Rutherford B. Hayes's Presidency

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Why does Paraguay have a department named after US President Rutherford B. Hayes?

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Rutherford B. Hayes is a national hero in Paraguay. After the Paraguayan War, in which up to 60% of the population died, there was a dispute between Argentina and Paraguay over who had legal rights to the land known as Chaco. Although Chaco was not as easy place to inhabit, Paraguayans feared losing it would threaten their existence. To settle the dispute without further bloodshed, both countries turned to the United States, as a neutral third party, and submitted their reasons for why they should be granted the rights to Chaco. As president, Rutherford B. Hayes determined that Paraguay was the rightful owner. As a result of this decision, they named the territory Presidente Hayes after him, and the capital of the department was named Villa Hayes. To further show the importance of Hayes to the Paraguayans, there is also a holiday to celebrate this momentous occasion and a museum built in his honor, as well as a statue.

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The South American nation of Paraguay is divided up into administrative units called departments, in much the same way as the USA is divided up into states. One of these departments is called Presidente Hayes, named after Rutherford B. Hayes, the nineteenth President of the United States.

The territory is named after Hayes because he awarded it to Paraguay after the bitter war between that country and the so-called Triple Alliance, consisting of Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina. President Hayes acted as an arbitrator in a boundary dispute between Paraguay and neighboring Argentina, and the department that now bears his name was given by him to Paraguay in 1878. In gratitude for Hayes's intercession, the Paraguayan government renamed the department as Presidente Hayes, and its capital city as Villa Hayes.

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