This study seeks to formulate some general statements concerning intra-South American relations during the 1820s. An appropriate point of departure for such an undertaking is the analytical framework of Robert N. Burr. Burr defines a system of power politics in terms of efforts to maintain equilibrium, competition for relative advantage according to certain principles and techniques, primary concern with intra-system relations, and relative freedom from external influences. Focusing on the development of a continental system, he divides the nineteenth century into two periods: the era of regional power politics, from independence to the late 1860s, and the era of continental power politics, from the late 1860s to the first quarter of the twentieth century.1

In examining the decade prior to 1830, this essay will focus on two major controversies: (1) The dispute between Brazil and Argentina over possession of the lands known by the Spanish Americans as the Banda Oriental and by the Brazilians as the Cisplatine province, a dispute that ended only when the contested territory became the Republic of Uruguay in 1828. Related to this issue was the question of the place that monarchical, Portuguese-speaking Brazil should occupy among the Spanish American republics. (2) The rivalry between Peru on the one hand and Gran Colombia and Bolivia on the other during the years 1827-1829. The Argentine-Brazilian and Peruvian-Colombian conflicts represent two of the six major wars that occurred in post-independence South America during the nineteenth century,2 and they constituted the most serious threats to the stability of the new international order during the decade of the 1820s. The issues that led to war, the diplomatic activities of the participants, and the reactions of non-belligerents provide insight into the nature and scope of power politics.

What emerges from this brief overview is a realization that during the 1820s South American statesmen were groping toward the creation of a continental system. Practically all of the characteristics enumerated by Burr were already present: governments perceived and responded to threats to the equilibrium, competed in accordance with the principles of power politics, emphasized relations with the other nations of the continent rather than with outside powers, and enjoyed relative freedom from external pressures. What was lacking, however, was the most important element of any system of power politics: the ability to communicate intentions quickly and to exercise power quickly and effectively at distant points. When combined with the absence of internal political stability, such technological limitations were sufficient to frustrate the elaboration of a continental system. By the end of the decade, the South American states had settled into regional spheres of competition that would not be integrated until the last third of the century.

The Banda. Oriental Dispute

All of the South American states ultimately became involved diplomatically in the conflict over the Banda Oriental, which brought into sharp focus the problem of Brazil’s place in the new international order. Brazil was set apart, first of all, by her monarchical form of government. The Emperor Dom Pedro I evoked suspicions among the republican leaders because of his imperial title, his relationship to the ruling house of Portugal, and his ties to the Holy Alliance through his Austrian wife, Leopoldina. Moreover, centuries of Spanish and Portuguese rivalry in South America had added a psychological dimension to the cultural differences between the two peoples. Each ascribed vile characteristics to the other. Mutual suspicion was an ingrained habit and did not yield to a spirit of trust and accommodation on the coming of independence. For years afterwards, some Spanish Americans refused to call the inhabitants of Brazil “Brazilians.” In 1825, for example, Antonio José de Sucre referred to them as “those Portuguese, infinitely more barbarous and degraded than the Spaniards.”3

Because of these ideological and cultural differences, the Spanish Americans sympathized with Buenos Aires and viewed Dom Pedro’s attempt to retain possession of the Banda Oriental as a continuation of centuries-old Luso-Brazilian expansionism. Since all of the South American republics save Chile shared common borders with Brazil, the question assumed transcendental importance. The dispute over the Banda Oriental, then, served as a test of Spanish American unity and of the ability of the Brazilian monarchy to survive among the republics.

The peril of Brazilian isolation did not become manifest until mid-1825. Following Dom Pedro’s declaration of independence in September 1822, the imperial government successfully stressed its “American-ness” to the other nations of the New World. José Rafael Revenga, the Colombian minister in London, responded warmly to the overtures of Brazilian agents and recommended to his superiors in Bogotá that formal relations be established with Rio de Janeiro and that commerce between the two countries be developed via the Amazon River system.4 The Peruvian ministers in London also proposed that their government recognize Brazilian independence and dispatch a representative to Rio de Janeiro.5

Although no formal diplomatic ties materialized from these initial contacts, the attitudes voiced by Colombian and Peruvian diplomats reveal that Brazil’s membership in the newly independent American community was perceived to be more important than its monarchical form of government. Far from viewing Brazil as an ally of reactionary Europe, the government of Gran Colombia saw the empire as a possible victim. In late 1823, the official newspaper Gaceta de Colombia suggested with substantial exaggeration that the Holy Alliance menaced not only Spanish America but also Switzerland, Württemberg, the United States, and Brazil.6

The Colombian government—or more precisely, Vice-President Francisco de Paula Santander and Minister of Foreign Relations Pedro Gual—took Revenga’s suggestion to heart and endeavored to bring about the establishment of amicable relations between Brazil and the American republics. Simón Bolívar, president of Gran Colombia and Peru, wished to create a Spanish American confederation, which would have excluded the former Portuguese colony. But Santander and Gual, via the Brazilian minister in London, invited Dom Pedro to send a delegate to the American congress at Panama.7 As conceived by Bolívar, the congress would serve not only to coordinate the common defense in the face of an external threat, but also as a mechanism for the peaceful resolution of disputes among member states.8 The Panama Congress offered an opportunity for the peaceful convergence of the power centers of Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires, and Bogotá-Lima. With the inclusion of Brazil in the American assembly, the isolation of the empire seemed to have been averted.

But by the time Santander and Gual issued their invitation, Bolívar had come to question the emperor’s good faith. At the core of the Liberator’s suspicion was the issue of the Banda Oriental. In this matter he was a staunch partisan of the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata (Argentina).9 As president of Gran Colombia and Peru and as arbiter of Bolivia’s future, he commanded the northern portion of the continent. If Bolívar chose to intervene in the Platine conflict, Brazil stood to lose not only the Cisplatine province but also her monarchical form of government and perhaps her territorial integrity.

To the Liberator, Brazilian territorial aggrandizement in the Plata constituted compelling evidence that the empire was a stalking horse for the Holy Alliance. Less than two months after the Battle of Ayacucho, Spain’s last major effort to retain South America, Bolivar began to dwell on the imminent reaction of the European monarchies. The Brazilian attempt to absorb the Banda Oriental and the continued resistance of the surviving Spanish royalists in Upper Peru (Bolivia) appeared part and parcel of a broader plot to quash the independence movement. In January 1825 Bolivar wrote his trusted lieutenant, Sucre:

… by the news that comes from Europe and Brazil, we know that the Holy Alliance is trying to help the Brazilian emperor to subjugate Spanish America by force, in order to consecrate the principle of legitimacy and to destroy the revolution. They will begin with Buenos Aires, and who knows where this enterprise will end. I have also learned that the Spaniards of Peru have opened relations with the emperor of Brazil with the intention of entering into the great project of general subjugation, adhering among themselves to monarchical principles.10

The Liberator reaffirmed his fears to Santander: “This emperor of Brazil and the Holy Alliance are one. And if we, the free people, do not form another [union], we are lost.”11

Bernardo Monteagudo expressed an identical attitude in an essay written at about the same time. Monteagudo, an Argentine who had served with José de San Martín and had subsequently become the confidant of Bolívar, penned a tract promoting the Panama Congress shortly before he was assassinated in January 1825. Like Bolívar, he saw the new republics threatened by the Holy Alliance and the Brazilian emperor:

Everything inclines us to believe that the imperial cabinet of Rio de Janeiro will offer to aid the designs of the Holy Alliance against the republics of the New World; and that Brazil will perhaps come to be the headquarters of the servile party, as it is already [the headquarters] of the secret agents of the Holy Alliance. Besides the public information that exists to [make one] fear such a desertion of the American system, one observes in the relations of the Brazilian government with those of the European continent an emphatic character whose cause is impossible to find except in their analogous principles and interests.12

To Bolívar and Monteagudo, the Brazilian regime was first and foremost a monarchy, and only secondarily an American state. Thus, the actions of Brazil in the Plata region fit into a comprehensible pattern of monarchical reaction.

