Period of Independence
The Revolution of Independence occurred in the early morning hours of May 15th, 1811, culminating in a conspiracy led by Pedro Juan Caballero. The Spanish governor, Bernardo de Velasco, dismissed from his office, joined the first provisional forces, along with Capitan Juan Valeriano Zeballos and Dr. José Gaspar de Francia.
The Dictatorship of Dr. José Gaspar de Francia began as a result of the Congress of October 3rd, 1814, which named him as Supreme Dictator of the Republic. The long and rigid government of Francia signified on one hand the rigid defense of Paraguayan Independence, but on the other hand the shutdown of the country, which the dictator considered necessary in order to achieve the objectives that he had proposed.
Francia firmly met the ideas of annexation that had been brewing between Spain and Buenos Aires, and in 1816, before the possibility of an invasion from Buenos Aires, he convened Congress, where his fellow party members enabled the declaration of Perpetual Dictatorship.
The resistance, styled by Francia’s government, that was in motion from the first phase, finally crystallized in a conspiracy commanded by Fulgencio Yegros, harshly beheaded later by the Dictator, along with the execution of his primary conspirators, in 1821.
Francia died the 20th of September, 1840, ending one of the most polemic times in Paraguayan history.
The insertion of Don Carlos Antonio López in the political life of the country began with the death of dictator Francia, when he was named as consul and secretary to Mariano Roque Alonso, during the Command of Arms government. Subsequently, in 1841 he is named Consul of Paraguay, and in 1844, Congress bestows him with powers of the President of the Republic, for 10 years. Don Carlos Antonio López continued, although with a different style, Paraguay’s national defense, threatened especially by the plans of Argentine Juan Manuel de Rosas to create a confederation of United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata.
Among the progressive actions of López’s government, standouts include the creation of the first national newspaper, The Independent Paraguayan, the Merchant Fleet, and the Railroad; the development of the Ybycuí foundry, and the hiring of important European technicians that lent their knowledge and labor in order to modernize the capital of the country. Education and culture were other areas for which Don Carlos created initiatives. He won second and third terms in office, until his death, in 1862.