To the Bitter End: Paraguay and the War of the Triple Alliance

By Chris Leuchars | Go to book overview

4
Political Relations
in the Plate Region

The Plate, and its control over the river system to the interior, was a rich prize, and consequently a focus for politics in the region, as well as a potential source of conflict. For each of the four countries the rivers were vital for prosperity and development, and thus mutual relationships were of major significance. It has already been seen that events in Uruguay had been the center of attention for Brazil and Argentina since the early part of the century, and now that Paraguay was preparing for a more outgoing policy, it too was to become embroiled in the area.

As has been noted, relations between Paraguay and Argentina had begun badly, but in 1844 matters improved to the extent that the two countries were able to sign a treaty of commerce and navigation. In practice this meant little, since the Argentine Confederation still did not accept Paraguay as independent, but it did at least mean there was some attempt at cooperation between the two, and for Paraguay it was an important step toward recognition. Yet the following year relations deteriorated again, mainly because of Paraguayan support for the secessionist province of Corrientes, and Rosas ignored the treaty by blockading the River Paraná.

One of the main areas of disagreement was Misiones, on the eastern border between the two countries. Disputes over the region dated from colonial times, but in 1811 Buenos Aires had tacitly accepted that it was part of Paraguay. Throughout his rule, Francia had acted as though it was, and had established military garrisons there, but in the treaty of 1841 with Corrientes, López had indicated that he was prepared to surrender half of this territory. Although this

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To the Bitter End: Paraguay and the War of the Triple Alliance
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Maps vii
  • 1: The Country at the Heart of the Continent 1
  • 2: The Man Who Would Be King 10
  • 3: The Other Players in the Drama 15
  • 4: Political Relations in the Plate Region 22
  • 5: The Invasion of Brazil 31
  • 6: The Triple Alliance 38
  • 7: The Military Balance 47
  • 8: Conscripts and Volunteers 54
  • 9: The Invasion of Argentina 60
  • 10: The Rio Grande Campaign 71
  • 11: The March to War 85
  • 12: The Invasion of Paraguay 90
  • 13: Conflict in the Esteros 109
  • 14: The Battle of Tuyuty: May 1866 117
  • 15: The Funnel of Death: July 1866 129
  • 16: The Attack on Curupaity 140
  • 17: The Long Pause 155
  • 18: The Fall of Humaitá 169
  • 19: The December Campaign 191
  • 20: Endgame 213
  • Conclusion - Securing the Spoils 233
  • Notes 239
  • Selected Bibliography 245
  • Index 249
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