A landlocked country of south-central South America. Inhabited principally by the Guarani, the region was first explored by Europeans in 1516 and grew around the colony of Asunción (founded in the 1530s). Paraguay achieved de facto independence from Spain in 1811 and was ruled by a series of dictators in the 19th century. Paraguay was involved in costly wars with Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay (1865-1870) and Bolivia (1932-1935). Asunción is the capital and the largest city. Population: 6,670,000.