Slave market at Rio de Janeiro - Jean-Baptiste Debret
Slave market at Rio de Janeiro

An online guide with a wealth of photos and illustrations giving a unique insight into the novel.

Links to the Illustrated Guide to Brazil can be found at the end of each section of the e-book enhancing the reader's enjoyment of a spellbinding saga "with the look and feel of an enchanted virgin forest, a totally new and original world for the reader-explorer to discover."

I searched for the story of Brazil for five years, a literary pathfinder in quest of the epic of the Brazilian people, a mighty trek of twenty thousand kilometers across the length and breadth of a vast country. See my travel journal in Brazil: The Making of a Novel.

[Images from from Wikipedia Commons, unless specified otherwise. Captions are from the text of Brazil. ]


Mafra Palace   - João MacPhail
Luis Fialho stood with his back to the others and was looking at Mafra. "Dear God, what a majestic pile! What would those Paulistas searching for El Dorado say? What would the believe but that here, before their eyes, was the palace of El Dorado!"
Marcelino Augusto laughed. "Every stone paid for with the gold and diamonds of Brazil."

A Brazilian slave owner punishes a slave in 19th century Brazil.-  Jean-Baptiste Debret (1834–1839)
Often Luis Fialho's lyrical contemplations had been followed by dark melancholy at the thought of Brazil. He had spoken on America as sensuous and corrupting. It was in Luis Fialho's carefully chosen words, "A hell for blacks, a purgatory for whites."
Brazilian slaves | 18th century diamond mining. - Carlos Juliao -
Crown officials proclaimed a "Forbidden District," some 130 miles in circumference, east of the range known as The Spine. A miner caught extracting diamonds without the king's authority could be thrown into jail or banished to Angola; illegal possession by a slave could bring up to four hundred lashes, often after forced ingestion of a purge of Malgueta pepper to flush out any gems he had swallowed.
Marquis of Pombal -  Louis-Michel van Loo and Claude Joseph Vernet; 1766.
The man sat sideways at one of the mahogany tables, an elbow resting on the surface...As arresting as his piercingly intelligent hazel eyes were the cleft in his chin, emphasizing the well-shaped mouth, and a white wig that flowed to his shoulders. He was Sebastião José Carvalho e Melo, and on this day in October 1755, no man in Portugal save the king was more powerful.
Padre António Vieira
"Vieira did not lie," Carvalho e Melo said dryly, referring to the Jesuit who had labored along the Rio das Amazonas. "'Two million dead,' Vieira wrote sixty years ago. How many more since Vieira's day?" He shook his head."No, Vieira did not lie about the butchers of the Amazon," he repeated. "And what would he say if he were alive to see aldeias where hundreds are kept as serfs, where they do forced labor on plantations and roam the forest for products to enrich the Jesuits?"
 Terreiro do Paço (Palace Square) and the Ribeira Royal Palace, prior to their destruction in the 1755 Lisbon earthquake.
The palaces of the king and the powerful Corte-Real family dominated the waterfront on the west side of the Terreiro do Paço, the palace square; east of the square was a magnificent quay, and behind it the customs building.
Court function at the Palace of Ribeira in 1748
Lisbon had a medieval, congested appearance, its most striking feature its ninety convents, forty parish churches, and several basilicas ....Paulo and Luis Fialho were guests at Dona Clara's four-story house on a precipitous street northeast of Rossio Square in the heart of the city.

Etchings of before and after views of Lisbon
Ten seconds later, there was a devastating shock. The houses opposite Paulo began to sway; the floor beneath him vibrated so violently that he struggled to keep his balance ....A thundering in the earth dulled Paulo's perception of these noises. Terremoto! The word crashed through Paulo's senses. "Earthquake!"
Lisbon, Portugal, during the great earthquake of 1 November 1755. - copper engraving,
The force of the earthquake produced monstrous tidal waves that raced into the mouth of the Tagus from the southwest. Ships were torn from their moorings and splintered against wharves and quays. Small craft ;laden with refugees crossing to the south bank were swallowed up in the whirlpools.
The Ruins of Lisbon. - 1755 German copperplate image,
Few were innocent; the quakes that leveled Lisbon seemed to have cast up from the depths an assembly of assassins, cutthroats, robbers and thieves.
