Leon Cadogan, the Australian-Paraguayan who dedicated his life to protect the Guarani People 

Leon Cadogan was born in 1899 to Australian parents in Paraguay and lived all his life in the South American country. 

León Cadogan / Photo: Fundación León Cadogan

Leon grew up in New Australia, an utopian socialist Australian colony founded by the English journalist William Lane in 1892. 

In 1904 Leon and his family were forced to leave the socialist colony. A fire in their house pushed the Cadogan family to settle in Villarica, a town with German population, located at centre of Paraguay. 

He was fluent in English and learned German at school. At young aged he was able to communicate in Guarani, one of the official languages spoken in Paraguay. He learnt Spanish during his young years. 

Rogelio Cadogan, director of the Leon Cadogan Foundation told to INW: “my father went to the German school in Villarica, where he got his highest formal education level.”

Leon Cadogan, who dedicated his life to defending the rights and culture of the indigenous people of Paraguay was autodidact. 

He is considered an authority on the indigenous people which inhabits the jungle of Paraguay.  

Cristina Berro de Escribá wrote a chronological compilation of the bibliography of León Cadogan from 1925 to 1974. This meticulous and patient work has a relevant value because it was carried out through face-to-face interviews with Cadogan. 

Cadogan (center) and two Guarani men

Mrs. Berro’ research found that Cadogan dedicated almost 40 years of his life to studying the life, language myths and culture of the Mbya-Guaraní people. 

His legacy includes books, brochures, dictionaries, and letters. 

Cadogan was the first writer, who published a Spanish- Mbya-Guaraní dictionary. 

In 1949, the President of Paraguay, Felipe Molas López appointment Mr Cadogan “Protector of the Indians”.

Mr Cadogan passed away at the age of 74. 

Since 1986, The Leon Cadogan Foundation spreads the Guarini culture and the legacy of the Australian-Paraguayan who was adopted as son by the Mbya-Guarani. 

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