Timeline of Paraguayan history

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Below is a timeline of the history of Paraguay:

1516: Conquistador Juan Díaz de Solís leads failed expedition to the area to be known as Paraguay

1524: Portuguese explorer Aleixo Garcia leads a Guarani army of 200 across the Gran Chaco

1526: Navigator Sebastian Cabot sails up the River Paraná where he establishes a settlement known as Sancti Spititu

1530: Conquistador Don Pedro de Mendoza attempts to reach the area, but fails at the banks of the River Plate. His second in command however, Juan de Ayolas sails up the River Paraguay, where he discovers that Cabot's settlement has been abandoned. He is soon joined by fellow sailor Domingo Martínez de Irala. Irala is appointed lieutenant and keeps charge of the area. Ayolas ventures into the Chaco and disappears forever

1537: Two other explorers, Juan de Salazar de Espinosa and Gonzalo de Mendoza sail upstream to meet Irala, who then guides them to a safe area to dock. On the day of the Assumption of Mary, a fort is constructed on the bank, named Asunción. This is to become the capital of the colony. It becomes a pinpoint for goods being shipped up the continent. Settlers given the right to elect leaders of the colony

1541: The garrison of Buenos Aires evacuates the city and resettles in Asunción

1542: The province of Paraguay appointed the Viceroyalty of Peru. Alvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca appointed governor

1543-44: War over placement of government breaks out, Vaca moves towards Lima, but is defeated by the Indians and returned to Spain. Irala re-appointed governor

1544–1555: Irala modernizes Paraguay by introducing agriculture and local industry, as well as repairs relations with the natives.

1556: Irala dies

Jesuit era

1588: Jesuits appear in Paraguay, taking control; Guarani integrated with colonial Spaniards

1589–1639: Slave raids ravish Paraguay, until natives are given the right to defend themselves by combat

1640–1720: Paraguay prospers under the Jesuits

1721–1732: Settlers rebel against the Jesuits. Revolt put down

1750: Jesuits lose support from Spanish government

1750–1761: Guarani War; Spanish-Portuguese forces sack the Jesuit missions: c.1500 Guarani killed

1767: Last Jesuits expelled from Paraguay

Royalist period

1790–1805: Governor Lazaro de Rivera is put in charge of Paraguay. Heavy taxes imposed by the Spanish cause popular revolt, which he puts down by force

1810: Royalism declines in South America as the king of Spain is deposed by Napoleon. A final attempt by the British to keep Argentina under Spanish control failed two years earlier, and Argentina since gains independence, threatening pro-royalist Paraguay. To retain stability in the area, José Espínola y Peña is appointed governor of Paraguay. A hugely unpopular figure because of his ties with Rivera and his dishonesty.


1811: Espinola flees Asunción to Buenos Aires. Argentine general, Manuel Belgrano sends in an army of 1100 troops to capture royalist Asunción, and defeats a small force of Paraguayans at the Battle of Campichuelo, but is suddenly defeated when general Bernardo de Velazco musters 7000 regulars from the city and defeats the Argentinians at the Battle of Paraguari, just outside the city. The remaining 500 of Belgrano's men are defeated once again at Tacuari. Later that year, after being influenced by the power Paraguay alone could demonstrate, various soldiers and politicians group together and on the night of 14 May politician Pedro Caballero with a contingent of 34 men seized the armoury and courtyard of the government building. Afterwards, fellow soldier and politician Fulgencio Yegros came and demanded that the new governor Bernardo de Valesco resign. Independence is declared. Cabildo formed, with Yegros appointed consul alongside de Francia with other members of the cabinet being; Caballero, Mauricio Troche, Vicente Ignacio Iturbe, Antonio Tomás Yegros, Fernando de la Mora, Francisco Xavier Bogarin, Mariano Antonio Molas and Juan Bautista Rivarola.

