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Estigarribia, Antonio de la Cruz (?–?)

Estigarribia, Antonio de la Cruz (?–?)

Antonio de la Cruz Estigarribia, Paraguayan soldier. When the War of the Triple Alliance began in 1864, Estigarribia was one of the most highly respected officers in the Paraguayan army. He had been an adviser to war minister Francisco Solano López during the 1859 mediation of a dispute between Buenos Aires and the Argentine Confederation, and, thanks to Solano López's sponsorship, was promoted to full colonel and given command of a major Paraguayan column.

In mid-1865, Estigarribia and his forces crossed the Alto Paraná into Brazil as part of a coordinated attack on Corrientes and Río Grande do Sul. As Estigarribia's troops moved south, they destroyed town after town in Brazil, but they also began to lose touch with their own supply bases. After taking the town of São Borja, Estigarribia split up his forces, sending Major Pedro Duarte and 2,500 men down the right bank of the Río Uruguay while he continued with the main body of 8,000 men down the left bank to the town of Uruguaiana. In early August, he occupied the town and awaited news from Duarte. The news was not good: on 17 August Duarte's entire command was obliterated in an Allied attack, leaving Uruguaiana surrounded and Estigarribia without much chance of resupply.

The Paraguayan colonel debated for some time what his next move might be. He was completely cut off and without clear instructions from López. Finally, on 18 September, he agreed to generous Allied terms for surrender, which stipulated that the rank and file would be treated as prisoners of war and that his officers would be allowed to take up residence in any of the Allied nations but not to return to Paraguay.

Estigarribia, whose action was bitterly denounced by López, chose to go to Rio de Janeiro. He then dropped from sight except for a brief, pathetic moment in March 1869, when he petitioned the Brazilian emperor to offer his services as a guide for the armies then advancing into the Cordillera of central Paraguay.

See alsoWar of the Triple Alliance .

BIBLIOGRAPHY

González, Natalicio. Procesco y formación de la cultura paraguaya. Asunción-Buenos Aires: Editorial Guaranda, 1938.

Kilinski, Charles J. Independence or Death! The Story of the Paraguayan War. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 1965.

                                      Thomas L. Whigham

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