Paraguay (República del Paraguay/Tetã Paraguái/Republic of Paraguay) is a presidential republic located in the central southern part of South America, bordered to the north by Bolivia, to the east by Brazil and to the south and west by Argentina. Asunción, the capital, located on the left bank of the Río Paraguay, is the only real city of the country and a major river port.
The territory is divided by the river Paraguay in two distinct regions: To the west lies the Gran Chaco, a large steppe and marshland tableland, while to the east lies the Paraneña or eastern Paraguay, a hilly area with a height between 300 and 600 meters. The overwhelming majority of the population lives In this second region.
The most important rivers are the Paraguay, which crosses the country and the Paraná on the border with Brazil and Argentina. In 1984 along the river Paraná the colossal Itaipú dam, which is the largest operational hydroelectric power plant of the world, was built, possessing a joint ownership of Paraguay and Brazil. Another large hydroelectric power plant, always along the Paraná, is that of Yacyretá, in this case in joint ownership of Paraguay and Argentina. Thanks to these power stations Paraguay is the first exporter of hydroelectric power of the world. In 2003 it produced 51,29 billion kWh and has exported 44,17 billion kWh.
The economy of the country is mainly linked to agriculture. Here you find cotton, cassava, maize, rice, wheat, tobacco, sugar cane, sweet potatoes, beans, soya, coffee and fruits like oranges, bananas and pineapples. Cattle farming and the raising of pigs are important. Forests with cedar, mahogany and walnut are exploited.
English text correction by Dietrich Köster.
- Area: 406,752 sq km: arable land 5,6%, pastures 53,3%, forests and bushland 31,6%, uncultivated and unproductive land 9,5%
- Population: 6,160,000 (as of 2005): Mestizos (descendants of Guaraní and Europeans) 65%, Europeans 30%, Asians 2%, Amerindians (Guaraní) 1%.
- State Capital: Asunción.
- Official Language: The official languages are Spanish and Guaraní. Mennonite German is spoken by 1% of the population.
- Religion: Christians 100%: Catholics 95%, Protestants 5%
- Currency: Guaraní (PYG).
- Time Zone: UTC-4 hours, in summer UTC -3 hours
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