Page:Statesman's Year-Book 1899 American Edition.djvu/1208

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(RepiJblica del Paraguay.) Constitution and Government.

The Republic of Paraguay gained its independence from Spanish rule in 1811, and after a short government by two consuls, the supreme power was seized, in 1815, by Dr. Jose Gaspar Rodriguez Francia, who exercised autocratic sway as dictator till his death, September 20, 1840. Dr. Francia's reign was followed by an interregnum, which lasted till 1842, when a National Congress, meeting at the capital Asuncion, elected two nephews of the Dictator, Don Mariano Roque Alonso and Don Carlos Antonio Lopez, joint consuls of the Republic. Another Congress voted, March 13, 1844, a new Constitution, and, March 14, elected Don Carlos Antonio Lopez sole President ; he was continued by another election, March 14, 1857. At the death of Don Carlos, September 10, 1862, his son, Don Francisco Solano Lopez, born 1827, succeeded to the supreme power. President Lopez, in 1864, began a dispute with the Govern- ment of Brazil, the consequence of which was the entry of a Brazilian army, united with forces of the Argentine Confederation and Uruguay, into the Republic, June 1865. After a struggle of five years, Lopez was defeated and killed at the battle of Aquidaban, March 1, 1870.

A new Constitution was proclaimed on November 25, 1870. The legisla- tive authority is vested in a Congress of two Houses, a Senate and a House of Deputies, the executive being entrusted to a President, elected for the term of four years, with a non-active Vice-President at his side. The Senate and Chamber of Deputies are elected directly by the people, the former in the ratio of one representative to 12,000 inhabitants, and the latter one to 6,000 in- habitants, though in the case of the sparsely populated divisions a greater ratio is permitted. The Senators and Deputies receive each 200Z. per annum.

President of the Republic. — Emilio Aceval.

Vice-President. — Hector Carvallo.

The President exercises his functions through a cabinet of responsible ministers, five in number, presiding over the departments of the Interior, of Finance, of Worship and Justice, of War, and of Foreign Aff"airs. The President receives a salary of 1,900Z., the Vice-President 960Z., and each of the ministers 600Z. a year ; but the total administrative expenses are stated not to exceed 5,000Z.

The country is divided into 23 counties {partidos), which are governed by chiefs and justices of the ])eace, assisted by municipal councils.

Area and Population.

The area of Paraguay is 98,000 square miles. An enumeration made by the Government in 1857 showed the population to number 1,337,439 souls. At the beginning of 1873 the number of inhabitants, according to an official re- turn (regarded as exaggerated), was reduced to 221,079, comprising 28,746 men and 106,254 women over fifteen years of age, with 86,079 children. A very imperfect census of March 1, 1887, gives the population as 329,645— 155,425 men and 174,220 women. There are besides 60,000 semi-civilised and 70,000 uncivilised Indians. In 1895 the population was estimated at 432, 000. The white population in 1897 was oflicially estimated at 600,000. Of foreigners in Paraguay in 1887, there were 5,000 Argentines, 2,000 Italians, 600 Brazilians, 740 Germans, 500 French, 400 Swiss, and 100 English. The popu- lation of the capital, Asuncion, in 1895, was 45,000 ; other towns are Villa Rica, 19,000 ; Concepcion, 10,000 ; San Pedro, 8,000 ; Luque, 8,000. In the thirteen