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War of the triple Alliance

 

 

Beginning of the War 

 

 

After independence from Spain, Brazil and Argentina sought control of the River Plate basin and twice almost went to war . Argentina wanted to revive the old Imperial Spanish Viceroyalty of the River Plate, enclosing Paraguay and Uruguay .

While Argentina was ruled by Juan Manuel Rosas (1829–1852), a common enemy of both Brazil and Paraguay, Brazil contributed to the improvement of the fortifications and development of the Paraguayan army, sending officials and technical help to Asunción. As no roads linked the province of Mato Grosso to Rio de Janeiro, Brazilian ships needed to travel through Paraguayan territory, going up the Río Paraguay to arrive at Cuiabá. Many times, however, Brazil had difficulty obtaining permission to sail from the government in Asunción.Brazil carried out three political and military interventions in Uruguay - in 1851, against Manuel Oribe to fight Argentine influence in the country; in 1855, at the request of the Uruguayan government and Venancio Flores, leader of the Colorados, who were traditionally supported by the Brazilian empire; and in 1864, against Atanásio Aguirre. This last intervention would be the fuse of the War of the Triple Alliance. These interventions were aligned to the British desire for the fragmentation of the River Plate region to stop any attempt to monopolize the region's minerals as well as the control of both shores of the River Plate, therefore, controlling the access of all ships going upriver.

 

In 1863 in Uraguay, the general Venancio Flores organized an armed uprising against president, Bernardo Prudencio Berro. Flores won backing from Brazil and Argentina, who supplied him with troops and weapons, while Berro made an alliance with the Paraguayan leader Francisco Solano López. When Berro's government was overthrown in 1864 with Brazilian help, López used it as a pretext to declare war on Uruguay.

 

López demanded that Brazil should abandon its interference in Uruguay. When Brazil did not respond, he seized a Brazilian merchant steamer in the harbor of Asunción and imprisoned a Brazilian governor who was on board. In the following month (December 1864) he dispatched a force to invade the Brazilian province of Mato Grosso, which seized and sacked its capital Cuiabá and took possession of the province and its diamond mines.

 

Forming of the Triple Alliance against Paraguay 

 

López next sought to send an army to aid the Uruguayan president Atanasio Aguirre against a revolutionary aspirant named Flores, who was supported by Brazilian troops. Because Argentine President Bartolomé Mitre refused to allow this force to cross the intervening province of Corrientes, López decided to wage war on Argentina. A hastily summoned congress composed of López's own nominees bestowed the title of marshal upon him and gave him extraordinary war powers. On 13 April 1865, he declared war, seizing two Argentine war vessels in the Bay of Corrientes. The next day, he occupied the town of Corrientes, instituted a provisional government of his Argentine partisans, and announced that Paraguay had annexed Corrientes Province and Entre Ríos Province.

 

Bartolomé Mitre

 

Meanwhile, in Uruguay, Flores' party had gained power and on April 18 united with Argentina to declare war on Paraguay. On May 1, 1865, Brazil joined these two countries in a secret alliance (the Treaty of the Triple Alliance), which stipulated that they should unitedly pursue the war until the existing government of Paraguay was overthrown, "until no arms or elements of war should be left to it." They named Bartolomé Mitre, president of Argentina, as supreme commander of the allied troops, who peomised a short war. A popular dity ran ' 24 hours in the barracks, 3 weeks in the field, 3 months in Asuncion .'( The capital of Paraguay ). But the war was to last 5 years .

 

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