Author Archives: driwancybermuseum

The Paraguay History Collections Part One

The Paraguay History


Part one


Created By

Dr iwan suwandy,MHA

Copyright @ 2012




THE COMPLETE CD with full illustrations exist but only for premium member







The history of Paraguay is poorly documented, as almost no archaeological research has been done and little is known of Paraguay‘s pre-Columbian history. What is certain is that the eastern part of the country was occupied by

Guaraní peoples for at least 1,000 years before the Spanish colonization of the Americas. Evidence indicates that these indigenous Americans developed a fairly sophisticated semi-nomadic culture consisting of several independent multivillage communities. The first Spaniards settled in the territory in the 16th century. They were predominantly young men, as few women followed them to the region. Following the Spanish conquest and colonization, a large mixed (mestizo) population developed, which spoke the language of their indigenous mothers but adopted much of their fathers’ Spanish culture[citation needed].

Paraguay’s colonial history was one of general calm punctuated by turbulent political events; the country’s economy at the time made it unimportant to the Spanish crown, and the distance of its capital from other new cities on the South American continent lead to isolation.

Paraguay declared its independence from Spain in 1811; since then, the country has had a history of dictatorial governments, from the Utopian regime of

José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia (El Supremo)

to the suicidal reign of


 Francisco Solano López,

who nearly devastated the country in warfare against the combined forces of Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay from 1865 through 1870. The so-called Paraguayan War ended in the near annihilation of Paraguay and set the stage for the formation of a two-party (Colorado vs. Liberal) political system that persists until the present day.

Following political turmoil during the first three decades of the 20th century, Paraguay went to war again, this time with Bolivia. From 1932 to 1935, approximately 30,000 Paraguayans and 65,000 Bolivians died in fighting over possession of the Chaco region.

Initiative and creativity were stifled for many years during the rule of a series of dictators. From 1870 to 1954, Paraguay was ruled by 44 different men, 24 of whom were forced from office.

In 1954,


General Alfredo Stroessner

took advantage of the strong link between the armed forces and the Colorado Party to overthrow the government; he ruled until 1989.

Although there is little ethnic strife in Paraguay to impede social and economic progress, there is social conflict caused by underemployment and the enormous gap between the rich and the poor. Positive steps to correct these inequities have occurred since the 1989 ousting of the last dictator, and the country’s political system is moving toward a fully functioning democracy. However, the tradition of hierarchical organizational structures and generous rewarding of political favors prevails

Read More Informations

the flag

Paraguay, officially the Republic of Paraguay (Spanish: República del Paraguay), is a landlocked country in South America. It is bordered by Argentina to the south and southwest, Brazil to the east and northeast, and Bolivia to the northwest. Paraguay lies on both banks of the Paraguay River, which runs through the center of the country from north to south. Due to its central location in South America, it is sometimes referred to as Corazón de América, or the Heart of America.


The Guaraní have been living in Paraguay since prior to the arrival of Europeans in the 16th century, when Paraguay became part of the Spanish colonial empire. Paraguay gained independence from Spain in 1811.


Independence House

The Casa de la Independencia Museum is located in the oldest building in Asuncion. Built in 1772, the house was constructed of palm wood and bamboo and features adobe walls and a thatched roof. Although the house was used as a residence, it was the center of one of the most important events in Paraguay’s history. It was in this humble home that the emancipation from Spain was planned in secret meetings. On May 14, 1811, a group of brave patriots left the house at dawn and surrounded the house of the Spanish governor. They demanded that he relinquish control over the nation, the surrender was carried out without any bloodshed.


In 2010, Paraguay experienced the largest economic expansion in Latin America and the second fastest in the world, only after Qatar.



The name of the river, Paraguay, is thought to come from Guaraní para, “of many varieties”, and gua, “riverine”.


There is no conclusive explanation for the origin of the name Paraguay.


The Spanish officer and scientist Félix de Azara suggests two versions: water from the Payaguas (Payaguá-and Payagua-i), referring to natural Payaguas living on the coasts of the river, and the other was due to the name of a great chief called “Paraguaio.”
The French-Argentine historian and writer Paul Groussac argued that it meant “river that flows through the sea (Pantanal).”
The ex-president and Paraguayan politician, Juan Natalicio Gonzalez said it meant “river of the habitants of the sea.”
Fray Antonio Ruiz de Montoya said that it meant “river crowned.”


Paraguay is divided by the Río Paraguay into the eastern region, called Eastern Paraguay (Paraguay Oriental) and known as the Paraná region; and the western region, officially called Western Paraguay (Paraguay Occidental) and also known as the Chaco. The country lies between latitudes 19° and 28°S, and longitudes 54° and 63°W. The terrain consists of grassy plains and wooded hills in the east. To the west, there are mostly low, marshy plains.


The local climate ranges from subtropical to temperate, with substantial rainfall in the eastern portions, though becoming semi-arid in the far west.


Pre-Columbian society in the wooded, fertile region which is now Paraguay consisted of seminomadic tribes, who were recognized for their fierce warrior traditions. These indigenous tribes were members of five distinct language families, and 17 separate ethnolinguistic groups remain today.


Europeans first arrived in the area in the early sixteenth century, and the settlement of Asunción was founded on August 15, 1537, by the Spanish explorer Juan de Salazar de Espinosa. The city eventually became the center of a Spanish colonial province, as well as the primary site of the Jesuit missions and settlements in South America in the eighteenth century. Jesuit Reductions were founded, and flourished in eastern Paraguay for about 150 years, until the expulsion of the Jesuits by the Spanish crown in 1767. Paraguay overthrew the local Spanish administration on May 15, 1811. Paraguay’s first ruler was the dictator Jose Gaspar Rodriguez de Francia. He ruled Paraguay from 1814, until his death in 1840, with very little outside contact or influence, creating a utopian society based on Rousseau’s Social Contract. After his death, Paraguay went through the very brief ownership of various military officers under a new junta, until the secretary Carlos Antonio Lopez, Francia’s nephew, declared himself dictator. Lopez modernized Paraguay, and opened it up to foreign commerce. The relationship with Buenos Aires was limited to a non-aggression pact; Paraguayan independence from Argentina was declared in 1842. After Lopez’s death, power was transferred to his eldest son, Francisco Solano Lopez in 1862. Lopez’s expansionist aims lead to the War of the Triple Alliance in 1864. Paraguay fought against Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay, and was defeated in 1870 after five years of the bloodiest war in South America. According to William D. Rubinstein, “The normal estimate is that of a Paraguayan population of somewhere between 450,000 and 900,000, only 220,000 survived the war, of whom only 28,000 were adult males.” Paraguay also suffered extensive territorial losses to Brazil and Argentina.


the Chaco

More Photos of the Chaco

The Chaco War was fought with Bolivia in the 1930s, and Bolivia was defeated. Paraguay re-established sovereignty over the region called the Chaco, but forfeited additional territorial gains as a price of peace.


Paraguay’s Government Palace Palacio de los Lopez

Palacio de los Lopez, One of the most beautiful buildings in the city of Asuncion is the government palace. The construction of the Palacio de los Lopez began in 1857 as the residence for General Francisco Solano Lopez. But, the construction stopped with the outbreak of the War of the Triple Alliance and the palace wasn’t completed until 1892.

The official narrative of Paraguay’s history is fraught with disputes among historians, educators and politicians. The “authentic” version of historical events, wars in particular, varies depending on whether it was written in Paraguay, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Bolivia, Europe, or North America.


Both the Colorado Party and Liberal Party maintain distinct official versions of Paraguayan history. During the pillaging of Asuncion (Saqueo de Asunción) in 1869, the Brazilian Imperial Army ransacked and relocated the Paraguayan National Archives to Rio de Janeiro where they have been kept in secrecy, making Paraguayan history in the Colonial and early National periods difficult to study.


Between 1904 and 1954, Paraguay had thirty-one presidents, most of whom were removed from office by force.


From 1954 to 1989, the country was ruled by Alfredo Stroessner and the Colorado party. The dictator oversaw an era of economic expansion, but at the cost of a poor human rights and environmental record. Torture and death for political opponents was routine. After his overthrow, the Colorado continued to dominate national politics until 2008.


Leftist former bishop Fernando Lugo achieved a historic victory in Paraguay’s presidential election of April 2008, defeating the ruling party candidate, and ending 61 years of conservative rule. Lugo won with nearly 41% of the vote, compared to almost 31% for Blanca Ovelar of the Colorado party.


Paraguay is a representative democratic republic, with a multi-party system and separation of powers in three branches. Executive power is exercised solely by the President, who is head of state and head of government. Legislative power is vested in the two chambers of the National Congress. The Judiciary is vested on Tribunals and Courts of Civil Law and a nine-member Supreme Court of Justice, all of them independent of the executive and the legislature.


tomb of the unknown soldier

More Photos of the Hall of Honor

Paraguay gained its independence from Spain in 1811, and its first president was Jose Gaspar Rodriguez de Francia, who was originally appointed with Fulgencio Yegros as alternative consul, but in 1814, de Francia was appointed president. He established new laws that more or less completely removed the powers of the church and the cabinet, forbade colonial citizens from marrying one other, being allowed to marry only blacks, mulattoes or natives, and cut off Paraguay from the rest of South America. Because of de Francia’s abolition of freedom, and his drive for complete power, Yegros and several other ex-politicians attempted to host a coup-d’etat against him, which failed, and they were imprisoned for life.


the cathedral

After World War II, politics became particularly unstable, with several political parties fighting for power in the late 1940s, which most notably brought about the Paraguayan civil war of 1947. A series of unstable governments ensued until the establishment, in 1954, of the stable regime of dictator Alfredo Stroessner, who remained in office for more than three decades, until 1989. Paraguay was modernized to some extent under Stroessner’s regime, although his rule was marked by extensive abuses.


The splits in the Colorado Party in the 1980s, and the conditions that led to this — Stroessner’s advanced age, the character of the regime, the economic downturn, and international isolation — provided an opportunity for demonstrations and statements by the opposition prior to the 1988 general elections.



PLRA leader Domingo Laino served as the focal point of the opposition in the second half of the 1980s. The government’s effort to isolate Laino by exiling him in 1982 had backfired. On his sixth attempt, in 1986, Laino returned with three television crews from the U.S., a former United States ambassador to Paraguay, and a group of Uruguayan and Argentine congressmen. Despite the international contingent, the police violently barred Laino’s return.


Cabildo- Cultural Center

More Photos of the Museum

However, the Stroessner regime relented in April 1987, and permitted Laino to arrive in Asunción. Laino took the lead in organizing demonstrations and diminishing somewhat the normal opposition party infighting. The opposition was unable to reach agreement on a common strategy regarding the elections, with some parties advocating abstention, and others calling for blank voting. Nonetheless, the parties did cooperate in holding numerous ‘lightning demonstrations’ (mítines relámpagos), especially in rural areas. Such demonstrations were held and disbanded quickly before the arrival of the police.


stream driven engine

More Photos from the Railroad Museum


In response to the upsurge in opposition activities, Stroessner condemned the Accord for advocating “sabotage of the general elections and disrespect of the law”, and used the national police and civilian vigilantes of the Colorado Party to break up demonstrations. A number of opposition leaders were imprisoned or otherwise harassed. Hermes Rafael Saguier, another key leader of the PLRA, was imprisoned for four months in 1987 on charges of sedition. In early February 1988, police arrested 200 people attending a National Coordinating Committee meeting in Coronel Oviedo. Laino and several other opposition figures were arrested before dawn on the day of the election, February 14, and held for twelve hours. The government declared Stroessner’s re-election with 89% of the vote.


While contending that these results reflected the virtual Colorado monopoly on the mass media, opposition politicians also saw several encouraging developments. Some 53% of those polled indicated that there was an “uneasiness” in Paraguayan society. Furthermore, 74% believed that the political situation needed changes, including 45% who wanted a substantial or total change. Finally, 31% stated that they planned to abstain from voting in the February elections.


On February 3, 1989, Stroessner was overthrown in a military coup headed by General Andrés Rodríguez. As president, Rodríguez instituted political, legal, and economic reforms and initiated a rapprochement with the international community.


The June 1992 constitution established a democratic system of government and dramatically improved protection of fundamental rights. In May 1993, Colorado Party candidate Juan Carlos Wasmosy was elected as Paraguay’s first civilian president in almost 40 years, in what international observers deemed fair and free elections.


water view in Asunción

With support from the United States, the Organization of American States, and other countries in the region, the Paraguayan people rejected an April 1996 attempt by then Army Chief General Lino Oviedo to oust President Wasmosy, taking an important step to strengthen democracy.


church of Fray Alonso de Buenaventura

More Photos of the church of Fray Alonso de Buenaventura

Oviedo became the Colorado candidate for president in the 1998 election, but when the Supreme Court upheld in April his conviction on charges related to the 1996 coup attempt, he was not allowed to run and remained in confinement. His former running mate, Raúl Cubas, became the Colorado Party’s candidate, and was elected in May in elections deemed by international observers to be free and fair. One of Cubas’ first acts after taking office in August was to commute Oviedo’s sentence and release him from confinement. In December 1998, Paraguay’s Supreme Court declared these actions unconstitutional. In this tense atmosphere, the murder of Vice President and long-time Oviedo rival Luis María Argaña on March 23, 1999, led the Chamber of Deputies to impeach Cubas the next day. The March 26 murder of eight student antigovernment demonstrators, widely believed to have been carried out by Oviedo supporters, made it clear that the Senate would vote to remove Cubas on March 29, and Cubas resigned on March 28. Senate President Luis González Macchi, a Cubas opponent, was peacefully sworn in as president the same day.


Santísima Trinidad del Paraná Ruins

More Photos of Trinidad Mission

In 2003, Nicanor Duarte Frutos was elected and sworn in as president.


church of Reducción de Jesús

More Photos of the Jesus Mission

For the 2008 general elections, the Colorado Party was once again a favorite. This time, their candidate was not an internal opponent to the President and self-proclaimed reformer, as in the two previous elections, but Minister of Education Blanca Ovelar, the first woman to appear as a candidate for a major party in Paraguayan history. However after sixty years of Colorado rule, voters chose a non-politician, former Roman Catholic Bishop Fernando Lugo. Although he was a longtime follower of the controversial liberation theology he was backed by the center-right Liberal Party, the Colorado Party’s traditional opponents.


from a Paraguayan saddle factory

Photos of the Saddle factory

Outgoing President Nicanor Duarte Frutos hailed the moment as the first time in the history of this nation that a government had handed power to opposition forces in an orderly and peaceful fashion.


mate supplies

More Photos of Mate

Lugo was sworn in on August 15, 2008, but unlike other South American countries such as Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia, Lugo’s leftist agenda remains largely unimplemented as the Paraguayan Congress continues to be dominated by right-wing elected officials.


Monument in Filadelphia

More Photos of Filadelphia

Political instability in the past year, fueled by disputes within Fernando Lugo’s cabinet, has led the right wing Colorado Party to regain popularity. Reports suggest that the businessman Horacio Cartes is the new political figure amid disputes. Despite the DEA’s strong accusations against Cartes involving him in drug trafficking, he continues to amass followers in the political arena.


road in Chaco

On January 14, 2011, the Colorado Party convention enabled Horacio Cartes to run as the presidential candidate for the party, even though, as reports suggest, the party’s constitution didn’t allow it.

Chronology collectictions






The French Revolution, the rise of Napoleon Bonaparte, and the subsequent war in Europe weakened Spain’s ability to maintain contact with and defend and control its colonies. When British troops attempted to seize Buenos Aires in 1806, the attack was repulsed by the city’s residents, not by Spain. Napoleon’s invasion of Spain in 1808, the capture of the Spanish king, Ferdinand VII, and Napoleon’s attempt to put his brother,

Joseph Bonaparte,

on the Spanish throne, severed the major remaining links between metropolis and satellite. Joseph had no constituency in Spanish America. Without a king, the entire colonial system lost its legitimacy, and the colonists revolted. Buoyed by their recent victory over British troops, the Buenos Aires cabildo deposed the Spanish viceroy on May 25, 1810, vowing to rule in the name of Ferdinand VII.



Yegros, Francia and Caballero.

The porteño action had unforeseen consequences for the histories of Argentina and Paraguay. News of the events in Buenos Aires stunned the citizens of Asunción, who had largely supported the royalist position. Discontent with the Spanish monarchy was dismissed because of a bigger rivalry with the city of Buenos Aires.

The porteños bungled their effort to extend control over Paraguay by choosing José Espínola y Peña as their spokesman in Asunción. Espínola was “perhaps the most hated Paraguayan of his era”, in the words of historian John Hoyt Williams. Espínola’s reception in Asunción was less than cordial, partly because he was closely linked to rapacious policies of

 the ex-governor, Lázaro de Rivera,

who had arbitrarily shot hundreds of his citizens until he was forced from office in 1805. Barely escaping a term of exile in Paraguay’s far north, Espínola fled back to Buenos Aires and lied about the extent of porteño support in Paraguay, causing the Buenos Aires cabildo to make an equally disastrous move. In a bid to settle the issue by force, the cabildo sent 1,100 troops under

 General Manuel Belgrano

 to subdue Asunción. Paraguayan troops soundly thrashed the porteños at Paraguarí and Tacuarí. Officers from both armies, however, fraternized openly during the campaign.

From these contacts the Paraguayans came to realize that Spanish dominance in South America was coming to an end, and that they, and not the Spaniards, held the real power.

The Paraguayan royalists’ ill-conceived actions inflamed nationalist sentiment. Believing that the Paraguayan officers who had beaten the porteños posed a direct threat to his rule,

Governor Bernardo de Velasco

 dispersed and disarmed the forces under his command and sent most of the soldiers home without paying them for their eight months of service. Velasco previously had lost face when he fled the battlefield at Paraguarí, thinking Belgrano would win. Discontent spread, and the last straw was the request by the Asunción cabildo for Portuguese military support against Belgrano’s forces, who were encamped just over the border in present-day Argentina. Far from bolstering the cabildo’s position, this move instantly ignited an uprising and the overthrow of Spanish authority in Paraguay on May 14 and 15, 1811.

Dictatorship and war



José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia



Litograph of José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia, a 19th century ruler of Paraguay, with a mate and its respective bombilla.



José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia played a crucial role in the nation building of Paraguay

José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia was one of the greatest figures in Paraguayan history. Ruling from 1814 until his death in 1840, Francia succeeded almost single-handedly in building a strong, prosperous, secure, and independent nation at a time when Paraguay’s continued existence as a distinct country seemed unlikely. He left Paraguay at peace, with government coffers full and many infant industries flourishing. Frugal, honest, competent, and diligent, Francia was popular with the lower classes. Despite his popularity, Francia trampled on human rights, imposing a police state based on espionage, threats and force. Under Francia, Paraguay underwent a social upheaval that destroyed the old elites.

Paraguay at independence was a relatively undeveloped country. Most residents of Asunción and virtually all rural inhabitants were illiterate. Urban elites did have access to private schools and tutoring. University education was, however, restricted to the few who could afford studies at the National University of Córdoba, in present-day Argentina. Very few people had any experience in government, finance, or administration. The settlers treated the Indians as little better than slaves, and the paternalistic clergy treated them like children. The country was surrounded by hostile neighbors, including the warlike Chaco tribes. Strong measures were needed to save the country from disintegration.


By outwitting porteño diplomats in the negotiations that produced the Treaty of October 11, 1811 (in which Argentina implicitly recognized Paraguayan independence in return for vague promises of a military alliance), Francia proved that he possessed skills crucial to the future of the country.

Francia consolidated his power by convincing the insecure Paraguayan elite that he was indispensable. But at the end of 1811, dissatisfied with the political role that military officers were beginning to play, he resigned from the junta. From his retirement in his modest chacra (cottage or hut) at Ibaray, near Asunción, he told countless ordinary citizens who came to visit him that their revolution had been betrayed, that the change in government had only traded a Spanish-born elite for a criollo one, and that the present government was incompetent and mismanaged. In fact, the country was rapidly heading for a crisis. Not only were the Portuguese threatening to overrun the northern frontiers, but Argentina had also effectively closed the Río de la Plata to Paraguayan commerce by levying taxes and seizing ships. To make matters worse, the porteño government agitated for Paraguayan military assistance against the Spanish in Uruguay and, disregarding the Treaty of October 11, for unification of Paraguay with Argentina. The porteño government also informed the junta it wanted to reopen talks.




 Assuming control

When the junta learned that a porteño diplomat was on his way to Asunción, it panicked because it realized it was not competent to negotiate without Francia. In November 1812, the junta members invited Francia to take charge of foreign policy, an offer Francia accepted. In return, the junta agreed to place one-half of the army and half the available munitions under Francia’s command.



In the absence of anyone equal to him on the junta, Francia now controlled the government. When the Argentine envoy, Nicolás de Herrera, arrived in May 1813, he learned to his dismay that all decisions had to await the meeting of a Paraguayan congress in late September. Meanwhile, Paraguay again declared itself independent of Argentina and expelled two junta members known to be sympathetic to union with Argentina. Under virtual house arrest, Herrera had little scope to build support for unification, even though he resorted to bribery

The congress, which met on September 30, 1813, was certainly the first of its kind in Latin America. There were more than 1,100 delegates chosen by universal male suffrage, and many of these delegates represented the poor, rural Paraguayan majority. Ironically, the decisions of this democratically elected body would set the stage for a long dictatorship. Herrera was neither allowed to attend the sessions, nor to present his declaration; instead, the congress gave overwhelming support to Francia’s anti-imperialist foreign policy. The delegates rejected a proposal for Paraguayan attendance at a constitutional congress at Buenos Aires and established a Paraguayan republic, the first in Spanish America, with Francia as first consul. Francia was supposed to trade places every four months with the second consul, Fulgencio Yegros, but Francia’s consulship marked the beginning of his direct rule because Yegros was little more than a figurehead. Yegros, a man without political ambitions, represented the nationalist criollo military elite, but Francia was the more powerful because he derived his strength from the nationalist masses.



In 1820,

 four years after a Paraguayan congress had named Francia dictator for life with the title El Supremo Dictador (supreme dictator), Francia’s security system uncovered and quickly crushed a plot by the elite to assassinate El Supremo. Francia arrested almost 200 prominent Paraguayans and executed most of them. In 1821, Francia struck again, summoning all of Paraguay’s 300 or so peninsulares (people born in Spain) to Asunción’s main square, where he accused them of treason, had them arrested, and held them in jail for 18 months. Francia released them only after they agreed to pay an enormous collective indemnity of 150,000 pesos (about 75 percent of the annual state budget), an amount so large that it broke their predominance in the Paraguayan economy.

Targeting the church

One of Francia’s special targets was the Roman Catholic Church. The church had provided an essential ideological underpinning to Spanish rule by spreading the doctrine of the “divine right of kings” and inculcating the Indian masses with a resigned fatalism about their social status and economic prospects. Francia banned religious orders, closed the country’s only seminary, “secularized” monks and priests by forcing them to swear loyalty to the state, abolished the fuero eclesiástico (the privilege of clerical immunity from civil courts), confiscated church property, and subordinated church finances to state control.

The common people of Paraguay benefited from the repression of the traditional elites and from the expansion of the state. The state took land from the elite and the church and leased it to the poor. About 875 families received homesteads from the lands of the former seminary. The various fines and confiscations levied on the criollos helped reduce taxes for everyone else. As a result, Francia’s attacks on the elite and his state-socialist policies provoked little popular resistance. The fines, expropriations, and confiscations of foreign-held property meant that the state quickly became the nation’s largest landowner, eventually operating forty-five animal-breeding farms. Run by army personnel, the farms proved so successful that the surplus animals were given away to the peasants.



In contrast to other states in the region, Paraguay was efficiently and honestly administered, stable, and secure (the army having grown to 1,800 regulars). Crime continued to exist during the Franciata (the period of Francia’s rule), but the justice system treated criminals leniently. Murderers, for example, were put to work on public projects. Asylum for political refugees from other countries became a Paraguayan hallmark. An extremely frugal and honest man, Francia left the state treasury with at least twice as much money in it as when he took office, including 36,500 pesos of his unspent salary, the equivalent of several years’ salary.

The state soon developed native industries in shipbuilding and textiles, a centrally planned and administered agricultural sector, which was more diversified and productive than the prior export monoculture, and other manufacturing capabilities. These developments supported Francia’s policy of economic self-sufficiency, no longer being reliant on another nation.

Francia’s greatest accomplishment, the preservation of Paraguayan independence, resulted directly from a non-interventionist foreign policy. Regarding Argentina as a potential threat to Paraguay, he shifted his foreign policy toward Brazil by quickly recognizing Brazilian independence in 1822.

This move, however, resulted in no special favors for the Brazilians from Francia, who was also on good, if limited, terms with Juan Manuel Rosas, the Argentine governor. Francia prevented civil war and secured his role as dictator when he cut off his internal enemies from their friends in Buenos Aires. Despite his “isolationist” policies, Francia conducted a profitable but closely supervised import-export trade with both countries to obtain key foreign goods, particularly armaments.

All of these political and economic developments put Paraguay on the path of independent nationhood, yet the country’s undoubted progress during the years of the Franciata took place because of complete popular abdication to Francia’s will. El Supremo personally controlled every aspect of Paraguayan public life. No decision at the state level, no matter how small, could be made without his approval. All of Paraguay’s accomplishments during this period, including its existence as a nation, were attributable almost entirely to Francia. The common people saw these accomplishments as Francia’s gifts, but along with these gifts came political passivity and naïveté among most Paraguayans.[citation needed]





 Carlos Antonio López

Confusion overtook the state in the aftermath of Francia’s death on September 20, 1840, because El Supremo, now ‘El Difunto’ (the Dead One), had left no successor. After a few days, a junta emerged, freed some political prisoners, arrested Francia’s secretary Polycarpo Patiño, and soon proved itself ineffectual at governing.


 In January 1841, the junta was overthrown. Another coup followed sixteen days later led by two sergeants. They lacked the authority to rule and chaos continued until in March 1841 when congress chose Carlos Antonio López as first consul.


 In 1844 another congress named López president of the republic, a post he held until his death in 1862. Paraguay had its second dictator.

López, a lawyer, was one of the most educated men in the country. Until his elevation to consul, López, born in 1787, had lived in relative obscurity. Although López’s government was similar to Francia’s system, his appearance, style, and policies were quite different. In contrast to Francia, who was lean, López was obese (a “great tidal wave of human flesh”, according to one who knew him). López was a despot who wanted to found a dynasty and run Paraguay like a personal fiefdom. Francia had pictured himself as the first citizen of a revolutionary state, whereas López used the all-powerful state bequeathed by the proverbially honest Francia to enrich himself and his family.

López soon became the largest landowner and cattle rancher in the country, amassing a fortune, which he augmented with the state’s monopoly profits from the yerba maté trade. Despite his greed, Paraguay prospered under El Excelentísimo (the Most Excellent One), as López was known. Under López, Paraguay’s population increased from about 220,000 in 1840 to about 400,000 in 1860.


Under López, Paraguay began to tackle the question of slavery, which had existed since early colonial days. Settlers had brought a few slaves to work as domestic servants, but were generally lenient about their bondage. Conditions worsened after 1700, however, with the importation of about 50,000 African slaves to be used as agricultural workers. Under Francia, the state acquired about 1,000 slaves when it confiscated property from the elite. López did not free these slaves; instead, he enacted the 1842 Law of the Free Womb, which ended the slave trade and guaranteed that the children of slaves would be free at age twenty-five. The new law served only to increase the slave population and depress slave prices as slave birth rates soared.


Foreign relations began to increase in importance under López, who retained Paraguay’s traditional mistrust of the surrounding states, yet lacked Francia’s diplomatic adroitness. Initially López feared an attack by the Buenos Aires dictator Rosas. With Brazilian encouragement, López had dropped Francia’s policy of neutrality and began meddling in Argentine politics. Using the slogan “Independence or Death”, López declared war against Rosas in 1845 to support what was ultimately an unsuccessful rebellion in the Argentine province of Corrientes. Although complications with Britain and France prevented him from moving against Paraguay, Rosas quickly established a porteño embargo on Paraguayan goods.


