Paraguay is a landlocked country in South America, bordering Brazil, Argentina and Bolivia. The Paraguay River (Spanish: Río Paraguay) divides the country into strikingly different eastern and western regions. Both the eastern region (officially called Eastern Paraguay, Paraguay Oriental, and known as the Paraneña region) and the western region (officially Western Paraguay, Paraguay Occidental, and known as the Chaco) gently slope toward and are drained into the Paraguay River, which separates and unifies the two regions. With the Paraneña region reaching southward and the Chaco extending to the north, Paraguay straddles the Tropic of Capricorn and experiences both subtropical and tropical climates.
Paraguay borders on three substantially larger countries: Bolivia, Argentina, and Brazil. The northwestern boundary with Bolivia, extending through the low hills of the Chaco region, was set in 1938. The boundary between the Chaco and Brazil was defined in 1927; it continues from the confluence of the Apa River (Río Apa) and Paraguay River northward along the course of the Río Paraguay to the border with Bolivia. The northern border of the Paraneña region, set in 1872, follows the course of the Paraná River (Río Paraná), the ridges of the mountains in the northeast region, and finally the course of the Apa River until it empties into the Paraguay River. Paraguay's southern border with Argentina comprises the Pilcomayo River (Río Pilcomayo), Paraná River, and Paraguay River. Argentina and Paraguay agreed on these boundaries in 1876.
The two main natural regions in Paraguay are the Paraneña region (a mixture of plateaus, rolling hills, and valleys) and the Chaco region (an immense piedmont plain). About 95 percent of Paraguay's population resides in the Paraneña region, which has all the significant orographic features and a more predictable climate. The Paraneña region can be generally described as consisting of an area of highlands in the east that slopes toward the Río Paraguay and becomes an area of lowlands, subject to floods, along the river. The Chaco is predominantly lowlands, also inclined toward the Río Paraguay, that are alternately flooded and parched.
Full article ▸