This interpretation appeared to be substantiated by another border controversy in April and May of 1825. For reasons that need not concern us here, the government of the Brazilian province of Mato Grosso annexed the contiguous province of Chiquitos in Upper Peru. Although the authorities in Mato Grosso had second thoughts and annulled the action a month later, and although Dom Pedro disavowed the annexation when he learned of it in August, the incident constituted a serious provocation that was not easily forgotten, Sucre, commanding the victorious insurgent army in Upper Peru, prepared to liberate Chiquitos and, unless the Brazilian troops withdrew, to invade Mato Grosso.13

Believing that the incursion into Chiquitos had occurred without the emperor’s approval, Bolívar instructed Sucre to avoid, if possible, the use of military force in settling the misunderstanding. In the meantime, Sucre had notified the Argentine government of the Brazilian invasion and suggested that Buenos Aires seek an agreement with Bolívar for a joint campaign against Brazil. The Argentine government had for some time been courting the diplomatic support of other American states, and particularly that of Gran Colombia. When Sucre’s message arrived in Buenos Aires, General Carlos de Alvear and José Miguel Díaz Vélez had already been commissioned to meet with the Liberator in Upper Peru, where they were to invite Upper Peru to join the United Provinces, to congratulate Bolívar for his triumph over Spanish arms, and to solicit the Liberator’s moral (and possibly military) support in the Banda Oriental dispute. The Argentine government now issued additional instructions to secure Bolívar’s agreement to a coordinated military offensive against the empire by Argentine, Colombian, and Peruvian forces.14

The appeal to Bolívar was essentially a ploy by which the government of the United Provinces hoped to cajole Dom Pedro into surrendering the disputed territory; only in the event of Brazilian intransigence was Bolívar actually to be brought into the fray. In reality, the Argentine leaders harbored profound suspicions of Bolívar and had no intention of becoming entangled in his international projects. On receiving an invitation to the Panama Congress, Buenos Aires ostensibly agreed to participate but temporized with one delay after another, with the final result that no Argentine plenipotentiary attended the conference at Panama. Fearful that Bolívar might seek to dominate the continent through the American congress, the government of the United Provinces apparently accepted the invitation only as a gesture to court the Liberator’s cooperation in the anticipated struggle against Brazil.15

Informed of the objective of the Argentine mission, Bolívar promised Santander: “Since this matter is very grave, I will not let myself be dragged along precipitously either by glory or by flattery.” Yet the Liberator’s fears of the Holy Alliance, submerged since March 1825, were beginning to resurface, along with a renewed concern over the conduct of the “young, hare-brained, legitimate, and Bourbon” emperor of Brazil: “Tomorrow the Holy Alliance may commission him to make war against us as heir of all the lost rights of all the Bourbons.”16

In October 1825 the Liberator received Alvear and Díaz Vélez in Potosí, and over the next four months the three men met frequently to discuss the possibility of a common Brazilian policy. In Potosí the Liberator was at the peak of his career, president of three republics and the most prominent leader in all of Latin America. He could not help but be tempted by the prospect of a Brazilian campaign. The destruction of the last monarchy in the New World would bestow added splendor on his military career. An invasion of Brazil from Upper Peru would also provide an excuse for toppling the Paraguayan dictator, José Gaspar de Francia, a project that the Liberator longed to undertake.17 More importantly, the grand coalition proposed by Buenos Aires offered a means of restoring unity to Spanish America, for a war against Brazil as a representative of monarchical reaction would, in effect, extend the movement for independence from Europe. And finally, the presumed fragmentation of Brazil into several autonomous republics—for British agents believed that an invasion headed by Bolívar would result in the break-up of the empire and/or the fall of the monarchy18—would virtually guarantee a position of dominance for Gran Colombia (or for the Liberator’s projected Andean Federation) in South America.

Despite his distrust of the Buenos Aires government and his promises to proceed cautiously, Bolívar responded to the flattery of the Argentine ministers with such eagerness that Alvear exulted, “We have him for certain.”19 Unwilling to commit Gran Colombia and Peru without consulting their legislatures, the Liberator nevertheless revealed his willingness to participate in a war against Brazil as chief of the new republic that bore his name. “If the Brazilians seek more quarrels with us,” he wrote Santander, “I will fight as a Bolivian, a name that belonged to me before my birth.”20 But before making any firm promises, Bolívar wanted to sound out the British and Colombian governments.

A few Spanish Americans encouraged the Liberator to attack the empire. For example, Manuel Vidaurre, one of the Peruvian delegates to the Panama Congress, wrote: “New triumphs await Your Excellency in Rio de Janeiro and Brazil. There they will erect a column with this inscription: With the point of Bolívar’s sword the word King was erased from all the Americas.”21 But others counseled accommodation rather than confrontation. No one opposed the participation of Colombian troops and of Bolívar in a Brazilian campaign more vehemently than did Santander, who saw his policy of conciliation with Brazil threatened by Bolívar’s flirtation with Buenos Aires. The Colombian vice-president loosed a barrage of admonitions to the Liberator that at length brought this piqued reply: “You know that the counsels about my conduct toward Brazil vex me. If I have said a thousand times what I ought and want to do, why so many worries? … So, forget Brazil.”22 Santander also assured the British government that Gran Colombia still wished to maintain harmonious relations with Brazil, as evidenced by the invitation to the emperor to send representatives to the Congress of Panama.23

Great Britain likewise hoped to avert war or, failing that, to limit the theater of conflict. A general assault on the empire would threaten the only New World monarchy and British commercial interests, both of which the Court of St. James labored to preserve. British diplomats promoted the idea of a pacific settlement of the Banda Oriental and Chiquitos disputes. Foreign Secretary George Canning addressed a personal letter to Bolívar praising “the leniency manifested by Your Excellency in the affair of Chiquitos” and asking the Liberator’s cooperation in bringing a speedy end to the war between Brazil and the United Provinces.24

By this time Bolivar had already pulled back from the prospect of war. Advised repeatedly of Santander’s opposition and anticipating a similar attitude on the part of Great Britain, the Liberator also could not overcome his distrust of the Argentine leaders, despite his cordial relationship with Alvear. In the last days of January 1826, Bolívar turned his back on Brazil and departed for Lima, having promised the Argentine emissaries that he would send his adjutant, Daniel Florencio O’Leary, to Rio de Janeiro to demand satisfaction for the violation of Chiquitos and to protest the Brazilian attempt to retain the Banda Oriental. He left unaware that the Buenos Aires government had decided to go it alone and had ordered Alvear and Díaz Vélez to return home.25 When Bolívar learned of the outbreak of war in the Plata, he took the position that the United Provinces might have recovered the Banda Oriental through negotiation, and he cancelled O’Leary’s mission to Rio de Janeiro until the Panama Congress might discuss the controversy.26

The involvement of one or more of the northern republics in the war against Brazil remained a subject of speculation throughout 1826, in part owing to ominous reports of Brazilian complicity in various reactionary plots being hatched in Europe. Moreover, the British Foreign Office continued to emphasize the menace of a republican coalition in conversations with Brazilian officials.27 The image of the Liberator’s unsheathing his dread sword was calculated to frighten Dom Pedro into a compromise on the Banda Oriental dispute. But this was mere prattle, as the imperial government was well aware. When Bolivar descended the Andes he rode west, not east, and with him went all likelihood of a coordinated attack on the empire. Behind him he left Brazil still intact and still monarchical.

The Cisplatine War

Although the projected republican coalition did not materialize, all of the South American countries continued to display a deep concern over the conflict between Brazil and Argentina. Both belligerents were aware of the potential help or harm that might emanate from the other republics. The United Provinces still sought allies, while Brazil belatedly undertook to defuse republican hostility.

Until the second half of 1825, the Brazilian government had scarcely taken notice of the South American states beyond the Plata region. In the entire continent Dom Pedro had sent ministers only to the United Provinces and to Paraguay. The latter country was the destination of the celebrated mission of Antônio Correia da Câmara, who futilely sought to persuade Dr. Francia to become Brazil’s ally in the coming war with Buenos Aires.28 The Chiquitos affair and the Argentine overture to Bolívar abruptly called the attention of the imperial government to the northern part of the continent. Not that the peril of an anti-Brazilian alliance sufficed to produce an alteration in the emperor’s Platine policy, for he was determined to retain the Banda Oriental at all cost. Dom Pedro continued to focus on the Plata and for more than two years prosecuted an unpopular war with Buenos Aires at considerable financial and political sacrifice. But the imperial government did take cognizance of the other South American states and initiated a campaign of reconciliation to soothe the feelings bruised by the incursion into Chiquitos.