The elder López also had infuriated the Brazilians by not helping overthrow Rosas in 1852 and by forcing Brazilian garrisons out of territory claimed by Paraguay in 1850 and 1855.



After Rosas fell in 1852, López signed a treaty with Buenos Aires that recognized Paraguay’s independence, although the porteños never ratified it. In the same year, López signed treaties of friendship, commerce, and navigation with France and the United States. Nonetheless, growing tensions with several countries, including the United States, characterized the second half of López’s rule. In 1858 the United States sent a flotilla to Paraguayan waters in a successful action to claim compensation for an American sailor who had been killed three years earlier.

Although he wore his distrust for foreigners like a badge of loyalty to the nation, López was not as cautious as he appeared. López recklessly dropped Francia’s key policies of neutrality without determining where his allegiances lay. He allowed unsettled controversies and boundary disputes with Brazil and Argentina to smolder. The two regional giants had tolerated Paraguayan independence, partly because Paraguay served to check the expansionist tendencies of both opponents. Both were satisfied if the other could not dominate Paraguayan affairs. At the same time, however, a Paraguay that was antagonistic to both Brazil and Argentina would give these countries a reason for uniting.





Francisco Solano López



Francisco Solano López, the final ruler of the López dynasty.

Born in 1826, Francisco Solano López became the second and final ruler of the López dynasty. He had a pampered childhood; his father raised him to inherit his mantle and made him a brigadier general at the age of eighteen. He was an insatiable philanderer, and stories abound of the cruel excesses to which he resorted when a woman had the courage to turn him down.

His 1853 trip to Europe to buy arms was undoubtedly the most important experience of his life

; his stay in Paris proved to be a turning point for him. There, Solano López admired the trappings and pretensions of the French empire of Napoleon III.

He fell in love with an Irish woman named Elisa Alicia Lynch, whom he made his lover. “La Lynch”, as she became known in Paraguay, was a strong-willed, charming, witty, intelligent woman who became a person of enormous influence. Lynch’s Parisian manners soon made her a trendsetter in the Paraguayan capital, and she made enemies as quickly as she made friends. Lynch bore Solano López five sons, although the two never married. She became the largest landowner in Paraguay after Solano López transferred most of Paraguay and portions of Brazil into her name during the war, yet she retained practically nothing when the war ended. She buried Solano López with her own hands after the last battle in 1870 and died penniless some years later in Europe


Antonio López also resented having been forced to grant Brazil free navigation rights on the Río Paraguay in 1858. Argentina meanwhile disputed ownership of the Misiones district between the Río Paraná and Río Uruguay, and Brazil had its own ideas about the Brazil-Paraguay boundary. The Uruguayan vortex compounded these problems. Carlos Antonio López had survived mainly with caution and a good bit of luck; Solano López had neither

Several highways and a telegraph system were built. A British firm began building a railroad from Asunción to Paraguarí, one of South America’s first, in 1858. During his term of office, López improved national defense, abolished the remnants of the reducciones, stimulated economic development, and tried to strengthen relations with foreign countries. He also took measures to reduce the threat to settled Paraguayans from the marauding Indian tribes that still roamed the Chaco. Paraguay also made large strides in education. When López took office, Asunción had only one primary school. During López’s reign, more than 400 schools were built for 25,000 primary students, and the state reinstituted secondary education. López’s educational development plans progressed with difficulty, however, because Francia had purged the country of the educated elite, which included teachers.

Less rigorous than Francia, López loosened restrictions on foreign intercourse, boosted exports, invited foreign physicians, engineers, and investors to settle in Paraguay, and paid for students to study abroad. He also sent his son Francisco Solano to Europe to buy guns.

Like Francia, López had the overriding aim of defending and preserving Paraguay. He launched reforms with this goal in mind. Trade eased arms acquisitions and increased the state’s income. Foreign experts helped build an iron factory and a large armory. The new railroad was to be used to transport troops. López used diplomacy to protect the state’s interests abroad. Yet despite his apparent liberality, Antonio López was a dictator who held Paraguayans on a tight leash. He allowed Paraguayans no more freedom to oppose the government than they had had under Francia. Congress became his puppet, and the people abdicated their political rights, a situation enshrined in the 1844 Constitution, which placed all power in López’s hands.



Solano López consolidated his power after his father’s death in 1862 by silencing several hundred critics and would-be reformers through imprisonment. Another Paraguayan congress then unanimously elected him president. Yet Solano López would have done well to heed his father’s last words to avoid aggressive acts in foreign affairs, especially with Brazil. Francisco’s foreign policy vastly underestimated Paraguay’s neighbors and overrated Paraguay’s potential as a military power.

Observers sharply disagreed about Solano López. George Thompson, an English engineer who worked for the younger López (he distinguished himself as a Paraguayan officer during the Paraguayan War, and later wrote a book about his experience) had harsh words for his ex-employer and commander, calling him “a monster without parallel”. Solano López’s conduct laid him open to such charges. In the first place, Solano López’s miscalculations and ambitions plunged Paraguay into a war with Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay. The war resulted in the deaths of half of Paraguay’s population and almost erased the country from the map. During the war, Solano López ordered the executions of his own brothers and had his mother and sisters tortured when he suspected them of opposing him. Thousands of others, including Paraguay’s bravest soldiers and generals, also went to their deaths before firing squads or were hacked to pieces on Solano López’s orders. Others saw Solano López as a paranoid megalomaniac, a man who wanted to be the “Napoleon of South America”, willing to reduce his country to ruin and his countrymen to beggars in his vain quest for glory.

However, sympathetic Paraguayan nationalists and foreign revisionist historians have portrayed Solano López as a patriot who resisted to his last breath Argentine and Brazilian designs on Paraguay. They portrayed him as a tragic figure caught in a web of Argentine and Brazilian duplicity who mobilized the nation to repulse its enemies, holding them off heroically for five bloody, horror-filled years until Paraguay was finally overrun and prostrate. Since the 1930s, Paraguayans have regarded Solano López as the nation’s foremost hero.

Solano López’s basic failing was that he did not recognize the changes that had occurred in the region since Francia’s time. Under his father’s rule, the protracted, bloody, and distracting birth pangs of Argentina and Uruguay, the bellicose policies of Brazil, and Francia’s noninterventionist policies had worked in conjunction with one another to preserve Paraguayan independence. Matters had settled down since then in both Argentina and Brazil, as both countries had become surer of their identities and more united internally. Argentina, for example, began reacting to foreign challenges as a nation rather than an assortment of squabbling regions, as Paraguayans had grown to expect. Solano López’s attempt to leverage Paraguay’s emergence as a regional power equal to Argentina and Brazil had disastrous consequences.



The Paraguayan War




Collage of images of the Paraguayan War

Solano López accurately assessed the September 1864 Brazilian intervention in Uruguay as a slight to the region’s lesser powers. He was also correct in his assumption that neither Brazil nor Argentina paid much attention to Paraguay’s interests when they formulated their policies. He was clear that preserving Uruguayan “independence” was crucial to Paraguay’s future as a nation. Consistent with his plans to start a Paraguayan “third force” between Argentina and Brazil, Solano López committed the nation to Uruguay’s aid.

When Argentina failed to react to Brazil’s invasion of Uruguay, Solano López seized a Brazilian warship in November 1864.




He followed this move with an invasion of Mato Grosso, Brazil, in March 1865, an action that proved to be one of Paraguay’s few successes during the war. Solano López then struck at his enemy’s main force in Uruguay; he was, however unaware that Argentina had acquiesced to Brazil’s Uruguay policy and would not support Paraguay against Brazil. Argentina refused Solano López’s request for permission for his army to cross Argentine territory to attack the Brazilian province of Río Grande do Sul, Undeterred, Solano López sent his forces into Argentina. This action set the stage for the May 1865 signing by Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay (now reduced to puppet status) of the Treaty of the Triple Alliance. Under the treaty, these nations vowed to destroy Solano López’s government.

Paraguay was in no sense prepared for a major war, let alone a war of the scope that Solano López had unleashed. In terms of size, Solano López’s 30,000-man army was the most powerful in Latin America but the army’s strength was illusory because it lacked trained leadership, a reliable source of weapons and adequate reserves. Since the days of El Supremo, the officer corps had been neglected for political reasons. The army suffered from a critical shortage of key personnel, and many of its fighting units were undermanned. Paraguay lacked the industrial base to replace weapons lost in battle, and the Argentine-Brazilian alliance prevented Solano López from receiving arms from abroad. Paraguay’s population was only about 450,000 in 1865, a figure lower than the number of people in the Brazilian National Guard, and amounted to less than one-twentieth of the combined allied population of 11 million. Even after conscripting every able-bodied man for the front, including children as young as ten, and forcing women to perform all nonmilitary labor, Solano López still could not field an army as large as those of his rivals.

Apart from some Paraguayan victories on the northern front, the war was a disaster for Solano López. The core units of the Paraguayan army reached Corrientes in April 1865. By July, more than half of Paraguay’s 30,000-man invasion force had been killed or captured along with the army’s best small arms and artillery. The war quickly became a desperate struggle for Paraguay’s survival.

Paraguay’s soldiers exhibited suicidal bravery, especially considering that Solano López shot or tortured so many of them for trivial offenses. Cavalry units operated on foot for lack of horses. Naval infantry battalions armed only with machetes attacked Brazilian ironclads. The suicide attacks resulted in fields of corpses. Cholera was rampant.



By 1867, Paraguay had lost 60,000 men to casualties, disease, or capture, and another 60,000 soldiers were called to duty. Solano López conscripted slaves, and infantry units formed entirely of children appeared. Women were forced to perform support work behind the lines. Clothing shortages were so severe that Paraguayan troops went into battle semi-nude, and even colonels went barefoot, according to one observer. The defensive nature of the war, combined with Paraguayan tenacity and ingenuity and the difficulty that Brazilians and Argentinians had cooperating with each other, rendered the conflict a war of attrition. In the end, Paraguay lacked the resources to continue waging war against South America’s giants.

As the war neared its inevitable denouement, Solano López’s grip on reality loosened further. Imagining himself surrounded by a vast conspiracy, he ordered thousands of executions in the military. In addition, he executed two of his brothers and two brothers-in-law, scores of top government and military officials, and about 500 foreigners, including many diplomats. He frequently had his victims killed by lance thrusts to save ammunition. The bodies were dumped into mass graves. His cruel treatment of prisoners was proverbial. Solano López condemned troops to death if they failed to carry out his orders to the minutest detail. “Conquer or die” became the order of the day.

Solano López’s hostility even extended to United States Ambassador to Paraguay Charles Ames Washburn. Only the timely arrival of the United States gunboat Wasp saved the diplomat from arrest.



Liberals versus Colorados

 The postwar period

The internal political vacuum was at first dominated by survivors of the Paraguayan Legion. This group of exiles, based in Buenos Aires, had regarded Solano López as a mad tyrant and fought for the allies during the war. The group set up a provisional government in 1869, mainly under Brazilian auspices and signed the 1870 peace accords, which guaranteed Paraguay’s independence and free river navigation. A constitution was also promulgated in the same year, but it proved ineffective because of the foreign origin of its liberal, democratic tenets.

The allied occupation of Asunción in 1869 put the victors in direct control of Paraguayan affairs. While Bolivia pressed its nebulous claim to the Chaco, Argentina and Brazil swallowed 154,000 square kilometers of Paraguayan territory.

Brazil had borne the brunt of the fighting, with perhaps 150,000 dead and 65,000 wounded. It had spent US$200 million, and its troops formed the senior army of occupation in the country; as a result Brazil temporarily overshadowed Argentina in control of the country. Sharp disagreements between the two powers prolonged the occupation until 1876. Ownership of the Paraguayan economy quickly passed to foreign speculators and adventurers who rushed to take advantage of the rampant chaos and corruption.


Allied troops entered Asunción in January 1869, but Solano López held out in the northern jungles for another fourteen months until he finally died in battle. 1870 marked the lowest point in Paraguayan history. Hundreds of thousands of Paraguayans had died. Destitute and practically destroyed, Paraguay had to endure a lengthy occupation by foreign troops and cede large patches of territory to Brazil and Argentina.

Despite several historians’ accounts of what happened between 1865 and 1870, Solano López was not wholly responsible for the war. Its causes were complex and included Argentine anger over Antonio López’s meddling in Corrientes.



Ruined by war, pestilence, famine, and unpaid foreign indemnities, Paraguay was on the verge of disintegration in 1870. Its fertile soil and the country’s overall backwardness helped it survive. After the war, Paraguay’s mostly rural populace continued to subsist as it had done for centuries, eking out a meager existence in the hinterland under difficult conditions

The 1870 constitution quickly became irrelevant. Politics degenerated into factionalism, and cronyism and intrigue prevailed. Presidents still acted like dictators, elections did not stay free, and the Legionnaires were out of power in less than a decade.

Solano López  after the last battle in 1870 and died penniless some years later in Europe




HYPOCRISY and frivolity


 Some time ago the President Kirchner renamed the Armored Artillery Group 2 site in the town of Rosario del Tala, Entre Rios, with the name “Mariscal Francisco Solano López.”


To justify such a strange decision Kirchner said it was a recognition of a leader against imperialism in the region. –






 The decision shows a serious frivolity de Kirchner to the drama that was the War of Paraguay (1864 and 1869), and a blatant hypocrisy given the current relations with Paraguay. -

Kirchner is not characterized by in-depth knowledge of what he speaks, generally limited to large and empty speeches, without meaning or content, are outbursts of vanity, no other intention than to wear a verve lacking in substance. -

If Kirchner had taken the trouble to read the modern historical research made in Paraguay, Brazil, USA and Argentina, could have overcome their ignorance, warning that the hypothesis of an English intervention in the war (imagined by Leon Pomer in 1968) was completely ruled out. -


Books like “The War of Paraguay” (2007) by Miguel Angel de Marco (Argentina), or “Damn War – new history of the war in Paraguay” (2004) Doratioto Francisco (Brazil), and the last and most revealing ” Paraguay and the Triple Alliance “(USA and Paraguay) Harris Gaylord Warren (2009). -

All these works, and many others, show that in the drama of that terrible war, mixed like a whirlwind damn, the long-standing tension between Argentina and Brazil, ambition Lopez egocentric, geopolitical tensions on the mouth of the Rio de la Silver, strategic ingenuity Mitre, the internal fratricidal in Uruguay, Brazil cruelty and contempt for Hispanic Americans, hawkish idealism of youth Buenos Aires, the bewilderment of the leaders inside the country, the patriotism of the Paraguayan people and older human misery that erupted after the end of the war. -

 The reality was enormously complex and multifaceted, to reduce it to the comfortable assumption of a war instigated by “English imperialism” against a “Mediterranean power.” But as in all cases, conspiracy theories are the source of the mentally lazy, and Kirchner are famous for their deep contempt for the readings, it is not surprising that the President has repeated that idea expire. -

The trouble is that with this frivolous decision insulted all those who died in defense of Argentina, regardless of what one thinks of Solano Lopez. Paraguay would be like that you put a regiment Mitre, that honor will be only those who defended the nation, not those who killed fellow. -

But that enormous frivolity, Kirchner adds a huge hypocrisy








Read more




[Historical research of José María Rosa]

With that last sentence on his lips, on 1 March 1870, at










Cerro Cora,


Marshal Francisco Solano López, wounded, exhausted and bleeding, half-drowned, dying and drowned in blood the water foul the stream, sitting down, surrounded it, was shot in Manlicher that pierced his heart.


 There was dead on his back, eyes open and his hand clenched on the hilt of his dagger of gold-leaf on which read “Independence or Death” -. “Or do diavo Lopez” ["Oh, devil Lopez"], said the Brazilian Empire Recruit macaque while kicking the corpse.


Marshall’s last words were something more than a metaphor: almost nothing left of Paraguay, all the male population between 15 and 60 had died under fire. Many women and children too, if not by bullets, by the terrible epidemics of cholera and yellow fever, or simply succumbed to hunger. Of course, neither left nor blast furnaces, or industries, or foundries, and vast fields planted with grass or snuff, or city that was not looted. Only if a lot of the ghostly ruins sheltered three hundred thousand elderly, children and women survivors. He condemned the country to pay compensation for very strong “war spending.” Paraguay lost almost half its territory, which became part of Brazil and Argentina (the provinces of Misiones and Formosa).


Five years earlier, at the beginning of the war of the Triple Alliance, Paraguay of Lopez was a scandal in America. The country was rich, orderly and prosperous, self-sufficient and brought nothing in England … supplied with grass and snuff the whole region and its timber in Europe traded higher.




Twenty years had gone on the presidency of his father,


Don Carlos Antonio Lopez,


until his death in 1862, and since then the son of Francisco Solano. Paraguay had 1,250,000 inhabitants, the same number of neighboring Argentina at the time (were exterminated in the war no less than 75% of the population!).

The country was of the Paraguayans. No foreigner could acquire property, or speculate in foreign trade. And almost all land and property belonged to the state. The trade balance largely in favor pulling a balance, and had no external debt. Had the best army in South America. His blast furnaces and smelting Ibicuy manufactured guns and rifles. It worked the first Latin American railroad, a telegraph and a powerful merchant fleet. The level of popular education was also the first continent.

In addition, Paraguay was a major producer of cotton, raw materials needed by the British capitalism in its imperialist expansion stage for its textile industry, the main engine of its economy. The slave block south of the Confederation, which provided English cotton industry, produced by the American Civil War (1861-1865), was essential to British interests that the destruction of a sovereign nation.

Those interests manipulated the circle of influence of the Emperor of Brazil and the party Mitre and Buenos Aires and Montevideo oligarchy to promote creepy shameful extermination of an entire people, which included passing the Argentine guerrilla bands. Indeed, as noted above, the War of the Triple Alliance was the war of the Triple Infamy.


The truth is that the final march of seven months of the last heroes to Paraguay Cerro Cora, two hundred days in the desert under the blazing tropical sun, is one of the most sordid pages but most glorious of American history. Soldiers embraced by fever or sore and exhausted by hunger, no more clothes than a short, barefoot because shoes like the helmet and straps of the uniform, have been eaten after softening the leather with water from the streams. Everyone is sick, all emaciated by hunger, all unhealed injuries. But no one complains. We do not know where you go, but continues until death faces. Conducts spectral host the president and the war Marshal Francisco Solano. If you could give the victory to his people, future generations will offer tremendous example of heroism never equaled.

Five years later, the great Paraguay of Lopez was sunk with all his people, in streams Guarani. Since then the Foreign Office would be as absolute master of the region and would disjointed, at least for a long period still suffer, the ability to integrate into one nation to the largest country.

The great cause initiated by


Artigas in the early hours of the Revolution,


continued by San Martin and


Bolivar to materialize Independence, restored by the skill and energy of Roses in the years of “American system” and that would have on the Grand Marshal Francisco Solano López its last champion.

But one year before Cerro Cora, old and poor in his banishment from Southampton, Don Juan Manuel de Rosas, who sustain the same as Lopez had been betrayed and defeated at Caseros by those who betrayed and defeated Paraguay quarterback now , was moved, deeply moved, by the heroic American epic. The Restorer’s sword looked Chacabuco sole ornament hanging in his modest dwelling. This gun symbolizes the sovereignty of America, with San Martin had released her to Chile and Peru, after it had left to Rosas for his defense of the Confederacy against the aggressions of England and France. The old gaucho then ordered to change his will, he had found a worthy recipient of the curved saber of the Andes.
On February 17, 1869, while Francisco Solano Lopez and the heroic people Guarani discussed at the last as jaguars determined that refuse to defeat, Roses testo fate of the “sword of sovereignty”:
“His Excellency, Generalissimo, Captain General Jose de San Martin, honored me with the following commands: ‘The sword that accompanied me throughout the war of independence will be delivered by General Rosas firmaza and skill that has held the rights of the Fatherland ‘.
“I, Juan Manuel de Rosas, his example will that my executor give your Excellency the Grand Marshal, President of the Republic of Paraguay and generalissimo of their armies, diplomatic and military sword that stayed with me for I was able to defend those rights, by firmness and wisdom that has sustained and continues to support the rights of his country
. “


How the War Against Paraguay Wrecked the Only Successful Attempt at Independent Development

The man sat beside me in silence. The strong noonday light outlined his sharp-nosed, high-cheekboned profile. We had left the southern frontier bound for Asuncion in a bus for twenty persons which by some alchemy contained fifty. There was a halt after a few hours. We sat in an open patio under the shade of thick leaves. Before us stretched the blinding brilliance of the red earth, immense, unpopulated, untouched: from horizon to horizon nothing disturbed the transparency of the Paraguayan air. We smoked. My companion, a Guarani-speaking peasant, strung together a few sad words in Spanish: “We Paraguayans are poor and few.” He explained that he’d gone down to Encarnacion to look for work but had found none. He’d managed to scrape up some pesos for the fare home. Years earlier, as a child, he’d tried his fortune in Buenos Aires and southern Brazil. Now it was cotton-picking time and many Paraguayan hrace-ros were taking off, as they did every year, for Argentina. “But I’m sixty-three. All that crowd going after the jobs — my heart can’t take it.”

In the last twenty years, half a million Paraguayans have left their [207] country once and for all. Poverty drives out the inhabitants of what was, until a century ago, South America’s most advanced country. Today Paraguay’s population is barely double what it was then and, with Bolivia, it is one of the poorest and most backward countries in the hemisphere. The woes of the Paraguayans stem from a war of extermination which was the most infamous chapter in South American history: the War of the Triple Alliance, they called it. Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay joined in committing genocide. They left no stone unturned, nor male inhabitants amid the ruins. Although Britain took no direct part in the ghastly deed, it was in the pockets of British merchants, bankers, and industrialists that the loot ended up. The invasion was financed from start to finish by the Bank of London, Baring Brothers, and the Rothschild bank, in loans at exorbitant interest rates which mortgaged the fate of the victorious countries.

Until its destruction, Paraguay stood out as a Latin American exception — the only country that foreign capital had not deformed. The long, iron-fisted dictatorship of Gaspar Rodriguez de Francia (1814-1840) had incubated an autonomous, sustained development process in the womb of isolation. The all-powerful paternalist state filled the place of a nonexistent national bourgeoisie in organizing the nation and orienting its resources and its destiny. Francia had used the peasant masses to crush the Paraguayan oligarchy, and had established internal peace by erecting a cordon sanitaire between Paraguay and the other countries of the old La Plata viceroyalty. Expropriations, exilings, jails, persecutions, and fines had been used — not to consolidate the internal power of landlords and merchants, but for their destruction. Political liberties and the right of opposition neither existed nor would come into being later, but in that historical stage the lack of democracy only disturbed people who were nostalgic for lost privileges. There were no great private fortunes when Francia died, and Paraguay was the only Latin American country where begging, hunger, and stealing were unknown; [In official histories, Francia appears as a star in a chamber of horrors. The optical distortions imposed by liberalism are not a monopoly of Latin America's ruling classes; many Left intellectuals who look at our countries' history through alien spectacles accept certain myths, canonizations, and excommunications of the Right. Pablo Neruda's Canto General pays moving homage to the Latin American peoples, but clearly reveals this disorientation. Neruda pays no attention to Artigas, or to Carlos Antonio or Francisco Lopez, and instead identifies with Sarmiento. He calls Francia a "leprous king" and is no more amiable with Rosas.24] travelers of the [208] period found an oasis of tranquillity amid areas convulsed by continuous wars. The U.S. agent Hopkins informed his government in 1845 that in Paraguay there was no child who could not read and write. It was also the only country that did not have its eyes riveted on the other side of the ocean. Foreign trade was not the axis of national life; liberal doctrine, the ideological expression of the global market, had no answer to the defiant attitude that Paraguay — forced by its inland isolation to grow inward — adopted from the beginning of the century. Extermination of the oligarchy enabled the state to gather its economic mainsprings into its own hands, to put this autarchic internal development policy into effect.

The succeeding governments of Carlos Antonio Lopez and his son Francisco Solano continued and vitalized the task. The economy was in full growth. When the invaders appeared on the horizon in 1865, Paraguay had telegraphs, a railroad, and numerous factories manufacturing construction materials, textiles, linens, ponchos, paper and ink, crockery, and gunpowder. Two hundred foreign technicians, handsomely paid by the state, made a decisive contribution. From 1850 on, the Ibycui foundry made guns, mortars, and ammunition of all calibers; the arsenal in Asuncion produced bronze cannon, howitzers, and ammunition. The steel industry, like all other essential economic activities, belonged to the state. The country had a merchant fleet, and the Asuncion shipyard turned out many of the ships flying the Paraguayan flag on the Parana and across the Atlantic and Mediterranean. The state virtually monopolized foreign trade; it supplied yerba mate and tobacco to the southern part of the continent and exported valuable woods to Europe. The trade balance produced a big surplus. With a strong and stable currency, Paraguay was wealthy enough to carry out great public works without recourse to foreign capital. It did not owe one penny abroad, yet was able to maintain the best army in South America, hire British technicians to serve the state instead of putting the state at their service, and send some university students to finish their studies in Europe. The [209] economic surplus from agricultural production was not squandered by an oligarchy (which did not exist); nor did it pass into the pockets of middlemen and loan sharks, or swell the profits of the British Empire’s freight and insurance men. The imperialist sponge, in short, did not absorb the wealth the country produced. Ninety-eight percent of Paraguayan territory was public property: the state granted holdings to peasants in return for permanently occupying and farming them, without the right to sell them. There were also sixty-four “estancias de la patria,” haciendas directly administered by the state. Irrigation works, dams and canals, and new bridges and roads substantially helped to raise agricultural production. The native tradition of two crops a year, abandoned by the conquistadores, was revived. The lively encouragement of Jesuit traditions undoubtedly contributed to this creative process. [Fanatical monks of the Society of Jesus, "the Pope's black guard," had become defenders of the medieval order against the new forces bursting upon the European stage. But in Hispanic America Jesuit missions developed along progressive lines. They came to cleanse by abnegation and ascetic example a Catholic Church which had surrendered to sloth and the untrammeled exploitation of the goods the Conquest had made available to the clergy. It was the Paraguayan missions that reached the highest level; in little more than a century and a half (1603-1768), they fully justified the aims of their founders. The Jesuits used music to draw in Guarani Indians who had sought shelter in the forest, and who had stayed there rather than join in the "civilizing process" of the encomenderos and landlords. Thus 150,000 Guaranis were able to move back into their primitive community organization and revive their traditional arts and crafts. The latifundio system was unknown in the missions; the soil was cultivated partly to satisfy individual needs and partly to develop projects of common concern and to acquire the necessary work tools, which were common property. The Indians' life was intelligently organized; musicians and artisans, farmers, weavers, actors, painters, and builders gathered in workshops and schools. Money was unknown; traders were barred from entering and had to transact any business from hotels at an appropriate distance.

The Crown finally succumbed to the criollo encomenderos' pressure and the Jesuits were expelled from Latin America. Landlords and slave traders went in pursuit of the Indians. Corpses hung from trees in the missions; whole communities were sold in Brazilian slave markets. Many Indians took to the forest again. The Jesuits' libraries were used to fuel ovens or to make gunpowder cartridges.25]

The state pursued a tough protectionist policy — much reenforced in 1864 — over national industry and the internal market; internal waterways were closed to the British ships which bombarded the rest [210] of Latin America with Manchester and Liverpool products. British commerce did not hide its concern, not only because this last bastion of national resistance in the heart of the continent seemed invulnerable, but also and especially because of the dangerous example set to its neighbors by Paraguayan obstinacy. Latin America’s most progressive country was building its future without foreign investment, without British bank loans, and without the blessings of free trade.

But as Paraguay progressed, so did its need to break out of its seclusion. Industrial development called for closer and more direct contacts with the international market and with sources of advanced techniques. Paraguay was effectively blockaded by Argentina on one side and Brazil on the other, and both could starve its lungs of oxygen by closing the river mouths (as did Rivadavia and Rosas) or imposing arbitrary taxes on its merchandise in transit. In any event, it was indispensable for the consolidation of the oligarchical state to cut short the scandal of this odious country, which was sufficient unto itself and objected to bowing down before British merchants.

