The Paraguayan War Killed Most Paraguayans

“A mass murder was accepted by everybody having lived in that period, and was never the object of an argument.” —Taner Akçam, on [a different] genocide in Armenia

In A Nutshell

From 1864 to 1870, Paraguay fought a devastating but little-known war against an alliance formed by Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. The ensuing conflict, starvation, and disease saw the death of 90 percent of Paraguayan men and the loss of 60 percent of Paraguay’s total pre-war population. The 1871 census shows that only 116,351 Paraguayans survived the war and that only 28,000 of these were men.

The Whole Bushel

In 1811, Paraguay was one of only a few Latin American countries to gain its independence peacefully. Dictator Rodriguez de Francia gained control of the country only a few years after its independence, and as a result of a policy of isolation and the fact that the country did not have the burden of a war of independence, free Paraguay enjoyed significant levels of economic development.

In 1840, the dictator died and Carlos Antonio Lopez assumed control. Moving away from the policy of isolation, Paraguay began to interact with its neighbors, including Brazil and Argentina. This brought about dispute over the new nation’s boundaries, and arguments which had existed since colonial times began to rise once again. Both Carlos and, after his death, his son, Francisco Solano Lopez, were unable to resolve the dispute and on December 13, 1864, Paraguay invaded Brazil in an attempt to gain the upper hand in an inevitable conflict.

By 1866, the initially successful Paraguayan offensive into Brazil had been all but halted by an Alliance of Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. Heavy losses, rampant disease, and hunger saw what was left of Lopez’s army fall back into Paraguay, followed by a quick and deadly offensive, (which has been called a genocide) by the enemy. Civilians inside Paraguay, mostly women, children, and the elderly who had not been drafted to the army, suffered just as hard as those fighting on the front. In 1870, after the last Paraguayan camp was taken, a treaty was signed and vast swaths of the country handed over. The government immediately fell, and those few who were left faced a country that had all but been wiped out and which would not fully recover even to this day.

Show Me The Proof

The Economist: Paraguay’s awful history—The never-ending war
The War that Changed South America Forever
The Paraguayan War

  • Exiled Phoenix

    I would feel bad if they hadn’t been the aggressors.

  • Aldrey Menezes

    the genocide was indirectly caused and encouraged by the english who, in one single action, got brazil eating in their hands for generations due to the massive money loans this country needed for the combat AND destroyed a strong government whose isolationism was contrary to united kingdoms comercial interests (before the war, paraguay was latins america greatest iron employer and had almost eliminated analphabetism)

    • Aldrey Menezes

      In time Paraguay could even become a world power, but he made a mistake, went out for disputed territories populated by their people and for which gigantic brasil could care less; Sadly that scenario was perfect used by the english (or should i say grima wormtongue) to wreak havoc in south america

  • Hadeskabir

    Wow the men who survived the war had almost 4 women for each one. That is one bright side to it 🙂

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    • Daniel Freire Magalhaes

      The men who survived, in most, was a children under 10 years old or a elder over 65 years old…

      • Hadeskabir

        So? It only gets better! The old men died of old age and the children that became adults had even more women for each one!

  • #libtardsruiningamerica

    “From 1864 to 1870, Paraguay fought a devastating but little-known war
    against an alliance formed by Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. The
    ensuing conflict, starvation, and disease saw the death of 90 percent of
    Paraguayan men and the loss of 60 percent of Paraguay’s total pre-war
    population. The 1861 census shows that only 116,351 Paraguayans survived
    the war and that only 28,000 of these were men.”

    explain to me how a census taken before the war began showed the post-war population? or are you guys just too lazy to hire an editor

    • AaronDoesWords

      If one knows how many were killed during the war, using a census taken shortly before the war you could determine how many people SURVIVED the war.

    • Mark Pygas

      The 1861 census tells us how many people were alive before the war. The census was compared to post-war head counts. I didn’t think i’d need to explain that, but apparently I did, my bad.

  • UN

    interesting i had never heard of this war…….

  • Happy Camper

    Let us keep in mind that this figure is hotly debated because there is no actual records of the exact number of people killed. Nobody really even knows how many people lived in Paraguay before the war.

    • Mom424

      What about that census in 1861?

      • Happy Camper

        The census didn’t take into account most of the people living in the countryside.