A South American War

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For Bolivar, Hispanic America was the fatherland. He dreamed of a united Spanish America and in the pursuit of that purpose not only created Gran Colombia but also the Confederation of the Andes, which was to gather the latter together with Peru and Bolivia. Moreover, he envisaged and promoted a network of treaties that would hold together the newly liberated Hispanic American countries.

Nonetheless, he was unable to control the centrifugal process that pushed in all directions. Gran Colombia was dissolved later that year and replaced by the republics of Venezuela, New Granada, and Ecuador. For the rest of the 19th century and into the early 20th century, the political environment of Latin America was fraught with civil wars and characterized by a sociopolitical phenomenon known as caudillismo. This was characterized by the arrival of an authoritarian but charismatic political figure who would typically rise to power in an unconventional way, often legitimizing his right to govern through undemocratic processes.

These caudillos would maintain their control primarily on the basis of a cult of personality, populist politics, and military might. Gran Colombia is a name used today for the state that encompassed much of northern South America and part of southern Central America from to The first three were the successor states to Gran Colombia at its dissolution.

Panama was separated from Colombia in Its existence was marked by a struggle between those who supported a centralized government with a strong presidency and those who supported a decentralized, federal form of government. The two men had been allies in the war against Spanish rule, but by , their differences became public and contributed to the political instability from that year onward. Gran Columbia broke apart in The departments created in were split into 12 smaller departments, each governed by an intendant appointed by the central government.

In its first years, Gran Colombia helped other provinces still at war with Spain to become independent: all of Venezuela except Puerto Cabello was liberated at the Battle of Carabobo, Panama joined the federation in November , and the provinces of Pasto, Guayaquil, and Quito in The Gran Colombian army later consolidated the independence of Peru in As the war against Spain came to an end in the mids, federalist and regionalist sentiments that were suppressed for the sake of the war arose once again.

There were calls for a modification of the political division, and related economic and commercial disputes between regions reappeared. Ecuador had important economic and political grievances. Since the end of the 18th century, its textile industry suffered because cheaper textiles were being imported. After independence, Gran Colombia adopted a low-tariff policy, which benefited agricultural regions such as Venezuela. In , Venezuela came close to seceding from Gran Colombia.

In November, two assemblies met in Venezuela to discuss the future of the region, but no formal independence was declared at either.

War of the Triple Alliance

Ultimately, political compromises prevented this. The reforms, however, never fully satisfied the different political factions in Gran Colombia, and no permanent consolidation was achieved. He ultimately failed to do so. The federation finally dissolved in the closing months of and was formally abolished in Venezuela, Ecuador, and New Granada came to exist as independent states. Gran Colombia: A map of Gran Colombia showing the 12 departments created in and territories disputed with neighboring countries. After the Battle of San Lorenzo and time commanding the Army of the North during , he organized a plan to defeat the Spanish forces that menaced the United Provinces from the north, using an alternative path to the Viceroyalty of Peru.

This objective first involved the establishment of a new army, the Army of the Andes, in Cuyo Province, Argentina. Then he sailed to attack the Spanish stronghold of Lima, Peru. The details of the July 22 meeting would be a subject of debate by later historians. The reasons that he left Spain in to join the Spanish American wars of independence as a patriot remain contentious among historians.


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The action would seem contradictory and out of character, because if the patriots were waging an independentist and anti-Hispanic war, then he would be a traitor or deserter. There are a variety of explanations by different historians. Some argue that he returned because he missed South America, and the war of independence justified changing sides to support it. The Argentine War of Independence started with the May Revolution and other military campaigns with mixed success.

They appointed him a lieutenant colonel of cavalry and asked him to create a cavalry unit, as Buenos Aires did not have good cavalry. This would place him in Peru without crossing the harsh terrain of Upper Peru, where two campaigns had already been defeated. To advance this plan, he requested the governorship of the Cuyo province, which was accepted.

He drafted all citizens who could bear arms and all slaves from ages 16 to 30, requested reinforcements to Buenos Aires, and reorganized the economy for war production. That way, they would be acting as a sovereign nation and not as a mere rebellion, but the proposal never was accepted. He included the Chileans who escaped Chile after the disaster of Rancagua, and organized them in four units: infantry, cavalry, artillery, and dragoons. At the end of , the Army of the Andes had 5, men, 10, mules, and 1, horses. San Martin organized military intelligence, propaganda, and disinformation to confuse the royalist armies such as the specific routes taken in the Andes , boost the national fervor of his army, and promote desertion among the royalists.

