- Title: Viaje al Paraguay en los años 1818 a 1826
Title: (Journal to Paraguay in the Years 1818-1826)
- Subject: History of Paraguay, Gaspar R. de Francia dictatorship
- Author: Dr. Johann Rudolf Rengger
- Translations and edition: Alfredo Tomassini e José Braunstein
- Publisher: Tiempo de Historia, 2010, 16x23, 358p.
- ISBN: 9789996760921
Around 1817, when Paraguay was doing its first steps on the way of independence, several developments led to the concentration of the absolute power of a dictatorial regime and declared as perpetual by the president Dr. Gaspar Rodriguez de Francia.
From that moment the real and imaginary threats perceived by Dr. Francia, probably mostly unsubstantiated, turned Paraguay into a tight and fearful country that did not hesitate to defend itself against any internal or external enemy.
It is exactly this time, in 1818, Johann Rudolf Rengger, a Swiss doctor and scientist, born in Baden (Switzerland) in 1795, came to Paraguay. Renger became one of the few foreigners, together with his friend, colleague and travel partner a French - Marcel Longcham, who witnessed life in Paraguay in the early days of the independence. His best known book, Versuch über die Revolution Historischer von Paraguay dictatorial-Regierung und die von Dr. Francia (Stuttgart 1827, digitized by Google Buchsuche) was almost immediately translated into Spanish as background on Ensayo histórico sobre la Revolución del Paraguay - one of the few documents that allow to know personal aspects of Dr. Francia, which prompted a furious reaction of the Supreme Dictator. In the meantime, the Viaje al Paraguay stands out for its breadth and rich view of its zoological, botanical, ethnographic and sociological observations related to the time from 1818 until 1826. It is therefore surprising that the book, published in French and German in 1835, remained unpublished until now in Spanish. The first translation of Reise nach Paraguay (Aarau 1835, digitized by Google Buchsuche) made by Joseph Braunstein y Alfredo Tomasini, contains modern, scientific footnotes developed by a team of experts. It also includes illustrations of the author and the journal in which he recounts with an exceptional taste his visit in Corrientes during civil war, under the government of Andrés Artigas. It reproduces as well a map from that period of time, until now very little known, worked by Rengger on base of the map of Félix de Azara, until now lost.
"We offer to readers the rest of a wreck. Rengger suffered an early death while he was working on the narrative of his journey to Paraguay. In his plan, the narrative should have contained a description of this country according to the geographical, historical and statistical point of view. So, the work is composed by these items found among his posthumous papers. It contains, however, only a third part of the journey narrative planed to be written by Rengger. The only job that we have done is the final redaction. (...) Mr. Ferdinand Wydler, the brother in law and faithful friend of the deceased, helped us during the edition process. Foremost, he compiled the ethnographic, historical and natural observations (Chapter XIX), and made extracts from the diary of Rengger (chapter XX) (...).
Aarau, Semptember 3, 1835
Albrecht Rengger" (Viaje al Paraguay, p. 17)
Viaje al Paraguay en los años 1818 a 1826
(Journal to Paraguay in the Years 1818-1826)