Vargas Revolution

Border disputes and the Powers

South America 1930.1024

Vargas Revolution

The Acre dispute, Venezuela crises, South America in WWI, and the Chaco War (24 October 1930)

Historical Map of South American nations

Already unstable, South America was hit hard by the Great Depression, with the global demand for the raw materials that formed the basis of the continent's economy collapsing. As the old establishment failed to handle the crisis, militarists rose to power, taking inspiration from the apparent success of fascism in Europe. In late 1930, one such general, Getúlio Vargas, seized control in Brazil, beginning an autocratic reign which would last until 1945.

Main Events

US intervention in Nicaragua

Armed Nicaraguan Liberal exiles landed on the east coast of Nicaragua, capturing the port of Bluefields and escalating the state of civil war in the country. In response, the United States intervened several days later, with the cruiser USS Cleveland landing a contingent of troops sent to "protect American lives and property". More US forces arrived in 1927 to defend the conservative government against Augusto Sandino's Liberal rebels (soon to be known as the "Sandanistas") and supervise elections in 1928. The US would eventually pull out of Nicaragua in 1932-33.

Treaty of Lima

Peru and Chile signed the Treaty of Lima, agreeing to divide the disputed Tacna-Arica Territory between them. The deal allowed Peru to regain Tacna - under Chilean occupation since 1880 - in return for recognize Chilean sovereignty over Arica. Chile also agreed to pay Peru 6 million dollars in compensation and grant it port and transportation facilities in Arica.

Wall Street Crash

Between opening on 24 October 1929 ("Black Thursday") and close on 29 October ("Black Tuesday"), the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped in value from 305.85 to 230.07 in the most devastating stock market crash in United States history. The crash would bring an abrupt end to the Roaring Twenties and signal the beginning of the Great Depression.

Princesa Revolt

Rejecting a tax on goods crossing the Paraíba-Pernambuco state frontier in Brazil, the border town of Princesa revolted against the Paraíba state government, declaring itself an independent republic. The rebellion spilled over into a number of neighboring municipalities - including Teixeira, Imaculada, and Tavares - but was defeated in August when the federal government intervened.

Territory of Inini

In an attempt to speed development of the hinterland, the Territory of Inini was separated from French Guiana. The new territory had its capital at Saint-Élie, but would nonetheless continued to be governed from French Guiana until the reunification of the two territories in 1946. Efforts to build a railway into the interior using Annamite prisoners from French Indochina also failed.

Peruvian Coup

Lieutenant-Colonel Luis Miguel Sánchez Cerro led a coup d'état against the eleven-year dictatorship of Augusto B. Leguía in Peru, staging a military uprising in Arequipa. Opposition to Leguía's regime - which was unpopular both due to the hardships of the Great Depression and its agreement to the Tacna-Arica compromise - quickly spread to the garrisons of Puno and Cuzco. Sensing defeat, Leguía fled Lima to Callao and made it aboard the cruiser Almirante Grau, but was soon arrested, dying at a naval hospital a little over a year later.

Infamous Decade

On Saturday morning of 6 September 1930 - following weeks of unrest in Buenos Aires - Lt. Gen. José Félix Uriburu staged a coup d'état against Argentine President Hipólito Yrigoyen, taking control of the country by the next day. However the rule of Uriburu and his three successors would be marked by electoral fraud, persecution of the political opposition, general corruption, and an economic crisis in the countryside, leading the period to be named the 'Infamous Decade'. In 1943, discontent led to another coup and the rise of Juan Perón.

Vargas Revolution

Brazilian Liberal reformer Getúlio Vargas - backed by the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Minas Gerais, and Paraíba - launched a revolution against President Washington Luís to prevent the inauguration of his successor Júlio Prestes, claiming that Prestes's recent electoral victory had been due to fraud. The revolt quickly found support in northeastern and southern Brazil, with the troops of Vargas's so-called 'New State' defeating the opposition forces blocking their road to Rio de Janeiro. On 24 October, Washington Luís was arrested by a military junta, which arranged a ceasefire and, in early November, handed power to Vargas.

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