Patriarchal Church Square, following the 1755 Lisbon earthquake.
Gazing toward a district where the fires were intense, Carvalho e Melo asked," When London burned, did the Englishmen abandon it?"
"No, Excellency."
"I will rebuild Lisbon," Carvalho e Melo said
Casa Grande e Senzala | Gilberto Freyre
The mansion stood on the high ground that six generations of Cavalcantis had occupied since Nicolau and Helena built that first forlorn and forbidding blockhouse...It was not only its imposing size that gave the Casa Grande distinction but also the harmony with which it blended into the landscape.
Brazilian engenho or plantation
Beyond the Casa Grande, the ground sloped gradually toward a river, beside which were located the sugar works, the distillery, and the senzala, the main slave quarters.

Brazilian slaves in domestic scene - Debret
The intimate relationship between the slaves of the house and the sinhá and sinhazinha, as the slaves called Senhora Cavalcanti and her daughters, was sometimes subtle and secretive, with confidences no Cavalcanti male was every likely to hear.
Brazilian vaqueiros in the backlands - Joao Monteiro Neto
From his birth, when the woman who bore him rested on a a soft hide, to burial, when death in a far place might bring internment in a rough shroud, the vaqueiro existed in a world of leather.
Slaves in stocks - Jean Baptiste Debret
"I won't have you whipped or branded, but you'll spend your days and nights in the stocks. When you've served your punishment, you'll work like a young ox to fill the place of the slave who died because of you."
The Slave in the Iron Mask - Escrava Anastacia - By Jacques Arago
After ten days, Onias lost heart. Then he had sought to end his life in a way known to the 'Ngola of Angola: Sinking to his knees, he had consumed great mouthfuls of red dirt.
Graciliano took charge of the treatment of Onias, who was forcibly administered a powerful emetic. After three days he recovered.
Onias was led to the blacksmith. Here Onias was fitted with a contraption to prevent him from eating dirt: an iron mask that had apertures for his eyes and nose but not his mouth.
Jesuit father in Brazil, 18th century
It was December 23, 1759. A week ago, a messenger from the Superior at Recife had brought the order that the two priests leave Rosário in compliance with the royal edict.
Leandro Taques spent eleven days along the road from Rosário to Recife. He intended no more than atonement for his sins and omissions, but in this last and darkest hour for the Jesuits of Brazil, the long walk of Leandro Taques was a small triumph.
Brazilian women  - Jean Baptiste Debret
Today there were thirty Yoruba slaves at the engenho, less than one-fifth of the Cavalcanti slaves. Despite their small number all at the senzala held Ama Rachel in veneration for she was a high priestess of the Yoruba, the yalorixa.
Statue of Oxalá in Costa do Sauípe, Bahía, Brasil.
The Yoruba had not abandoned the gods of their people but had come to liken them to the divinities and saints worshipped by the Portuguese. Thus they identified Olurum with the Almighty; his son Oxala, known for his purity with Jesus Christ; and Yemanja, whom they begged to carry them safely across the ocean, with Our Lady.
Slave lashed at the pillory in Brazil - Jean Baptiste Debret
Black Peter, the carpenter, received the first of 100 lashes. "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus....where is Black Peter who was free?" The knout stung his back. "Jesus, Jesus.... here I am a peça!"The thongs struck low across his back. The mulatto shifted position. The next blow landed on his right shoulder blade. "I was free with the padres."
Capitao de mata - Rugendas
For three weeks after the slaughter of Elias Souza Vanderley and Little George, militia patrols hunted for the fugitives extending their searches west and south toward the sertão but finding no trace of them.
Engenho - Brazilian plantation with chapel - Frans Post
The boards of the choir loft creaked as Padre Viana crossed to the right gallery. Three quarters of the way along the balcony, he stopped and stood with his hands on the railing, glancing down into the chapel, where several candles had been lit.
Bartolomeu Rodrigues was down on his knees, beside Paulo's coffin. His sobbing was interrupted by long silences.
"Hear his weeping, O Lord," Viana whispered. "Console his suffering, I beseech thee."
