Asunción

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

Asunción

Asunción (äsōōnsyō´n), city (1992 pop. 500,938), S Paraguay, capital of Paraguay, on the Paraguay River. It is the principal port and chief industrial and cultural center of Paraguay. Manufactures include footwear, textiles, and tobacco products. From the east bank of the river, the city spreads out on gentle hills in a pattern of rectangular blocks. Asunción is one of the oldest cities in South America and has a decidedly colonial aspect, enhanced by red-tiled roofs, colorful patios, and flowering trees. Its outstanding structures are the government buildings, the Godoi Museum, the Church of La Encarnación, and the Panteón Nacional, a smaller version of Les Invalides in Paris, where many of the nation's heroes are entombed. The city's botanical gardens are notable. The site of the city may have been visited by the conquistador Juan de Ayolas, but the town, called Nuestra Señora de la Asunción [Our Lady of the Assumption], was founded in Aug., 1536 or 1537, by Juan de Salazar and Gonzalo de Mendoza. It became a trading post on the route to Peru and flourished under the governorship of Domingo Martínez de Irala, who founded there the first cabildo in South America. As the most important town in the Río de la Plata region, Asunción became the center of the Jesuits' activities in converting the indigenous population. The city developed further under the great Creole governor Hernando Arias de Saavedra (first elected 1592). In 1731 the uprising of comuneros under José de Antequera y Castro was one of the first major rebellions against Spanish colonial rule. The eminence of Asunción was ended by the growth of Buenos Aires, which was separated from Asunción's jurisdiction in 1617. After the War of the Triple Alliance (1865–70), Asunción was occupied by Brazilian troops until 1876. The National Univ. and several colleges are in the city.

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