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date: 23 July 2017

The Paraguayan War and Brazilian National Identity

Summary and Keywords

The effort of searching the effects of the War of the Triple Alliance against Paraguay on the building up of Brazilian national identity challenges the historian with a paradox: why the military victory promotes the fall of the political regime instead of strengthening it. The article tries to deal with some dimensions of this paradox underlining the distinctive characteristics of this war in the ongoing warmongering in the Platine region—the huge numbers of conscripted soldiers (“the Total War”), the hybrid political character of the alliance (Brazilian monarchy and Argentinian Republic), the opposition of most of the conservative classes, and the unveiling of slavery as a strategic weakness for the country—are some of the themes treated in order to explain how the empire lost both the battle of worldwide moral support and the battle of legitimacy inside the country. The massive recruitment coming from all parts of the country could bring the empowerment of ordinary people in the postwar decades, but the monarchical elites took careful steps to ensure that these sectors were quickly demobilized and also not to receive medals and other military honors. The postwar era was one of unfolding of an endemic crisis leading to contest of monarchical institutions. They came from military sectors, but also from regional elites, besides bitter criticism from middle-class intellectuals. Racial arguments filled an outstanding part in this period, leading to the giving prestige of “scientific” racism and the negative diagnosis for the future of a modern nation founded in a racially mixed society.

Keywords: Paraguay, Brazilian Empire, Platine region, Uruguay, slavery, recruitment, army, militia, caricature, monarchy, republic, federalism, total war, political imaginary, nation, identity

Politics in the Mirror of the War

The War of the Triple Alliance against Paraguay (1865–1870) was South America’s bloodiest conflict ever, involving more than 250,000 combatants, although the exact number is still the subject of controversy (and probably will be for a long time to come). On the Paraguayan side, whatever the source of the figures, there can be little doubt that the result was absolutely devastating and practically destroyed the entire active male population. There were also huge losses on the side of the allied contingents with an estimated 18,000 Argentineans killed out of around 30,000 participants and 3,120 Uruguayans dead out of 5,600 combatants. As for the Brazilian Empire, an estimated 50,000 of its 139,000 combatants lost their lives. Roughly two-thirds of those losses were caused by diseases that swept through the camps, such as diarrhea, pulmonary infections, and cholera, in addition to others resulting from wounds inflicted in battle.1

Two points of Brazilian territory were occupied by the enemy: the city of Uruguaiana (Rio Grande do Sul) and a more extensive part of the frontier of Mato Grosso. Uruguaiana was to be released in September 1965, while Mato Grosso had to wait until the end of the war, because of the virtual inaccessibility of this territory to the Brazilian forces. The surrender of Uruguaiana, in the presence of Emperor D. Pedro II and the republican military commanders (Lieutenant General Bartolomé Mitre e General Venancio Flores) only concealed the beginning of what would be the longest and most painful phase of the Triple Alliance War against Paraguay. Nine months have passed between the invasion and Rio Grande do Sul and the retreat of Paraguayan forces from both Argentine and Brazilian territory. Fifty months would have to pass before allied forces entered Asuncion through the wreckage of the Paraguayan nation, which would still resist, through its leader, another year of persecution and guerrilla warfare until the end, with the death of Lopez, in Cerro Corá.

Nor was the offensive a steady rhythm. The preparations and maneuvers were enervating and slow. They are counted in months and even years: three months for the Allied forces gathering (September to December 1865), four months of preparations for the invasion of Paraguay (April, 1866). Between the point of the invasion (Paso de la Patria) and the nucleus of the strategic objective (the fortress of Humaitá), only 20 kilometers distant, twenty-seven months passed until the surrender of their last defenders (August 5, 1868). From Humaitá to Asunción, there would be another five months of intense fighting. Intense and bloody phases were interspersed with long periods of inaction. In order to get a rough idea of the bloody pace of the war, it is enough to mention that, between the invasion and the Uruguaiana surrender, 922 Brazilian men were listed as out of combat (including the squadron and ground forces). Diseases, at this stage, still killed much more than fighting. The same author tells us about 4,380 patients in the first body of the army on March 1, 1866. In June of the same year, after the first battle of Tuiuti (May 24), the number of patients already rose to 10,465 men, a total of 34,470 combatants, making up about a third of the troops, including those already wounded in combat. The same proportion of troops and men out of combat will be found by Caxias when he took command (October 1866). Even the outbreak of cholera in the camps (March–April 1867), which claimed more than 4,000 lives, no longer rivaled losses in combat. Only the Brazilian losses in the main actions are observed: 546 in the operations of invasion to the Paraguayan territory; from there until the reverse of Curupaiti, 10,688; and from Curupaiti to the taking of Asuncion, 23,644 casualties. In the latter, which was the bloodiest conflict in South America, it is estimated that the empire lost about a third of its nearly 120,000 combatants.2

Other entries of this encyclopedia deal with the diplomatic and military aspects of the war, as well as with its effects on the material life and the imaginaries of the nations involved. In this entry I will try to address some of the points that could help to throw some light on the social and political issues that were subjacent to this enigmatic exception to a kind of general “law” that has governed the complex relations between war and politics in the course of history, whereby victories would tend to strengthen those political regimes that wage war, whereas defeats tend to debilitate them. In the Brazilian case, an analysis of the relation between the Paraguayan War and Brazil’s national identity obliges us to reflect on a war in which victory did not further the regime but, on the contrary, actually demarked a turning point in its destiny leading to the increasing loss of its legitimacy among Brazilian elites.3

The shocking numbers of the War of Triple Alliance against Paraguay, previously unknown on the continent, are among its tragic peculiarities. For Brazil, whose economic life was mostly based on slavery and whose system of defense was based on militia controlled by rural landlords, with huge regional differences, the challenge of building up a great army would stress to the limit the bases of the monarchical system. Another notable peculiarity of this war was that it united three nations (the Brazilian Empire, the Argentinean Confederation, and the Republic of Uruguay) that up until then had always had intensely bellicose relations with one another. On the other side stood Paraguay, which had always been considered external to the conflicts in the River Plate region and whose independence was actually considered to be an essential part of Brazil’s diplomatic strategy in the region. The Treaty of Triple Alliance produced a vivid contrast between political and social regimes, which was stressed because the war was to be fought mainly in Argentinian and Paraguayan territory and, at least in the beginning, under the command of Lieutenant General Bartolomé Mitre (1821–1906), who combined the prestige of political and military position, since he was also the president of Argentine Republic when the war started. On the other side, the Brazilian monarchy was to bear the major burden of the war, both in human and material terms, without receiving the correspondent political prestige. The Brazilian monarch was a very “civilian” figure, hardly seen in uniform, but he envisaged the war as an opportunity of consolidating the monarchical legacy in Brazil. Probably for this reason D. Pedro II insisted on continuing the war until the surrender (or death) of Solano Lopez, opposing any attempt of a negotiated peace with the Paraguayan president. But he failed in all attempts at nominating a member of the monarchy to command the forces. With war in foreign territory, the Treaty of the Threefold Alliance determined that the command should fit the military chief of the allied territory where the war was being fought.

This awkward situation changed only in the last year of the conflict, when D. Pedro II succeeded in appointing his son-in-law, the count of Eu, to the general command of the allies’ troops, when General Mitre abandoned voluntarily the command in reason of internal riots in Argentine. All these points are relevant to understand the paradoxical way that the war affected the self-image of the Brazilian Empire and its political stability, but to grasp all their meaning is useful to evaluate how they were seen as a deep change in the South American scenery in a period of worldwide turbulence.

A New International Context for Scenery of Endemic Regional Conflict

While the space of this entry is insufficient to indulge in a detailed discussion of the reasons for the conflict and its antecedents, it must nevertheless be remembered that the facts that gave rise to the war were all associated with the complex process of construction of the states in the south of the continent, a process that involved some bitter oppositions in regard to real or imaginary territorial disputes since colonial times, to political regimes and social regimes (monarchy and republic, slavery and compulsory labor of Indians, and free labor). Brazil was the only monarchy in a republican continent and, after the end of American Civil War, the last independent nation to preserve slavery.

