South America 1874: Argentine Civil Wars

The reunification of Argentina in 1861 did not bring stability to the country, which continued to suffer from military coups, uprisings, and Indian tribal raids through into the 1870s. In 1874, former president Bartolomé Mitre led an unsuccessful revolution against the Argentine government in the aftermath of a disputed election; six years later, Buenos Aires province itself would revolt after another election.



Patagonia was regarded as terra nullius by Britain and France until 1881 (and thus shown as a separate state in most maps of the period). Their main concern, shared with the United States, was to prevent any nation restricting navigation through the Straits of Magellan.

Main Events

9 Jan 1872 Loizaga–Cotegipe Treaty

Carlos Loizaga and João Mauricio de Wanderley, Baron of Cotegipe, signed the Treaty of Peace and Borders in Asuncion, Paraguay, on behalf of Paraguay and the Empire of Brazil respectively. The treaty ceded all Paraguayan claims north of the Apa River to Brazil—some 62,325 square kilometres of territory—although it would prove to be ambiguous on the ownership of the Guaíra Falls (a dispute which would only be resolved 55 years later by the supplementary agreement of 21 May 1927). Considering this conclusion of a separate peace treaty with Paraguay a violation of the Triple Alliance, Argentina occupied Villa Occidental to press its claims on the wikipedia

5–8 Mar 1872 Calfucurá’s Great Raid

Following Argentine President Domingo Sarmiento’s order to arrest Indians who had formerly surrendered to the government, Mapuche leader Juan Calfucurá declared war on the Argentine Confederation. In March 1872, he invaded Buenos Aires province with several thousand warriors, sacking the towns of Veinticinco de Mayo, General Alvear, and Nueve de Julio and killing hundreds of civilians. However, Calfucurá’s withdrawing army was chased down by the Argentine General Ignacio Rivas and defeated at San Carlos de Bolívar. When Calfucurá died the following year, it heralded the decline of indigenous power in the wikipedia

6 Feb 1873 Treaty of Defensive Alliance

Bolivia and Peru secretly signed the Treaty of Defensive Alliance in Lima, pledging to support each other in the case of conflict with Chile. Bolivia wanted the alliance because its relations with Chile were strained by an ongoing border dispute, while Peru was concerned by both Chilean naval growth and the threat Chilean nitrate companies in Bolivia posed to the Peruvian nitrate wikipedia

1 May–25 Dec 1873 Second Jordanist Rebellion

Rebel caudillo López Jordán invaded Entre Ríos province, Argentina, from his Brazilian exile, overthrowing the governor and capturing many towns. After suffering several setbacks, the Argentine government forces under Col. Martín de Gainza caught and defeated Jordán’s army at Don Gonzalo Creek, near Paraná, on 8-9 December. After losing a few more skirmishes, Jordán acknowledged the rebellion’s failure and fled across the Uruguay River into exile on Christmas wikipedia

6 Aug 1874 Treaty of Sucre

The Boundary Treaty of 1874 between Chile and Bolivia was signed in Sucre by Mariano Baptista, Bolivian Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Chilean plenipotentiary minister Carlos Walker Martínez. The treaty superseded the Boundary Treaty of 1866 but kept the border between both countries at the 24° South parallel. By the terms of the treaty, tax collection on the minerals found between 23°S and 25°S was abolished and Bolivia agreed not to increase taxes on Chilean capital and industry in the region for 25 wikipedia

24 Sep–7 Dec 1874 Revolution of 1874

In the wake of a contested election in Argentina, former president Bartolomé Mitre’s Nationalist Party called for an uprising to prevent the internment of Autonomist candidate Nicolas Avellaneda. A gunboat and General Rivas’s division mutinied in the vicinity of Buenos Aires, but the main center of the revolt quickly became western Argentina when General Arredondo’s garrison seized control at Villa Mercedes in San Luis. By November, Arredondo had established a base in Mendoza—encouraging Mitre to march west with Rivas to join him—but by this time the Autonomists had rallied and were able to defeat both forces wikipedia