Timeline: Paraguay

BBC News, Thursday, 17 February, 2005, 16:02 GMT

A chronology of key events

1525—Portuguese explorer Alejo Garcia visits Paraguay.

1526—Italian navigator Sebastian Cabot explores the rivers of Paraguay.

1537—Spanish begin colonising the interior plains of Paraguay.

1609—Spanish Jesuits begin converting the local population to Roman Catholicism.

1776—Paraguay transferred from the Vice-royalty of Peru to the Vice-royalty of La Plata, which has its capital at Buenos Aires in Argentina.

1808—Vice-royalty of La Plata becomes autonomous following the overthrow of the Spanish monarchy by Napoleon Bonaparte, but Paraguayans revolt against Buenos Aires.

Independence and war

1811—Paraguay becomes independent.

1865–70—Paraguay loses over half of its population and large tracts of land in war with Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay over sea access.

1932–35—Paraguay wins territory in the west from Bolivia during Chaco war.

From Stroessner to democracy

1954—General Alfredo Stroessner seizes power in coup, ushering in more than 30 years of ruthless dictatorship.

[General Stroessner]
Former military dictator General Stroessner; Strong-arm leader deposed in coup, sought asylum in Brazil

1989—Stroessner deposed in coup led by Gen Andres Rodriguez, who is then elected president. However, Stroessner's centre-right, military-backed National Republican Association-Colorado Party wins parliamentary elections.

1992—New democratic constitution promulgated.

1993—Colorado Party wins simple majority of seats in first free multiparty elections, while its candidate, Juan Carlos Wasmosy, wins first free presidential elections.

1998—Colorado Party candidate Raul Cubas elected president amid allegations of fraud.

1999—President Cubas resigns in wake of assassination of Vice-President Luis Maria Argana. Luis Gonzalez Macchi appointed caretaker president, forms government of national unity.

2000 October—An army major and two other men are sentenced to long prison terms for their roles in Argana's murder.

2000 May—Coup attempt foiled. Government blames "anti-democratic" forces loyal to exiled General Oviedo.

2001 May—Head of central bank resigns over alleged involvement in fraudulent transfer of $16m to US bank account.

2002 April—Prosecutors accuse President Gonzalez Macchi of corruption, for his alleged role in an illegal investment scandal.

2002 July—State of emergency declared after violent street protests. Protesters demand resignation of President Gonzalez Macchi and scrapping of free-market policies.

2002 December—Congress votes for impeachment proceedings against President Gonzalez Macchi over charges which include corruption. Mr Gonzalez Macchi survives a vote to remove him from office.

2003 August—Nicanor Duarte Frutos, from ruling Colorado Party, sworn in as president. He won April's presidential poll. Predecessor Luis Gonzalez Macchi barred from leaving country and put on trial on corruption charges.

2004 April onwards—Peasants stage series of land invasions and other protests, demanding redistribution of agricultural land.

2004 June—Former military commander General Oviedo returns from exile in Brazil and is arrested at airport.

2004 August—More than 420 killed in Asuncion shopping centre fire. Three days of national mourning declared.

2005 February—President Nicanor Duarte promises a crackdown on organised crime following the kidnapping and murder of the daughter of former president Raul Cubas.