They unfolded in regions where there were also extensive cultural identities, like the pampas of the Gauchos (Brazil, Uruguay, Argentina), the vast region of ancestral native Indian’s occupation in Brazil (Paraná, Mato Grosso, Rio Grande do Sul, São Paulo) and in Paraguay.4 From the point of view of Portuguese America (later the Brazilian Empire), the locus of the conflict was mostly to the east of the River Uruguay, territory disputed by the Spanish and the Portuguese ever since colonial times. Since the arrival of Portuguese Court in 1808, an expansionist drive to the eastern margin of Uruguay River was fostered in response to what was considered a dangerous challenge to Portuguese hegemony in America: the revolutionary bands that gathered around Artigas, whose prestige attained all the gaucho region, including its Portuguese settlements at Rio Grande do Sul. The ideas of land distribution, federative organization, and the criticism against slavery represented a risk to the Luso-Brazilian project in America. Settled by a group of Luso-Brazilians gaucho militias, from 1809 onward, and increasingly occupied by successive incursions beginning in 1817, the region was annexed to the empire as the Cisplatine province in 1822.5 After a long inconclusive war between Brazil and Argentina, the region originated the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, created as a kind of buffer state in 1828. The contingent of Brazilians living in Uruguay with interests on both sides of the frontier remained as a constant vector of conflicts associated with the distinct political regimes, the presence of slavery in the ranches belonging to Brazilians, and the permeability of the Rio Grande do Sul militias to disputes that were endemic to the region. There the frontiers were alive, and even when marked by natural geographic features, they were “fluid” insofar as they were connected by the vast River Plate navigation system, which embraced all sides involved in the combat. Brazilian foreign policy often presented contradictory demands in the region because its genuine interest in having untrammeled navigation on the rivers of the River Plate basin was inconsistent with its practice of impeding any foreign navigation on the Amazon, and, in a similar way, the demand for agreements that would ensure the free circulation of people and goods on the Plate River system was contradictory to the clauses in such agreements requiring that runaway slaves should be extradited.6 Freedom of navigation was of fundamental importance to the empire, not only to foster the development of trade and business, but, above all, because it was indispensable for communication with its province of Mato Grosso. The circulation of people and goods (especially cattle) and jerked beef was vital for the Brazilian ranchers who had properties on both sides of the frontier. On the other hand, the frontiers’ permeability could give rise to problems because of the presence of slavery in the Brazilian ranches on both sides, while at the same time the circulation of political ideas (various lines of republican and federalist thinking that circulated in the region at the time) was a matter of grave concern for imperial policy. At the same time, the empire’s military defense was based on the Rio Grande do Sul ranchers with their mounted militias always ready to go to war for the empire when their interests would be favored and ready to rebel when they were jeopardized, as had happened in the Farroupilha uprising (1835–1845).7 The treaties on unrestricted navigation were always attempting to insert clauses determining the extradition of runaway slaves, like the one signed with Uruguay after the fall of Manuel Uribe in 1851 and rejected by Argentina in 1857.8

In the case of the Brazilian Empire, the permanent warmongering in the Platine region, in which powerful vested economic interests like those of the Brazilian tycoon Barão do Mauá were also involved, did not affect Paraguay other than in the aspect of unrestricted navigation on the river system that gave access to the province of Mato Grosso. Among other issues, particularly in regard to the dispute between Paraguay and Argentina, Brazil always considered Paraguay to be an ally because the independence of Paraguay and Uruguay and the veto to their joining themselves in any way to the Argentine Confederation had become an eternity clause in Brazilian diplomacy as far back as 1828. The confrontations, however, did not stop, and Uruguay continued to be a chain of transmission for the political disputes that unfolded in Brazil and Argentina. Such disputes generally involved militias of all those countries led by charismatic local figures with political and military influence, the Caudillos. In 1853, right after the end of the regional war in which the empire, in alliance with the Argentinean political leader, Urquiza, managed to defeat the allied forces of Manoel Uribe in Uruguay and Juan Manuel de Rosas in Argentina, a new Brazilian province, Parana, was created by splitting up a region dedicated economically to the extraction of Yerba Mate (Ilex paraguariensis) from the province of São Paulo. It was populated in its western part by various indigenous ethnic groups, among them the Guarani, who were related to other Guarani groups that lived on the Paraguayan side of the border.

In 1864, Brazil and Argentina found themselves, once more, involved in border disputes, but this time on the same side, that of the Colorado Party led by General Venâncio Flores in its bid to overthrow the Blanco Party party then in power in Uruguay. Paraguay’s entrance on the scene was marked by its seizure of the vessel Marquês de Olinda, on board of which the president of the province of Mato Grosso was travelling. It then invaded Brazilian territory in two places (Rio Grande do Sul and Mato Grosso) after crossing the Argentinean territory of Corrientes to form an alliance with the Uruguayan blancos, thereby radically altering the entire geopolitical panorama in the Platine region. Placing a huge number of trained men in arms in a context of traditional militia warfare provoked a totally unknown military situation on the southern continent that would test the resilience of their adversaries’ social and political systems to the limit and impose on them an unprecedented mobilization of human, material, and financial resources.

While the alliance between the monarchy and the republic was to receive bitter criticism in the eyes of Brazilian monarchist elites, it was, nevertheless, indispensable for Brazilian international position, due to the complex international situation at the time of the breaking of the war. The Paraguayan War broke out at the very moment when the American Civil War (1861–1865) was ending with the defeat of a slavery-based regime. In 1867, after the tragedy of the Franco-Austrian adventure in Mexico, the Brazilian Empire was heading toward being the last slavery-based independent nation in the Americas, as well as being the only monarchy.9 In that regard, however harmful it may have been for its domestic popularity, the alliance was not only of fundamental importance from the military strategy point of view but also because it avoided the empire’s becoming totally isolated in the international panorama. The most cursory perusal of the French periodic Revue des Deux Mondes (Two Worlds Revue) published at the time of the war gives a clear idea of the devastating effect of the systematic criticism directed at Brazil, especially in the articles of the great French geographer Elisée Reclus. They projected an image that was highly damaging to the pride of the well-educated upper-class Brazilians, all avid consumers of that periodical, including the emperor himself.10 At another point in the political spectrum, it should be remembered that the end of the Paraguayan War coincided with the fall of the French Empire and the birth of the Third Republic, which effectively buried any hopes that the marriage of Princess Isabel to Gastão d’Orleans (count of Eu and commander of the final stage of the war) might bring in political dividends in Europe, as one of the most severe Argentinean critics of the war imagined.11 Writing thirty years later about the alliance and the ferocious criticism it had received from its contemporaries, Nabuco emphasized the importance of the empire’s having appeared in the war alongside two republics at a critical moment when “the attempts of Napoleon III and Maxmilian of Austria (another Habsburg) in Mexico and the victory of the abolitionists in the United States, made any affirmation of prestige or ascension of Brazil fighting Republican America dangerous. Latin America’s discourse against us can be said to have been generalized and if we had not had the Argentinean bulwark but, instead, we had Mitre cooperating with Prado, with Perez, with Johnson even, then the Empire’s isolation would have been fatal.”12

Breaking the Self-image of a Tropical Monarchy

The question of identity is elusive by nature because, among other reasons, the very vision of what “nation” means in the sphere of collective imageries and in collective practices is polysemous and has suffered many modifications in the course of time.13 Thus, whenever we address the question of “national identity,” we need to ask ourselves what exactly we are talking about, or rather, whether we are talking of political ideas and/or practices identifiable in the broader public ambit or about specific institutional niches where sentiments crystallize and out of which they reverberate. In the 19th century, the question of national identity, so complex and diffuse by nature, acquired very specific hues as regards those nations that had emerged from a long colonial past. The challenge of building a narrative that could cope with the transition from a “nationalism” of ethnic/cultural components, to another, organized in a civic-political system of meaning would have to produce both a break with the colonial past and a mental construct of that same past, capable of operating as a source of tradition and as a projection for the future.

Besides, we have to remember that the theme of identities is inseparable from that of otherness, especially when we are dealing with the “long 19th century” so hidebound by the paradigms of comparison and competition. However, we can also think of it in contrast to regional identities or to those of other nations with which the national identity is compared, either in opposition or in emulation. Such multiple meanings are rarely mutually exclusive and tend to overlap one another in concrete political and practical situations. War, as an extreme phenomenon in the history of nations, would tend to boost this latter political field of meanings, strengthening unity by opposition to the parts and national pride by opposition to adversaries, especially in victory.

