José Gaspar Rodriguez de Francia


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Dictator of Paraguay. A leader of the Paraguayan movement for independence from Spain (1811), he dominated the post-independence period by establishing (1814) one of the most absolute dictatorships in 19th-century Latin American history. Dogmatic, anti-clerical, and xenophobic, he placed his country in almost complete isolation from the outside world. At home his autocratic rule earned him the name El Supremo. As time went on, he grew more arbitrary and despotic. The extravagances of his later years were considered symptomatic of his insanity, although he held office until his death in 1840.

Subjects: World History.

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