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The New York Times, January 14, 1852:|
PARAGUAYIts Population, Agriculture, and Trade
A LECTURE--by E.A. Hopkins
Last evening the American Geographical and Statistical Society held a meeting at the Rooms of the Historical Society, to hear a paper read by E.A. Hopkins, Esq., upon the Population, Trade and Agriculture of Paraguay, and the upper waters of the Rio de la Plata.
...Mr. Hopkins observed that strange events in that country had closed it from the knowledge as well as the curiosity of mankind for forty years...
The vast territory, formerly known by the apellation of Paraguay, comprised all that portion of South America which was bounded on the North by the Northern frontier of the provinces of Santa Cruz de la Sierra and Charcas, in 16 deg. South latitude; on the South by the Straits of Magellan; by Brazil on the East; and by Chili and Peru on the West. But the country now distinguished by that name is entirely contained within the shores of the Paraguay and Parana Rivers, from an undefined boundary with Brazil in about 17 deg. S.L., to their junction in 27 deg. S.L. The maps of these regions are manifestly incorrect... The Rio de la Plata is formed by the confluence of the Uruguay with the Parana, and, from thence to the ocean, it is remarkable for its great breadth and shallow waters and should be properly considered an estuary of the sea.
The River Parana rises in the western slope of the highlands near the sea-board, to the North-westward of Rio de Janeiro, and flowing westerly and south-westerly to its junction with the Paraguay, continues a southerly and south-easterly course to the ocean. In this course, through 16° of latitude, and as many of longitude, its navigation is only interrupted in at longitude 23° 40'. Here the river flows for thirty-six leagues through a narrow gorge, which it has burst through the chain of mountains running from the province of Sao Paulo in Brazil, westward till they are lost before reaching the Cordilleras. Probably no living white man has ever seen these extraordinary rapids. They were described in 1808, by D. Felix d'Azara, from hearsay; because, owing to domestic dissentions, barbarism has greatly encroached upon the frontiers originally conquered from the Aborigines by the Spaniards.
These rapids probably form the most remarkable cataract in the world next to Niagara. The river Paraguay is the most perfect for the purposes of navigation of any in the world. On its East lies the rich Brazilian provinces of Matto Grosso--the population of which is estimated at 150,000. On the West, descending, we meet with the three most populous provinces of Bolivia, Moxos, Santa Cruz de la Sierra, and Chiquitos, from whence the celebrated Peruvian bark is chiefly procured...
...In Paraguay itself there are 1,200,000 souls. The country is intersected by many rivers, all more or less navigable from ten to fifty leagues. Of these the river Tibicuari is the most important; it was fully explored in 1785 by D'Zara, as well as last year by myself...
Yet it will be asked, "How is it that all this has just been found out?"... The story is one of dark crime. Its cause is simple when explained. Two extraordinary characters will be found to be the chief impediment: Rosas, the dictator of Buenos Ayres, and Francia, the tyrant of Paraguay; while at the same time our own Government has heavy sins of omission to answer for...
...in 1811 [Paraguay] established on the ruins of the Spanish power a Government of her own, securing her independence from a colonial vassallage mainly by her isolated geographical position. This fact was one cause of the tyranny to which she was subjected under the Dictator Francia.
...Beginning his career in 1811, in 1814 [Francia] was elected dictator for three years. He died on the 23rd of September, 1840. During this time he adopted as a principle non-intercourse with all the world... The reason why Paraguay still remains virtually in the same position as Francia left her is to be found in the history of the Dictator of Buenos Ayres, Manuel de Rosas... under his rule the country has decreased in population; the liberty of the press has been annihilated, and the public schools, colleges and hospitals are all gone.
A twelve years knowledge of them satisfies me that it is not necessary to rule the Argentine people in such a way... The policy of Rosas is to avoid the light of civilization and commerical intercourse, and the only communication he has permitted Paraguay to have with the outside world for the past two years consisted of a monthly mail carried by an Indian scout.
...In Paraguay the forests teem with every description of ornamental and useful woods.
The vegetable kingdom of Paraguay presents the richest attractions. The medicinal herbs, which abound in the greatest profusion, are rhubarb, sasparilla, jalap, bryoniat, indica, sassafras, hollywood, dragon's blood, balsam of copaiba, nux vomica, liquorice and ginger. Of dye-stuffs, too, there is an immense variety--the cochineal, which is indeed an insect, but requiring for its food a species of the cactus plant; two distinct kinds of indigo, vegetable vermillion, saffron, golden rod, and other plants producing all the tints of dark red, black and green. Many of the forest trees yield valuable gums, not yet familiar to commerce or medicine, and they comprise some of the most delicious perfumes and incense that can be imagined. Others again are like amber, hard, brittle, and insoluble in water. Some cedars yield a gum equal to gum Arabic; others a natural glue, which, when once dried, is unaffected by wet or dampness. The seringa, or rubber tree, the product of which is now almost a monopoly with Para, and also the Palo Santo, which produces the gum guiacum, crowd the forests, ready to give up their riches to the first comer; and the sweet flavored Vanilla modestly flourishes, as if inviting the hand of man.
