Paraguay or Paraguay (in both spellings, AFI: / paraˈɡwai /), officially the Republic of Paraguay, is a South American state. It borders Bolivia to the north, Brazil to the east and Argentina to the south and west. With 406 750 km² of total area, it is a landlocked state. It has 6 996 245 inhabitants and its capital is the city of Asunción. Paraguay is a presidential republic, and the current head of state and government is Mario Abdo Benítez, who has been in office since 15 August 2018.
The official languages are Spanish and Guaranì, but other Amerindian languages are also spoken. The name Paraguay means "the ocean that goes towards the water", from the words guaranì, pará ("ocean"), gua ("to, to / from") and y ("water"). In Guaranì the expression often refers only to Asunción, but in Spanish it refers to the whole country. The flag of Paraguay has a unique peculiarity in the world. In fact, the two sides of the flag are different: the central design with the logo and the title of the country on one side and the lion on the other.
The region that is now called Paraguay, largely wooded and fertile, was inhabited in pre-Columbian times by semi-nomadic warrior tribes.
The tribes were divided into five separate "families", and 17 distinct ethnic-linguistic groups, which still remain today.
The Spanish colonization
Europeans arrived in the area in the sixteenth century. The first residential colonization was the founding of the city of Asunción on August 15, 1537 by the Spanish explorer Juan de Salazar y Espinoza.
The city became the center of Spanish colonization, and also the base of the Jesuit missions in Latin America.
The foundation of Jesuit religious missions continued to spread like wildfire in the territory until 1767, the date of expulsion of the Jesuits from the territories of the Spanish crown, wanted by the Spanish government; testifying to this period is the name of those territories, still defined today as "Misiones". The foundation of the missions was based largely on conversion to Christianity, and economically and politically oriented to support the transformation of the population, for semi-nomadic necessity, in resident population, but also in compliance with the principles of local culture; it therefore also adapted to the “ethnic” pride that still characterizes the local populations today.
Paraguay declared independence after overthrowing local Spanish management on May 14, 1811. After repelling two invasion attempts by Argentina in 1811, halting the invasion of General Manuel Belgrano during the Paraguayan Campaign, between the December 1810 and March 1811 (the battle of Campichuelo and the battle of Itapùa saw Argentina prevail by measure on 19 December 1810, but with the battle of Paraguarí on 19 January 1811 and finally on 2 March with the battle of San Nicolás and on March 9 with the battle of Tacuarí, they rewarded the Paraguayan army), a period of strong political instability began for the South American country.
Since then, the history of Paraguay has been characterized by long periods of political instability and internal strife, often resulting in devastating wars with neighboring countries. Paraguay fought for five years (1864-1870) the fiercest and most violent war in South America, the War of the Triple Alliance against Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, promoted by Paraguayan President Francisco Solano López, remaining defeated; López's attack on the city of Corrientes as a cause of the conflict was later contested by a group of Argentine and Paraguayan historians, called "revisionists", according to whom the precursors of the war are to be found in the treaty signed in December 1857 by Argentina and Brazil. To give the measure of the human and social disaster of the war it is enough to know that the pre-war population was there