Concepción, city founded 31 May 1773 by Spanish colonel Agustín Fernando de Pinedo y Valdivieso on the east bank of the Paraguay River, 193 miles north of Asunción, to dominate the Mbayá Indians, to contain the Portuguese, and to explore the yerbales (agricultural prospects) between the rivers Jejúi and Apa. It remained a small town, with the population increasing from 44 families and three military companies in the 1780s to 2,768 in 1846; 14,640 in 1950; 18,232 in 1962; 22,866 in 1982; and 25,607 in 2001.
Although Concepción was laid out in the Spanish rectangular pattern, its commerce was concentrated around the port. The town was a center of the yerba trade in the eighteenth century, and by 1864 it boasted lime and brick factories, several general stores, and half a dozen pulperías (grocery stores). It exported Yerba Maté, Quebracho, lumber, and cattle, and it protected the northern frontier with Brazil. From 1826 to 1831 the town served as a place of exile for Europeans, Corrientinos, and Paraguayans who questioned the authority of dictator José Gaspar de Francia. Although the region lost population during the War of the Triple Alliance (1864–1870), its northern position protected it from destruction, though not from declining prosperity after the war. Because Concepción opposed General Higínio Morínigo in the 1947 civil war, it suffered neglect from both General Alfredo Stroessner and the Colorado Party.
Although river trade has declined, Concepción is a strategic location for road transport leading to Asunción, the country's capital, and to the Gran Chaco region. It is also free port for trade with Brazil. In the early 2000s the municipality has begun to promote tourism.
See alsoParaguay, Geography .
Natalico Olmedo, Album gráfico de Concepción (1927), deals with both the province and the city between 1870 and 1925. Guillermo A. Cabral Giménez, Semblanzas de Concepción (1970), while including historical material from the colonial period to 1970, is inclined to concentrate on political issues post-1870. See also John Hoyt Williams, The Rise and Fall of the Paraguayan Republic, 1800–1870 (1979), esp. pp. 12, 56, 60, 67, 77, and 217-218, the best available nineteenth-century history.
Ashwell, Washington. Concepción, 1947: Cincuenta años después. Asunción: W. Ashwell, 1998.
Martínez, Ofelia, and Mary Monte. Dios proteja destino patria: Las concepcioneras de 1901. Asunción: Centro de Documentación y Estudios, 1999.
Pereira, Humberto Osnaghi. La libertad viene del norte: Revolución de Concepción, 1947. Asunción: Arandurã Editorial, 2004.
Vera Blinn Reber