1812: De Francia expelled from the Cabildo. Moves to the countryside to gain support from the rural population. Yegros Re-appointed

1813: First meeting of congress; de Francia regains popularity from the impoverished masses

De Francia era

1814: De Francia re-appointed consul

1816: De Francia Declares himself supreme dictator (El Supremo) for life

1820: Power of clergy abolished

1821: Plot uncovered by slaves to de Francia that the ex-cabinet members are plotting against him. Revolt put down with members arrested. Spaniards of Asunción forced to pay 100 000 Pesos. Caballero commits suicide in his cell and Yegros is executed

1824: Property of clergy confiscated

1828: All private land confiscated. Education made compulsory.

1836: First public library opens

1840: De Francia dies aged 74. Manuel Antonio Ortiz appointed consul


1841: Juan Jose Medina appointed consul, followed the same year by Mariano Roque Alonzo

1844: Carlos Antonio López, nephew of de Francia appointed president; abolishes slavery

1862: C.A Lopez dies. Eldest son Francisco Solano López appointed president

1864: Declares war on Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. Paraguayan War begins.

Paraguayans succeed in conquering the Brazilian province of Mato Grosso

1865: Battle of Riachuelo. Paraguayan navy destroyed. Remaining ships scuttled in the River Yhaguy.

Allied victory at the Battle of Yatay. Paraguayan advance halted

1866: Battle of Tuyuti. Largest battle ever fought on South American soil. Allied advance halted by Paraguay at Curupaity

1867: Fall of Humaita. Allies begin march on Asunción

1868: Paraguay defeated at the Battle of Avai. Paraguayan army begins to collapse

1869: Regular Paraguayan army defeated at the Battle of Campo Grande. Lopez goes on the run with his wife Eliza Lynch and his children, as well as the remainder of his army, mostly children and elderly

1870: Battle of Cerro Cora. Last of the Paraguayan army destroyed, Lopez and his eldest son are killed and Eliza Lynch and her daughters are exiled. The war is over, with c.40% of Paraguay's population killed. Allies sanction Paraguay's bordering territory. Cirilo Antonio Rivarola appointed president

1871: Salvador Jovellanos appointed president.

Trams and proper sanitation introduced to the streets of Paraguay's cities

1874: Juan Bautista Gill appointed president. The perpetual dictatorship which governs Paraguay becomes increasingly unpopular

1875: Riots break out in Caacupe, and soon spread all over the country. Rebellion quashed

1877: Gill assassinated under orders of Juan Silvano Godoi. Higinio Uriarte elected president

1878: Cándido Bareiro elected president

1880: Adolfo Saguier, vice president of Bareiro appointed president.

Colorado period

1881: Bernardino Caballero elected president

1886: Caballero removed from office. Rigs next election so that colleague Patricio Escobar wins. Liberal Party established in response

1887: Colorado Party established by Caballero

Ultra-Nationalist anti-Semite Bernhard Förster and his wife Elisabeth Förster-Nietzsche (sister of philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche) establish Nueva Germania, an ultra-nationalist, white supremacist community in the San Pedro Department

1889: National University is founded. Electric power installed for the first time in the country.

Nueva Germania fails and Forster commits suicide

1890: Juan Gualberto González elected

1894: Marcos Morínigo installed after Gonzalez is removed due to incompetence. Juan Bautista Egusquiza then elected

1898: Emilio Aceval elected

1901: Metric System introduced

1902: Andrés Héctor Carvallo appointed president, followed by Juan Antonio Escurra

Liberal period

1904: Escurra deposed in coup; exiled to Villa Hayes. Juan Bautista Gaona elected president: the first liberal to be given such position

1905: Cecilio Báez elected

1906: Benigno Ferreira elected

1908: Ferreira dismissed and exiled in coup. Emiliano González Navero elected. Paraguayan cities re-developed.

1911: Manuel Gondra elected.

