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Casa de la Independencia Museum

The Casa de la Independencia Museum, located in Asunción, Paraguay was inaugurated on May 14, 1965 and showcases pieces of history that date back to the independence of the country. In the evening of May 14, 1811 a group of brave Paraguayans came out of this house to declare the independence of Paraguay. It is a national monument which has a great historical significance. Behind its walls the emancipation from the Spanish colonial rule was planned in a silent and brave manner. Located on the corner of the streets Presidente Franco and 14 de Mayo, it is noticeable by its marked colonial style.

The house was built in 1772 by the Spanish settler Antonio Martínez Sáenz who was married to the Paraguayan Petrona Caballero de Bazán. The walls were constructed from adobe; with thatched roof and framework made of bamboo and palm wood. The Martínez Sáenz-Caballero de Bazán couple had two children – Pedro Pablo and Sebastián Antonio. Both brothers inherited the house and used it together with their wives Carmen Speratti and Nicolasa Marín, respectively. Besides the two married couples, two young ladies, Facunda Speratti and Virginia Marín, sisters of Carmen and Nicolasa, lived in the house. The threads of nation’s history started to interweave around this family.

House was also used to lodge Captain Pedro Juan Caballero, when he visited Asuncion from his provincial hometown. Across the street was the residence of Juana Martínez de Lara, aunt of the patriot Vicente Ignacio Iturbe, who was used to live in his aunt’s house. Captain Juan Bautista Rivarola Matto, usually residing in Barrero Grande, lodged in the house of his mother-in-law which was next to the old alley. The patriot Fulgencio Yegros and lieutenant Mariano Recalde also went frequently to the Martinez’s house. They were courting Facunda Speratti and Virginia Marín.
Due to these circumstances and its location, the residence of the Martínez brothers became the perfect place to conceal the secret meetings that were held to organize the conspiracy against the Spanish rule.
On the night of May 14, a group of men, led by Pedro Juan Caballero, took the alley next to the house and went to the Governor’s house, few blocks distant in order to force him into power-sharing agreement.

As a testimony that in this house it was planned the emancipation of the country, during the government of Carlos Antonio López and by a Decree issued in April 1849, in which the streets in Asunción were named for the first time, it was established to call 14 de Mayo (May 14) to the street in front of the Historical Alley. A mural made by the ceramist José Laterza Parodi, can be seen at the entrance of the muse In 2003, 38 years after the opening of the Historical Museum, the house was visited by Bachelor Nicolás Darío Latourrete Bo, who after seeing the bad conditions of the place helped in restoring the dignity of the museum. On February 2003, the restoring works and conservation of the valuable relics began. The same year, the Ministry of Culture and Education assigned Mr. Latourrete Bo protector of the Independence House. In 2005, he is declared Life Protector of the museum, an unprecedented fact in the Paraguayan history.

The Museum “Casa de la Independencia” can be visited: from Monday to Friday from 7:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8:00 to 12:00 a.m

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