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Paraguay is a landlocked country in southern South America known for having had a long succession of caudillos and dictators. Spain colonized the area in the 1530s, and after its initial settlement, the capital city at Asunción functioned as the traditional center of colonial power until Buenos Aires, Argentina, usurped the title. Until that time, Paraguay attracted large numbers of Jesuit missionaries who used the city as a base for proselytizing to the indigenous Guarani. As the Jesuits grew more powerful, the colonists despised them, mounted raids against them, and eventually evicted them in the late 1700s.

In the early 1800s, Paraguay became independent from Spain. Locals originally had little interest in seceding from the Spanish Empire, even after the Argentine military unsuccessfully attempted to pressure ...

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