1912: Liberato Marcial Rojas elected. Navero re-installed. Army reformed

Eduardo Schaerer elected

1915: Revolt against Schaerer caused by censorship issues fails

1916: Manuel Franco elected

1919: Franco dies in office. José Pedro Montero appointed

1920: Gondra re-elected

1921: Eusebio Ayala elected

1924: Eligio Ayala elected, followed by Luis Alberto Riart, then again by Eligio Ayala

1928: José Patricio Guggiari elected

1932: Eusebio Ayala re-elected. Bolivia declares war on Paraguay over control of the disputed Gran Chaco. Chaco War begins

Paraguayan army beats Bolivia at the Battle of Boqueron, but are defeated later at the Battle of Kilometer 7.

1933: First Battle of Nanawa. Paraguayans win, but are driven back at Campo Jordan. Paraguay re-captures Nanawa 5 months later. Stalemate breaks out at the Battle of Gondra, but is broken that October by the Paraguayans at 2nd Campo Grande, and re-capture the Chaco after the fall of Campo Via. Ceasefire declared.

1934: Truce lifted, Bolivia re-launches offensive at the Battle of Canada Strongest, but Paraguayans counterattack at Ybybobo.

1935: Bolivian-occupied Villa Montes falls to Paraguayans. The last of the Bolivians are pushed out by a small Paraguayan force at Ingavi. Bolivia surrenders

1936: Ex-officer Rafael Franco overthrows Ayala. Franco overthrown later that year

1937: Félix Paiva elected president

1939: José Félix Estigarribia is elected

1940: Estigarribia is killed in a plane crash, Colorado Higinio Moríñigo assumes power

Morinigo era

1941: Morinigo bans all other political parties and un-sympathetic newspapers.

Serious considerations are made to assist Hitler, but is halted by Franklin D. Roosevelt

1945: Paraguay declares war on Germany, but does not see action

1948: Morinigo is overthrown and Juan Manuel Frutos inherits position of presidency, followed that year by Juan Natalicio González

Democracy restored

1949: Raimundo Rolon is appointed president, followed by Felipe Molas López. Federico Chávez is elected full-term

1954: Tomás Romero Pereira is elected. Hands over power to Alfredo Stroessner

Stroessner regime

1955: Stroessner declares state of siege and removes various civil rights from the people.

1959: Achne tribe enslaved and wiped out by order of Stroessner

1965-66: Assists USA in the invasion of the Dominican Republic

1972: University of Asunción is destroyed by police. The Archbishop of Paraguay, Ismael Rolón Silvero, excommunicates chief of police and minister of the interior

1974: Human rights abuses in Paraguay come to notice internationally, and Stroessner is accused of Slavery, Genocide [of tribes], corruption, torture and kidnapping, as well as supposedly protecting ex-Nazis living in Paraguay

1988: Pope John-Paul II visits Paraguay, increasing anti-Stroessner morale

1989: General Andrés Rodríguez starts an uprising against Stroessner, and succeeds after an artillery duel over Asunción, after which Stroessner flees to Brazil. Rodriguez appointed president after 35 years of oppression

Modern Period

1992: Rodriguez makes reforms including abolishing the death penalty, releasing many political prisoners and slaves and prosecutes and imprisons the main perpetrators of Stroessner's regime.

1993: Juan Carlos Wasmosy is elected president. However, he frees several of Stroessner's associates from prison, and re-posts them to their former government positions.

1996: Field marshal Lino Oviedo attempts coup against Wasmosy, but is imprisoned, much to the distress of the Paraguayan public

1998: Raúl Cubas Grau elected under promise that Oviedo would be released, but does not perpetrate action. After his vice president Luis María Argaña is murdered with Cubas himself implicated, mass protests erupt in Asunción, with seven people killed by riot police

1999: Cubas resigns, Oviedo flees to Argentina Luis Ángel González Macchi elected president

2003: Nicanor Duarte is elected president

2004: Fire breaks out in the Ycuá Bolaños supermarket. 400 people killed and 500 injured

2008: Fernando Lugo is elected president. After a 66-year era of Colorado rule, the Liberal Party has returned to power