None of those aspects, however, was visible in the reverberations of the Paraguayan War in Brazilian society in the decades that followed it. As I have tried to indicate, the war was actually responsible for a profound erosion of the regime, and it also reawakened federalist demands from the provinces. In the same decades, notable skepticism in regard to the success of nation building began to emerge.

In the Brazilian case, the construction of identity during the second reign mainly took the form of the collective imagery production formulated by the Brazilian Historical Geographic (Instituto Histórico Geográfico Brasileiro—IHGB), created in 1838 and strongly influenced by the Crown.

It was the attempt to identify the nation with the monarchy, insofar as it constituted a line of continuity with the past (Portuguese colonization) and, at the same time, a form of belonging in contemporary times (the constitutional monarchy being an expression of European modernity). That formulation was crystallized in the pages of the Institute’s periodic Review and in other works published under its auspices, such as the History of Brazil (História do Brasil) written by Francisco Adolfo de Varnhagen (1857), an erudite diplomat well versed in South American affairs. In Varnhagen’s História do Brasil, the relations of the monarchy with the Platine republics and the native Indians issue were the nodal points of a highly efficacious construction of national identity, operating hierarchies that were not only effective in the internal sphere of constructing a nation but also in the image that it attempted to project in South America,14 which meant to construct a version of the past and projecting a future for the Brazilian nation in the American continent.15

The construction that the institute operated, in critical synergy with the visions produced by those naturalists and erudite travelers who had visited Brazil in the first half of the 19th century, thought of Portuguese colonization as being the fundamental reference for the construction of the nation. The latter was conceived as being the result of a centuries-long elaboration emphasizing the continuity represented by the monarchic system in such a way as to avoid establishing any clash between the idea of “colony” and the idea of “nation.” The nation, in that conception, was the result of a European seed that had taken root in the Americas, imposing itself on the natives populations and making use of African labor. Its maturation expressed itself in a separation from the metropolis that had maintained the reigning dynasty and, in so doing, constituted itself as the heart of that legacy that was, at one and the same time, a nationality, a way of belonging to Western modernity and a territory.

Valuing the Portuguese colonization in the construction of nationality was also closely bound to an intransigent defense of “Brazilian” territory as it was established in the colonial period, by the Treaty of Madrid (1750), so that it, too, appeared as having been “inherited.” A shrewd observer of that persistent collective imagery16 reminds us that the violence of the struggles against centrifugal tendencies in the provinces that permeated the process of political unification and the perennial presence of slavery seem to have been the other face of the Institute’s insistence on stressing the role of nature and territory as an expression of nationality. It is as if “the territory” unified and undividable stood for the “nation, unified and undividable.” The latter seemed very difficult to achieve, given the extant ethnic and cultural diversity and the mosaic of provincial political identities that persisted in the formation of the nation, often in a state of open rebellion, seeking alternatives for the territorial design different from those proposed by Rio de Janeiro.17

After independence, otherness was no longer constructed in opposition to the Portuguese metropolis but, instead, in the way the monarchy achieved success in opposing itself to the anarchic and centrifugal tendencies present in the provinces, thereby guaranteeing national unity. A complex system of manifold “otherness” was created from this point onward, traversed by the dichotomy civilization X barbarism. The “other” could be inside the nation (the regional resistances in the provinces, the indigenous population) or it could be outside, by stressing the contrast with the continent’s areas of Spanish colonization and the republican experiences that developed in them after their independence. Susceptible to fragmentation, and easy prey to caudillism and faction-forming tendencies, those republican experiences constituted the antithesis of the civilizing monarchy represented by the House of Braganza in tropical lands.

The internal “other,” represented by the autochthonous indigenous populations and the slaves, was prone to establishing a hierarchy of the ethnic groups that composed the nationality. The slave being placed, as such, outside the nationhood the role of native Indians in it was the object of heated discussions at the institute,18 above all among the younger segment impregnated with the romantic ideas of “Indianism” which gathered followers in various parts of the Americas and enjoyed the patronage of European intellectuals.19 There were also adepts of ethnographic studies in the institute, although they were viewed with skepticism by Varnhagen and his followers. In the end the latter managed to reduce the power of the defenders of a valuation of the indigenous component in the formation of Brazilian nationality. They were no longer to be associated to any ethnographic or historical initiatives and would only come to express themselves in the field of literature as exemplified by the poems of Gonçalves Dias and the Indianist novels of José de Alencar. One of the most prestigious and popular Brazilian novels, published in serial form in 1857, was entitled O Guarani and consisted of a mythical narration of Brazilian nationality based on the tragic love story of the white Ceci, her Indian lover Peri, and his chivalrous sacrifice for her. In spite of criticism from Varnhagen, the figure of the Indian was one of the most efficient icons of Brazilian identity. It may be worthwhile to notice that Brazilian official documents always took great care to define the war as being “against the government” of Paraguay in an effort to personify responsibility for the conflict in the figure of the dictator Solano Lopez, but possibly also having in mind the fact that most of the Paraguayan people belonged to the same ethnic group (the Guaranis) that inhabited a considerable part of Brazilian territory, including the border province of Paraná, created in 1853.

First, it must be borne in mind that the transformation of the endemic conflict in the south of the country into a large-scale war only became apparent gradually, generating considerable surprise and a certain degree of patriotic clamor. Ministry of War reports for 1865 and 1866 speak of donations of every kind—parts of salaries and wages, food and clothing for combatants, offers of sewing services, offers to bear the costs of entire battalions—but that sentiment would soon fade away as five harsh, interminable years wore on.

What public opinion at the time only came to realize in 1866, when the secret clauses of the Treaty of Triple Alliance were disclosed, was that the ultimate aim of the war was to depose Lopez and that the alliance, to some extent, delineated a space in which combats would inevitably evolve insofar as they imposed the need to traverse Argentinean territory and invade Paraguay by the only route that was strategically feasible. Apart from that, the objective was entirely different from those of the former Platine wars in view of the impressive military contingent that Paraguay had introduced into the Platine scenario, and the war effort would come to be an infinite devourer of resources and human lives.

In that effort, it was up to the empire to furnish the greater contingent of men and most of the financial resources, but without being given command of the alliance, which was exercised most of the time by General Bartolomé Mitre (1821–1906). He was at the same time a military chief and a political chief insofar as he was the president of his country. Evidence of how difficult it was to manage such a hybrid alliance in the symbolic sphere included the repeated efforts of the count of Eu, the prince consort, married to the heiress to the throne, to participate in the war. People felt that it would not be proper for him, in his condition as a prince, to serve under the command of a republican chief. Later, when the possibility arose because of General Mitre’s temporary withdrawal, the fear was of the opposite effect, namely that republican soldiers would not take orders from a commander of aristocratic origin. I mention this fact because to those who criticized the alliance it was a very unpopular clause that stimulated disagreement among the military commanders and in the internal sphere and led to extreme political partisanship in regard to any facts that had to do with the war. Actually the marquis of Caxias, who came to stand in for General Mitre, only held the title of commander in chief of the alliance for the few months (February to August 1867) that General Mitre withdrew temporarily from the command. When Mitre withdrew again in January 1868, to take office once more as his country’s president of the republic, the Argentinean contingents were already very small, almost nonexistent, so the marquis only came to command Brazilians, as did the Prince Regent, who commanded the final phase of the war, the persecution and death of Lopez. Indeed, even under the command of the Marquis of Caxias (1867), it proved impossible to establish effective unity of command, whether between the army and the navy or among the commanders of the various corps, or among the troops themselves who fought in separate corps—volunteers, national guard, and infantry.20

Without going into greater detail concerning the strictly military aspects, it is clear that the alliance between the monarchy and the republics introduced great difficulties in the symbolic field, nullifying the play of contrasts so carefully woven by the IHGB litterati, insofar as it became difficult to pass on metaphors and images to boost the conflict’s popularity. In a society with little book learning, the play of images is of transcendent importance, and it has bequeathed us an extremely fertile field for researching the war.21 Among the more obvious evidence of such “paper battles” is the insistence with which Brazilian caricatures portray the empire in the figure of an Indian, and the same image is attributed to the Paraguayan people.22 The latter are always portrayed differently than their leader, Solano Lopez, drawn with a brutal expression and in martial apparel. It is also interesting to note that the image of the allies (Argentinians and Uruguayans) was frequently eluded in Brazilian caricatures as if Brazil was alone in the war. In another facet of the empire’s inability to manage “the war of images,” bordering on the pathetic, it is worth mentioning the fact that the novel O Guarani had an operatic version, written by the talented Brazilian composer Antonio Carlos Gomes. Its first performance was in Milan in 1870, at the very moment when the war was coming to a tragic end with the immolation of the Paraguayan Guarani people. The opera would be launched in Brazil in 1871 as part of the emperor’s anniversary commemorations.

