Acre War

Acre War

Memorial of the centenary of the Revolution Acriana in Rio Branco, capital of Acre
LocationAcre, Brazil
Result Brazilian victory; Treaty of Petrópolis
United States United States
Acre (state) Republic of Acre
Brazil Brazil
Commanders and leaders
Bolivia José Manuel Pando
Bolivia Federico Román
Bolivia Nicolás Suárez Callaú
Bolivia Bruno Racua
Brazil Manuel Ferraz de Campos Sales
Brazil Francisco de Paula Rodrigues Alves
Acre (state) Luis Gálvez Rodríguez de Arias
Brazil José Plácido de Castro
Brazil Jefferson José Torres
Brazil Olímpio da Silveira
Unknown Unknown
Casualties and losses
Unknown Unknown

The Acre War, known in Brazil as Acrean Revolution ("Revolução Acreana" in Portuguese) and in Spanish as La Guerra del Acre ("The War of the Acre") was a border conflict between Bolivia and the First Brazilian Republic over the Acre Region, which was rich in rubber and gold deposits. The conflict had two phases between 1899 and 1903 and ended with a Brazilian victory and the subsequent Treaty of Petrópolis, which ceded Acre to Brazil. The outcome also affected territories disputed with Peru.


The region of Acre possessed rich gold deposits, an abundance of timber resources, principally rubber trees. From the end of the 19th century until the middle of the 20th century, rubber trees were crucial to the automobile and transport industry, as synthetic rubber for the manufacture of tires and other objects was not discovered until around World War II. It is because of this that the war is also referred to as the Rubber War (Guerra del Caucho), as one of the motives that drove Governor Jefferson José Torres of Amazonas (Brazilian state), was a rubber export tax.


Map showing the Bolivian territory in 1899, before Acriana Revolution.

The border between Brazil and Bolivia were delimited by the Treaty of Ayacucho. The province of Acre, territory of about five times the size of Belgium, belonged to Bolivia. Embedded in the heart of South America, Acre aroused little interest for its inaccessibility and apparent lack of commercial value. Its population was composed of a small number of Indians without national identity and a handful of Brazilians and Bolivians.

When the price of rubber shot in the late nineteenth century, about 18,000 adventurers and settlers, most of Brazil, went to Acre to exploit the rubber trees. Practically there were no roads, so that the main means of transport were some river steamers, canoes and rafts.

First "Republic of Acre"

Seal the former Republic of Acre.

On January 2, 1899, Bolivia set up a customs in Puerto Alonso (today Porto Acre), which upset the Brazilian settlers, who wanted to exit the Bolivian authorities. The lawyer of Dr. José Carvalho led a revolt against the Bolivians on April 30.

Colonel Ismael Montes, Minister of Bolivia's War and Commander of the 1st Expedition to Acre.

Pressured by José de Carvalho, Bolivians were forced to leave the region. To prevent his return, the governor of Amazonas, José Cardoso Ramalho Junior organized entry into Acre of adventurers unit commanded by Spaniard Luis Gálvez Rodríguez Arias, who served as a Bolivian consul in Bethlehem (PA). Gálvez left Manaus on June 4, 1899 and came to the Bolivian town of Puerto Alonso, which had its name changed to Porto Acre, where he proclaimed the Republic of Acre on July 14, 1899, discreetly supported by willing amazonense officialdom to extend his authority on the grounds that the Treaty of Ayacucho (1867) entrusted to Bolivia. Bolivians responded by sending a force of 500 men. Before his arrival, Galvez was taken prisoner by Antonio de Sousa Braga, who declared himself president of Acre. Shortly afterwards, however, he returned the power to Gálvez. On March 15, 1900, a Brazilian war flotilla reached Puerto Alonso Galvez arrested and dissolved the Republic of Acre, as the Brazilian government, based on the international treaty of Ayacucho (1867), considered the Acre and Bolivia.

