The War of the Triple Alliance
Upon the death of Don Carlos, his eager son appeared, Francisco Solano López, a military man, with strong patriotic convictions. Soon he was raised to the status of leader of the heroic Paraguayan resistance in light of the War of the Triple Alliance, which began in 1864. First designated as interim president then confirmed shortly thereafter, Francisco Solano carried out an initial period of continuity to his father’s government, to the point that the political situation of the region resulted in conflict. The intention of helping Uruguay, threatened by an imminent intervention by Brazil to its delicate panorama of internal divisions, and the subsequent negative situation in having Paraguayan troops marching through Argentine territory, ended in unforeseen mix-up, which broke out on Paraguay’s doorstep.
López headed the Paraguayan defense in the lopsided war that covered three campaigns en Matto Grosso, as well as in Corrientes and Uruguayana, in which Paraguay assumed the offensive. The subsequent campaigns, in Humaitá, Pikysyry and Las Cordilleras, all taking place on Paraguayan soil, encountered local forces already in defensive positions and gradually weakening.
The Paraguayan army, which accompanied López until his fall in Cerro Corá, on March 1st, 1870, was made up of even women and children, the last defense of a people that was nearly exterminated by a triple invasion. Francisco Solano López, at the time of being acclaimed the greatest hero in all of Paraguay, also became one of the most questioned figures in Paraguayan history, due to the radical and extreme way in which he defended national sovereignty.