Britain’s minister in Buenos Aires, Edward Thornton, played a substantial role in preparing for the war. When it was about to break out, he participated as a government advisor in Argentine cabinet meetings, sitting beside President Mitre. The web of provocations and deceptions, which ended with a Brazilian-Argentine agreement that sealed Paraguay’s fate, was woven under Thornton’s fatherly gaze. Venancio Flores invaded Uruguay, aided in his intervention by its two big neighbors, and after the Paysandu massacre he set up an administration in Montevideo subservient to Rio de Janeiro and Buenos Aires. The Triple Alliance was on the road. Paraguayan President Solano Lopez had threatened war in the event of an attack on Uruguay: he knew that this would close an iron pincers around the throat of his country, corraled as it was by geography and the enemy. Nevertheless, liberal historian Efraim Cardozo stoutly maintains that Lopez stood up to Brazil merely because he was offended: the emperor had refused him the hand of one of his daughters. The conflict was inevitable, but it was Mercury’s work, not Cupid’s.

The Buenos Aires press called Lopez “the Attila of America”: “He must be killed like a reptile,” thundered the editorials. In September 1864, Thornton sent a long confidential report to London, datelined [211] Asuncion. He described Paraguay as Dante described the inferno, but put stress where it belonged: “Import duties on nearly all articles are 20 or 25 percent ad valorem; but since this value is calculated on the current price of the articles, the duty that is paid often amounts to 40 to 45 percent of the invoice price. Export duties are from 10 to 20 percent of value . . .” In April 1865 the Buenos Aires English language daily, The Standard, was already hailing Argentina’s declaration of war on Paraguay, whose president had “violated all the usages of civilized nations,” and was announcing that Argentine President Mitre’s sword “will hold high in its victorious course, in addition to the weight of past glories, the irresistible thrust of public opinion in a just cause.” The treaty with Brazil and Uruguay was signed on May 1, 1865; its draconian terms were published a year later in the London Times, which got the text from banker-creditors in Argentina and Brazil. The future victors divided up the spoils of the vanquished in advance. Argentina was to get the whole territory of Misiones and the vast Chaco; Brazil got a fat slice west of its frontiers. Uruguay, ruled by a puppet of both powers, got nothing.

Mitre announced that he would take Asuncion in three months, but the war lasted five years. It was a carnage from the beginning to end of the chain of forts defending the Rio Paraguay. The “opprobrious tyrant” Solano Lopez was a heroic embodiment of the national will to survive; at his side the Paraguayan people, who had known no war for half a century, immolated themselves. Men and women, young and old, fought like lions. Wounded prisoners tore off their bandages so that they would not be forced to fight against their brothers. In 1870 Lopez, at the head of an army of ghosts, old folk, and children who had put on false beards to make an impression from a distance, headed into the forest. The invading troops set upon the debris of Asuncion with knives between their teeth. When bullets and spears finally finished off the Paraguayan president in the thickets of Cerro Cora, he managed to say: “I die with my country!” — and it was true. Paraguay died with him. Lopez had previously ordered the shooting of his brother and a bishop who accompanied him on this caravan of death. The invaders came to redeem the Paraguayan people, and exterminated them. When the war began, Paraguay had almost as large a population as Argentina. Only 250,000, [212] less than one-sixth, survived in 1870. It was the triumph of civilization. The victors, ruined by the enormous cost of the crime, fell back into the arms of the British bankers who had financed the adventure. The slave empire of Pedro II, whose armies were filled with slaves and prisoners, nevertheless won more than twenty thousand square miles of territory — plus labor, for the Paraguayan prisoners who were marched off to work on the Sao Paulo coffee plantations were branded like slaves. The Argentina of President Mitre, who had crushed his own federal leaders, came out with thirty-six thousand square miles of Paraguayan territory, as well as other booty: “The prisoners and other war materiel we will divide in a convenient form,” he wrote. Uruguay, where the heirs of Artigas had been killed or defeated and an oligarchy ruled, participated in the war as a junior partner and without reward. Some Uruguayan soldiers sent into the Paraguayan compaign had boarded the ships with bound hands. The financial bankruptcy of the three countries deepened their dependency on Britain. The Paraguay massacre left its mark on them forever. [Solano Lopez lives on in memory. When, in September 1969, Rio de Janeiro's Museo Historico Nacional announced it would dedicate a window to the Paraguayan president, the military was furious. General Mourao Filho, who had set off the coup d'etat in 1964, told the press: "A wind of madness is sweeping the country. ... Solano Lopez is a figure who should be erased forever from our history, as a paradigm of the uniformed South American dictator. He was a butcher who destroyed Paraguay, leading it into an impossible war."]

Brazil had performed the role the British had assigned it when they moved the Portuguese throne to Rio de Janeiro. Lord Canning’s instructions to the ambassador, Viscount Strangford, early in the nineteenth century, had been clear: make Brazil an emporium for British manufactures designed for consumption in all South America. Shortly before going to war, the Argentine president, inaugurating a new British railway line, made an impassioned speech: “What is the force driving this progress? Gentlemen, it is British capital!” In defeated Paraguay it was not only the population and great chunks of territory that disappeared, but customs tariffs, foundries, rivers closed to free trade, and economic independence. Within its shrunken frontiers, the conquerors implanted free trade and the [213] latifundio. Everything was looted and everything was sold: lands and forests, mines, yerba mate farms, school buildings. Successive puppet governments were installed in Asuncion by the occupation forces. The war was hardly over when the first foreign loan in Paraguay’s history fell upon the smoking ruins. It was, of course, British. Its nominal value was £1 million, but a good deal less than half of this reached Paraguay; in ensuing years refinancing raised the debt to more than £3 million. The Opium War had ended in 1842 with a free-trade treaty signed in Nanking, consecrating the right of British traders to introduce the drug unrestrictedly into China; now the flag of free trade flew over Paraguay too. Cotton farming was abandoned and Manchester ruined textile production; the national industry never came back to life.

The Colorado Party, which now rules Paraguay, makes breezy mileage with the heroes’ memory, but exhibits at the foot of its founding charter the signatures of twenty-two traitors to Solano Lopez, “legionnaires” who served with the Brazilian occupation troops. Dictator Alfredo Stroessner, who has spent the last fifteen years turning Paraguay into a large concentration camp, did his military training under Brazilian generals, who sent him back with high marks and warm eulogies: “He is worthy of a great future . . .” During his reign Stroessner has bestowed on Brazil and its U.S. masters- the dominant place occupied in previous decades by Anglo-Argentine interests. Brazil and Argentina, which “liberated” Paraguay in order to gobble it up, have taken turns since 1870 enjoying the fruits of the plunder. But they have their own crosses to bear from the imperialist power of the moment. Paraguay has the double burden of imperialism and subimperialism. The British Empire used to be the main link in the chain of dependencies, but today the United States, understanding only too well the geopolitical importance of this country at the center of South America, maintains countless advisors who train and advise the armed forces, cook up economic plans, refashion the university to their taste, invent a new “democratic” policy for the country, and reward the generous services of the regime with burdensome loans. [Before the 1968 elections General Stroessner visited the United States. "When I interviewed President Johnson," he told Agence France Presse, "I showed him that I had been fulfilling the prime ministerial function for twelve years by mandate of the polls. Johnson replied that that was another reason for continuing to exercise it in the next period."] Paraguay is also a colony [214] of other colonies. Using agrarian reform as a pretext, the Stroessner government annulled the legal ban on selling frontier lands to foreigners, and today even state lands have fallen into the hands of Brazilian coffee latifundistas. The invading wave has crossed the Rio Parana with the complicity of the president, in partnership with Portuguese-speaking landowners. When I arrived at Paraguay’s shifting northeastern frontier, I had banknotes engraved with the face of the defeated Solano Lopez, but found that only those bearing the likeness of the victorious Emperor Pedro II are valid. After the passage of a century, the outcome of the War of the Triple Alliance takes on burning actuality. Brazilian guards demand passports from Paraguayan citizens who want only to move around in their own country. The flags and the churches are Brazilian. The land piracy also takes in the Guaira falls, the greatest potential source of energy in all Latin America; it is now called — in Portuguese — Sete Quedas. There, it has been announced, Brazil will build the world’s largest hydroelectric station.

Subimperialism has a thousand faces. When President Johnson decided in 1965 to drown the Dominicans in blood, Stroessner sent along some Paraguayan soldiers to help him out. In a sinister jest, the battalion was called “Marshal Solano Lopez.” The Paraguayans were under a Brazilian general’s orders, for it was Brazil that received the Judas honors: its General Panasco Alvim headed Latin America’s uniformed accomplices in the massacre. There are other similar examples. Paraguay gave Brazil an oil concession on its territory, but the fuel distribution and petrochemical business in Brazil is in U.S. hands. The Brazilian Cultural Mission reigns over the philosophy and education departments of Paraguay’s university, but North Americans now run Brazil’s universities. The Paraguayan army’s general staff receives advice not only from Pentagon technicians but also from Brazilian generals who, in turn, are to the Pentagon as an echo to a voice. Through open contraband channels, Brazilian industrial products invade the Paraguayan market, but the Sao Paulo factories [215] that produce them have belonged to U.S. corporations since the denationalizing avalanche of recent years.

Stroessner considers himself the heir to Lopez. How can the Paraguay of a century ago be mentioned in the same breath with the Paraguay of today, the emporium of La Plata basin smuggling and the kingdom of institutionalized corruption? Yet at a political demonstration where the government party claimed both Paraguays at once to stormy applause and cheers, a boy openly hawked contraband cigarettes from a vendor’s tray: the fervent gathering puffed nervously at Kents, Marlboros, Camels, and Benson & Hedges. The scanty middle class in Asuncion drinks Ballantine’s whiskey instead of Paraguayan aguardiente. In the streets one sees late-model luxury cars made in the United States or Europe, brought in as contraband or after payment of a trifling customs duty, moving beside ox-drawn carts slowly bringing fruit to the market: the soil is worked with wooden plows and the taxis are 1970 Impalas. Stroessner defines contraband as “the price of peace”: the generals fill their pockets and hatch no plots. Industry, of course, enters its death throes before it can grow. The state does not even implement the decree requiring preference for domestic products in public spending. In this area the only triumphs proudly displayed by the government are the Coca-Cola and Pepsi-Cola plants, installed at the end of 1966 as a U.S. contribution to the progress of the Paraguayan people.

The state declares that it will only intervene directly in the creation of enterprises “when the private sector shows no interest,” x and the Banco Central informs the International Monetary Fund that it “has decided to establish a regime of free exchange and abolish restrictions on trade and on currency transactions.” A booklet published by the Ministry of Industry and Trade advises investors that the country grants “special concessions to foreign capital.” Foreign concerns are exempt from taxes and customs duties so as “to create a propitious climate for investment.” The National City Bank of New York recovers all its invested capital in one year of business in Asuncion. The foreign bank appropriates the national savings and extends external credits to Paraguay, credits which further deform its economy and further mortgage its sovereignty. In the countryside, 1.5 percent of proprietors own 90 percent of the cultivated land, and [216] less than 2 percent of the total land area is under cultivation. The official colonization plan in the Caaguazu triangle offers hungry peasants more graves than gain. [Many peasants have finally opted to return to the minifundio region in the center of the country, or have joined the new exodus to Brazil, where they offer their cheap labor to Curitiba and Mato Grosso yerba mate plantations or Parana coffee plantations. Most desperate is the phght of the pioneer, who finds himself face to face with the jungle, totally without technical know-how or credit assistance, with government-"granted" lands from which he must wrest enough to eat and to meet his payments -- for if he fails to pay the stipulated price he does not get the land title.] The fatherland denies its children the right to work and daily bread, and Paraguayans emigrate en masse.

The furnaces of the Ibycui foundry, where the cannon used in the defense of the invaded fatherland was forged, were constructed in a place now called Mina-cue, which means “It was mine” in Guarani. There, among the swamps and mosquitos, near a crumbling wall, you can still see the base of a chimney blown up by the invaders a century ago, and pieces of rusted steel that were part of the structure. The few ragged peasants who live in the area don’t even know which war it was that caused the destruction, but they say that sometimes at night you can hear the sounds of machinery and hammers, the roar of cannon, and the shouts of soldiers. The Triple Alliance has been a great success.

San Martin

234 years ago,

approximately in the “Guarani missions Yapeyu” birth of a child, which eventually would be Don Jose. A boy named Jose Francisco de San Martin Matorras, son of Juan de San Martin and Gregoria Matorras.

Both born in Spain who came to populate the Rio de la Plata. But recent history tells that child is not really the son of Spanish, but sufficed son of Don Diego de Alvear and India Guaru Guarani named Rosa, made even more rich history. Guarú Rosa was the little Indian girl who had a child, and San Martin family adopted him as their own, but she kept at home caring for, raising him, until he went to Buenos Aires. The child was then about three years and promised that they would come to take her, but did not appear more. Rosa Guarú the hope for life. When they attacked and burned Yapeyú, she went to the Brazilian island, there was a long time and came back. Aguapé raised by a small ranch, and held out hope to return. We had a great attachment to Jose Francisco.

In Spain, July 21, 1789,

with only eleven he entered the army, began his military career in class cadet in the Regiment of Murcia while French Revolution broke out, fought in the North African campaign fighting the Moors in Mellila and Oran .
Soon achieving great honors. It was always regarded with queer eyes for his hard features, Indian, native, his temper, his silence, his courage, his bravery.
That fact, or that events made this man with so many honors at the European army, want to return to country of birth, the land that gave life back to breathe the same air I breathe for the first time.
“Jingle clear trumpets of glory, and raise a hymn of triumph, that the light of history gigantic figure of the Great Captain. From the lands of the Plata to Mendoza from Santiago to Lima gentle, laurels planted in his path as it passes triumphant, San Martin. “
His time in the American Indian, consisted only of twelve years (1812-1824) in just that time was enough to pass the eternal history of mankind, laid the foundation for independence, just book a battle in our territory, was governor of the provinces which, harmonized an army of soldiers, who believed fervently in the word of the “great captain”, crossed the continent’s highest peak, came to Chile, release and lost to free it again Admiral without furrow the seas to get to Lima and without shedding a drop of “blood” release to that country, he wanted to give the honor of the supreme leader, went to Guayaquil: “Come on, Bernardo, no place for us here” were the words heard at the output of that secret meeting with Bolivar, perhaps the only witness, the story, maybe God, maybe the wind.
Had to be away from home, but never abandoned the cause, from England, from France, I ask for your Argentina, when the nation was at war, General Rosas was offered to help. “……. The saber that has accompanied me throughout the war of independence of South America will be delivered to the General of Argentina, Juan Manuel de Rosas, as evidence of the satisfaction as Argentina I had to see the firmness with which he has held the honor of the Republic against the unjust claims of foreigners tempted to humiliate her. “
“Father of the Argentine people august, grand hero of freedom. In the country gets bigger shadow under at work and at peace.
San Martin! San Martin!. May your name honor and glory of the people of the South, secure forever the directions of the country which shining your light. “
Just to see his thought. Of the Maxims for My Daughter

1. Humanize the character and make it sensitive even to insects that harm us. He said a fly opening the window to come out, “Go, poor beast, the world is too big for us.”
2. Inspire a love of truth and hate lies.
3. Inspire great confidence and friendship, but bound to respect.

4. Mercedes stimulate charity to the poor.
5. Respect for others’ property.
6. Accustom to keep a secret.
7. Inspire feelings of indulgence towards all religions.
8. Sweetness with the servants, poor and old.
9. Who speaks little and precise.
10. Accustom to being formally on the table.
11. Love the toilet and contempt for luxury.
12. Inspire love for the Fatherland and Freedom.

“I forbid that I make any kind of Funeral, and from where they die, I will lead directly to the cemetery without any accompaniment, but I wish, that my heart was deposited in the Buenos Aires.”
Honor and Glory to the Great St. Martin.

Simon Bolivar: Liberator of Latin America

Simon Bolivar

Simon Bolivar (SEE-mohn boh-LEE-vahr) was one of the most powerful figures in world political history, leading the independence movement for six nations (an area the size of modern Europe), with a personal story that is the stuff of dramatic fiction. Yet today outside of Latin America, where he is still practically worshipped, his name is almost unknown.

Born to wealthy Creoles in Caracas, Venezuela, on July 24, 1783, his father died when he was three and his mother six years later. Simon was reared by an uncle with a tutor who exposed him to the writers of the Enlightenment, such as Voltaire and Rousseau, who were inspirations for the French Revolution. The tutor, Simon Rodriguez, fled the country when he was suspected of conspiring to overthrow Spain’s colonial rule in 1796.1

At 16, Bolivar was sent to Spain to complete his education and on the way, his ship stopped in Vera Cruz. During an audience with the viceroy, he audaciously praised the French Revolution and American independence, both of which made Spanish officials nervous.2

In 1802, he married the daughter of a nobleman in Spain and returned to Caracas, only to have her die a year later from yellow fever. As a way of keeping his mind off of his grief, Bolivar decided to return to Europe to immerse himself in the intellectual and political world he had found so stimulating.3

While in Paris, he met Alexander von Humboldt, the great naturalist who had just returned after five years in South America. As von Humboldt spoke of the enormous natural resources and wonders of the continent, Bolivar remarked, “In truth, what a brilliant fate–that of the New World, if only its people were freed of their yoke.”

Von Humboldt responded, “I believe that your country is ready for its independence. But I can not see the man who is to achieve it.” It was a fateful comment Bolivar was to vividly recall the rest of his life.4

He also witnessed the coronation of Napoleon as emperor on December 2, 1804. Bolivar was appalled at what he felt was a betrayal of the principles of the Revolution, yet he took note of the ability of one man to change the course of history.5

Bolivar had met up with his old tutor, Rodriguez, and the two traveled to Rome, where they again crossed paths with von Humboldt. On August 15, 1805, Bolivar found himself with Rodriguez on Monte Sacro (Aventine Hill), a place associated in Roman history with freedom from oppression. The 22-year-old feel to his knees and, grasping his teacher’s hands, vowed to free his country. After returning to Paris, Bolivar sailed for America, stopping often along the east coast before arriving home in 1807.6

The following year, France invaded Spain. By 1810, the city council of Caracas had grown bold enough to depose the Spanish viceroy and sent Bolivar to London to seek protection from the British government against any attempt by France to seize Venezuela.7 No help was forthcoming, but Bolivar recruited Francisco de Miranda, who had sprearheaded a prior revolt, to return to head the new independence movement.8 While in London, Bolivar also had his most famous portrait painted. On close examination, a medallion hanging from his neck reads, “There is no fatherland without freedom.”9 When he left on September 21, he was never to return to Europe.10

As is typical of revolutions before history is rewritten to present all the natives as patriots, what followed in South America was as much civil war as an effort to throw off the colonial yoke. The see-saw power struggle between revolutionary and loyalist factions and with the royal forces was to last 14 years (followed by several years of occasional conflict between factions in the liberated territories).

In March 1811, a national congress met in Caracas. Though not a delegate, Bolivar gave his first public speech to the group, saying, “Let us lay the cornerstone of American freedom without fear. To hesitate is to perish.” The First Republic was declared July 5, Venezuela becoming the first colony anywhere in the Spanish empire to attempt to break free.11

Like many in the aristocracy, Bolivar had slaves, and in the spirit and excitement of the independence movement he was the first to set them free. 12 He was later to call for the abolition of slavery across the entire Western Hemisphere.13

Although he had no formal military training and no battlefield experience, Bolivar was made Lieutenant Colonel serving under Miranda. He participated in his first engagement on July 19, an assault on the Spanish stronghold of Valencia in which he distinguished himself, but the rebel forces were repelled. A siege forced capitulation on August 19th after heavy losses on both sides. It was a harbinger of things to come.14

Miranda and Bolivar had been having an increasing number of serious disagreements, from how to treat counterrevolutionary conspirators (Bolivar was for execution) to whether those born in Spain should be allowed to stay (Bolivar wanted them expelled). Meanwhile, on the political front the republicans were suffering from lack of governing experience. Within a few months, the captured royal treasury was spent and a Spanish blockade led to a worsening economic situation.15

On March 26, 1812, two years to the day after the Caracas city council had deposed the viceroy, a severe earthquake hit the region, killing 10,000. Areas where loyalists to Spain resided were little affected and religious hysteria followed, blaming the independence movement for defying God’s chosen monarch. The Spanish commander-in- chief, Juan Domingo de Monteverde, took advantage of the situation, marching out into the country, even finding rebel units eager to switch sides. However, Miranda, who had 5,000 men vs. Monteverde’s 3,000, could have struck a decisive blow if he had gone on the offensive instead of being overly cautious. In the few times they clashed, Miranda held back his men from pursuit which could have annihilated the Spanish.16

Bolivar was put in charge of the most important republican port, Puerto Cabello, where a large number of prisoners were kept at the main fort, as well as a large stockpile of arms and artillery (which played little role by either side in South America’s fight for freedom) . The combination proved fatal: a traitor freed the prisoners who armed themselves and began bombarding Bolivar’s position. He and his men barely escaped with their lives.17

Bolivar felt disgraced by the loss and furious that Miranda had not responded to calls for help. Shortly thereafter, he and other officers turned Miranda over to the Spaniards.18

As the Spanish completed their reconquest of the country, Bolivar escaped to Cartagena in New Granada (now Colombia), where rebels held power (though locked in civil war with a rival faction in Bogata).19

There in 1812, he wrote the first of his many eloquent political manifestos, saying, “Not the Spanish, but our own disunity led us back into slavery. A strong government could have changed everything.” He began championing a political system in which the nobility played a strong role, led by a president for life. He condemned the leniency against crime in general and against the state in particular that he felt had contributed to the fall of the First Republic. He began arguing that Venezuela should be liberated as the first step in creating an entire continent of independent states.20

The government of New Granada authorized a revolutionary force to liberate the Spanish-held bastions in their territory and in Venezuela, headed by Pierre Labatut. Against orders, Bolivar took 200 of the men and boldly attacked a Spanish garrison, capturing supplies and boats. One small victory followed another and the rebel ranks swelled.21

As a result of his actions, Bolivar was named commander-in-chief of the entire New Granadian army.22 He had to improvise tactics as he went along, finding European tactics he read about in books useless in a land of enormous mountain ranges, deep gorges, rushing rivers, vast plains, no roads, minimal ability to communicate over any distance, and sparse population.

Taking 650 men, he reentered Venezuela in May 1813. Facing 4,000 Spanish soldiers, Bolivar’s expedition seemed foolhardy. Using speed and surprise, he would defeat units of the Spanish army and the population rose up to swell the ranks of the republicans. He also recruited from the enemy by offering amnesty for deserters, threatening to kill captured Spaniards. Though only occasionally carried out, he believed that only through such a drastic measure could the republicans win and avoid the slaughter and plunder of civilians that was inevitable if they lost.23

After five swift victories, Bolivar had built up an army of 2,500, which came across 1,200 of the enemy, who retreated swiftly towards Valencia. He placed two men on each of 200 horses and had them ride around the Spanish through the night. The Spanish found their way blocked in the early morning of July 31 and in the Battle of Taguanes the revolutionaries crushed the royalists. It was Bolivar’s first large-scale victory (by the small-scale standards of South American war).24

The republican army reentered Caracas on August 7, where Bolivar, now 30, was given dictatorial powers, although half of Venezuela remained under control of the crown, which had 10 times the number of troops, who were, of course, much better equipped and trained.25

Gradually, the population grew war-weary and sentiment turned against the independence movement, which was also hindered by being poorly equipped (the infantry typically had antiquated muskets which required six motions to load; often running out of ammunition, they resorted to bayonet attacks, when they had bayonets).26

The Spanish leaders also began recruiting the fierce llaneros, nomadic cattle-raising horsemen of the Amazon grasslands. They appointed Jose Tomas Boves, a former rebel embittered by having been imprisoned by his comrades, to head them. Known as the Legion of Hell, it consisted of as many as 10,000 riders using spears, knives, and bolos, easily superior to better-armed republicans, who were almost entirely infantry. They began waging an even more savage war, so the rebels responded in kind, even killing civilians who would not take up arms against the royalists. Prisoners were executed on the spot. There was no grand war strategy, no static fronts, just one pitched battle after another between a few hundred or few thousand.27

On November 10, Bolivar inflicted what seemed to be a defeat on the llaneros and Spanish soldiers at Barquisemeto, but in the midst of the pursuit by the republicans, someone in their camped issued a call to retreat, throwing the army into confusion and the roles were reversed, the Spanish turning to pursue. It was Bolivar’s first personal battlefield loss in one-and-a-half years. The first regiment to retreat was stripped of its medals, rank, and banners.28

Then on December 5, at dawn, Bolivar’s 3,000 attacked 5,000 Spanish forces under General Monteverde, who were on in the hills near Araure. The patriot’s advance unit was immediately wiped out, but while Monteverde was reinforcing his flanks where he expected the next assault, rebels armed mostly with knives and sticks overran the center. After fierce hand-to-hand combat, Bolivar himself led the charge which scattered the Spanish. He gave chase until 2 a.m. the next morning, directing his men to kill even those who surrendered.29

Over the next few months, the patriots found themselves fighting on so many fronts that they sometimes faced 7-to-1 odds. Bolivar’s forces were nearly annihilated several times.30

By February 1814, Bolivar had recruited some replacements and had dug in at San Mateo. The Spanish, who had 10 times the cavalry, made repeated attacks on his positions and nearly succeeded in overrunning them. At one point, they almost captured the supply and munitions depot, until the defenders blew themselves up to prevent its capture. The Spanish finally gave up after several months.31

On May 28, Bolivar’s 5,000 faced 1,000 entrenched royalists in hills above the Plains of Carabobo. Although his men were poorly armed, he knew that llaneros were on the way to reinforce the enemy, so he decided to risk everything again. The assault was so relentless that the Spanish fled.32

But with his men nearly naked and the rainy season turning the region into a swamp, Bolivar found it increasingly difficult to follow up, final victory always slipping from his hands. On June 15, he gathered 3,000 soldiers at La Puerta against Boves’ equal number, and this time the revolutionaries were trounced, Bolivar barely escaping from the field. As Boves marched onto Caracas with his numbers increasing by the day, 20,000 fled the city.33

At Aragua, Boves caught up with remnants of the patriot army and 4,000 men, mostly Bolivar’s, died in one of the bloodiest battles of the South American war for independence.34

Bolivar shipped 24 chests of church silver and gems to a safe point to buy arms from British colonies and in September sailed to Cartagena.35 The royalists gained control of Venezuela by the end of the year, reinforced in May 1815 by 11,000 veterans of the Napoleonic wars, the biggest expedition the Spanish had ever sent to the Americas.36

Ever the optimist, Bolivar wrote his fellow citizens, “I have been chosen by fate to break your chains…Fight and you shall win. For God grants victory to perseverance.” He exhorted his men that misfortune was the “school of heroes.”37

The government of New Granada gave him an army to go after its own Spanish garrisons and rebellious cities He sent out a public letter, pleading with the factions to unite against Spain because “our country is America.”38 But he was only partially successful in stopping the civil war and when a large Spanish army arrived from Venezuela in May, Bolivar sailed for Jamaica with most of his officers.39

There, the prolific Bolivar wrote his most famous document, Letter from Jamaica, in which he declared, “A people that love freedom will in the end be free.” He foresaw a great federation of Hispanic American republics which would deserve the same respect as European nations.40

A man of great charm who could size up the people he met instantly, the indefatigable Bolivar set out to persuade the world to back his vision yet again. He was said to speak so eloquently on the spur of the moment that his speeches could be printed without editing. He answered every letter written to him, sometimes dictating to three secretaries at once.41

Bolivar’s pleas fell on deaf ears as far as governments went, with the exception of Haiti, whose president agreed to provide money and equipment. In March 1816, the first expedition sailed with 250 men in seven ships, an absurd force to engage the 10,000-strong royal army. They came across four Spanish vessels and were able to board two. They landed the next day at San Juan Griego and were warmly welcomed by the people. Another 300 joined what was called the Liberating Army. But shortly thereafter they were driven back and returned to Haiti for reprovisioning.42

When Bolivar landed in Venezuela again in December1816, he was 33 and would remain there for the rest of his life. He had 500 men with him; a nearby fort had 1,500 of the enemy, never mind the 16,000 government soldiers in Caracas.43

Bolivar began circulating proclamations, making up stories about supposed victories in various areas of the country, building an image of himself everywhere and invincible. In actuality, he operated mostly on the plains around the Orinoco river in the interior, headquartered in remote Agostura.44

And Bolivar was actually spending much of his time quelling efforts by subordinates to usurp his command. Bolivar showed excellent political skills in maneuvering around the many internal roadblocks, but finally felt compelled to execute the leading conspirator, Manuel Piar, who was, unfortunately, was also the republicans’ best tactician.45

One man became indispensable to Bolivar’s new strategy: Antonio Jose Paez, seven years his younger (who had an enormous bodyguard called the First Negro who had an knife so large no one else could wield it). Paez had mastered the supreme difficulties of guerrilla cavalry warfare in the tropics. Some of the llaneros were so impressed by him that they changed sides. His lightning attacks achieved the first victories against the powerful army which had landed in 1815.46

By May, the 2,000 republicans had achieved some significant victories. One incident illustrated how much they thrived on boldness. With 15 of his officers on a reconnaissance, Bolivar spotted a large number of Spanish soldiers lying in wait to ambush him as he rounded a corner. He shouted for his men to form up and prepare for an assault on the enemy position–as if his own army were right behind. The Spaniards retreated.47

In January 1818, Bolivar’s 3,000 soldiers marched 350 miles through a swampy region to join Paez’s 1,000 cavalry. Armed mostly with lances and bows and arrows, they surprised one Spanish garrison after another. The commander if all Spanish forces in Venezuela and New Granada, Pablo Morillo, barely escaped.48.

