Monday, April 22, 2013

Compulsory Miscegenation

In this post, I commented about the anti-miscegenation laws that many US states once had, forbidding marriages between people of different races.

I just came across an interesting variation on this. Shortly after Paraguay achieved independence from Spain, the dictator, Jose Gaspar Rodriguez de Francia, decided to break the power of the nation’s Spanish elite. The way to do this, he apparently decided, was by making them no longer Spanish.
In March 1814, Francia banned Spaniards from marrying each other; they had to wed Indians, blacks, or mulattoes.


  1. Apparently so -- the CIA Factbook lists Paraguay's population as 95% mestizo -- much higher than any other South American country that I looked at (e.g., Ecuador is 72%, Peru only 37%).

    More to come about Paraguay in future posts. Interesting history.