How are Uruguay and Paraguay pronounced?: Information Roundup
Paraguayans pronounce the name of their country PAH-rah-gwy, while English-speaking people generally pronounce it PAIR-a-gway. Uruguayans pronounce the name of their country OO-roo-gwy, while [page 34] English-speaking people generally pronounce it YOU-ru-gway. But even in English the third syllable in both names is sometimes given the long i rather than the long a sound. These republics took their names from rivers, which in turn received their names from native tribes. The exact meaning of the names is uncertain. Some authorities suppose that Uruguay is derived from Guarani Indian uru, "bird," and guay, "tail," and that the Uruguay River was called "bird's tail" in allusion to a falls in the stream that fanned out like a bird's tail. Others think the name literally means "river of birds" in the Charruan language. Paraguay, according to the accepted theory, is Guarani phrase signifying "river of parrots." Whether the last element in the two names originally meant the same thing is not clear. When what is now the capital of Paraguay was founded in 1537 by the Spanish it was called Nuestra Señora de la Ascunción, "Our Lady of the Assumption." The capital of Uruguay, founded as a city in 1726, was named San Felipe y Santiago de Montevideo, "St. Philip and St. James of Montevideo." There are two theories as to why the place was called Montevideo, the general meaning of which is "mountain view." According to one, a Portuguese lookout on a ship caught a glimpse of a hill in the vicinity and shouted, Monte vide eu! "I see a mountain." According to the other, Montevideo originated in a combination of abbreviations in early manuscripts relating to the region. In Spanish the name is pronounced MOAN-tay-vee-THAY-oh; in English it is generally pronounced monn-ta-VIDD-e-oh. The Jesuits established permanent missions in Paraguay in t605. They gradually organized and armed the natives and for generations comprised a "supergovernment" in Paraguay. The last vestiges of the utopian experiment of a Jesuit free state in Paraguay ended when the Jesuits were expelled from the country in 1769. In 1814, soon after Paraguay's liberation from Spain, Dr. José Gaspar Rodriguez Francia became dictator and ruled the country until his death in 1840. He decreed that all Paraguayan men must wear hats so they could show proper respect to superiors by removing them. The dictator also forbade the utterance of his own name and required his people to refer to him only as El Supremo on pain of death. Francia was succeeded by his nephew Carlos Antonio López, who was succeeded in 1861 by his son Francisco Solano López. Between 1865 and 1870 López fought the combined military and naval forces of Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. When the war started Paraguay had 1,337,000 inhabitants; when it ended there were only 106,000 women, 86,000 children and 29,000 men left living in the country. Of 30,000 Paraguayan army and naval officers General [page 35] Barnardino Caballero alone survived. The allies lost about a million men. Virtually all farming, industry and normal activity in Paraguay was destroyed. This accounts for the fact that Paraguay later encouraged all sorts of immigrants to settle in the country. There are some sixty colonies of various foreigners in Paraguay with a large measure of local self-government.