Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Paraguay - Introduction (contd-1)

No South American State has a more tragic history than this inland republic.The country is handicapped by its isolation, being the only south American nation, execpt Bolivia, without an outlet to the sea.although blessed with magnificent scenery and so delightful a winter climate that it has been called the Riviera of South America, it is very little visited by foreigners.
The river Paraguay divides the country into two distinct regions. The land west of the river is part of the vast expanse of grassland and forest called the Chaco. Except for a few India tribes and isolated farms and ranches , it is mainly unexplored and uninhabited..Quebracho trees of the west bank of the river furnish tanning material and timber for railway sleepers.The eastern part, sometimes called Paraguay proper, where most of the people live, lies between the Paraguay and Parana Rivers. The people here are mostly mixed blood, the descendants of Spanish settlers and the Guarant Indians.  
Christianity, particularly Roman Catholicism, is the dominant religion in Paraguay. According to the 2002 census, 89.9% of the population is Catholic, 6.2% is evangelical Christian, 1.1% identify with other Christian sects, and 0.6% practice indigenous religions. A U.S. State Department report on Religious Freedom names Roman Catholicism, Evangelical Christianity, mainline Protestantism, Judaism (Orthodox, Conservative, and Reform), Mormonism, and the Baha'i Faith as prominent religious groups. It also mentions a large Muslim community in Alto Paraná (as a result of Middle-Eastern immigration, especially from Lebanon) and a prominent Mennonite community in Boqueró.