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date: 16 December 2018

Border Wars in South America during the 19th Century

Summary and Keywords

While Europeans basked in the glory of their so-called century of peace between the end of the Napoleonic wars (1815) and the onset of World War I (1914), Latin Americans knew no such luxury. Conflict became a way of life for Latin Americans attempting to construct nation-states. Liberals and Conservatives dueled with one another for political power, while caudillos (military strongmen) added their unique twisted logic to the political process. Historians have spilled considerable ink detailing these internal conflicts that complicated Latin America’s struggle for effective state formation in the early national period but have paid much less attention to the external wars over disputed boundaries that involved every South American nation during the 19th century. As historian Robert Burr described it: boundary conflicts were the “congenital international disease of Spain’s former colonies.”

Keywords: border disputes, boundaries, frontiers, international wars, national identity, 19th-century border conflicts, state formation, Uruguay, War of the Pacific, War of the Triple Alliance

Themes of the Border Wars

At the time of independence, the Spanish South American nations agreed that the legal principle of uti possidetus de jure de 1810 (the established boundaries as of 1810) would govern the placement of the borders between the former colonies. Unfortunately, during the three centuries of the colonial experience, the Spanish Crown had been imprecise about marking the exact location of borders between its administrative units. The Bourbon kings in the 18th century readjusted their South American territories as the original viceroyalty of Peru was chopped into three parts: the viceroyalties of New Granada, Peru, and La Plata. Meanwhile, Portuguese slave hunters, gold prospectors, and missionaries expanded Brazil’s frontier ever westward at the expense of the new Spanish American states. In those sparsely settled regions without proven material wealth, such as the Amazon basin and the Atacama Desert, precise boundaries seemed unnecessary even after independence.

Consequently, every South American nation engaged in at least one war against one or more of its neighbors during the 19th century in an attempt to maximize or stabilize its borders. Fueled by personal ambition and a desire to expand national territory as much as possible, caudillos, Liberal and Conservative presidents, as well as Brazilian emperors embarked upon imperialist adventures to adjust borders. Stronger nations consistently took advantage of their weaker neighbors. European countries, and especially Great Britain, inserted themselves into these disputes to protect commercial advantages. As a consequence, almost every decade saw an international border conflict that ultimately redrew boundaries. Only the dispute over the ownership of the Chaco region between Bolivia and Paraguay and the dispute about Ecuador’s claim to Amazonian territory remained to be ironed out militarily during the 20th century.

While historians, particularly national historians, have written extensively about the military campaigns and the diplomatic skirmishes associated with border conflicts, only recently have they begun to explore the consequences of these wars on the state formation process. Border conflicts had importance because they contributed to the creation of national identity. These conflicts against the other (outsiders) contributed to a heightened sense of patriotism that evolved during the course of the 19th century. International wars created patriotic heroes whose deeds inspired future generations. Much of the nationalism in South America today, particularly in those nations defeated in an international war, relies upon the resentment against the victor to promote a xenophobic form of national identity.

The Borders of Ecuador

Shifting colonial boundaries led to violent 19th-century conflicts between Ecuador, Colombia, and Peru. As one of the smallest Latin American nations, Ecuador became the constant victim of its neighbors’ aggression. The northern limits of the original Audiencia of Quito had originally included the Pasto region and its sizable cities of Pasto and Popayán. During the 18th century, however, the Bourbon kings created the Viceroyalty of New Granada and appended the Pasto district onto it. Nevertheless, many religious and culturally conservative pastusos felt a greater affinity for Ecuador than for distant Bogotá when Simón Bolívar’s dream of the Republic of Gran Colombia (modern Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Panama) disintegrated in 1830.

The caudillo who sparked Ecuador’s decision to leave Gran Colombia, Juan José Flores, had designs on restoring Ecuador’s sovereignty over the Pasto region. A Venezuelan, Flores joined Bolívar’s forces and soon became one of the Liberator’s most trusted lieutenants. Bolívar named Flores governor of the Department of the South (Ecuador) in 1826. By marrying the daughter of one of Quito’s elite families, Flores ingratiated himself into Ecuadorian society at the highest level and thus was well situated to lead Ecuador’s separation movement from Gran Colombia in 1830. As president, Flores became Ecuador’s most successful imperialist; he annexed the Galápagos Islands in 1832. In addition, he schemed to advance his adopted country’s claims to parts of Amazonia, Colombia, and Peru.

Ecuador’s border wars with Colombia and Peru resulted from its long-standing claim to be an Amazonian nation, possessing territory that would grant Ecuador access to the mighty river itself. Ecuador based its claim on the theory of prior discovery. In 1541 Gonzalo Pizarro and Francisco de Orellana led an expedition from the town of Guapalo (just outside Quito) to the east. Hardships forced most of the expedition to return to Quito, but the intrepid Orellana persevered down the Amazon to the Atlantic Ocean, laying claim to the entire region for Spain. Thereafter, the territory in this region that Spain retained was administered by the Audiencia of Quito. Based on the results of Orellana’s expedition, then, Flores reasserted in December 1830 his nation’s title over Carchi (today Ecuador’s northernmost province), Pasto, Popayán, and the southern portion of the department of Cauca, including the Pacific port of Buenaventura. His actions led to conflicts over the territory north of the Carchi River in the years after 1830.

Given the popular sentiment of pastusos for union with Ecuador, Flores dispatched troops to the north in early 1831, but to no avail. Because many of the soldiers in the Ecuadorian army originally hailed from Colombia, they showed little inclination to dismember their homeland and so deserted in large numbers. Ultimately, Flores was forced to sign a treaty recognizing the Carchi River as the western boundary between Colombia (called New Granada until 1863) and Ecuador. For an ambitious caudillo like Flores, however, a piece of paper meant little, and during his second term in office (1839–1843) he resumed his machinations to expand Ecuador’s border northward. Events in Colombia appeared to favor Flores’s audacious scheme. Rebels under the troublesome Colombian caudillo José María Obando seemed likely to topple the regime in Bogotá. As a result, Colombia’s president took a risk and asked Flores for assistance. Flores agreed based on an oral promise that Colombia would permit Ecuador to annex the region around Pasto. After the danger passed, however, Colombia’s Congress disavowed the “private promise” of its president. Flores’s failure to regain Pasto undermined his prestige at home and cost Ecuador men and treasure it could ill afford.

