Like in most other histories of wars, colonialism and control of the natural resources are the main reasons why Latin- American wars happened. Aside from colonialism, the struggle for physical power over the strategic River Plate (a large utuary between Argentina and Uruguay, Rio de Plata in Spanish) regions is also one of the main reasons. The ambitious leadership of Franciso Solano of Paraguay also lead to the Latin American wars. For this, Paraguay is always part of the history when we are talking about Latin American wars.
Two historical events are best quoted when we are talking about Latin American War. These are the events that lead to the conflict in Latin American countries in mis- late 1800’s.
War of the Triple Alliance or Paraguayan Wars ( 1864- 1870)
According to most history books and to Wikipedia, this started when Argentina proclaimed its independence of Spain in 1810. Paraguay refused to be under Spain and declared its own independence. El Supremo, Gaspar Rodriguez Francia started a political dynasty in the country of Paraguay. After his death, his kins (nephew and son to be specific)Carlos Antonio Lopez and Francisco Solano Lopez succeeded his regime, and followed his implementation of dictatorship over Paraguay. Carlos Antonio’s son, Francisco Solano, built an empire and the led the country into a war against an alliance of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay.
This war ended with the devastation of Paraguay. Diseases and deaths occurred and manipulated almost the entire population of the said country. The following statistics presents the number of casualty in these Latin American countries: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_of_the_Triple_Alliance ). Brazil had 28, 000-30,000 people killed in action, 30, 000 died due to other causes, others are even missing. In Argentina, 18, 000 killed in action and 12, 000 died of other causes, mainly of diseases and others are missing. In Paraguay, 120,000-160,000 got killed and died. But the conflict is stopped through his death. The revival was started through the initiative of some Brazilian armies who stayed in the country after the war. It took Paraguay long years to recover from chaos and demographic imbalance
War of the Pacific
The Salpeter war, which is another term for War of the Pacific, as referred to its original cause started when Chile had a fight against the joint force of Bolivia and Peru. Accroding to the Wikipedia, the war between and among these countries arose when they had an argument over the control of the part of Atacama Desert that lies between the 23rd and 26th parallels on the Pacific coast. The territory has valuable mineral resources which were exploited by some companies in Chile and British interests.
The Bolivian government took advantage of this situation and decided to add and increase taxes to these companies and interests and this led to misunderstanding and commercial dispute. This is the reason why is it called Salpeter War. Salpeter is potassium nitrate, a chemical compound, a naturally occurring mineral source of nitrogen and a good source of black gun powder.
It may sound funny but we always perceive that in a war, winners are determined by who are right, but who are left. However, as we analyze it as a whole, in any war histories, both parties always seem defeated with the lost they had after the war.