Paraguay acclaims—despite their reputations as dictators—the first three leaders of the independent nation: José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia (El Supremo, 1761?–1840), his nephew Carlos Antonio López (1790–1862), and the latter's son Francisco Solano López (El Mariscal, 1827–70). Of nearly equal prominence is José Felix Estigarribia (1888–1940), president and Chaco War commander. Manuel Gondra (1872–1927), twice president of Paraguay, was a literary critic, educator, and diplomat. Eusebio Ayala (1875–1942), another president, was an authority on political economy and international law. Alfredo Stroessner (b. 1912) was president of Paraguay from 1954 to 1989.
Leading writers include Juan Silvano Godoi (1850–1926), Manuel Domínguez (1869–1935), Pablo Max Ynsfrán (b.1894), Justo Pastor Benítez (1895–1962), former president Juan Natalicio González (1897–1966), Gabriel Casaccia (1907–80), Augusto Roa Bastos (b.1917), and Hugo Rodríguez Alcalá (b.1918). Pablo Alborno (1877–1958) and Juan Domínguez Samudio (1878–1936) were noted artists, while in music, José Asunción Flores (1904–1972) is best known.