In the images produced by the Paraguayans and in the Argentinean caricatures and cartoons, the Brazilian combatants are always represented as negroes and in situations that underscore the link between black or brown skin and slavery. Frequently the figures are given monkeylike features, and the officers and even the emperor himself are given the same treatment.

In the sphere of more abstract ideas and ideals, in this war, unlike the situation in previous Platine conflicts, the Triple Alliance made it impossible to mobilize internal public opinion around the polarizations usually used in them, that is, as a confrontation of the monarchy (associated with order, unity, and civilization) against a republic (associated with caudillos, secession, and political barbarianism). After the first few months of conflict, when it was no longer possible to present the war against internal and external public opinion as being defensive, the propaganda increasingly had to lean on the dictatorial aspects of the Paraguayan leader, mobilizing the idea of liberty (incarnate in the allies) against tyranny. That image, however, was just as perverse for the rhetorical strategy that was being unfolded at the time, because in a contradictory way it exposed the Brazilian Empire’s weak point, and Lopez made a point of stressing it in his speeches; the Paraguayan cartoonists and the Argentinean press exploited it to the full, and so did an important part of the international press—it was slavery.23

In regard to the first aspect, it is important to note that, right from the beginning of the conflict, the images that aggressively emphasized the “color” of the Brazilian contingents were disseminated not only in the Paraguayan caricatures but also in those originating in Buenos Aires. A hasty perusal of such images has led to their being seen as evidence of the presence of an excessive number of slaves in the Brazilian Army, an impression that needs to be corrected. What the documentation makes clear to us is that the freed slaves who appeared in the Brazilian ranks (whether freed by the public authorities or by private acts of manumission) amounted to fewer than 5,000 men, added to which there must have been some fugitives who joined the war as a means to obtaining their freedom.24 So the former group was not formed by slaves, and indeed there was a specific proviso that they should present proof of their manumission in order to be able to enlist. In any event, what the perceptions of the Platine caricaturists seem to underscore as a whole is that there was evidence that whether they were freeborn or freedmen, the combatants were from the lower strata of Brazilian society, and those strata were not composed of whites. That assessment was all the more incisive when it came not only from cultured European circles but also from Brazil’s South American neighbors. Thus the alliance, albeit essential for conducting the war, was a source of embarrassment and discomfort experienced in different ways by the troops, by the officers, and by the emperor himself. Reflecting on the surrender of Uruguaiana (1865) and its succession of misunderstandings and polemics, Nabuco perceived it to be the origin of the emperor’s movement toward the emancipation of the slaves, which he put this way: “to explain the Emperor’s movement [in the direction of emancipation], there is a plausible motive: his contact with Mitre and Flores in Uruguaiana, his embarrassment on perceiving that slavery was the dishonor that Paraguay attributed to our army, the inferiority that they discovered in us, their very allies . . . the scorn, the humiliation came from all sides, from friends and enemies, from both the Paraguayan weekly and the Revue des Deux Monde, from the Pan-American Congresses and from the Argentinean cartoons.25

Military Reverberations

In December 1870, just a few months after the end of the Paraguayan War, the Republican Manifesto (1870) was made public in Rio de Janeiro. It reaffirmed in highly critical tones the relation between the monarchic regime and the recently ended war and called for an American perspective: “we are from America and we want to be Americans,” declared the manifesto and “our form of government is in its essence and in its practice, antonymic and hostile to the right and the interests of the American states.” The regime was seen as “the origin of oppression” in the country, and it was blamed for being “a perpetual source of hostility and of wars with the peoples that surround us.” In another part, explaining the demand for greater autonomy for the provinces (the “oppression” referred to earlier), the manifesto effectively inserted the theme of federalism in its battle flag by declaring threateningly that the monarchic centralization could be considered equal to dismembering, whereas only decentralization could actually guarantee unity. The formula subverted an association that was very dear to the self-image that the monarchy projected in the country and abroad as the guarantor of national unity extending over a set of rebellious provincial forces.26 Among the manifesto’s signatories were journalists and orators linked to the middle urban and political strata, especially members of the of the Liberal Party, which had been forced out of power in 1868 after a standoff between the commander of the war, the marquis of Caxias, and the president of the council of ministers, Zacarias de Góes e Vasconcellos. The monarch exercising his reserve power (Poder Moderador) had arbitrated in favor of the general, who happened to be, aside from his military role, an important figure in the Conservative Party. It was an episode that delimited an endemic crisis of the arbitration system that had nurtured party political interplay up until then.27 The Rio manifesto was followed by others, particularly in São Paulo (1873), where the lists of signatories clearly showed the adherence of the “conservative classes,” which meant farmers, traders, and businessmen, many of whom were the owners of land and slaves.

Even in the ranks of the most ardent monarchists, there was criticism of the way the war had been conducted militarily and politically. In 1871, the young lieutenant, Alfredo Taunay, a member of an important family of military men, intellectuals, and artists, all of whom were closely associated to the IHGB, published a short book in French, La Retraite de la Lagune, which he dedicated to the emperor. The book, which was written in French and translated into Portuguese in 1872, narrated the misfortunes of a column that had gone deep into Mato Grosso in a bid to get at the enemy by land. It was inspired on the narrative style of an ancient history book, Xenophont’s Anabasis. Apparently the emperor was not very appreciative of the book’s contents because he gave it a cool reception, much to the author’s dismay. Dom Pedro could not have failed to notice the acidity of the second book’s allusion, evoking, as it did, an erudite reference that made it possible to glorify the young combatants but not failing to expose the flaws of the empire’s military organization. Significantly, decades later, that book narrating a military disaster was to become the most widely disseminated work on the Paraguayan War and was reedited many times.

On November 15, 1889, the monarchic regime that had been in power since 1822 was overthrown, not by the force of republican civilians, but by a burgeoning military sedition. In the bitter exchange of words at that moment between the leader of the coup, Marshall Deodoro da Fonseca, and the president of the Council of Ministers, the viscount of Ouro Preto, the word “republic” was not mentioned. Instead, in the midst of an embarrassing silence could be heard phrases like “bitter criticism” and expressions of an intention to “take revenge for the grave injustices” the government had committed with the army. The marshall also mentioned, “his services on the field of battle reminding the other how, for his country, he had spent three days and three nights of battle in the midst of a swamp . . . a sacrifice that the politician in front of him could not possibly evaluate.” The president of the council retorted, “it is not on the battle field alone that one can serve one’s country,” and urged Marshal Floriano Peixoto, responsible for the security of the palace and the ministers united there, to do his duty and constrain the seditious elements. He recalled how in the Paraguayan War the Brazilian artillery had also fought (and won) in conditions that were far worse than had ever been faced before. That was when he heard from Marshal Floriano the phrase that echoed like a death sentence for the regime: “Yes,” said Floriano “but there we were facing the enemy whereas here we are all Brazilians.”28

The entire decade of the 1880s was marked by conflicts between military officers and politicians in episodes of various kinds, which the press of the day referred to by the pompous and provocative title of the “military question,” a term that was eventually taken up by historiographers too. Among the issues that marked the dissent were the institution of a pension scheme for the military, investigations of corruption in the purchasing of army equipment, the punishment of officers for political manifestations, and, outstandingly, having allowed homage to be paid to an abolitionist in the military installations of Rio de Janeiro.

Some of the episodes were more serious than others, but they all had in common the fact that the officers involved had fought in the Paraguayan War and had been awarded medals and received promotions. Their status as war heroes that were the victims of the politicians’ will made them the object of corporate solidarity and enhanced their visibility in the public eye so that any disciplinary punishment they might eventually suffer gave them an aura of martyrdom.

There seems to be no doubt that the Paraguayan War contributed toward transforming the mentality of a considerable segment of the Brazilian armed forces in the latter decades of the 19th century, nudging them toward reformist political action,29 although the issue can be interpreted in many different ways.30 It is doubtful, however, that that feeling was shared by armed forces as a whole or even generalized in the army, albeit the young officers with a positivist ideology achieved great visibility. The outbreak of a naval revolt with strong monarchist sympathies in 1893 is symptomatic of that, in spite of the continuation of military politicization that was to reappear in the 1920 in the form of tenentismo (lieutenantism). In regard to this last point, it is worth noting that it was also the decade the book Retirada da Laguna had its critical fortunes restored with the appearance of the Prestes column and became the version adopted by the army publishers and many others, suggesting that the critical memory of the war came to play a role in the nationalist struggles of the 1920s and 1930s.

