The territory was occupied by seminomadic Guarani peoples before Spanish rule was established in the 16th century. Paraguay achieved independence in 1811. It lost more than half of its population in war, against Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay 1865–70, but gained land in the Chaco War with Bolivia 1932–35. The country was ruled by military dictator Alfredo Stroessner (1912–2006) from 1954 until 1989.
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