During the 1860s a second round of border conflicts disturbed the Colombian-Ecuadorian Treaty of Peace and Friendship. Both nations emerged from particularly destructive civil wars at roughly the same time. In Ecuador, Conservatives led by Gabriel García Moreno triumphed over their Liberal rivals, while Colombia was on the verge of the opposite result as a result of the military prowess of caudillo Tomás Cipriano de Mosquera, another of Bolívar’s lieutenants from the wars of independence. However, a nest of opposition to the Liberals remained in southern Colombia that Mosquera promised to obliterate. Borrowing a tactic from Flores, García Moreno offered to assist Mosquera in exchange for the Pasto region. Mosquera refused. A minor incident in which a Colombian rebel contingent wounded an Ecuadorian captain prompted García Moreno to take to arms to defend national honor and preserve the border at the Carchi River. His quixotic intrusion into Colombia to punish the rebels ended in failure when he and most of his officers were captured.

Tensions escalated the following year when Mosquera consolidated his victory in Colombia and broadened his policy objectives, declaring he wished to restore Bolívar’s visionary state of Gran Colombia by annexing Venezuela and Ecuador. Venezuela’s well-armed president simply ignored Mosquera’s bombastic rant. Weaker Ecuador, however, had no such option. García Moreno’s diplomatic efforts to forestall the conflict came to naught after Mosquera issued his Proclamation of August 15, 1863, which urged Ecuadorian Liberals to overthrow García Moreno and join the Gran Colombia project. Mosquera’s army amassed on the border, assuming a threatening posture. Meanwhile, García Moreno’s foremost general, none other than the now elderly Juan José Flores, gathered volunteers to defend the homeland.

Flores, however, retained his earlier ambitions for his adopted homeland, telling García Moreno that “If I take Pasto, I will not return it.” Flores’s exuberant optimism proved mistaken. Once Ecuadorian troops penetrated the frontier, they lost their enthusiasm. No longer were they protecting their homes but participating in a war of aggression. Not surprisingly, the Ecuadorians fared badly at the battle of Cuaspud. Despite outnumbering the Colombians, the poorly equipped volunteers broke and ran, allowing Mosquera’s forces to march unimpeded to the Ecuadorian city of Ibarra. Fortunately for the weaker nation, the Treaty of Pinsaquí, drafted by old friends Mosquera and Flores, resulted merely in the renewal of the Treaty of Friendship and not the loss of any Ecuadorian territory. All Mosquera wanted, he asserted, was an abrazo from his old colleague from the glorious wars of independence.

Although the eastern border between Colombia and Ecuador remained contested, both countries preferred negotiations to resolve the dispute. In 1916, Ecuador granted Colombia the land south of the Putamayo River, believing that its strongest claim for a port on the Amazon lay in territories jointly claimed by Ecuador and Peru. Colombia, in order to resolve its dispute with Peru, however, agreed to the Salomón-Lozano Treaty of 1922, which assigned that same strip of territory to Peru in exchange for Colombian control over the port of Leticia. This treaty effectively squeezed Ecuador between the Colombian and Peruvian frontiers and undermined the former’s claim to ownership of any lands bordering the Amazon. Although Ecuadorians felt betrayed by Colombians because of this treaty, their greater umbrage was reserved for Peruvians, who had systematically snipped away at Ecuador’s access to the mighty river.

Ecuador versus Peru

The grandiose ambitions of self-serving caudillos coupled with the uncertainties caused by Bourbon-era border modifications also brought strife to the Ecuadorian-Peruvian frontier. Fighting first broke out in 1828 when Peru invaded Gran Colombia in the hopes of seizing the region around Guayaquil, regarded as the finest port on the Pacific coast of South America. In response, Simón Bolívar dispatched his favorite general, Antonio José de Sucre, and his man in Quito, Juan José Flores, to organize the troops and engage the Peruvians in battle. The two Gran Colombian generals administrated a sound thrashing to the Peruvian army at the battle of Tarqui in February 1829, thereby guaranteeing that southern coastal Ecuador (today the provinces of Guayas and El Oro), would remain in Ecuador’s hands. But the resultant treaty did nothing to affix firm boundaries in the unsettled Amazonian region, even though Bolívar believed that Gran Colombia, (and hence Ecuador) extended eastward to the Río Marañon.

During Flores’s second term as president, he aspired to regain two of these disputed Amazonian provinces, Jaén and Maynas, which in recent decades Peruvians had settled. Flores asserted Ecuador’s claim based on historical precedent (Ecuadorian-born Atahualpa had defeated Peruvian-born Huascar in this region to seize the Inca throne) and the recent post-Tarqui settlement, which seemed to suggest that this territory belonged to Ecuador. Peru, for its part, pointed to a secret royal cédula (decree) of 1802 that had transferred jurisdiction over these provinces from the Audiencia of Quito to the Viceroyalty of Peru. In 1840, the chaotic political situation in Peru following the collapse of the Peru-Bolivian Confederation seemed to open the door for Flores’s claim. But because the Ecuadorian military had its hands full with expansionist efforts in the Pasto region of Colombia, Flores turned for assistance to the deposed president of the Peru-Bolivian Confederation, Andrés de Santa Cruz. The two tentatively agreed to collaborate, with Ecuador receiving the two disputed provinces in exchange for the restoration of Santa Cruz to the presidency of Peru-Bolivia, but Flores’s invasion failed when Santa Cruz’s was captured in Peru.

Peru still entertained hopes of gaining Guayaquil, and in 1858 caudillo Ramón Castilla seized upon the attempt of the Ecuadorian government to peddle disputed lands in Jaén, Maynas, and other Amazonian territories to British bondholders as an excuse for aggression. Castilla launched a fleet and blockaded Guayaquil harbor. Then, in October 1859, he ordered 5,000 soldiers to Ecuador, encamping with them on a hacienda near Guayaquil while he attempted to impose a favorable border settlement on Ecuador. Castilla and Colombian caudillo Tomás Cipriano de Mosquera even discussed dividing Ecuador between themselves. Gabriel García Moreno and the Conservatives launched a civil war at this inopportune time to unseat the unpopular Ecuadorian government. Faced with mounting evidence of Conservative success, the desperate Liberal general entered into the Treaty of Mapasingue with Castilla, granting most of the disputed provinces to Peru in exchange for the Peruvian withdrawal from Guayaquil. When García Moreno and General Flores defeated the Liberals, Ecuador repudiated the treaty, resulting in the status quo remaining in the Amazon for the next thirty years.

For the remainder of the 19th century, the two nations attempted to negotiate the settlement of the open border. While Ecuador had the better historical title, Peru enjoyed the benefits of having effectively occupied most of the territory. In 1890, the García-Herrera Treaty offered good prospects for settlement, especially from the perspective of Ecuador. Under this treaty, Ecuador would have gained the Andoas district near its most remote settlement of Macas, which in turn would have granted Ecuador access to the Amazon via the Marañon. Ecuador accepted the draft treaty, but Peru did not, and there the matter lay until war between the two broke out in 1941—a war that effectively dashed Ecuador’s hopes of realizing its national dream of becoming an Amazonian nation. As a result, modern Ecuadorian nationalism has been defined largely as a nation that is the innocent victim of two aggressive neighbors. Or, as one of the country’s foremost diplomatic historians described it, Ecuador is like Christ at Calvary, crucified between two thieves.

