Ladies and Gentlemen, gather around because we’re about to take a trip to the land of Paraguay! You might think you know everything there is to know about this country, but trust me, you ain’t seen nothing yet. From the wild customs of its people to the interesting facts about the Paraguayan culture, we’ve got all the goods. So, grab your passport and a sense of humor, because this is going to be a journey you won’t forget!
Interesting Facts about Paraguay
1. Paraguay’s first dictator, José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia, had a bold plan to shake things up and break the monotony of colonial society – he banned people from marrying their kind and instead encouraged them to marry anyone with a little more melanin. Talk about a spicy mix!
2. Today, Paraguay is a melting pot of Spanish and Native American ancestry, with 95% of the population being mestizos.
3. The War of the Triple Alliance, fought between 1864 and 1870, was one of the most destructive conflicts in modern history, leaving the country with a woman-to-man ratio of 4 to 1. Paraguay is the place to be!
4. The Ache tribe of Paraguay believes that babies inherit the characteristics of all the men who had sexual intercourse with the mother during pregnancy. So, if your baby is born with a knack for soccer, you know who to thank.
5. Paraguay is the “Heart of South America” – not just geographically, but also because of its warm and friendly people.
Fun Facts about Paraguay
6. Paraguay and Brazil’s Itaipu Dam is the world’s largest hydroelectric power plant, setting a new world record in 2016 for energy production.
7. Paraguay set a world record with a 668 ft (203 m) long hot dog.
8. A couple from Paraguay finally tied the knot after 80 years of living together, with 8 children and 50 grandchildren.
9. Paraguay has had some controversies in its political past. In 2008, their president was found to own a stolen car.
10. A Catholic Bishop resigned to become the president. And later found to be the father of at least two children in 2008.
Surprising Facts about Paraguay
11. Paraguay has some wild laws, like dueling being cool as long as both parties have donated blood. It’s like a more civilized version of a street fight.
12. Their flag is one of the few flags with a different design on both sides.
13. Paraguay had a strict stance on divorce, and it was illegal in Paraguay until 1991.
14. Paraguay has a dark history. During the Chaco War, Paraguay took 1% of the Bolivian population as prisoners of war (about 31,000 people).
15. Paraguay is like the rebellious teenager of South America that recognizes Taiwan instead of China.
Shocking Facts about Paraguay
16. Paraguay has been ranked as the happiest country in the world for two consecutive years in a survey in 2017
17. In 2004, a tragic incident occurred in Paraguay where almost 400 people died. And nearly 500 got injured in a supermarket fire. The owners locked all the doors to prevent people from fleeing without paying for merchandise, but it’s a reminder that “shoplifting prevention” doesn’t always mean “customer safety.”
18. Paraguay stands out as the only country in the Americas where a native language is spoken by more people than a colonial one.
19. Paraguay has a unique history with the US, as President Rutherford B. Hayes arbitrated a land dispute between Argentina and Paraguay in the past, ultimately deciding in favor of Paraguay and giving the country 60% of its current territory. Paraguay still honors Hayes, and there’s a local soccer club named after him, Club Presidente Hayes.
20. Paraguay has its navy, even though it’s landlocked. It’s like having a boat when you live in the desert.