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Carlos Antonio López
Carlos Antonio López.jpg
1st President of Paraguay
In office
March 13, 1844 – September 10, 1862
Vice President Mariano González (1845–1846)
Francisco Solano López (1862)
Preceded by himself as Consul
Succeeded by Francisco Solano López
Consul of Paraguay
In office
March 12, 1841 – March 13, 1844
Preceded by Mariano Roque Alonso
Succeeded by himself as President
Personal details
Born November 4, 1792
Asunción, Paraguay (Then part of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata)
Died September 10, 1862(1862-09-10) (aged 69)
Asunción, Paraguay
Political party None
Spouse(s) Juana Pabla Carrillo
Children Francisco

Carlos Antonio López Ynsfrán (November 4, 1792 – September 10, 1862) served as leader of Paraguay from 1841 to 1862.

Early life

López was born at Manorá (Asunción) on November 4, 1792, and was educated in the ecclesiastical seminary of that city. He attracted the hostility of the dictator José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia, his reputed uncle, which caused him to go into hiding for several years.

Political career

Carlos Antonio Lopes & D.ª Joanna Paula Carrillo de Lopes (pais de F. S. Lopes)
Carlos Antonio López and his wife, Juana Pabla Carrillo.

He served briefly as secretary of the military junta that ruled the country from 1840 to 1841, after the death of Francia. In 1841, Congress chose him as the country's first consul, equivalent to that of president, ruling alongside Mariano Roque Alonso. In 1844, he exiled Roque and assumed dictatorial powers. A few months later, Congress adopted a new constitution, which changed the head of state's title from consul to president and elected him to the new post for a 10-year term. The constitution vested López with powers almost as sweeping "El Supremo" had held for most of his 26-year rule, effectively codifying the dictatorial powers he had seized just months earlier. The document included no guarantees of civil rights; indeed, the word "liberty" was not even mentioned in the text.

He was re-elected for a three-year term in 1854, re-elected in successive elections for ten and three years, and in 1857 again for ten years, with the power to nominate his own successor.

His government was directed towards developing Paraguay's primary resource extraction and strengthening Paraguay's armed forces. He contracted numerous foreign technicians, most of which were English, and built up the formidable Fortress of Humaitá.

His approach to foreign affairs several times involved him in diplomatic disputes with the Empire of Brazil, the United States, and the British Empire, which nearly resulted in war. His government was somewhat more tolerant of opposition than Francia's had been. He released all political prisoners soon after he took full power and also took measures to abolish slavery.

His eldest son, Francisco Solano López (1827–1870), succeeded him as president after his death. A barrio of Asuncion is named after him.

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