Departure of the bandeirantes' Monsoons - Almeida Júnior
In both spirit and boldness, the convoys were a continuation of the mighty pathfinding adventures of men like Amador and Raposo Tavares. A voyage of 3,500 miles to the mining camps, the seasonal river-borne convoys were called "monsoons.".
Surgical instruments made by Pierre Fauchard during the 18th century.
Silva Xavier always traveled with his dental equipment.
"Courage, Senhor Benedito," André said. He flashed his own white teeth, "Joaquim has attended me. There's little pain."
"O my little Jesus."
"There!" Silva Xavier cried triumphantly when it was done, "It is out, senhor."
Benedito Bueno made a dreadful noise and bent to spit into a silver basin Silvestre held up for him.

Tiradentes, the Toothpuller
"Did I speak of revolution?" Silva Xavier waved the sheet of paper in front of Silvestre."These truths are the voice of reason against turmoil. They were given by men claiming their natural rights to reject tyranny." He nodded. "Tiradentes," he said. "Of course, Silvestre, it's far better to save a tooth than to extract it." Then he smiled. "Sometimes, though, the decay is too advanced and there's no choice: The tooth has to be plucked."
Church of the Third Order of St Francis in Ouro Preto. The façade is the work of Aleijadinho.
Aleijadinho, "The Little Cripple," residents of Vila Rica had begun to call the mulatto since the onset of his affliction. His name was Antônio Francisco Lisboa, and he had designed and built this lovely Church of Saint Francis. His task this morning was to perfect a soapstone cherub above the doorway. Antônio Francisco's leprosy was getting progressively worse, but even as he worked on the small angel with the implements bound to his forearms, his thoughts were on two mighty projects for the future: twelve gigantic Prophets; and a depiction of the Passion of Christ with more than sixty wood-carved figures. "Oh, if God only wills it!" he said aloud.
Maria Cosway by her husband, Richard Cosway.
"Maria was married to an ugly little man, Senhor Richard, a miniaturist of repute. All summer Senhor Jefferson courted Maria, but when winter came, her husband took her home. Her lover was left behind with a broken heart and a damaged wrist." He laughed. "The minister was promenading with lovely Maria in the Cours la Reine along the Seine when, out of joy, he leapt over a fence, fell, and cracked his wrist."
"Ai! The poor thing! I love him for it. This god of liberty, with a heart for sweet romance."

Casa dos Contos - Vila Rice de Ouro Preto - Filipe Heimerich
Macedo's payments to the treasury were now 750,000 milreis in arrears — an equivalent of no less than 4,800 pounds in gold. The second great debtor, Joaquim Silvério dos Reis, a tax farmer notorious for suborning and bribing the queen's officials, owed 220,000 milreis, or some 1,400 pounds of gold.
Town of Bom Jesus de Matosinhos, nowadays a neighborhood of São João del Rey city, Minas Gerais - Rugendas
They left Vila Rica with the tropeiros on May 19, 1789, heading south on the road to São João del Rei. The two muleteers were hard-drinking, taciturn men, who asked few questions about André's request to accompany them, though they suspected it was connected with the excitement at Vila Rica.
Tiradentes quartered after execution -  (Pedro Américo)
"The criminal Joaquim José da Silva Xavier, known as the Tooth-puller, is condemned to be paraded with hangman's noose through the streets of Rio de Janeiro to the gallows, where he will be executed by hanging. When the criminal his dead, his head will be cut off and his body divided into quarters. The head is to be transported to the city of Vila Rica, where it will be fastened to a tall pole in the most public place to remain there until consumed by time. The legs will be attached to poles along the road to Minas Gerais; the arms will be exhibited at other places where the criminal sowed the seeds of revolution."
Silva Xavier accepted the sentence with quiet dignity, not the slightest trace of fear in his uncompromising blue eyes.


Slave traffic in Brazil - Johann Moritz Rugendas
The stranger was a Portuguese from São Paulo. He had come to the fazenda leading a great caravan through the caatinga.
"Escravos," Chico Tico-Tico explained.
Antônio Paciência knew they were slaves. "Where are they taking them?"
"South to the lands of coffee."