Those reflections show that the connections between the Paraguayan War and the undeniable transformations that took place in the public sphere and in the Brazilian political environment in the decades that followed the war went in many different directions. While it is true that both military and civil segments expressed their discontent with the monarchic regime with varying degrees of intensity, their convergence did not last long, and by the mid-1890s the military reformers and the agrarian oligarchies that had appropriated the republican political scenario had pulled apart. Even before that, the reasons that had led sectors of the agrarian oligarchies and the armed forces to oppose the empire’s political system were quite distinct and sometimes even opposite. Examples were the questions of federation versus centralism and that of the emancipation of the slaves. This last issue seems to have drawn together certain segments of the military and the positivist youth from the middle urban strata through the abolitionist campaign.31 The realization that there would never be a professional army as long as slavery was maintained and the state continued to support militias became widely dispersed in the army after the war.

Civilian Reverberations

When analyzing the relation of the war to the sentiment of national identity in the population at large, especially the grassroots sectors, it is worthwhile asking to what extent their war experience affected the thousands of combatants from all strata of society (but especially the poorer strata) and from all parts of the country (albeit in unequal contingents) that were mobilized in that bloody five-year period. It is a difficult field to work in, albeit one in which important studies are proliferating. The Brazilian war effort was tremendous not only in terms of absolute numbers but also in regard to how much it tested the resilience that had supported the imperial military system up to that point. A very small professional infantry of around 12,000 men in 1864 and a vast contingent of militia forces (National Guard) that were distributed in the provinces had to improvise an army by bringing together people from various regions of the country and from various social classes. According to one military historiographer, the recruiting authorities conducted veritable hunting expeditions in the interior of the country “bringing together whites, mulattos and negroes, who, after being counted were dispatched in batches without even the merest of health inspections and without enquiring about their status in the family . . . thrusting them into brown denim pants and shirts of most inferior twill . . . Many of them were stricken by epidemics . . . like smallpox, measles, cholera and dysentery which victimized thousands of young men before they even got a glimpse of the enemy.”32 Brazil’s war effort acquired some specific nuances because the country’s labor system was founded on slavery, and that in itself presented challenges to the work of conscription. It is important to bear in mind that there was generalized opposition to recruitment not just from the lower classes but also from the wealthy classes, especially those that were the owners of slaves. The opposition was not because of any fear that conscription would empty the slaves’ quarters, because that was a limit that the Brazilian state never threatened to overstep. The critical point was that the conscription of free men put the maintenance of order in the slaves’ quarters at risk. Order was enforced by a system of violence that depended on private militias controlled by the slave owners, and the militia members’ reward was precisely that they would be protected from recruitment. This was what made the war so unpopular among the agrarian oligarchies, and criticism of the recruitment could be heard wherever there were concentrated populations of slaves—São Paulo, Bahia, Para, and Maranhão. Indeed, in these last two provinces, there were slave rebellions.33 In São Paulo, where the prosperous coffee-growing sector was the country’s most dynamic economic mainstay, recruitment disputed men who were precious to the most important initiative that the São Paulo farmers were engaged in (the construction of railways), and it recruited them in defiance of the letter of the law, which specifically protected those workers from recruitment. Despite the immense difficulties and tensions of every kind that swept Brazilian society in those years, conscription was carried out, mobilizing volunteers, national guards, and, after 1866, an increasing number of individuals recruited by force. In the case of these last, the Brazilian state also had recourse to freeing the nation’s slaves for war service, and it created material and symbolic incentives for those slave owners who freed their slaves to offer them as recruits or as substitutes for others.

Some important works have made progress in enhancing knowledge of those experiences, seeking to identify the recruiting process and the actions of resistance to it among those who enlisted voluntarily, seeing the shelter of the military uniform as a way to find their freedom,34 in the slave revolts that occurred during the war, among those who got away, in the formation of communities of runaways (quilombos) in the war zone,35 or among those who managed to return to their provinces, forgotten by imperial policy. Another important locus of reverberation of the experiences of the common people was in the great concentration of workers attached to the arsenals of the court, which provided contingents for the most fervent sectors of republicanism that emerged in the early days of the republic, calling themselves Jacobins, and with strong connections with the abolitionist and republican clubs.

To connect these myriad experiences to the daily round of the war, however, it must be borne in mind that at least until 1866, when the Brazilian general marquis of Caxias took command and imposed a greater degree of standardization on the contingents, the soldiers fought in conditions that largely reproduced their social differences. Volunteers proudly displayed their marks of distinction, and when it became apparent that the National Guard was resisting the mobilization, the advantages enjoyed by the volunteers were extended to them too. Those conditions tended to make a clear separation of such combatants from the rest of the infantry, which amalgamated the most dispossessed sectors of society, including the freed slaves. Although Caxias managed to eliminate many of the distinctions in favor of a greater standardization of the combatants, he also did his utmost to ensure that medals and commendations for bravery were not distributed to the troops, whatever their condition. Historiographers who have paid attention to the question of freed slaves in the war have commented that the measure reestablished and crystallized the extant social hierarchy and annulled any sense of promotion or recognition that the standardization might have transmitted to the recruits, whether they were freeborn or freed.36

The demobilization of the contingents was conducted very carefully with groups being sent back separately to their provinces. There was no big military victory parade at the court, to the great disappointment of the high command and of the count of Eu himself. The care taken to demobilize the army and the grass-roots contingents attached to it was both meticulous and efficacious.37

The Battle for Memory

In the last decade of 19th century, after the Proclamation of the Republic, the memory of the war composed a kind of “combat waged by historiography,” especially among those who had believed in the possibility of the regime’s self-reform after abolition (1888). In the monarchic period’s latter days, Alfredo Taunay dedicated his efforts to stimulating initiatives that would countermand the version of the war being produced by the republican military while at the same time investing in writing his own version in his memoirs, in which the war occupied most of the text. In them he repeats the criticisms that he had already published in the Retirada da Laguna, narrating the campaign in Mato Grosso alongside his acid vision of the last phase of the war in which he, Taunay, participated as the count of Eu’s secretary. The most important analytical effort, however, was left for Nabuco to make in his monumental work dedicated to the reconstruction of the country and to his father.38 In it the war occupies a prominent position as the moment that marks the period of crisis of the monarchy and of the transformation of mentalities. That great historical-biographical work was written on the basis of a long period of research of his father’s documentation and on the shared memories of Alfredo Taunay and André Rebouças. The life of Senator Nabuco de Araújo seems to have been inseparable from the history of the empire itself. In that continuum, amalgamating life and historical time, the war seems to be responsible for the outbreak and development of an inexorable crisis, as a watershed separating the apogee of the empire and the fall of the dynasty. A series of reasons, all emanating from the River Plate region, are listed such as “the fascination of our troops with the Platine world, the corporate demands fostered by the comradeship of the campaign, and Americanism.” The text, however, does not fail to emphasize “the constant insults to Brazil coming from enemy and Allies alike because of slavery, the inferiority of the Brazilian troops for the same reason, the setting free of slaves in the defeated country, thanks to the Count of Eu husband of the heiress to the throne” in addition to the deleterious republican propaganda and much-feared threat of the [influence] of the Platine institutions and men . . . on our officers, especially those from Rio Grande do Sul.39

The temporal cross-section and the definition of the crisis also configure a territorial vision. It is expressed as a view of the frontier, and it consecrates an event—the surrender of Uruguaiana—as the locus for the explanation of the crisis. The initial vanishing point of this perspective is the political center occupied by the monarchy. From there it is the monarchy (in the figure of the emperor) that moves towards the frontier to obtain the surrender of Uruguaiana and that initiates a whole kaleidoscope of frictions—the “contamination” of the Platine Caudillo culture, the internal struggles among the parties, the endemic conflict between the political center and local interests, the conflict between the monarchy and the republic, and the explicit identification of slavery as the empire’s intrinsic weakness.