As soon as the emperor received word of the annexation of the Upper Peruvian province, he categorically disavowed the action of his subjects in Mato Grosso as opposed to his “generous and liberal rinciples.”29 Within two weeks Rio de Janeiro requested that Great Britain mediate the Banda Oriental dispute,30 probably hoping to disarm the potential allies of Buenos Aires by displaying a willingness to seek a negotiated settlement. In an effort to placate Bolívar, Dom Pedro affirmed his desire to cultivate close ties with Gran Colombia and promised to send a plenipotentiary to the Panama Congress after the European nations had recognized Brazilian independence.31

When the emperor finally named a minister to Panama in January 1826, the appointment was seemingly a mere gesture. The British consul-general commented: “It is not intended that [the nominee] should set off immediately. In fact, from what the Minister [of Foreign Affairs] has told me, confidentially, the nomination may be considered as having been announced to the Publick more for the sake of saving appearances than for any other practical effect.” The British official understood that the appointee declined to accept the post,32 a fact subsequently affirmed by the imperial government. The government officially stated that a replacement would be named,33 but none was. By all appearances, Dom Pedro had no intention of participating in the discussions at Panama, where the Spanish American delegates would quite likely unite on the Banda Oriental question. As the largest country in South America, Brazil’s advantage lay not in promoting an institutionalized system of international relations but in pursuing a divide-and-rule strategy.34

Dom Pedro continued his efforts to thwart the formation of a republican coalition after the long-awaited war with the United Provinces broke out in December 1825. As part of the campaign of reconciliation, the imperial government sought to mollify the new republic of Bolivia by ordering authorities in Mato Grosso to return the silverwork and livestock carried off by royalist émigrés from Chiquitos.35 Rio de Janeiro also opened communication with Chile by appointing a chargé d’affaires to Santiago.36 Ultimately, the imperial government faced only Argentine and oriental troops in the Cisplatine, but this good fortune had little to do with the Brazilian gestures of friendship. The failure of Buenos Aires to find allies is attributable primarily to mutual suspicions among the republics and to the fact that the other Spanish American states had more pressing problems of their own.

Buenos Aires first turned to Chile for assistance. In March 1826 the Argentine minister to Santiago, Ignacio Alvarez Thomas, proposed that the Chilean government name a special minister to join the other republics in a joint protest to the emperor. Alvarez Thomas also asked that a body of Chilean troops be sent across the Andes and stationed in Argentine territory, presumably freeing Argentine troops for service in the Banda Oriental, and that the Chilean squadron be sent to raise the Brazilian blockade of the Plata.37 The Buenos Aires government subsequently instructed its agent to negotiate a treaty of perpetual alliance for mutual defense against foreign domination. By the terms of the proposed treaty, each party would be obliged to guarantee the other’s territorial integrity and to oppose any foreign power that tried to change by force the boundaries recognized before or after emancipation.38 That this was an effort to involve Chile in the war with Brazil was patently obvious to the Santiago chancellery, which displayed little interest.39 The Argentine government explained that it merely wished Chile to give “a moral example that would benefit the entire continent”; whether the treaty should be applied to the current war was a matter that could be settled later.40 On the basis of this understanding the document was signed in November 1826,41 but Chile supplied no aid to the United Provinces and, indeed, never ratified the treaty.42 Buenos Aires subsequently appealed to Bolivia for assistance, again without success, as will be related below.

As for the Colombian and Peruvian governments, their attitudes toward the Cisplatine war coincided while Bolívar commanded both, but later diverged. Even before the Liberator had left Bolivia, Santander and Revenga—the latter having replaced Gual as Minister of Foreign Relations when Gual departed to represent Gran Colombia in the Panama Congress—pressed forward with their program of incorporating the Brazilian empire into the American system that was to be established at Panama. The Bogotá chancellery openly sympathized with Buenos Aires but professed an absolute neutrality, arguing that the conflict in the Plata did not require that Gran Colombia furnish military assistance as stipulated in the casus foederis clause of the 1823 treaty with the United Provinces.43 Santander and Revenga did, however, attempt to persuade the belligerents to seek a peaceful resolution of the dispute. Concerned about the isolationism of Buenos Aires, they suggested that Peru join Gran Colombia in trying to gain the confidence of the Argentine leaders.44 Santander also appointed a minister to Brazil and made two of the principal objects of his mission the search for peace and the participation of the empire in the American congress.45

When Bolívar returned to Bogotá from a journey to pacify restless Venezuela and reassumed the direction of Gran Colombia in September 1827, he sustained Santander’s policy of conciliation. Informed of an Argentine proposal of an alliance with Bolivia, the Colombian government discouraged Bolivian participation in the war against Brazil. Revenga argued, in brief, that the Argentine leaders had made their own bed and must sleep in it. The United Provinces had refused to send delegates to the Panama Congress, where the Banda Oriental dispute might have been resolved without war, and therefore none of the other republics was obliged to come to the aid of Buenos Aires.46 Throughout the Cisplatine conflict, the Colombian government consistently encouraged the other republics to look on the Brazilian monarchy as an American state, and not as a tool of reactionary Europe.

Peruvian officials less easily swallowed their fears of the empire. In mid-1826 the Peruvian Minister of Foreign Relations, José María de Pando, voiced the familiar suspicion that the Holy Alliance was using Brazil to stifle the republican movement in America.47 While in Peru, Bolívar had cautioned that a Brazilian victory in the Plata could threaten the security of all the republics.48 Despite such apprehensions, the Peruvian government followed the lead of Gran Colombia and advocated a negotiated settlement of the Banda Oriental dispute through the American Congress at Panama.49 Moreover, Pando named Domingo Cáceres consul-general in Rio de Janeiro and instructed him to cultivate close ties with the empire and to assume the functions of chargé d’affaires if the imperial government would recognize him in that capacity. But it was indicative of continuing Peruvian fears of Brazil that the agent’s “most important task” was to investigate reports of the emperor’s involvement in reactionary plots against the republics.50

By mid-1827 Peruvian and Colombian views of the Cisplatine question and the Brazilian monarchy had diverged sharply. When Peru bolted from the Liberator’s stable in early 1827, the solidarity of the Bolivarian states was shattered and replaced by a bitter rivalry between Peru on the one hand and Gran Colombia and Bolivia on the other. As a result, the northern republics abandoned their detached attitudes toward the conflict in the Plata. Just as the Banda Oriental dispute had shaped Argentine and Brazilian diplomacy with regard to the other South American countries, so now the international tensions in the north shaped Peruvian, Bolivian, and Colombian diplomacy with regard to Argentina, Brazil, and Chile.

The Peruvian-Colombian-Bolivian Conflict

The origins of the clash between Peru and Gran Colombia lay partly in a territorial dispute; both nations claimed the provinces of Mainas and Jaén, and Peru coveted the port of Guayaquil, which had been annexed by Gran Colombia in 1822. Peruvian disaffection with Bolivar also contributed to the impasse. Entranced with his scheme of welding Gran Colombia, Peru, and Bolivia into an Andean Federation under his Bolivian constitution, the Liberator succeeded in having Peru adopt the constitution in December 1826. By then he had already returned to Gran Colombia, which he planned to bring under the same charter. But in late January 1827, an anti-Bolivarist coup in Lima overturned the constitution and took Peru out of the Liberator’s sphere of influence. The new government rejected Bolívar’s personal leadership, his authoritarian political model, and his championship of Colombian hegemony. Relations between Peru and Gran Colombia worsened steadily during 1827 and 1828.51

The Peruvian break with Bolívar also enhanced the likelihood of conflict with Bolivia. In addition to the usual disagreement over common borders, the two countries were now separated by differing ideologies and attitudes toward the Liberator. Sucre, a Colombian and Bolívar’s most loyal partisan, presided over the Bolivian state, an authoritarian political system designed by Bolivar himself. Moreover, a Colombian army remained in Bolivia to support Sucre’s regime. The Peruvian leaders thus saw themselves flanked by a Colombian satellite and feared, probably correctly, that Bolivia would hurry to the aid of Gran Colombia in the event of war. By mid-1827 Lima was searching for diplomatic support to check the threat posed by Bolívar and Sucre.