But inevitably, Spanish numbers and arms turned the tide prevail. Bolivar retreated to El Semen with 2,000 men and while he was passing baggage over a ravine on March 25, royal forces attacked. The rebels were exhausted and Morillo killed half of them, capturing their materiel and papers, though Bolivar escaped. The Spanish were sure that he was finished this time.49

But Bolivar was discouraged by the lack of popular support, but he still had Paez’s 2,100 horsemen. He immediately began rebuilding the infantry by recruiting from convalescent hospitals and among teenage boys.50

Gradually, though, he realized that the only way to achieve a level of professionalism to match the enemy was to form a foreign legion. He began raising money and his agents found great interest among the 30,000 recently discharged soldiers of the British army. The weather and the inability of the rebel army to meet payroll was discouraging to the mercenaries, but they adapted to conditions and became committed to the cause. Of the nearly 6000 who joined, 220 drowned on the way over, some deserted, and most were died from disease or in battle: only a few hundred survived the war.51

In February 1819, a republican congress was convened to draw up a constitution for the Third Republic.52

Meantime, guerrilla warfare was being successfully waged by Paez’s cavalry. In one encounter, they lured the Spanish into a trap. The Venezuelans lost six, the Spanish 400. The Spanish withdrew from the region after losing half their 7,000 troops.53

Bolivar began to conceive one of the most audacious military campaigns in history. He had been operating on the eastern part of the Plains of Casanare. On the western plains up against the Andes, Francisco de Paula Santander was conducting a guerrilla campaign the Spanish found impossible to suppress. During the rainy season when the plains were a virtual swamp, the royalist troops withdrew and in April, Santander sent a message to Bolivar that the area was free of the enemy.54

Bolivar knew that the Andes were considered impassable during winter (in the southern hemisphere) and that the Spanish guarded the frontier of New Granada on the other side very lightly. He called a war council of his generals, all of them under 40, in a hut without furniture; they sat on the bleached skulls of oxen to discuss his idea on May 23.55

Hannibal had spent years preparing for his epic trek through the Alps, as had San Martin of Argentina when he made his own climb over the Andes, both with seasoned soldiers. But within a week of making plans, Venezuela’s 2,500 ragtag rebels set out to for the foot of the mountains.56 First, though, they had to cross 10 swollen rivers, as well as move through flooded plains with water often waist-deep, with the torrential rain constant. Half the cattle brought along for food drowned. Bolivar continually moved up and down his lines to exhort his men forward.57

On June 25, they began the ascent into the mountains. The army consisted mostly of men from the plains and Britain and Ireland, none of them prepared for what they were about to face.58 The higher they went, the colder it became. By the time they were at 18,000 feet, the horses and cattle had died in the frozen wasteland.59 The half-naked men who had no wood for fire most of the time, took to flogging each other to keep circulation going.60 Nearly 1,000 men died along the way.61

Those who made it to the other side of the range were half-starved and had dropped their weapons along the way, but found a population eager to resupply them.62 After Bolivar’s men had a few skirmishes with Spanish government outposts, word reach the regional commander, who prepared to meet the rebels in a well-defended position with 3,000 soldiers on July 24 at Pantano de Vargas. After the revolutionaries’ cavalry managed to charge in the steep terrain and the foreign legion seemed to cinch a victory with a bayonet assault, the Spanish pushed them back. It was a stalemate, but the commander sent a report to the viceroy: “The annihilation of the republicans appeared inevitable. But despair gave them courage. Our infantry could not resist them.”63

The Spanish retreated and the patriots pursued. At Boyaca, on August 7, the rebels prevented the royalists from crossing a bridge that would have allowed them to reach the garrison at Bogata. In a two-hour clash, they captured half of the 3,000 Spanish troops, the rest having been killed or fled the battlefield.64 It was the turning point for the independence movement in South America. The Spanish began to evacuate New Granada and word spread like wildfire that the empire was coming to an end. Desertions from the royal army increased and formerly neutral citizens began actively supporting Bolivar.65

In December, the underground legislature of Venezuela assembled and declared its country and New Granada united as the Republic of Colombia (which included what is now Ecuador). Bolivar was made president and military dictator.66

Political events in Spain provided impetus for negotiations with the republicans throughout 1820, but skirmishes continued.67 Bolivar and Morillo, the Spanish commander, met in November and signed an armistice.68 In the following months, the patriots built up their army and made plans for a campaign in the event a final agreement should not be worked out. The conflict resumed in April 1821.69

On June 24, the Spanish general La Torre brought 5,000 troops to Carabobo to block both passes that could allow the rebels to move towards Caracas. He made some decisive mistakes in position: a weak right flank, no sharpshooters at the edges, and cavalry too far to the rear to be brought up in a timely manner.

Bolivar, with a total of 6,500 men, sent Paez with cavalry and infantry, including the British battalion, around to the enemy’s right rear, but while cutting through the heavy bushes, that they were spotted. The Spanish reinforced their right and concentrated fire on Paez’s troops, repelling the initial attack, which required the patriots to climb across steep ravines. But when the overconfident Spanish broke out and chased them, the royalists ran smack into the British veterans of the Napoleonic wars who cut them to pieces with disciplined heavy fire at close range. Running out of ammunition, the British charged with bayonets and the Spanish right collapsed.

The main forces of both sides had not yet engaged, but when Bolivar saw the outcome on the right, he ordered a full attack. One-third of the Spanish troops were captured and as many were killed or wounded.70

The region between Cali (Colombia) and Guayaquil (Ecuador) remained a Spanish stronghold after the victory at Carabobo. Bolivar had sent General Antonio Jose Sucre south to aid the local revolutionaries and he had achieved some success. In March 1822, Bolivar set out with 3,000 soldiers, but one third of them perished from exposure or harassment from loyalist guerrillas.71

On April 7, he came up against 1,800 Spanish troops in a seemingly impregnable position in thick woods at Bombana. Bolivar ordered an attack on the right at night under a full moon, losing a third of his 2,000 men under withering fire.72

But over the next six weeks while the Spanish were concentrating on resisting Bolivar, his right-hand, Antonio Jose Sucre, had gone around them, defeated royalist troops positioned near Quito, the capital of Ecuador, and taken it. From that base, he was able to mop of Spanish forces and Bolivar went on to Guayaquil.73

Forces under the generalship of Jose de San Martin, a 20-year veteran of service to the crown, and Bernardo O’Higgins, son of an Irishman who had become viceroy of Peru, had ended colonialism in Chile and Argentina. Between their armies and Bolivar’s troops lay Peru, with 19,000 Spanish troops, the last of the empire. San Martin was well-provisioned and well-armed when he marched over the Andes with 4,500 veterans to take Lima in June 1821. However, had not been able to push further inland.74

On July 26, 1822, San Martin and Bolivar met in Guayaquil to see how they could work together. There is no record of the meeting, but they didn’t seem to get along well personally and had different visions for the continent. San Martin was so discouraged by Bolivar’s impassioned insistence that his views would prevail that he retired immediately to France. Peru was left in Bolivar’s hands.75

Meeting between Bolivar and San Martin

In June 1824, Bolivar assembled an army of 9,000 in Peru to move 600 miles over the Andes to the high plateau. Inadequately clothed, suffering from sun-blindness, lack of oxygen, and the hazards of the dizzying precipces, they climbed to 12,000 feet. One English general, a long-time veteran in Europe, described it as the most difficult military operation he had ever undertaken.76

At the top, Bolivar reviewed his troops and told them, “Soldiers, you are about to finish the greatest undertaking Heaven has confided to men–that of saving an entire world from salvery!”77

On August 6, Bolivar reached the heights above the Plains of Junin. Below, he spotted part of the Spanish army moving across the plains. Bolivar sent 900 of his horsemen to attack the 2,000 royal cavalry at their rear. The engagement lasted 45 minutes, no shot was fired during the clash of lances and swords. The patriots lost 120 men, the Spanish, who retreated in wild disorder, 400. It was to be the last battle Bolivar would personally lead against the king’s men.78

Bolivar stepped down to attend to political matters and put nearly 5,780 soldiers under the command of Sucre. The Peruvian viceroy, La Serna, took 9,300 troops and began to pursue Sucre’s forces. A cat and mouse game ensued through country crossed by steep ravines and deep rivers. Bolivar wrote Sucre that, “The axiom of Marshal of Saxony is being fulfilled. Feet spared Peru; feet saved Peru; and feet will again cause Peru to be lost. Fixed ideas always avenge themselves.”79

The Spanish finally trapped Sucre’s army in the valley of Ayacucho on December 9. The republicans had only one 4-pounder gun, opposed to the crown force’s 24 artillery pieces. As the Spanish marched down on the republicans, Sucre rode along his lines, shouting, “Upon your efforts depend the fate of South America.” Knowing that some of La Serna’s subordinates perpetuated massacres of surrendered troops, the rebels knew it was a fight to the finish. One of Sucre’s lieutenants killed his horse, explaining to his soldiers, “I have now no means of escape, so we must fight it out together.” The Spanish were startled by the fierceness of the republican resistance and when the latter charged with bayonets, the Spanish lost 2,000 men and 15 guns. La Serna was taken prisoner and the commanding general surrendered.80

Sucre’s report to Bolivar announced, “The war is ended, and the liberation of Peru completed.”81

Mop-up operations occupied 1825 and in the same year the people of upper Peru deciding to form a separate nation, which they named Bolivia in Bolivar’s honor. He wrote its constitution and accepted the position of lifetime president.82

The fight for the independence of Venezuela, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and Panama (a department of Colombia) had involved 696 battles, with an average of 1,400 soldiers per engagement, counting both sides together.83

Bolivar received a letter from the then-old Marquis de Lafayette on behalf of the family of George Washington, along with a gold medallion coined after the capitulation at Yorktown. It read, “The second Washington of the New World.” Bolivar was deeply moved.84

Simon Bolivar began vigorously rebuilding and administering the devastated new states. He was at the height of his power when he convened a congress of Latin American republics in Panama in 1826. He envisioned a league of the fledgling Central and South American nations, but he was far ahead of his time.85

Soon thereafter, fighting between the states, personality conflicts, and resentment of his authoritarian ways caused his influence to wane. After an assassination attempt and with failing health, Bolivar resigned all his positions and died shortly thereafter on December 10, 1830.86

But to Latin Americans, Bolivar remains immortal, one of the greatest military leaders in the history of the entire world.



1870 1r bright rose, large margins all around, tied by Asuncion double ring pmk pmk on FL used in 1874 (23 Sep) to Buenos Aires, endorsed “por Vapor Goya” (river steamer), filing fold away from the stamp, fine and attractive number one on cover, with arrival docketing, 2002 Moorhouse cert.,
Val. $ 2,000[ 1][

Price: $1000.00Sold For: $1900.00



1870 2r dark blue, rare shade unused, with original gum, v.f., signed Nissen, Roig etc., with Moorhouse cert.
Val.[ 2a][

Price: $250.00Sold For: $250.00


1870 3r black, the largest recorded multiple of this stamp, irregular block of nine, marginal from left of the sheet (positions 71/81-84/91-94), unused with some creases, pos.82 with nick at top, other minor imperfections of no importance, with 2001 Dr.Mario Kurchan certificate, ex-Dale-Lichtenstein and “Crown Point” collections
Val.[ 3][(
)b ]

Price: $2500.00Sold For: $3500.00



After the last foreign troops had gone in 1876 and an international commission headed by Rutherford B. Hayes awarded Paraguay the area between the Río Verde and Río Pilcomayo, the era of party politics in Paraguay was free to begin in earnest. Nonetheless, the evacuation of foreign forces did not mean the end of foreign influence. Both Brazil and Argentina remained deeply involved in Paraguay as a result of their connections with Paraguay’s rival political forces. These forces eventually came to be known as the “Colorado”s and the “Liberals”.

The political rivalry between Liberals and Colorados was presaged as early as 1869 when the terms Azules (Blues) and Colorados (Reds) first appeared




1878 5c on 2c blue, surcharged in black, unused, also in blue (used), plus 5h on 3c black, unused, minute thin spots, otherwise fine-v.f., rare, each with Moorhouse cert.,
Val. $ 1,575[ 5,5H,9][(
)O ]




1878 black surcharge “5” (cents) on 3c black, two imperf. singles, each with margins all around, tied by oval of dots in blue green, also unframed “Da Buenos Aires col Postali Italiani” transit on small cover to Potenza Italy, charged “20” (decimes), with the additional of 1L postage due (based on the markings, another 1L stamp was removed and a presumably similar 1L hinged at top for aesthetic purposes), Buenos Aires transit, part Genova and Potenza arrival pmks on back. The two Paraguay stamps with minor faults, filing folds and part of backflap of cover torn away, the 1L postage due corner missing, otherwise fine, accompanied by 2001 Dr.Mario Kurchan and 2006 Brian Moorhouse certificates (“this cover is now the earliest known usage of a surcharged “5” on or off cover and it is the only known contemporary multiple franking of any of the “5” centavos surcharged stamps. This cover is also one of just three recorded covers franked with the small “5” in black on 3r stamp”). A remarkable rarity of Paraguayan philately
Val.[ 5E][

Price: $7500.00Sold For: $8000.00




The National Republican Association-Colorado Party (Asociación Nacional Republicana-Partido Colorado) dominated Paraguayan political life from the late 1880s until Liberals overthrew it in 1904. The Liberal Party ascent marked the decline of Brazil, which had supported the Colorados as the principal political force in Paraguay, and the rise of Argentine influence.

In the decade following the war, the principal political conflicts within Paraguay reflected the Liberal-Colorado split, with Legionnaires battling Lopiztas (ex-followers of Solano López) for power, while Brazil and Argentina maneuvered in the background. The Legionnaires saw the Lopiztas as reactionaries. The Lopiztas accused the Legionnaires of being traitors and foreign puppets. The situation defied neat categories, since many people constantly changed sides. Opportunism characterized this era, not ideological purity.

The Legionnaires were a motley collection of refugees and exiles who dated from Francia’s day. Their opposition to tyranny was sincere, and they gravitated toward democratic ideologies. Coming home to backward, poor, xenophobic Paraguay from cosmopolitan, prosperous Buenos Aires was a big shock for the Legionnaires. Believing that more freedom would cure Paraguay’s ills, they abolished slavery and founded a constitutional government as soon as they came to power. They based the new government on the standard classical liberal prescriptions of free enterprise, free elections, and free trade.

The Legionnaires, however, had no more experience in democracy than other Paraguayans.




1881 1c blue, horizontal sheet bottom sheet margin part imprint pair imperf. between, with Moorhouse cert. (“the 1c imperforate between pair is by far, the rarest of 1881 perforation varieties”), also 2c rose red and brown, vertical or horizontal pairs imperf. Between
Val.[ 14b,15b,c,16b,c][







1884 two covers used in 1886 to Rosario Santa Fe or Montevideo, one with diagonal half of 2c and two entire stamps paying 5c local rate; the other with bisected 5c with the entire stamp paying 7 1/c to Uruguay, both with arrival pmks, fine
Val.[ 21,22][

Price: $250.00Sold For: $475.00





1886 four-frame exhibit (64 pages) with proofs and essays, originals (these have been in used for only 10 days), die proofs, composite and trial colors, official reprints, much archival material including complete sheets (with and without overprint), covers (8), errors and varieties, plus additional items, interesting and seldom offered erudite study of this rather obscure subject
Val.[ O1-14][
O ]

Price: $2500.00Sold For: $3750.00


Free elections were a startling, and not altogether welcome, innovation for ordinary Paraguayans, who had always allied themselves with a patrón (benefactor) for security and protection. At the same time, Argentina and Brazil were not content to leave Paraguay with a truly free political system. Pro-Argentine militia chief Benigno Ferreira emerged as de facto dictator until his overthrow with Brazilian help in 1874. Ferreira later returned to lead the 1904 Liberal uprising, which ousted the Colorados. Ferreira served as president between 1906 and 1908.

[edit] The first Colorado era



Paraguay 1890 anniversary stamp

Cándido Bareiro, López’s ex-commercial agent in Europe, returned to Paraguay in 1869 and formed a major Lopizta faction. He also recruited General Bernadino Caballero, a war hero with close ties to López. After President Juan Bautista Gil was assassinated in 1877, Caballero used his power as army commander to guarantee Bareiro’s election as president in 1878. When Bareiro died in 1880, Caballero seized power in a coup and dominated Paraguayan politics for most of the next two decades, either as president or through his power in the militia. His accession to power is notable because he brought political stability, founded a ruling party – the Colorados – to regulate the choice of presidents and the distribution of spoils, and began a process of economic reconstruction.

Despite their professed admiration for Francia, the Colorados dismantled Francia’s unique system of state socialism. Desperate for cash because of heavy debts incurred in London in the early postwar period, the Colorados lacked a source of funds except through the sale of the state’s vast holdings, which comprised more than 95 percent of Paraguay’s total land. Caballero’s government sold much of this land to foreigners in huge lots. While Colorado politicians raked in the profits and themselves became large landowners, peasant squatters who had farmed the land for generations were forced to vacate and, in many cases, to emigrate. By 1900, seventy-nine people owned half of the country’s land.

Although the Liberals had advocated the same land-sale policy, the unpopularity of the sales and evidence of pervasive government corruption produced a tremendous outcry from the opposition. Liberals became bitter foes of selling land, especially after Caballero rigged the 1886 election to ensure a victory for General Patricio Escobar. Ex-Legionnaires, idealistic reformers, and former Lopiztas joined in July 1887 to form the Centro Democrático (Democratic Center), a precursor of the Liberal party, to demand free elections, an end to land sales, civilian control over the military, and clean government. Caballero responded, along with his principal adviser, José Segundo Decoud, and Escobar, by forming the Colorado Party one month later, thus formalizing the political cleavage.

Both groups were deeply factionalized, however, and very little ideology separated them, allowing. Colorado and Liberal partisans to change sides whenever it proved advantageous. While the Colorados reinforced their monopoly on power and spoils, Liberals called for reform. Frustration provoked an aborted Liberal revolt in 1891 that produced changes in 1893, when war minister General Juan B. Egusquiza overthrew Caballero’s chosen president, Juan G. González. Egusquiza startled Colorado stalwarts by sharing power with the Liberals, a move that split both parties. Ex-Legionnaire Ferreira, along with the cívico (civic) wing of the Liberals, joined the government of Egusquiza, who left office in 1898, to allow a civilian, Emilio Aceval, to become president. Liberal radicales (radicals) who opposed compromising with their Colorado enemies boycotted the new arrangement. Caballero, also boycotting the alliance, plotted to overthrow civilian rule and succeeded when Colonel Juan Antonio Ezcurra seized power in 1902. This victory was Caballero’s last, however. In 1904, General Ferreira, with the support of cívicos, radicales, and egusquistas, invaded from Argentina. After four months of fighting, Ezcurra signed the Pact of Pilcomayo aboard an Argentine gunboat on December 12, 1904, and handed power to the Liberals.

[edit] Liberal decades

The revolution of August 1904 began as a popular movement, but Liberal rule quickly degenerated into factional feuding, military coups, and civil war. Political instability was extreme in the Liberal era, which saw twenty-one governments in thirty-six years. During the period 1904 to 1922, Paraguay had fifteen presidents. By 1908, the radicales had overthrown General Ferreira and the cívicos. The Liberals had disbanded Caballero’s army when they came to power and organized a completely new one. Nevertheless, by 1910 army commander Colonel Albino Jara felt strong enough to stage a coup against President Manuel Gondra. Jara’s coup backfired as it touched off an anarchic two-year period in which every major political group seized power at least once. The radicales again invaded from Argentina, and when the charismatic Eduardo Schaerer became president, Gondra returned as minister of war to reorganize the army once more. Schaerer became the first president since Egusquiza to finish his four-year term.

The new political calm was shattered, however, when the radicales split into Schaerer and Gondra factions. Gondra won the presidential election in 1920, but the schaereristas undermined his power and forced him to resign. Full-scale fighting between the factions broke out in May 1922 and lasted for fourteen months. The gondristas beat the schaereristas decisively and held on to power until 1936.

Laissez-faire Liberal policies had permitted a handful of hacendados to exercise almost feudal control over the countryside, while peasants had no land and foreign interests manipulated Paraguay’s economic fortunes. The Liberals, like the Colorados, were a deeply factionalized political oligarchy. Social conditions – always marginal in Paraguay – deteriorated during the Great Depression of the 1930s. The country clearly needed reforms in working conditions, public services, and education. The stage was set for an anti-Liberal nationalist reaction that would change the direction of Paraguayan history.

Paraguay’s dispute with Bolivia over the Chaco, a struggle that had been brewing for decades, finally derailed the Liberals. Wars and poor diplomacy had prevented the settling of boundaries between the two countries during the century following independence. Although Paraguay had held the Chaco for as long as anyone could remember, the country did little to develop the area. Aside from scattered Mennonite colonies and nomadic Indian tribes, few people lived there. Bolivia’s claim to the Chaco became more urgent after it lost its sea coast (the Atacama region) to Chile during the 1879-84 War of the Pacific. Left without any outlet to the sea, Bolivia wanted to absorb the Chaco and expand its territory up to the Río Paraguay in order to gain a river port. In addition, the Chaco’s economic potential intrigued the Bolivians. Oil had been discovered there by Standard Oil Company in the 1920s, and people wondered whether an immense pool of oil was lying beneath the entire area. Ironically, South America’s two greatest victims of war and annexation in the previous century were ready to face each other in another bout of bloody combat, this time over a piece of apparently worthless, desolate wilderness.

While Paraguayans were busy fighting among themselves during the 1920s, Bolivians established a series of forts in the Paraguayan Chaco. In addition, they bought armaments from Germany and hired German military officers to train and lead their forces. Frustration in Paraguay with Liberal inaction boiled over in 1928 when the Bolivian army established a fort on the Río Paraguay called Fortín Vanguardia. In December of that year, Paraguayan major (later colonel) Rafael Franco took matters into his own hands, led a surprise attack on the fort, and succeeded in destroying it. The routed Bolivians responded quickly by seizing two Paraguayan forts. Both sides mobilized but the Liberal government felt unprepared for war so it agreed to the humiliating condition of rebuilding Fortín Vanguardia for the Bolivians. The Liberal government also provoked criticism when it forced Franco, by then a national hero, to retire from the army.

As diplomats from Argentina, the United States, and the League of Nations conducted fruitless “reconciliation” talks, Colonel José Félix Estigarribia, Paraguay’s deputy army commander, ordered his troops into action against Bolivian positions early in 1931. Meanwhile, nationalist agitation led by the National Independent League (Liga Nacional Independiente) increased. Formed in 1928 by a group of intellectuals, the League sought a new era in national life that would witness a great political and social rebirth. Its adherents advocated a “new democracy” that, they hoped, would sweep the country free of petty partisan interests and foreign encroachments. An amalgam of diverse ideologies and interests, the League reflected a genuine popular wish for social change. When government troops fired on a mob of League students demonstrating in front of the Government Palace in October 1931, the Liberal administration of President José Guggiari lost what little legitimacy it retained. The students and soldiers of the rising “New Paraguay” movement (which wanted to sweep away corrupt party politics and introduce nationalist and socialist reforms) would thereafter always see the Liberals as morally bankrupt.

[edit] The Chaco War and the February Revolution

Main article: Chaco War

When war finally broke out officially in July 1932, the Bolivians were confident of a rapid victory. Their country was richer and more populous than Paraguay, and their armed forces were larger, had a superior officer corps, and were well-trained and well-equipped. These advantages quickly proved irrelevant in the face of the Paraguayans’ zeal to defend their homeland. The highly motivated Paraguayans knew the geography of the Chaco better than the Bolivians and easily infiltrated Bolivian lines, surrounded outposts, and captured supplies. In contrast, Indians from the Bolivian high plateau area, known as the Altiplano, were forced into the Bolivian army, had no real interest in the war, and failed to adapt to the hot Chaco climate. In addition, long supply lines, poor roads, and weak logistics hindered the Bolivian campaign. The Paraguayans proved more united than the Bolivians, at least initially, as President Eusebio Ayala and Colonel (later Marshal) Estigarribia worked well together.

After the December 1933 Paraguayan victory at Campo Via, Bolivia seemed on the verge of surrender. At that moment, however, President Ayala agreed to a truce. His decision was greeted with derision in Asunción. Instead of ending the war with a swift victory that might have boosted their political prospects, the Liberals signed a truce that seemed to allow the Bolivians to regroup. The war continued until July 1935. Although the Liberals had successfully led Paraguay’s occupation of nearly all the disputed territory and had won the war when the last truce went into effect, they were finished politically.

In many ways, the Chaco War acted as a catalyst to unite the political opposition with workers and peasants, who furnished the raw materials for a social revolution. After the 1935 truce, thousands of soldiers were sent home, leaving the regular army to patrol the front lines. The soldiers who had shared the dangers and trials of the battlefield deeply resented the ineptitude and incompetence they believed the Liberals had shown in failing to prepare the country for war. These soldiers had witnessed the miserable state of the Paraguayan army and were forced in many cases to face the enemy armed only with machetes. After what they had been through, partisan political differences seemed irrelevant. The government offended the army rank-and-file by refusing to fund pensions for disabled war veterans in 1936 while awarding 1,500 gold pesos a year to Estigarribia. Colonel Franco, back on active duty since 1932, became the focus of the nationalist rebels inside and outside the army. The final spark to rebellion came when Franco was exiled for criticizing Ayala. On February 17, 1936, units of the army descended on the Presidential Palace and forced Ayala to resign, ending thirty-two years of Liberal rule.

Outside Paraguay, the February revolt seemed to be a paradox because it overthrew the politicians who had won the war. The soldiers, veterans, students, and others who revolted felt, however, that victory had come despite the Liberal government. Promising a national and social revolution, the Revolutionary Febrerista Party (Partido Revolucionario Febrerista, PRF), more commonly known as the Febreristas, brought Colonel Franco back from exile in Argentina to be president. The Franco government showed it was serious about social justice by expropriating more than 200,000 hectares of land and distributing it to 10,000 peasant families. In addition, the new government guaranteed workers the right to strike and established an eight-hour work day. Perhaps the government’s most lasting contribution affected national consciousness. In a gesture calculated to rewrite history and erase seven decades of national shame, Franco declared Solano López a national hero “sin ejemplar” (without precedent) because he had stood up to foreign threats, and sent a team to Cerro Corá to find his unmarked grave. The government buried his remains along with those of his father in a chapel designated the National Pantheon of Heroes, and later erected a monument to him on Asunción’s highest hill.

