This public holiday is celebrated on 12 June. Also called Chaco Peace Day and known in Spanish as 'Día de la Independencia Nacional', this holiday commemorates the end of the Chaco War betwen Paraguay and Bolivia in 1935.
The Gran Chaco or Chaco Boreal is a large lowland plain that today is part of Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina.
From the late nineteenth century there had been simmering tension between Paraguay and Bolivia as to the extent of their control of the area as control of the area was of key strategic interest to both countries. Bolivia in particular saw the access to the Atlantic via the Paraguay River as important, especially as they had lost access to the Pacific in a war with Chile 1879.
Oil companies had been present in Bolivia and speculation arose that the Chaco region was rich in petroleum resources.
The lure of the land and the potential riches from the oil was enough to spark a war between the two countries over the disputed region.
While having superior numbers, Bolivian forces struggled against the guerilla tactics of the Paraguayans, tho
The Chaco War, which Paraguay fought against Bolivia between 1932 and 1935, ended with a ceasefire agreement on June 12, 1935.
The Chaco War was fought between the two countries over control of the Chaco Boreal region, which was strategically important since it provided easy access to the Atlantic Ocean via the Paraguay River that ran through it. This access was deemed essential by the leaders of both the landlocked countries. In addition the territory was erroneously thought to be rich in petroleum resources; speculation about the discovery of oil promised great future riches to whoever controlled the region.
This sparked off a war between the two nations. Italian and French forces provided tactical support to Paraguay, and that ensured the defeat of the Bolivian forces. On this day, Paraguayans celebrate their victory and pay homage to all those who lost their lives during the war