As one step in the reorientation of its foreign policy, the Peruvian government stifled the recent rapprochement with Brazil and began to court Buenos Aires. The Argentine consul in Lima reported that President José de La Mar held “an intimate conviction that our dispute is not only for the Banda Oriental but also for the principles of the American system, and that its outcome will be transcendental for the American States.”52 The Peruvian leaders, according to the consul, believed that Bolívar and Dom Pedro intended to divide the continent into “two great Empires”; viewing Brazil as Colombia’s ally, the Peruvian government gave the impression that it was now willing to take an active role in the Cisplatine war.53 The Lima chancellery transferred Cáceres from Rio de Janeiro to Buenos Aires, but then recalled the agent on the suspicion that he was too closely linked to the Liberator.54 In February 1828 the Peruvian Minister of Foreign Relations instructed Andrés Santa Cruz, Cáceres’ successor, to improve ties with the Argentine government but to resist requests for military assistance against Brazil, for “now more than ever we should avoid attracting such a powerful enemy,”55

Chile also became involved in the realignment. Before the end of 1826 the Chilean government had come to suspect that Bolívar’s ambitions would not be limited to the countries already under his sway. In April 1827 the Santiago chancellery commissioned an agent to negotiate a treaty with Peru, providing for reciprocal commercial advantages and for a defensive alliance, the latter inspired largely by fears of the Liberator.56 When Peru sought to purchase ships and munitions in Chile in November 1827, the Chilean government asserted that its own independence would be threatened by a war between Peru and Gran Colombia and indicated its readiness “to make a common cause with Peru” in such a case. Santiago suggested that the Peruvian government accept the treaty proposed seven months earlier.57 The Chilean minister in Lima, however, departed from his instructions and omitted the article calling for military assistance in time of war. Such action seemed necessary, he explained to the Minister of Foreign Relations, in order to avoid involving Chile in Peru’s impending clash with Gran Colombia and Bolivia. The minister feared that Bolívar would triumph and reestablish his control over Peru, in which case the Liberator would abrogate the treaty and close Peru to Chilean commerce.58 In any event, the negotiations were not concluded in time to affect the conflict between Peru and Gran Colombia.

Meanwhile, Peru’s independent foreign policy was having repercussions in Bolivia and Argentina. In February 1827 an anonymous letter published in El Cóndor de Bolivia advocated the union of Argentina, Chile, and Bolivia in a federation to oppose the power of Brazil. “If this project is realized,” wrote the author, “America will certainly rest with surety of peace; because, with Brazil’s power contained, which is the object deserving of the greatest attention, the equilibrium will remain very well protected.”59 Sucre, observing that the suggestion found popular backing in Bolivia, adopted the idea as an alternative to Bolívar’s Andean Federation, which was not feasible because of Peruvian hostility and lack of public support in Bolivia.60 Very quickly, however, Sucre discarded the original rationale. Instead of pointing to the Brazilian danger, he justified the federation in terms of “the interests of Bolivia, of Colombia, and of America,” and by November he had come to view the rapprochement with the southern powers as a counterweight to the growing threat of Peru.61

In mid-1827 Sucre named Dean Gregorio Funes, a native Argentine and stalwart Bolivarist who was already serving as the Colombian minister in Buenos Aires, to the post of Bolivian minister in the same capital. Through Funes, Sucre broached the subject of an alliance of Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile, and suggested that the participation of his country in the war against Brazil could be arranged by treaty.62 He did not specifically request Argentine support in his differences with the maverick government of Peru; but his correspondence reveals clearly his hope that the alliance would strengthen his regime from the designs of Lima. From Santiago, Andrés Santa Cruz interpreted Sucre’s overture to Buenos Aires as an attempt to form “an anti-popular and very particularly an anti-Peruvian pact.”63

The Argentine Minister of Foreign Relations responded eagerly to Sucre’s suggestion. The emperor’s usurpation of the Banda Oriental, wrote the minister, should make it obvious to the American states “that the peace and security of all will constantly be threatened by that voracious Power that is rising in the heart of the Continent.” On behalf of the Argentine government he proposed an offensive-defensive alliance; in the meantime, he suggested that Bolivia prepare “all the forces necessary to attack Brazil on the Mato Grosso border, so as to carry war and insurrection to the heart of the Empire and to combine with the forces of the Argentine Republic to menace the Emperor in his very capital.”64 The election of Manuel Dorrego, another Bolivarist and a personal friend of Sucre, to the governorship of the province of Buenos Aires in August facilitated the rapprochement. In several letters to the Bolivian president, Dorrego echoed the sentiments expressed by the Argentine Minister of Foreign Relations, and dispatched an agent to Chuquisaca to negotiate the alliance.65 The agent, Francisco Ignacio Bustos, found Sucre favorably disposed toward his government. But in March 1828, Buenos Aires, having decided that peace with Brazil was imminent, ordered Bustos to withdraw the proposal for a Bolivian strike into Mato Grosso.66

By this time Sucre counted on the support of Gran Colombia to deter Peru from invading Bolivia.67 When the anticipated invasion came, however, neither Gran Colombia nor Buenos Aires came to his aid. Taking advantage of a military rebellion in Chuquisaca, the Peruvian army crossed the border on May 1, 1828. The Bolivian army offered little resistance and capitulated in early July. The major points of the peace treaty provided for the departure of Sucre and all foreign-born troops and for the abrogation of the Bolivian constitution.68

Ideological differences, evidenced by frequent diatribes against the life-time presidency of the Bolivian constitution, contributed to the Peruvian decision to invade Bolivia. Far more important, however, was the conviction that Sucre would attack Peru in support of his mentor, Bolívar.69 From this perspective the Peruvians saw the action as a preemptive strike to eliminate an enemy in the south before facing a more dangerous enemy in the north. Several facts suggest that the invasion of Bolivia was prompted by fears of Gran Colombia. For one thing, Peruvian leaders justified the invasion in terms of strategic considerations and of ending the “Colombian domination” and “foreign tutelage” of Bolivia.70 Secondly, as soon as Sucre had been removed from the presidency, Lima began negotiations to secure the use of Bolivian troops in the coming war with Gran Colombia.71 And thirdly, Peru used the peace treaty with Bolivia to continue the courtship of Buenos Aires, who was seen as a potential ally in the dispute with Bolívar. By the treaty both parties agreed to have no relations with Brazil until the latter made peace with Argentina.72

Soon after learning of the Peruvian invasion of Bolivia, the Colombian government undertook to strengthen relations with Brazil. The Minister of Foreign Relations instructed the Colombian agent in London to cultivate his Brazilian counterpart in that capital.73 Bolívar, reflecting on the necessity of a war against Peru, revealed the new attitude when he wrote that “we should be grateful to the Brazilian emperor, who has always shown himself rather favorably disposed towards us.”74 Later in the year the Colombian government appointed Juan María Gómez as the new minister to the Brazilian court.

The instructions issued to Gómez in November 1828 show that, on the one hand, the Liberator hoped that a treaty with Brazil would help Gran Colombia obtain the recognition of Spain and the other European monarchies. On the other, Bolívar saw in Brazil a formidable ally in South America. As the Minister of Foreign Relations wrote Gómez, “Colombia can no longer count on the other states of America for anything, because some show disdain [and] others an outright aversion; only from Brazil can she hope for something…” The Colombian government had attempted to develop its foreign policy in concert with the other republics, wrote the minister, but their obstructionism had at last induced Bolívar to recall the Colombian representative to the Panama Congress; “having considered the perfidy of some, the indifference of others, and one may say the repugnance of all to handle their affairs in common, the Liberator has thought it proper that Colombia concentrate on herself and promote her [own] happiness without heeding the interests of the others.” The keystone of the independent foreign policy of Gran Colombia was to be a Brazilian alliance:

There is no doubt that these two states are the strongest in America, nor that they are more stable and have more resources for their defense; united in friendship, at least in opinion, the strength of each will be augmented by that of the other. It is true that [the alliance] may engender some jealousy and mistrust among the other states: but they would restrain themselves for fear of a league beween Brazil and Colombia, which would take place if they for some reason began a war.

Gómez was instructed to remind the imperial government that Gran Colombia had for years manifested her desire for peace, whereas Peru had forced Bolivia to break relations with Brazil.75

In searching for support in the dispute with Peru, Bolívar had come to propose the creation of a Bogotá-Rio de Janeiro axis. This bore some resemblance to the scheme, earlier attributed to him, of dividing South America into “two great empires,” although his suggestion referred to a geopolitical arrangement rather than to a territorial division. The proposal reveals how completely Bolívar had rejected the internationalism of the Panama Congress. It also provides a hint of disillusionment with republican institutions; whether or not he had become a monarchist, as some allege, Bolívar admired the stability of the Brazilian monarchy in contrast to the unruly (and ungrateful) politics of the republics.76

The Liberator’s project to establish a Bogotá-Rio de Janeiro axis, like his earlier projects to establish an American league and an Andean Federation, did not come to fruition. Although Brazil and Gran Colombia exchanged ministers, the alliance was never seriously discussed.

