History, Independence and Civil War
Republica Oriental, Colorado Party, Triple Alliance, spheres of influence, European immigration
The Republica Oriental del Uruguay was organized in 1830, but it was soon divided into hostile factions as a result of rivalry between the Blancos and the Colorados. Civil war broke out in 1836. During the conflict, the Blancos, aided by Argentine forces, besieged Montevideo, which was held by the Colorados from 1843 until 1852. The Colorados, aided by Brazil and anti-Argentine forces, defeated Oribe and the Blancos in 1852. Rivera and the Colorados thereupon took power. The two factions renewed conflict in 1855 and continued it intermittently, with the Colorados retaining control almost continuously after 1865.
Between 1865 and 1870 Uruguay was allied with Brazil and Argentina in a war against Paraguay. In the War of the Triple Alliance (1865-1870), Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay fought Paraguay's attempts to establish its influence in Uruguay. Although the allies won the war, both sides suffered heavy losses. Bitter fighting continued between the Blancos and the Colorados until 1872, when they agreed to divide the country into spheres of influence as a first step toward peaceful coexistence. Foreign interventions tapered off after the War of the Triple Alliance, and the improved political conditions, which developed as the result of the agreement between the parties, led to social and economic progress. The last decades of the 19th century were years of relative peace.
The era of peace was interrupted by the murder of President Juan Idiarte Borda of the Colorado Party in 1897. After Idiarte's assassination, the Blancos and the Colorados concluded another territorial agreement. This agreement preserved Blanco strength within only a limited area. European immigration increased after 1880 as settlers were attracted by the prospects of peace and fertile soil. Most of these immigrants adopted Colorado ideas. The election of Jose Batlle y Ordonez to the presidency in 1903 caused the Blancos to fear the agreement would be discarded because the Colorado Party now held a large majority of votes. Another civil war broke out, and it ended with the defeat of the Blancos. The interparty agreement was ended by the new government. The Blancos were granted amnesty, however.
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