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The Treaty of the Triple Alliance was a treaty which allied Brazilmarker, Argentinamarker, and Uruguaymarker in the War of the Triple Alliance signed at the beginning of the war. It had articles guiding the allies actions covering aspects both for during the war campaign and for after the war.


Legal Restrictions

Free navigation of the Paraguay River had been an issue between Paraguay and Brazil since the presidency of Carlos Antonio López who resented having been forced to grant Brazil free navigation rights on the river in 1858. As a result, article 11 of they treaty stipulated that "the allies shall proceed to make the necessary arrangements with the constituted authorities, as to ensure the free navigation of the Paranamarker and Paraguay Rivers, in a way that the rules and laws of that republic would not obstacle, impede or tax the direct transit and navigation of the merchant or war ships of the Allied States, which are headed to their respective territories or dominions which do not belong to Paraguay, and shall take the convenient guarantees towards the effectiveness of said arrangements" thus ensuring that Paraguay had no more control over Brazilian and Argentinian ships which desired to couse both aforementioned rivers.

Article 14 established that Paraguay would be held accountable for the entire war effort of all four nations and as such had to cover for the expenses of the entire war. This articule includes not only guvernamental expenses, but also damages to private property. This sent Paraguay, who until that moment had not external debt, into an enormous debt to the three allied countries. This problem was accentuated by the fact that Paraguay was ransacked during the war having all valuable furniture, jewelry and gold of all kind taken by the allies and auctioned in their respective countries; and that after the war the country was so devastated both economically and demographically, that there were hardly anyone left to work the land and produce anything in the country without any foreign aid.

Article 17 determined that the treaty would remain valid and enforceable after the war ended with such strength that allowed the allies to take any means to ensure the compliance of the new Paraguayan government to its articles should it want to modify any of them.

Finally, article 6 in the secret treaty stated that "The allies solemnly commit themselves no to abandon arms unless commonly agreed, and as long as they haven’t overthrown the current government of Paraguay, as well as not to try separately, nor sign any peace treaty, truce, armistice which would put an end to or suspend the war, unless agreed by all parties". This not only rendered any possibility of truce or peace nearly impossible but also stipulated that the war was to continue until the current government ceased to be, which meant the death of López.

Territorial Changes

Territorial disputes before the war

Current map of Paraguay with the former Paraguayan lands taken by Brazil and Argentina after the war shaded in green
The actual borders of the three nations were hotly disputed before the war had begun since after the nation's independence from Spain there was no conclusive document which established them. This created a considerable dispute regarding the borders between Argentina and Paraguay since they both belonged to the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata which had been seated in Buenos Aires. As a result, Argentina, upon their independence which was a year before the Paraguayan, had planned to annex Paraguay, who had declared its independence five years before the Argentines despite having gotten it a year later, as a province.

After Brazil gained its independence from Portugalmarker on September 7, 1822, the newly independent country sent a commissioner to the Paraguayan government of Dr. Francia on August 24, 1824 who promised that Brazil would recognize the independence of Paraguay, which happened on September 14, 1844. Brazil recognized during this event that the national limits with Paraguay would be those established by the San Ildefonso Treaty of 1777. in 1850 a treaty was signed between Brazil and Paraguay which mentioned the preservation fo the "statu quo" regarding the limits. However, after Argetntina and Paraguay relationships improved, the relationships with Brazil worsened a bit, which led Brazil to send 20 war ships to into Paraguayan territory. Carlos Antonio López, then president, sent his son, Francisco Solano López in quality of diplomat to sign a treaty which set the date for the final set of limits a year from the signing. When diplomats of both nations got together to set the limits an agreement couldn't be reached which postponed the setting another 5 years. During this time, Brazil never stopped going deeper into Paraguayan territory.

Territorial Changes in the Treaty

In the article 16 of the treaty, the allies proposed a definite distribution of the Paraguayan territory, according to which Argentina would receive the entirey of the Gran Chaco and Brazil would get a big area of territory of the north-eastern Paraguay. While Brazil did take the territory the treaty entitled them to, Argentina couldn't finish occupying the chaco territory.

The Treaty

Art. 1. The Eastern Republic of Uruguaymarker, His Majesty the Emperor of Brazilmarker and the Republic of Argentinamarker enter into an offensive and defensive Alliance in the war started by the government of Paraguaymarker.

Art. 2. The allies will attend with ever mean they can dispose of, by land or by the rivers, according to necessity.

