Let's review some facts about Paraguay...
Of all South American countries, Paraguay is provably the least known of them all.
Its geography, as well as its history, are provably the two main facts about Paraguay that have greatly contributed to the country's isolation in the past.
In recent years, however, Paraguay has become an increasingly attractive tourist destination, definitely worth to be discovered when you travel to South America.
The colonial history of Paraguay started with Spanish settlements in the early XVI century.
Asunción - its capital - was founded in 1537 by the Spanish explorer Juan de Salazar y Espinoza.
It became part of the Viceroyalty of Peru, but remained largely neglected by the Spanish Crown during the next two centuries, mainly due to the country's lack of resources, particularly if we compare it with the wealth in gold and silver that Bolivian mines were producing at the time, for instance.
When the winds of independence swept South America and the Spanish conquistadores were pushed back by the libertarian efforts of General Jose de San Martin, in the South of the continent, and Simón Bolivar, in the north, Paraguay became an independent state, in 1811.
Since then, several dictatorships were the form of government, and a number of costly wars were fought against neighboring countries as a consequence.
The most notorious and devastating of all facts about Paraguay was the war fought in 1865, when Paraguay lost part of its territory and nearly half of its population.
Bordering with Argentina, Bolivia and Brazil, it's divided by the Paraguay river (tributary of the Paraná river) in two very contrasting regions: Oriental and Occidental Paraguay, also known as Chaco.
The majority of the population is found in the Oriental region, an area of 159,800 sq km (61,700 sq miles).
The Chaco or Occidental region, sparsely populated, covers 246,827 sq km (95,300 sq miles).
It's one of the greatest South America wilderness areas, with thick forests, swamps, lagoons and dense jungles.
It is here where the majority of Paraguay's national parks, protected forests and biological reserves are found, with abundance of birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians species, making it one of the biggest tourist attractions in South America for eco tourism lovers, second only to the mighty Amazon rainforest.
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