The long-awaited war between Gran Colombia and Peru finally opened with a naval engagement in August 1828, but lasted only until an armistice was signed in July of the following year. As in the case of the Cisplatine war, other nations feared that the conflict might have lamentable consequences for the entire continent. In November 1828 Argentina asked the Chilean government to join her in an offer to mediate the dispute.77 Chile accepted and invited Bolivia to participate as well,78 but the mediation was never undertaken.79 Rio de Janeiro also intended to offer its services as mediator;80 by the time the Brazilian minister arrived in Bogotá, however, the Colombian and Peruvian governments had already resolved their differences. Once again a conflict had remained regional despite the search for allies and the interest displayed by countries far from the theater of war.


This brief survey of the diplomacy of the 1820s prompts several observations. First of all, the war in the Plata and the rivalry among the Bolivarian states reveal a number of critical issues of intra-South American relations during the early years of independence: (1) Both conflicts involved disputes over the delineation of common borders. Virtually every one of the new states disagreed with its neighbors over the location of boundaries, but in these two cases other issues compounded the territorial question. (2) Commercial advantages were at stake, since both disputes encompassed rivalries over major seaports, Montevideo and Guayaquil. No other border arguments called into question the possession of lands of such immediate commercial value. (3) Ideological differences intensified both conflicts: in the one case, the republican United Provinces versus monarchical Brazil; in the other, the “purist” republicans of Peru versus the “authoritarian” regimes of Gran Colombia and Bolivia, which the Peruvians considered near-monarchies in republican guise. (4) Considerations of relative power weighed heavily in the formulation of foreign policy. The correspondence of major leaders repeatedly betrays a deep apprehension that some rival state might dominate its neighbors. Fears of Brazil, who enjoyed superior population, resources, and territorial extent, were particularly strong. In reality, no state wielded sufficient power to achieve hegemony. That both conflicts were limited to the original disputants does not indicate that considerations of relative power were unimportant, but rather suggests that policy-makers correctly perceived that neither war threatened the equilibrium.

Second, despite difficulties of communication, there existed a profound awareness of interlocking interests. In both the Cisplatine war and the Peruvian-Colombian-Bolivian conflict, the participants sought military assistance or diplomatic support, or both, and seldom hesitated to look across the continent for help. Argentina appealed to Gran Colombia, Chile, and Bolivia. Brazil turned only to her neighbor Paraguay, but her failure to seek allies elsewhere is not surprising in view of the general backing that Buenos Aires received from the other republics in the Banda Oriental dispute. Bolivia sought a union with Argentina and Chile, Peru courted the same two countries, and Gran Colombia proposed an alliance with Brazil. Although these appeals proved unsuccessful, the non-belligerents followed the conflicts with concern, believing that any war adversely affected the peace and stability of the entire continent. Gran Colombia energetically tried to mediate the Cisplatine war, and Argentina, Chile, and Brazil attempted to settle the dispute between Gran Colombia and Peru.

Third, international alignments were flexible, as evidenced by the frequent shifting of alliances and proposals of alliances in response to changing situations. Fourth, competition for relative advantage according to the principles of power politics took place throughout the decade. The search for allies, in which the divide-and-rule maxim was utilized, is the most obvious case. The Argentine appeal to a Spanish American proto-nationalism in 1825 provides another example. By invoking the ancient hatred of the Portuguese, the Argentine leaders attempted to isolate Brazil and thereby make sure that their own definition of international boundaries prevailed. Bolivar responded to this appeal, which he saw as a means of preserving the Spanish American unity forged during the wars for independence. Ultimately, however, each of the republics pursued its own interests rather than embark on a joint crusade against the Brazilian monarchy.

Fifth, coordination of the war against Spain, competition for control over territory, ideological differences, and contemplation of the shape of the continent in the post-war era kept intra-South American relations among the highest priorities of the insurgent governments, efforts to secure European and North American credits and recognition notwithstanding. By the end of 1825 the problem of recognition was quickly being resolved, and the new states had less reason to focus their attention on Europe and the United States. Moreover, international forces such as ideologies often blurred the conceptual distinction between relations among the South American states and relations with outside powers. The discussions between Bolívar and Buenos Aires in 1825 reveal that South American power politics could be viewed within a broader matrix. The Argentine and Colombian governments perceived the question of Brazil’s relationship to the republics to be linked directly to the question of Europe’s relationship to America; that is, the ideological issue of monarchism versus republicanism defined, to some degree, a specific problem of power politics in South America.

Sixth, domestic and continental concerns predominated over external influences in the formulation of foreign policy during the 1820s. True, in their search for credits, recognition, and diplomatic support, the new states often catered to foreign powers, particularly Great Britain, who derived more immediate benefits from Latin American independence than any other foreign nation. All of the broadest goals of British policy were realized: the protection of the rebellious colonies from the territorial ambitions of non-Iberian powers, the acquisition of advantageous trading rights, and the survival of the Brazilian monarchy. But in its major test of the 1820s—the Banda Oriental dispute—British policy proved less than efficacious. Great Britain failed to prevent the outbreak of war, suffered severe commercial losses due to the Brazilian blockade of the Plata, and could not mediate a settlement until both sides had come to realize that a military solution was not feasible. Moreover, British policy was not directly responsible for limiting the war to Argentina and Brazil. Although Bolívar showed concern for the attitude of Great Britain toward an anti-Brazilian campaign, his rejection of the Argentine proposal seems to have been motivated principally by his own suspicions of the Buenos Aires government and by the opposition of Santander. Likewise, the failure of Chile and Bolivia to answer the Argentine appeal for aid had no apparent link to British policy.

Not even Great Britain could control the decision-making processes of the South American governments in the first decades after independence.81 The inability of national elites to create viable nation-states deprived foreign powers of the opportunity to apply leverage to shape policies. The absence of political and economic integration made the South American countries less, not more, susceptible to control from the outside. Indeed, external influences were undoubtedly stronger during the second half of the century, when national oligarchies consolidated political power in order to promote (and profit from) the development of the export sector. These oligarchies operated in close alliance with foreign governments and businessmen, and under their rule policy formulation was far more vulnerable to outside pressures than it had been earlier.

Seventh, the requisite conditions for the kind of system that Burr describes were lacking. None of the new governments possessed the capacity for the rapid and effective exercise of power and for communicating its intent quickly and clearly to another government. The Panama Congress, by which Bolívar sought to institutionalize international relations, might have provided a mechanism for the peaceful resolution of disputes but could not have overcome this fundamental problem. Moreover, although the notion of an “American system” encompassing the entire continent found adherents in every country except Paraguay, the strength of national rivalries precluded the collaboration necessary for the Panama Congress, which failed precisely because of a general unwillingness to risk the subordination of national interests to the common good. The governments of Argentina and Chile feared that the congress would serve to establish Colombian hegemony, and the Brazilian leaders saw nothing to be gained from facing the republics en masse. Such an institutionalized system would have limited each country’s freedom of action, since it would have emphasized cooperation rather than competition and would have facilitated multilateral action against a single nation. The failure of the Panama Congress ensured that each country would remain free to pursue its goals as its abilities and resources permitted. Argentina, Brazil, and Chile aspired to continental leadership, and each preferred the divide-and-rule principle to the confining arrangement proposed by Bolívar.

By the end of the 1820s the Utopian visions of the revolutionaries of 1810 had surrendered to internal turmoil and a triumphant localism. A dispatch from the Chilean agent in Lima in January 1829 poignantly captured the uncertainty of political life: “In a single day (the twenty-eighth of this month) there was received in this capital the unpleasant news of the shooting of the President of Buenos Aires [Dorrego], and the beheading of the President of Bolivia, General [Pedro] Blanco.”82 The revolutionary generation beheld its brave new world with despair. The best-known expression of this disillusionment is Bolivar’s celebrated lament, “He who follows a revolution plows the sea. America, for us, is ungovernable.”83 Pedro Gual, who with Bolívar was the principal architect of Gran Colombia’s internationalist foreign policy, also bore witness to wasted dreams. From among the ruins of the American congress in Mexico, Gual surveyed the wreckage of the hemisphere and complained, “The ills of my country and of all America have battered my spirit and sickened my body beyond all exaggeration.”84

As the new polities disintegrated, so did the ideal of a continental system of power politics. Only in the second half of the century, when profound economic changes ushered in a new political era, would a continental system emerge.


