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  National Heroes:

José Rodríguez Gaspar de Francia

José Rodríguez Gaspar de Francia was the first leader of Paraguay following independence from Spain from 1814-1840. He was trained as a doctor of theology, set on the Catholic priesthood, but he found himself attracted to politics. He was originally appointed secretary to the National Junta, but soon became a powerful figure in the country’s leadership. He was a profound believer in the principles of Rousseau, and was inspired by the lives and leaders of Western Europe. A pragmatic leader, Francia focused on isolationism to attain what he believed would amount to a social utopia, in addition to promoting the development of infrastructure and civil society during his tenure as President.

 

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Updated: 9 May 2008