The image of the emperor in the episode that Nabuco endeavors to transmit is of someone who, because of the shame and dishonor associated with slavery heaped on him by allies and enemies alike, makes the decision to set emancipation in motion. It is a plausible image, but there can be little doubt that it is imbued with the intention to associate the emperor with the great cause that he, Joaquim Nabuco, would be embracing in subsequent battles. What remains, however, is the impact of the terms he uses to qualify the feeling transmitted by the caricatures—the shame, the feeling of inferiority. That all stemmed from slavery (according to Nabuco’s reading), but we can well imagine that it also stemmed from the perception reflected in the looks of the enemies and allies of those negro and mulatto faces that were typical of the Brazilian population, whether freeborn or freed.

That evocation is reminiscent of the famous text in which Silvio Romero reminds us that it was from the time of the Paraguayan War onward that Brazilian society was set in motion and “a host of new ideas” spread around the country. Among them were “Darwinism,” “evolutionism,” and “scientism,” systems of ideas that Brazilian thinkers appropriated but in the somber sense of negating the possibility of constructing a nation in a society that was mixed racially and marked by slavery.40 It is well known that some contents were highly racist, such as those that considered it essential to “whiten” the Brazilian people so that they could aspire to a genuine national construction and could be found alongside others that were emphatically abolitionist. Such ideas were disseminated in various circles among intellectuals and the well educated, the military, and scientists; they came from European and North American periodicals, and from erudite individuals like Count Gobineau, who was France’s ambassador to Brazil at the time of the Paraguayan War.41 However, it is important to remember that they also came from the Plate Basin, from the Paraguayan lampoons and the Argentinean caricatures.

So many layers of time produced new interpretations and fields of research. To conclude, it is interesting to remember the great Brazilian writer Monteiro Lobato, who coined the expression “the blue rule” to designate one of the war’s most emblematic episodes in terms of Brazilian sensibility—the surrender of Uruguaiana (1865), when the liberation of part of Brazilian territory occupied by the Paraguayans was achieved by the convergence of three allied forces generating polemical interpretations in regard to the emperor and the monarchic institutions, some prestigious and others humiliating. Lobato invented his blue rule, explaining that blue is the most deceptive of colors and can only be perceived at a distance, in the sky or the blue of distant mountains, far away on the horizon. The illusion of blueness disappears as you get closer. “The beautiful mountain jutting into the blue of the sky . . . as blue as sapphire, from close up is all roughness, precipices, scarps, craters, prickly vegetation, tangled vines and thorny cat’s claw. It is not blue.”42

Just like the blue in Lobato’s rule, as we strip away the different layers of time that envelop the Paraguayan War, the question of the relation between the Triple Alliance War and Brazilian national identity reveals its intensely polychromatic nature, producing more questions than answers.

Discussion of the Literature

Contrasting with the intensity it had in the memory of her contemporaries, the War of the Triple Alliance with Paraguay was relatively absent from the Brazilian historiographical field, marked by a kind of shameful silence, to which the fears of touching on subjects sensitive to the armed forces were often mixed, in a country where military intervention in politics became endemic from the 1920s. Not by chance would this silence be broken by the monumental work of a military historian, General Augusto de Tasso Fragoso,43 but his reading was largely confined to the field of specialists and the medium military. Today it is still an important reference for historians, for the extensive and careful treatment of diplomatic correspondence and official sources. This was the state of art that sought to change the historians known as “revisionists” who in the 1970s during the Brazilian military dictatorship reverberated the themes of the Paraguayan War in noisy analyses still present today in interpretations and school teaching. Outstanding were the books of Argentinian historian Leon Pomer with repercussions in Brazil.44 In Brazil Pomer had a very popular follower in Julio Jose Chiavenatto, whose Genocídio americano: a Guerra do Paraguai was published in a great number of editions including high school books and various media.45 These analyses marked the resistance to the military dictatorships that were expanding in South America and also reverberated the anti-imperialist passions brought by the Vietnam War and the conflicts for the independence of the African nations. They have, however, had the invaluable purpose of proposing a new agenda for the study of conflict. The movement of critics of “revisionism” in Brazil begun in the 1990s, mainly with Ricardo Salles, Guerra do Paraguai: Escravidão e cidadania na formação do Exército. Rio de Janeiro: Paz e Terra, and my own work.46 The broad diplomatic perspective was reviewed by the exhaustive work by Francisco Doratioto, Maldita Guerra—Nova História da Guerra do Paraguai.47 Interesting views on the economic aspects of the war from a Brazilian perspective can be found in Divalte Garcia Figueira, Soldados e Negociantes na Guerra do Paraguai.48 The violence of war and society that engenders it, for example, by the forced recruitment of subordinates, the question of slavery, and other forms of compulsory labor in the formation of militias and line forces have inspired a new military history, where the Paraguayan War is a theme of special concern. See, for instance, C. Castro, H. Kraay, and V. Izecksohn, Nova História Militar Brasileira; Celso Castro, Os militares e a república: um estudo sobre cultura e ação política; and V. Izecksohn, O cerne da discórdia. A Guerra do Paraguai e o Núcleo Profissional do Exército.49 For a comparative perspective between the War of Paraguay and American Civil War, see V. Izecksohn, Slavery and War in the Americas: Race, Citizenship, and State Building in the United States and Brazil, 1861–1870.50 Great recent studies on the subject come from Europe and North America. See especially P. M. Beattie, The Tribute of Blood: Army, Honor, Race, and Nation in Brazil, 1864–1945; Luc Capdevila, Une guerre totale, Paraguay 1864–1870: Essai d’histoire du temps présent; the monumental work by Thomas Whigham, La guerra de la Triple Alianza; T. Whigham and H. Kraay, eds., I Die with My Country: Perspectives on the Paraguayan War: 1864–1870.51

Primary Sources

Central to the study of the Paraguayan War are the ministerial reports of the period, especially the reports of the Ministry of War. Important information is also in the reports of the provincial presidents, mainly for gauging the mobilization recruitment effort. These documents are available in digital format at Also on the official level are indispensable sources for the understanding of the political climate at the time of the war debates in the various spheres of power. The parliamentary debates are available at The annals of the senate and the minutes of the council of state can be found at Both the chamber and the Brazilian Senate also have important electronic libraries where one can read important works written during the war period, in careful free-access editions. An example is the classic of Joaquim Nabuco, Um Estadista do Império. Nabuco de Araújo: sua vida, suas opiniões, sua época (1899), as well as Alfredo Taunay’s A Retirada da Laguna (both in its original French version and in its first Portuguese edition). The Digital Library of the Senate also has memoirs and pamphlets referring to the war in facsimile editions. For the discussion of the war in the press (including the illustrated press), see the collections of the Brazilian Digital Hemeroteca The positions of the Brazilian Historical and Geographical Institute are expressed in the pages of his journal available at as well as an important part of his archives. The collection of the Imperial Museum in Petrópolis also has important collections of papers of the main dignitaries of the empire, through which they passed some of important decisions about the war, which can be consulted under the name of the dignitary involved, or searching for the subject War of Paraguay at

Further Reading

Alambert, Francisco. “O Brasil no Espelho do Paraguai.” In Viagem Incompleta. A Experiência Brasileira (1500–2000). Edited by Carlos Guilherme Mota, 301–327. São Paulo: Senac, 2000.Find this resource:

Araujo, M.Insurreição de Escravos em Viana. São Luís do Maranhão: Sioge, 1994.Find this resource:

Beattie, P.The Tribute of Blood: Army, Honor, Race, and Nation in Brazil, 1864–1945. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2001.Find this resource:

Beattie, Peter. “Illustrating Race and Nation in the Paraguayan War Era: Exploring the Decline of the Tupi Guarani Warrior as the Embodiment of Brazil.” In Military Struggle and Identity Formation in Latin America: Race, Nation, and Community During the Liberal Period. Edited by Nicola Foote and René Harder Horst, 175–203. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2010.Find this resource:

Capdevila, Luc. Une guerre totale, Paraguay 1864–1870: Essai d’histoire du temps présent. Rennes, France: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2007.Find this resource:

Chasteen, John. Heroes on Horseback: A Life and Times of the Last Gaucho Caudillos. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1995.Find this resource:

Costa, W. P.A espada de Dâmocles—o exército, a Guerra do Paraguai e a crise do Império. São Paulo: Ed. Hucitec/Unicamp, 1996.Find this resource:

