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Revista Científica de la UCSA

On-line version ISSN 2409-8752

Rev. ciente. UCSA vol.5 no.1 Asunción Apr. 2018 


“Some reflections on the History of Engineering in Paraguay”

Herib Caballero Campos1 

1Universidad Nacional de Canindeyu. Paraguay

The 21st of January of the year 1855 the steamship Tacuary docked on the river port of Asunción, the first steam vessel owned by Paraguay, in it, also arrived John Whytehead, engineer, who was to be the Chief Engineer of the Republic for a decade. Under the leadership of Whytehead the construction of the Arsenal, and the improvement of the Iron Foundry of Ybycui, were undertaken. The modernization project started by the government of Carlos Antonio López (1844-1862) implied the recruitment of more than two hundred technicians - the vast majority Englishmen - and in parallel training young Paraguayans by sending them to Europe. The contribution of Whytehead and his colleagues was essential for the projects embarked upon by the government. After the War against the Triple Alliance, the development of engineering was mainly focused on the expansion of the railway to Encarnación, goal which was to be attained in the first decades of the XX century.

It was at the beginning of the past century that some families and the proper State encouraged young Paraguayans to study engineering, thus Juan Alonso, Ramón Sosa, Máximo Croskey, Héctor Velázquez, Félix García, Onésimo González, Venancio Galeano, Luis Guanes, Francisco Fernández, José Bozzano among others were educated in England, USA and Argentina. Fernández and Bozzano concluded their studies in the prestigious MIT; both were outstanding advocates of the Paraguayan engineering during the first half of the XX century.

José Bozzano distinguished himself in the design of the gunboats Paraguay and Humaitá, of vital importance during the Chaco War (1932-1935), and in the managing of the Marine Arsenal during the same conflict. The Engineering Faculty initiated in 1927, with the teamwork help of Russian professors, such as Dr. Sergio Sispanov, who together with the Paraguayan professors, formed various generations of engineers, who developed the national highway system and other civil works in different places around the Republic.

Since the end of the 1930’s decade, the construction of the asphalted roadways started in Paraguay, with the highway between Asunción and Barrero Grande (modern day city of Eusebio Ayala) being completed by the north American company R.W. Hebard & Co.Between the decades of 1940 and 1960, the challenges confronted by the Paraguayan engineering were diverse, from high buildings in different cities to the construction of bridges in various parts of the country. It was the challenges posed and the experience gained with the construction of the Itaipú Binational (with Brazil), Yacyretá Binational (with Argentina) and the Acaray Hydroelectric Dams, which allowed the development of knowledge, technology and work methodologies. It is in this sense that the statement of the Engineer Manuel Benítez Codas can be emphasized, “…the consortium IECO-ELC (International Engineering Company from the USA and Electroconsult from Italy) began the search of a solution that resulted in the adaptation of the Canadian Rule of Quality Assurance employed in the nuclear industry”.

“Based on this rule IECO-ECL designed a quality assurance system that included two aspects, the inspection of the manufacturing processes of the electromechanical equipment and the diligence (documental monitoring and fulfillment of deadlines) of the acquired equipment”.

This quality rules established a solid technical base in the more than 300 Paraguayan engineers and technicians formed during the ten years in which they participated in the construction project of the Itaipú dam.

Therefore, it can be asserted that in more than two hundred years of independent life, the men and women dedicated to Engineering in Paraguay, have contributed in different ways, not only directly in their professional scope, but also in other areas with the goal of supplying quality to peoples’ lives.


Caballero Campos, H. (2017). Historia de las Relaciones entre Paraguay y Gran Bretaña. Del siglo XVIII al Siglo XXI, Ed. 1ra: Asunción, Fundación Nicolás Latourette Bo-Servilibro. [ Links ]

Flecha V.J. (Org.) (2012). Historia de la Industria en el Paraguay, Asunción, Ministerio de Industria y Comercio. [ Links ]

UNA. (2009). Una 120 años de Historia, Asunción, UNA. [ Links ]

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