Despite the popular enthusiasm that greeted the February revolution, the new government lacked a clear program. In a sign of the times, Franco practiced his Mussolini-style, spellbinding oratory from a balcony. But when he published his distinctly fascist-sounding Decree Law No. 152 promising a “totalitarian transformation” similar to those in Europe, protests erupted. The youthful, idealistic elements that had come together to produce the Febrerista movement were actually a hodgepodge of conflicting political tendencies and social opposites, and Franco was soon in deep political trouble. Franco’s cabinet reflected almost every conceivable shade of dissident political opinion, and included socialists, fascist sympathizers, nationalists, Colorados, and Liberal cívicos. A new party of regime supporters, the Revolutionary National Union (Unión Nacional Revolucionaria), was founded in November 1936. Although the new party called for representative democracy, rights for peasants and workers, and socialization of key industries, it failed to broaden Franco’s political base. In the end, Franco forfeited his popular support because he failed to keep his promises to the poor. He dared not expropriate the properties of foreign landowners, who were mostly Argentines. In addition, the Liberals, who still had influential support in the army, agitated constantly for Franco’s overthrow. When Franco ordered Paraguayan troops to abandon the advanced positions in the Chaco that they had held since the 1935 truce, the army revolted in August 1937 and returned the Liberals to power.

The army, however, did not hold a unified opinion about the Febreristas. Several attempted coups served to remind President Félix Pavia (the former dean of law at the National University) that although the February Revolution was out of power, it was far from dead. People who suspected that the Liberals had learned nothing from their term out of office soon had proof: a peace treaty signed with Bolivia on July 21, 1938, fixed the final boundaries behind the Paraguayan battle lines. In 1939 the Liberals, recognizing that they would have to choose someone with national stature to be president if they wanted to hold onto power, picked General Estigarribia, the hero of the Chaco War who had since served as special envoy to the United States. Estigarribia quickly realized that he would have to adopt many Febrerista ideas to avoid anarchy. Circumventing the die-hard Liberals in the National Assembly who opposed him, Estigarribia assumed “temporary” dictatorial powers in February 1940, but promised the dictatorship would end as soon as a workable constitution was written.

Estigarribia vigorously pursued his goals. He began a land reform program that promised a small plot to every Paraguayan family. He reopened the university, balanced the budget, financed the public debt, increased the capital of the Central Bank of Paraguay, implemented monetary and municipal reforms, and drew up plans to build highways and public works. An August 1940 plebiscite endorsed Estigarribia’s constitution, which remained in force until 1967. The constitution of 1940 promised a “strong, but not despotic” president and a new state empowered to deal directly with social and economic problems. But by greatly expanding the power of the executive branch, the constitution served to legitimize open dictatorship.

[edit] Morínigo and World War II

The era of the New Liberals, as Estigarribia’s supporters were called, came to a sudden end in September 1940, when the president died in an airplane crash. Hoping to control the government through a more malleable military man, the “Old Liberal” cabinet named War Minister Higinio Moríñigo president. Moríñigo had gained fame in Paraguay by heading the 1936 expedition to Cerro Corá to retrieve López’s remains. The apparently genial Moríñigo soon proved himself a shrewd politician with a mind of his own, and the Liberals resigned within a few weeks when they realized that they would not be able to impose their will on him. Having inherited Estigarribia’s dictatorial powers, Moríñigo quickly banned both Febreristas and Liberals and clamped down drastically on free speech and individual liberties. A nonparty dictator without a large body of supporters, Morínigo survived politically – despite the numerous plots against him – because of his astute handling of an influential group of young military officers who held key positions of power.

The outbreak of World War II eased Moríñigo’s task of ruling Paraguay while keeping the army happy because it stimulated demand for Paraguayan export products, such as meat, hides, and cotton, and boosted the country’s export earnings. More important, United States policy toward Latin America at this time made Paraguay eligible for major economic assistance. A surge of German influence in the region and Argentina’s pro-Axis leanings alarmed the United States, which sought to wean Paraguay away from German and Argentine solicitation. At the same time, the United States sought to enhance its presence in the region and pursued close cooperation with Brazil, Argentina’s traditional rival. To this end, the United States provided to Paraguay sizable amounts of funds and supplies under the Lend-Lease Agreement, provided loans for public works, and gave technical assistance in agriculture and health care. The United States Department of State approved of closer ties between Brazil and Paraguay and especially supported Brazil’s offer to finance a road project designed to reduce Paraguay’s dependence on Argentina.

Much to the displeasure of the United States and Britain, Moríñigo refused to act against German economic and diplomatic interests until the end of the war. German agents had successfully converted many Paraguayans to the Axis cause. South America’s first Nazi Party branch had been founded in Paraguay in 1931. German immigrant schools, churches, hospitals, farmers’ cooperatives, youth groups, and charitable societies became active Axis backers. All of those organizations prominently displayed swastikas and portraits of Adolf Hitler.

It is no exaggeration to say that Moríñigo headed a pro-Axis regime. Large numbers of Paraguayan military officers and government officials were openly sympathetic to the Axis. Among these officials was the national police chief, who named his son Adolfo Hirohito after the best-known Axis leaders. By 1941, the official newspaper, El País, had adopted an overtly pro-German stance. At the same time, the government strictly controlled pro-Allied labor unions. Police cadets wore swastikas and Italian insignia on their uniforms. The December 1941 Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and Germany’s declaration of war against the United States gave the United States the leverage it needed, however, to force Moríñigo to commit himself publicly to the Allied cause. Moríñigo officially severed diplomatic relations with the Axis countries in 1942, although he did not declare war against Germany until February 1945. Nonetheless, Moríñigo continued to maintain close relations with the heavily German-influenced Argentine military throughout the war and provided a haven for Axis spies and agents.

United States protests over German and Argentine activities in Paraguay fell on deaf ears. While the United States defined its interests in terms of resisting the fascist threat, Paraguayan officials believed their interests lay in economic expediency and were reluctant to antagonize Germany until the outcome of the war was no longer in doubt. Many Paraguayans believed Germany was no more of a threat to Paraguay’s sovereignty than the United States.

The Allied victory convinced Moríñigo to liberalize his regime. Paraguay experienced a brief period of openness as Moríñigo relaxed restrictions on free speech, allowed political exiles to return, and formed a coalition government. Moríñigo’s intentions about stepping down were murky, however, and his de facto alliance with Colorado Party hardliners and their thuggish Guión Rojo (red script) paramilitary group antagonized the opposition. The result was a failed coup d’état in December 1946 and full-scale civil war in March 1947.

Led by Colonel Rafael Franco, the revolutionaries were an unlikely coalition of Febreristas, Liberals, and communists, united only in their desire to overthrow Moríñigo. The Colorados helped Moríñigo crush the insurgency, but the man who saved Moríñigo’s government during crucial battles was the commander of the General Brúgez Artillery Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Alfredo Stroessner Matiauda. When a revolt at the Asunción Navy Yard put a strategic working-class neighborhood in rebel hands, Stroessner’s regiment quickly reduced the area to rubble. When rebel gunboats threatened to dash upriver from Argentina to bombard the capital into submission, Stroessner’s forces battled furiously and knocked them out of commission.

By the end of the rebellion in August, a single party, which had been out of power since 1904, had almost total control in Paraguay. The fighting had simplified politics by eliminating all parties except the Colorados and by reducing the size of the army. As nearly four-fifths of the officer corps had joined the rebels, fewer individuals were now in a position to compete for power. As had often happened in the past, however, the Colorados split into rival factions. The hardline guionistas, headed by the fiery left-leaning nationalist writer and publisher Juan Natalicio González, opposed democratic practices. The moderate democráticos, led by Federico Chaves, favored free elections and a power-sharing arrangement with the other parties. With Moríñigo’s backing, González used the Guión Rojo to cow the moderates and gain his party’s presidential nomination. In the Paraguayan tradition, he ran unopposed in the long-promised 1948 elections. Suspecting that Moríñigo would not relinquish power to González, a group of Colorado military officers, including Stroessner, removed Morínigo from office. González joined Moríñigo in exile early in 1949, and Chaves became president in 1950 as the military finally allowed power to pass to the democráticos.

Paraguayan politics had come full-circle in a certain sense. The Chaco War had sparked the February revolution, which, in turn, sounded the death knell of the Liberal state and ushered in a revival of Paraguayan nationalism along with a reverence for the dictatorial past. The result was the constitution of 1940, which returned to the executive the power that the Liberals had stripped away. When a brief flirtation with democracy became a civil war after World War II, the Colorados, the party of the Lopiztas, were again running Paraguay. In the interim, the influence of the armed forces had increased dramatically. Since the end of the Chaco War, no Paraguayan government has held power without the consent of the army. Moríñigo maintained order by severely restricting individual liberties but as a result created a political vacuum. When he tried to fill it with the Colorado Party, he split the party in two, and neither faction could establish itself in power without help from the military. The institution of one-party rule, the establishment of order at the expense of political liberty, and the acceptance of the army’s role of final political arbiter created the conditions that encouraged the emergence of the Stroessner regime.

[edit] The Stronato

[edit] The 1954 Coup

Despite his reputation as a democrat, Chaves imposed a state of siege three weeks after he took office, using his emergency powers to attack the supporters of González and ex-President Felipe Molas López. Mounting economic problems immediately confronted the new government. Two decades of extreme political and social unrest, including depression, war, and civil conflicts, had shattered Paraguay’s economy. National and per capita income had fallen sharply, the Central Bank’s practice of handing out soft loans to regime cronies was spurring inflation and a black market, and Argentina’s economic woes were making themselves felt in Paraguay. Still, Chaves stayed in office without mishap; the country simply needed a rest.

By 1953, however, the 73-year-old president’s political support began to erode markedly. His decision to run for reelection disappointed younger men who nursed political ambitions, and rumors that Chaves would strengthen the police at the army’s expense disappointed the military. Early in 1954, recently fired Central Bank Director Epifanio Méndez Fleitas joined forces with Stroessner, at that time a general and commander in chief of the armed forces, to oust Chaves. Méndez Fleitas was unpopular with Colorado Party stalwarts and the army, who feared that he was trying to build a following as did his hero, Juan Domingo Perón, Argentina’s president from 1946 to 1955. In May 1954, Stroessner ordered his troops into action against the government after Chaves had tried to dismiss one of his subordinates. Fierce resistance by police left almost fifty dead.

As the military “strongman” who made the coup, Stroessner was able to provide many of his supporters with positions in the provisional government. About two months later, a divided Colorado Party nominated Stroessner for president. For many party members, he represented an “interim” choice, as Morínigo had been for the Liberals in 1940. When Stroessner took office on August 15, 1954, few people imagined that this circumspect, unassuming forty-one- year-old commander in chief would be a master politician capable of outmaneuvering and outlasting them all. Nor was it apparent that his period of rule, known as the Stronato, would be longer than that of any other ruler in Paraguayan history.

[edit] Consolidation of the Stroessner Regime

The son of an immigrant German brewer and a Paraguayan woman, Stroessner was born in Encarnación in 1912. He joined the army when he was sixteen and entered the Francisco López Military College, a military academy for the three services of the Paraguayan military. Like Franco and Estigarribia, Stroessner was a hero of the Chaco War. He had gained a reputation for his bravery and his abilities to learn quickly and to command and inspire loyalty in troops. He was also known to be thorough and to have an unusual capacity for hard work. His accurate political sense failed him only once, when he found himself in 1948 on the wrong side of a failed coup attempt and had to be driven to the Brazilian embassy in the trunk of a car, earning him the nickname “Colonel Trunk”. Career considerations and an antipathy for communists possibly caused Stroessner to decide against joining the rebels in 1947. Morínigo found his talents indispensable during the civil war and promoted him rapidly. As one of the few officers who had remained loyal to Morínigo, Stroessner became a formidable player once he entered the higher echelons of the armed forces.

Repression was a key factor in Stroessner’s longevity. Stroessner took a hard line from the beginning in his declaration of a state of siege, which he renewed carefully at intervals prescribed by the constitution. Except for a brief period in 1959, Stroessner renewed the state of siege every three months for the interior of the country until 1970 and for Asunción until 1987. He was lucky from the outset; the retirement of González and the death of Molas López had removed two of his most formidable opponents. Another helpful coincidence was the September 1955 Argentine coup that deposed Perón, thus depriving Méndez Fleitas of his main potential source of support. After the coup, Perón fled to Asunción, where his meddling in Paraguayan politics complicated Méndez Fleitas’ position further and intensified the political struggle going on behind the scenes. Forced to play his hand after the Argentine junta compelled Perón to depart Asunción for Panama in November, Méndez Fleitas prepared to stage a coup in late December. However, Stroessner purged the military of Méndez Fleitas’ supporters and made him go into exile in 1956.

To observers, Stroessner did not seem to be in a particularly strong position. He was barely in control of the Colorado Party, which was split by competing factions and ambitious politicians, and the army was not a dependable supporter. The economy was in bad shape and deteriorating further. Stroessner’s adoption of economic austerity measures proved unpopular with military officers, who had grown used to getting soft loans from the Central Bank; with businessmen, who disliked the severe tightening of credit; and with workers, who went out on strike when they no longer received pay raises. In addition, the new Argentine government, displeased with Stroessner’s cordial relations with Perón, canceled a trade agreement.

A 1958 national plebiscite elected Stroessner to a second term, but dissatisfaction with the regime blossomed into a guerrilla insurgency soon afterward. Sponsored by exiled Liberals and Febreristas, small bands of armed men began to slip across the border from Argentina. Venezuela sent large amounts of aid to these groups starting in 1958. The following year, the new Cuban government under Fidel Castro also provided assistance.

Stroessner’s response was to employ the state’s virtually unlimited power by giving a free hand to the military and to Minister of Interior Edgar Ynsfrán, who began to harass, terrorize, and occasionally murder family members of the regime’s foes. A cycle of terror and counter-terror began to make life in Paraguay precarious.

The guerrillas received little support from Paraguay’s conservative peasantry. The Colorado Party’s peasant py nandí irregulars (“barefoot ones” in Guaraní), who had a well-deserved reputation for ferocity, often tortured and executed their prisoners. Growing numbers of people were interned in jungle concentration camps. Army troops and police smashed striking labor unions by taking over their organizations and arresting their leaders.

In April 1959, however, Stroessner grudgingly decided to heed the growing call for reform within the army and the Colorado Party. He lifted the state of siege, allowed opposition exiles to return, ended press censorship, freed political prisoners, and promised to rewrite the 1940 constitution. After two months of this democratic “spring”, the country was on the verge of chaos. In late May, nearly 100 people were injured when a student riot erupted in downtown Asunción over a bus fare increase. The disturbance inspired the legislature to call for Ynsfrán’s resignation. Stroessner responded swiftly by reimposing the state of siege and dissolving the legislature.

An upsurge in guerrilla violence followed, but Stroessner once again parried the blow. Several factors strengthened Stroessner’s hand. First, United States military aid was helping enhance the army’s skills in counterinsurgency warfare. Second, the many purges of the Colorado Party had removed all opposition factions. In addition, Stroessner’s economic policies had boosted exports and investment and reduced inflation, and the military coups in Brazil in 1964 and Argentina in 1966 also improved the international climate for nondemocratic rule in Paraguay.

Another major factor in Stroessner’s favor was a change in attitude among his domestic opposition. Demoralized by years of fruitless struggle and exile, the major opposition groups began to sue for peace. A Liberal Party faction, the Renovation Movement, returned to Paraguay to become the “official” opposition, leaving the remainder of the Liberal Party, which renamed itself the Radical Liberal Party (Partido Liberal Radical – PLR), in exile. In return for Renovationist participation in the elections of 1963, Stroessner allotted the new party twenty of Congress’s sixty seats. Four years later, PLR members also returned to Paraguay and began participating in the electoral process. By this time, the Febreristas, a sad remnant of the once powerful but never terribly coherent revolutionary coalition, posed no threat to Stroessner and were legalized in 1964. The new Christian Democratic Party (Partido Demócrata Cristiano – PDC) also renounced violence as a means of gaining power. The exhaustion of most opposition forces enabled Stroessner to crush the Paraguayan Communist Party (Partido Communista Paraguayo – PCP) by mercilessly persecuting its members and their spouses and to isolate the exiled Colorado epifanistas (followers of Epifanio Méndez Fleitas) and democráticos, who had reorganized themselves as the Popular Colorado Movement (Movimiento Popular Colorado – Mopoco).

Under “liberalization”, Ynsfrán, the master of the machinery of terror, began to outlive his usefulness to Stroessner. Ynsfrán opposed political decompression and was unhappy about Stroessner’s increasingly clear intention to stay president for life. A May 1966 police corruption scandal gave Stroessner a convenient way to dismiss Ynsfrán in November. In August 1967, a new Constitution created the two-house Paraguayan legislature and formally allowed Stroessner to serve for two more five-year presidential terms.

International factors and the economy

During the 1960s and 1970s, the main foreign influences on Paraguay were Brazil and the United States. Both countries aided Paraguay’s economic development in ways that enhanced its political stability. A 1956 agreement with Brazil to improve the transport link between the two countries by building roads and a bridge over the Río Paraná broke Paraguay’s traditional dependence on Argentine goodwill for the smooth flow of Paraguayan international trade. Brazil’s grant of duty-free port facilities on the Atlantic Coast was particularly valuable to Paraguay.

Brazil’s financing of the US$19 billion Itaipú Dam on the Río Paraná between Paraguay and Brazil had far-reaching consequences for Paraguay; it had no means of contributing financially to the construction, but its cooperation, including controversial concessions regarding ownership of the construction site and the rates for which Paraguay agreed to sell its share of the electricity, was essential. Itaipú gave Paraguay’s economy a new source of wealth. The construction produced a tremendous economic boom, as thousands of Paraguayans who had never before held a regular job went to work on the enormous dam. From 1973 (when construction began) until 1982 (when it ended), gross domestic product grew more than 8 percent annually, double the rate for the previous decade and higher than growth rates in most other Latin American countries. Foreign exchange earnings from electricity sales to Brazil soared, and the newly employed Paraguayan workforce stimulated domestic demand, bringing about a rapid expansion in the agricultural sector.

There were, however, several drawbacks to the construction at Itaipú. The prosperity associated with the major boom raised expectations for long-term growth. An economic downturn in the early 1980s caused discontent, which in turn led to demands for reform. Many Paraguayans, no longer content to eke out a living on a few hectares, had to leave the country to look for work. In the early 1980s, some observers estimated that up to 60 percent of Paraguayans were living outside the country. Even those people who were willing to farm a small patch of ground faced a new threat. Itaipú had prompted a tidal wave of Brazilian migration in the eastern border region of Paraguay. By the mid-1980s, observers estimated there were between 300,000 and 350,000 Brazilians in the eastern border region. With Portuguese the dominant language in the areas of heavy Brazilian migration and Brazilian currency circulating as legal tender, the area became closely integrated with Brazil. Further, most of Paraguay’s increased wealth wound up in the hands of wealthy supporters of the regime. Landowners faced no meaningful land reform, the regime’s control of labor organizers aided businessmen, foreign investors benefited from tax exemptions, and foreign creditors experienced a bonanza from heavy Paraguayan borrowing. Although the poorest Paraguayans were somewhat better off in 1982 than they were in the 1960s, they were worse off relative to other sectors of the population.

Closer relations with Brazil paralleled a decline in relations with Argentina. After Perón’s expulsion, Paraguay slipped from the orbit of Buenos Aires as Argentina declined politically and economically. Argentina, alarmed by Itaipú and close cooperation between Brazil and Paraguay, pressed Stroessner to agree to participate in hydroelectric projects at Yacyretá and Corpus. By pitting Argentina against Brazil, Stroessner improved Paraguay’s diplomatic and economic autonomy and its economic prospects.

Stroessner also benefited from the 1950s and 1960s Cold War ideology in the United States, which favored authoritarian, anticommunist regimes. Upon reaching Asunción during his 1958 tour of Latin America, Vice President Richard Nixon praised Stroessner’s Paraguay for opposing communism more strongly than any other nation in the world. The main strategic concern of the United States at that time was to avoid the emergence a left-wing regime in Paraguay, which would be ideally situated at the heart of the South American continent to provide a haven for radicals and a base for revolutionary activities around the hemisphere. From 1947 until 1977, the United States supplied about US$750,000 worth of military hardware each year and trained more than 2,000 Paraguayan military officers in counter-intelligence and counterinsurgency. In 1977 the United States Congress sharply cut military assistance to Paraguay.

Paraguay regularly voted in favor of United States policies in the United Nations and the Organization of American States. Stroessner, probably the United States’ most dependable ally in Latin America, once remarked that the United States ambassador was like an extra member of his cabinet. Relations faltered somewhat during the administration of President John F. Kennedy, as United States officials began calling for democracy and land reform and threatened to withhold Alliance for Progress funds (an amount equal to about 40 percent of Paraguay’s budget) unless Paraguay made progress. Although pressure of this sort no doubt encouraged Stroessner to legalize some internal opposition parties, it failed to make the Paraguayan ruler become any less a personalist dictator. Regime opponents who agreed to play Stroessner’s electoral charade received rewards of privileges and official recognition. Other opponents, however, faced detention and exile. Influenced by Paraguay’s support for the United States intervention in the Dominican Republic in 1965, the United States became friendlier to Stroessner in the mid-1960s under President Lyndon B. Johnson. New United States supported military governments in Brazil and Argentina also improved United States-Paraguay ties.

Relations between Paraguay and the United States changed substantially after the election of President Jimmy Carter in 1976. The appointment of Robert White as United States ambassador in 1977 and the congressional cut-off of military hardware deliveries in the same year reflected increasing concern about the absence of democracy and the presence of human rights violations in Paraguay.

Late 1970s

After a period of inactivity, the political opposition became increasingly visible in the late 1970s. In 1977, Domingo Laíno, a PLR congressman during the previous ten years, broke away to form the Authentic Radical Liberal Party (Partido Liberal Radical Auténtico – PLRA). Laíno’s charges of government corruption, involvement in narcotics trafficking, human rights violations, and inadequate financial compensation from Brazil under the terms of the Treaty of Itaipú earned him Stroessner’s wrath. In 1979 Laíno helped lead the PLRA, the PDC, Mopoco, and the legally recognized Febreristas, the latter angered by the constitutional amendment allowing Stroessner to seek yet another presidential term in 1978, into the National Accord (Acuerdo Nacional). The National Accord served to coordinate the opposition’s political strategy. The victim of countless detentions, torture, and persecution, Laíno was forced into exile in 1982 following the publication of a critical book about ex-Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza Debayle, who was assassinated in Asunción in 1980.

Beginning in the late 1960s, the Roman Catholic Church persistently criticized Stroessner’s successive extensions of his stay in office and his treatment of political prisoners. The regime responded by closing Roman Catholic publications and newspapers, expelling non-Paraguayan priests, and harassing the church’s attempts to organize the rural poor.

The regime also increasingly came under international fire in the 1970s for human rights abuses, including allegations of torture and murder. In 1978 the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights convinced an annual meeting of foreign ministers at the OAS to pass a resolution calling on Paraguay to improve its human rights situation. In 1980 the Ninth Organization of American States General Assembly, meeting in La Paz, Bolivia, condemned human rights violations in Paraguay, describing torture and disappearances as “an affront to the hemisphere’s conscience”. International groups also charged that the military had killed 30 peasants and arrested 300 others after the peasants had protested against encroachments on their land by government officials.

Paraguay entered the 1980s less isolated, rural, and backward than it had traditionally been. Political and social structures remained inflexible, but Paraguayans had changed their world views and their perceptions of themselves.

By skillfully balancing the military and the Colorado Party, Stroessner remained very much in control. Still, he was increasingly being challenged in ways that showed that his control was not complete. For example, in November 1974, police units captured seven guerrillas in a farmhouse outside of Asunción. When the prisoners were interrogated, it became clear that the information possessed by the guerrillas, who had planned to assassinate Stroessner, could have come only from a high Colorado official. With the party hierarchy suddenly under suspicion, Stroessner ordered the arrest and interrogation of over 1,000 senior officials and party members. He also dispatched agents to Argentina and Brazil to kidnap suspects among the exiled Colorados. A massive purge of the party followed. Although the system survived, it was shaken.

Perhaps the clearest example of cracks in Stroessner’s regime was the assassination of Somoza. From Stroessner’s standpoint, there were ominous similarities between Somoza and himself. Like Stroessner, Somoza had run a regime based on the military and a political party that had been noted for its stability and its apparent imperviousness to change. Somoza also had brought economic progress to the country and had skillfully kept his internal opposition divided for years. Ultimately, however, the carefully controlled changes he had introduced began subtly to undermine the traditional, authoritarian order. As traditional society broke down in Paraguay, observers saw increasing challenges ahead for the Stroessner regime.

On February 3, 1989, Stroessner was overthrown in a military coup headed by General Andrés Rodríguez. In 2006, Stroessner died in Brazil where he went into exile. At the time of his death he had several human rights cases against him in Paraguay. Using Stroessner’s National Constitution, Rodríguez orchestrated a political campaign with the Colorado Party and won the presidency in an election held on May 1989 in which the Colorado Party dominated the Congress. In the newly created municipal elections of 1991, however, opposition candidates won several major urban centers, including Asunción. As president, Rodríguez instituted political, legal, and economic reforms and initiated a rapprochement with the international community.

Modern Paraguay

The June 1992 constitution established a democratic system of government and dramatically improved protection of fundamental rights. In May 1993, Colorado Party candidate Juan Carlos Wasmosy was elected as Paraguay’s first civilian president in almost 40 years in what international observers deemed fair and free elections. The newly elected majority-opposition Congress quickly demonstrated its independence from the executive by rescinding legislation passed by the previous Colorado-dominated Congress. With support from the United States, the Organization of American States, and other countries in the region, the Paraguayan people rejected an April 1996 attempt by then Army Chief General Lino Oviedo to oust President Wasmosy, taking an important step to strengthen democracy.[citation needed]

Oviedo became the Colorado candidate for president in the 1998 election, but when the Supreme Court of Paraguay upheld in April his conviction on charges related to the 1996 coup attempt, he was not allowed to run and remained in confinement. His former running mate, Raúl Cubas, became the Colorado Party’s candidate and was elected in May in elections deemed by international observers to be free and fair. One of Cubas’ first acts after taking office in August was to commute Oviedo’s sentence and release him from confinement. In December 1998, Paraguay’s Supreme Court declared these actions unconstitutional. After delaying for two months, Cubas openly defied the Supreme Court in February 1999, refusing to return Oviedo to jail. In this tense atmosphere, the murder of Vice President and long-time Oviedo rival Luis María Argaña on March 23, 1999, led the Chamber of Deputies to impeach Cubas the next day.[citation needed] The March 26 murder of eight student anti-government demonstrators, widely believed to have been carried out by Oviedo supporters, made it clear that the Senate would vote to remove Cubas on March 29, and Cubas resigned on March 28.[citation needed] Despite fears that the military would not allow the change of government, Senate President Luis González Macchi, a Cubas opponent, was sworn in as president that day. Cubas left for Brazil the next day and has since received asylum. Oviedo fled the same day, first to Argentina, then to Brazil. In December 2001, Brazil rejected Paraguay’s petition to extradite Oviedo to stand trial for the March 1999 assassination and “Marzo Paraguayo” incident.

González Macchi offered cabinet positions in his government to senior representatives of all three political parties in an attempt to create a coalition government. While the Liberal Party pulled out of the government in February 2000, the Gonzalez Macchi government has achieved a consensus among the parties on many controversial issues, including economic reform.[citation needed] Liberal Julio César Franco won the August 2000 election to fill the vacant vice presidential position. In August 2001, the lower house of Congress considered but did not pass a motion to impeach González Macchi for alleged corruption and inefficient governance. In 2003, Nicanor Duarte Frutos was elected and sworn in as president.

