Guide to Brazil

Looking back at South America’s bloodiest war

The Paraguayan War was a brutal conflict opposing Paraguay and an alliance between Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. It ended 150 years ago

paraguayan war
The Battle of the Riachuelo was a large and decisive naval battle of the Paraguayan War. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

This marks the 150th anniversary of the end of the bloodiest conflict between South American nations in the region’s history. The Paraguayan War, or the War of the Triple Alliance, consisted of a six-year clash between Paraguay and a coalition between Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. The total number of casualties is unknown, but revolves around 450,000 people — with over 300,000 of them Paraguayans, leading the country to almost complete destruction and leaving scars still felt today.

The conflict began over a border dispute. As a landlocked nation close to the geographical center of South America, Paraguay’s only access to...

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