The War of the Triple Alliance: Paraguay dreams of empire

Jan 2015
9
California
Did you know that over 70% of Paraguay's entire population was wiped out during the War of the Triple Alliance?

You probably can’t even place Paraguay on a map (its in the middle, next to Bolivia), but during the 1800s it was poised to become the most powerful country in South America. Today Paraguay is a weak, landlocked country, but in the 1860s it was a fledgling regional power with an industrialized, self-sufficient economy, protected by a powerful modernized military. Paraguay’s rapid industrialization and militarization frightened its neighbors who feared an upset in the balance of power on the continent.

The War of the Triple Alliance: Paraguay dreams of empire
 
Feb 2014
527
South Carolina, USA
I've been interested in learning about this war for some time. South American history seems fun but I don't really know a great deal about it.
 
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Gile na Gile

Ad Honorem
May 2008
4,466
Fireland
Eliza Lynch: Queen of Paraguay - RTÉ Player

Ye may find this of interest - the focus is on Eliza Lynch, the Irish "courtesan" who became "Queen of Paraguay" and life partner to Solano Lopez. Pacing is very slow but there's some good expert discussion on the War of the Triple Alliance & memorable descriptions of Lopez's final hours.
 

Nemowork

Ad Honorem
Jan 2011
8,458
South of the barcodes
It was usually the same thing, where do you think South American leaders bought their weapons?

Argentina was one of the most powerful naval powers around in the 19th century, i doubt they ever built anything bigger than a rowing boat themselves?
 

johnincornwall

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,672
Cornwall
This would be Lopez - as in the books about 'greatest military disasters' etc. Not sure the rest of 'Paraguay' wanted to conquer the world.

I agree though that South American history is not that easy to come across, even though I search in Spanish etc from a Madrid/Barcelona bookstore. I have a decent interesting book about the War of the Pacific (late 19th C), and an unreadable ' brief history of Argentina' but little else.

Mostly likely South America is awash with it and it just doesn't come into the European-based RADAR maybe due to lack of demand?
 

Tairusiano

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
2,975
Brazil
It was usually the same thing, where do you think South American leaders bought their weapons?

Argentina was one of the most powerful naval powers around in the 19th century, i doubt they ever built anything bigger than a rowing boat themselves?
Argentine naval power, began at the end of the last decade of the nineteenth century and had its apex in the first half of the twentieth century, but you right thei buy from europe.
but before that Brazil was the leading naval power and Brazil have shipyards who built even cruisers, but still buy from europe too.

Now about paraguay there was rather an attempt to modernize but was facing military modernization like the foundry of Ybycuí, and as the telegraph, railroads, it was being introduced across the continent, not only in paraguay Brazil for example the first railroad was built in 1854, 10 years before Paraguay,

The book La Guerra del Paraguay: gran negocio! by Leon Pomer and Genocídio Americano: a Guerra do Paraguai in Brazil that created the myth that paraguay was some kind of south american powerhouse that caused envy in Britain, which made Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay destroy the paraguay,
in fact this war have a much more complex roots, and not much studied.

johnincornwall: this is probably the best book about this theme.
[ame="http://www.amazon.com/Maldita-Guerra-Historia-Paraguay-Argentina/dp/9500425742"]Maldita Guerra: Nueva Historia de la Guerra del Paraguay (Emece Argentina) (Spanish Edition): Francisco Doratioto: 9789500425742: Amazon.com: Books@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51rMJcxNLqL.@@AMEPARAM@@51rMJcxNLqL[/ame]
 

johnincornwall

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,672
Cornwall
Thanks Tairusiano - it must be a bit of a collector's item now as it is £131 on Amazon UK. Sadly not in my range.

39 euros on casadellibro but not available.
 

mark87

Ad Honorem
Jan 2014
2,076
Santiago de Chile
Not quite. Paraguay was never a south american powerhouse, in the second half of the 19th century south america had the abc powers in place, that is argentina, brazil, and chile. The war ravaged Paraguay to such a degree that i believe even today the nation has a gender disparity where women far outnumber men. Paraguay also lost it's autonomy that it had held (they were no where near industrialized though) and was subjected to rampant poverty until, well this day. This would also lead to south america's last major war in the 1930's between the two poorest and landlocked nations Paraguay and Bolivia where they fought for the chaco boreal region (thought to be rich in oil but it turns out is actually just a gigantic wasteland and hot). Eduardo Galeano writes a hefty deal about this war in his famous/infamous book 'Las venas abiertas de america latina' so i'm guessing that's where most people got their familiarity with the topic in the first place.
 

holoow

Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
3,839
Vilnius, Lithuania
Had the legacy of the Jesuit state influence on Lopez ambitions?