A Brazilian plantation owner return home - Jean Baptists Debret
Fazendeiros like Heitor Ferreira were the great men of the earth, the rich. Modesto had yet to see one of the ricos who was not a branco, a white, or a branco da terra, a white of the earth — a senhor of color with sufficient prestige or wealth to be accepted as white.
Contract for the sale of a slave in Brazil
The slaver bought Antônio Paciência for three hundred milreis, the equivalent at the time of 150 dollars, a good price for a slave boy in the northeast sertão, though the Portuguese expected to receive double this amount when he sold the boy at São Paulo. The slaver was Saturnino Rabelo, a man in his mid-fifties. Previously engaged in the African slave trade, for the past four years Rabelo had been engaged in a lucrative traffic of slaves from north to south Brazil.
View of the Largo do Carmo, now site of the Praça XV de Novembro (15 November Square) in the center of Rio, a few years after the arrival of the court.-  Franz Josef Frühbeck
om João saw hope of preserving intact the Bragança's American estate. "Should Brazil decide to separate from Portugal," he told Crown Prince Pedro," let it be under your leadership, my son, not that of an adventurer."
Pedro I at age 27 during his trip to Salvador, Bahia province, March 1826  -- Antônio Joaquim Franco Velasco
Short and stocky, with a handsome face dominated by large brown eyes, Dom Pedro had thrived in his exotic place of exile. Generous and friendly, Pedro was also impulsive, emotional, and had shown a passion for lovemaking. Week after week, he would hasten from São Cristovão palace in search of new lovers from all classes and races.
Arrival of Princess Leopoldina in Rio de Janeiro, 1817 - Jean-Baptiste Debret
In 1817, the plain flaxen-haired Archduchess Maria Leopoldina sailed for Brazil, where she married Dom Pedro. Pedro had been awed by his wife's superior intellect, particularly her abiding interest in botany and mineralogy. But neither marriage nor the birth of their first child distracted Pedro from his paramours.
Prince Pedro declares the Independence of Brazil on September 7, 1822.
On September 7, 1822, messengers from Rio de Janeiro overtook Dom Pedro's party at a small stream called Ipiranga. They were carrying dispatches from Minister José Bonifácio and a letter from Pedro's wife, Leopoldina: "Pedro, this is the most important moment of your life. Today, Brazil, which under your guidance will be a great country, wants you as her monarch."
Dom Pedro made his decision. "The Cortes is persecuting me. I am an adolescent, they say. I am a Brazilian! Now let them see their adolescent... I proclaim Brazil forever separated from Portugal. From this day hence, our motto is: Independence or Death!"
Emperor Pedro I of Brazil marriage to Amélie of Leuchtenberg, - Jean-Baptiste Debret.
After the death of Leopoldina, Dom Pedro's emissaries succeeded in gaining for him the hand of an enchanting Bavarian princess, Amélie of Leuchtenberg, granddaughter of Napoleon and Josephine Beauharnais.
Dom Pedro celebrated the arrival of his seventeen-year-old bride by creating the Order of the Rose in her honor: Love and Fidelity was its motto.
Pedro II around age 25, c.1851-  Louis Buvelot
Antônio Paciência had heard others talk respectfully of this Dom Pedro Segundo, a poderoso do sertão with power over not merely one fazenda but all Brazil.
"Is this his fazenda?" he asked at a big ranch where Saturnino Rabelo had sought further purchases.
"No Pedro Segundo has a grander house at Rio de Janeiro. Ask Policarpo to tell you about it."
Policarpo told Antonio that he had seen not only the palace but Dom Pedro Segundo himself, riding along the Rua Direita in an open carriage with eight cream colored horses plumed with gold feathers.
"'Long live Dom Pedro Segundo! Long live our emperor of Brazil!' I shouted," said Policarpo, his face radiant.
1856 - Praça do Comércio - Rua Direita, Rio de Janeiro - P. G. Bertichem
At the Corte, Dom Pedro and his American aristocrats lived with a semblance of European elegance, scrupulously observing court etiquette, worshipping foreign ideas, and devotedly following the latest French fashions.
Dom Pedro II study - Imperial Museum, Petropolis
Dom Pedro wore his crown reluctantly, yearning for the retreat of a contemplative and scholarly life and dreading the storms of statesmanship.
