Riograndense Republic

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Riograndense Republic
Riograndense Republic
: República Riograndense
Location of Riograndense Republic
CapitalRio Grande
Largest CityPorto Alegre
Population18 million
Government TypeFederal Republic
  • Portuguese (Official)
  • Spanish (Regionally Official)

The Riograndense Republic (Portuguese: Repblica Riograndense) is a country located on the southern cone of South America. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east, Brazil to the north, Paraguay to the west, and Carolina to the south and southwest. The Riograndense Republic, differently from its other Portuguese-speaking neighbors, has a culture molded by the junction of Iberian cultures along with Italian, Slavic, and German influences.


The name Riograndense Republic, in a literal translation, means "the Republic of the Great River". This name came from misconceptions about the geography of the region. During early colonial times, many explorers had mistaken the Patos Lagoon( Lagoa dos Patos) as the mouth of a large river. Although geographically incorrect, the name sticks to the region to this day.


Early History

Before colonization, the region where the Riograndense Republic lies today was inhabited by many indigenous tribes, such as the Minuanos, Charruas, and Guaranis. According to the Treaty of Tordesillas (1494), the totality of the region was under the Spanish controlled hemisphere, but after more than 200 years, the treaty fell into oblivion. The region was first settled by the Portuguese in the early 18th century, and due to its temperate climate, it wasn't suitable for the production of sugarcane. Therefore, it adopted the cultivation of tobacco and ranching as its main economic activities.

Clashes in the Southern Cone (1750-1762)

War on Rio de La Plata

During the Great Silesian War (1750–1755), Spanish and Portuguese forces clashed in the Rio de La Plata over the control of the Colônia de Sacramento. A Portuguese outpost on the upper bank of the river. Sacramento was taken by the Spanish in 1752. The colony is kept under occupation for the rest of the conflict.

In the Treaty of Vienna (1755), it's decided that the colonial situation in the Southern Cone should come back to what it was before the war, but due to Spain's unwillingness to have a Portuguese colony so close to Buenos Aires, the country decided to sign a treaty apart from Vienna with Portugal.

Treaty of Seville(1756)
Results of the Treaty of Seville

The Treaty of Seville was signed on January 13, 1756. The treaty finally defied the borders between the two colonial powers in South America, which hadn't been discussed since Tordesillas in 1494. The main point of the agreement was that Portugal would cede Sacramento in exchange for the northern section of the Spanish Pampas along the west bank of the upper Uruguay River. Borders were also reshaped in the Amazon.

The Luso-Indian War (1757-1762)

In the upper Uruguayan west bank, Spanish Jesuits built a series of settlements in their mission to convert natives to Catholicism still in the 17th century. By 1755, these settlements had grown to the point of becoming towns with thousands of inhabitants.

After the Treaty of Seville, these settlements all fell under the Portuguese Crown; therefore, the Spanish ordered all Jesuits to leave the region and move to Asunción and Buenos Aires. Unwilling to leave the region, the Jesuits kept their activities the way they were under Spanish control. The natives also feared they would lose their protected status under Portugal.

In 1756, Portugal declared the Vicentine Ultimatum, which gave the order to the Spanish Jesuits to leave the region immediately, or troops from So Vicente, in the Captaincy of So Paulo, would soon take them away by force.

The war happened mostly through raids on both sides. During the 5 years of conflict, farms, villages, and towns were sacked and destroyed. By 1759, three years after the purchase of Carolina by Britain, the British joined the Portuguese against the natives and jesuits out of fear that anglo-American colonists coming from Acadia would have their properties attacked.

The bloodshed of the conflict only ended in 1762, as the last bastions of native-Jesuit resistance were crushed.

Riograndense War for independence

In 1843, inspired by the ideals of the Spring of Nations and the Bahian War of Independence, the southernmost captaincy of the colony of Brazil started its own rebellion against the Portuguese crown. Inside the rebels were liberals, large landowners, local military personnel, and former slaves. The reasons to fight were many; among them were the lack of Brazilian representation in politics, the closed economy of the colony, and taxation. In the case of the former slaves, freedom was promised to those who chose to fight along.

After the success in defeating the local defense forces, the Riograndense Republic was proclaimed and a provisional capital in the town of Caçapava was established. Months later, the news of the newly proclaimed nation spread across the British colony of Carolina and the country( still not recognized but independent) of Paraguay. This encouraged many Hispanic gauchos, known as well as Carolinos, to volunteer themselves to the Riograndense cause. In exchange for help, the country would grant those men and their families citizenship.

In 1844, Paraguay recognized the independence of the Riograndense Republic, becoming the first country in the world to do so. In the same year, the Paraguayan government permitted the trafficking of volunteers and smuggled weapons through its borders to assist its new neighbor. From the beginning of the rebellion to 1845, many towns and villages were either conquered or joined the republic willingly. By 1846, only the town of Rio Grande was under Portuguese control. Later that year, a peace treaty was signed.

Riograndense Republic in the 19th century

Carolino Migration

During the independence war and in the following decades after the Riograndense Republic gained independence from Portuguese Brazil, the country saw a significant influx of migrants coming from the British colony of Carolina. Initially, most migrants were war volunteers with their families, but after independence, most migrants immigrated for cultural, political, and religious reasons. These immigrants established themselves in the western state of Mississippi, and to this day Spanish is still an official language in the state (though not as widely spoken as it was in the past). In total, the Riograndense Republic has received the second-largest amount of hispanophone immigrants from Carolina (only surpased by Paraguay).

European Migration

The Riograndense Republic saw two periods of significant European migration to the nation, most notably from the Italian Peninsula and German states. The first were in the 1850s and 60s. These people left their nations in search of starting new lives on the other side of the Atlantic, escaping from revolts and poverty. The Riograndense government took advantage of the situation and started to offer free land for those who wanted to migrate to the country.

A second period of rising immigration was in the early 1900s and was mostly Italian. In the first decade of the 20th century, the Italian Peninsula became a troublesome area. In 1903, the Latial Famine hit the region. Five years later, in 1908, war took place in the Papal States. Adding this to the economic and political issues facing the Italian nations, an influx of thousands of individuals left Europe.

Early industrialization of the Riograndense Republic

The last decades of the 19th century marked the beginning of the industrial revolution in the Riograndense Republic. As agrarian products started to lose value on a global scale, the country started to study how to bring the Riograndense Republic into the industrial revolution.

Being rich in coal and metal, the Riograndense government saw great potential to turn the Riograndense Republic from an agrarian exporter to one of the few industrialized nations in South America. To accomplish this goal, a program of investments is offered to already wealthy landowners and foreign investors interested in using their land, or land granted by the government in the case of foreigners, to start the construction of industries. This action caught the attention especially of the British, who invested heavily in the nation, especially in the mining and railroad sectors.

Riograndense Republic in the 20th century

Government & Politics

Administrative Divisions

There are a total of five administrative divisions of the Riograndense Republic.


  • Jacuí
  • Lagoa
  • Missões
  • Santa Catarina
  • Serra Geral