Peru, Bolivia, and Chile: The Early Years

During the 1830s, ambitious caudillos in Peru and Bolivia threatened to redraw the boundaries of the two nations or, perhaps more accurate, to erase them altogether. Both Agustín Gamarra and Andrés de Santa Cruz envisioned a Peru-Bolivian confederation that would in part resurrect the boundary configuration of the Hapsburg version of the Viceroyalty of Peru. Both men had served Simón Bolívar and, like him, dreamed about the prospects of creating greater states in South America. Gamarra hoped to create a Cuzco-centric government while Santa Cruz at a later date preferred a confederation that Bolivia dominated. After creating a degree of stability in Bolivia, Santa Cruz sought to unify Peru and Bolivia in 1835. Chile, on the other hand, resorted to war in order to preserve the balance of power in southern South America and prevent the emergence of a super-state.

Santa Cruz and his Peruvian allies initiated his proposed Peru-Bolivian Confederation late in 1835. Chile’s conservative government looked askance at this potentially threatening development. To make matters worse from the Chilean perspective, Santa Cruz’s rejection of a commercial treaty with Chile caused deep concern among the latter’s business community, which had long-standing interests in Peru. In addition, Santa Cruz refused to deter a Chilean exile group from launching an invasion from Peruvian soil bent on overthrowing the Santiago regime. Chile’s dominant minister, Diego Portales, prepared his country for war, describing the coming conflict as Chile’s second war for independence. The prospect of war was not popular in Chile, which encouraged Portales’s enemies to assassinate him, but even that event did not deter Chile’s administration from its determination to preserve the balance of power.

Chile’s first military expedition quickly found itself outmaneuvered by General Santa Cruz’s army and stalemated. Despite an absence of allies, the stalwart Chileans launched a second expedition in July 1838 under the command of General Manuel Bulnes, a veteran of the war against the indigenous people of southern Chile, the Mapuches. Bulnes’s army landed successfully north of Lima, and occupied Peru’s capital. Much to observers’ surprise, Chile’s smaller forces thrashed Santa Cruz at the battle of Yungay in January of 1839. After this crushing defeat, Santa Cruz fled to Ecuador, the Confederation collapsed, and the border between Peru and Bolivia was restored. Chile had successfully maintained the balance of power and had learned the importance of maintaining naval superiority to keep its larger neighbor in check. With regard to tactics and strategy, the conflict of 1838 prefigured the far more significant war that would take place between the three nations in the 1870s.

The War of the Pacific, 1879–1884

Without a doubt, the results of the War of the Pacific did more to alter borders and elevate national sentiment than any other conflagration that occurred on the west coast of South America. Even today, Bolivians and Peruvians deeply resent Chileans because of the consequences of this conflict. At stake was a patch of the Atacama Desert, one of the driest and most desolate places on earth, which until the 1860s had been so insignificant that neither Peru, Chile, nor Bolivia cared much about demarcating a precise boundary. That changed when Chilean miners discovered the world’s largest supply of nitrates, valuable both as fertilizer and for munitions manufacture. As a result of the discovery, Chile pressed its claim for a boundary as far north as 23 degrees latitude, while Bolivia argued that its coastline extended southward to 25 degrees latitude.

For a decade, both parties attempted to hammer out a diplomatic compromise. All efforts failed. In the meantime, Chilean miners populated the region to dig the nitrates. The Chilean-owned Compañía de Salitre y Ferrocarril extracted great profits and dutifully paid the Bolivian government taxes for its concession. Despite this long-standing agreement, however, in 1878 the Bolivian dictator Hilarión Daza decreed an increase in taxes. Simultaneously, Peru’s impoverished government decided to nationalize the Chilean mining companies operating in its province of Tarapacá. Some historians have argued that the dispute over this valuable economic resource caused the war, while others argue that this interpretation is too simplistic. Rather, political issues and miscalculations within each country created circumstances that made conflict inevitable. In Chile, war hawks complained that Bolivia should be punished for its discriminatory treatment of Chilean miners and that the administration had made too many concessions to Argentina in those border negotiations. Bolivia’s dictator believed that Chile, given its greater concern about possible Argentine aggression, would not fight. Peru’s president decided to honor his country’s not-so-secret military alliance with Bolivia and take on Chile. Hence all three nations blundered into the war, each ill-prepared for conflict.

Even though Peru and Bolivia both had larger populations and larger standing armies than Chile, the latter had more modern weapons, more ironclad vessels, a better trained officer corps, and a much more stable government. Chile’s advantages ultimately proved decisive. The naval war sealed the fate of the Allies. Chile’s navy sped northward, capturing the Bolivian nitrate-exporting city of Antofagasta, the only sizable community on the Bolivian coast (albeit largely populated with Chilean citizens). Bolivia’s smaller coastal communities also fell during February 1879. The naval war produced heroes for both Chile and Peru. (Bolivia had no fleet). On May 21, 1879, at the outset of the war, Peru’s two ironclads trapped several Chilean wooden vessels in Iquique Bay. One ironclad rammed Captain Arturo Prat’s ship, sinking it. Captain Prat refused to strike his colors and instead leaped aboard the Peruvian ironclad shouting defiant words and charging the bridge before being struck down in a hail of bullets. Even today, Chileans remember Prat’s bravery with pride. Meanwhile, the other Peruvian ironclad foolishly chased a fleeing Chilean ship and inadvertently ran aground on a reef and sank. The loss of the second ironclad placed the Peruvian navy at a distinct disadvantage.

For months, the remaining Peruvian ironclad, the Huáscar, captained by Admiral Miguel Grau, not only eluded the Chilean navy but also harassed Chilean shipping and raided the Chilean mainland. Finally the Chileans devised a strategy for the capture of the Huáscar. Pretending to separate their fleet, the Chileans actually caught the Huáscar in a pincers movement and attacked from two directions. The slower Peruvian vessel could not escape the withering fire, as the two attacking vessels raked the Huáscar with gunfire, disabling the gun turret and destroying the bridge. All that remained of the heroic Admiral Grau were his feet and a few teeth. The Chileans managed to capture the Huáscar before its crew could scuttle it. The destruction of Peru’s navy reiterated the lesson that the Chilean military had learned in 1838. With no opposition on the sea, Chile could land its army at any place along the coast and carry the battle to the Allies’ home front.