In December , a popular referendum was set up to decide about the Independence of Chile. On February 18, , the first anniversary of the battle of Chacabuco, Chile declared its independence from the Spanish Crown. To begin the liberation of Peru, Argentina and Chile signed a treaty on February 5, , to prepare for the invasion. The signing of the Act of Independence of Peru was held on July 15, He was appointed Protector of Peru. Both men had very different ideas about how to organize the governments of the countries that they had liberated.

Soon afterward, he left South America entirely and retired in France. The real conference took place inside an office, and not in the countryside as the portrait suggests. Skip to main content. Change in the Americas. Search for:. The South American Revolutions The Spread of Revolution The Latin American Wars of Independence, which took place during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, were deeply influenced by the American and French Revolutions and resulted in the creation of a number of independent countries in Latin America.

Key Takeaways Key Points The revolutionary fervor of the 18th century, influenced by Enlightenment ideals of liberty and equality, resulted in massive political upheaval across the world, starting with the American Revolution in and the French Revolution in The principles expounded by the revolutionaries in Europe and their political success in overthrowing the autocratic rule of the monarchy inspired similar movements in Latin America, first in Haiti then the French colony of Saint Domingue , whose revolution began just two years after the start of the French Revolution.

At first, the white settler-colonists were inspired by the French Revolution to gain independent control over their colonies, but soon the revolution became centered on a slave-led rebellion against slavery and colonization, a trend that would continue throughout the America with varying degrees of success. Soon after the French Revolution and its resulting political instability, Napoleon Bonaparte took power, further destabilizing the Latin American colonies and leading to more revolution.

The Peninsular War, which resulted from the Napoleonic occupation of Spain, caused Spanish Creoles in Spanish America to question their allegiance to Spain, stoking independence movements that culminated in the wars of independence, which lasted almost two decades. They were largely bourgeois criollos local-born people of European, mostly of Spanish or Portuguese, ancestry influenced by liberalism and in most cases with military training in the metropole mother country. Napoleonic wars : A series of major conflicts pitting the French Empire and its allies, led by Napoleon I, against a fluctuating array of European powers formed into various coalitions, primarily led and financed by the United Kingdom.

The wars resulted from the unresolved disputes associated with the French Revolution and the Revolutionary Wars, which raged for years before concluding with the Treaty of Amiens in The resumption of hostilities the following year paved the way for more than a decade of constant warfare. Haitian Revolution : A successful anti-slavery and anti-colonial insurrection that took place in the former French colony of Saint Domingue from until Throughout his military career, he also lead efforts to oust Spanish rulers from Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia.

The war started when French and Spanish armies invaded and occupied Portugal in , and escalated in when France turned on Spain, its previous ally. The war on the peninsula lasted until the Sixth Coalition defeated Napoleon in , and is regarded as one of the first wars of national liberation, significant for the emergence of large-scale guerrilla warfare. Creole : A social class in the hierarchy of the overseas colonies established by Spain in the 16th century, especially in Hispanic America, comprising the locally born people of confirmed European primarily Spanish ancestry.

Although they were legally Spaniards, in practice, they ranked below the Iberian-born Peninsulares. Martin T. On 5 January, Caxias entered the city with the rest of the army. By this time, Caxias was ill and tired. On 17 January, he fainted during a mass; he relinquished his command the next day, and the day after that left for Montevideo. Very soon the city hosted about 30, Allied soldiers; for the next few months these looted almost every building, including diplomatic missions of European nations. Paranhos had to create a provisional government which could sign a peace accord and recognize the border claimed by Brazil between the two nations.

On 31 March, a petition was signed by leading citizens asking Allies for a Provisional government. This was followed by negotiations between the Allied countries, which put aside some of the more controversial points of the Treaty of the Triple Alliance ; on 11 June, agreement was reached with Paraguayan opposition figures that a three-man Provisional government would be established. On 22 July, a National Assembly met in the National Theatre and elected Junta Nacional of 21 men which then selected a five-man committee to select three men for the Provisional government.

Decoud was unacceptable to Paranhos, who had him replaced witho Cirilo Antonio Rivarola. The government was finally installed on 15 August, but was just a front for the continued Allied occupation. The Provisional government did not last. However, the next day, 1 September, he was overthrown in a coup that restored Rivarola to power. At the head of 21, men, Count d'Eu led the campaign against the Paraguayan resistance, the Campaign of the Mountain Range, which lasted over a year. On 1 March , the troops of Gen. Too weak to walk, he was escorted by his aide and a pair of officers, who led him to the banks of the Aquidaban-nigui River.

