Update 3 to Geopolitical Entities and Codes, the successor to FIPS PUB 10-4, was issued on 2011-02-28. It changes
the status of Asunción from department to capital district.
I updated the 2002 population column to the latest figures from the DGEEC (Paraguay Statistics) website, presumably corrected. Thanks to
Sorin Cosoveanu for collecting those numbers. I also added the postal code column to the main table.
The capital of San Pedro is familiarly called San Pedro. Its full name is sometimes spelled San Pedro del Ycuamandiyú and sometimes San
Pedro del Ycuamandyyú, and Spanish Wikipedia (retrieved 2009-09-12) calls it San Pedro del Ykuamandyju, but the first version appears to
be more standard. The capital of Presidente Hayes, by the way, has been moved back to Villa Hayes.
International standard ISO 3166-2 was published on December 15, 1998. It superseded ISO/DIS 3166-2 (draft international standard). For
Paraguay, the draft standard showed nineteen departments and one city. The final standard shows seventeen departments and one city. The
departments of Chaco and Nueva Asunción had been dropped. Change Notice 1 to FIPS PUB 10-4, dated December 1, 1998, shows the same
The Gran Chaco was disputed between Paraguay and Bolivia for many years. Until 1932, it was divided along a line roughly from the
split of the Pilcomayo River to Fuerte Olimpo. Then oil was discovered, and the Chaco War (1932-1935) broke out. In 1938-07, with the
signing of a peace treaty, Paraguay expanded to its present limits.
Other names of country:
- Danish: Paraguay
- Dutch: Paraguay, Republiek Paraguay (formal)
- English: Republic of Paraguay (formal)
- Finnish: Paraguay
- French: Paraguay m
- German: Paraguay n
- Icelandic: Paragvæ
- Italian: Paraguay m
- Norwegian: Paraguay, Republikken Paraguay (formal)
- Portuguese: Paraguai, República f do Paraguai m (formal)
- Russian: Республика Парагвай (formal)
- Spanish: Paraguay, República f del Paraguay m (formal)
- Swedish: Paraguay
- Turkish: Paraguay Cumhuriyeti (formal)
Origin of name:
Theory 1: Guaraní para: river + guaso: big; theory 2: Paragua (chief's name) + y: river
Paraguay is divided into seventeen departamentos (departments) and one distrito capital (capital district).
|558,672||14,895||5,751||Ciudad del Este|
|114,917||12,933||4,993||Pedro Juan Caballero|
|140,137||14,667||5,663||Salto del Guairá|
|101,783||9,556||3,690||San Juan Bautista (de las Misiones)|
|318,698||20,002||7,723||San Pedro (del Ycuamandiyú)|
- Department: except for Asunción, which is a capital district.
- HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision codes.
- ISO: Codes from ISO standard 3166-2, issued December 15, 1998. For full identification in a global
PY-" to the code (ex:
PY-11 represents Central). Within Paraguay, the departments are
by numbers (usually expressed as Roman numerals or ordinals) which are the same as
their ISO codes, except that Boquerón is number
- FIPS: Codes from FIPS PUB 10-4, a U.S. government standard.
- Post: Paraguay uses four-digit postal codes. The first two digits usually indicate the department.
- Population: 2002-08-28 census.
Note: In the book "Administrative Subdivisions of Countries", I used the spelling Canendiyú. The Paraguayan legislature initially
enacted that spelling when the department was created, but later found it to be in error and changed it to Canindeyú.
See the Districts of Paraguay page.
The Paraguay River divides Paraguay into two provincias (provinces), named Occidente and Oriente (West and East, respectively). The
provinces are further divided into the departments listed above. The only departments in Occidente are Alto Paraguay, Boquerón, Chaco,
Nueva Asunción, and Presidente Hayes. The departments are subdivided into distritos or partidos, which are subdivided into compañías and
Origins of names:
- Alto Paraguay, Alto Paraná: Spanish alto: high, along the upper course of the Paraguay (respectively, Paraná) River in Paraguay
- Asunción: Originally Spanish Nuestra Señora de la Asunción: Our Lady of the Assumption. Founded on 1536-08-15, Assumption Day
- Chaco: from Guaraní chako: hunting ground
- Misiones: = Missions, for Jesuit missions to the natives
- Ñeembucú: local word for endless
- Nueva Asunción: Spanish nueva: new, named after the capital Asunción
- Presidente Hayes: named after U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes in gratitude for his favorable decision in arbitration of a border
- 1906: The first law on territorial division of the republic (1906) divided the country into two secciones (sections): Oriental and
Occidental. Oriental was subdivided into twelve departments and a federal district, Occidental into military commandancies (source ).