"Were I not emperor, I should like to be a teacher,' He said on occasion. "What calling is greater or nobler than directing young minds?"
Botafogo Bay in 1869. Nicola Antonio Facchinetti
At the small bay of Botafago, with the Sugar Loaf to one side, between thick groves of large-leafed banana trees and stately palms, stood the sparkling white mansions of viscounts, barons, generals. Tropical plants flourished, dense and deeply green, gaudy blossoms of scarlet lilac and blue mixed with the rose and other English imports
Brazilian lady and her slaves in 1860 - Wikipedia Commons
Half the city's population were black and mulatto slaves: The narrow streets teemed with half-naked men fulfilling the age-old promise that "homens bons" be spared the curse of manual toil in Brazil.
Slaves from  Moçambique. -- Johann Moritz Rugendas
"What is your name?"
"Policarpo, senhor."
"Where do you come from?"
"Mozambique, master."
Saturnino Rabelo interjected: "In my fields, Your Honor — a strong and uncomplaining worker." There was a belief that blacks from Mozambique and Angola were natural enemies of labor, as opposed to those from the Gold Coast, who had a reputation for diligence.
Brazilian fazenda in Empire period - detail from painting by Eduard Hildebrandt
Off to the right, amid  tufted royal palms and luxuriant bushes and flowers, stood the mansion occupied by the baron of Itatinga and his family.
Brazilian woman at home with slaves - Jean-Baptiste Debret - Col.-Museus-Castro-Maya
She was tempestuous, with the fire seldom absent from her small black eyes and with a sharp tongue, but she was a lively, enchanting creature, especially when others gave her their undivided attention. This she had no difficulty at all commanding, for Teodora Rita Mendes da Silva was the wife of Ulisses Tavares, baron of Itatinga.
Paraguay River near Asunción.
On September 12, 1864, after the midday meal, life aboard the packet Marqués de Olinda came to a standstill. The privileged among the passengers and crew retired to bunks and hammocks and wicker chairs; others sought a shaded patch of deck as the Marqués de Olinda steamed up the Rio Paraguay at a steady six knots.
Asunción waterfront
Two days earlier, the Marqués de Olinda had dropped anchor at Asunción to take on coal. In this dry season, the capital of Paraguay lay thick with red dust that swirled up against one-storied houses, mud huts and lean-tos.
City of Asunción
Construction gangs were busy at work throughout the city. Presidential palace, opera house, cathedral; shipyard, arsenal, iron foundry, telegraph office, railway — after centuries of colonial slumber, Paraguay was in the midst of an industrial revolution, attracting hundreds of skilled European engineers and craftsmen.
Francisco Solano López, dictator of Paraguay. -- Aurelio García
"Perhaps Solano López has a purpose in building his war machine," Telles Brandão said.
Mendonça looked up expectantly. Coronel Frederico's eyes were half open.
"Emperor López, the Napoleon of the Plata!"
"And a crown for his Irish princess?" Mendonça said, a glint in his beady eyes.
Telles Brandão smiled at this reference to eliza Alicia Lynch, mistress of Solano López. "You jest, Sabino. There's talk at Buenos Aires that López has crown and scepter on order from Europe."
Eliza Lynch, long time companion of Paraguayan dictator Francisco Solano López, c.1864
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Similar vessel to Tacuari, flagship of Paraguayan Navy
The Tacuari ran up signal flags ordering them to stop immediately. The Marqués de Olinda ignored the command. And then, without warning, there was a roar and a flash, and the cannon on her poop deck threw a shell across the bows of the Marqués de Olinda.
Viennese Waltz - Leo Rauth
M. Armand trembled with excitement as he reached for some papers on the Broadwood. "Humbly, Baron, for your kindness, your welcome, I give you both — Teodora Rita's Waltz!"
It was as lovely and romantic a valse as the brilliant melodies from mirth-loving Vienna, danced for the first time this night, so far, far away from the thunder gathering at the Plata.
Braziklian frigate Amazonas
Early morning on June 11, 1865, nine Brazilian warships were anchored ten miles below Tres Bocas, with the Riachuelo, a stream flowing into it from the east. The flagship was the Amazonas, a 195-foot, 370-ton wooden frigate, the only paddle wheeler among the nine ships.