By Reason or Force: Chile and the Balancing of Power in South America, 1830-1905 (Berkeley, 1965), pp. 3-10. See also Burr’s earlier studies, “The Balance of Power in Nineteenth-Century South America: An Exploratory Essay,” HAHR, 35 (Feb. 1955), 37-60, and The Stillborn Panama Congress: Power Politics and Chilean-Colombian Relations during the War of the Pacific (Berkeley, 1962), pp. 7-31. For a critique of Burr’s work, see Thomas M. Bader, “The Chancellery and the Change-Purse: A Skeptic’s View of the Applicability of a ‘Balance of Power’ Concept to Nineteenth Century South America,” in Pacific Coast Council on Latin American Studies (hereafter cited as PCCLAS), Proceedings, III: Changing Perspectives on Latin America (San Diego, 1974), pp. 45-54. For Burr’s rejoinder, see “Commentary on the Papers of Professors Harm and Bader,” Ibid., pp. 55-72.


Burr, By Reason or Force, p. 1.


[Antonio José de Sucre] to Agustín de Otondo (Draft), Chuquisaca, May 14, 1825, Bo-AN, Ministerio del Interior, tomo 8, no. 63.


José Rafael Revenga to Colombian Ministre de Relaciones Exteriores (hereafter cited as MRE), (No. 46), London, May 27, 1823, and accompanying document, Revenga to Antonio Gonçalves da Cruz (Copy), London, May 16, 1823, Co-ADC, tomo 475, fls. 54, 56.


Juan García del Río and Diego [i.e., James] Paroissien to Peruvian MRE (No. 73), London, Jan. 4, 1823, Pe-AMRE, 1823, carpeta 5-17, no. 4.


Gaceta de Colombia (Bogotá), Oct. 26, 1823.


Pedro Gual to Manuel José Hurtado (No. 45), Bogotá, Feb. 28, 1825, Co-ADC, tomo 476, fl. 106. Hurtado to Manoel Rodrigues Gameiro Pessoa (English trans.), [London], June 7, 1825, GB-PRO, Foreign Office (hereafter cited as FO) 13/14, fls. 6-8.


Harold A. Bierck, Jr., Vida pública de don Pedro Gual, (Caracas, 1947), pp. 323-327; Gerhard Masur, Simón Bolívar (2nd ed.; Albuquerque, 1969), pp. 410-414; Víctor Andrés Belaúnde, Bolívar and the Political Thought of the Spanish American Revolution (reprint; New York, 1967), pp. 259-267.


Simón Bolívar to Miguel de La Torre, Cúcuta, Feb. 19, 1821, in Cartas del Libertador, 8 vols. (2nd ed.; Caracas, 1964-1970), III, 34; Bolívar to Francisco de Paula Santander, Lima, Feb. 9, 1825, Ibid., IV, 252.


Bolívar to Sucre, Lima, Jan. 20, 1825, Ibid., pp. 243-244.


Bolívar to Santander, Lima, Feb. 9, 1825, Ibid., p. 252.


”Ensayo sobre la necesidad de una federación jeneral entre los estados hispano-americanos. Obra póstuma,” in Sociedad de la Unión Americana de Santiago de Chile, Colección de ensayos i documentes relatives a la unión i confederatión de los pueblos hispano-americanos (Santiago, 1862), pp. 167-168.


Ron L. Seckinger, “The Chiquitos Affair: An Aborted Crisis in Brazilian-Bolivian Relations,” huso-Brazilian Review, 11 (Summer 1974), 19-26.


Ibid., pp. 27-28.


By early 1826 the Colombian delegates to the Panama Congress had come to accept this interpretation. [Gual and Pedro Briceño Méndez to Revenga] (No. 6, Copy), Panama, Feb. 20, 1826, Co-ADC, tomo 608. See Julio César González, “Las Provincias Unidas del Río de la Plata y el Congreso de Panamá,” Trabajos y Comunicaciones, 12 [1964], 29-91.


Bolívar to Santander, Puno, Aug. 6, 1825, in Cartas del Libertador, IV, 411. Emphasis in original. In calling Pedro a Bourbon, Bolívar was apparently referring to the fact that the emperor’s mother, Carlota Joaquina, was the sister of Ferdinand VII of Spain.


Bolívar to Gregorio Funes, Arequipa, May 28, 1825, Ibid., p. 334. Carlos de Alvear’s notes of conference with Bolívar, Potosí, Oct. 8, 1825, in Ernesto Restelli, comp., La gestión diplomática del general de Alvear en el Alto Perú: Misión Alvear-Díaz Vélez, 182S-1827 (Buenos Aires, 1927), p. 128.


Charles Stuart to George Canning (No. 57), Rio de Janeiro, Aug. 16, 1825, GB-PRO, FO 13/4, fls. 98-103. Henry Chamberlain to Canning (Separate), Rio de Janeiro, April 22, 1826, in C. K. Webster, ed., Britain and the Independence of Latin America, 1812-1830, 2 vols. (London, 1938), I, 308.


Alvear to Manuel José García, Potosí, Oct. 23, 1825, in Gregorio F. Rodríguez, comp., Contributión histórica y documental, 3 vols. (Buenos Aires, 1921), II, 141.


Bolivar to Santander, Potosí, Oct. 21, 1825, in Cartas del Libertador. IV, 486.


Vidaurre to Bolívar, Panama, Nov. 16, 1825, in Simón B. O’Leary, ed., Memorias del general O’Leary, 32 vols. (Caracas, 1879-1888), X, 383. Emphasis in original.


Bolívar to Santander, Magdalena, June 23, 1826, in Cartas del Libertador, V, 176. Emphasis in original. For Santander’s views, see Santander to Bolívar, Bogotá, Oct. 6 and 20, Nov. 6 and 21, Dec. 6, 1825, Jan. 6 and 21, Feb. 6, 1826, in Roberto Cortázar, comp., Cartas y mensajes de Santander, 10 vols. (Bogotá, 1953-1956), V, 364, 367, 374-376, 383, 393; VI, 36-37, 79-80, 114. For a discussion of the differences between the international politics of Santander and Bolívar, see David Bushneil, “Santanderismo y bolivarismo: dos matices en pugna,” Desarrollo Económico, 8 (July–Dec. 1968), 258-260.


Patrick Campbell to Canning (No. 16), Bogotá, Sept. 7, 1825, GB-PRO, FO 18/14, fls. 189-193. Gual to Hurtado (No. 70), [Bogotá], Sept. 9, 1825, Co-ADC, tomo 476, fls. 191-194.


Canning to Bolívar (Spanish trans.), London, March 20, 1826, in O’Leary, ed., Memorias del general O’Leary, XII, 263-264. Concerning British policy toward Brazil, see C. K. Webster, “Introduction,” in Britain and the Independence of Latin America, I, 53-71; Alan K. Manchester, British Preëminence in Brazil: Its Rise and Decline (Chapel Hill, 1933), pp. 136-158, 186-219; William W. Kaufmann, British Policy and the Independence of Latin America, 1804-1828 (New Haven, 1951), pp. 182-200; Caio de Freitas, George Canning e o Brasil, 2 vols. (São Paulo, 1960), especially I, 330-336.


García to [Alvear and José Miguel Díaz Vélez], Buenos Aires, Dec. 3, 1825, in Restelli, ed., La gestión diplomática, p. 149. On the mission of Alvear and Díaz Vélez, see the following works: [Daniel F. O’Leary], Narración, II (Vol. XXVIII of Memorias del general O’Leary), 422-441; Arnaldo Vieira de Mello, Bolívar, o Brasil e os nossos vizinhos do Prata: Da questão de Chiquitos à guerra da Cisplatina (Rio de Janeiro, 1963), pp. 183-216; Humberto Vásquez-Machicado, “La invasión brasilera a Chiquitos y la diplomacia argentina de 1825,” II Congreso International de Historia de América, 6 vols. (Buenos Aires, 1938), IV, 371-400; Thomas B. Davis, Jr., Carlos de Alvear, Man of Revolution: The Diplomatic Career of Argentina’s First Minister to the United States (Durham, N.C., 1955), pp. 62-83; Juan Miguel Bákula, “El establecimiento de relaciones diplomáticas entre el Perú y el Brasil,” Revista Peruana de Derecho Internacional, 7 (Jan.–June 1947), 82-113.


C M. Ricketts to Canning (Secret), Lima, Feb. 18, 1826, in Webster, ed., Britain and the Independence of Latin America, I, 534-535. Bolivar to Alvear, Magdalena, March 13, 1826, in Rodríguez, comp., Contribución histórica, II, 167.