A further reason for the interest of Ramalho Junior in Acre occupation was that Galvez had discovered the existence of a diplomatic agreement between Bolivia and the United States stating that there would be US military support to Bolivia in case of war with Brazil .

Second "Republic of Acre"

Steam Solimões.

At that time, Bolivia organized a small military mission to occupy the region. Arriving in Porto Acre, it was prevented by the Brazilian rubber tappers to continue its movement.

In November 1900, one composed mainly of Brazilian power organized another rebellion in order to take Acre from Bolivia and create an independent republic. Known as the "Expedition of Poets" or "Expedition Floriano Peixoto," this force, under the command of journalist Orlando Correa Lopes, formed around dovapor Solimões, equipped with the help of the governor of Amazonas province, Silverio Neri. The Solimões operated in the Rio Purus and seized Alonso vessel, which was renamed Rui Barbosa. Carvalho Rodrigo became president of the newly declared republic of Acre, which had a light cannon, a machine gun and about 200 men. Around Christmas 1900, this force attacked Puerto Alonso and was defeated by the Bolivian military, resulting in the loss docanhão and machine gun, which eventually led to the dissolution of the Second Republic. On December 29, the Bolivian vessel Rio Afua took aid to trim Puerto Alonso.

Although the two countries deny the agreement with the United States previously mentioned, in 11.06.1901 Bolivia signed a lease with Acre a Bolivian Trading Company (also known as "Bolivian Syndicate of New York City", or simply "Bolivian Syndicate"), based in Jersey City, New Jersey. The company had some very influential shareholders, as the king of Belgium and relatives of William McKinley, then president of the United States. Bolivia has given the company almost total control over the Acre province to protect its sovereignty. Under the agreement, the group of US and British capitalists would assume total control over the region, which may occupy the area with soldiers and exploit it for 30 years. At that time ruled Bolivia General Jose Manuel Pando. The number of Brazilians who lived in the region grew, mainly in northeastern search forest wealth.

Brazil and Peru (which also claimed the territory) strongly disapproved of the act. The Brazil withdrew the consul of Puerto Alonso and closed the tributaries of the Amazon River to trade with Bolivia. The international powers, who considered the basin as international waters, protested, leading Brazil to reduce the ban to war materials, and release the Bolivian goods addressed to foreign nations.

José Plácido de Castro (foto de Percy Fawcett, 1907).

At 26 years old, having fought in the Revolution Federalist Rio Grande do Sul, the gaucho José Plácido de Castro came to Amazon. In 1902, rubber tappers made a deal with Castro. The military, believing that could profit demarcating latifundia, train and command accepted about two thousand tappers who offered him the necessary support to fight the Bolivians. 5 o'clock in the morning of August 6, 1902, 33 men led by Castro and armed with rifles rose in canoaso steep embankment of the Acre River. Placido de Castro entered quietly in a wooden house in the city of Xapuri, who served as Quartermaster of Bolivia. Soon, Castro took possession of the site and imprisoned the Bolivian military. The local people mistook the revolution with the party that was going on the Independence Day in Bolivia.

On September 18, a Bolivian battalion of 180 men, led by Colonel Rosendo Rojas, surprised the forces of Plácido, which now had about 70 men. Brazilians, armed only with Winchester rifles with little ammunition and suffering from tropical diseases and desertions, lost twenty men and were defeated.

Plácido then recruited another force, with about a thousand men. Part of that force besieged the city of Puerto Alonso on 10 MAY 1902. On October 14, the force captured some external fortifications with the Río Afua vessel, which wrecked on the island during the fighting. The river vessel, renamed Independence, was used against its former owners. Despite the setback, the Bolivians obstinately kept Puerto Alonso.

