Called the Heart of the Americas, Paraguay is a centrally-located nation in South America. Surrounded by larger neighbors, Paraguay has notably been one of the few nations on the continent to continue its native linguistic tradition among the majority of its residents after the Spanish conquest.
Though Paraguay may be small in size, it has played a major role in the history of South America. A major tourist destination today, Paraguay is a unique nation that still strives to both preserve its culture and look towards the future during the modern era.
Quick Facts about Paraguay
- Paraguay has the most homogenous population in South America, with ninety-five percent of the population claiming mestizo descent.
- Paraguay is the only country with different emblems on each side of its flag.
- Paraguay went to war against Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay in 1864, losing half of its population and ending the war with a surviving male population of only 28,000.
- The Capybara, the world's largest rodent, calls Paraguay home.
- Dueling is still legal in Paraguay - but only among registered blood donors.
Paraguay borders three other South American countries. It borders Argentina to both the south and the southwest, Brazil to the north and the northeast, and Bolivia to the northwest.
Together with Bolivia, Paraguay is one of the only two landlocked countries in all of South America, though it does have ocean access thanks to the Paraguay and Paraná rivers. In fact, the ocean access provided by these rivers has led Paraguay to maintain the strongest navy of any landlocked nation.
Paraguay is a relatively small country, with its borders encompassing only about 157,047 square miles. As a point of comparison, this is slightly smaller than the American state of California. Paraguay is only the eighth-largest country in South America but it is nearly twice as large as the next largest country on the continent.
Paraguay is officially a bilingual nation. Like most of the countries of Latin America, most of the citizens of Paraguay speak Spanish. With this said, a slightly larger percentage of citizens are either also fluent or are primarily fluent in Guaraní.
A substantial percentage of residents of Paraguay speak more than one language. In those areas closer to Brazil, it is common to find individuals who speak Portuguese. Residents of those areas closer to Argentina tend to speak either German or Italian due to the substantial number of Italian and German speakers in that country.
Paraguay has a sub-tropical climate. It tends to have short, mild winters and very long, hot summers. The summer is typically a rainy season, though rain is also very common during the winter in the southeastern part of the country.
Despite the fact that the temperature can fall below freezing during the winters, there is almost never snow in Paraguay. Precipitation is generally less likely in the northwestern part of Paraguay no matter the time of the year.
Paraguay is currently a presidential representative republic. In this type of system, the President is the head of state and head of the government, while the legislature is responsible for making the laws. Paraguay's legislature is composed of an eighty member Chamber of Deputies as well as a forty-five member Chamber of Senators.
Paraguay is also divided into nineteen smaller units called departments. Each department is headed by an official who is appointed by the President. The bulk of local administrative matters are handled by the central government rather than any local authority.
Spanish, Paraguayan Guaraní
Spanish,, Paraguayan Guaraní
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