On August 1, 2004 a supermarket in Asunción burned, killing nearly 400 people and injuring hundreds more.[6]

On July 1, 2005, the United States reportedly deployed troops and aircraft to the large military airfield of Mariscal Estigarribia as part of a bid to extend control of strategic interests in the Latin American sphere, particularly in Bolivia. A military training agreement with Asunción, giving immunity to US soldiers, caused some concern after media reports initially reported that a base housing 20,000 US soldiers was being built at Mariscal Estigarribia within 200 km of Argentina and Bolivia, and 300 km of Brazil, near an airport which could receive large planes (B-52, C-130 Hercules, etc.) which the Paraguayan Air Forces do not have. At present,[when?] no more than 400 U.S. troops are expected.[7][8]

The governments of Paraguay and the United States subsequently declared that the use of an airport (Dr Luís María Argaña International)[9] was one point of transfer for few soldiers in Paraguay at the same time. According to the Clarín Argentinian newspaper, the US military base] is strategic because of its location near the Triple Frontera between Paraguay, Brazil and Argentina; its proximity towards the Guarani aquifer; and, finally, its closeness toward Bolivia (less than 200 km) at the same “moment that Washington’s magnifying glass goes on the Altiplano and points toward Venezuelan Hugo Chávez as the instigator of the instability in the region” (El Clarín[8]), making a clear reference to the Bolivian Gas War.

For the 2008 general elections, the Colorado Party was once again a favorite. However, this time the candidate was not an internal opponent to the President and self-proclaimed reformer, as in the two previous elections, but Minister of Education Blanca Ovelar, the first woman to appear as a candidate for a major party in Paraguayan history. After sixty years of one-party-rule by the Colorados, the voters this time chose a non-politician, former Roman Catholic Bishop Fernando Lugo, a long time follower of the controversial Liberation Theology but backed by the center-right Liberal Party, the Colorados’ traditional opponents.

Outgoing President Nicanor Duarte Frutos reflected on the defeat and hailed the moment as the first time in the history of his nation that a government handed power to opposition forces in an orderly and peaceful fashion.

Lugo was sworn in on August 15, 2008.



  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Sacks, Richard S. “Early explorers and conquistadors”. In Hanratty & Meditz.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Sacks, Richard S. “The young colony”. In Hanratty & Meditz.
  3. ^ At the tomb of the inflatable pig page 122
  4. ^ a b c Sacks, Richard S. “The sword of the word”. In Hanratty & Meditz.
  5. ^ Durant, Will (1961). “The Age of Reason Begins”. Simon & Schuster. Retrieved 2006-04-22.  the preceding paragraph is based on pages 249–50
  6. ^
  7. ^ “U.S. Military Moves in Paraguay Rattle Regional Relations”. International Relations Center. December 14, 2005. Retrieved April 2006. 
  8. ^ a b US Marines put a foot in Paraguay, El Clarín, September 9, 2005 (Spanish)
  9. ^

Works cited




1892 (14 Oct) registered AR cover from Asuncion, sent to Frederico Alonso, the Paraguayan Consul in Buenos Aires, franked with six copies of the reissued “5” on 1r rose pink, three in blue and three in black, neatly arranged in alternating fashion, including inverted of each, fine-v.f., with arrival pmk (18 Oct), rare, with 2002 Moorhouse cert. (Scott’s note: “remainders of Nos 4 and 5F were placed on sale at post offices during 1892. Covers dated 1892 are worth about $7,500″)
Val.[ ]

Price: $2500.00Sold For: $2400.00



1911 50c orange & black, center inverted, perforated and gummed trial color proof, also imperf. block of four, fine-v.f.
Val.[ 206P][ ]




1939 University, 50c and 1p, each with center vignettes inverted, fine-v.f.
Val.[ 351,352var][ ]

Price: $200.00Sold For: $190.00




Inverted Centre Stamp Paraguay Scott 570v 1960 MNH i75Price: £280.00



On 24 April 1979, Paraguay issued a set of 9 stamps and one souvenir sheet related to 75th anniversary of civil aviation and the 35th anniversary of ICAO.

The designer of those stamps included the ICAO emblem, surrounded by 75o Aniversario de OACI. Paraguay inadvertently confused the 75th anniversary of the Wright brothers’ triumph, who made the first successful flight of a manned heavier-than-air vehicle on 17 December 1903, with ICAO which, even today, has not yet reached such a mileston

 the end @ copyright 2012



The Rare Antique Picture CD

Created by Dr iwan suwandy,MHA

 Copyright@ 2012








Paul fraser have sent me the information about rare art photography collections

About Us

5 unique items not to be missed…

Photography is perhaps the most important art form of the 20th century.

Like no other, it transformed the way we see the world around us and captured the immediacy of modern life.

Today photography is growing quickly into what Christie’s has described as a “highly competitive” market.

Now recognised by galleries and major auction houses around the world, photography prices are increasing as both traditional art collectors and dedicated photography collectors battle it out for the most important and iconic works.

This effect can be clearly seen in auction results from the past 12 months:

In June 2011,

the only known photograph of the infamous outlaw Billy the Kid smashed its estimate of $300,000 to sell for an amazing $2.3 million.


Read more info

William Koch buys portrait of Billy the Kid for $2.3

A member of the infamous modern gangster Koch family, William Koch, has purchased the only known photograph of wild west gangster Billy the Kid.

I would say there’s a certain symmetry here but that would be redundant.



In November 2011,


 Andreas Gursky’s image ‘Rhein II’ became the world’s most expensive photograph when it sold for a World record price of $4.33 million. It was the second time the record had been broken in the space of just six months.

Read more info

Earlier this week, art history was made when an anonymous buyer paid a record-breaking $4.34 million for Andreas Gursky’s photograph of the Rhine River, called Rhein II. Sold at Christie’s impressionist and modern art auction in New York, it became the most expensive photograph ever sold at auction. It beat Cindy Sherman’s Untitled #96, which sold for a whopping $3.89 million this May. Gursky’s print, made in 1999, and depicts a stunning panorama of Germany’s most famous river.


Here are some of the most expensive photographs ever sold



Why This Photograph is Worth $578,500

via PetaPixel

Last week, a collection of 36 prints by William Eggleston was sold for $5.9 million at auction.  The top ten list of most expensive photographs ever sold doesn’t contain a single work worth less than a cool million. Just a few months ago, Andreas Gursky’s ‘Rhine II’ became the world’s most expensive photograph, selling for $4.3 million. Every time news like this reaches the Internet, the comments sections of photography blogs explode with righteous indignation.


And just last month, in March 2012,

 a single New York photography auction set an impressive eight new World Record prices – with images selling for up to 344% above their initial estimates.

As a recent article in the British Telegraph newspaper commented;

“There’s good reason to believe that photography prices will continue to rise, with more people willing to invest large sums in it…the National Gallery announced their first ever major blockbuster exhibition of photography next year, cementing the art form as a medium of major historic and cultural significance that now even the naysayers can’t deny.”

There’s no doubt that the market for iconic photography is booming – and here at Paul Fraser Collectibles we’re witnessing it first-hand.

In recent months we’ve sold more photographs than ever, as our clients take advantage of this rapidly rising market.

In the past few weeks we’ve sold items including:


SOLD FOR £9,500



SOLD FOR £8,955


The demand for original, iconic photographs far outstrips the supply, and after years of building up our catalogue we now have just a few examples remaining:


A rare signed photograph of JFK and his children at the White House


This beautiful silver gelatine print depicts President John F. Kennedy, along with his children Caroline and John Kennedy Jr., on the White House terrace with their pony Macaroni.


It perfectly captures a peaceful moment in the young President’s home life, and is uniquely signed by all four members of the family including his wife Jackie Kennedy. Price: £19,950


An original Charlie Chaplin photograph signed by the man himself


Charlie Chaplin is one of the most influential and important figures in movie history.


His character ‘The Tramp’ is perhaps the best-loved and most iconic character from the Golden Age of Hollywood – timeless, and instantly recognisable.

This superb vintage sepia-toned photograph shows Chaplin as ‘The Tramp’, and is signed “To my friend Frank, from Charlie Chaplin”. Price: £4,500




One of the best signed James Dean photographs we’ve ever seen


This iconic signed photograph of James Dean is one of the finest we’ve ever seen.


Featuring the actor sat in a thoughtful pose, the striking black and white image bears Dean’s signature and an inscription in which he describes himself as “the Thinker” in reference to the famous sculpture by Rodin. Price: £18,500


James Dean Signed Photograph

For Sale: £18,500.00

Cultural icon James Dean starred in many films such as Rebel Without a Cause, Giant and East of Eden.

The combination of his talent, good looks and tragic death at the tender age of 24 has cemented his legendary status.

This vintage, glossy, black and white photo shows James Dean sitting on a stool with one hand on his temple. Dean has autographed the photo, which measures 6.5″ x 8.25″, in blue fountain pen ink, adding the note “To Hana, my very best from (the thinker), James Dean”.

“The thinker” appears to be a reference to Auguste Rodin’s sculpture of the same name which depicts a man sitting in a thoughtful pose, with his hand resting on his chin.

This autographed photograph has some slight creasing and mounting remnants to the reverse but is otherwise in very good condition. It is professionally mounted, framed and glazed using UV glass.

The PFC40 Autograph Index shows that signed photographs of Dean have increased in value by 681.3% since 2000 and by 4.17% in the last year alone.

A rare opportunity to own a beautiful signed photograph of the Hollywood legend.





A unique, candid signed photograph of Elvis taken in Germany


This unique, candid photo of Elvis Presley was taken in Germany during his military service. It was during this period he met Priscilla Beaulieu, who would later become Priscilla Presley.

The moment captures Presley smiling in his U.S Army uniform, and bears his signature in blue ink on the reverse. Previously unseen, this image was acquired by the Aunt of one of Priscilla’s classmates in Wiesbaden. Price: £3,500


Rock-and-roll star Elvis Presley drafted today in 1957 while spending Christmas at Graceland, shipped to Germany

By WcP.Story.Teller – Posted on 20 December 2008


By December of 1957, Elvis Presley was twenty-three years old, healthy, rich, and more famous than he could ever dreamed. Everything he touched turned to gold. It was as if nothing could get in his way. That is, until December 10, 1957, when Elvis received a letter from the Memphis Draft Board notifying him that he was up for the next military draft. Army, Navy, and Air Force recruiters immediately called to offer him special enlistment opportunities if he signed up before being drafted. The Navy even offered to form an “Elvis Presley Company” that would include soldiers from the Memphis area. Elvis declined all the enlistment offers and decided to take his changes with the draft. On December 19, nine days after he received his initial draft notification, Elvis got final word from the Memphis Draft Board; he was to report for induction into the Army on January 20, 1958, the very same day he was scheduled to start filming King Creole.


Things suddenly got very quiet around Graceland. Elvis was sure that after two years in the Army and being out of the public eye his career would be over. Hal Wallis and Paramount were equally distressed about Elvis being drafted. They had already invested $350,000 in King Creole and were now faced with the possibility of shelving the project, if not canceling it entirely. Wallis and Colonel Parker contracted the Memphis Draft Board, requesting a deferment until March 20, when shooting of the film would be complete. The Draft Board had already been deluged by letters from angry fans who saw the conscription as a government attempt to sabotage Elvis’s career. They argued that Elvis Presley was a national treasure and therefore should be exempt from the draft. The president himself even received letters regarding the “Elvis Presley draft situation.”

In order to ebb the tide of criticism, the draft board agreed to grant Elvis a sixty-day deferment. Elvis went to Hollywood in January to film King Creole as planned. On March 24, 1958, Elvis reported to Local draft Board 86 to begin his service in the United States Army. The enlistment process turned into a media circus, instigated no doubt by Colonel Parker. Dozens of reporters and photographers as well as a film crew were there to document the historic event. Flash bulbs popped constantly as Elvis went from station to station. He was asked questions, examined, tested, issued his equipment, and designated his serial number-53310761. He then boarded a bus for Fort Chaffee, Arkansas, to continue the processing.


Newspapers immediately announced the downfall of Elvis Presley. They predicted that two years out of the limelight was too much for even Elvis to overcome. Suddenly, his income was cut from $400,000 to $78 a month. Although Elvis tried to take everything in stride, deep down he was afraid for his career. Elvis knew his fans were dedicated, but two years seemed like an awfully long time to wait. Colonel Parker, however, knew better. Elvis had plenty of recorded material that had not yet been re-released, as well a lot of material recorded at Sun that was still to be re-released. If RCA spaced out the releases properly, there would be more than enough to keep Elvis on charts while he was in the Army. Colonel Parker quickly put his promotional machine in motion. If anything, Elvis joining the Army was a public-relations boon. He could now be seen as a patriotic young man who would willingly serve his country with great pride. Nearly everybody thought that Elvis would request the Special Services Branch of the Army. Indeed, the Army hierarchy was hoping that that would be the case. In the Special Services, Elvis could sing his way through his service as well as appear on print and television commercials to help the Army boost enlistment.

At Parker’s insistence, however, Elvis turned down Special Services and announced that he did not want any special treatment. Parker knew that if Elvis went through basic training, carried his own gear and rifle, marched, and went on guard duty, all just like a normal soldier, that it would help his public image.


Instead of Special Services, Elvis was assigned to a Company, Second Medium Tank Battalion, Second Armored Division. After four days of processing at Fort Chaffee, Elvis was shipped to Fort Hood, Texas, to begin basic training. According to Elvis, he was kidded and chided quite a bit by his fellow soldiers at the beginning of boot camp; however, once they saw that he didn’t expect to be treated any differently and that he was just another grunt, they soon grew to like him.

While he was stationed at Fort Hood, the Army allowed Elvis to live off base with his parents and his grandmother, Such as practice was not unusual for a soldier with a dependent family. The Presleys originally lived in a trailer, but later moved into a four-bedroom house at 605 Oak Hill Drive in Killeen, Texas. While Elvis was in the middle of basic training, Gladys grew increasingly ill. She tried to hide her illness from her family until Vernon came home one day and found her collapsed on the kitchen floor. After seeing a doctor, it was agreed that Gladys would go back to Memphis and check into a hospital for tests. Gladys had not been very healthy for some time now. She had always dreamed of the best for Elvis and wanted his singing career to take off. However, as his popularity grew, he was home less and less, and Gladys sank into depression. To deal with her loneliness and fears, Gladys drank heavily while Elvis was away, and even began taking diet pills in order to lose weight.


Gladys Love Smith Presley died at 3:00 a.m. on August 14, 1958 of a heart attack. She was forty-six years old. In September 1958, Elvis Presley and the 1,400 other members of his company boarded a train to New York, where they were to have a brief layover before being shipped off to West Germany, where Elvis would finish the final year and a half of his service. As had become commonplace, the train was greeted by throngs of fans, reporters, and photographers. An Army band played “Hound Dog” and a press conference was held.

On September 22, Elvis and his fellow soldiers were shipped out of the Brooklyn Navy Yards aboard the USS General Randall, bound for Bremerhaven, West Germany. On the eve of their departure, Elvis was promoted to Private First Class. Unbeknownst to Elvis, he was nearly as popular in West Germany as in the United States. In fact, he had looked forward to his foreign service to provide a break from the media scrutiny and fan obsession. Peace and quiet were not to be found, however. Nearly 2,000 screaming German fans greeted the USS General Randall when it docked in Bremerhaven on October 1st.


As in Texas, Elvis was permitted to live off base with his family. He rented a modest four- bedroom, two-story house in Bad Nauheim where he lived with Vernon, his grandmother Minnie Mae, as well as a few members of the Memphis Mafia.

Elvis was assigned duty as a jeep driver-the perfect assignment for a man who loved cars as much as he did. On June 14, he was rewarded for his diligence by being promoted to Corporal.

Elvis behaved just like any other soldier, he carried a gun, and he pulled KP and guard duty. At night, however, he returned to his home in Bad Nauheim, where he invited a vast array of family, friends, and fellow soldiers over practically every night. The parties consisted mostly of a number of people just hanging out, talking, with the occasional jam session taking place. On one such night late in 1959, one of Elvis’s army buddies, U.S. Airman Currie Grant, brought over a young girl named Priscilla Beaulieu. For Priscilla, meeting Elvis Presley was a dream come true. Like millions of other teenagers, she had bought all of Elvis’s records and followed his career closely in the fan magazines. Just as she became used to the idea that she was dating Elvis Presley, however, it seemed as if the whole romance would come to an abrupt end. Only a few months after they met, Elvis’s tour of duty with the Army was over.


One night some military genius decided to post Elvis on guard duty. That was completely fair, of course, but also seriously dumb. Because Elvis was huge in Europe and the fans must have had some kind of radar, because whenever Elvis was exposed where the public could get him, they appeared in droves. And this night a huge crowd gathered , with Elvis doing guard duty at some gate. There he was standing like he was supposed to, but surrounded, absolutely surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of fans. It took platoons to rescue him. That was the last guard duty Elvis pulled.

Elvis’ army MOS was tank gunner. Which I guess, looking back, was a pretty appropriate assignment. Elvis loved guns, and these were big guns. But there was a problem, because those guns were loud. And one day Elvis came home and I asked him how it went that day and he walked right on past me. I followed him into the bedroom and said, “Hey, didn’t you hear me?” “What are you talking about?” Elvis answered, and I realized he hadn’t heard a word I’d said. I asked him if he was all right and he said, “My ears are ringing so loud I can’t even hear.” I immediately got Colonel Parker on the phone in the states and told him we had a problem. A big problem. Colonel Tom knew a guy at the Pentagon, and he just wore this man’s butt out until they reassigned Elvis out of that damned tank.


With the exception of an impromptu jam session with Charlie Hodge on the troop ship to Europe, Elvis did no public performances while he was in the army. At home, in his apartment in Gruenwald, West Germany, however, music was a big part of his life and over the years several tapes of sessions in his apartment have surfaced and been released, mostly, as bootlegs.

Priscilla waved a tearful goodbye to Elvis as he boarded the plane leaving Germany for the United States. Elvis searched her out of the large crowd before he got on the plane and waved to her. In the press, she became known as “the girl he left behind.” When questioned at a press conference back in the States, Elvis denied that any type of romance was going on between him and Priscilla. He simply described her as a young girl he met and befriended, that it was nothing special. Well before he came home, America had already begun preparing for the return of Elvis Presley. Even though he had spent two years without making a record or a public appearance, Elvis Presley still ruled the record charts on the radio. Elvis Presley was coming home to the United States as an even bigger star than when he had left.


Photos courtesy of AP Photo, Elvis Presley Enterprises, Inc., Getty Image, Hollywood Yesterday, and

Original Source: Elvis Collector’s Gold and BBC News


The Beatles and Muhammad Ali – five 20th century icons together


This incredible photograph depicts first meeting between some of the biggest cultural icons of the 20th century – Muhammad Ali and The Beatles.

Both were rapidly rising in fame –



 the Beatles were on their first U.S tour which saw the birth of international ‘Beatlemania’, and


 Ali (then still known as Cassius Clay) was just days away from his first fight with Sonny Liston which would see him crowned World Heavyweight Champion.


The photo depicts the Beatles lying in a boxing ring at the feet of Ali, as he beats his chest and roars above them. The photograph is also signed by Ali himself in blue ink. Price: £1,950

Your next step…

We’re proud to offer these pieces, each of which would grace any top collection.

Not only are they stunning images in themselves, but we believe they offer superb investment potential for those looking to diversify their portfolios.

If you’re interested in adding any of these unique photographs to your own collection, or would like more information about any of our stock items, it’s easy to get in touch.

Read More info



Cindy Sherman’s Untitled #96 (1981) sold for $3,890,500 in 2011


Andreas Gursky’s 99 Cent II Diptychon (2001) sold for $3,346,456 in 2006


Edward Steichen’s The Pond-Moonlight (1904) sold for $2,928,000 in 2006



The Nicaragua revolution in 1979 History Collections

Nicaragua Revolution


 History Collections


Created by

 Dr iwan suwandy,MHA

Private limited EditionIn CD-ROM

Nicaragua Quest


Copyright @ 2012

sandinista stamps


President Somoza



Sandinista rebellion


I have just looking the amizing vintage MGM movie at my TV Cable,the movie about the US Journalist who searching the Photos of Rafael the leader of Sandinista rebellion during Nicaragua revolution in 1979 at Managua city,


Look some pictures and compare with the original collections of that amazing revolutions just several years after the Vietnam war were ended

Jakarta April 2012

Dr Iwan suwandy






A gun and a digging tool. Sandino said: “Only the workers and the peasants will endure to the end.”

And he established a self-sustaining community at Wiwilí: rooted in cooperation and the land, it was his model for a sustainable Nicaragua.

In these days of belated realization of the catastrophe of Northern greed, he is a truly global figure – his model vital for the very survival of the planet under global warming. Somoza destroyed the Wiwilí community when he murdered Sandino.

As Cheney put it more recently, “The Amurican Way of Life is not negotiable.”

Post Revolution Phase1.
Workers back in their proper place and attitude; no sign of Sandino.

Post.Revolution Phase 2.
Woman back in her place, barefoot, pregnant, on her knees.

In the background, hidden by trees and a high wall, the ruins of the 1972 earthquake that demolished the heart of Managua and killed 10,000 people.

Fixing them up instead of making maudlin statues would at least ensure that more families actually had ktchens.

4.Post-Revolution. Phase 3.

 The Return of Religosity:
“Pilgrims will come from all over the the world to see these great works of art,” they said. The few that come, come


Phase 5

.Revolution Post-Revolution.

View from the warrior peasant, which is located just up the road from the newly re-constituted Revolutionary Square.

The statue of the newly repressed workers is in front, and, beyond them, that of the pregnant woman.

Despite attempts to blow it up, the statue still stands defiant and proud.

Phase 6

Bloodied but Unbowed.

The Carrion store is aptly named. Like vultures, carrion crows feed on dead animals, offal and road kill. So “savage consumerism” is consuming itself.


As he stands a top Somoza’s last bunker,

 brooding over high water mark of consumerism’s catastrophic stupidity within Nicaragua, Sandino offers us all a more intelligent, sustainable, and indeed happy, way of life, reminding us of the fate of all civilizations that get too big for their boots – their roots in the Earth:


history Background

America In The Post-Vietnam Era




The Empire

America in the post-Vietnam Era: The Reawakening of the Empire.

After the defeat in Vietnam the United States found itself unsure of its place in the world, it was a nation adrift in the ocean of a cold war seeking for its identity amidst a current that seemed to be flowing against it.

The years that followed the end of the war in South East Asia saw serious setbacks to American hegemony.


The Islamic revolution in Iran dethroned the U.S. staunchest ally in the Middle East, and

 in the same year (1979), the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan. Both events signaled a decrease of American power in the region and battered the pride of a flailing nation.

In 1980 the American electorate overwhelmingly elected Ronald Reagan and sent him to the White House with a mandate – restore the American roar.

The presidency of the former Hollywood actor and General Electric spokesman promised that America would regain its cowboy swagger, and stride with confidence into the canteen of international affairs. To reinvigorate and consolidate its power the U.S. turned to its “backyard”.

The United States transformed Central America into the new theatre of war, where it could play the role of triumphant hero, rewrite history, and thus cleanse itself from a shameful past. As the story would unfold, the country became entrenched with allied governments that were not exemplary models of liberty and democracy and ended in a tragic finale of human suffering.

Latin America traditionally has been the domain of the United States. Since the beginning of the 19th Century with the Monroe Doctrine the country positioned itself as the voice of the hemisphere. It was Latin American that first witnessed and suffered the incipient imperial endeavors of

the United States in the Mexican-American War (1848). And at the turn of the century Latin American waters were

the battle grounds of the Spanish-American War (1898), from which the United States emerged as a world power. Six years later the doctrine of Manifest Destiny Manifest Destiny was epitomized by the Roosevelt Corollary Effects of the Roosevelt Corollary. That infamous amendment that reinforced the Monroe Doctrine and clearly articulated the U.S.’s self-bestowed right of intervention in the domestic affairs of the regions country. Through the 20th century Latin America awarder the dubious honor of being in the gravitational sphere of influence had fallen squarely into the economic and political realm of the United States. Cuba, of course, is the great exception that has hunted every American administration since 1959. Supportive government, usually in the command of dictators and military juntas, sprouted (with the assistance of national elites and foreign intervention) from the Isthmus of Panama to the Patagonia. Except for the parenthesis of the Good Neighbor Policy The Good Neighbor Policy under President Franklin D. Roosevelt American hegemony in the continent had been exercised recklessly and gone mostly unchallenged.

If the 1980s was to be the decade of restoration of the American Empire, Latin America was going to provide the canvass on which it would be created. The U.S. Empire regrouped on known and proven ground. With South America under the control of sympathetic government Central American, this impotent, impoverished and mostly inconsequential region provided a laboratory for an empire that had wandered off its bellicose path. As historian Greg Grandin argues, because of the unimportance of Central America neo-conservatives in Washington saw it as the ideal place in the world to retry the third-world wars from which the U.S. had found itself unable to emerge victorious. A land scarce in natural resources and within the “natural” hemispheric influence of the U.S. would not confront large degree of intervention from the Soviet Union. On its drive to reaffirm power the U.S. tried to play two diametrically opposed roles. In the traditional fashion of western empires it formed an alliance with

autocratic governments in Guatemala and El Salvador.

 But it balanced it with an innovative approach that marketed support for insurgents in Nicaragua as a battle between David and Goliath. The U.S. was able to portray itself as the patron of freedom fighters. Central America was to be a testing ground for those who advocated the “Reagan Doctrine”, a repudiation of détente and a belief that the U.S. should focus not only in containing the sphere of influence of the Soviet Union but reducing it. With the arrival of Reagan at the White House there was a shift in policy away from the emphasis of human rights under the Jimmy Carter administration and the adoption of a stance of realpolitik, i.e., support for friendly government regardless of their bloodshed record. The perceived “softness” of the Carter administration (this presidency, although not as warmly as its successor, supported many dictatorships in Central American and elsewhere) was blamed by some members of the Reagan administration for the rise of governments that did not blindly submit to the Washington consensus. Officials like Jeane Kirkpatrick formulated ideas for the justification of U.S. support of dictatorships by arguing for a focus on pragmatism, of stability above all other concerns. The cost of this “stabilization” was the assassination of 300,000 people in Central America during the Reagan presidency.


When Reagan came to power, events that had been brewing for a long time in these oppressed lands where coming into full force. The region and the U.S. were not without their troubled history.

In the 1850s William Walker,

 a warrior entrepreneur from New Orleans (probably the inspiration of Marlon Brando’s character, who goes by the same name, in Gillo Pontecorvo’s film Burn), invaded Nicaragua, reestablished slavery and became the first and only American to be elected President of the country. Eighty years later nationalists, led by Augusto Sandino, drove U.S. marines out of Nicaragua in 1927. U.S. involvement in Central America was not limited to Nicaragua.


United States intervention (1909–33)


In 1909,

the United States provided political support to conservative-led forces rebelling against President Zelaya. U.S. motives included differences over the proposed Nicaragua Canal, Nicaragua’s potential as a destabilizing influence in the region, and Zelaya’s attempts to regulate foreign access to Nicaraguan natural resources. On November 18, 1909, U.S. warships were sent to the area after 500 revolutionaries (including two Americans) were executed by order of Zelaya. The U.S. justified the intervention by claiming to protect U.S. lives and property. Zelaya resigned later that year.

