British invasions of the Rio de la Plata succeed

Sep 2012
286
Argentina
The British invasions of the Río de la Plata were a series of unsuccessful British attempts to seize control of the Spanish colonies located around the La Plata Basin in South America (today part of Argentina and Uruguay). The invasions took place between 1806 and 1807, as part of the Napoleonic Wars, when Spain was an ally of France.

The invasions occurred in two phases. A detachment from the British army occupied Buenos Aires for 46 days in 1806 before being expelled. In 1807, a second force stormed and occupied Montevideo, remaining for several months, and a third force made a second attempt to take Buenos Aires. After several days of street-fighting against the local militia and Spanish colonial army, in which half of the British forces were killed or wounded, the British were forced to withdraw.

Wikipedia...

Okay, so what if the British Empire had won this one? Argentina and Uruguay would have become British colonies, what do you think would have happened then? Would these countries now speak English and be part of the Commonwealth? What if Spain had tried to get their colonies back?
 

WeisSaul

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
2,836
New Amsterdam
It would be like Canada. Buenos Aires and the lands to the east of the Parana river would be Hispanophone and the rest of Argentina (particularly Patagonia) would be English speaking.

The War of the Ragamuffins could end in victory for the Riograndense Republic. Historically they rejected Argentine offers of support, not wanting help from "Castillianos". Now it would be the British assisting them instead. Paraguay could end up doing better too to serve as another buffer between British Argentina and Brazil.
 

Tairusiano

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
2,979
Brazil
This is complex, the problem with the war of Farrapos is that most of them are patriot and faithful followers of the empireror they dont accepted help from the castellanos because they dont like them and most are of them not republicans at all, few are republicans and the republican ideas came from Uruguay if Uruguay was is in British hands, this ideas would not grow at all.

Now second the British would have a great problem fighting, the argentinian and uruguayan guerilla, and i can see the Paraguay and Brazil becoming closer both had interest in river plate(Paraguay nearly whole production passed in this region) and they would hate the idea of British controlling this region
this can open the opinion of a war betwen the British empire Brazil and Paraguay the Christie affair can be the trigger
 
Nov 2010
108
range of possibilities for British Argentina/Uruguay

Here are some possibilities for the outcome of a British win in Buenos Aires in 1807:

Maximalist - in which most of real-life Argentina plus real-life Uruguay (including Misiones Orientales right to the north) becomes British, and the resulting British dominion and eventually country is also called Argentina. The Pampas (including Buenos Aires) and Uruguay become British right away - with Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego automatically following down the road. Cordoba and especially the Cuyo and Tucuman regions are independent republics under British protection/suzerainty at first, but eventually get incorporated into Argentina (cf. the Boer republics in South Africa).

Middle of the road - The British take over just the Pampas and Uruguay, plus eventually Patagonia etc. - with all of that being one British dominion and eventually country called Argentina. Perhaps Buenos Aires and elsewhere in the Pampas is at first an independent republic (or a group of them) but then get incorporated into the British dominion/country (again, cf. the Boer republics).

Minimalist - Uruguay (but just that) could have become a British colony. After all, in real life, Montevideo was taken over by the Brits from February to September 1807 and, at least in Montevideo and at other points along the Banda Oriental coast, the Spanish/local opposition to the Brits was not as ferocious as in the city of Buenos Aires. At the same time, Buenos Aires and the rest of that side of the Rio de la Plata could become independent under a British protectorate, and proceed to develop more or less like in real life. Much like how, after the Spanish-American War, Puerto Rico becomes a permanent US possession while Cuba is soon thereafter independent under US protection. In other words, I see Uruguay in 1807 (as opposed to the Rio de la Plata and beyond, as a whole, in that time frame - which I've always thought of) as possibly being a more proper analogy to Quebec in 1759 or the Cape Colony in 1795 and 1806. Certainly in population size, the Banda Oriental (rather than that plus Buenos Aires plus elsewhere in the greater River Plate) was more equal to Quebec or the Cape. Besides which, it was the British who, in real life, established Uruguay as an independent country in 1828 after the Cisplatine War. So, if not British Argentina as a whole (except if the start date is the 1700s), then at least British Uruguay! So what if it's a much smaller area of pink, but even that's something - a much bigger population and more European-like environment than, say, Guyana (the real world's only English-speaking country in South America).

