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Chaves, Julio César (1907–1988)

Chaves, Julio César (1907–1988)

Julio César Chaves (b. 1907; d. 20 February 1988), Paraguayan historian and diplomat. Born into an old and distinguished Asunción family, Chaves spent his early years in the Paraguayan capital, where he later studied international law. After receiving his law degree from the National University in 1929, he went on to hold various educational and diplomatic posts. Chaves was ambassador to Bolivia after the conclusion of the Chaco War (1932–1935), and in 1940 he became President José Félix Estigarribia's ambassador to Peru. Two years later, political conditions at home forced him to leave the diplomatic service, and he relocated to Buenos Aires, where he remained for eleven years.

In Argentina, Chaves began to pursue his interest in historical topics. He eschewed the blind nationalism of many of his contemporaries and made every effort to give his investigations a measure of empirical depth. To this end, he conducted extensive research in South American and European archives and incorporated his findings in many publications. These included Historia de las relaciones entre Buenos Aires y el Paraguay (1938), Castelli: El Adalid de Mayo, 2d ed. (1957), San Martín y Bolívar en Guayaquil (1950), El presidente López: Vida y gobierno de Don Carlos (1955), La conferencia de Yataity-Corá (1958), and Descubrimiento y conquista del Río de la Plata y el Paraguay (1968). By common consent, however, Chaves's greatest work was El supremo dictador (1942), the first modern biographical treatment of the nineteenth-century Paraguayan dictator Dr. José Gaspar Rodriguez de Francia.

After his return to Asunción in the mid-1950s, Chaves resumed his teaching career. His good relations with the Stroessner government (his brother was longtime president of the Colorado Party) assured him freedom of action in the country as well as considerable prestige. He became an unofficial spokesman for his country's intellectuals, traveling to scores of international scholarly conferences and acting as head of the Paraguayan PEN Club and of the Academia Paraguaya de la Historia.

See alsoParaguay: The Twentieth Century .


Julio César Chaves, El Supremo Dictador, 3d ed. (1958).

Luis G. Benítez, Historia de la cultura en el Paraguay (1976), pp. 239-240.

Additional Bibliography

Valleau de Talavera, Andrés Avelino. "Biografía de histor-iadores paraguayos y sus obras." Ph.D. diss., Universidad Nacional de Asunción, 1982, 1986.

                                 Thomas L. Whigham

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