September 29 – Boquerón Battle Day in Paraguay

Posted on September 29, 2018

This holiday is also called Victory at Boquerón, so you know why Paraguay celebrates the day rather than some other nation.

Okay, so if Paraguay was the victor in some long-ago Battle of Boquerón, who was the loser? It turned out that the guys who lost this battle, which lasted most of the month of September in 1932, was Bolivia. The battle was over a chunk of land called Chaco Boreal - and it seems that one reason that that land was so important was that it was thought to have rich oil deposits.

Turns out that no oil has ever been found!

The reasons for the Chaco War were more complicated than just oil, of course. Paraguay had been the owner of the land since its independence, but Bolivians had been pushing the native people out and settling it...Which sounds horrible, but Bolivia needed access to the Paraguay River, because the nation had become landlocked (with no access to any ocean) after it lost its Pacific Coast to Chile in another war! 

The Chaco War ended with a compromise - Paraguay got most of the disputed land, but Bolivia got a corridor to the Paraguay River and the rights to build a port there.

So...the land has no oil. How is Paraguay using the land that people fought and died for?

The truth is, much of the land remains undeveloped. There is a problem in that there isn't much drinkable water in some parts. Also, much of the area lacks roads and other infrastructure (electricity, perhaps?) to start modern crop farms or ranches.

Both Bolivia and Paraguay are landlocked. They are the #1 and 3 poorest nations in South America, and although Bolivia has a much higher percentage of indios or full-blooded Native Americans than Paraguay does, Paraguary has the highest percentage of mestizo or mixed-Native-American-and-European-American folks in all of Latin America! These neighboring nations have a lot in common and I hope will continue to concentrate on working together more than battling one another!

Here are some nice photos of pretty Paraguayan landscapes:

Also on this date:

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