The Chaco War

Chaco WarYesterday we went to an exhibition in Cochabamba about the Chaco war. This war lasted from 1932-1935 and was the largest and bloodiest war of the twentieth century in South America. The war was a conflict about the Chaco, a large, wild and empty region between Bolivia and Paraguay (and in Argentina and Brazil, but the war was not about that part, allthough Argentina was involved indirectly). In this area there were no set borders because hardly anyone lived there. But when it was thought that oil would be found in the area, it became of great importance. The oil companies Standard Oil (Bolivia) and Shell (Paraguay) supported the war because of the obvious commercial interests. And access to the Paraguay River played a role for both countries because for both it is virtually their only access to the ocean. Many soldiers died on both sides: 57000 Bolivians and  40000 Paraguayans, mostly because of diseases (e.g. malaria). Finally peace was established and about halfway the war zone a line was drawn as a new frontier.

This photo page shows some pictures I’ve taken at the exhibition.