Paraguay suffered massive casualties, and the war's disruption and disease also cost civilian lives. Some historians estimate that the nation lost the majority of its population. The specific numbers are hotly disputed and range widely. A survey of 14 estimates of Paraguay's pre-war population varied between , and 1,, Because of the local situation, all casualty figures are a very rough estimate; accurate casualty numbers may never be determined.

After the war, an census recorded , inhabitants, of which , were women, 28, were men, and 86, were children with no indication of sex or upper age limit. In the estimation of Vera Blinn Reber, however, "The evidence demonstrates that the Paraguayan population casualties due to the war have been enormously exaggerated". To establish the population before the war, Whigham used an census and calculated, based on a population growth rate of 1.

Based on a census carried out after the war ended, in —, Whigham concluded that ,—, Paraguayan people had survived, of whom only 28, were adult males. Of approximately , Brazilians who fought in the Paraguayan War, the best estimates are that around 50, men died. The high rates of mortality were not all due to combat. As was common before antibiotics were developed, disease caused more deaths than war wounds. Bad food and poor sanitation contributed to disease among troops and civilians. Among the Brazilians, two-thirds of the dead died either in a hospital or on the march.

At the beginning of the conflict, most Brazilian soldiers came from the north and northeast regions; the change from a hot to a colder climate, combined with restricted food rations, may have weakened their resistance. Entire battalions of Brazilians were recorded as dying after drinking water from rivers. Therefore, some historians believe cholera , transmitted in the water, was a leading cause of death during the war.

Paraguayan women played a significant role in the Paraguayan War. During the period just before the war began many Paraguayan women were the heads of their households, meaning they held a position of power and authority. They received such positions by being widows, having children out of wedlock, or their husbands having worked as peons.

When the war began women started to venture out of the home becoming nurses, working with government, and establishing themselves into the public sphere. When The New York Times reported on the war in , it considered Paraguayan women equal to their male counterparts. Paraguayan women's support of the war effort can be divided into two stages.

During this period of the war, peasant women became the main producers of agricultural goods. At this stage, the number of women becoming victims of war was increasing. Women helped sustain Paraguayan society during a very unstable period. Though Paraguay did lose the war, the outcome might have been even more disastrous without women performing specific tasks.

They were farmers, soldiers, nurses, and government officials. They became a symbol for national unification, and at the end of the war, the traditions women maintained were part of what held the nation together.

Wars in Latin, South American History

Prior to the war, indigenous people occupied very little space in the minds of the Paraguayan elite. Paraguayan president Carlos Antonio Lopez even modified the country's constitution in to remove any mention of Paraguay's Hispano-Guarani character. However, during the war, the indigenous people of Paraguay came to occupy an even larger role in public life, especially after the 'Battle of Estero Bellaco. Paraguay overwhelmingly lost this battle, as well as "the males of all the best families in the country.

The War of the Pacific (1879 – 1883)

The war also bonded the indigenous people of Paraguay to the project of Paraguayan nation-building. In the immediate lead up to the war, they were confronted with a barrage of nationalist rhetoric in Spanish and Guarani and subject to loyalty oaths and exercises. He knew he would have to bridge this divide or risk it being exploited by the 'Triple Alliance. As a result of this, any attack on Paraguay was considered to be an attack on the Paraguayan nation, despite rhetoric from Brazil, Uruguay and Argentina saying otherwise.

This sentiment increased after the terms of the Treaty of the Triple Alliance were leaked, especially the clause stating that Paraguay would pay for all the damages incurred by the conflict. Both free and enslaved Afro-Brazilian men came to compose the majority of Brazilian forces in the Paraguayan War. The Brazilian monarchy originally allowed creole-only units or 'Zuavos' in the military at the outset of the war, following the insistence of Brazilian creole Ouirino Antonio do Espirito Santo.

By , black-only units were no longer permitted, with the entire military being integrated just as it had been prior to the War of the Triple Alliance. While this had the effect of reducing black identification with the state, the overarching rationale behind this was the "country needed recruits for its existing battalions, not more independently organized companies.

On the contrary, "impoverished gente de cor constituted the greater part of the soldiers in every Brazilian infantry battalion. Afro-Brazilian women played a key role in sustaining the Brazilian military as "vivandeiras. However, the imperial Brazilian government actively worked to minimize the importance of their work by labeling it "service to their male kin, not the nation" and considering it to be "natural" and "habitual.

Poor Afro-Brazilian women also served as nurses, with most of them being trained upon entry into the military to assist male doctors in the camps. These women were "seeking gainful employment to compensate for the loss of income from male kin who had been drafted into the war. Paraguay permanently lost its claim to territories which, before the war, were in dispute between it and Brazil or Argentina, respectively. Those disputes had been longstanding and complex.

