Imperial Skirmishes: War and Gunboat Diplomacy in Latin America

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Olive Branch Press, 1983 - History - 194 pages
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Notorious for its recent military dictatorships, South America is less well known for its wars. But since the dawn of independence in the early nineteenth century, the continent has witnessed a series of conflicts, some short and small-scale, others long-lasting and extensive. Many such conflicts amounted to little more than sabre-rattling and cost little human life. But not all hostilities were small or trivial. More than 400,000 troops and civilians died in 1865-70 when Paraguay went to war with Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay in the continent's greatest military disaster.

Using contemporary press reports, unpublished correspondence, and first-hand recollections of battles and skirmishes, this book analyzes how distant wars were viewed in Europe and how they affected the people who actually fought them. It reveals for the first time the true extent of European involvement in Latin America's internal strife, and captures the imperial ambitions, the belligerence, and the incompetence of Victorian generals and profiteers.

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About the author (1983)

Graham-Yooll was born in Argentina, where he is Senior Editor of the English-language Buenos Aires Herald. He was exiled during the military dictatorship of the 1970s and returned to Argentina 18 years later.

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