Counani Dispute

Rise of the Southern Cone

South America 1887.0304

Counani Dispute

War of the Pacific, rise of Chile, Argentina, and Brazil (4 March 1887)

Historical Map of South American nations

When gold was discovered in the Guianas in the early 1880s, thousands of prospectors flocked to the region. Taking advantage of Brazil's continued use of slaves, the French provoked a revolt in the disputed area bordering French Guiana, promoting the short-lived Republic of Counani. However, the republic was disbanded after Brazilian protests, and, once Brazil finally abolished slavery in 1888, both local and international opinion shifted decisively in favor of Brazilian governance of the territory.

Main Events

Republic of Counani

French adventurers and fugitive Brazilian slaves proclaimed the Independent Republic of Independent Guiana in Counani, in the disputed region between Brazil and French Guiana. Jules Gros - a French journalist and Assistant Secretary of State for the development of the economy in French Guiana - was named President for Life of the new republic, despite continuing to reside in Paris. The declaration was not recognized by France, which put an end to the republic after Brazil protested the French intrusion into a neutral territory.

Treaty of Aceval-Tamayo

Benjamin Aceval and Isaac Tamayo signed a Treaty of Boundaries in Asunción, capital of Paraguay, in an attempt to resolve Bolivian-Paraguayan border dispute in the Gran Chaco. The agreement left an undecided block around Fuerte Olimpo to be submitted to arbitration by King Leopold II of Belgium. However, after failures to ratify the agreement in 1888, the treaty was declared expired in August 1894 to open the way for new negotiations.

Anglo-Venezuelan rupture

On 26 January 1887, the Venezuelan government demanded that Britain withdraw its settlers from the disputed region between British Guiana and Venezuela. Following the British government's failure to accept this demand, Venezuela broke diplomatic relations in February 1887. Proposals to restore relations and resolve the dispute would fail repeatedly, turning the issue into a crisis between the two countries.

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