Canning to Lord Ponsonby (No. 3), London, March 18, 1826, in Webster, ed., Britain and the Independence of Latin America, I, 140-143. Ponsonby to Visconde de Inhambupe (Private), Rio de Janeiro, June 4, 1826, Br-AHI, lata 223, maço 2, pasta 17. Canning to Robert Gordon (No. 5, Draft), London, Aug. 1, 1826, GB-PRO, FO 13/25, fls. 92-93.


On Correia da Câmara’s mission to Paraguay, see the following: John Henry Hann, “Brazil and the Río de la Plata, 1808-1828” (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Texas, 1967), pp. 397-404; R. Antonio Ramos, La política del Brasil en el Paraguay bajo la dictadura del Dr. Francia (2nd ed.; Buenos Aires, 1959), pp. 78-178; John Hoyt Williams, “Paraguayan Isolation under Dr. Francia: A Re-evaluation,” HAHR, 52 (Feb. 1972), 110-112.


Decree of Aug. 6, 1825, in Diário Fluminense (Rio de Janeiro), Aug. 6, 1825, p. 121.


Luis José Carvalho e Melo to [Stuart] (Copy), [Rio de Janeiro, Aug. 17, 1825], GB-PRO, FO 13/4, fls. 113-115.


Carvalho e Melo to Gameiro Pessoa (No. 58), Rio de Janeiro, Aug. 18, 1825, in Arquivo diplomático da independência, 6 vols. (Rio de Janeiro, 1922), I, 118-119. Gameiro Pessoa to Hurtado (Copy), London, Oct. 30, 1825, GB-PRO, FO 13/4, fls. 56-57.


Chamberlain to Canning (No. 20), Rio de Janeiro, Feb. 9, 1826, GB-PRO, FO 13/22, fl. 139.


Chamberlain to Canning (No. 56), Rio de Janeiro, June 19, 1826, GB-PRO, FO 13/23, fl. 260.


See John H. Harm, “Burr’s Model Applied: The Balance of Power in the Río de la Plata, Brazil’s Role,” in PCCLAS, Proceedings, III, 31-44.


Inhambupe to José Saturnino da Costa Pereira, Rio de Janeiro, Feb. 21, 1826, in Diário Fluminense, March 14, 1826, p. 232. [Inhambupe] to Saturnino (Draft), Rio de Janeiro, May 31, 1826, Br-AHI, maço 308/2/15.


Inhambupe to Visconde de Paranaguá, Rio de Janeiro, Jan. 26, 1826, in Diário Fluminense, March 8, 1826, p. 213.


Ignacio Alvarez Thomas to Ventura Blanco Encalada, Santiago, March 18, 1826, Ch-AMRE, Argentina, tomo 7, fl. 47.


Bernardino Rivadavia to Alvarez Thomas, Buenos Aires, May 1, 1826, in Rodríguez, comp., Contributión histórica, II, 185.


Alvarez Thomas to Francisco de la Cruz, Santiago, July 1, 1826, Ar-AGN, Sala X, legajo 1-8-10.


Rivadavia to Alvarez Thomas, Buenos Aires, Aug. 8, 1826, in Rodríguez, comp., Contributión histórica, II, 186-187.


Alvarez Thomas to Cruz (No. 39), Santiago, Dec. 1, 1826, Ar-AGN, Sala X, legajo 1-8-10.


Manuel V. de Maza to Sebastián Lezica (Copy), Buenos Aires, Nov. 5, 1832, Ar-AGN, Sala X, tomo 1-10-13, fls. 161-162.


Gaceta de Colombia, Jan. 1 and Nov. 12, 1826. Revenga to Gual and Briceño Méndez, Bogotá, April 8, 1826, Co-ADC, tomo 606, fls. 100-103.


Revenga to Cristóval Armero (Very Secret, Copy), [Bogotá], March 4, 1826, Co-ADC, tomo 259, fl. 38. Armero to Peruvian MRE (Copy), Lima, May 16, 1826, Co-ADC, tomo 257, fls. 63-64. Santander to Bolívar, Bogotá, March 6, 1826, in Cortázar, comp., Cartas y mensajes de Santander, VI, 190.


Revenga to Leandro Palacios, Bogotá, March 29, June 6 and 27, 1826, Co-ADC, tomo 158, fls. 1, 3-13, 16-18. Revenga to Palacios (Copy), [Bogotá], April 9, 1826, Co-ADC, tomo 50, fls. 2-3. See also Pedro A. Zubieta, Apuntaciones sobre las primeras misiones diplomáticas de Colombia: Primero y segundo períodos-1809-1819-1830 (Bogotá, 1924), pp. 532-540.


Revenga to Bolivian MRE, Bogotá, Jan. 8, 1828, Bo-AMREC, tomo CAV-5-R-l.


Document quoting José María de Pando, accompanying Pando to Hipólito Unanue and José de Larrea y Loredo, Lima, June 29, 1826, in O’Leary, ed., Memorias del general O’Leary, XXIV, 8. Belaúnde, Bolívar and the Political Thought of the Spanish American Revolution, pp. 276-277, attributes the document to Pando and emphasizes his perception of a Brazilian threat.


Bolívar to Santander, Magdalena, April 7, 1826, in Cartas del Libertador, V, 79-82; Bolívar to Funes, Magdalena, July 1, 1826, Ibid., p. 186.


Vidaurre to Tomás Guido, [Panama], April 8, 1826, in Archive Diplomático Peruano (hereafter cited as ADP), Tomo I: El Congreso de Panamá, 1826 (Lima, 1930), pp. 474–179. Pando to Armero (Copy), Lima, May 18, 1826, Co-ADC, tomo 257, fls. 61-62.


Pando to Cáceres, [Lima], Aug. 10, 1826, ADP, I, 86-88.


Jorge Basadre, Historia de la república del Perú, 1822-1933, 10 vols. (6th ed. rev.; Lima, 1968), I, 157-195, 295-297; Zubieta, Apuntaciones, pp. 162-175.


Estanislao Lynch to Cruz (No. 59), Aug. 23, 1827, Ar-AGMREC, Misiones, caja 15.


Lynch to Argentine MRE (No. 68), Lima, Sept. 30, 1827, Ar-AGN, Sala X, legajo 1-9-2. The notion of a scheme to divide South America between Brazil and Gran Colombia was fabricated by Manuel Vidaurre and subsequently reported by diplomats in London, Rio de Janeiro, and Baltimore. Vidaurre to Santander, Lima, Jan. 29, 1827, in El Peruano (Lima), Feb. 21, 1827, p. 2.


Manuel del Rio to Argentine MRE, Lima, May 22, 1827, Ar-AGN, Sala X, legajo 1-9-1. Lynch to Argentine MRE (No. 61), Lima, Sept. 14, 1827, Ar-AGMREC, Misiones, caja 15. José de Riglos to Argentine MRE (No. 5), Lima, Jan. 16, 1828, Ar-AGN, Sala X, legajo 1-9-3.


Francisco Javier Mariátegui to [Santa Cruz] (Copy), Lima, Feb. 14, 1828, Pe-AMRE, 1828, carpeta 5-2. Santa Cruz never arrived in Buenos Aires; he was in Santiago de Chile, his secondary post, when he was elected president of Bolivia in August 1828 and returned directly to assume his duties. See Philip T. Parkerson, “La misión diplomática de Andrés Santa Cruz en Chile, en 1828,” Presencia Literaria (La Paz), June 17, 1974.


Manuel José Gandarillas to Pedro Trujillo (Copy), Santiago, April 1, 1827, Ch-AN, Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores (hereafter cited as MinRE), vol. 21, fl. 3. Juan Francisco de Zegers to Mariano Egaña (Nos. 249 and 250, Copies), Santiago, May 22 and June 5, 1827, Ch-AMRE, Argentina, tomo 10, fls. 6-8.


Zegers to Peruvian MRE (Copy), Santiago, Dec. 10, 1827, Ch-AMRE, Peru, tomo 12, fls. 5-6.


Trujillo to Chilean MRE (No. 48, Secret), Lima, Jan. 21, 1828, Ch-AMRE, Perú, tomo 7, fls. 235-236. On the Trujillo mission to Lima, see Alberto Cruchaga Ossa, Estudios de historia diplomática chilena ([Santiago], 1962), pp. 79-91.


El Cóndor de Bolivia (Chuquisaca), Feb. 1, 1827, p. 3.