In colonial times certain lands lying to the north of the River Apa were in dispute between the Portuguese Empire and the Spanish Empire. After independence they continued to be disputed between the Empire of Brazil and the Republic of Paraguay. After the war Brazil signed a separate Loizaga — Cotegipe Treaty of peace and borders with Paraguay on 9 January , in which it obtained freedom of navigation on the Paraguay River.

Brazil also retained the northern regions it had claimed before the war. After independence the Republic of Paraguay and the Argentine Confederation succeeded to these disputes, the details of which are complex, and are summarised in e. Professor Whigham's The Paraguayan War. After the war the disputed lands definitively became the Argentine national territory of Misiones, now Misiones Province. The Gran Chaco is an area lying to the west of the River Paraguay. Before the war it was "an enormous plain covered by swamps , chaparral and thorn forests With some exceptions, these were paper claims, because none of those countries was in effective occupation of the area: essentially they were claims to be the true successor to the Spanish Empire, in an area never effectively occupied by Spain itself, and wherein Spain had no particular motive for prescribing internal boundaries.

The exceptions were as follows. By the same treaty of 19 July between Paraguay and the Argentine Confederation, an undefined area in the Chaco north of the Bermejo River was implicitly conceded to belong to Paraguay. As already stated, the Argentine Congress refused to ratify this treaty; and it was protested by the government of Bolivia as inimical to its own claims.

After , and more especially after the State of Buenos Aires rejoined the Argentine Confederation, Argentina's claim to the Chaco hardened; it claimed territory all the way up to the border with Bolivia. However, the Brazilian government disliked what its representative in Buenos Aires had negotiated in this respect, and resolved that Argentina should not receive "a handsbreadth of territory" above the Pilcomayo River. It set out to frustrate Argentina's further claim, with eventual success.

Argentina became the strongest of the River Plate countries. Hayes was asked to arbitrate. His award was in Paraguay's favour. The Paraguayan Presidente Hayes Department is named in his honour. Further details are available in the article Treaty of the Triple Alliance. There was destruction of the existing state, loss of neighboring territories and ruin of the Paraguayan economy, so that even decades later, it could not develop in the same way as its neighbors. The War helped the Brazilian Empire to reach its peak of political and military influence, becoming the Great Power of South America, and also helped to bring about the end of slavery in Brazil , moving the military into a key role in the public sphere.

The war debt, alongside a long-lasting social crisis after the conflict, [] [] are regarded as crucial factors for the fall of the Empire and proclamation of the First Brazilian Republic. During the war the Brazilian army took complete control of Paraguayan territory and occupied the country for six years after In part this was to prevent the annexation of even more territory by Argentina, which had wanted to seize the entire Chaco region.

During this time, Brazil and Argentina had strong tensions, with the threat of armed conflict between them. In Brazil the war exposed the fragility of the Empire, and dissociated the monarchy from the army. The Brazilian army became a new and influential force in national life. It developed as a strong national institution that, with the war, gained tradition and internal cohesion. The Army would take a significant role in the later development of the history of the country.

The economic depression and the strengthening of the army later played a large role in the deposition of the emperor Pedro II and the republican proclamation in Marshall Deodoro da Fonseca became the first Brazilian president. As in other countries, "wartime recruitment of slaves in the Americas rarely implied a complete rejection of slavery and usually acknowledged masters' rights over their property. It also impressed slaves from owners when needing manpower, and paid compensation.

In areas near the conflict, slaves took advantage of wartime conditions to escape, and some fugitive slaves volunteered for the army. Together these effects undermined the institution of slavery. But, the military also upheld owners' property rights, as it returned at least 36 fugitive slaves to owners who could satisfy its requirement for legal proof. Significantly, slavery was not officially ended until the s. Due to the war, Brazil ran a deficit between and , which was finally paid off. At the time foreign loans were not significant sources of funds.

Following the war, Argentina faced many federalist revolts against the national government. Economically it benefited from having sold supplies to the Brazilian army, but the war overall decreased the national treasure. The national action contributed to the consolidation of the centralized government after revolutions were put down, and the growth in influence of Army leadership.

It has been argued the conflict played a key role in the consolidation of Argentina as a nation-state. Uruguay suffered lesser effects, although nearly 5, soldiers were killed. As a consequence of the war, the Colorados gained political control of Uruguay and despite rebellions retained it until Interpretation of the causes of the war and its aftermath has been a controversial topic in the histories of participating countries, especially in Paraguay.