In August 1912

the President of Nicaragua, Adolfo Díaz, requested that the Secretary of War, General Luis Mena, resign for fear that he was leading an insurrection. Mena fled Managua with his brother, the Chief of Police of Managua, to start an insurrection. When the U.S. Legation asked President Díaz to ensure the safety of American citizens and property during the insurrection he replied that he could not and that…

U.S. Intervention in Nicaragua

President Emiliano Chamorro

José Santos Zelaya
U.S. Marines clearing 
barriers from the track.
U.S. Marine MajorSmedley Butler
  Inauguration of Conservative President Adolfo Díaz (center), with U.S. diplomat Lawrence Dennis and
former president Emiliano Chamorro.
Two Marines at Coyotepe Hill, the 
   Liberal rebel stronghold, in Oct. 1912.
El Coyotepe fortress.
El Coyotepe entrance El Coyotepe wall

The Assault on Coyotepe (1912)

The Assault on Coyotepe
U.S. Marines Trounce Rebellious Liberals

On a leisurely drive to Masaya from  Managua, looming up on the left of the highway is the old mountaintop  fortress, Coyotepe. Many tales have been told about it, usually bloodcurdling stories of torture during the rule of Somoza or the Sandinistas, depending on one’s political bent. What is almost never  heard about is something that really happened on this hill. One of Nicaragua’s national heroes, Benjamín Zeledón, is associated with this place. It is an interesting story with a variety of versions.

One battle was fought there in October 1912.

 Lasting perhaps one hour, maybe less, it established Zeledón as a national hero and martyr, kept President Adolfo Díaz in power
until the 1916 elections, and began the tradition of direct, American involvement in Nicaragua’s internal politics.


 was a turbulent year in Nicaragua. The regime of José Santos Zelaya, subject to
many Conservative uprisings and a poisonous relationship with the Catholic Church,
finally tottered and fell when a Conservative “revolution” headed by Juan J. Estrada in Bluefields finally appeared to have the military power to defeat Zelaya.

Two mercenaries from the United States contracted by Conservatives to sabotage ships in the harbor had been caught by the authorities and summarily executed.

U.S. Marines were sent to the rescue and landed in Bluefields to insure that the revolution would not fizzle out.

 Zelaya reportedly consulted with his friend to the north, Dictator Porfirio Díaz of  Mexico, who advised him to get on a boat and leave.

With the end of the Zelaya  regime, a period of instability took hold in Nicaragua that was supposed to end with the naming of mining accountant Adolfo Díaz as president.

 A member of a shaky  Conservative coalition that was supported by only a small minority of Nicaraguans, Díaz  did not lead many except his immediate followers and members of his household.

 Soon he had a rebellion on his hands when two generals -one Conservative, General Mena, and one Liberal, General Benjamín Zeledón- joined forces at Masaya, formed a  rival government, and threatened to march on Managua. Díaz hit the panic button and  asked for the Marines to land and save his regime.

Mena’s forces had commandeered  U.S.-owned river steamers and the railroad for strategic reasons, and so the U.S.  obliged and sent 3,000 Marines to protect “American lives and property.

” They  marched on Masaya and Granada.

 General Mena finally capitulated and agreed to keep his garrison in its barracks in  Granada, but Zeledón still had to be disarmed. In 1910, at the age of 31, Zeledón had been Minister of War in the cabinet of Zelaya’s presidential appointee José Madriz, earning that post for his fame as a hero in the victorious war with Honduras and El Salvador in 1907.

Zeledón -born in San Rafael del Norte, Jinotega- was strongly  opposed to the U.S. intervention and was prepared to die in order to defend his country
 from what he called “foreign despotism.”

 By 1912 he was the last leading Liberal still in the field who actively desired the
 immediate toppling of the Díaz government, which he regarded as a puppet of the  Americans. Zeledón’s hostility toward the Díaz regime, and subsequently toward the  U.S. Marines, brought on the confrontation at Coyotepe in October 1912.

 Storm the heights

 Located on the end of the Masaya Lagoon are two large hills, one called Coyotepe and the other called La Barranca.

 Before the Marines showed up, Liberal forces fortified both hills. Coyotepe was the more strategic of the two as the main railroad leading from
 Granada to Managua passes directly under its heights; a few small pieces of artillery on  Coyotepe can effectively disrupt traffic since it also overlooks the main road between  Masaya and Granada. It was obvious that the Marines would have to take the hill in  order to control access to Granada and defeat the rebel coalition of Zeledón and Mena.

 Telegrams were exchanged between the U.S. forces and Zeledón: the Marines asked  him to leave Coyotepe: he politely refused and told them they would have to fight him.

 Before dawn on October 4, 1912,

Company “C” of the First Battalion, First Provisional Regiment, U.S. Marines, Nicaraguan Expedition, under the command of Colonel Joseph H. Pendleton, assembled at the foot of Coyotepe Hill and made ready their  assault.

 At first light they started up the hill. They shot their way to the top, and took control of  Coyotepe Hill. Zeledón’s forces had retreated off the hill as the Marines approached the  summit. Irregulars from Conservative forces began combing the area for Zeledón and his men.

The next morning near Diriomo, Zeledón ran into a Conservative force and
 shot it out with them.

 He was struck in the spine by a bullet. He was taken by mule or by wagon, according  to different versions, to Catarina. The wound had been fatal and he was dead on arrival.
 Another version

 has Zeledón being captured in Catarina and taken to Masaya where he
 was executed on orders from the Marines. The corpse was then paraded through the streets. A young Augusto César Sandino may have witnessed this procession, or perhaps his burial in the cemetery at Catarina. Zeledón lay there, unremarked upon, until Sandinista Comandante Tomás Borge dedicated a large monument in the form of a Winchester rifle to him in 1980. Charge!

Regarding the assault, the only accurate account of the battle and the condition of
 the hill at the time of the battle is found in an address that Colonel Pendleton gave in
 1913 at the dedication of a plaque to honor the dead who took part in that battle. That
 plaque is mounted on a wall in the Marine barracks in Boston, where the great
 majority of the men who took part in the assault had come from. Pendleton finally
 told what happened on the hill outside of Masaya.

 Commanded in the field by Captain Fortson, Company “C” had made it part way up the
 hill before they were detected by a sentry stationed on the summit of Coyotepe, who
 started waving a sword.

 The strategy of the Marines was to have one group of soldiers pin down the defenders
 with accurate rifle fire as the others climbed the hill. This worked until the Marines
 reached an open space right under the summit. A machine gun had been placed to
 cover it, and it was also blocked with barbed wire.

 As soon as the Marines made it there, three were shot dead and several others were
 wounded seriously. A fourth Marine named Durham continued forward and was shot
 down, but not before he had managed to cut the barbed wire. The Marines then took
 the summit. The assault on Coyotepe was over. American losses were four killed and
 several wounded; Nicaraguan losses unknown.

 It is also clear from Pendleton’s description that the summit of Coyotepe was lined with
 trenches and that there were no buildings there at that time. This lays waste to versions
 that have the fortress being built late last century.

 Judging from the architecture, it appears that the fortress was built between the two
 world wars. Though it surely does command the Masaya Highway and old railway line
 to Granada, it could easily be destroyed by one 500-pound bomb.

 In the mid-1960s, the Somoza family had turned the old fortress over to the Boy
 Scouts, who used it for their annual jamboree. Somoza’s National Guard apparently
 used it briefly during the insurrection against him in 1979 to shell the Masaya. The
 dungeons below were reportedly used to isolate political prisoners then, and again
 during the 1980s when the Sandinistas were in power. However, the tales of brutal
 torture of prisoners during either regime are undocumented, though they lend an aura of
 intrigue while one walks around inside. In the early years of the Sandinista revolution,
 the authorities turned Coyotepe over for use by the Association of Sandinista Children,
 a Nicaraguan version of the Pioneers in Cuba.

 By 1988, it was completely abandoned, adorned with spray-painted graffiti, including
 some elaborately drawn pornographic sketches. It has been returned once again to the
 Boy Scouts, probably its most effective use. Meanwhile, you can visit the installation
 and let your imagination run rampant as you walk the underground corridors past the
 cells in this 20th century dungeon.

Fortaleza de El

  Pío Blandón Arróglia (left) and Pedro Blandón Arróglia, ca. 1930.    Two archived copies of the same photo.  Both of these men were Sandinista sub-jefes in the area from El Jícaro to La Concordia-La Pavona and Condega from at least late 1929 (this is NOT the better-known Sandinista General Pedro Blandón).  The two brothers, cousins of EDSN jefe Doroteo Blandón, are mentioned by old-time Sandinista Martín Blandón Rodríguez, IES 033: 7, and in PC30.01.20 Uhrig Contact Report; Pedro Arróglia is also mentioned as a Sandinista jefe in IR30.01.18 and IR30.03.22 and other reports from the first six months of 1930.  On the rear of the second photo is the following:


   Damage at La Luz Mine from Sandinista raid of April 1928.     

For US-generated records describing the events surrounding the destruction of the mine,.


George Marshall, Superintendent La Luz Mine (April-May 1928).   George Marshall, superintendent at La Luz Mine, was seized by the Sandinistas and died in captivity, though evidence indicates he died of dysentery, not Sandinista mistreatment; in fact it appears the rebels treated him well.  These photos show Marshall during his captivity.  In the last photo (3C), the arrow on the left points to “Arcadio Herrera,” and on the right, to what looks like “J. M. Lopez”.


 Sandino’s wedding to Blanca Aráuz, May 1927.  

Augusto Calderón Sandino and Blanca Aráuz, day of their wedding, May 19, 1927.

The wedding party, outskirts of San Rafael del Norte, May 19, 1927.  The last cropping is of Pedro Altamirano, or Pedrón.


 Sandino and Blanca Aráuz in camp, ca. 1930. 



 Sandino and Liberals in Jinotega during the Civil War?   The man labeled “1-Sandino” looks very much like Sandino.  “2” is labeled Pedro Lopez.  Pedro López’s name appears exactly once in extant Sandinista correspondence, in the early stage of the war   What’s the man doing with the handkerchief in the left foreground?  Judging from the position of the roof corner in the building in the background, this photo was probably snapped a few moments after the photo below, as the photographer moved along with the crowd and horsemen.If the writing on this photo says “Sandino,” it’s probably wrong.  Note that the photographer faces the middle of a large tall windowless building with elaborate molding to the left, suggesting a church.  The photographer is probably moving to his left, following the flow of the horses and procession, and will soon get to the corner of the building and roof, at which point Sandino and Pedro López ride by and he snaps the first photo.  That seems likeliest anyway.These two photos present something of a puzzle.  They were pasted onto the page of a Marine Corps photo album with the title “Groups of Sandino’s Bandits, July 1928,” as seen in the thumbnail above.  The two were clearly taken the same day during the same event, by someone in the street near the town plaza, watching a passing parade of Liberal or Sandinista soldiers.  The troops were probably entering a bigger town — evidenced by the size of the building in the background, probably the church. The likeliest places are Ocotal, Jinotega, Estelí, or Matagalpa.  The only time Sandino rode triumphantly through major towns was during the Civil War and right after.  It thus seems reasonable to surmise that these two photos were taken in a bigger Segovian town around February-March 1927, while the Civil War still raged.  These were probably Liberal Sandinistas.


 Sandinistas in the Western Segovias, 1927-28. 

This photo, and the four to follow, appear to be in the Western Segovias, probably around San Lucas-Somoto. Note the characteristic half-moon shape of the horsemen’s formation, with rifles raised and the skull-and-crossbones red-and-black flag in the center.

 Similar half-moon formation.

Evidently a mock battle being staged in the center of the half-moon formation.  Appears almost ritualized, and certainly theatrical. Such mock combat is also seen in the next photo.

Pointing rifles directly in each other’s faces. The piled-stone and thatch dwelling suggests an area of longtime indigenous settlement, such as around Somoto-San Lucas.


  EDSN Sargeant Major Alejandro Molina.   

The illegitimate son of wealthy Estelí landowner Blas Miguel Molina, Alejandro Molina served as a Sergeant Major in Sandino’s Ejército Defensor for about 15 months (from December 1927 to February 1929), after which he went into exile in Honduras with his mother.  Soon after he was arrested, imprisoned at the National Penitentiary in Managua.  Was this photograph found on his person?  How did it end up in a “July 1928″ Marine photo album? 


 Sandinistas and Ismael Peralta in Jinotega.  

The man on the far right is identified as Ismael Peralta, a Sandinista general in the Yalí-Constancia district, which suggests that this photo was taken somewhere around Jinotega.  The men seem especially interested in brandishing their weapons. Two separate prints of the same photo, followed by a second version, of much higher quality, from the collection of Walter C. Sandino.  That a poor quality version of this photo found its way into the Marines’ archives suggests that this image circulated widely during the period.


Sandinista anti-aircraft battery in the jungle. 

Three versions of the same photograph, again suggesting its widespread circuation at the time.  The first two images, of lesser quality, are in RG127; the third is from the collection of Walter C. Sandino.  Caption of the top photo reads, “A BANDIT LEWIS MACHINE GUN.”  In this photo, four men point their weapons skyward — three rifles on the left, and a Lewis machine gun resting on a man’s right shoulder on the right.  The man in the white shirt in the center seems to direct the two men in front of him.  All this suggests these six rebels were posing in an offensive posture directed against airplanes.  The third image, of higher quality, reveals another individual, in the background whose hat protrudes over the extended right arm of the man in the white shirt.  This makes eight men total:  seven in the photo plus the photographer, marked by his shadow.

The lettering here looks like “Explorando el campo, 13 de mayo de 1928.”  The photo album page says July 1928, which is probably close, perhaps in the Eastern Segovias or Jinotega area.

No title, EDSN column in the jungle, ca. 1928.


Augusto Sandino, Francisco Estrada, Juan Gregorio Colindres, 1928.

No date. Sandino on left, Francisco “Pancho” Estrada in middle, Juan Gregorio Colindres on the right. Probably 1927-28.


 Lorenzo Blandón, Carlos Salgado, Clemente Torres H.

Probably 1928, probably the Western Segovias.  Carlos Salgado, of course, was one of the leading Sandinista generals in this region from the end of the Civil War till the end of the rebellion, and one of the shrewdest and most capable of all rebel chieftains.


  Sandinista horsemen. 

No title, no date, ca. 1928, two archived copies of the same photo.



  Sandinista Generals Manuel María Girón Ruano and Francisco Estrada.

This photo, and the next one (Photo 16) were taken a few moments apart by the same person standing in the same place, as one can see by comparing the corner of the roof.  The place was probably La Luz Mine, the time April 1928 (see Photo Cluster 2 on this page).  The inscriptions read “Jiron,” “Estrada,” and (in Photo 16) “Carlos Quesada.”  On the capture and execution of Girón in Feb-March 1929


  Sandinista Colonel Carlos Quesada.

This and the previous photo (Photo 14) appear to have been taken a few moments apart.


 jefes Pedro Torres, Celestino Zeledon? and Carmen Torres?

My best interpretation of the lettering on this photo  is: “3. Pedro Torres. 2. Celestino Zeledon. 1. Carmen Torres.”  The latter’s name appears frequently as a Sandinista sub-jefe; the other two names do not correspond to any names in my databases.  Were these men Sandinistas?  Liberals?  Conservatives?  Unknown.


Major General Joseph H. Pendleton, USMC


In consequence my Government desires that the Government of the United States guarantee with its forces security for the property of American Citizens in Nicaragua and that it extend its protection to all the inhabitants of the Republic.[25]

U.S. Marines occupied Nicaragua from 1912 to 1933,[26] except for a nine month period beginning in 1925. From 1910 to 1926, the conservative party ruled Nicaragua. The Chamorro family, which had long dominated the party, effectively controlled the government during that period. In 1914, the Bryan-Chamorro Treaty was signed, giving the U.S. control over the proposed canal, as well as leases for potential canal defenses.[27] Following the evacuation of U.S. Marines, another violent conflict between liberals and conservatives took place in 1926, known as the Constitutionalist War, which resulted in a coalition government and the return of U.S. Marines.[28]

From 1927 until 1933,



 Gen. Augusto César Sandino led a sustained guerrilla war first against the Conservative regime and subsequently against the U.S. Marines, who withdrew upon the establishment of a new Liberal government. Sandino was the only Nicaraguan general to refuse to sign the el tratado del Espino Negro agreement and then headed up to the northern mountains of Las Segovias, where he fought the U.S. Marines for over five years.[29] When the Americans left in 1933, they set up the Guardia Nacional (National Guard),[30] a combined military and police force trained and equipped by the Americans and designed to be loyal to U.S. interests. Anastasio Somoza García, a close friend of the American government, was put in charge. He was one of the three rulers of the country, the others being Sandino and

the President Juan Bautista Sacasa.

After the U.S. Marines withdrew from Nicaragua in January 1933, Sandino and the newly elected Sacasa government reached an agreement by which he would cease his guerrilla activities in return for amnesty, a grant of land for an agricultural colony, and retention of an armed band of 100 men for a year.[31] But a growing hostility between Sandino and Somoza led Somoza to order the assassination of Sandino.[30][32][33] Fearing future armed opposition from Sandino, Somoza invited him to a meeting in Managua, where Sandino was assassinated on February 21 of 1934 by soldiers of the National Guard. Hundreds of men, women, and children from Sandino’s agricultural colony were executed later.[34]

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in 1954 overthrew the democratically elected Guatemalan government, in a mission that was among the first for the newly created agency. Jacobo Arbenz, president of Guatemala at the time of the coup d’etat, adopted New Deal era polices to reform the economy of his country but what had healed the American economy was an impermissible affront to U.S. corporate interest in the country. I

t was an event that would have a lasting impression on an Argentinean who witnessed it, Ernesto “Che” Guevara, who a few years later, by then a revolutionary leader, vowed that – “Cuba will not be Guatemala”. With no government or any one group in control of Guatemala, fiasco ensued, which led to thirty years of civil war. Under this chaos in 1966 the U.S. created and managed the “first sustained campaign of death-squad-executed ‘disappearances’ of political dissidents.”

Sandisnista History Collections

  • Nicaraguan Revolution - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  • Nicaragua: the Sandinista Revolution
  • Post Revolutionary Nicaragua ...
  • Nicaragua: Lessons of a country that did not finish its revolution ...
  • Nicaraguan Revolution.wmv
  •  ...
  • Nicaragua | Bill Gentile Backpack Journalism - Part 3
  • Revolution ... - Nicaragua
  • july 1979 the people of nicaragua carried out a successful revolution ...
  • Nicaragua Quest
  • The Sandinista Revolution in Nicaragua General Augusto César Sandino ...
  • Rama » July 19 – Nicaragua Liberation Day
  • Nicaragua: die vergessene Revolution
  • Nicaragua: An Unfinished Revolution : Indybay
  • Gentile in Nicaragua
  • When they had a revolution in Nicaragua,
  •  ... Nicaragua: The Sandinista People's Revolution" by Daniel Ortega, Tomas
  • 1979 The Revolution: FSLN take the country’s largest towns and ...
  •  ... , Die sandinistische Revolution und die Reaktion der USA (1962-1979
  • Nicaraguan Revolution
  • 30th anniversary of the Nicaraguan revolution.
  • Sandinistas entering Managua, Nicaragua 1979
  • Revolution mural (Daniel, is that you?), Esteli, Nicaragua
  • Children and revolution murals in León, Nicaragua, photo by: Carlos ...
  • Nicaragua celebrations in |
  • The historical origins of the Iranian Revolution and the tasks of the ...
  • Reviving a Revolution – Leon, Nicaragua
  • Dura Vida Nicaragua - IgoUgo Nicaragua Journal - coloradowanderer
  • BiblioVault - Sandinista: Carlos Fonseca and the Nicaraguan Revolution
  • Danielismo': The cult of Daniel Ortega in Nicaragua
  • Learning from the Nicaraguan revolution : art matters
  • Magnum Photos - Photo Nicaragua révolution - 101 photos pour la ...
  • Untitled - Sandinista patrol, Nicaragua, 1984
  •  ... book nicaragua which includes a cover shot from the revolution susan
  • Finca Project: A Brief History of Nicaragua
  • Nicaragua’s renewable energy revolution underway
  •  ... to mark 30th anniversary of revolution in Nicaragua_English_Xinhua
  • Michael K. Busch: Nicaragua: Between Revolution and Kleptocracy

read more

By the early eighties the atrocities in Guatemala reached a genocidal scale. Between 1981 and 1983 a hundred thousand Mayan peasants were killed giving the country the tragic distinction of suffering the highest number of casualties among its neighbors.


With the genocide raging in all its vigor Regan met Guatemalan president Efrain Rios Montt, an evangelical Christian and one of the principal figures behind the atrocities, and complemented him as a man “totally committed to democracy.”

 Extermination of Mayan peasants was not the only game in town.

Three decades after the overthrow of Arbenz as the 70s came to an end and the United States prepared to change directions to the right of the political spectrum, the Nicaraguan Revolution triumphed. The 1979 revolution brought to power a coalition of “progressive capitalist, socialist, Marxists, and Catholics” that Washington found intolerable.

This event, more that any other, was the catalyst that sparked renewed attention to the region. The FSLN (Sandinista National Liberation Front) forcefully removed the autocratic government of the Somoza family, who had enjoyed a longstanding relationship with the United States. The Sandinistas, who took their name from the country’s anti-imperialist fighter earlier in the century, throughout their years in power battled insurgent forces sponsored by the United States. Washington and it allies in the region recruited former members of Nicaragua’s National Guard and organized them into an insurgent force that came to be know as the Contras. To finance and supply the anti-Sandinista rebel group the U.S. turned to various illicit activities. The Pentagon, in violation of the U.S. arms embargo, sold weapons to Iran and siphoned the proceeds to the Contras. Drug traffickers that loaned their airplanes to ship weapons and other supplies into Nicaragua in exchange were provided with access to the American market.

It was support of the Contras that allowed the former Viet Cong fighter to manipulate the story and pose itself as a defender of grassroots freedom fighters. Of course, eventually the operation erupted in the Iran-Contra scandal that sent Reagan officials to prison and tarnished the reputation of the administration. Another legacy of the conflict was the withdrawal of the U.S. from the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice. When the international body ordered the U.S. to pay billions of dollars in damages to Nicaragua for “mining its harbor and conducting an illegal war of aggression” Washington refused to acquiesce with the court’s verdict and retired the country from its authority.6 No damages were paid but a very high cost was levied on Nicaragua: 30,000 civilians dead, mostly in the hands of the Contras.7 In one of those events that reveal that history more often than not can be read as farce, the leader of the Sandinistas Daniel Ortega recently won the presidential elections in Nicaragua, although the newly elected leader plagued by corruption scandals is a far cry from the promise of the revolutionary rhetoric of decades ago.



To contain Nicaragua and stop the spread of Marxism in the region, besides enacting an embargo and carryout an “illegal war of aggression”, the U.S. reinforced the surrounding governments. The next battlefield would be a neighbor of the Central American country, El Salvador. The U.S. had reason to be concerned about Nicaragua. It presented a real threat to U.S. Cold War discourse because it was an attempt (much like the Salvador Allende government in Chile) to prove that Marxism and democracy could coexist, the Sandinista government could not be summarily dismissed as a totalitarian regime. Nicaragua enjoyed the support and political recognition of Mexico as well as that of many social democrat governments in Western Europe. The Sandinistas threatened the agenda of American style democracy – liberalism and free market economics – that the White House pushed at home and abroad. In response the Reagan Administration assembled a group called National Security Planning. Composed of the President and some of the highest members of his cabinet (The Vice-President, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, Director of Central Intelligence…), the group drafted a document titled United States Policy in Central America and Cuba Through F.Y.’84 in which it outlined a plan for the prevention of a “proliferation of Cuba-model states” and the aid, military and economic, the U.S. was to provide to allied governments in Central America.8

Secretary of Sate for Ronald Reagan, Alexander Haig stated we “draw the line” against Communism in El Salvador and lobbied Congress (and obtained) a doubling of U.S. aid for the country.9 This intensification of the conflict would result in $4 billion in American assistance that yielded a prolonged civil war that lasted over a decade and left many more thousands of dead Salvadorians.10 El Salvador was not new to U.S. military support. The country had been a recipient of U.S. assistance under the Carter administration, but it had been a tumultuous relationship. Even before that, during the Alliance for Progress when Washington was fortifying the intelligence apparatus of governments across Latin America in El Salvador to agencies were create to monitor and suppress dissidence (death squads were among its methods of persuasion), the Agencia Nacional de Servicios Especiales (ANSESAL) and Organización democrática Nacionalista (ORDEN). Full support, however, was not to come until the advent of the “Reagan Revolution” and the revival of American “hard power”. The times of fragile patriarchy under Presidents Ford and Carter and the rampant feminism that had weakened the “moral fiber” of America were over, and the days of a return to masculine voracity just beginning.

El Salvador provided the battleground to relive and rewrite Vietnam, but with the important difference that American forces maintained a low-profile. A paradox of all the bellicose rhetoric emanating from Washington was that the U.S. was willing to fund the war but not fight it. The “Vietnam Syndrome” had not been completely overcome. Legislators knew there constituency was weary of seeing American soldiers return home in body bags and shied away from the responsibility of committing its soldiers to fight communist guerrillas. The U.S. learned an important lesson in Vietnam: outsource the dirty ground work. Congress placed restrictions on the number of military personnel that could operate in the country (limited to 55 advisers, although the real number was three times as high) and consequently the size of the Salvadorian army was increased from 5,000 to 53,000 and many officers were trained by the ARMY at the School of Las Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia.11 The military campaign against the rebel group Frente Faribundo Marti para la Liberación Nacional (FMLN) was accompanied by rhetoric about reform. With consent from Washington in 1984, Jose Napoleon Duarte, of the Christian Democratic Party, was elected (with the consent of Washington) as President of El Salvador. His lection was championed by the U.S. as evidence that reform minded politicians were taking control of the country. The U.S. supported many initiatives like land reform and democracy. But U.S. insistence on free trade policies coupled with the ever constant threat of a military coup severely incapacitated the possibilities of Duarte and in 1989 his party lost to the National Republican Alliance (ARENA), a party described by Reagan’s Ambassador to the country, Robert White, as a fascist party modeled after the Nazis.12


Through the decade a continuous flow of funding and advisors arrived as long as certain “moral standards” were promised by the recipient governments. To be eligible for U.S. assistance governments had to be “certified” by the Executive Branch as non-violators of human rights when the President requested congressional appropriation of funds. And in the case of El Salvador the White House did certify it despite all the evidence of atrocities committed by the government. Even U.S. Ambassador Deane R. Hinton acknowledged “serious excesses in human rights abuses” in a report he sent to Secretary Haig, placing the majority of the responsibility on government soldiers.13 The absurdity of the battle for freedom from Communism did not elude Salvadorians; as one Roman Catholic Church spokesman in the country pointed out President Reagan’s appeal to “light a candle as an expression of solidarity with the people of Poland at a time when there had been seven Polish workers killed […] was totally contradictory to the President’s conclusion that the human rights situation here [El Salvador] was improving.”14 He was of course making a contrast to events happening in Poland while the country was under Soviet martial law.

All the war in El Salvador accomplished after 12 years of war and $6 billion in U.S. aid was the murder of as many as 90,000 people.15 Contradictions and military assistance to totalitarian governments was the legacy of American intervention in its poor neighbors to the south. In 1991, with the end of the Cold War the U.S. forced the FMLN and the Salvadorian government to the negotiating table the rebel group demanded implementation by the government of many of the reform policies the American government had advocated but to which it never gave its full support. The nation with perhaps the strongest history of freedom, liberty and democracy – and the zeal to bringing those ideals to the world – has been remarkably unsuccessful exporting them.


1 Greg Grandin, Empire’s Workshop: Latin America, the United Sates, and the rise of the New Imperialism (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2006), 71.

