Thompson, George (1839–1876)

views updated

Thompson, George (1839–1876)

George Thompson (b. 1839; d. 1876), British military engineer active in Paraguay. Coming to Asunción in 1858 under a contractual agreement with the government of Carlos Antonio López, Thompson helped design and build the Paraguay Central Railroad. He remained in the country after the beginning of the War of the Triple Alliance in 1864, serving the regime of Field Marshal Francisco Solano López as colonel and commander of engineers. His preparation of trenches and defensive earthworks made a critical difference in the early stages of the conflict, particularly at Curupayty (September 1866), where the Brazilians and Argentines were repulsed with extremely heavy losses.

Thompson's spirited defense at Angostura in December 1868 facilitated Solano López's escape northward with what remained of the Paraguayan army. After Lopéz's subsequent surrender to the Brazilians, Thompson was permitted to return to Britain, where he wrote The War in Paraguay (1869), a highly detailed account of his experiences that was also highly critical of López. After the war, Thompson returned to Asunción, married into the local elite, and became an important official in the Paraguay Central Railway. He died in Asunción.

See alsoLópez, Carlos Antonio; Paraguay: The Nineteenth Century.


Josefina Plá, The British in Paraguay (1976).

John Hoyt Williams, "Foreign Técnicos and the Modernization of Paraguay, 1840–1970," in Journal of Interamerican Studies and World Affairs 19, no. 2 (1977): 233-257.

Additional Bibliography

Dym, Jordana. "La reconciliación de la historia y la modernidad: George Thompson, Henry Dunn, y Frederick Crowe, tres viajeros británicos en Centroamérica, 1825–1845." Mesoamérica (USA) 20, no. 40 (December 2000): 142-181.

                                      Thomas L. Whigham

About this article

Thompson, George (1839–1876)

Updated About content Print Article