Wikijunior:South America/Paraguay

Itaipu: the largest hydro- electric power plant in the world


Paraguay shares with Brazil the largest hydroelectric power plant in the world, Itaipu. Itaipu is an indigenous name for "the stone that sings", because of the sound that the water produces when it hits the stones of that region, formed by huge cascades of Paraná river. The hydroelectric plant of Itaipu is so impressive that it was even called one of the seven wonders of modern world!

Also, one must take into account the huge amount of money that was stolen by Stroessner government (most of the richest families in Paraguay—partners of Stroessners' business—owe their richness to the Itaipú Golden Era) and the environmental impact that resulted from such a construction. Many species that existed only in Paraguay cannot longer be taken into account in existing species.

Today, with the biggest hydroelectric power plant in the world, Paraguay still has a steel factory running on wood as fuel, and the electric train in Asuncion (capital city) is only a nostalgic remembrance. Diesel fumes pervade the country and ash and smoke are the constant ingredients of the electric carnival.

Part of Wikijunior South America project

The flag of Paraguay.

Paraguay is one of only two countries in South America that don't have beaches. It's landlocked by other countries. But nature seems to compensate Paraguay for the missing ocean access: there are many rivers. The most important river is the Rio Paraguay, used mainly for transportation. An other river, the Rio Paraná, is used for electric energy production.

History of Paraguay


The Chaco plains


The Chaco--also known as the "Gran Chaco"-- is a vast plain extending from northern Paraguay to areas of Argentina and Bolivia. This area is essentially dry grassland with occasional dense semi-tropical jungles. This is one of the hottest places in South America. What makes this area special is that the animals and plants have been preserved as they were before it became inhabited by humans. It is one of the few places in the Americas where people have not interfered much with the environment.

Guarani people


Paraguay has a population around 6,670,000. Despite of having Spanish as its official language, the majority of Paraguayan people speak the Guaraní language. The Guaraní are a native group of South America, like the Incas or the Comanches of North America.