Diaz, Sebastián. “Against Paraguay: 19th Century Latin-American Visual Culture and Literature during the War against Paraguay (1864–1870).” PhD dissertation, University of Michigan, 2009.Find this resource:

Doratioto, Francisco. Maldita Guerra—Nova História da Guerra do Paraguai. São Paulo: Cia. das Letras, 2002.Find this resource:

Figueira, Divalte Garcia. Soldados e Negociantes na Guerra do Paraguai. São Paulo: Humanitas, 2001.Find this resource:

Foote, Nicola, and René Harder Horst, eds. Military Struggle and Identity Formation in Latin America: Race, Nation, and Community during the Liberal Period. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2012.Find this resource:

Fragoso, Augusto de Tasso. História da Guerra entre a Tríplice Aliança e o Paraguai. 4 vols. Rio de Janeiro: Imprensa do Estado Maior do Exército, 1934.Find this resource:

Guimarães, Lucia Maria Paschoal. Debaixo da imediata proteção de Sua Majestade Imperial: o Instituto Histórico e Geográfico Brasileiro (1838–1889). Rio de Janeiro: Instituto Histórico e Geográfico Brasileiro, 1997.Find this resource:

Guimarães, Manoel Luís Salgado. “Nação e civilização nos trópicos: O Instituto Histórico e Geográfico Brasileiro e o projeto de uma História Nacional.” Estudos Históricos 1.1 (1988): 5–27.Find this resource:

Holanda, Sérgio Buarque de. História Geral da Civilização Brasileira, Tomo II, vol. 7: “Do Império à República.” Rio de Janeiro: Bertrand Brasil, 1972.Find this resource:

Izecksohn, Vitor. Slavery and War in the Americas—Race, Citizenship, and State Building in the United States and Brazil, 1861–1870. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2014.Find this resource:

Kraay, H. “The Shelter of the Uniform’: The Brazilian Army and Runaway Slaves, 1800–1888.” Journal of Social History 29.3 (Spring 1996): 637–657.Find this resource:

Kraay, H. “Slavery, Citizenship and Military Service in Brazil’s Mobilization for the Paraguayan War.” Slavery and Abolition 18.3 (December 1997): 228–256.Find this resource:

Kraay, H.Política racial, Estado e Forças Armadas na época da Independência: Bahia, 1790–1850. São Paulo: Hucitec, 2011.Find this resource:

Nabuco, Joaquim. Um estadista do Imperio: Nabuco de Araujo: sua vida, suas opiniões, sua época. 4 vols. Rio de Janeiro: Progresso Editorial, 1949.Find this resource:

Pimenta, J. P.Estado e nação no fim dos impérios ibéricos no Prata, 1808–1828. São Paulo: Hucitec, 2002.Find this resource:

Puntoni, Pedro. “O Sr. Varnhagen e o patriotismo caboclo: o indígena e o indigenismo perante a historiografia brasileira.” In Brasil: formação do Estado e da Nação. Edited by István Jancsó, 633–676. São Paulo: Hucitec, 2003.Find this resource:

Rebouças, André. 1973. Diário: A Guerra do Paraguai (1866)—Anotado por Maria Odila Silva Dias. São Paulo: Instituto de Estudos Brasileiros da USP.Find this resource:

Salles, Ricardo H. 1990. Guerra do Paraguai: Escravidão e cidadania na formação do Exército. Rio de Janeiro: Paz e Terra.Find this resource:

Schneider, J. L.A Guerra da Tríplice Aliança contra o governo da República do Paraguai. Rio de Janeiro: Garnier, 1902.Find this resource:

Schulz, J.O exército na política—origens da intervenção militar (1850–1894). São Paulo: EDUSP, 1996.Find this resource:

Silveira, Mauro César. A batalha de papel: A Guerra do Paraguai através da caricatura. Rio Grande do Sul: L&PM, 1996.Find this resource:

Toral, André, Imagens em Desordem—a iconografia da Guerra do Paraguai. São Paulo: Humanitas, 2001.Find this resource:

Whigham, Thomas L.The Paraguayan War: Causes and Early Conduct 1. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2002.Find this resource:

Whigham, Thomas L., and H. Kraay. I Die with My Country: Perspectives on the Paraguayan War, 1864–1870. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2005.Find this resource:


(1.) J. L. Schneider, A Guerra da Tríplice Aliança contra o governo da República do Paraguai, 2 vols. (Rio de Janeiro: Garnier, 1902); Augusto de T. Fragoso, História da Guerra entre a Tríplice Aliança e o Paraguai, 5 vols. (Rio de Janeiro: Imprensa do Estado Maior do Exército, 1934), 260 et seq.; F. Doratioto, Maldita Guerra—Nova História da Guerra do Paraguai, (São Paulo: Cia. das Letras, 2002).

(2.) Numbers come from the notes by Paranhos on L Schneider, op. cit.

(3.) W. P. Costa, A espada de Dâmocles—o exército, a Guerra do Paraguai e a crise do Império (São Paulo: Ed. Hucitec/Unicamp, 1996).

(4.) W. P. Costa and Luc Capdevila, Une guerre totale, Paraguay 1864–1870: Essai d’histoire du temps present (Rennes, France: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2007). See also Luc Capdevila, “Guerra, estado y Nación em América Austral em la década de 1860: la contenda de la triple alianza. Periferias e identidade colectivas,” in El Poder y la Sangre—Guerra, Estado y Nación en la década de 1860, eds. G. Palacios and E. Pani (Mexico City: Ed. Colegio de Mexico, 2014), 199–233.

(5.) John Street, Artigas and the Emancipation of Uruguay (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2008).

(6.) W. P. Costa, “O Enigma do Império,” in almanack braziliense 1 (May 2005): 27–43 See also K. Grinberg, As fronteiras da escravidão e da liberdade no sul da América (Rio de Janeiro: 7Letras, 2013).

(7.) S. Leitman, Raízes socio-econômicas da Guerra dos Farrapos: um capítulo da história do Brasil no século XIX (Rio de Janeiro: Graal, 1979).

(8.) G. N. Ferreira, O Rio da Prata e a Consolidação do Estado Imperial (São Paulo: Hucitec, 2006).

(9.) Robert Conrad, The Destruction of Brazilian Slavery (1850–1888) (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1972).

(10.) W. P. Costa, “Los tormentosos años 60 y la crisis de la monarquía en Brasil: guerra, esclavitud e imaginarios políticos,” in El Poder y la SangreGuerra, Estado y Nación en la década de 1860 (Mexico City: Ed. Colegio de Mexico, 2014), 235–258.

(11.) Juan Bautista Alberdi, Projet de Reconstruction Territoriale et Dynastique de l’Empire du Brésil aux dépens des Républiques Américaines (Paris: Imprimérie. J. E. Rochette & Cie, 1869).

(12.) Joaquim Nabuco, Um estadista do Imperio: Nabuco de Araujo: sua vida, suas opiniões, sua época, vol. 2 (Rio de Janeiro: Progresso Editorial, 1949), 315.

(13.) F. X. Guerra, Modernidad y independências—ensayos sobre las revoluciones hispânicas (Madrid: Mapfre, 1992); See also D. Doyle, M. Pamplona, et al., Nationalism in the New World (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2006).

(14.) Lucia Maria Paschoal Guimarães, Debaixo da imediata proteção de Sua Majestade Imperial: o Instituto Histórico e Geográfico Brasileiro (1838–1889) (Rio de Janeiro: Instituto Histórico e Geográfico Brasileiro, 1997), and Manoel Luís Salgado Guimarães, “Nação e civilização nos trópicos: O Instituto Histórico e Geográfico Brasileiro e o projeto de uma História Nacional,” Estudos Históricos 1.1 (1988): 5–27. See also, on Varnhagen, Temistocles Cezar, “Antigos, modernos e ‘selvagens’ na obra de Francisco Adolfo de Varnhagen. Comparação e paralelo na escrita da história brasileira oitocentista,” in Francisco Murari Pires, Antigos e Modernos: diálogos sobre a (escrita da) história (São Paulo: Alameda, 2009), 169–186.

(15.) R. Koselleck, Futures Past—On the Semantics of Historical Time (New York: Columbia University Press, 2004), and B. Anderson, Imagined Communities—Reflexions on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London: Verso, 2006).

(16.) Flora Sussekind, O Brasil não é longe daqui. O narrador, a Viagem (São Paulo: Cia das Letras, 1990).

