What was to become the country of Paraguay formed part of Spanish South America. In 1776 from these was formed the province of The Vice Royalty of the Rio de la Plata which formed the southern portion of those land. Then shortly this province was itself divided into a number of municipalities. One of these was Paraguay with its local capital in Asuncion.

This marked the final stage of a united Spanish South America as the various provinces began to seek their independence. Independence was declared for Argentina in Buenos Aires in May 1810. At the time it was felt in Buenos Aires that Paraguay should become a province of a newly independent Argentina.

However by then Paraguay had began to develop nationalistic feeling of its own and had no wish to exchange Spanish rule for that of Argentina.

To rectify this an invasion of Paraguay was launched from Argentina. This was though repelled without too much difficulty by the Paraguayans. Following their defeat in the Battle of Paraguari the Argentine military forces pulled out of Paraguay, returning to Buenos Aires.

By this time plans were being formed in Paraguay to bring to an end colonial rule there and to create an independent country. Originally late May had been selected for the coup. This would have been exactly one year after Argentina had declared its own independence. However events on the ground caused the date to be bought forward a couple of weeks.

So it was that on the night of 14th May 1811 the conspirators met for one last time. They were lead by militia leaders Pedro Juan Cabellero and Fulgencio Yegros. The house in which they met has been preserved in central Asuncion as The House of the Independence and is now a museum to the independence and those involved in bringing it about.

Papers were drawn up and at midnight Pedro Juan Cabellero left with them to read the conspirators demands to the governor. These included the handing over of the arsenal to the rebels and for a three man ruling council consisting of the governor and the leaders of the rebels.

These demands were rejected and early in the morning of the 15th it looked like a military confrontation would be inevitable before the matter could be settled.

This in the end did not occur. At the last minute the governor chose instead to step down and hand over power without bloodshed. He announced he was doing so as he had no wish to fight against his own people.

Independence was thus achieved in Paraguay although there was still much work to be done in the creation of a new country.

The general public were made officially aware of the success of the coup and the new regimen in a proclamation to the people on 17th May.

Thereafter Pedro Juan Cabellero and his fellow military conspirators set about forming a new government for the now independent Paraguay. Although he was not a military man it soon became clear that the power of this new government sat with the lawyer Jose Gaspar Rodriguez de Francia.

Once the dust had settled over the events of mid May 1811 he did indeed emerge as the first president of Paraguay leading it onwards into a post colonial future.