Paraguay facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Republic of Paraguay

  • República del Paraguay  (Spanish)
  • Tetã Paraguái  (Guaraní)
Flag of Paraguay
Flag (obverse)
{{{coat_alt}}}
Coat of arms
Motto: "Paz y justicia" (Spanish)
"Peace and justice"
Anthem: 
Paraguayos, República o Muerte  (Spanish)
Paraguayans, Republic or Death
Location of Paraguay
Capital
and largest city
Asunción
Official languages
Ethnic groups
(2000)
Demonym(s) Paraguayan
Government Unitary presidential constitutional republic
Horacio Cartes
Juan Afara
Legislature Congress
Chamber of Senators
Chamber of Deputies
Independence from Spain
• Declared
14 May 1811
• Recognized
15 May 1811
Area
• Total
406,752 km2 (157,048 sq mi) (60th)
• Water (%)
2.3
Population
• 2015 estimate
6,755,756 (105th)
• Density
17.2/km2 (44.5/sq mi) (204th)
GDP (PPP) 2016 estimate
• Total
$63.356 billion (100th)
• Per capita
$8,905
GDP (nominal) 2016 estimate
• Total
$26.804 billion (99th)
• Per capita
$3,767
Gini (2012)  48.2
high
HDI (2014) Increase 0.679
medium · 112th
Currency Guaraní (PYG)
Time zone UTC–4 (PYT)
• Summer (DST)
UTC–3 (PYST)
Driving side right
Calling code +595
ISO 3166 code PY
Internet TLD .py
  1. Mixed European and Amerindian.

Paraguay, officially the Republic of Paraguay (Spanish: República del Paraguay), is a small country in South America. It is landlocked, meaning that it does not touch the ocean. It is bordered to the North and East by Brazil, the West by Bolivia, and the South and Southeast by Argentina. The main languages are Spanish and Guaraní. Paraguay's population is about 6 million. The ethnic makeup of the population is like the following: Mestizo (mixed European and Amerindian) 80%, European 20%, unmixed Amerindian 1-3%, Asian 1-4%.

Over (20%) of the population lives below the poverty line.

Paraguay has two official languages, Spanish and Guarani. Guaraní is recognized as a national language.

The capital city is Asuncion. Asuncion was founded in 1537 by a man from Spain named Juan de Salazar. Paraguay was a colony of Spain. Paraguay became independent from Spain in 1811.

From 1865-1870 Paraguay lost land and most of its male population in the War of the Triple Alliance against Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. It gained land in the Chaco War against Bolivia in the 1930s.

Paraguay's religion is Roman Catholicism.

The weather is more humid in the east and dryer in the west.

Geography and climate

Geography

Koppen-Geiger Map PRY present
Paraguay map of Köppen climate classification
Chaco Boreal Paraguay
Landscape in the Gran Chaco, Paraguay

Paraguay is divided by the Río Paraguay into two well differentiated geographic regions. The eastern region (Región Oriental); and the western region, officially called Western Paraguay (Región Occidental) and also known as the Chaco, which is part of the Gran Chaco. The country lies between latitudes 19° and 28°S, and longitudes 54° and 63°W. The terrain consists mostly of grassy plains and wooded hills in the eastern region. To the west are mostly low, marshy plains.

Climate

The overall climate is tropical to subtropical. Like most lands in the region, Paraguay has only wet and dry periods. Winds play a major role in influencing Paraguay's weather: between October and March, warm winds blow from the Amazon Basin in the North, while the period between May and August brings cold winds from the Andes.

The absence of mountain ranges to provide a natural barrier allows winds to develop speeds as high as 161 km/h (100 mph). This also leads to significant changes in temperature within a short span of time; between April and September, temperatures will sometimes drop below freezing. January is the hottest summer month, with an average daily temperature of 28.9 degrees Celsius (84 degrees F).

Rainfall varies dramatically across the country, with substantial rainfall in the eastern portions, and semi-arid conditions in the far west. The far eastern forest belt receives an average of 170 centimeters (67 inches) of rain annually, while the western Chaco region typically averages no more than 50 cm (20 in) a year. The rains in the west tend to be irregular and evaporate quickly, contributing to the aridity of the area.

Government and politics

Administrative subdivisions

Paraguay has 17 departments and one capital district (Distrito Capital). The departments are formed by districts.