(17.) I. Jancsó and J. P. G. Pimenta, “Peças de um mosaico (apontamentos para o estudo da emergência da identidade nacional brasileira,” in Viagem Incompleta 1500–2000—A experiências Brasileira, vol. 1, ed. Carlos Guilherme Mota (São Paulo: SENAC Editora, 2000), 127–175.

(18.) Pedro Puntoni, “O Sr. Varnhagen e o patriotismo caboclo: o indígena e o indigenismo perante a historiografia brasileira,” in Brasil: formação do Estado e da Nação, ed. István Jancsó (São Paulo: Hucitec, 2003), 633–676.

(19.) Maria Helena Rouanet, Eternamente em berço esplêndido: a fundação de uma literatura nacional (São Paulo: Siciliano, 1991). See also Mary Louise Pratt, Imperial Eyes: Studies in Travel Writing and Transculturation (London: Routledge, 1992).

(20.) Wilma Peres Costa, A Espada de Dâmocles, a Guerra do Paraguai e a crise do Império (São Paulo, Ed. Hucitec, 1996) and also Ricardo H. Salles, Guerra do Paraguai: Escravidão e cidadania na formação do Exército (Rio de Janeiro: Paz e Terra, 1990).

(21.) Mauro César Sliveira, A batalha de papel: A Guerra do Paraguai através da caricatura (Rio Grande do Sul: L&PM, 1996); André Toral, Imagens em Desordem—a iconografia da Guerra do Paraguai (São Paulo: Humanitas, 2001); Francisco Alambert, “O Brasil no Espelho do Paraguai,” in Carlos Gulherme Mota (ed.), Viagem Incompleta. A Experiência Brasileira (1500–2000) (São Paulo: SENAC, 2000), 301–327.

(22.) Peter Beattie, “Illustrating Race and Nation in the Paraguayan War Era: Exploring the Decline of the Tupi Guarani Warrior as the Embodiment of Brazil,” in Nicola Foote and René Harder Horst (ed) Military Struggle and Identity Formation in Latin America: Race, Nation, and Community During the Liberal Period (Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2010), 175–203.

(23.) Sebastián Diaz, “Against Paraguay: 19th Century Latin-American Visual Culture and Literature during the War against Paraguay (1864–1870),” PhD diss., University of Michigan, 2009.

(24.) Augusto de T. Fragoso, História da Guerra entre a Tríplice Aliança e o Paraguai, 5 vols. (Rio de Janeiro: Imprensa do Estado Maior do Exército, 1934); and Ricardo Salles, Guerra do Paraguai: Escravidão e cidadania na formação do Exército (Rio de Janeiro: Paz e Terra, 1990).

(25.) Joaquim Nabuco, Um estadista do Imperio: Nabuco de Araujo: sua vida, suas opiniões, sua época, vol. 2 (Rio de Janeiro: Progresso Editorial, 1949), 388–389

(27.) Sérgio Buarque Holanda, História Geral da Civilização Brasileira, O Brasil Monárquico, vol. 5, Do Império à República (Rio de Janeiro: Bertrand Brasil, 1972).

(28.) Ouro Preto, Advento da Ditadura Militar no Brasil (Paris: Pichon, 1891), 70–71.

(29.) José Murilo Carvalho, “As forças armadas na Primeira República: o poder desestabilizador,” in Boris Fausto (ed.) História Geral da Civilização Brasileira. O Brasil Republicano, vol. 2 (São Paulo: Difel, 1978), 193–234.

(30.) W. P. Costa, A Espada de Dâmocles, a Guerra do Paraguai e a crise do Império, São Paulo, ed. Hucitec, 1996; J. Schulz, O exército na política—origens da intervenção militar (1850–1894) (São Paulo: EDUSP, 1996); Celso Castro, Os militares e a república: um estudo sobre cultura e ação política (Rio de Janeiro: Jorge Zahar, 1995); C. M. C. Alves, Cultura e política no século XIX: o exército como campo de constituição de sujeitos políticos no Império (Bragança Paulista: EDUSF, 2002).

(31.) U. Pellegrino, História e projeções das instituições culturais do exército (São Paulo: José Olympio, 1967).

(32.) P. Q. Duarte, Os voluntários da pátria na Guerra do Paraguai (Rio de Janeiro: Bibliex, 1981), 206–207.

(33.) M. Araujo, Insurreição de Escravos em Viana (São Luís do Maranhão: Sioge, 1994).

(34.) H. Kraay, “The Shelter of the Uniform’: The Brazilian Army and Runaway Slaves, 1800–1888,” Journal of Social History 29.3 (Spring 1996): 637–657; H. Kraay, “Slavery, Citizenship and Military Service in Brazil’s Mobilization for the Paraguayan War,” Slavery and Abolition 18.3 (December 1997): 228–256; Ricardo H. Salles, Guerra do Paraguai: Escravidão e cidadania na formação do Exército (Rio de Janeiro: Paz e Terra, 1990); Vitor Izecksohn, “Resistência ao recrutamento para o exército durante as guerras Civil e do Paraguai: Brasil e Estados Unidos durante a década de 1860”, in Estudos Históricos 27 (2001): 84–109.

(35.) J. J. Reid and F. Gomes, Liberdade por um fio—História dos quilombos no Brasil (São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 1996).

(36.) Ricardo H. Salles, Guerra do Paraguai: Escravidão e cidadania na formação do Exército (Rio de Janeiro: Paz e Terra, 1990.

(37.) Augusto de T. Fragoso, História da Guerra entre a Tríplice Aliança e o Paraguai, 5 vols. (Rio de Janeiro: Imprensa do Estado Maior do Exército, 1934) vol. V, 205–214.

(38.) A. Alonso, “Arrivistas e Decadentes. O debate político-intelectual brasileiro na primeira década republican,” Novos Estudos CEBRAP 85 (2009): 131–148.

(39.) Joaquim Nabuco, Um estadista do Imperio: Nabuco de Araujo: sua vida, suas opiniões, sua época, vol. 2, (Rio de Janeiro: Progresso Editorial, 1949), 185–186

(40.) S. Romero, Vários escritos. In: Obras completas. Edição do Estado de Sergipe (Rio de Janeiro: Pongetti, 1926), 11–58.

(41.) L. Schwarcz, O espetaculo das raças, cientistas, instituições e questão racial no Brasil (São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 1993), and L. Schwarcz, As Barbas do Imperador. D. Pedro II, Um Monarca nos Trópicos (São Paulo: Cia das Letras, 1998).

(42.) Monteiro Lobato, “Uruguaiana,” in A Onda Verde, 13th ed. (São Paulo. Brasiliense, 1979), 95–96.

(43.) História da Guerra entre a Tríplice Aliança e o Paraguai, 4 vols. (Rio de Janeiro: Imprensa do Estado Maior do Exército, 1934).

(44.) A guerra do Paraguai, a grande tragédia rioplatense (São Paulo: Global, 1980), and also Paraguai: Nossa guerra contra esse soldado (São Paulo: Global, 2001).

(45.) (São Paulo: Brasiliense, 1981).

(46.) Costa, Wilma Peres, A Espada de Dâmocles, o exército, a Guerra do Paraguai e a crise do Império (São Paulo: Hucitec, 1996).

(47.) (São Paulo: Companhia das Letras, 2002).

(48.) (São Paulo: Humanitas, 2001).

(49.) C. Castro, H. Kraay, and V. Izecksohn, Nova História Militar Brasileira (Rio de Janeiro: FGV, 2004); Celso Castro, Os militares e a república: um estudo sobre cultura e ação política (Rio de Janeiro: Jorge Zahar, 1995); V. Izecksohn, O cerne da discórdia. A Guerra do Paraguai e o Núcleo Profissional do Exército (Rio de Janeiro: BIBLIEx, 1997).

(50.) (Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2014).

(51.) P. M. Beattie, The Tribute of Blood: Army, Honor, Race, and Nation in Brazil, 1864–1945 (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2001); Luc Capdevila, Une guerre totale, Paraguay 1864–1870: Essai d’histoire du temps présent (Rennes, France: Presses Universitaires de Rennes, 2007), and the monumental work by Thomas Whigham, La guerra de la Triple Alianza, 3 vols. (Asunción: Taurus, 2011–2013); T. Whigham and H. Kraay, eds., I Die with My Country: Perspectives on the Paraguayan War: 1864–1870 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004).