Other possibilities (which I'm not as interested in): Super-maximalist - much more of South America than just Argentina/Uruguay is taken over formally by the British; super-minimalist - either nothing at all gets taken over by the British in the long term, or the British hold on only to Montevideo and/or Buenos Aires, and maybe one or two other locations along the Rio de la Plata.

Just wondering: Which of all the above possibilities sound(s) the best to you?

I'm also wondering: If John Whitelocke (or some more competent commanding officer) had pulled off a victory in Buenos Aires in early July 1807, would the fierce opposition to the British among the porteños have been somewhat blunted, in much the same way that anti-British opposition in Montevideo among its locals was somewhat blunted earlier in 1807 after the British victory there under Samuel Auchmuty? (Whitelocke was a significantly better administrator than commanding officer, and Auchmuty was quite a good officer and administrator.) Or would it have been more difficult to do so in Buenos Aires, given its differences with Montevideo?
 
May 2009
786
The British invasions of the Río de la Plata were a series of unsuccessful British attempts to seize control of the Spanish colonies located around the La Plata Basin in South America (today part of Argentina and Uruguay). The invasions took place between 1806 and 1807, as part of the Napoleonic Wars, when Spain was an ally of France.

The invasions occurred in two phases. A detachment from the British army occupied Buenos Aires for 46 days in 1806 before being expelled. In 1807, a second force stormed and occupied Montevideo, remaining for several months, and a third force made a second attempt to take Buenos Aires. After several days of street-fighting against the local militia and Spanish colonial army, in which half of the British forces were killed or wounded, the British were forced to withdraw.

Wikipedia...

Okay, so what if the British Empire had won this one? Argentina and Uruguay would have become British colonies, what do you think would have happened then? Would these countries now speak English and be part of the Commonwealth? What if Spain had tried to get their colonies back?

Spain would never have got those territories back. They were to spent from Imperial mismanagement and the stresses of the Napoleonic Wars. They could have tried diplomacy, but when the Wars ended Britain was in a very strong position so I doubt that would have worked. Half of South America may very well have been in a better position today then it is now.
 

redcoat

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,949
Stockport Cheshire UK
Spain changed sides in 1808 becoming a British ally, so it's possible that the British would have returned the colonies to Spain.
 
Nov 2010
108
Spain changed sides in 1808 becoming a British ally, so it's possible that the British would have returned the colonies to Spain.
Maybe Britain would have returned *some* of those colonies to Spain (those harder to manage, like Buenos Aires) and would have kept the rest (those relatively easier to manage, like Montevideo)? That would conform to the doctrine of the balance of power that was prevalent in that era.
 

redcoat

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,949
Stockport Cheshire UK
Maybe Britain would have returned *some* of those colonies to Spain (those harder to manage, like Buenos Aires) and would have kept the rest (those relatively easier to manage, like Montevideo)? That would conform to the doctrine of the balance of power that was prevalent in that era.
The balance of power doctrine applied to the European continent, not South America.
 

WeisSaul

Ad Honorem
Mar 2012
2,836
New Amsterdam
It would be like Canada. Buenos Aires and the lands to the east of the Parana river would be Hispanophone and the rest of Argentina (particularly Patagonia) would be English speaking.

The War of the Ragamuffins could end in victory for the Riograndense Republic. Historically they rejected Argentine offers of support, not wanting help from "Castillianos". Now it would be the British assisting them instead. Paraguay could end up doing better too to serve as another buffer between British Argentina and Brazil.
I'd like to modify this.

I believe that Buenos Aires and Montevideo would have English and Spanish district (like Montreal or Ottawa today) and the inland area (Cordoba and the plains around it) would be Spanish majority.

Patagonia would likely be mostly Anglo but would have many hispanophones as well.


There would be a great many fewer Italian migrants in Argentina which would have tremendous cultural impact given that I've heard some 70% of Argentines are of some Italian descent.
 
Nov 2010
108
The balance of power doctrine applied to the European continent, not South America.
But wasn't it also the balance of power doctrine that led Britain, in 1763, to keep Quebec but give back Martinique (both captured from the French a few years before), and that led Britain, in 1815, to keep the Cape and Guyana but give back Java, Suriname, and Curacao (all captured from the Dutch in the decade up to that)?