Paraguay: Random Facts and Trivia

Some random facts and trivia for the country of the world Paraguay, the wars of Chaco and Triple Alliance, heroin traffic, trade with Argentina, unique flag.

PARAGUAY

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Paraguay has fought 2 catastrophic wars with its neighbors:

War of the Triple Alliance (1865-1870): Fought with Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina over Brazilian intervention in Uruguay. One of the bloodiest wars ever fought in the western hemisphere, it resulted in the death of over half of Paraguay's population of one million and the complete disruption of the social, political, and economic life of the country. The country was bankrupt and starving, even the generals were barefoot, and 2/3 of the young men were dead. After the war there were 190,000 adult women to only 29,000 adult men, and this hastened the racial and cultural mixture that is one of the distinctive features of present-day Paraguay. Polygamy was legalized for a while in order to increase the population as quickly as possible.

Chaco War (1932-1935): After a series of skirmishes with Bolivia over rights to the Chaco region of western Paraguay, war was declared in 1932. Paraguayans considered it a defense of their homeland and, armed only with machetes in some cases, managed to drive the Bolivians back to the Andes. The total dead of both sides was 135,000.

Paraguay, because of its unguarded borders and central location, has been considered a key link in the heroin traffic between Europe and the U.S. Recently, a CIA report linked President Stroessner to the smuggling, claiming that he turned a blind eye toward smuggling by his generals.

Argentina is Paraguay's best customer and largest single investor. The Casados, an Argentine family, own an estate of 5 million acres, about the size of Belgium.

Paraguay is the only country in the world with 2 different faces to its flag: One side has the treasury seal, the other has the national coat of arms.

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