Once the naval conflict ended, Chile methodically crushed the Allied armies, moving from south to north. President Daza never managed to rendezvous his forces with Peru’s, which allowed the Chileans to take a key railhead, isolate the Bolivian interior, and consolidate their control over the Peruvian province of Tarapacá. The victory at Tarapacá deprived Peru of its nitrate mines and any resources it could have garnered from these mines to help pay for the prosecution of the war. Although Bolivian soldiers fought well in several engagements, Daza soon fled to La Paz in an unsuccessful attempt to stem a rebellion against him. From this point forward, the Bolivian government sat on the sidelines, content to watch the outcome of the war in the hopes that it could negotiate a reasonable settlement.

Meanwhile, the Chilean army swept northward, first seizing the provinces of Tacna and Arica and in the process destroying Peru’s standing army. As Peru regrouped and organized a volunteer force to defend against the inevitable invasion, Chile amassed a force of 30,000 soldiers to attack Lima. Lima’s southern suburbs witnessed the most brutal battles to date. Chilean soldiers gutted the towns of Chorrillos and Miraflores, (now seaside resorts) and in the process raped, pillaged, and looted. Because the Peruvians had set landmines throughout the battlefield, which took a tremendous toll, infuriated Chileans retaliated by massacring the maimed and wounded. Today, Limeños remember the brutality of the Chilean soldiers during these conflicts, which continues to be a source of resentment against Chile. By the end of January 1881, Chile possessed Lima and assumed the war had ended.

The Chileans could not have been more mistaken. In April Colonel Andrés Cáceres fled the capital for the central sierra, where he became the leader of the resistance. Although a few members of the regular army followed Cáceres to the sierra, for the most part his army consisted of local volunteers called montoneras who fought guerrilla engagements against the two Chilean detachments that sought to quell the uprising in the interior. Over the next two years Cáceres would organize three armies to resist the Chileans, armies that enjoyed greater success than the regular army campaigns had earlier. Villagers joined these guerrilla groups, exasperated by the exactions of the Chilean army that foraged and confiscated all the cattle, sheep, and potatoes they could grab. The montoneras fought, if not in defense of the nation of Peru, then at least in defense of their patria chica (regional district) and their communities. Over the next two years, montoneras ambushed Chilean divisions and generally harassed the invading forces. Because a number of local hacendados had collaborated with the Chileans, the montoneras also attacked their fellow countrymen whom they described as traitors. The central sierra saw continuing turmoil even after the Peruvian government signed a formal peace treaty with Chile.

The Treaty of Ancón of 1883 formally ended the War of the Pacific. By its terms Peru permanently yielded the province of Tarapacá, thereby granting to Chile a monopoly over the world’s nitrate supply. In addition, Chile retained possession of Tacna and Arica for a decade, after which time a plebiscite was to be held to determine each province’s ultimate fate. Over the years, growing nationalist sentiment in both Peru and Chile delayed the plebiscite. Peruvians, stung by their defeat, wanted the unconditional return of both provinces; Chileans wanted to retain both for strategic and nationalistic reasons. The latter pursued a policy of chileanization, hoping to encourage enough immigrants into the region to tilt the eventual vote in Chile’s favor. Late in the 1920s, Peruvian dictator Augusto Leguía, who as one of his legacies hoped to leave Peru with secure boundaries, pushed for a compromise. Thus, in 1929 the Treaty of Lima awarded Arica to Chile and restored possession of Tacna to Peru, which also received a payment of $6 million (U.S.). In 1904 Bolivia accepted the loss of its entire coastline, although in recent years President Evo Morales has raised nationalistic cries for Bolivia to regain a corridor to the Pacific.

The late 19th century saw a sharpening of the sentiments of nationalism in Europe and in Latin America. Certainly the conduct and results of the War of the Pacific contributed to the emergence of nationalism in Peru, Bolivia, and Chile. Much of the nationalism had a xenophobic base, as even today Chile remains the great international foe for Peru and especially Bolivia. Peruvians still relate stories of Chilean atrocities committed during the war to the great-grandchildren of survivors. Even more important, Peruvian intellectuals like Manuel González Prada blamed Peru’s defeat on its leadership’s failure to incorporate indigenous people into the nation, causing a rethinking about the nature of Peruvian identity during the 20th century. Bolivia bemoaned the loss of its territory at the hands of the “Yankees of South America.” For the Chileans, the emergent nationalism created a more positive, if somewhat bellicose, identity. This sense of Chilean exceptionalism would heighten border tensions with its other neighbor, Argentina.

Border Conflicts between Chile and Argentina

Unlike the border disputes discussed elsewhere in this article, Chileans and Argentines did not become embroiled in a military conflict because of the ambitions of caudillos. Instead, both nations were able to take advantage of the fact that their political systems had become relatively stable by the time they confronted each other in the 1870s. Although ultra-patriotic voices in both nations argued for a military solution, ultimately reason prevailed and diplomats persuaded the hotheads that negotiations would be preferable to the use of weaponry in determining the border.

Once again, vague colonial boundaries contributed to the dispute. During the 16th century, King Charles I had awarded Patagonia to the Chilean conquistador, Pedro de Valdivia. When King Charles III created the Viceroyalty of La Plata in 1776, however, he detached Patagonia from Chile and incorporated it into the new viceroyalty. During the 1840s, Chileans established a town along the Straits of Magellan, and the larger community of Punta Arenas in the south in 1847. Argentina formally protested the founding of Chilean towns on soil that Argentina claimed but did nothing further. By the 1870s, observers surmised that Chile would surrender its claim to Patagonia, where few Chileans lived, if Argentina would grant its neighbor the Straits of Magellan and hence access to the Atlantic Ocean around Cape Horn. Reaching this reasonable solution proved difficult because of growing national sentiment and expansionism present in both countries.

As previously noted, Chile exhibited its military prowess during the War of the Pacific. Nearly simultaneously, Argentina embarked on the Conquest of the Desert, a war to exterminate or place on reservations the indigenous people who inhabited territory as far south as Patagonia. Talk of war over the disputed frontier escalated in light of both nations’ recent successes, but soon cooler heads prevailed. Those advocating a peaceful settlement pointed to the fraternal nature of Chilean-Argentine relations: the two nations had collaborated to liberate southern South America in the days of San Martín and O’Higgins. Building on these historical friendships, the Treaty of 1881 gave Patagonia to Argentina, gave the Straits of Magellan to Chile, and divided the large island of Tierra del Fuego (the southernmost point in South America) between the two. The Treaty defined the Andean border between the two nations to be “the highest Andean peaks that divide the waters” flowing east from those flowing west. Unfortunately, this language created two contradictory lines, as the “division of the waters” standard moved the line significantly to the east and granted Chile 94,000 square kilometers of territory in Patagonia, while the “highest peaks” standard moved the line westward and gave rise to the possibility that Argentina could establish ports on the Pacific. By 1900 nationalists in both countries pressed extreme claims.

