Paraguay

There are two landlocked countries in South America. One is Bolivia, and what's the other?

And the answer: Paraguay.    

Photo credit: Tetsumo.

One of the two landlocked countries in South America, Paraguay shares borders with Bolivia, Brazil, and Argentina. As written in their 1992 constitution, the official languages of Paraguay are Spanish and the indigenous language of Guaraní, which is more widely spoken throughout the country than the Spanish language.

Sometimes called the Heart of South America due to its central location in the continent, Paraguay is the only country in the Americas to have never had a coast. Interestingly, however, Paraguay has the largest navy of any landlocked country in the world.

As a cattle-raising country, beef is an essential element of Paraguayan cuisine. In fact, Paraguay actually hosted the world's largest barbecue in 2008, with about 30,000 attendees (talk about a beef cake!). Other notable Paraguayan dishes include the sopa paraguaya (a spongy cake similar to corn bread), mbejú (a starch cake), and soyo (a thick meat soup, seasoned with spices and vegetables).

Paraguay is home to around 7 million people, and clocks in as just about the most ethnically homogenous country in Latin America. The vast majority of Paraguayan residents identify as Mestizo, meaning mixed European and Indigenous race. Paraguay is a bilingual country where most speak Guaraní and Spanish, many of whom identify nationally with the ability to speak Guaraní. Jopara is a mix of the two that is sometimes similarly used.

Paraguay has many curious demographics and practices. Despite colonization, the majority of its population speak the native language and participate in native customs. This is due to the fact that Jesuit missionaries and Spanish conquerers learned the Guaraní language to better ally themselves with the population. Over time, while more Mestizo children were born, Guaraní continued to be taught. Spanish conquerers permitted this transaction of language as it helped save their efforts in key moments of battle. Today, native Guarani culture continues to be celebrated.

Check out the attractions and history of Paraguay here.


Question of the Day Mobile App

Subscribe

Learn something new everyday. Get the Question of the Day delivered to your inbox each day!

The Wizard of Oz
Applesauce
You've successfully subscribed to Question of the Day
Great! Next, complete checkout for full access to Question of the Day
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.