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Guaraní is recognized as an official language alongside Spanish, and both languages are widely spoken in the country.
The name of the country comes from the river of the same name.
Following independence from Spain in 1811, Paraguay was ruled by a series of dictators who generally implemented isolationist and protectionist policies.
Following the disastrous Paraguayan War (1864–1870), the country lost 60 to 70 percent of its population through war and disease, and about 140,000 square kilometers (54,000 sq mi), one quarter of its territory, to Argentina and Brazil.
They developed Jesuit reductions to bring Guarani populations together at Spanish missions and protect them from virtual slavery by Spanish settlers and Portuguese slave raiders, the Bandeirantes.
The Guarcuru nomads were known for their warrior traditions and were not fully pacified until the late 19th century.
These indigenous tribes belonged to five distinct language families, which were the bases of their major divisions.
Differing language speaking groups were generally competitive over resources and territories.
They were further divided into tribes by speaking languages in branches of these families. The first Europeans in the area were Spanish explorers in 1516.
Indigenous peoples have inhabited this area for thousands of years.