Good sense again prevailed. In 1902, the parties agreed to negotiate. Shortly thereafter, King Edward VII of Great Britain volunteered to arbitrate the dispute, which he did to nobody’s satisfaction (which suggested he made a good decision). Rather than accept either country’s claims, the king divided the disputed territory, awarding 54,000 square kilometers to Chile and the remainder to Argentina. Several lakes high in the Andes were subject to the joint control of both nations. Thus, Edward VII managed to peacefully settle the world’s third longest international border. In 1904 the two countries shared the expense of a statue of Christ the Redeemer, erected under the shadow of Mt. Aconcagua, marking the restoration of peace and friendship between the two most powerful nations of Spanish South America in the 19th century.

The Creation of Uruguay, 1825–1828

The eastern half of South America also saw confrontations over boundaries for the identical reason of the uncertainty of uti possidetus de jure de 1810, caudillo ambitions, questions about the balance of power, and the desire to acquire valuable resources. In the region that would become Uruguay, the contentious border between Portuguese Brazil and the Spanish empire dated back to the 1680s, when the former founded the town of Colonia do Sacramento on the northern shore of the La Plata River. During the 18th century, the Portuguese effectively occupied much of the area as they inched forward into Rio Grande do Sul. Meanwhile, Spanish colonists founded Montevideo and other smaller towns across the La Plata River from Buenos Aires. Treaties between Spain and Portugal did not resolve the dispute, as the Portuguese continued to claim the Cisplatine Province (as they called it) while Spain and the Viceroyalty of La Plata adamantly asserted their rights to the same territory (calling it the Banda Oriental.)

During the decade-long war for independence, a local rancher named José Gervasio Artigas (today one of Uruguay’s national heroes), attempted to liberate the eastern provinces and create an autonomous state in league with the upriver Argentine provinces. King Joao of Portugal, residing in Rio de Janeiro, resisted and in 1821 a tainted referendum ostensibly gave title to the region to Brazil. Argentina never accepted the results of this plebiscite, and by 1825 sentiment grew to mount a military campaign to dislodge the Brazilian garrison. Two of Artigas’s former lieutenants, Juan Antonio Lavalleja, who led the “expedition of the 33” across the river, and Uruguayan caudillo Fructuoso Rivera joined forces against Emperor Pedro I’s troops. Thus began the three-year war against the small Brazilian force detailed in the region, a war that sapped the popularity and finances of Pedro I. Despite Brazil’s successful blockade of the La Plata River, the insurgent army outperformed its Brazilian counterpart, resulting in a military stalemate.

Meanwhile, the British offered to mediate the dispute so as to preserve their commercial advantage as the “most favored nation” in Brazil while at the same time exploiting new markets in Buenos Aires. During the first two years of the conflict, Pedro I proved inflexible, arguing that his nation’s honor would not allow him to retreat from the Cisplatine province. By 1828, however, he changed his mind as public opinion in Brazil turned sharply against the war. The British then drafted an agreement that both sides accepted on August 27, 1828. By the terms of this agreement, both Brazil and Argentina withdrew their claims to the area, and the independent nation of Uruguay was created as a buffer state (and a political football thereafter) between the two larger entities. In the end, the British acted to maintain the balance of power in the La Plata region and in so doing ensured that the world’s greatest naval and commercial power would retain its advantageous position there.

The War of the Triple Alliance, 1864–1870

The most violent of South America’s 19th-century international wars has been the subject of considerable historical literature, because of both the irreparable harm done to Paraguay as a result of the war and the oft inexplicable behavior of its caudillo president. The War of the Triple Alliance brought final definition to the uncertain boundaries between Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil. The Paraguayan-Brazilian border in particular had fluctuated during the colonial period as waves of Brazilian slave hunters called bandierantes periodically raided the Jesuit missions that formed the core of Paraguay. Economically, the region produced little of value other than the bitter yerba mate tea popular throughout southern South America. Hence, Paraguay had separated from Spain and the Viceroyalty of La Plata with little fuss in 1811. Two strong caudillos maintained the peace through 1862, basing the new nation’s identity on Paraguay’s homogeneous racial identity and the Guaraní language. The second of these dictators hoped to modernize Paraguay, and as part of this process he sent his eldest son and presumed heir, Francisco Solano López, to enter into contracts with European technological experts to modernize the country’s military.

Francisco Solano López epitomized all the worst characteristics of caudillismo. Raised to succeed his father and spoiled rotten, López embarked on a European mission to improve Paraguay’s stature in the world’s most important capitals. In addition to hiring a number of technological experts who built the fortress of Humaitá on the east bank of the Paraguay River, López purchased several steam-powered wooden paddlewheel vessels that would constitute his country’s navy. Eliza Lynch, an Irish-born divorcee of uncertain lineage and profession, accompanied young Francisco on his return to Asunción, where she would give birth to six of his children. López’s foreign travels embellished his already oversized ego, as he consistently mistook the polite diplomatic receptions he received from European leaders as genuine admiration. His overweening pride and perceived insults to his honor would cost Paraguay dearly in the ensuing years.

López blundered into war because he overestimated Paraguay’s ability to be a powerful arbiter in the La Plata region. Thus, he protested loudly when a Brazilian force invaded Uruguay in September 1864 on behalf of its Colorado Party allies there. López’s second rationale for starting the war was that he wanted to improve Paraguay’s regional position by gaining access to the Atlantic. He demanded the right to navigate the Paraná River, which flowed through Argentina to the La Plata, while simultaneously denying Brazil free navigation of the Paraguay River to its interior province of Mato Grosso. Based on the extent of colonial Jesuit activity, he also laid claim to Misiones Province. As relations between the four nations worsened, López’s aspirations led him to authorize his new flagship, the Tacuarí, to capture a Brazilian vessel bound for Mato Grosso laden with arms and munitions. To secure his military position, he then sent troops to subdue Mato Grosso and send all the captured munitions downriver to Asunción.

