Republic of Acre

Border disputes and the Powers

South America 1899.0714

Republic of Acre

The Acre dispute, Venezuela crises, South America in WWI, and the Chaco War (14 July 1899)

Historical Map of South American nations

During the 1890s, thousands of Brazilian workers traveled up the Amazon to the Bolivian-claimed region of Acre in search of rubber trees - at the time extremely valuable due to the need for rubber in the rising automobile industry. When Bolivia tried to assert control over the territory, the inhabitants of Acre declared independence. Brazil initially supported Bolivian efforts to restore order, but, after further revolts, eventually decided to back the rebels. The conflict would end in 1903, when Bolivia finally agreed to cede Acre to Brazil.

Main Events

Greater Central America

After signing the Treaty of the Union in July 1895, Honduras, Nicaragua, and El Salvador united as the Greater Republic of Central America. Provisional federal authority was constituted at a meeting in San Salvador and the republic was renamed the United States of Central America on 1 November 1898. However, on 14 November, General Tomás Regalado seized power in El Salvador and the Federation was dissolved at the end of the month.

Canudos War

Fearing sedition, the Bahia state government mounted two attacks on the 30,000-strong Canudos settlement - founded in 1893 by the millenarian prophet and monarchist Antônio Conselheiro - only to have its forces massacred in both cases. The defeat alarmed the Brazilian federal government, which sent 543 troops against Canudos in January 1897 and another 1,281 in March, each time being repelled with heavy losses. A final expedition of 8,526 federal soldiers was mounted in June, eventually capturing and razing Canudos in early October.

Agreement on Trindade

Following the 1895 British attempt to take control of Trindade Island to serve as a cable station, Brazil reasserted its claim to the island. To confirm their sovereignty over the territory, the Brazilians built a landmark there in January 1897, attaching it to the state of Espírito Santo.

Isla de la Pasión

Mexico reasserted its claim to Clipperton Island (Isla Clipperton or Isla de la Pasión), sending the gunboat La Democrata to occupy and annex the uninhabited territory from France. The United States took control of the island during the Spanish-American War of 1898 and it was only in 1906 that Mexico was able to establish a guano mining colony with the support of the British Pacific Islands Company.

Spanish-American War

After the USS Maine mysteriously exploded in Havana harbor, in the restive Spanish colony of Cuba, the United States declared war on Spain. In the ten-week Spanish-American War, the US defeated Spain in both the Caribbean - where it invaded Cuba and Puerto Rico - and the Pacific - where it defeated the Spanish fleet off Manila. As a result, the Spanish ceded Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines to the US.

First Acrean Revolution

On 2 January 1899, Bolivia opened a customs houses in Puerto Alonso (Porto Acre), prompting an unsuccessful uprising among the mostly Brazilian population in April. A second revolt, led by Spanish adventurer Luis Gálvez Rodríguez Arias, succeeded a few months later and on 14 July the Independent State of Acre (also known as the Republic of Acre) was declared at Empresa. Although the Bolivians dispatched a 500-man force to suppress the rebellion, the republic would survive until the intervention of Brazil in March 1900.

About this map     Download map