Art. 3. Having the hostilities to begin in the territory of the Republic of Argentina or in the adjacent Paraguayan territory, the command in chief and the direction of the allied armies are under the leadership of the President of the Republic of Argentina and chief commandant of its army, brigadier Bartolomé Mitre. The allied naval forces will be under the direct orders of the Vice Admiral Visconde de Tamandaré, commander in chief of H.M the Emperor of Brazil’s fleet. The land forces of H.M. the Emperor of Brazil shall form an army under the orders of its chief general, brigadier Manuel Luis Osorio. Despite the fact that the high signing parties are agreed in not changing the theatre fo the war operations, all in all, as to preserve the sovereign rights of the three nations, they agree from no on to observe the principle of reciprocity regarding the chief command, given that case that those operations have to cross into eastern or Brazilian territory.

Art. 4. The interior order and the economy of the troops are under the sole charge of their respective leaders. The salary, provisions, war munitions, weapons, clothing, equipment and means of transport of the allied troops shall the responsibility of their corresponding states.

Art. 5. The high signing parties shall facilitate mutually any aid they have and those they would need, in the form in which it was agreed.

Art. 6. The allies solemnly commit themselves no to abandon arms unless commonly agreed, and as long as they haven’t overthrown the current government of Paraguay, as well as not to try separately, nor sign any peace treaty, truce, armistice which would put an end to or suspend the war, unless agreed by all parties.

Art. 7. Being the war not against the Paraguayan people but against their government, the allies are able to admit in a Paraguayan Legion every citizen of this nation who would want to attend to the overthrowing of said government, and will provide them with the elements they would need, in the form and conditions agreed upon.

Art. 8. The allies commit to respecting the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Paraguay. In consequence the Paraguayan people shall choose the government and institutions best suited for them, without incorporating themselves or requesting protection from any of the allies, as a result of the war.

Art. 9. The independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic shall be guaranteed collectively, according to the previous article, by the signing high parties, for a term of five years.

Art. 10. It is agreed among the signing high parties that the extensions, privileges or concessions obtained from the government of Paraguay shall be common to all of them, freely if they were free, and with the same compensation if they were conditional.

Art. 11. After the government of Paraguay is overthrown, the allies shall proceed to make the necessary arrangements with the constituted authorities, as to ensure the free navigation of the Paranamarker and Paraguay Rivers, in a way that the rules and laws of that republic would not obstacle, impede or tax the direct transit and navigation of the merchant or war ships of the Allied States, which are headed to their respective territories or dominions which do not belong to Paraguay, and shall take the convenient guarantees towards the effectiveness of said arrangements, under the base that those fluvial policy rules, be them for both rivers or also for the Uruguay, shall be dictated in common agreement among the allies and whichever other riverside states who, within the term agreed on by the allies, accept the invitation proposed to them.

Art. 12. The allies reserve for themselves to arrange the most convenient measures as to guarantee peace with the Republic of Paraguay after the overthrowing of the current government.

Art. 13. The allies shall name opportunely the plenipotentiaries who shall execute the arrangements, conventions or treaties provided, with the government established in Paraguay.

Art. 14. The allies shall demand from that government the payment of the war expenses which they have been forced to accept, as well as the repairing and indenisation of the damages and detriments caused to their public and private properties and to their citizen’s persons, without express war declaration, and for the damages and detriments subsequently caused in violation of the principles which govern the laws of war. The Eastern Republic of Uruguay shall demand as well an indenisation proportionate to the damages and detriments caused by the government of Paraguay by the war to which it has been forced to enter, in defence of their security threatened by said government.

Art. 15. In a special convention the, method and form for the settlements and payment of the debt due from the aforementioned causes shall be determined.

Art. 16. In order to avoid discussions and wars on the issue of the borders, it is established that the allies shall demand of the government of Paraguay the signing of definite limit treaties with the respective governments under the following conditions: The Republic of Argentina shall be divided from the Republic of Paraguay, by the Parana and Paraguay rivers, until reaching the limits of the Empire of Brazil, being these on the western riverside of the Paraguay River, the Bahia Negra. The Empire of Brazil shall be divided from the Republic of Paraguay, in the Parana region, by the first river after the Seven Falls waterfalls which, according to the recent map of Mouchez, is the Igurey, and from the mouth of the Igurey and its higher course up to its source. On the left riverside region of the Paraguay River, by the Apa River, from it’s mouth up to its source. On the inside, from the summit of the Mbaracaryu Range, the eastern watersheds belonging to Brazil and the western ones to Paraguay, and drawing lines, as straight as possible, from said range up to the source of the Apa and Igurey rivers.

