of Rio de la Plata was created on 21 March 1534 by a treaty between Pedro
de Mendoza and the Spanish Crown. It was better known as the Government
of Paraguay with Asunción as its capital, the city being founded in 1537 by Juan de Salazar y Espinosa.
In 1617 the
Government was divided into the Government of Paraguay or of Guayrá and the
Government of Rio de la Plata or of Buenos Aires.
Paraguay was a
part of the vice kingdom of Peru until 1776 when it became a part of the vice
kingdom of Rio de la Plata then created. It became the district of Asunción
of Paraguay (Intendencia de Asunción
del Paraguay) by Royal Order of the Supervisors of the Army and Province
of 28 January 1782 which divided the vice kingdom in eight districts.
a bloodless revolution, the independence of Paraguay from Spain was achieved
on the 14 May, 1811, following a movement that had been started in May of the
preceding year in Buenos Aires.
capital of Paraguay, is one of the oldest cities in South America and because
of that it is known as “The Mother of Cities”.
The site of the
city may have been first visited by Spanish conqueror Juan
de Ayolas, on his way north, up the Paraguay River, looking for a passage
to the mines of Alto Perú (present-day Bolivia). Later, Juan de Salazar y Espinosa (†1560) and
Gonzalo de Mendoza, were sent in search of
Ayolas, but were unable to find him. On his way up and then down the river,
de Salazar found the natives friendly, and decided in August, 1537 to found a
fort there. He named it Nuestra Señora Santa María de la Asunción.
On 16 October
1600 the members of the City Council of Asunción were in session. Amongst
other things they in particular deliberated about the seals and arms which
the city should take as its emblems and they chose for a crowned lion and a
river representing the Rio de la Plata, which was then adopted as the first arms of the city.
picture of such a coat of arms has been preserved. Pictures of 18th century
arms of Asunción show a coat of arms quarterly:
18th century versions of the arms of
Arms: Quarterly: 1. Argent S. Maria of
Ascension rising from a claud, proper; 2. Or, Bishop S. Blas, proper; 3.
Gules, the castle of Castile, Or; 4. Azure, on a base Vert, a palmtree on
dexter the and a lion sejant guardant on the sinister, proper.
Arms of Asunción, 18th century
In all administrative
colleges of the spanish settlements in the Americas the heraldic emblems of Spain
were displayed. In Asunción a tapestry of the royal arms hung in the Council
Chamber. It was probably used by the Government of Paraguay (1534-1782). For
the later Government and the Intendencia or District of Paraguay one would expect
the arms of the Bourbon kings.
of the King of Spain, 1580-1700
In the replica of the Chamber
of the ancient City Council of Asunción.
Copy woven by the Royal Weaving Mill of
Madrid, 1800. .
the days and months after the declaration of independence several flags were
proposed for the new republic but a last proposal, showing a flag of three
stripes red, white and blue (the colors of the french and dutch tricolore)
was adopted on 15 August 1812. This flag has not changed since then.
Flag of 18 May 1811
Flag of 16 June 1811
Flag of 15
Another flag of 1811
Flag of 1812
Flag of 15 August 1812
30 September 1812 the Suprem Congress adopted a national emblem without
however describing it. After 1820 there appeared a seal on official
documents. It was created by José
Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia (†1840) and consisted of a six-pointed
star and a palm leaf and an olive branch in saltire in base. It was
surrounded by a legend reading REPUBLICA Ð PARAGUAY separated by crescents.
Seal of the Republic, 1837 ca
Seal of the Treasury, 1840 ca
At about the same time the seal of the Treasury (Hacienda) appeared. This showed a pole
crested with a phrygian cap radiant and a lion sejant guardant in base,
between the motto PAZ Y JUSTICIA (Peace
and Justice) and surrounded by the legend REPUBLICA DEL
itself surrounded by a garland of laurel.
seal seems to have been inspired by the fourth quarter of the arms of
On 25 November
1842, under the consulate of Carlos Antonio López (1841-’44) an Extraordinary General Congress
adopted a law about the national flag and heraldic symbols of Paraguay. The
first article of the Law reads:
“manda y ordena que el Pabellón de la República sea el mismo que hasta
aquí ha tenido la Nación con las variaciones convenientes, esto es, una
bandera compuesta de tres fajas horizontales, colorada, blanca y azul. De un
lado el Escudo Nacional con una Palma y una Oliva entrelazadas en el vértice
y abiertas en la superficie, resaltando en el medio de ella una Estrella. En
la orla una inscripción distribuida que dice: ’República del Paraguay’. En el
lado opuesto un círculo con la inscripción ‘Paz y Justicia’ y en el centro un
león en la base del símbolo de la libertad”.
Extraoridinary General Congress] commands and decrees that the Flag of the
Republic will be the same that was used by the Nation in several convenient
versions, that is, a flag composed of three horizontal stripes, red, white
and blue. On one side the National Arms with a palm leaf and an olive branch
tied together below and opened around a field with a Star in the middle. And
in orle an inscription reading ‘República del Paraguay’. On the other side a
disc inscribed “Paz y Justicia” and in the middle a lion below the symbol of
From the first
few years after the adoption of the national seal no pictures are available.
