Diplomatic Relations between the United States and Brazil

By Lawrence F. Hill | Go to book overview

CHAPTER VIII
OPENING BRAZILIAN RIVERS TO WORLD COMMERCE

FOR FOUR hundred years after the Spanish and Portuguese Explorers first sighted the eastern coast of South America in the later fifteenth and early sixteenth century, communication with the interior of the region was entirely dependent upon the Plata and the Amazon river system. Indeed, the statement would need little modification if the time were extended up to the present hour. Yet is was not until the letter half of the last century that the systems were made free to the use of the nations other than those which culminated in opening them to the United States played an important rôle

The scope of this study precludes anything more than a summary of the negotiations on the opening of the plata. During the internecine struggles which followed the attainment of independence the government at Buenos Aries, basing its action on a treaty with Great Britain in 1825, claimed the right to open or close the river at pleasure. Since inclination always dictated closing, the interior provinces of argentina, all of Paraguay, whose independence Buenos Aires refused to recognize, the eastern portions of Bolivia, and the southern provinces of Brazil were denied access to the sea. For more than a decade England and France vainly strove to induce General Rosas to adopt more liberal views regarding fluvial navigation. Finally, in 1849, both signed separate

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