López clearly miscalculated by initiating the war. Although Paraguay had recently purchased modern equipment in Europe and temporarily had more soldiers than Brazil and Argentina combined, the populations of those two countries dwarfed that of Paraguay. In addition, both Brazil and Argentina were much more capable of manufacturing weapons themselves. Meanwhile, to carry out his self-proclaimed objective of protecting Uruguay’s autonomy, López requested Argentina’s permission to cross the province of Corrientes to reach his target. President Bartolomé Mitre refused, and when López crossed into the province anyway, Argentina declared war, as did Uruguay. On May 2, 1865, Paraguay’s three adversaries signed the Treaty of the Triple Alliance, vowing to destroy the López government and readjust the disputed borders. Brazil’s navy destroyed Paraguay’s fleet at the battle of Riachuelo, eliminating any future offensive actions by the Paraguayan army and making it impossible for the country to raise revenue by exporting its yerba mate. Several poorly directed battles cost Paraguay many of its best trained soldiers and officers and placed the country in an untenable position by the end of 1865. Nevertheless, the Paraguayan people continued to put up a heroic defense of their homeland.

In April 1866, General Mitre, the commander of the Allied forces, began his march toward Asunción with 35,000 men. At the battle of Tuyutí, the Paraguayans suffered a devastating defeat. Soon disease, especially smallpox and cholera, took a tremendous toll on both sides. Mitre halted his advance until he could augment his forces in order to assault the fortress at Humaitá. The interlude also allowed López to rebuild his army by drafting every able-bodied man into military service. In reality, Paraguay had already experienced a demographic disaster because of López’s lack of concern for his soldiers’ lives and his lack of a strategic plan, so that by now mostly children as young as ten and old men filled the ranks. Reputedly, the youthful volunteers wore false beards into combat to confuse the Allies into believing they were still fighting men. Despite the bravery of his soldiers, López himself was a coward, remaining at the back of the lines and never exposing himself to dangerous fire. While his men starved, López and his family continued to live in luxury while spreading the racist propaganda message that only the marshall himself could defend Paraguay from the disaster that would result from the invasion of black Brazilian soldiers.

Once Mitre’s presidential term ended, he relinquished command of the Allied forces to Brazil’s Duke of Caxias, the country’s most renowned commander. Caxias pressed forward to Humaitá in 1868, only to learn that a mere token force had held the fortress. The Allies slowly realized the devastated state of the Paraguayan military. Because the Paraguayans would not surrender, the Allies had no choice but to prosecute the war to its bitter conclusion, chasing López and his ever diminishing forces northward in a series of skirmishes. As defeat appeared inevitable, López’s paranoia grew, and he began torturing and executing significant numbers of his family and followers whom he believed were conspiring to betray him. Finally, with only a token force at his side, López was surprised and killed at Cerro Corá in March, 1870, allegedly saying “I die with my country.”

As a result of Paraguay’s defeat, both Brazil and Argentina took the opportunity to expand their borders. Argentina received the long-contested Misiones region, and both the Paraná and the Paraguay Rivers were opened to international commerce. Brazil gained territory between the Apa and Blanco Rivers. In essence, Paraguay now became a second buffer state between Argentina and Brazil. The war helped Argentina to unify behind the leadership of Buenos Aires and in Brazil elevated the importance of the military, which two decades later overthrew the empire. The war devastated Paraguay. The country lost approximately 70 percent of its male population. Paraguay’s borders now were truncated except in the disputed north, where the Chaco region boundary would be resolved in a 20th-century conflict with Bolivia (1935–1938).

Saber-Rattling, Diplomacy, and Purchase

Compared to the bloodbath required to settle Paraguay’s southern frontier, the resolution of the other borders in the heart of South America was calm indeed. Despite occasional sword rattling, Brazil and the west coast republics (Bolivia, Peru, and Colombia) preferred diplomacy as a means to settle uncertain boundaries. The most contentious conflict involved the Bolivian province of Acre, where very few Bolivians lived. During the 1880s, Brazilian rubber gatherers, eager to tap the province’s riches, overwhelmed this tiny Bolivian population. When the Bolivian government attempted to collect taxes on rubber exports in 1899, the tappers rebelled and the Brazilian army entered Acre to restore order. Ultimately, the two nations signed the Treaty of Petrópolis of 1903 wherein Bolivia ceded Acre to Brazil for two million pounds sterling and the promise to construct a railroad along the border. A series of treaties with Peru and Colombia during the ensuing decades consolidated the remainder of Brazil’s western border.

Venezuela’s border conflict with British Guiana constituted the final attempt to resolve the uncertainties of uti possidetus de jure de 1810 by the use of armed force. In this instance, the British contended that the so-called “Wild Coast” between the Essequibo River and the Orinoco River delta belonged to them. The dispute festered quietly after independence because only mosquitoes and wild animals inhabited the region. But then prospectors discovered gold in the 1860s, triggering a small rush to the region. Great Britain was on the verge of bullying Venezuela into a settlement based on gunboat diplomacy when U.S. secretary of state Richard Olney issued his modification of the Monroe Doctrine, in which he argued that the United States “is practically sovereign on this continent and its fiat is law.” He and President Cleveland then forced the British to arbitrate the dispute. The panel awarded British Guiana 45,000 acres of the disputed territory, while Venezuela received only 8,000 acres but also got clear title to the entire Orinoco delta. Despite an attempt by the Venezuelan nationalist government of the 1960s to challenge this award, the boundary between Venezuela and Guyana has remained settled.


Clearly, the 19th century in Latin America was not a century of peace as it was in Europe. Countless border wars shattered the calm of the good feelings that had emerged from the successful expulsion of the Spaniards and the Portuguese during the wars for independence. Although the new governments agreed that the principle of uti possidetus de jure de 1810 would be the rule for the placement of borders, these colonial boundaries were often unclear. In addition, realities on the ground dictated otherwise. Ambitious caudillos sought to maximize their nation’s influence to illogical extents. Although their efforts for the most part failed, the early border battles led to further uncertainty, ill-feelings, and distrust. In addition, these early attempts to forcibly resolve boundaries through military action hardly engendered popular enthusiasm or contributed to national consciousness.

On the other hand, the two most sanguinary international wars in South America, the War of the Pacific and the War of the Triple Alliance, profoundly affected all seven of the nations so involved. Important parcels of territory changed hands, and the march of soldiers on foreign soil heightened national identity in both the invading countries as well as the countries invaded. In terms of results, the larger and more powerful countries used these conflicts to expand borders at the expense of weaker neighbors like Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Paraguay. These larger wars mobilized more people and because of the intense fighting, promoted hatred of the “other.” In the end, the border wars contributed to the growing sense of national identity that would take root in the 20th century.

Discussion of the Literature

Caudillos clearly were responsible for the early-19th-century conflicts between Ecuador and its neighbors. Fortunately, a number of recent biographies provide some insight into caudillo ambitions for border expansion. The best work about Juan José Flores remains Mark Van Aken’s well researched King of the Night: Juan José Flores and Ecuador, 1824–1864.1 For the mid-19th-century conflicts that involved Ecuador. Colombia, and Peru, see Peter V. N. Henderson, Gabriel García Moreno and Conservative State Formation in the Andes.2 For their part, Ecuadorian authors have been much more interested in the conflict with Peru than the one with Colombia.

