Paraguay's history

Article

May 29, 2022

The history of Paraguay extends from the first human occupations to the present day. It is generally divided into three periods: Pre-Columbian, Colonial and Republican.

Pre-Columbian era (?-1520)

Before the arrival of Spanish settlers on the Paraguay and Paraná rivers, the current territory of Paraguay was inhabited solely and exclusively by indigenous people of different ethnicities. These ethnic groups can be classified into three groups: the Pampids, the Jês and the Amazonians. It is not yet known which of these groups arrived in the territory first. In linguistic terms, the natives can also be divided into three groups: the Mascoyan peoples, the Mataco-Guaicurú and the Tupí-Guarani. from Paraguay. This movement was due to numerical superiority and possession of a more developed material culture, where cassava, corn and peanuts were cultivated. The practice of a swidden agriculture allowed them to obtain surpluses necessary to maintain a population in continuous demographic growth, which needed new territories. , like the Paiaguás. The first contact of the Guarani with the Europeans was with Aleixo Garcia, a Portuguese explorer who participated in several expeditions to South America with the Spanish fleet. its foundation. The group recruited 2,000 Guarani warriors to invade lands in the Paraguayan Chaco, facing local tribes, considered dangerous by the explorers. Marching to the west, after crossing the Paraná River, García's group discovered the Iguazú Falls (there is a version that says that the discoverer of the Iguazú Falls was Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca, being the most accepted, but there are sources that they still credit the Portuguese). In 1533, Garcia climbed the Pilcomayo River, reaching the borders of the Inca empire, in the area of ​​present-day Cochabamba, Bolivia. There is a record of a battle between his forces, together with the Guarani and the Inca forces, eight years before Francisco Pizarro conquered them. The explorers destroyed the villages they found along the way, before the army of Huayna Capac, then the Inca ruler, reacted. On his way back to the coast, Garcia was murdered on the banks of the Paraguay River by the Paiaguás, near the current city of San Pedro del Ycuamandiyú, but the news of the battle with the Incas reached the Spanish explorers and attracted Sebastião Caboto, son of the Genoese explorer João Caboto, to the Paraguay River, two years later.

Colonial period (1520-1811)

Paraguay's colonial period spans from the period of European discovery of Paraguay in the 1520s to its independence in 1811. The first Spanish settlers arrived in Paraguay in the early 16th century. The city of Asunción, founded on August 15, 1537, soon became the center of a province in the Spanish colonies in South America known as "Nueva Andalucia".

Early explorers

Before the arrival of Europeans, the territories located between the Paraná and Paraguay rivers were occupied by the Guarani, who lived from agriculture, hunting and fishing. Harassed in the 15th century by tribes from the Grande Chaco region, the Guarani crossed the Paraguay River and subjugated their enemies, taking the conflict to the southern limits of the Inca empire. They were, therefore, the allies of the first European explorers who looked for shorter routes to the mines of Peru. Aleixo Garcia, who left the Brazilian coast in 1524 and Sebastião Caboto, who went up Paraná in 1526, were the first to reach the interior lands. of the Platina basin, today belonging to Paraguay, but Domingos Martínez de Irala was responsible for founding the first