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Spanish is the language of business and government, and Guarani is spoken in everyday life.
According to the 1992 census, nearly half the population speaks both Guarani and Spanish in the home and 39 percent speaks only Guarani.
The name "Paraguay" derives from the river that divides the eastern half of the nation from the western Chaco region.
The vast majority of the population (95 percent) shares a Paraguayan identity, but several other cultural identities exist.
The city was founded in 1537 by Juan de Salazar y Espinoza, a Spanish explorer who led an expedition upriver from the fort at Buenos Aires.
Befriended by the local Guarani, he established the fort of Nuestra Señora de la Asunción overlooking the bay where Asunción now stands.
The Japanese settlers and their descendants are estimated to number about eight thousand, and the Mennonites approximately fifteen thousand.
The indigenous population is composed of seventeen ethnic groups from five linguistic families.
Most immigrants have blended into the national population, but several groups have maintained distinct identities and cultures.
Population figures for the ethnic populations are disputed.
Estimates place the indigenous population at less than 3 percent of the national population.
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Approximately 95 percent of the population is mestizo.