On coins and in the head of the Government Gazette the ‘El Paraguayo Independiente’ the seal of the Treasury was used.
1/12 Real, 1845
Under the presidency
of Carlos Antonio Lopez (1844-’62), coins were struck on which the garland-
and-star were replaced by a sitting Justitia, the emblem of the Hacienda
remaining the same.
Paraguayan coin, 1854-‘68
His preference for
the seal of the Treasury above the National seal is also demonstrated by
his presidential sash which consisted
of a broad red-white and blue ribbon with the seal of the Treasury in the
Carlos Antonio Lopez wearing the Presidential sash.
The sitting Justitia however was soon abandoned:
Paraguayan Peso struck after 1868
In the fifties of
the 20th century the national seal showed the star in a blue sky and a brown
The seal of the
treasury showed the lion sitting on a brown ground and a blue sky above.
the Constitution of 25 August 1967 the national symbols were described again
but still no picture was added. The section about the National Symbols read:
Art. 4°.- Los símbolos
de la Patria, son:
1) El Pabellón de la
República consistente en una bandera compuesta de tres franjas horizontales
iguales: colorada, blanca y azul, llevando de un lado, en el medio, el Escudo
Nacional, de forma circular, que se describe como una palma y una oliva
entrelazadas en el vértice y abiertas en la parte superior, resaltando en
medio de ellas una estrella y en la orla, una inscripción distribuída que
dice “República del Paraguay”; y en el reverso, y en la misma posición, un
círculo con la inscripción distribuída: “Paz y Justicia”, figurando en el
centro un león en la base del símbolo de la libertad;
2) El Sello Nacional,
que reproduce el escudo primeramente descrito;
3) El Sello de Hacienda,
que reproduce el escudo del reverso del Pabellón, más la descrip-ción que
dice: “República del Paraguay”, en la orla;
4) El Himno Nacional,
cuyo coro comienza con la frase: “Paraguayos, República o Muerte”.
5) La composición
musical “Campamento Cerro León”.
La ley reglamentará las
características de los símbolos de la Patria, en cuanto no estén previstas en
la resolución del Congreso General Extraordinario del 25 de noviembre de
1842, y determinará su uso.
The seals of the Nation and the Treasury after 1967
The National Constitution of Paraguay of 1992 the Constitution of 1967 was
abolished and the section about the national symbols rewritten:
Artículo 139 - DE LOS SIMBOLOS
símbolos de la República del Paraguay:
el pabellón de la República;
el sello nacional, y
el himno nacional.
La ley reglamentará las
características de los símbolos de la República no previstos en la resolución
del Congreso General Extraordinario del 25 de noviembre de 1942, y
determinando su uso.
Seal: A disc Argent, Azure, a five-pointed star Or surrounded by a crown of a
palm leaf and a branch of olive proper. Surrounded by a ring Gules, charged
with the motto REPUBLICA DEL PARAGUAY Or.
The seal of the
Seal: A disc Argent, a pole crested with a phrygian cap Gules and a lion
sejant to the sinister Or. And in chief a listel Gules in orle charged with
the motto PAZ Y JUSTICIA Or.
Æ See these national symbols in the head
of this essay.
Even when the
emblems on the flag did not change, at the end of the 19th century a coat of arms
or national emblem was made by combining the national seal and the seal of
the Hacienda. This (unofficial)
national emblem showed the lion-and-palmtree on a blue field, the shield
crested with the star radiant of the national seal and surrounded by the
garland of the same. Other versions show this emblem supported by four
National Achievement, end of 19th century.
National Achievement, beginning of 20th century
achievements are known from European sources until the beginning of WW II.
symbol may be interpreted as the emblem of the armed forces. This was printed
on banknotes. It is:
Bank note, 1907
Arms: Azure, a five pointed star Or.
Crest: A rising sun
Garland: A crown of branches of oak and olive.
Supporters: Six national flags and two cannon in saltire.
At the adoption
of a new Constitution the opportunity was not taken to adopt a national
Almost from the
beginning the President of the Republic wore a presidential sash as a badge
of his function. This replaced the royal crown which the spanish kings had
borne as a badge of their royal authority. The sash consisted of a broad
ribbon in the national colors of 1842, at first charged with the Seal of the
Treasury but, beginning with the presidency of his son and successor
Francisco Solano Lopez (1862-‘69), with the national seal, be it all in gold
embroidery or in full color.
flag is known from the presidency of Alfredo Stroessner but may have been
introduced by one of his predecessors. It shows the national seal between
four yellow five-pointed stars on a dark blue cloth (1:2).
Presidential flag of Alfredo Stroessner, 1954-‘89
Wings ancient and modern
Founded 8 March
The arms shows a
five-pointed star on the map of Paraguay, charged with a cock, surrounded by
a crown of oak-leaves.
inscriptions read: POLICIA NACIONAL, ORDEN Y PATRIA and PARAGUAY
© Hubert de Vries 2013-04-08