Elsewhere, the braziers adventurers besieged Company, which capitulated on 15 October. Other battles, almost all won by the forces of Plácido occurred in Bom Destino, Santa Rosa and other coastal cities. On January 15, 1903, the Brazilian force attacked and captured some positions out of Puerto Alonso. Independence, anchored upriver, was charged with thirty tons of high quality rubber, and focused on the passage by the Bolivian batteries to bring the river rubber down, which could be sold. The Plácido forces used the money to buy weapons and ammunition. On January 24, the Bolivians in Puerto Alonso surrendered to the rebels, who had taken the entire region, except Puerto Alonso. Three days later, on January 27, the Third Republic of Acre was proclaimed, now with the support of President Rodrigues Alves and his Foreign Minister, the Baron of Rio Branco, who ordered the Acre occupation and established a military government under the command of da Silveira Olimpio general.

The besieging force advanced towards the place where the rivers Chipamanu (also called Manuripe) and Tauamanu meet to form the Rio Orton. Soon, a Bolivian force under the command of General Jose Manuel Pando, Bolivian President took the opposite bank. However, before it did any significant combat, as a result of the excellent work of Brazilian diplomacy led by the Baron of Rio Branco, the governments of Brazil and Bolivia signed on March 21, 1903 a preliminary treaty, ratified by the Treaty of Petrópolis 17 November 1903.

By the Treaty of Petropolis, Bolivia opened up all the Acre in exchange for Brazilian territory of the State of Mato Grosso, the more the importance of 2 million pounds (~ 640 million reais) and the construction of the Madeira-Mamore railway, linking the Mamore rivers (in Guajara-Mirim in Brazil-Bolivia border) and Madeira (tributary of the Amazon river, which bisects the city of Porto Velho, in Rondônia), in order to allow the flow of regional production, particularly rubber. Joaquim Francisco de Assis Brazil actively participated in the negotiations with Bolivia, representing the Brazilian government in its signature. It was still indemnified the Bolivian Syndicate for 110,000 pounds (~ $35 million). In thirty years, the taxes collected by Brazil Acre compensated for the damages and the loan for the construction of the railway.

The first of Castro Placido decree took place on 26 JANUARY 1903, applying Brazilian law until the enactment of the sovereign state Constitution; considered valid all land titles issued by Bolivia or the state of Amazonas; defined the Portuguese language as official; and adopted the Brazilian monetary standard.

The Treaty of Petrópolis, signed in 1903 by the Baron of Rio Branco and Assis Brazil, was approved by federal law of 25 February 1904, regulated by presidential decree of April 7, 1904, incorporating the Acre as Brazil. Placido de Castro, who died on August 11, 1908, was the first president of the Acre Territory, elevated to the state of Acre condition on 15 June 1962. Both the Baron of Rio Branco and Assis Brazil and Placido de Castro are honored Acre with the names of their capital (Rio Branco) and two counties (Assis Brazil and Plácido de Castro).

The Acriana Revolution demonstrated Brazil's advantage over the Spanish-speaking neighbors because of its location downstream in relation to the rivers that run almost the entire continent, being born in the Andes and flowing into the Atlantic Ocean. The Brazil could send reinforcements to the disputed area by the rivers, while the Bolivians had to cross the Andes.

Apparently the Bolivian effort was fully funded by the rubber barons, particularly Nicolás Suárez. For the second time, Bolivia lost in a war of their plains populated sparsely for a stronger and well managed neighbor (the first was in the Pacific War).

Treaty of Petrópolis

The Treaty of Petrópolis is a peace treaty signed between Bolivia and Brazil, the Brazilian city of Petrópolis on 17 November 1903, by which Bolivia yielded an approximate area of 191,000 square kilometers, which mainly correspond to the current state of acre, Brazil, and in 1877 the "Treaty of Peace and Friendship" or Ayacucho Bolivia Treaty had yielded other 164.242 square kilometers in acres of area which were annexed by Brazil to the then province and present state of Amazonas.

Among the main reasons for the delivery of the territory are the rubber boom, which occurred in the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, and the revolt of the inhabitants of the region who were in mostly Brazilian.

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