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In the disastrous War of the Triple Alliance (1865-70), Paraguay lost two-thirds of all adult males and much of its territory. It stagnated economically for the next half century. In the Chaco War of 1932-35, large, economically important areas were won from Bolivia. The 35-year military dictatorship of Alfredo STROESSNER was overthrown in 1989, and, despite a marked increase in political infighting in recent years, relatively free and regular presidential elections have been held since then.



Central South America, northeast of Argentina

Geographic coordinates:

23 00 S, 58 00 W


total: 406,750 sq km
land: 397,300 sq km
water: 9,450 sq km

Area - comparative:

slightly smaller than California

Land boundaries:

total: 3,920 km
border countries: Argentina 1,880 km, Bolivia 750 km, Brazil 1,290 km


0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims:

none (landlocked)


subtropical to temperate; substantial rainfall in the eastern portions, becoming semiarid in the far west


grassy plains and wooded hills east of Rio Paraguay; Gran Chaco region west of Rio Paraguay mostly low, marshy plain near the river, and dry forest and thorny scrub elsewhere

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: junction of Rio Paraguay and Rio Parana 46 m
highest point: Cerro Pero (Cerro Tres Kandu) 842 m

Natural resources:

hydropower, timber, iron ore, manganese, limestone

Land use:

arable land: 7.6%
permanent crops: 0.23%
other: 92.17% (2001)

Irrigated land:

670 sq km (1998 est.)

Natural hazards:

local flooding in southeast (early September to June); poorly drained plains may become boggy (early October to June)

Environment - current issues:

deforestation; water pollution; inadequate means for waste disposal pose health risks for many urban residents; loss of wetlands

Environment - international agreements:

party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note:

landlocked; lies between Argentina, Bolivia, and Brazil; population concentrated in southern part of country



6,347,884 (July 2005 est.)

Age structure:

0-14 years: 37.9% (male 1,223,479/female 1,184,134)
15-64 years: 57.3% (male 1,825,473/female 1,809,810)
65 years and over: 4.8% (male 140,935/female 164,053) (2005 est.)

Median age:

total: 21.2 years
male: 20.94 years
female: 21.46 years (2005 est.)

Population growth rate:

2.48% (2005 est.)

Birth rate:

29.43 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)

Death rate:

4.53 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)

Net migration rate:

-0.08 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)

Sex ratio:

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1.01 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.86 male(s)/female
total population: 1.01 male(s)/female (2005 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

total: 25.63 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 30.37 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 20.66 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:

total population: 74.89 years
male: 72.35 years
female: 77.55 years (2005 est.)

Total fertility rate:

3.93 children born/woman (2005 est.)


noun: Paraguayan(s)
adjective: Paraguayan

Ethnic groups:

mestizo (mixed Spanish and Amerindian) 95%, other 5%


Roman Catholic 90%, Mennonite and other Protestant 10%


Spanish (official), Guarani (official)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 94%
male: 94.9%
female: 93% (2003 est.)


Country name:

conventional long form: Republic of Paraguay
conventional short form: Paraguay
local long form: Republica del Paraguay
local short form: Paraguay

Government type:

constitutional republic



Administrative divisions:

17 departments (departamentos, singular - departamento) and 1 capital city*; Alto Paraguay, Alto Parana, Amambay, Asuncion*, Boqueron, Caaguazu, Caazapa, Canindeyu, Central, Concepcion, Cordillera, Guaira, Itapua, Misiones, Neembucu, Paraguari, Presidente Hayes, San Pedro


14 May 1811 (from Spain)

National holiday:

Independence Day, 14 May 1811 (observed 15 May annually)


promulgated 20 June 1992

Legal system:

based on Argentine codes, Roman law, and French codes; judicial review of legislative acts in Supreme Court of Justice


18 years of age; universal and compulsory up to age 75

Source: CIA World Factbook