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Bray, Arturo (1898–1974)

Bray, Arturo (1898–1974)

Arturo Bray (b. 1 April 1898; d. 2 July 1974), Paraguayan military figure and writer. Born in Asunción to an English father and a Paraguayan mother, Arturo Bray was educated in Asunción and departed for England in 1914 to study medicine. The next year he enlisted in Lord Kitchener's New Armies as a private. He served for two years on the Western Front during World War I, rising to the rank of lieutenant in the infantry. After the war, he returned to Paraguay and quickly received a commission.

During the 1922 military rebellion, Bray remained loyal to the government and held a number of posts in the 1920s. In 1930 he was named director of the Escuela Militar; the following year he was appointed interim chief of police of Asunción. At the outbreak of the Chaco War, Bray was promoted to lieutenant colonel, becoming a divisional commander in 1933. He commanded a unit of infantry at the battle of Boquerón that year. A failed military operation in late 1933 led to his detention until 1935 and left him permanently embittered against many Liberal colleagues within and without the army. Eventually he was cleared of charges and in 1936 participated as chief of the Paraguayan military delegation to the Chaco Peace Conference.

The Febrista coup of 1936 resulted in his dismissal from the army and his arrest. With the Liberal restoration in the late 1930s Bray again became chief of police of Asunción; he was promoted to colonel and in 1938 served as minister of the interior. Differences (dating back to the Chaco War) with José Félix Estigarribia and other Liberals led to Bray's diplomatic "exile" as minister to Spain and Portugal (1939–1940) and minister to Chile (1940–1941). The 1941 seizure of power by Higinio Morínigo after the death of President Estigarribia spelled the end of Bray's public career.

During his military career, Bray had published professional articles in Paraguayan and foreign newspapers and periodicals. As a private citizen after 1941, he devoted himself to writing. Hombres y épocas del Paraguay (1943) and Solano López, soldado de la gloria y infortunio (1946) are his best-known works. Later he added another volume to Hombres y épocas. He also translated several historical works from English to Spanish. He died in Asunción in 1974.

See alsoChaco War; Paraguay, Political Parties: Febrerista Party.


Carlos R. Centurión, Historia de la cultura paraguaya, vol. 2 (1961), pp. 435-438.

Arturo Bray, Armas y letras, 3 vols. (1981).

Additional Bibliography

Farcau, Bruce W. The Chaco War: Bolivia and Paraguay, 1932–1935. Westport, CT: Praeger, 1996.

Rahi, Arturo. El Chaco paraguayo: Una historia de despejos, renuncias, mutilaciones, y entregas. Asunción: F17, 2006.

                                     Jerry W. Cooney

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