Timeline of Paraguayan history

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Below is a timeline of the history of Paraguay:

Early settlement[edit]

1516: Conquistador Juan Díaz de Solís leads an unsuccessful expedition to explore the area later known as Paraguay.

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

1526: Navigator Sebastian Cabot sails up the River Paraná and establishes a settlement known as Sancti Spiritu.

1530: Conquistador Don Pedro de Mendoza attempts to reach the area, but fails at the banks of the River Plate. His second in command Juan de Ayolas sails up the River Paraguay and discovers Cabot's abandoned settlement. Domingo Martínez de Irala, another sailor, joins him and is appointed lieutenant to take charge of the region. Ayolas ventures into the Chaco and disappears.

1537: Explorers Juan de Salazar de Espinosa and Gonzalo de Mendoza sail upstream to meet Irala, who guides them to a safe area to dock. A fort is constructed on the bank on August 15 and named Asunción for the Catholic feast day. It becomes an entrepôt for goods being shipped up the continent and later the colony's capital. Settlers are given the right to elect leaders of the colony.

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

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

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

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

1556: Irala dies.

Jesuit era[edit]

1588: Jesuits appear in the new Governorate of Paraguay and take control. The Guaraní people undergo Jesuit reductions by colonial Spaniards.

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

1640–1720: Spanish immigrants prosper under the Jesuits in Paraguay.

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

1750: Jesuits lose the support of the Spanish government.

1750–1761: Guaraní War. Spanish–Portuguese forces sack the Jesuit missions, killing around 1500 Guaraní.

1767: Suppression of the Society of Jesus, the last Jesuits are expelled from colonial Paraguay.

Royalist period[edit]

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

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 Paraguarí, just outside the city. The remaining 500 of Belgrano's men are defeated once again at Tacuarí. 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[edit]

1814: De Francia re-appointed consul.

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

1820: Power of the clergy is 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. Manuel Antonio Ortiz appointed consul.


1841: Juan José 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 the Riachuelo. Paraguayan navy destroyed. Remaining ships scuttled in the River Yhaguy.

Allied victory at the Battle of Yatay. Paraguayan advance halted

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

1867: Fall of Humaitá. Allies begin march on Asunción

1868: Paraguay defeated at the Battle of Avay. 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 Corá. 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 Caacupé, 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[edit]

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[edit]

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 defeats Bolivia at the Battle of Boquerón, but are defeated later at the Battle of Kilometer 7.

1933: First Battle of Nanawa. Paraguayans win, but are driven back at Campo Jordán. 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 Vía. Ceasefire declared.

1934: Truce lifted, Bolivia re-launches offensive at the Battle of Cañada 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[edit]

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[edit]

1949: Raimundo Rolón 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[edit]

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[edit]

1992: Rodriguez initiated reforms including the abolition of the death penalty. He releases many political prisoners and slaves. He prosecutes and imprisons the main perpetrators of Stroessner's regime.

1993: Juan Carlos Wasmosy is elected president. He frees several of Stroessner's associates from prison and reappoints them to their former government positions.

1996: Field marshal Lino Oviedo mounts a failed coup against Wasmosy. He 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