Sucre to Bolívar, La Paz, March 11, 1827, in O’Leary, ed., Memorias del general O’Leary, I, 424.


Sucre to Bolívar, Potosí, June 4, 1827, and Chuquisaca, Nov. 12, 1827, Ibid., pp. 432-433, 467.


Sucre to Funes, Chuquisaca, Nov. 22, Dec. 7 and 22, 1827, Ar-AGN, Sala VII, Archivo del Gral. Tomás Guido, legajo 16-1-8. These letters refer to Sucre’s earlier communications with Funes, which have not been located. For a copy of the project of federation, dated La Paz, April 4, 1827, see GB-PRO, FO 61/11, fl. 323.


Santa Cruz to Peruvian MRE (No. 8), Santiago, May 12, 1828, Pe-AMRE, 1828, carpeta 5-4.


Manuel Balcarce to Bolivian MRE, Buenos Aires, July 10, 1827, Bo-AN, MinRE, Bolivia-Argentina, tomo 1, no. 9.


Dorrego to [Sucre], Buenos Aires, Sept. 3, Oct. 26, and Nov. 4, 1827, Bo-AN, MinRE, Bolivia-Argentina, tomo 1, no. 8. “Instrucciones que deberá observar … Francisco Ygnacio Bustos, …” Mss, Buenos Aires, Nov. 3, 1827, Ar-AGN, Sala X, legajo 1-9-5.


Bustos to Argentine MRE (Nos. 5, 7, and 13), Chuquisaca, Feb. 7, April 6, and May 7, 1828, Ar-AGN, Sala X, legajo 1-9-5. Juan Ramón Balcarce to Bustos (No. 3, Copy), Buenos Aires, March 26, 1828, Ar-AGN, Sala X, tomo 44-5-40, fl. 173. On the Bustos mission, see Carlos Gonzalo de Saavedra, El Deán Funes y la creación de Bolivia (La Paz, 1972), pp. 39-48; and Miguel Angel Cárcano, La política internacional en la historia argentina (4 vols, to date; Buenos Aires, 1972-1973), Libro III, La república unitaria, 1811-1828, Tomo II, 1314-1317.


Sucre to Juan José Flores, La Paz, Jan. 26 and Feb. 3, 1828, in O’Leary, ed., Memorias del general O’Leary, I, 623-625. Sucre to Bolívar, La Paz, Jan. 27, 1828, and Chuquisaca, April 12, 1828, Ibid., pp. 493-495.


William Lee Lofstrom, The Promise and Problem of Reform: Attempted Social and Economic Change in the First Years of Bolivian Independence, Cornell University Latin American Studies Program Dissertation Series, No. 35 (Ithaca, 1972), pp. 553-557.


Trujillo to Chilean MRE (Secret), Lima, May 28, 1827, Ch-AMRE, Perú, tomo 7, fl. 170. Lynch to Cruz (Nos. 47, 58, and 59), Lima, June 6, Aug. 19 and 23, 1827, Ar-AGMREC, Misiones, caja 15. Mariátegui to British Foreign Minister, Lima, Nov. 16, 1827, GB-PRO, FO 61/13, fl. 341. José de La Mar to Agustín Gamarra, Lima, Jan. 12, 1828, Ar-AGN, Sala VII, Colección Jacinto S. García (hereafter cited as García Mss), legajo 1-6-2.


Gamarra to León Galindo, Copajira, May 3, 1828, in El Cóndor de Bolivia, May 22, 1828, p. 1. La Mar to Gamarra, Lima, May 19, 1828, Ar-AGN, Sala VII, García Mss, legajo 1-6-2. José María Galdiano to [Santa Cruz] (Copy), [Lima], May 30, 1828, Pe-AMRE, tomo 461-C, fls. 7-8. Boletín del Ejército del Sud del Perú Ausiliar de Bolivia [Potosí?], July 14, 1828. Gamarra to [Sucre], Potosí, July 17, 1828, Bo-BN, Colección Ernesto O. Rück (hereafter cited as Rück Mss), no. 440. Manuel Salazar y Baquíjano to José Miguel de Velasco, Lima, Sept. 28, 1828, Bo-AN, MinRE, Bolivia-Perú, tomo 1, no. lb. Manifiesto del gobierno del Perú, en contestación al que ha dado el General Bolívar, sobre los motives que tiene para hacerle la guerra (Lima, 1828), pp. 10-11, 19. Lofstrom, The Promise and Problem of Reform, p. 582, rejects these arguments as mere rationalizations and emphasizes Peruvian internal politics as the principal motive for the invasion.


Riglos to Argentine MRE, Lima, Aug. 10 and Nov. 24, 1828, Ar-AGN, Sala X, legajo 1-9-3. [Casimire] Olañeta to Angel Moscoso, La Paz, Oct. 29, 1828, Bo-BN, Rück Mss, no. 441.


Article 12 of Treaty of Piquiza, July 6, 1828, in Boletín del Ejército del Sud del Perú Ausiliar de Bolivia, July 14, 1828.


Estanislao Vergara to José Fernández Madrid (No. 222), Bogotá, July 8, 1828, Co-ADC, tomo 489, fl. 308.


Bolivar to Francisco Carabaño, Bogotá, July 9, 1828, in Cartas del Libertador, VI, 369-370.


Vergara to José María Gómez, Bogotá, Nov. 24, 1828, Co-ADC, tomo 159, fls. 168-172. See also Zubieta, Apuntaciones, pp. 540-549.


Later, Bolívar explicitly made this point to the Brazilian minister in Bogotá. Luiz de Souza Dias to Marquês de Aracati (No. 6, Copy), Bogotá, April 5, 1830, Br-AHI, Arquivo II, tomo 403/2/3.


Guido to Chilean MRE, Buenos Aires, Nov. 10, 1828, Ch-AMRE, Argentina, tomo 7, fls. 137-140.


Carlos Rodríguez to Argentine MRE, Santiago, Dec. 6 and 22, 1828, Ar-AGN, Sala X, legajo 1-8-2. Rodríguez to Bolivian MRE (Copy), Santiago, Dec. 12, 1828, Ch-AMRE, Perú, tomo 12, fls. 6-8.


Peru accepted the offer in February 1829, but Chile begged off in March on the grounds that Gran Colombia had not responded and that internal turmoil prevented Argentina from taking part in the mediation. Justo Figuerola to Chilean MRE, Lima, Feb. 14, 1829, Ch-AMRE, Perú, tomo 8. Rodríguez to Peruvian MRE (Copy), Santiago, March 28, 1829, Ch-AMRE, Perú, tomo 12, fl. 9.


Aracati to Souza Dias (No. 2, Copy), Rio de Janeiro, Jan. 24, 1829, Br-AHI, Arquivo II, tomo 403/2/1.


John Lynch makes the same assertion with regard to economic policy, in The Spanish-American Revolutions, 1808-1826 (New York, 1973), pp. 337-339. In By Reason or Force, pp. 6-8, Burr emphasizes the role of the Great Powers, but in a recent article he questions the decisiveness of external influences at any time during the nineteenth century. See his “Commentary on the Papers of Professors Hann and Bader,” pp. 57-60.


Trajillo to Chilean MRE (No. 79), Lima, Jan. 31, 1829, Ch-AMRE, Perú, vol. 7, fl. 285.


Bolívar to Flores, Barranquilla, Nov. 9, 1830, in Cartas del Libertador, VII, 587.


Gual to Colombian MRE (No. 49, Copy), Mexico City, Jan. 21, 1828, Co-ADC, tomo 608.

Author notes


The author is Assistant Professor of History at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. This study was made possible by grants from the American Philosophical Society, the Senior Fulbright-Hays Program, and the University of North Carolina Research Council. For convenience, the archives cited in this study are listed here with abbreviations: Archivo General del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto, Buenos Aires (Ar-AGMREC); Archivo General de la Nación, Buenos Aires (Ar-AGN); Archivo del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto, La Paz (Bo-AMREC); Archivo Nacional, Sucre (Bo-AN); Biblioteca Nacional, Sucre (Bo-BN); Arquivo Histórico do Itamaratí, Ministério das Relações Exteriores, Rio de Janeiro (Br-AHI); Archivo del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, Santiago (Ch-AMRE); Archivo Nacional, Santiago (Ch-AN); Archivo Diplomático y Consular, Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, Bogota (Co-ADC); Public Record Office, London (GB-PRO), on microfilm; Archivo del Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores, Lima (Pe-AMRE).