Art. 17. The allies guarantee mutually to each other the faithful fulfilment of the agreements, arrangements and treaties to be held with the government that will be established in Paraguay, in virtue of the agreed in this alliance treaty, which will remain always in full strength and vigour, to the effect that these stipulations shall be respected by the Republic of Paraguay. As to obtain this result, they agree that, in the case that one of the signing high parties could not obtain from the government of Paraguay the agreed fulfilment, or that this government should try to annul the stipulations adjusted with the allies, the others shall employ actively their efforts to uphold them. If those efforts were proven ineffective, the allies shall attend with all their means, to the end of making the execution of what is stipulated effective.

Art. 18. This treaty shall remain secret until the main objective of the alliance has been obtained.

Art. 19. This treaty’s stipulations which do not require legislative authorization for their ratification, shall begin to have effect as soon as they are approved by their respective governments, and the others from the change of the ratifications, which will take place within the term of forty days from the day of said treaty, or sooner if possible.

In testimony of which the signors below, plenipotentiaries of H.E. the President of the Republic of Argentina, of H.M. the Emperor of Brazil and H.E. the Provisional Governor of the Eastern Republic, in virtue of our full powers, we sign this treaty and affix our seals in the City of Buenos Aires, the 1st of May of the year of Our Lord 1865.




Fulfilment of Treaty


The Perpetual Peace and Friendship between the Republic of Paraguay and the Empire of Brazil was signed in Asuncion on January 9, 1872. In it, Paraguay recognized as debt to Brazil all damages caused to Brazilian people and cities at an interest of 6% with an annual amortization of 1%. All waters of the Paraguay, Parana and Uruguay rivers were open for trade and navegation. Brazil also reserved the right to occupy Paraguay with a part of the imperial army in order to maintain peace and ensure that all terms of the treaty were complied with.

The national limits between Paraguay and Brazil were established in three different treaties. On the treaty signed on January 9, 1872 the limits were set to be these: the riverbed of the Parana Rivermarker from Yguasu's mouth up to Parana's Seven Falls waterfall or Guaira Fallsmarker; from the Guaira Falls, by the summit of the Mbaracayu Range and later by Amambay's up to Apa River's source, from where it follows its riverbed down to its mouth on the eastern shore of the Paraguay River.

On January 16, 1872 another treaty was signed where the release of all deserters, prisoners and criminals of war was established. Two days later on the 18 a new treaty of Friendship, Commerce and Navigation was signed. By the January 7, 1874 protocol, the Estrella stream was considered the Apa River's source.

Finally, a last definite treaty was signed on May 21, 1927 in Rio de Janeiromarker which was a complement to the January 9 1872 one. It established that the limit between both countries was the riverbed of the Paraguay river from the mouth of the Apa River with the Paraguay River up to its mouth in Bahia Negra, being the western shore Paraguayn territory and the eastern on Brazilian.


A treaty of Peace, Commerce and Navigation was signed on December 13, 1873 between Paraguay and Uruguay. As with the Brazilian treaty, Paraguay recognized the expenses, damages and detriments of Uruguayan campaign. Both governments also committed to return all prisoners of war and open to commerce both nation's rivers.


A Treaty fo Peace with Argentina was signed on February 3, 1876 between Paraguay and Argentina. In it, Paraguay recognized all war expenses as well as the damages and detriments caused to Argentine public and private property. The Navegation and transit of the Paraguay, Parana and Uruguay River was also opened.

The National Limits between both nations was established like this: The main riverbed of the Parana River, from the Yguasy mouth up to its meeting with the Paraguay River; and from the meeting of Paraguay River with Pilcomayo River, following this river's main riverbed leaving thus the Central Chaco region as Argentine territory. The territory between the main Pilcomayo riverbed up to Bahia Negra was divided in two sections, having the first one (from the Verde River - 23° 10' Latitude South) was granted to Paraguay, and the second one was submitted to an arbiter designed by both governments.

The arbiter chosen by both nations was U.S. President Rutherford B. Hayes, who in November 12, 1878 recognized the just and legal title of Paraguay to the territory between the Pilcomayo River and the Verde River. On May 14, 1879 the Argentine armed forces left the Chaco Boreal region. In honour of President Hayes, the Presidente Hayes Departmentmarker, the largest department in the nation, is named.

See also


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