Francisco Manuel Barroso, Baron of Amazonas
To get a better view of the enemy, Admiral Barroso had climbed up onto one of the Amazonas's paddle boxes. "make this signal to the squadron."
Barroso glanced swiftly along the line of his ships. Then he addressed the midshipman with orders for signal flags to be flown with two commands:
The first was for the ships to engage the enemy at close quarters. The second was inspired by the glory of Trafalgar sixty years ago: "O Brasil espera que cada um compra o seu dever!" — "Brazil expects that every man will do his duty!"
 Battle of Riachuelo - Victor Meirelles
Full steam ahead, her great paddle wheel churning the water, the Amazonas came down before the three-knot current. On and on she rode, belching black smoke from her stack and red flame from the mouths of her cannon, steaming directly for the Paraguarí, the newest vessel in President López's fleet.
She struck the Paraguarí amidships, her ram buckling iron plates, smashing through the enemy's bulwarks.
Slaves on a Brazilian coffee plantation
In truth, Policarpo was lazy, and had resented the regimen of the plantation, particularly at harvest time, when the slave bell rang at 5:00 a.m. for assembly and prayers in front of the mansion before work in the coffee groves until dusk.
A White boy is next to his nanny, a couple of men drying coffee, a woman and some children sitting, all of whom are slaves owned by his father. George Leuzinger (1813-1892)
The move to the senzala had been almost as traumatic as being sold away from Mãe Mônica. Cast among the mass of Itatinga's 220 slaves, Antônio had experienced deprivation that went far beyond being stripped of the nice clothes he had worn on parade in front of Teodora Rita's guests or denied the food from the fazenda's kitchen.
Paraguayan War - Voluntários_da_Pátria
When the ninety-two voluntários of Tiberica left the town square, the baron's grandson had ridden at the head of them.
Included in the column, marching three abreast, had been twenty-seven slaves from fazendas in the district. Some had tramped along with bewildered looks, for they feared this service for which their masters had volunteered them.
Antônio Paciência marched beside Policarpo Mosssambe, the pair among six chosen from Itatinga as voluntários da Patria
Paraguayan officers and soldiers - War of the Triple Alliance
General Juan Bautista Noguera intoned the epithet with a deadly calm as he watched the river armada draw near the low-lying banks where the Rio Paraguay fell into the Paraná.
Four thousand soldiers were in position along the banks of the Upper Paraná, an invasion by the Allies accepted as inevitable for months.
Battle of Itapiru - War of the Triple Alliance
War steamers, transports, flat barges, and canoes as far as they eye could see. And to challenge them, Cacambo with two hundred men and boys, most of them carrying flintlock muskets and machetes.

Battle of Tuyuti - Cándido López
Sweeping down on the right toward the Argentinian flank, thundering out of the cover of a palm forest, came seven thousand cavalrymen with two thousand foot soldiers running up behind them. Pouring directly from the estero in a frontal assault on the Bateria Mallet were five thousand infantrymen, with four howitzers. Altogether some 23,000 men, the bulk of Paraguay's army.
By noon of May 24, 1866, five minutes after the Paraguayans' rocket signal to commence the attack, the battle of Tuyuti was raging along the whole line of the allies.
Trench with Uruguayan soldiers from the 24 April Batallion at Tuyutí. Albumen print, 1866.
"Ai, Jesus Christ! How Terrible!" António cried. "Some are so small and thin, there's nothing to burn."
The Paraguayan dead were being heaped up in alternate layers. Of 23,000 men sent into battle, six thousand were dead and seven thousand injured. The Allied losses were four thousand.
Barrel torpedoes
Luke's torpedoes varied in size from 50-pounders to a monster boiler-plated 1,500-pounder, the stationary weapons were anchored so that they drifted four to five feet below the surface; those sent downstream floated attached to barrels or demijohns.
Battle of Curupaiti - Candido Lopez
Policarpo had worked his way about six feet into the abatis.
"Policarpo!" Antônio shouted. "Come down! We'll burn it!"