The departments are grouped in two geographic regions, separated by the Paraguay river:

  • Occidental (Western) region or Chaco, to the north of the Paraguay river (departments: Alto Paraguay, Boquerón and Presidente Hayes)
  • Oriental (Eastern) region, to the south of the Paraguay river (departments: Alto Paraná, Amambay, Caaguazú, Caazapá, Canindeyú, Central, Concepción, Cordillera, Guairá, Itapúa, Misiones, Paraguarí, San Pedro and Ñeembucú; the capital district is part of this region)
Departments of Paraguay
No. Department Capital Population
(2002)
Area
(km²)
Districts
1 Concepción Concepción 179,450 18,051 8
2 San Pedro San Pedro 318,698 20,002 20
3 Cordillera Caacupé 233,854 4,948 20
4 Guairá Villarrica 178,650 3,846 18
5 Caaguazú Coronel Oviedo 435,357 11,474 21
6 Caazapá Caazapá 139,517 9,496 10
7 Itapúa Encarnación 453,692 16,525 30
8 Misiones San Juan Bautista 101,783 9,556 10
9 Paraguarí Paraguarí 221,932 8,705 17
10 Alto Paraná Ciudad del Este 558,672 14,895 21
11 Central Areguá 1,362,893 2,465 19
12 Ñeembucú Pilar 76,348 12,147 16
13 Amambay Pedro Juan Caballero 114,917 12,933 4
14 Canindeyú Salto del Guairá 140.137 14.667 12
15 Presidente Hayes Villa Hayes 82,493 72,907 8
16 Alto Paraguay Fuerte Olimpo 11,587 82,349 4
17 Boquerón Filadelfia 41,106 91,669 3
Distrito Capital Asunción 512,112 117 6

Economy

100% of Paraguay's electricity is produced using hydroelectricity, making it one of the cleanest in the world.

Paraguay Export Treemap
Graphical depiction of Paraguay's product exports in 28 color-coded categories, 2012

Paraguay is the sixth-largest soybean producer in the world, second-largest producer of stevia, second-largest producer of tung oil, sixth-largest exporter of corn, tenth-largest exporter of wheat and 8th largest exporter of beef.

The country also boasts the third most important free commercial zone in the world: Ciudad del Este, trailing behind Miami and Hong Kong. A large percentage of the population, especially in rural areas, derives its living from agricultural activity, often on a subsistence basis.

Industry and manufacturing

BBVA Paraguay
BBVA Paraguay

The mineral industry of Paraguay produces about 25% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP) and employs about 31% of the labor force. Production of cement, iron ore, and steel occurs commonly throughout Paraguay's industrial sector.

In the pharmaceutical industry, Paraguayan companies now meet 70% of domestic consumption and have begun to export drugs. Paraguay is quickly[quantify] supplanting foreign suppliers in meeting the country's drug needs. Strong growth also is evident in the production of edible oils, garments, organic sugar, meat processing, and steel.

Culture

Paraguay's cultural heritage can be traced to the extensive intermarriage between the original male Spanish settlers and indigenous Guaraní women. Their culture is highly influenced by various European countries, including Spain. Therefore, Paraguayan culture is a fusion of two cultures and traditions; one European, the other, Southern Guaraní. More than 93% of Paraguayans are mestizos, making Paraguay one of the most homogeneous countries in Latin America. A characteristic of this cultural fusion is the extensive bilingualism present to this day: more than 80% of Paraguayans speak both Spanish and the indigenous language, Guaraní. Jopara, a mixture of Guaraní and Spanish, is also widely spoken.

Ovecha Ragué Festival Paraguay
Ovecha Ragué Festival

This cultural fusion is expressed in arts such as embroidery (ao po'í) and lace making (ñandutí). The music of Paraguay, which consists of lilting polkas, bouncy galopas, and languid guaranias is played on the native harp. Paraguay's culinary heritage is also deeply influenced by this cultural fusion. Several popular dishes contain manioc, a local staple crop similar to the yuca also known as Cassava root found in the Southwestern United States and Mexico, as well as other indigenous ingredients. A popular dish is sopa paraguaya, similar to a thick corn bread. Another notable food is chipa, a bagel-like bread made from cornmeal, manioc, and cheese. Many other dishes consist of different kinds of cheeses, onions, bell peppers, cottage cheese, cornmeal, milk, seasonings, butter, eggs and fresh corn kernels.

The 1950s and 1960s were the time of the flowering of a new generation of Paraguayan novelists and poets such as José Ricardo Mazó, Roque Vallejos, and Nobel Prize nominee Augusto Roa Bastos. Several Paraguayan films have been made.

Images for kids


Paraguay Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.