earliest settlers in Paraguay were the Guaraní indians, who occupied
the lands between Paraguay and the Paraná rivers. They are thought to
have been living on that land since about 2000-1000 BC. The Guaraní
were a Tupian-speaking people, and their customs resembled those of
other indigenous groups in the tropical areas. Many women cultivated
corn, cassava, and sweet potatoes, while the men hunted and fished.
Europeans first arrived in Paraguay around 1516 with the failed
expedition of Juan Diaz de Solís to the estuary of the Río de la
Plata. The first European known to have explored Paraguay was
the Italian Sabastian Cabot in 1526.
the two centuries of Paraguay's history were dominated by the Jesuit
missionaries seeking to protect the Amerindians from Portuguese slave
traders and Spanish colonists. The missionaries taught the Amerindians
trades, methods of cultivation and fine arts. They were granted an
education that served to protect them from exploitation from the
point, the King of Spain became disenfranchised with the growing
popularity of the Jesuit missionaries and expelled them from Paraguay.
independence, Paraguay first battled Argentina. While they both sought
independence, Paraguayans rejected the Argentine-led movement. The
Argentines were defeated, and from there Paraguay had the motivation
to continue forth to independence from Spain. By 1811, the last of the
Spanish royal governors were deposed.
politics has continued to fluctuate through turmoil, seeing various
dictatorships, or near dictatorships, dominate the public sphere.
Indeed, finally with the 2003 election, Paraguayan political leaders
are beginning to tackle inherent corruption and development, seeking
to modernize the state into a regional strength.
Updated: 17 June