Paraguay – World’s Happiest Place

Guarani1 dwelt in the forests and the hills a thousand years before the paper calendars came. The Crowned River2 clasped hands with the River that Gives Birth to the Sea3 and the forests were fed, and the hills were watered, and Guarani dwelt peacefully.

Our families dwelt together. Tupa4 sent animals to our bow and fishes to our net and maize from the earth.  Isondu5 and Pananbi6remained with us bringing light and happiness.

The conquistador7, arrived in, what they call, 1524, when the leaves were falling and the rivers low. He looked for gold and silver, not food nor friend. We gave him some food and we gave him some gold, and we offered some friends. But he did not like our food, and he became crazy with our gold, and we did not see how we could be friends. But a few of our young men went with him.

Then the priests came, and they brought Mary and Jesus and books.  They said Jesus and Mary were like Tupa8 and Irupe9.  They taught us to learn from the books.  They brought crosses and statues10 and said they were like Isondu11 and Pananbi12.  But we prefer the living butterflies and fireflies. When the conquistadors enslaved some of our people, the priests stood up against them, and that was good.

The  state began in 1811 and in José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia13 became ruler. He made it law that Europeans must not marry Europeans, but only people of the land. So Guarani married Spaniards, and Spaniards married Africans.

There is no official data on the ethnic composition of the Paraguayan population, as the Department of Statistics, Surveys and Censuses of Paraguay does not ask about race and ethnicity in census surveys, although it does inquire about the indigenous population. According to the census of 2002, the indigenous people made up 1.7% of Paraguay’s total population.

World’s happiest place in a 21st century poll.

Paraguay 10000 guarani banknote front
José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia, El Supremo, first ruler of the new nation-state of Paraguay, is featured on the front of this banknote, Paraguay, 10,000 guaranies
banknote Paraguay, 10000 guarani 2004 back
The date of the independence of Paraguay, May 14, 1811, when a new independent junta was constituted, is featured in this banknote of Paraguay


  1. indigenous inhabitants of Paraguay
  2. looking upstream, the river comes from mountains crowned with snow. Para is guarani for river, guai is guarani for crown
  3. looking downstrean, the river flowes into the sea. Para is guarani for river, guay is translated born of water
  4. Creator of all
  5. glowworms and fireflies are reincarnate ancestors visiting us by night
  6. butterflies are our ancestors visiting us by day
  7. Alex Garcia from Portugal
  8. the Creator of Light, residing in the Sun
  9. woman who fell in love with the Moon
  10. representing their dead
  11. ancestors reincarnate as glowworms
  12. ancestors reincarnate as butterflies
  13. dictator, called El Supremo, inspired by the Enlightenment and French Revolution, sought to establish a utopia based upon Rousseau’s The Social Contract

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