his son, Francisco Solano López. The younger López waged a war against Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil (War of the Triple Alliance, 1864-70) in which Paraguay lost half its population; afterwards, Brazilian troops occupied the country until 1874. A succession of presidents governed Paraguay under the banner of the Colorado Party from 1880 until 1904, when the Liberal party seized control, ruling with only a brief interruption until 1940.

20th century

In the 1930s and 1940s, Paraguayan politics were defined by the Chaco War against Bolivia, the Paraguayan Civil War, military dictatorships, and periods of extreme political instability. General Alfredo Stroessner took power in May 1954. Elected to complete the unexpired term of his predecessor, he was re-elected president seven times, ruling almost continuously under the state-of-siege provision of the constitution with support from the military and the Colorado Party. During Stroessner's 34-year reign, political freedoms were severely limited, and opponents of the regime were systematically harassed and persecuted under the banner of national security and anti-Communism. Though a 1967 constitution gave dubious legitimacy to Stroessner's control, Paraguay became progressively isolated from the world community.

On February 3, 1989, Stroessner was overthrown in a military coup headed by General Andrés Rodríguez. Rodríguez, as the Colorado Party candidate, easily won the presidency in elections held that May and the Colorado Party dominated the Congress. In 1991 municipal elections, however, opposition candidates won several major urban centers, including Asunción. As president, Rodríguez instituted political, legal, and economic reforms and initiated a rapprochement with the international community.

Modern Paraguay

The June 1992 constitution established a democratic system of government and dramatically improved protection of fundamental rights. In May 1993, Colorado Party candidate Juan Carlos Wasmosy was elected as Paraguay's first civilian president in almost 40 years in what international observers deemed fair and free elections. The newly elected majority-opposition Congress quickly demonstrated its independence from the executive by rescinding legislation passed by the previous Colorado-dominated Congress. With support from the United States, the Organization of American States, and other countries in the region, the Paraguayan people rejected an April 1996 attempt by then Army Chief General Lino Oviedo to oust President Wasmosy, taking an important step to strengthen democracy.

Oviedo became the Colorado candidate for president in the 1998 election, but when the Supreme Court upheld in April his conviction on charges related to the 1996 coup attempt, he was not allowed to run and remained in confinement. His former running mate, Raúl Cubas, became the Colorado Party's candidate and was elected in May in elections deemed by international observers to be free and fair. However, his brief presidency was dominated by conflict over the status of Oviedo, who had significant influence over the Cubas government. One of Cubas' first acts after taking office in August was to commute Oviedo's sentence and release him from confinement. In December 1998, Paraguay's Supreme Court declared these actions unconstitutional. After delaying for 2 months, Cubas openly defied the Supreme Court in February 1999, refusing to return Oviedo to jail. In this tense atmosphere, the murder of Vice President and long-time Oviedo rival Luis María Argaña on March 23, 1999, led the Chamber of Deputies to impeach Cubas the next day. The March 26 murder of eight student antigovernment demonstrators, widely believed to have been carried out by Oviedo supporters, made it clear that the Senate would vote to remove Cubas on March 29, and Cubas resigned on March 28. Despite fears that the military would not allow the change of government, Senate President Luis Ángel González Luis Ángel González Macchi, a Cubas opponent, was peacefully sworn in as president the same day. Cubas left for Brazil the next day and has since received asylum. Oviedo fled the same day, first to Argentina, then to Brazil. In December 2001, Brazil rejected Paraguay's petition to extradite Oviedo to stand trial for the March 1999 assassination and "marzo paraguayo" incident.

González Macchi offered cabinet positions in his government to senior representatives of all three political parties in an attempt to create a coalition government. While the Liberal Party pulled out of the government in February 2000, the Gonzalez Macchi government has achieved a consensus among the parties on many controversial issues, including economic reform. Liberal Julio César Franco won the August 2000 election to fill the vacant vice presidential position. In August 2001, the lower house of Congress considered but did not pass a motion to impeach González Macchi for alleged corruption and inefficient governance. In 2003, Nicanor Duarte Frutos was elected and sworn in as president.

On August 1 2004 a supermarket in Asunción burned, killing more than 464 people and injuring 409 [1] (http://www.reliefweb.int/w/rwb.nsf/0/8eb057a390eb46ad85256ee5005a6b6e?OpenDocument).

See also

External link

bn:প্যারাগুয়ের ইতিহাস de:Geschichte Paraguays fr:Histoire du Paraguay

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