Upon the hills, the celebrated Yerb Matte [Yerba Mate], which is the exclusive beverage of one-half of South America, has only to be gathered.
Upon the fertile alluvial banks of so many large streams, sugar cane, cotton, tobacco of a superior quality, rice, mandoca, Indian corn, and a thousand other productions, vegetate with profusion; while seven varieties of bamboo line the river banks, and dot the frequent lake with islets of touching beauty. On the plains, quantities of hides, hair, horns, bones, tallow, &c., are lost for want of transportation. If we go to the forests, we find two or three kinds of hemp, vast quantities of wax, the nux saponica or soap nut, the cocoa, and vegetable oils in abundance, with two kinds of wild cotton, admirably adapted for the manufacture of paper. But it is with the forest trees of Paraguay that I love most to dwell. Giants! there they are, vast and noble in their aspect, and able, as it were, to utter for themselves the sublime music of the wilderness. Sixty varieties already known, furnish timber of all kinds and colors, and degrees of durability, elasticity and buoyancy. I have seen timbers of the Lapacho that have supported the roofs of houses in Buenos Ayres for more than two hundred years. They are now as sound as ever, and to all appearance, capable of performing the same service to the end of the world. A door-sill of the same wood, half imbedded in the ground, and marked "1632," belonged to the front door of the house which I inhabited in the city of Asunçion. Upon the closest inspection, it was in a state of perfect preservation...
In conclusion, I wish it to be distinctly understood, that though I have made some forcible statements, and drawn therefrom my own conclusions, I do not desire to wound the prejudices or the partialities of any person whatever...
The Los Angeles Times, February 26, 1899, p.16:|
CAPITAL OF PARAGUAY...From Our Own Correspondent.
Ascuncion, Jan. 6, 1899.--Come with me this morning and have a look at the capital of Paraguay. We are in the very heart of the South American continent. It is now summer. Every on is going about in cottons or linens, and at midday there seems to be only a sheet of brown paper between us and hades. The children go to school very early, and every one is resting or dozing at noon. The mornings and evenings, however, are pleasant, and there are mule street cars which will take us to all parts of the city...
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Paraguay is one time zone at GMT-4, with DST from the 3rd Sunday in October to the 2nd Sunday in March.
The Republic of Paraguay, a landlocked country, is bordered by Bolivia to the northwest and north, Brazil to the northeast and east, and Argentina to the southeast, south, and west. The capital is Asunción. The area of Paraguay is 157,048 square miles (406,752 square km). The estimated population of Paraguay for July, 2007 is 6,669,086. The official languages are Spanish and Guaraní, a Native American language, which is commonly spoken by about 90% of the people.
Gold-seeking Spaniards first established a fort on the Paraguay River on August 15, 1537, and called it Nuestra Señora de la Asunción (Our Lady of the Assumption). Colonial Paraguay and Argentina were ruled jointly until 1620, when they became separate dependencies of the Viceroyalty of Peru.
In 1750 King Ferdinand VI of Spain, by the Treaty of Madrid, ceded Paraguayan territory to Portugal. This led to a Jesuit missionary-incited Guaraní (native) revolt.
In 1776 Spain created the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, which included Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Bolivia, with its capital in Buenos Aries. This made Paraguay became an relatively unimportant dependency of Buenos Aires. In 1767 the Jesuit missionaries were expelled from Spanish America.
In 1808 the armies of French emperor Napoleon I overran Spain and Portugal and deposed Ferdinand VII of Spain. Spanish colonies in America saw this as an opportunity for independence. Argentina proclaimed its independence of Spain in 1810, and Paraguay proclaimed its independence on May 14, 1811.
In the disastrous War of the Triple Alliance (1865-70), Paraguay lost two-thirds of all adult males and much of its territory. It stagnated economically for the next half century.
In the Chaco War of 1932-35, large, economically important areas were won from Bolivia.
The 35-year military dictatorship of Alfredo STROESSNER was overthrown in 1989, and, despite a marked increase in political infighting in recent years, relatively free and regular presidential elections have been held since then.
CIA World Factbook: Paraguay
Paraguay Reference Articles and Links
Wikipedia: Paraguay - History of Paraguay
LOC: Paraguay Country Study - profile, 20pp .pdf
BBC Country Profile: Paraguay
US State Department: Paraguay Profile
Embassy of Paraguay, Washington, D.C.
US Embassy, Ascencion
Governments on the WWW links
US State Dept Paraguay Travel
Paraguay News Websites
ABC Digital in Spanish
La Nacion in Spanish
Diario Cronica in Spanish
Ultima Hora in Spanish
Aktuelle Rundschau in German
Cardinal 730AM 92.3FM in Spanish
ABYZ: Paraguay News Links
Paraguay Internet Directories
Yahoo!: Paraguay directory
Google Paraguay search