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I Die With My Country

Perspectives on the Paraguayan War, 1864-1870

Hendrik Kraay

Publication Year: 2005

The Paraguayan War (1864–70) was the most extensive and profound interstate war ever fought in South America. It directly involved the four countries of Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay and took the lives of hundreds of thousands, combatants and noncombatants alike. While the war still stirs emotions on the southern continent, until today few scholars from outside the region have taken on the daunting task of analyzing the conflict. In this compilation of ten essays, historians from Canada, the United States, Germany, Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay address its many tragic complexities. Each scholar examines a particular facet of the war, including military mobilization, home-front activities, the war’s effects on political culture, war photography, draft resistance, race issues, state formation, and the role of women in the war. The editors’ introduction provides a balance to the many perspectives collected here while simultaneously integrating them into a comprehensible whole, thus making the book a compelling read for social historians and military buffs alike.

Published by: University of Nebraska Press

Series: Studies in War, Society, & the Military

Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Maps and Illustrations

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p. viii-viii

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pp. ix-x

This book originated as a panel on the Paraguayan War organized by Hendrik Kraay for the Society for Military History (SMH) annual conference at the University of Calgary in May 2001. The timing for this panel seemed perfect, reflecting a renewed interest in that war among historians in Argentina, Brazil, and the United States. ...

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1. Introduction: War, Politics, and Society in South America, 1820s–60s

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pp. 1-22

"Muero con mi patria [I die with my country]!" These words, shouted defiantly at his Brazilian pursuers by Paraguayan president Francisco Solano López, brought to an end the most costly interstate war in South American history. As he slid mortally wounded into the red muck of the Aquidabán River on 1 March 1870, his last view was of a country devastated. Paraguay had ...

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2. Economy and Manpower: Paraguay at War, 1864–69

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pp. 23-43

In the early morning of 1 March 1870 in remote northeastern Paraguay, a bullet in the back from a Brazilian army carbine ended the life of President-Marshal Francisco Solano López. After five bloody years of struggle, the most destructive international war ever fought in South America was over. For four years the landlocked Republic of Paraguay, with its population of less than ...

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3. Protagonists,Victims, and Heroes: Paraguayan Women during the "Great War"

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pp. 44-60

The role that Paraguay's women assumed during the so-called Epopeya Nacional (Epic National Struggle) has been a point of debate ever since that devastating conflict. During the Paraguayan War President Francisco Solano López hailed their many contributions to state and society as evidence of the entire population's unconditional support for the war effort and for his ...

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4. Patriotic Mobilization in Brazil: The Zuavos and Other Black Companies

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pp. 61-80

Shortly after allied troops crossed the Paraná River and invaded southern Paraguay (mid-April 1866), the Brazilian plenipotentiary to the allied governments, Francisco Otaviano de Almeida Rosa, exulted to the war minister: "A warm embrace [abraço] for our triumphs. Long live the Brazilians, be they white, black, mulatto, or Indian ...

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5. Benjamin Constant: The "Truth" behind the Paraguayan War

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pp. 81-104

The Paraguayan War was still raging when pundits identified Benjamin Constant as the author of an article on the conflict published anonymously in a Rio de Janeiro paper.1 In a letter to the newspaper's editor the recently returned veteran denied authorship but instead offered to publish under his own name ...

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6. The Paraguayan War and Political Culture: Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, 1865–80

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pp. 105-118

For the people of Brazil's southernmost province, Rio Grande do Sul, the Paraguayan War represented a potential source of political capital. Indeed, so aggressively did Gaúchos (the inhabitants of the province) seek to turn the war to their political advantage that Joaquim Nabuco, writing some thirty years later, contemptuously ...

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7. Uruguay and the Paraguayan War: The Military Dimension

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pp. 119-139

The story of the Oriental Division in the Paraguayan War is a tale of the gradual decimation of a handful of bold warriors, veterans of many engagements, who had always fought for their caudillo, Gen. Venancio Flores, and their political faction, the Uruguayan Colorado Party.1 This division contributed 1,500 soldiers to the allied army, ...

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8. Federalism and Opposition to the Paraguayan War in the Argentine Interior: La Rioja, 1865–67

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pp. 140-153

The war against Paraguay encountered strong opposition in the Argentine interior, expressed in numerous ways, from the spread of rumors and the singing of protest songs to draft-dodging and large-scale rebellions. La Rioja, in the far west of the country, was one of the most conflicted provinces during these years. ...

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9. Images of War: Photographers and Sketch Artists of the Triple Alliance Conflict

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pp. 154-178

The Triple Alliance, or Paraguayan, War pitted the armies of Paraguay, led by Francisco Solano López, against the combined forces of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay in the longest and bloodiest military confrontation in South American history. It was in many ways a modern war, for the combatants tested new weapons and military ...

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10. The Paraguayan War: A Catalyst for Nationalism in South America

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pp. 179-198

Commentators in Brazil and the Platine states tend to focus today on the regional economy, asking whether the mercosur (mercosul in Portuguese) free-trade model can serve as an adequate instrument in meeting people's aspirations for a better life. Such questions are altogether appropriate for our troubled times. ...


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pp. 199-246


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pp. 247-248


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pp. 249-257

E-ISBN-13: 9780803204409
E-ISBN-10: 080320440X

Publication Year: 2005

Series Title: Studies in War, Society, & the Military