- 1935: The division of Paraguay at the end of the Chaco War was:
|Concepción||1||43,953||32,569||Concepción||Concepción; Amambay (part)|
|Federal District|| ||154,923||632||Asunción||Asunción|
|Región Occidental|| ||45,860||230,000||Villa Hayes||Boquerón, Olimpo, Presidente Hayes|
|San Ignacio||8||50,351||7,648||San Ignacio||Misiones|
|San Pedro||2||35,907||35,633||San Pedro||San Pedro; Amambay, Caaguazú, Alto Paraná (parts)|
|Villeta||11||57,341||4,496||Villeta||Central; Ñeembucú (part)|
|Yhú||5||55,783||14,882||Yhú||Caaguazú, Alto Paraná (parts)|
- Population: 1936 incomplete census results (include some duplicate counts)
- Approximate equivalent: departments covering this area after the reorganization
- 1945-07-10: Occidental was reorganized into three departments: Presidente Hayes, Boquerón, and Olimpo. By Decree No. 9,848, Amambay
department was split from San Pedro. The name of Caraguatay was changed to Cordillera. Caaguazú department was created by annexing part
of San Pedro to Yhú. The name of San Ignacio was changed to Misiones, and its capital moved from San Ignacio to San Juan Bautista. The
name of Encarnación was changed to Itapúa. Quyyndy department merged with Paraguarí. Alto Paraná department was created from parts of San
Pedro and Encarnación. The resulting division consisted of the sixteen departments of Alto Paraná (capital Hernandarias), Amambay (Pedro
Juan Caballero), Boquerón (Mariscal Estigarribia), Caaguazú (Coronel Oviedo), Caazapá (Caazapá), Central (Asunción), Concepción
(Concepción), Cordillera (Caacupé), Guairá (Villarrica), Itapúa (Encarnación), Misiones (San Juan Bautista), Ñeembucú (Pilar), Olimpo
(Fuerte Olimpo), Paraguarí (Paraguarí), Presidente Hayes (Villa Hayes), and San Pedro (San Pedro), and the capital district, Distrito
- 1973-12-07: Law No. 426 divided the country into 19 departments, of which fourteen were in Oriental region and five in Occidental.
The latter were Alto Paraguay (capital Fuerte Olimpo), Boquerón (Doctor Pedro P. Peña), Chaco (Mayor Pablo Lagerenza), Nueva Asunción
(General Eugenio A. Garay), and Presidente Hayes (Villa Hayes) in the Occidental region. Occidental was released from military control.
Canendiyú department was formed from parts of Alto Paraná and Caaguazú. Some other borders were changed. Capital of Alto Paraná moved
from Hernandarias (alternate name Tacurupucú) to Puerto Presidente Stroessner.
- The name of Canendiyú was later changed to Canindeyú, to correct a toponymic error.
- ~1988: Capital of Presidente Hayes moved from Villa Hayes to Pozo Colorado.
- 1989-08-11: Name of capital of Alto Paraná department changed from Puerto Presidente Stroessner to Ciudad del Este.
- 1992-11-06: Law No. 71 merged Nueva Asunción department with Boquerón, and Chaco with Alto Paraguay, leaving Occidental with the same
territorial divisions as in 1945. [My other sources indicate that the boundaries of the three new departments were significantly
different from the former configuration.] Capital of Boquerón department moved from Doctor Pedro P. Peña to Filadelfia.
- 1993-07-02: By law No. 201, Areguá became capital of Central department. The department was administered from Asunción before that
date, although some older sources list Limpio and Ypacaraí as the capital of Central.
- 2001-06-06: Capital of Presidente Hayes moved back to Villa Hayes from Pozo Colorado, by Law No. 1,716.
Other names of subdivisions:
- Asunción: Assomption (French-variant); Assunção (Portuguese); Distrito Capital, Distrito Federal (variant)
- Canindeyú: Canendiyú (frequent mistake, found even in some official Paraguayan sources)
- Cordillera: Caraguatay (obsolete); Las Cordilleras, La Cordillera (variant)
- Guairá: Villarrica (obsolete)
- Itapúa: Encarnación (obsolete); Itapua, Itapuá (variant)
- Misiones: Las Misiones (variant); San Ignacio (obsolete)
- Ñeembucú: Neembucú (variant)
- Nueva Asunción: Nova Assunção (Portuguese)
|Canindeyú|| || || ||66,409||103,785||140,137|
Note: The 1950 total includes 79,948 people not enumerated by department.
(Sources , , ).
-  Departamentos del Paraguay (http://www.paraguaygobierno.gov.py/departaemtnosparaguay.html, dead link, retrieved 2003-07-06), a page
on the Paraguayan governmental Website.
-  2002 census data retrieved from Dirección General de Estadística, Encuestas y
-  Atlas
Censal de Paraguay has all six censuses.
-  1992 census data: Spreadsheet
download from DGEEC site, retrieved 2009-09-19.