War of the Triple Alliance   Guerra de la Triple Alianza


1864 - 1870








flag of Paraguay









Causes of the War   Beginning of the War and the forming of the Triple Alliance

            Comparisons of the Armies and Navies    First phase of the War   The reaction of Brazil

                     Invasion of Paraguay   End of the War   Consequences of the war
















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The War Of the Triple Alliance ( also known as the Paraguayan War ) from 1864 - 1870 is little known outside South America, despite being the bloodiest war in South American history and resulted in Paraguay losing 150,000 sq km of territory a large part of its pre-war population, estimates vary from 50~90%. It was fought between Paraguay and the allied countries of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. At first glance, the war seems very bizarre . The small country of Paraguay, heavily militarized itself and attacked the larger counties of Argentina and Brazil, which proved to be a disaster . How did this come about ?


Causes of the War 


José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia


After becoming independant of Spain, President José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia of Paraguay (1813–1840) tried to found an utopia based on Rousseau's Social Contract and Voltaire. To do this he ruled as a dictator and was known as El Supremo and closed off Paraguay to external trade to avoid debt and nationalized industry and landholdings into communes . During the spanish colonial period, Paraguay had been a province of Argentina and President José wanted to make Paraguay strong enough to maintain its independence . Deeply imbued with the principles of the French Revolution, he was a stern antagonist of thechurch.


people of Paraguay at the time of the war


He seized the possessions of the Roman Catholic Church and appointed himself head of the Paraguayan church . He ruled through fear and became increasingly fearful of assassination, sleeping in a different place each night .When Francia died in September 1840, his body was fed to a caiman ( alligator ).


Carlos Antonio López


He was succeeded by another dictator, Carlos Antonio López (r.1841–1862) who kept and continued Francia's economic polices and built railroads, telegraph lines, foundries and shipyards . The Ybycuí foundry, installed in 1850, manufactured cannons, mortars and bullets of all calibers. Warships were built in the Asunción shipyards. He created a large army of 28,000 with 40,000 reserves . In contrast, Argentina only had an army of 6,000 .


Francisco Solano López


His eldest son, Francisco Solano López (1826-1870), succeeded him as president after his death. Francisco was made commander-in-chief of the Paraguayan army by his father. He purchased large quantities of arms and military supplies, several warships from Europe . He was a great admirer of Napoleon and wished to make Paraguay the dominant force in eastern South America .He became Minister of War in 1855. When his father died in 1862, his will stipulated that López assume the reins of government as vice-president. López then called a congress that chose him as president for ten years. To maintain the growth of Paraguay needed access to the international market, but Paraguay was landlocked. López conceived a project to obtain a port in the Atlantic Ocean: he perhaps intended to create a "Greater Paraguay" by capturing a slice of Brazilian territory that would link Paraguay to the coastline . To maintain his expansionist intentions, López began to prepare Paraguay's military. He encouraged the industry of war, mobilized a large quantity of men for the army (mandatory military service already existed in Paraguay), submitted them to intensive military training, and built fortifications at the mouth of the Río Paraguay.
















Read Nights on the Rio Paraguay, about the war online for free



The News From Paraguay

Lily Tuck (2004)

 Ella Lynch is a gorgeous Irishwoman living in Paris when the Paraguayan prince regent, Franco, takes one look at her, falls instantly in love, takes her home, and sets her up in luxury as his mistress. Won the National Book Award in fiction in 2004.























































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