Policarpo had his back to Antônio; he raised the ax for one last swing.
An instant later, the shell exploded at the front edge of the tangle of trees, hurling Policarpo Mossambe high into the air.
Paraguayan mother and child
Several hundred mothers and daughters served in a Paraguayan women's corps, working in the hospitals, cleaning the barracks and campgrounds, and cultivating fields. The women sent deputations to the marshal president asking to be drilled as soldiers and allowed to fight, but López had turned down these requests.
Ana Justina Ferreira Néri - Victor Meirelles
Dona Ana Néri had been fifty-one, living comfortably at her home outside Salvador, Bahia, when she badgered the military authorities to let her sail for the Plata. She'd become a legend, not only for her compassion toward both friend and foe, but also for fearlessness in passing through the very fire of battle to aid the wounded, a mission that had brought her the deepest sorrow a mother can know:
Following a skirmish near the esteros, Dona Ana had found one of her own sons dead at the edge of the morass.
Londres Battery of the Humaitá fortifications
At Humaitá, men and boys waited at eighty-four cannon at the Bateria de Londres and other gun emplacements. Some were battle-hardened veterans. Some child gunners waited gallantly beside cannon the muzzles of which they could reach only on tiptoe.
Estudo para Passagem de Humaitá - Victor Meirelles
"Cease fire!" Tuttle looked up to see the battery commander standing there.
"Cease fire?" Tuttle asked incredulously.
"Stop shooting at the monitor. Watch closely, Major. There are one hundred and fifty men out there. They'll storm her decks and take her prize."
he port of Humaitá fortress seen from land and at the background, the masts of the anchored Brazilian warships, c.1868
Through the winter of 1868, a cold miserable four months, the Allies laid siege to Humaitá. The three thousand defenders deceived the Allies into believing their strength to be much greater with rows of Quaker guns — leather-bound tree trunks — and a frequent clangor of brass and drums.
Paraguayan dead - War of the Triple Alliance
Antônio Paciência and Urubu were still out searching for wounded, wandering across this landscape of horrors at Avaí. Arms, legs, heads, torsos had been scattered by shell blasts; hundreds of men were strewn haphazardly in unnatural positions, their bodies broken and contorted; as many horses littered the area, huge, stiff, with flies swarming upon their warm carcasses.
Asunción's cathedral
rom, the spires of Asunción's cathedral on the third Sunday of January 1869, the peal of bells rang out over the capital as the marquês de Caxias and his commanders gathered to thank God for victory.
As the marquês and his officers raised their voices to heaven, outside the cathedral the scene was closer to hell.
The rape of the Mother of Cities began slowly...
Dom Pedro II, Emperor of Brazil - Library of Congress collection
Most officers were sick and tired of the war and began to talk of the need to offer López terms for an honorable surrender.
A thousand miles away His Imperial Majesty Dom Pedro thought differently. What was needed was a young commander capable of reinvigorating the imperial army and leading the hunt for López — a bandit upon whose head His Majesty now placed a reward.
E.B. Wilson & Company built locomotive 1850
The raiders did not travel quietly. They burst into Pirayu from their base camp to the south in a locomotive hurtling past the dark slopes of Mbatovi Mountain, with two tattered red, white and blue banners of the Republic of Paraguay streaming to each side of the engine's smokebox, its chimney spewing a fiery rain of hot ash and cinders.
Paraguayan child soildiers - War of the Triple Alliance
There was a wood just south of the plain at Acosta Ñu. In the fading light tiny black dots could be seen emerging from out of the trees, scuttling through the macega toward the Paraguayan lines; they looked like so many squads of small, dark peccaries bolting through the grass. And like wild pigs, they provided excellent sport for cavalrymen who rode them down, sticking them with their lances.
Those tiny figures dashing across the macega were the mothers of boys in the trenches. They had hidden in the woods all day watching the progress of battle and were running to see if their children were dead or alive.
The Paraguayan - Juan Manuel Blanes
Francisco Solano López then spoke his last words: "¡Muero con mi patria!" ("I die with my country!")
There was never a truer epitaph.
In five years of war, ninety percent of the men and boys of Paraguay were slain.
Paraguay, the land of the Guarani, was dead.