V. The Modern Period, 1789–1914 > I. Latin America, 1806–1914 > 2. The Wars of Independence, 1806–1872 > d. The Banda Oriental (Uruguay)
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
d. The Banda Oriental (Uruguay)
Montevideo creoles, eager to avoid subordination to Buenos Aires, refused to support the May revolution in that city. In the countryside, however, masses of small landowners, dissatisfied with the expansion of the great estates, rose against Spain. José Gervasio Artigas (1764–1850), a man from the estanciero (rancher) class, emerged as leader and proclaimed allegiance to the junta of Buenos Aires. He formed a coalition of ranchers and gauchos, and attracted to his army Guaraní Indians led by Andrés Guacarí (Andresito). Royalists encouraged the Portuguese military, which invaded the Banda Oriental to incorporate it into the Portuguese Empire. Artigas withdrew his troops. Spontaneously, civilians, fleeing from royalist reprisals and Portuguese brutality, joined him en masse and marched into exile. This exodus of the “Orientales” (later Uruguayans) left the Banda Oriental virtually depopulated. When Portugal was forced to withdraw from the Banda Oriental, these exiles returned and, allied with Buenos Aires forces, expelled royalists from Montevideo. Buenos Aires leaders, unable to impose centralism upon the Banda Oriental, withdrew.  1
Artigas ruled the Banda Oriental. Across the Río de la Plata, the provinces of Santa Fe, Entre Ríos, Corrientes, and Córdoba recognized him as the Protector de los Pueblos Libres in their struggle against Buenos Aires centralism. Through the Reglamento Provisorio, Artigas promoted free trade and distribution of confiscated properties to poor nonwhite and white people. This measure alarmed the landlords.  2
The Portuguese invaded the Banda Oriental, with the approval of Pueyrredón, Buenos Aires's centralist leader, who sought to destroy federalism.  3
Montevideo surrendered to the Portuguese army, while Artigas organized guerrilla resistance in the countryside. The Portuguese tried to ally the Banda Oriental elite with the Portuguese Empire, but limited compensation for war damages and the granting of lands to Portuguese created hostility.  4
The defeat of Artigas and his troops at Tacuarembó ended the period known as the Patria Vieja. Artigas marched into exile in Paraguay. In later years Artigas acquired greater stature as the founding father of Uruguay and as a man of advanced political vision.  5
A pro-Portuguese congress voted the incorporation of the Banda Oriental into the Portuguese Empire as the Estado Cisplatino. In 1824, the cabildo of Montevideo swore the allegiance of the Estado Cisplatino to the constitution of the newly proclaimed empire of Brazil.  6
Fructuoso Rivera (c. 1788–1854), a caudillo who briefly supported Brazilian rule, recruited an army of anti-Brazilian patriots. Revolution against Brazil began in April with the landing of the expedition of 33 Orientales headed by Antonio Lavalleja, a caudillo and Artigas's follower. Lavalleja and Rivera became allies, attracting the allegiance of hundreds of cowboys and ranchers. Lavalleja sought the support of the Buenos Aires government, proclaiming the incorporation of the Banda Oriental into the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata. War between Argentina and Brazil ensued.  7
A liberation army composed of Argentine and Banda Oriental soldiers defeated the Brazilian army at Ituzaingó. Rivera occupied Brazilian territory in Rio Grande do Sul, forcing Brazilian forces to withdraw from the Banda Oriental in exchange for the land he had occupied.  8
Lavalleja governed independently while negotiations with British mediation led Buenos Aires and the empire to recognize the independence of the Banda Oriental.  9
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.