There it has been considered either a fearless struggle for the rights of a smaller nation against the aggression of more powerful neighbors, or a foolish attempt to fight an unwinnable war that almost destroyed the nation. The Great Soviet Encyclopedia , considered the official encyclopedic source of the USSR , presented a short view about the Paraguayan War, largely favourable to the Paraguayans, claiming that the conflict was a "war of imperialist aggression" long planned by slave-owners and the bourgeois capitalists, waged by Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay under instigation of Great Britain , France and United States.

People of Argentina have their own internal disputes over interpretations of the war: many Argentinians think the conflict was Mitre's war of conquest, and not a response to aggression. In April Paraguay renewed demands for the return of the "Christian" cannon. Brazil has had this on display at the former military garrison, now used as the National History Museum, and says that it is part of its history as well. A popular belief in Paraguay, and Argentine revisionism since the s, blames the influence of the British Empire though the academic consensus shows little or no evidence for this theory.

In Brazil some have believed that the United Kingdom financed the allies against Paraguay, and that British imperialism was the catalyst for the war. The academic consensus is that no evidence supports this thesis. From to Brazil and the UK had an extended diplomatic crisis and, five months after the war started, cut off relations. There is no evidence that Britain forced the allies to attack Paraguay. Some left-wing historians of the s and s, most notably Eric Hobsbawn in his work " The Age of Capital: — " claim that the Paraguayan War was caused by the pseudo-colonial influence of the British, [] [] who needed a new source of cotton during the American Civil War as the blockaded Southern States had been their main cotton supplier.

The ignorant and barbaric people of Paraguay believe that it is under the protection of the most illustrious of the governments Charles Washburn, who was the Minister of the United States to Paraguay and Argentina, also claims that Thornton represented Paraguay, months before the outbreak of the conflict, as:. The extinction of Paraguay as a nation will be benefit, to all the world… [] [].

His influence in Buenos Aires seems to have been used consistently during the next few months in the interests of peace. Other historians dispute this claim of British influence, pointing out that there is no documentary evidence for it. It believed that war damaged international commerce, and disapproved of the secret clauses in the Treaty of the Triple Alliance. Britain already was increasing imports of Egyptian cotton and did not need Paraguayan products. But when Thornton returned to the job in December , he threw his full backing behind Mitre.

Since colonial times, yerba mate had been a major cash crop for Paraguay. Until the war, it had generated significant revenues for the country. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. South America; Paraguay , Brazil and Argentina. Empire of Brazil : 50, soldiers 50, civilians Republic of Argentina : 18, soldiers 13, civilians Oriental Republic of Uruguay : 3, Uruguayans.

Paraguayan War. Main articles: Platine War and Cisplatine War. Main article: Uruguayan War. Pedro II , Emperor of Brazil from to Venancio Flores , President of Uruguay from to August 30, Main article: Treaty of the Triple Alliance. Main article: List of battles of the Paraguayan War. Main article: Siege of Uruguaiana. Main article: Campaign of the Hills. Main article: Paraguayan War casualties.


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  4. See also: History of yerba mate. Encyclopedia Britannica. Page Emilio Jourdan, cied by Augusto Tasso Fragoso, op. III, p. Rottjer, op. University of Texas Press — via Google Books. Osprey Publishing. London: Penguin. Retrieved 26 October January The Americas , 46, 3. New York: W.

    This timeline details the main wars that have taken place in South America

    Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press. London: Sampson Low, Son and Marston. The History of Paraguay, with notes of personal observations, and reminiscences of diplomacy under difficulties. La retraite de Laguna. Rio de Janeiro. Hispanic American Historical Review. Companhia das Letras. Hudson, Brazil: A Country Study. Journal of Social History.

    Wars in Latin, South American History

    The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition. Retrieved 10 May Paulo , 18 April Dexter, Michigan: Thomson-Shore. They saw the war as a plot hatched in London to open up a supposedly wealthy Paraguay to the international economy. With more enthusiasm than evidence revisionists presented the loans contracted in London by Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil as proof of the insidious role of foreign capital.

    Yerba Mate in Nineteenth Century Paraguay , Comparative Studies in Society and History. Abente, Diego Latin American Research Review. Amerlan, Albert Buenos Aires: Herman Tjarks and Co. A Campanha do Uruguay —65 in Portuguese. Rio de Janeiro: Imprensa Nacional. Box, Pelham Horton The origins of the Paraguayan War. Burton, Richard Francis Letters from the Battlefields of Paraguay.

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