David Zook dedicated his academic career to writing about border conflicts between Latin American nations, and his Zarumilla-Marañon: The Ecuador-Peru Dispute3 remains the standard work in English. Both Ecuadorian and Peruvian authors have taken up the subject with much verve. Ecuador’s diplomatic historian Jorge W. Villacrés Moscoso’s Historia diplomática de la república del Ecuador,4 epitomizes the Ecuadorian view that the country was victimized by its aggressive neighbors, who ignored its long-standing title to Amazonia. He coined the quotation cited in the text. By way of contrast, Peru’s diplomatic historian, Félix Denegri Luna, in his Perú y Ecuador, Apuntes para la historia de una frontera,5 articulates Peru’s argument that Peru enjoyed the effective control of the territory in question, a justifiable argument.

Caudillos also initiated the border conflicts that embroiled Peru, Bolivia, and Chile during the 19th century. Natalie Sobrevilla Perea’s The Caudillo of the Andes: Andrés de Santa Cruz6 is the first biography of the caudillo in English, but it provides an unconvincing explanation of Santa Cruz’s unwillingness to fight for his confederation in the face of the Chilean offensive. Robert N. Burr’s By Reason or Force: Chile and the Balancing of Power in South America, 1830–19057 provides the best understanding of the initial conflict over the confederation as well as the diplomacy leading up to the War of the Pacific. He argues that Chile, rather than seeking to expand its borders, simply intended to maintain the balance of power in South America by destroying the Confederation.

William F. Sater has written three excellent books about the War of the Pacific. The first, The Heroic Image in Chile, details the heroic exploits of Arturo Prat, while Chile and the War of the Pacific tells the story of Chilean domestic affairs during the war. His Andean Tragedy: Fighting the War of the Pacific, 1879–1884 is the best account of the military strategy and battles that ultimately determined the borders of the three countries.8 All three of these books are based upon extensive research in Chilean and British archives.

Two other North American scholars have focused upon the role of the War of the Pacific in generating nationalistic responses in the respective countries. Florencia E. Mallon’s oft-cited The Defense of Community in Peru’s Central Highlands: Peasant Struggle and Capitalist Transition, 1860–19409 details the effects on the region of Jauja’s resistance to Chilean occupation as a major factor in creating nationalism in highland Peru. More recently, William E. Skuban’s Lines in the Sand: Nationalism and Identity on the Peruvian-Chilean Frontier10 examines a different local nationalism that took root in the border region between Peru and Chile. As in the sierra, emerging national sentiment crossed class and gender lines, as workers and women both became embroiled in the controversy about national identity.

During the 19th and 20th centuries, Chile and Peru produced some of the most extraordinary historians, individuals who, in the Latin American tradition, not only wrote about key moments in their past but prominently participated in national affairs. Despite being born in Chilean-occupied Tacna, the Peruvian Jorge Basadre authored a 16-volume Historia de la república del Perú11 that exemplified the highest historical standards of impartiality when discussing the relations between Peru, Chile, and Bolivia, absent any recriminations against the Chileans. Beautifully written, Basadre’s work remains the standard today. Two of Chile’s most eminent historians also served their nation, just as Basadre headed the new National Library in Lima. Benjamín Vicuña MacKenna observed the conflict closely and wrote Historia de la campaña de Lima and Historia de la campaña de Tacna y Arica.12 Chile’s other famous 19th-century historian was Diego Barras Arana, whose 15-volume Historia Jeneral de Chile ended in the 1860s. He served as a diplomat trying to resolve the border conflict with Argentina, though ultimately was repudiated by his own government because his offer proved too favorable to Argentina.

The creation of Uruguay has not drawn much scholarly attention. Ron Seckinger’s The Brazilian Monarchy and the South American Republics, 1822–183113 dedicates attention to the war between 1825 and 1828 but of course considers other issues as well. The best biography of Uruguayan hero José Artigas remains James Street’s classic Artigas and the Emancipation of Uruguay.14 Likewise the Venezuelan-British border conflict has been scarcely written about with the exception of Leslie Rout’s Which Way Out? A Study of the Guyana-Venezuela Boundary Dispute.15

Because of the vicissitudes of Paraguayan national identity that have inexplicably made Francisco Solano López a hero, Paraguayans have been unable to critique him or his conduct of the War of the Triple Alliance. Fortunately, North Americans have leaped to the challenge with gusto. The sheer number of foreigners interested in the war can be seen by the list of the contributors to Hendrik Kraay and Thomas L. Whigham’s I Die with my Country: Perspectives on the Paraguayn War, 1864–1870.16 This book also provides an understanding of social issues that the war raised in each of the four countries. The most authoritative description of the war remains Thomas L. Whigham’s The Paraguayan War, Vol. I, Causes and Early Conduct.17 The entire story is related in Charles J. Kolinski’s earlier Independence or Death! The Story of the Paraguayan War.18 Useful background information can be found in John Hoyt Williams’s The Rise and Fall of the Paraguayan Republic, 1800–1870.19 The most recent biography of Francisco Solano López, James Schofield Saeger’s Francisco Solano López and the Ruination of Paraguay,20 offers important insights into López’s character but is somewhat repetitious at times.

Primary Sources

The most important primary sources that illuminate the events surrounding South American border controversies are official government documents in repositories located in national capitals. After independence, the new states typically created three cabinet posts to assist the executive branch: the Ministry of the Treasury, the Ministry of War, and the Ministry of Government (Gobierno). The person holding the latter portfolio handled matters dealing both with internal affairs and diplomacy. Only much later did governments typically bifurcate these responsibilities into two separate ministries. When this division occurred, early documents relating to foreign affairs were transferred to the secretary of Foreign Relations, although occasionally the researcher will find a few early diplomatic documents remaining in Gobierno files.

The condition of the documents themselves, as well as modern search engines designed to facilitate access to documents in Foreign Relations archives, vary widely in South America. By reputation, Chile’s Foreign Relations’ archive is extremely well organized, and information about it is readily available by searching online the Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de Chile: Archivo General Histórico. Because Chile was involved in so many of the West Coast border disputes, its archive constitutes an invaluable source. My personal experience was with the Foreign Relations archive in Quito and was extremely positive. The materials there were well organized, cataloged, and with few exceptions were open to researchers. A professional historian who has authored two books about Ecuador’s diplomatic travails administers the archive along with a small professional staff. Unfortunately, online information about this archive is much more difficult to access than it was a decade ago. Beyond these two examples, the Internet often provides researchers interested in border conflicts involving other South American nations with basic contact information and perhaps a brief summary of holdings.

