Riograndense Republic

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Riograndense Republic
Riograndense Republic
: República Riograndense
RTL Flag of RGR.png
Locator RGR.pngLocation of Riograndense Republic
CapitalRio Grande
Largest CityPorto Alegre
Population18 million
Government TypeFederal Republic
  • Portuguese (Official)
  • Spanish (Regionally Official)

The Riograndense Republic; (Portuguese: República 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 Italian, Slav 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, wasn't suitable for the production of sugarcane, therefore, 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), Spain 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 was before the war, but due to Spain unwilling 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 13th 1756. The treaty finally defied the borders between the two colonial powers in South America, which weren't discussed since Tordesillas in 1494. The main point of the agreement was Portugal cede Sacramento in exchange to the northern section Spanish Pampas along the west bank of 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 the mission to convert natives to Catholicism still in the 17th century. By 1755, these settlements grew to the point to become towns of 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 it was under Spanish control. The natives also feared they would lose their protected status now under Portugal.

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

The war happened mostly by raids on both sides. Through 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 due to fear of anglo colonists coming from Acadia having their properties attacked.

The bloodshed of the conflict only ended in 1762, as the last bastion 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 personal and former slaves. The reasons to fight were many, amongst 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 to those men and their families citizenship.

In 1844, Paraguay recognized the independence of the Riograndense Republic, being the first country in the world to do it. In the same year, the Paraguayan government permitted the traffic 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 on 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 along their families, but after independence most migrants immigrated for cultural, political & religious reasons. These immigrants established themselves in the western state of Missões and to this day Spanish is still an official language in the state (but not as widely spoken like it was in the past). In total, the Riograndense Republic has the received the second largest amount of hispanophone immigrants from Carolina (beaten by Paraguay).

European Migration

The Riograndense Republic saw two periods of a significant European migration to the nation, most notable people from the Italian Peninsula and German states. The first 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 rise on 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 economic and political issues facing the Italian nations, an influx of thousands of individuals left Europe.

Rise and fall of the charque monopoly

Charque is a type of dry bovine meat that takes a long time to rot, therefore, ideal to export to distant places.  During colonial times, the dry meat was the main dish of the enslaved population across Brazil, and the captaincy of Rio Grande de São Pedro was responsible to fulfill the charque demand of the captaincies of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Minas Gerais. When the Riograndense Republic became independent, it made a deal with the Colony Of Brazil to keep sending the important product. Soon Brazil became the most important economic partner of the newborn country.

In the late 19th century, the import of charque from Brazil started to decrease because of two factors. Due to end of the slavery in Portugal in 1874, the demand of Riograndense charque gone down, since local ranching was now capable to fulfill the need. Also, around the late 1860s, western Brazil started to get inhabited. Prior to this, the region consisted of untouched grasslands and swamps. The new lands opened the opportunity to the rise in the number of Brazilian cattle, and thus the government started to focus more investments in the local production than the foreign.

Early industrialization of the Riograndense Republic

The last decades of the 19th century marked the beginning of the industrial revolution in the Riograndense Republic, and the continuation of the close economic relation of the country with the now neighboring Autonomous Oversea Territory of Brazil. In 1879, the two governments started to discuss a partnership to bring development and industrialization for both.

Inside the territory which comprises the Riograndense Republic, more specifically in the Serra Geral and Serra Catarinense, there is one of the largest South American coal reserves, and knowing the existence of such an abundance of fuel for machinery, the newly formed Brazilian government soon started to discuss using the Riograndense coal to feed the future energy power plants and industries to be built around Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo and Minas Gerais.

In 1879, the Act For Mutual Development Of Industry And Energy (Ato Para O Desenvolvimento Mútuo De Indústria e Energia) between the Riograndense Republic and Brazil was signed. Due to this act, Luso-Brazilian companies for railroads, telegraph and mining started to invest in the neighboring nation.

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