The Republic of Paraguay gained its independence from Spanish rule in 1811, and after a short government by two consuls, the supreme power was seized, in 1815, by Dr. José Gaspar Rodriguez Francia, who exercised autocratic sway as dictator till his death, September 20, 1840. Subsequently, in 1844, a new Constitution was adopted providing for the election of a President. President Lopez, in 1864, began a dispute with the Government of Brazil, which resulted in the entry of a Brazilian army, united with forces of the Argentine Confederation and Uruguay, into the Republic, June, 1865. After a struggle of five years, in which Paraguay lost probably 500,000 men, Lopez was defeated and killed at the battle of Cerro Corá, March 1, 1870.
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