The archives of the Department of War (now usually called the Ministerio de Defensa Nacional) typically has more restrictions on access, again depending on the nation involved. In many cases even 19th-century materials can still be classified because they are viewed as politically sensitive. Recent studies of the War of the Triple Alliance, for example, suggest that criticism of Marshall Francisco Solano López is still a touchy matter. That said, I found the staff at the Archivo Histórico de Defensa Nacional in Ecuador to be remarkably open and willing to assist my research. At that time the military had appointed a retired air force colonel as its cultural attaché. He facilitated my entry into the archive and introduced me to the director and other essential personnel. Because my research focused on civil wars rather than international conflicts, I found limited amounts of material other than service records of individual officers. Scholars interested in 19th-century conflicts in which Chile had a stake will likely have more luck. Chile’s military archives up to 1900 are apparently fully available in Santiago’s National Archives, Archivo Nacional de Chile.

Because the United States had only a modest diplomatic presence in South America for most of the 19th century, British and French diplomatic archives often contain more in-depth information than American ones. The British were particularly interested in clamping down international conflicts and keeping the wheels of commerce turning, so they frequently offered their “good offices” to mediate disputes. Correspondence from British diplomats back to London is found in Foreign Office Reports: Great Britain and is arranged by country. The original documents are now located at Kew Gardens. France frequently posted ministers to South America, whose reports are collected by country in the Archives du Ministére des Affaires Etrangéres located at the Quai d’Orsay in Paris. The United States, whose interests centered more on Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America, did sporadically send diplomats to South America. Their reports, again sorted by nation, are located in the Records of the Department of State. A few of these diplomats, like Friedrich Hassaurek in Ecuador as well as other foreign travelers, also published memoirs about their visits to South America that may contain useful information.

Further Reading

Burr, Robert N. By Reason or Force: Chile and the Balancing of Power in South America, 1830–1905. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967.Find this resource:

Denegri Luna, Félix. Perú y Ecuador: Apuntes para la historia de una frontera. Lima: Bolsa de Valores de Lima, 1996.Find this resource:

Henderson, Peter V. N. Gabriel García Moreno and Conservative State Formation in the Andes. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2008.Find this resource:

Henderson, Peter V. N. The Course of Andean History. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2013.Find this resource:

Kraay, Hendrik, and Thomas L. Whigham. I Die with My Country: Perspectives on the Paraguayan War, 1864–1870. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004.Find this resource:

Mallon, Florencia. The Defense of Community in Peru’s Central Highlands: Peasant Struggle and Capitalist Transition, 1860–1940. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1983.Find this resource:

Sater, William F. Chile and the War of the Pacific. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1986.Find this resource:

Sater, William F. Andean Tragedy: Fighting the War of the Pacific, 1879–1884. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2007.Find this resource:

Seckinger, Ron. The Brazilian Monarchy and the South American Republics, 1822–1831. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1984.Find this resource:

Skuban, William E. Lines in the Sand: Nationalism and Identity on the Peruvian-Chilean Frontier. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2007.Find this resource:

Van Aken, Mark. King of the Night: Juan José Flores and Ecuador, 1824–1864. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989.Find this resource:

Vicuña MacKenna, Benjamín. Historia de la campaña de Lima. Santiago: R. Jover, 1881.Find this resource:

Villacrés Moscoso, Jorge W. Historia diplomática de la república del Ecuador. 3 vols. Guayaquil: Imprenta de la Universidad de Guayaquil, 1972.Find this resource:

Whigham, Thomas W. The Paraguayan War. Vol. I. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2002.Find this resource:

Zook, David H., Jr. Zarumilla-Marañón: The Ecuador-Peru Dispute. New York: Bookman Associates, 1964.Find this resource:


(1.) Mark Van Aken, King of the Night: Juan José Flores and Ecuador, 1824–1864 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1989).

(2.) Peter V. N. Henderson, Gabriel Garcia Moreno and Conservative State Formation in the Andes (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2008).

(3.) David Zook, Zarumilla-Marañon: The Ecuador-Peru Dispute (New York: Bookman Associates, 1964).

(4.) Jorge W. Villacrés Moscoso, Historia diplomática de la república del Ecuador, 3 vols. (Guayaquil: Universidad de Guayaquil, 1972).

(5.) Félix Denegri Luna, Perú y Ecuador: Apuntes para la historia de una frontera (Lima: Bolsa de Valores de Lima, 1996).

(6.) Natalie Sobrevilla Perea, The Caudillo of the Andes: Andrés de Santa Cruz (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2011).

(7.) Robert N. Burr, By Reason or Force: Chile and the Balancing of Power in South America, 1830–1905 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1967).

(8.) William Sater, The Heroic Image in Chile (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973); Chile and the War of the Pacific (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1986); and Andean Tragedy: Fighting the War of the Pacific, 1879–1884 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2007).

(9.) Florencia E. Mallon, The Defense of Community in Peru’s Central Highlands: Peasant Struggle and Capitalist Transition, 1860–1940 (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1983).

(10.) William E. Skuban, Lines in the Sand: Nationalism and Identity on the Peruvian-Chilean Frontier (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2007).

(11.) Jorge Basadre, Historia de la república del Perú, 16 vols. (Lima: Ediciones Historia, 1968).

(12.) Benjamin Vicuña Mackenna, Historia de la campaña de Lima (Santiago de Chile: R. Jover, 1881); and Historia de la campaña de Tacna y Arica (Santiago de Chile: R. Jover, 1881).

(13.) Ron Seckinger, The Brazilian Monarchy and the South American Republics, 1822–1831 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1984).

(14.) James Street, Artigas and the Emancipation of Uruguay (Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1959).

(15.) Leslie Rout, Which Way Out? A Study of the Guyana-Venezuela Boundary Dispute (East Lansing: Michigan State University Latin American Studies Center, 1971).

(16.) Hendrik Kraay and Thomas L. Whigham, eds. I Die with my Country: Perspectives on the Paraguayan War, 1864–1870 (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2002).

(17.) Thomas L. Whigham, The Paraguayan War. Vol. I, Causes and Early Conduct (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2002).

(18.) Charles J. Kolinski, Independence or Death! The Story of the Paraguayan War (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1965).

(19.) John Hoyt Williams, The Rise and Fall of the Paraguayan Republic, 1800–1870 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1979).

(20.) James Schofield Saeger, Francisco Solano López and the Ruination of Paraguay (Lanham, MD: Roman & Littlefield, 2007).