Guairá is one of the seventeen departments that, together with Asunción, Distrito Capital, form the Republic of Paraguay. Its capital and most populated city is Villarrica. It is located in the center of the eastern region of the country, bounded on the north by Caaguazú, on the south by Caazapá and on the west by Paraguarí. With 3846 km² it is the second least extensive department -before Central- and with 57.42 inhabitants / km², the fourth most densely populated, behind Central, Cordillera and Alto Paraná. It was founded in 1906. It is divided into 18 districts.
The history of Guairá is paradoxical because it is closely linked to the old region of Guayrá, an area of great extension east of the Paraná River that reached the Atlantic Ocean, in what is now Brazil. One of its oldest towns and current departmental capital, Villarrica, was founded in 1570 in the region with the name of Villa Rica del Espiritu Santo, a city that was transhumant before the invasions Lusobrasileñas. It is the only department in Paraguay that has its historical origins outside the current national territory and also the only one to have suffered a migration from its original nucleus. This migration is linked to the seven settlements of the inhabitants of Villarrica, who from the beginning had already called themselves guaireños.
The region of Guayra in its different historical periods was occupied by Guarani, Spaniards, Jesuits, Portuguese, Bandeirantes and Franciscans, however, the territories of Guayrá currently correspond mostly to the Brazilian state of Paraná while the current The small Paraguayan department of Guairá only keeps toponymic memories of the Guayrá and descending populations that had to take refuge from the areas east of the Paraná before the Portuguese and Brazilian invasions. The Franciscans in particular developed an important work in the settlement and education in the new settlement already in the current sovereign territory of Paraguay establishing missions in Itapé in 1686. Villarrica was settled definitively near the Ybytyruzú in 1683 and at the beginning of the 20th century in addition to These two towns were Mbocayaty, Hiaty and Yataity as part of the new department. In the cultural field, the department is a very dynamic area despite its small size and population.
With a predominantly rural population and mostly scattered in towns below 15,000 inhabitants, Guairá has bequeathed to the Paraguayan culture characters such as Augusto Roa Bastos, Manuel Ortiz Guerrero, Felix Perez Cardozo, Jose Felix Bogado, Natalicio de Maria Talavera, Carlos Martínez Gamba and Helio Vera mostly dedicated to letters and music. In 2010, the Guairá was declared Capital of the Paraguayan Harp and one of its districts Felix Perez Cardozo was declared the cradle of the Paraguayan harp.