Chaco War

Chaco War

The war between Paraguay and Bolivia, known as the “Chaco War” is said to have been one of the most brutal and controversial wars that took place in South America throughout the 20th century. As said above this war was one of the most destructive and largest wars in Latin America. This event took place in 1932 – 1935. The two nations had fought for the 250,000 square miles of arid and hot desert terrain of Chaco Boreal, which is located on the border along with Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina.

How Did It All Begin?

Map of Chaco War

Map of Chaco War – Map by Anibalcesar

In 1932, Bolivia tried to break out of it’s landlocked case, and at the same time have access to the Atlantic Ocean by capturing the River Paraguay; across that way laid the Chaco Boreal, that the people of Bolivia believe had a massive reserve of oil. On the other hand, the people of Paraguay believed in national unity, and extremely equipped their boarders to fight and protect Paraguay from the advances of Bolivia.

The Chaco Boreal is an area of land filling around 100,000 sq. miles within Northern Paraguay, Northern Argentina and Southeastern Bolivia. The region is separated in two parts: to the East of the River Paraguay, forest, and bushes are typically seen along with the grasslands that are perfect for producing cattle: to the West of the River of Paraguay, is flatland that is spotted by scrubs, forests and woodlands. Throughout the War, neither Bolivia nor Paraguay tried to colonize this region, mainly because of it’s size as well as the lack of potable water. There is a small number of Guarani Indians residing in the region, making it the biggest town, known as, Mayor Pablo Lagerenza. The main source of income for these Indians is agriculture especially the planting of the quebracho tree that is sold for its minerals and wood.

Outcomes Of This War

The outcome of the war resulted in massive disaster for both parties: Paraguay and Bolivia lost almost 100,000 soldiers throughout the war.

When Did The Chaco War End?

In June 1935, Paraguay claimed victory against Bolivia, therefore making the Chaco Boreal a part of Paraguay. With the help of foreign mediation, a negotiating period or cease-fire was achieved on June 12, 1935. The truce was signed in 1935 by Paraguay and Bolivia, followed by giving Paraguay the permanent control in 1938 of three quarters of the Chaco Boreal.

On the other hand, Bolivia was left devoid of the waterway it had wanted to achieve, and remains a landlocked country. Years later, a few oil companies discovered the Chaco Region and they were not able to find any significant deposits of oil. At moment, the Guarani Indians are still living in the Chaco Region, together with an important group of Mennonite settlers. Paraguay and Bolivia are no longer on aggressive terms and the Chaco Boreal is being constantly used for agricultural purposes.

Chaco War
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