López, Francisco Solano

López, Francisco Solano

(fränthēs`kō sōlä`nō lō`pās), 1826?–1870, president of Paraguay (1862–70). He was the son of Carlos Antonio LópezLópez, Carlos Antonio
, 1790?–1862, president of Paraguay (1844–62). He rose to power shortly after the death of J. G. Rodríguez Francia and soon became president.
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, who made him a brigadier general at 18. Appointed head of a diplomatic mission, he went to Europe in 1853, where he negotiated the building of the first railroad in Paraguay. Upon his return he was made minister of war, and in 1862, on the death of his father, he assumed power as a dictatorial caudillo. A megalomaniac who considered himself the Napoleon of South America, López fanatically sought to increase the prestige of Paraguay and waged (1865) a disastrous war with Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay (see Triple Alliance, War of theTriple Alliance, War of the,
1865–70, fought between Paraguay on one side and an alliance of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay on the other. Brazil's military reprisals for injuries to Brazilian subjects in Uruguay's civil war brought a declaration of war against Brazil from
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). He was defeated and killed (1870) after retreating with the remnants of his army. López demanded blind allegiance and even had members of his family killed on suspicion of conspiracy. An incident with the United States arose over his imprisonment of Porter Cornelius Bliss. Many of the cruelties that marked his rule were attributed to Eliza Lynch, his Irish mistress, whom he had met in Paris. Solano López, however, is today regarded by some Latin Americans as the champion of the rights of small countries against the aggression of more powerful neighbors.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

López, Francisco Solano

 

Born July 24, 1826, in Asunción; died Mar. 1, 1870, in Cêrro Corá. Paraguayan statesman and diplomat.

López headed the first Paraguayan embassy to Europe (1853-54) and later defended his country’s economic and political sovereignty in negotiations with foreign states. While serving as minister of war (1855), he carried out a reorganization of the army; he initiated the construction of an arsenal, a foundry, and a railroad. Lopez was president from 1862 to 1870 and encouraged the development of the national economy and culture. Between 1864 and 1870, during Paraguay’s war with the reactionary coalition of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay, he showed himself to be a talented organizer and military leader. He died in battle.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.