2 Grandin, 96.

3 Grandin, 90.

4 Grandin, 110.

5 Grandin, 112.

6 Grandin, 118.

7 Grandin, 116.

8 Raymond Bonner, “President Approved Policy on Preventing ‘Cuba-Model States’”, The New York Times, April 7, 1983.

9 Mark Danner, The massacre at El Mozote: a parable of the Cold War (New York: Vintage Books, 1994), 40.

10 Danner, 10.

11 Grandin, 101.

12 Grandin, 103.

13 Raymond Bonner, “Reagan’s Salvador Rights Report: The Balance Sheet,” The New York Times, February 26, 1982.

14 Raymond Bonner, “Reagan’s Salvador Rights Report: The Balance Sheet,” The New York Times, February 26, 1982.

15 Grandin, 108.


Satellite image of Central America

Daniel Noriega




 Nicaragua Postal History


 Image Image

 the Nicaragua set shown earlier.  the story that this stamp changed history. Someone, possibly a competitor nation, posted letters bearing this stamp to all the members of the committee planning the Nicaragua Canal project. This was to link the Pacific and Atlantic oceans and would bring wealth and jobs to Nicaragua. The committee saw the hidden message and did more research and found that there were activ volcanoes in Nicaragua and the whole project was moved to Panama.

 the oldest nicargua volcano stamp :


Nicaragua 1931 Will Rogers Airmail Stamps on FDC

1931 Will Rogers Flight to Nicaragua after Managua Earthquake

Centenary in 1962:

Chronology history collections


The Somoza dynasty (1936–79)

Nicaragua has experienced several military dictatorships, the longest being the hereditary dictatorship of the Somoza family for much of the 20th century. The Somoza family came to power as part of a US-engineered pact in 1927 that stipulated the formation of the Guardia Nacional, or the National Guard, to replace the US marines that had long reigned in the country.[35] Somoza slowly eliminated officers in the National Guard who might have stood in his way, and then deposed Sacasa and became president on January 1, 1937 in a rigged election.[30] Somoza was 35 at the time.

Nicaragua declared war on Germany on December 8, 1941, during World War II.[36] Although war was formally declared, no soldiers were sent to the war, but Somoza did seize the occasion to confiscate attractive properties held by German-Nicaraguans, the best-known of which was the Montelimar estate which today operates as a privately owned luxury resort and casino.[37] In 1945 Nicaragua was among the first countries to ratify the United Nations Charter.[38]

Throughout his years as dictator, “Tacho” Somoza ‘ruled Nicaragua with a strong arm’.[34] He had three main sources for his power: control of Nicaraguan economy, military support, and support from the US. When Somoza used the National Guard to take power in 1937, he destroyed any potential armed resistance.[39] Not only did he have military control, but he controlled the National Liberal Party (LPN), which in turn controlled the legislature and judicial systems, giving him complete political power.

Despite his complete control, on September 21, 1956, Somoza was shot by Rigoberto López Pérez, a 27-year-old liberal Nicaraguan poet. Somoza was attending a PLN party to celebrate his nomination for the Presidency. He died eight days later. After his father’s death, Luis Somoza Debayle, the eldest son of the late dictator, was appointed President by the congress and officially took charge of the country.[30] He is remembered by some for being moderate, but was in power only for a few years and then died of a heart attack. Then came president René Schick Gutiérrez whom most Nicaraguans viewed “as nothing more than a puppet of the Somozas”.[40] Somoza’s brother, Anastasio Somoza Debayle, a West Point graduate, succeeded his father in charge of the National Guard, controlled the country, and officially took the presidency after Schick.

Nicaragua experienced economic growth during the 1960s and 1970s largely as a result of industrialization,[41] and became one of Central America’s most developed nations. Due to its stable and high growth economy, foreign investments grew, primarily from U.S. companies such as Citigroup, Sears, Westinghouse, Coca Cola, Bank of America, Chase Manhattan Bank, “Morgan Guaranty Trust and Wells Fargo Bank.[citation needed] Other investors included London Bank and the Bank of Montreal.[citation needed]

The capital city of Managua suffered a major earthquake in 1972 which destroyed nearly 90% of the city, creating major losses,[42] and leveling a 600-square block area in the heart of Managua. Some Nicaraguan historians see the 1972 earthquake that devastated Managua as the final ‘nail in the coffin’ for Somoza. Instead of helping to rebuild Managua, Somoza siphoned off relief money to help pay for National Guard luxury homes, while the homeless poor had to make do with hastily constructed wooden shacks. The mishandling of relief money also prompted Pittsburgh Pirates star Roberto Clemente to personally fly to Managua on 31 December 1972, but he died enroute in an airplane accident.[43] Even the economic elite were reluctant to support Somoza, as he had acquired monopolies in industries that were key to rebuilding the nation,[44] and did not allow the businessmen to compete with the profits that would result.

In 1973, the year of reconstruction, many new buildings were built, but the level of corruption in the government prevented further growth. Strikes and demonstrations developed as citizens became increasingly angry and politically mobilized. The elite were angry that Somoza was asking them to pay new emergency taxes to further his own ends. As a result, more of the young elite joined the Sandinista Liberation Front (FSLN). The ever increasing tensions and anti-government uprisings slowed growth in the last two years of the Somoza dynasty.

 Nicaraguan Revolution

In 1961 Carlos Fonseca turned back to the historical figure of Sandino, and along with two others founded the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN).[30] Fonseca turned to the KGB and Cuba’s DGI for arms and assistance. The FSLN was a small party throughout most of the 1960s, but Somoza’s apparent hatred of it and his heavy-handed treatment of anyone he suspected to be a Sandinista sympathizer gave many ordinary Nicaraguans the idea that the Sandinistas were much stronger.[citation needed]

After the 1972 earthquake and Somoza’s apparent corruption, alleged mishandling of relief aid, and refusal to rebuild Managua, the ranks of the Sandinistas were flooded with young disaffected Nicaraguans who no longer had anything to lose.[39] These economic problems propelled the Sandinistas in their struggle against Somoza by leading many middle- and upper-class Nicaraguans to see the Sandinistas as the main hope for removing the brutal Somoza regime.

In December 1974, a group of FSLN, in an attempt to kidnap U.S. Ambassador Tuner Shelton, held some Managuan partygoers hostage (after killing the host, former Agriculture Minister Jose Maria Castillo), until the Somozan government met their demands for a large ransom and free transport to Cuba. Somoza granted this, then subsequently sent his National Guard out into the countryside to look for the perpetrators of the kidnapping, described by opponents of the kidnapping as ‘terrorists’. While searching, the National Guard allegedly pillaged villages and imprisoned, tortured, raped, and executed hundreds of villagers. This led to the Roman Catholic Church withdrawing support of the Somoza regime. Around this time, Chilean president Salvador Allende was removed from power in a military coup that prompted Allende to take his own life as the presidential palace came under fire. With right-wing Augusto Pinochet in power in Chile, several hundred committed Chilean revolutionaries joined the Sandinista army in Nicaragua.[45]

On January 10, 1978, Pedro Joaquin Chamorro, the editor of the national newspaper La Prensa and ardent opponent of Somoza, was assassinated.[46] This allegedly led to the extreme general disappointment with Somoza. It is alleged that the planners and perpetrators of the murder were at the highest echelons of the Somoza regime and included the dictator’s son, “El Chiguin” (“The Kid”), the President of Housing, Cornelio Hueck, the Attorney General, and Pedro Ramos, a Cuban expatriate and close ally, who commercialized blood plasma.[46]

Nicaraguan refugees, 1979

The Sandinistas, supported by some of the populace, elements of the Catholic Church, and regional governments (including Panama, Mexico, Costa Rica, and Venezuela), took power in July 1979. The Carter administration, refusing to act unilaterally, decided to work with the new government, while attaching a provision for aid forfeiture if it was found to be assisting insurgencies in neighboring countries.[47] A group of prominent citizens known as Los Doce, “the Twelve”, denounced the Somoza regime and said that “there can be no dialogue with Somoza … because he is the principal obstacle to all rational understanding … through the long dark history of Somocismo, dialogues with the dictatorship have only served to strengthen it”, Somoza fled the country and eventually ended up in Paraguay, where he was assassinated in September 1980, allegedly by members of the Argentinian Revolutionary Workers Party.[48]
To begin the task of establishing a new government, the Sandinistas created a Council (or junta) of National Reconstruction of five members: Sandinista militants Daniel Ortega, Moises Hassan, novelist Sergio Ramírez Mercado (a member of Los Doce), businessman Alfonso Robelo Callejas, and Violeta Barrios de Chamorro (the widow of Pedro Joaquín Chamorro). Sandinista supporters thus comprised three of the five members of the junta.

The non-Sandinistas Robelo and Chamorro later resigned because they had little actual power in the junta. Sandinista mass organizations were also powerful: including the Sandinista Workers’ Federation (Central Sandinista de Trabajadores), the Luisa Amanda Espinoza Association of Nicaraguan Women (Asociación de Mujeres Nicaragüenses Luisa Amanda Espinoza), and the National Union of Farmers and Ranchers (Unión Nacional de Agricultores y Ganaderos).

On the Atlantic Coast a small uprising occurred in support of the Sandinistas. A group of Creoles led by a native of Bluefields, Dexter Hooker (known as Commander Abel), raided a Somoza-owned business to gain access to food, guns and money before heading off to join Sandinista fighters who had liberated the city of El Rama. The ‘Black Sandinistas’ returned to Bluefields on July 19, 1979 and took the city without a fight. The Black Sandinistas were challenged by a group of mestizo Sandinista fighters. The ensuing standoff between the two groups, with the Black Sandinistas occupying the National Guard barracks (the cuartel) and the mestizo group occupying the Town Hall (Palacio), gave the revolution on the Atlantic Coast a racial dimension absent from events in other parts of the country. The Black Sandinistas were assisted in their power struggle with the Palacio group by the arrival of the Simón Bolívar International Brigade from Costa Rica.

One of the brigade’s members, an Afro-Costa-Rican called Marvin Wright (known as Kalalu) became known for his rousing speeches, which included elements of Black Power ideology, in his attempts to unite all black militias that had formed in Bluefields. The introduction of a racial element into the revolution was not welcomed by the Sandinista National Directorate, which expelled Kalalu and the rest of the brigade from Nicaragua and sent them to Panama.[49]

Sandinistas and the Contras

ARDE Frente Sur Contras in 1987

Robert Pastor, President Carter’s National Security Advisor on Latin America explained why the administration had to back Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza untill he could no longer be sustained to then move to bar the FSLN from power through the “preservation of existing institutions, especially the National Guard” [50] even though it had been massacring the population “with a brutality a nation usually reserves for its enemy.”:

“The United States did not want to control Nicaragua or the other nations in the region, but it also did not want to allow developments to get out of control. It wanted Nicaraguans to act independently, except when doing so would affect U.S. interests adversely.” [51]

Shortly after Somoza fled to Miami, National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski declared that “we have to demonstrate that we are still the decisive force in determining the political outcomes in Central America.” [52] As the Sandinista forces entered the capital, the Carter administration “began setting the stage for a counter revolution,” Peter Kornbluh observes. On July 19, a U.S. plane disguised with Red Cross markings evacuated the remnants of the National Guard to Miami. The old Guardia was then built into the counter revolutionary force known as the ‘Contras’ by the C.I.A. [53]]


Nicaragua 1978



MANAGUA, Nicaragua—President Anastasio Somoza Debayle opening a new session of the National Congress, 1978.


Nicaragua: June, 1978 – July, 1979″. Photographs by Susan Meiselas; edited with Claire Rosenberg; Pantheon Books; #0394512650; c1981; est. 105 pages. The work has been reprinted in various formats, with various pagination; it was just reprinted c2008 as, “Susan Meiselas: Nicaragua”, by Aperture Press: #59711071X, and this edition includes a bonus DVD interview with the photographer on her work in Nicaragua.

Meiselas is responsible for some of the most recognizable images of the early Sandinista Revolution. Her work was adapted (without permission) by both sides in the conflict. Later, her images, particularly those from Esteli, were the subject of several well-known infringement/illegal use cases in the U.S. and abroad (one such example is depicted in a fairly recent Harper’s Magazine article, On the rights of Molotov Man, named after one of the most recognizable images from Meiselas.

The work is divided into three broad sections: “June 1978 – The Somoza Regime”; “September, 1978 – Insurrection”; “June, 1979-July, 1979 – The Final Offensive”. The work also includes a detailed section of captions, quotations, and an historical chronology. Even if you don’t believe a “picture is worth a 1000 words”, the images stand on their own merits. It is an rather impressive time-capsule look at Nicaragua.
Though small when compared to some of the Latin American image collections that followed (there are just over 70 plates in the volume), it has had lasting impact. Meiselas later won the Robert Capa Gold Medal for outstanding courage in reporting, as well as the Cabot Prize Photojournalism from Columbia University for her extended coverage of Latin America. Her Nicaragua work later led to her inclusion in Adam Weinberg’s “On the Lind: The New Color Photojournalism” (unlike most other photographers there at the time, Meiselas was not shooting traditional b&w news stock films).

Meiselas is represented by Magnum Photos. Their archive includes samples of her work, and their one will find much more than the Nicaragua project reviewed here. Those interested can use the “Photographer” link at the top, then her name, then the portfolio link in the lower left corner of the Magnum page. Additional information and select audio commentary can be found on her homepage – though not all aspects of the web page were functioning as of this summer. She is also often featured on The Museum of Contemporary Photography.
Of particular interest is that years later, Meiselas, with this book in hand, went back to Nicaragua to learn what had become of the people she photographed. This was the focus of the documentary film, Pictures from a Revolution, not another book, as if often said on the internet. The film is quite interesting regardless of whether or not you have seen the original collection of images, are interested in documentary photography, or the role it plays in historical works and/or journalism. There is an extended comment here on, TV Guide, aNew York Times story/review on the film, and a note mention of it, here on this site.

Other works by Susan Meiselas include the exhibition catalogs and book-length efforts: “Carnival Strippers”, “El Salvador: The Work of 30 Photographers”, “Pandora’s Box”, “Chile from Within”, “Encounters with Dani”, “Learn to See”, and, “Kurdistan – In the Shadow of History”. She has also been included in “Witness in Our Time: Working Lives of Documentary Photographers” & “On the Lind: The New Color Photojournalism”. She has co-directed (w/ Richard P. Rogers and Alfred Guzzetti) two documentary films: “Living at Risk: The Story of a Nicaraguan Family” & “Pictures from a Revolution: A Memoir of the Nicaraguan Conflict”, and co-created the multi-media project, “Mined in China”. She also did the associated photographic work for one of the better autobiographical accounts of life in Central America, “Don’t Be Afraid, Gringo: A Honduran Woman Speaks from the Heart – The Story of Elvia Alvarado” (as told by Alvarado, translated and edited by Medea Benjamin. Harper Collins, #006097205X, c1989, a reprint of the same, formerly printed at least twice by, The Institute for Food and Development).









MANAGUA, Nicaragua—A student demonstration is broken up by the National Guard with the use of tear gas, June 1978.

© Susan Meiselas / Magnum Photos


MONIMBO, Nicaragua—Wall graffiti on a Somoza supporter’s house burned in Monimbó, asks, “Where is Norman González? The dictatorship must answer,” 1978.

© Susan Meiselas / Magnum Photos


MONIMBO, Nicaragua—A motorcycle brigade, followed by a crowd of 100,000, leading Los Doce (“The Twelve”) into Monimbó, July 5, 1978.

© Susan Meiselas / Magnum Photos


NICARAGUA—New National Guard recruits practice dismantling a U.S.-made M-16 rifle while blindfolded, 1979.

© Susan Meiselas / Magnum Photos


MATAGALPA, Nicaragua—Muchachos await a counterattack by the National Guard, 1978.

© Susan Meiselas / Magnum Photos


ESTELI, Nicaragua—Fleeing the bombing to seek refuge outside of Esteli, 1978.

© Susan Meiselas / Magnum Photos


MONIMBO, Nicaragua—A woman carries her dead husband home to be buried in their back yard, 1979.

© Susan Meiselas / Magnum Photos


MASAYA, Nicaragua—Returning home, September 1978.

© Susan Meiselas / Magnum Photos


NICARAGUA—Searching everyone traveling by car, truck, bus, or on foot, 1979.

© Susan Meiselas / Magnum Photos


MANAGUA, Nicaragua—”Cuesta del Plomo” hillside outside Managua, a well-known site of many assassinations carried out by the National Guard. People search here daily for missing persons, 1978.

© Susan Meiselas / Magnum Photos


ESTELI, Nicaragua—Sandinistas at the walls of the Esteli National Guard headquarters, 1979.

© Susan Meiselas / Magnum Photos


ESTELI, Nicaragua—The final assault on the Esteli National Guard headquarters, July 16, 1979.

© Susan Meiselas / Magnum Photos


MANAGUA, Nicaragua—Near the central plaza, 1979.

© Susan Meiselas / Magnum Photos


Nicaragua 1979


MANAGUA, Nicaragua—A street fighter, 1979.

© Susan Meiselas / Magnum Photos


MASAYA, Nicaragua—National Guard reinforcements entering Masaya besieged by FSLN, 1979.

© Susan Meiselas / Magnum Photos

June 1979


MANAGUA, Nicaragua—A neighborhood bomb shelter dug under the street in anticipation of renewed air attacks, June 1979.

© Susan Meiselas / Magnum Photos


During the summer of 1979, the Nicaraguan capital of Managua fell to Sandinista guerrillas, days after President Anastasio Somoza Debayle fled the country. Susan Meiselas’ photographs of the revolution in Nicaragua form a compelling narrative, showing what rebellion in the Third World involves. Meiselas returned to Nicaragua to interview participants in the revolution. Excerpts from these interviews, edited with the help of French journalist Claire Rosenberg, accompany the more than 70 images in this extraordinary book.

MANAGUA, Nicaragua—President Anastasio Somoza Debayle opening a new session of the National Congress, 1978.



Rally of 600,000 Celebrates 32nd
Anniversary of Sandinistas’ Victory

Managua, Nicaragua, July 19, 2011

On July 19, a mass celebration was held in central Managua, Nicaragua, to mark the 32nd anniversary of the victory of the Sandinista National Liberation Front (FSLN) over U.S.-backed dictator Anastasio Somoza. The July 19, 1979 overthrow of the four-decade-long Somoza dictatorship is the most important event on the Sandinista calendar and coincides this year with the 50th anniversary of the FSLN’s founding in 1961, as the organization that led the Nicaraguan people’s independence struggle.

The people’s forces celebrate victory over the Somoza dictatorship in central Managua, July 20, 1979.

TML sends its warmest greetings to the Nicaraguan people and their revolutionary Party on this significant anniversary. Since the historic victory 32 years ago, brought about through great sacrifice by the revolutionary forces, the people have continued their struggle for control over their destiny, free from outside interference, and to build a human-centred society.

The people’s confidence in the revolutionary process and the leadership of President Daniel Ortega, elected in 2006, was amply expressed by the more than 600,000 people gathered at the main square in Managua, where the proceedings were overseen by President Ortega, First Lady and fellow revolutionary Rosario Murillo, and Cardinal Miguel Obando y Bravo.

The cardinal congratulated the government, the president and first lady for all their achievements in the interests of the people. He described himself as a “witness to the works” that drive the government, giving the example of the schools and hospitals that have been built in the country.

First Lady Murillo expressed her great pleasure at seeing the massive participation of the people in the square to celebrate the epic struggle of all Nicaraguans to overthrow the Somoza dictatorship, which she called one of the bloodiest of the past century in Latin America and the Caribbean.

President Ortega acknowledged the many guests and messages of greeting received from foreign dignitaries. He mentioned in particular the message of President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, and wished him well in his recuperation from his recent illness. He also called on the U.S. government to release the five Cuban patriots unjustly imprisoned in its jails.

News agencies reported that some of the other notable participants included retired general and FSLN candidate for vice president in the fall election Omar Hallesleven, representatives of the different state bodies and institutions, as well as special guests such as Nobel Peace Prize winner Guatemalan Rigoberta Menchu, Miguel Diaz Canel, a member of the Politburo of the Communist Party of Cuba and that country’s Minister of Higher Education.


FSLN: Summation of the People’s Struggle

First Lady Rosario Murillo and President Daniel Ortega.

President Ortega spoke of the significance of the FSLN, saying that the Party represents the summation of the Nicaraguan people’s struggle for their freedom and ensures a revolutionary present and future.

Ortega noted that one of the outstanding features of the insurrection in 1979 was that it united all the people in struggle against the Somoza dictatorship, at a time when it had been strengthened by the support of the U.S. and some Central American military regimes.

He said that with this awareness, guerrilla uprisings emerged in cities across the country “until finally, in a total national insurrection, it was possible to end the long tyranny imposed by the Yankees.”

“It was a heroic battle and the Sandinista Front was the soul and focus of that struggle. Without the Sandinista Front, this great victory would not have occurred,” he said.

Referring to famous revolutionary and national hero General Augusto Sandino, whose name the FSLN bears, he pointed out that it was Sandino who began to outline a clearly revolutionary program for Nicaragua, which stated that victory would only be achieved by the unity of the workers and peasants. He said that on this basis, the FSLN has been forging the unity of all sectors to fight poverty and hunger which are the main challenges of this new era. The president affirmed that the red and black flag of the FSLN will continue to be raised in defence of Nicaragua’s blue and white flag, as did General Sandino.

Ortega made special mention of the revolutionary youth of Nicaragua militating in the ranks of the FSLN, saying that the conscious work to incorporate these youth into the struggles of the present will ensure the revolution carries on into the future.

As concerns the near future, President Ortega, who will again run for office in the presidential election on November 6, 2011, said the FSLN’s political program for a next presidential term will be announced in August when the campaign officially begins. However, he pointed out that it is the same as that which is being implemented at the present, referring to the pro-social programs that are improving the people’s standard of living and well- being. News agencies report that Ortega is considered the favourite to prevail.

Call for U.S. Payment of Reparations and Debt to U.S.

President Ortega also raised the issue of the debt owed to the U.S. and reparations to be paid by the U.S. for its dastardly role in the country’s civil war. He proposed a referendum on whether to demand reparations of $17 billion from the U.S. for the damage it caused. The proposal was warmly received by all present.

Of U.S. imperialism’s dirty wars in Latin America and the Caribbean, its role in backing the Somoza regime and the counter- revolutionary Contras which followed the dictatorship’s downfall, are amongst the most infamous.

In 1986, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague ruled in favour of a lawsuit filed by Nicaragua that the U.S. had violated international law by funding the Contras and mining Nicaragua’s harbours. The ICJ ordered compensation to be paid, although it did not fix an amount. For its part, the U.S. government blocked implementation of the ruling by vetoing a UN resolution requiring its compliance. It has since opposed all subsequent demands to make amends for its crimes.

The ruling took place during President Ortega’s first administration (1985-1990). However, the subsequent administration of pro-U.S. President Violeta Chamorro, 1990 to 1997, relinquished the claim. Notably, the U.S., which backed Chamorro’s campaign politically and financially, only stopped funding the Contras following Chamorro’s election.

“I want to advance and submit to the decision of Nicaraguans a first proposal, considering that U.S. leaders, the U.S. government was condemned by the International Court of Justice in The Hague for their acts of war against Nicaragua, terrorism against Nicaragua, and that the same court ordered it to compensate Nicaragua,” he said.

Regarding the debt owed to the U.S. in cases of U.S. citizens who had their land confiscated and expropriated during the 1980s, the president explained that Nicaragua has been honouring the debt owed. “To date we have paid more than $500 million,” said President Ortega. “For this reason it is considered that the debt the U.S. has with the Nicaraguan people is paid.”

Women Salute Achievements of Sandinista Government

The participation of women was a significant feature in July 19 celebrations and reflects the achievements of the Sandinista government’s social programs in ensuring women’s rights and their participation in the social and political life as an integral part of the nation’s development.

“The women feel happy and celebrate the 32nd anniversary of the Revolution proudly next to the Nicaraguan President, Daniel, because he is the only one who has given us the place we deserve,” one participant said. She added that women have been advancing their rights through various government programs like the Zero Usury credit program, the Zero Hunger food program, supportive housing, etc.

“We are joyful to be in the square today celebrating the triumph of the Revolution with President Daniel and his partner Rosario [who has held various leadership roles, including government minister -- TML Ed. Note] because the government has given many opportunities to women,” said another.

Through the Sandinista government women have regained their dignity, said one woman, while another cited as one of the government’s most important achievements the fifty per cent participation of women in state institutions and the FSLN.

(, Voz del Sandinismo, Prensa Latina)



At the Intercon, Managua, Nicaragua 1979



Photo by Susan Meiselas from her book Nicaragua featuring images she took during the Sandinista revolution in 1979. A decade later she returned to Nicaragua and co-directed a video, Pictures from a Revolution, documenting that trip. Few of the films and videos made during the Sandinista revolution that circulated in the United States in the ’80s are still in distribution.

In this way, two contradictory factors enter into my desire for an archive of video documenting “Nicaragua Libre,” as Sandinista Nicaragua was known. I know the window for preserving the video taken in those years is very short, due both to what gets thrown out and videotape’s rate of decay. But I also feel an obligation to protect those in the videos, both those in the foreground, who may be giving interviews, and those in the background, perhaps attending a union meeting or gathering on the street. As independent videomakers, we take a lot of time to complete our documentaries; but the state apparatus that now also “data mines” images has lots more technology and personnel at its disposal to scan and use these images quickly and effectively for surveillance and identification.

In retrospect, we know that the Stasi in East Germany collected huge dossiers of photos and reports on individuals, and it has taken years for the extent of this paper empire to come to public awareness (fictionalized in The Lives of Others, 2006). More recently, mobile phones were widely used in protests during Iran’s disputed elections and consequently monitoring technology led to activists’ persecution and arrests. Cell phone messages, photos and video, Flickr, YouTube, Skype—all these are powerful tools for activism, but they have other consequences as well.

I do not have a way around these contradictions. But they keep me from romanticizing the archive, much as I seen the need to preserve these documents from a revolution. We need these videos for an in-depth understanding of a moment when we could see a people’s optimism and social change


Memories of the 1979 Final Offensive

Photo shows the Sandinistas headquartered at Hoyt’s house.

On the Occasion of the Thirtieth Anniversary of the Sandinista Revolution
By Katherine Hoyt
[Hoyt is National Co-Coordinator of the Nicaragua Network]

Right after Bayardo [Dr. Bayardo Gonzalez of Matagalpa, Nicaragua] and I were married in 1967, my father had told us, “When ‘comes the revolution,’ you send us the kids!” At that time, the Somoza family looked well-entrenched in power with no revolution in sight and we certainly had no kids. But, of course, the revolution did come and we did send the kids


Nicaragua by its statues

Paul Baker Hernandez reflects on the meaning of some of Nicaragua’s public art:

  1. 1979. Revolution.
A gun and a digging tool. Sandino said: “Only the workers and the peasants will endure to the end.”

And he established a self-sustaining community at Wiwilí: rooted in cooperation and the land, it was his model for a sustainable Nicaragua.

In these days of belated realization of the catastrophe of Northern greed, he is a truly global figure – his model vital for the very survival of the planet under global warming. Somoza destroyed the Wiwilí community when he murdered Sandino.

As Cheney put it more recently, “The Amurican Way of Life is not negotiable.”


2. Post Revolution Phase1.
Workers back in their proper place and attitude; no sign of Sandino.


3. Post.Revolution Phase 2.
Woman back in her place, barefoot, pregnant, on her knees.In the background, hidden by trees and a high wall, the ruins of the 1972 earthquake that demolished the heart of Managua and killed 10,000 people.Fixing them up instead of making maudlin statues would at least ensure that more families actually had ktchens.
4.Post-Revolution. Phase 3. The Return of Religosity:
“Pilgrims will come from all over the the world to see these great works of art,” they said. The few that come, come to snigger.
 The first statue of the Virgin had to be replaced: her off-balance pose earned her the title of  “Drunken Virgin”. The second statue is better, marginally. Intriguingly, the photo is from an event to commemorate the 56th anniversary of the Moncada barracks in Cuba. Among other speakers, Comandante Tomas Borge.    “Beach Ball Jesus” speaks for Himself. Unfortunately. Some evangelical literalist has sprayed “Check Deuteronomy” on the base. Presumably referring to the command: “Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image”. Vive la difference! As we gleefully sang at school: “You’ll know they are Christians by their guns, by their guns …”
5.Revolution Post-Revolution.View from the warrior peasant, which is located just up the road from the newly re-constituted Revolutionary Square.The statue of the newly repressed workers is in front, and, beyond them, that of the pregnant woman.Despite attempts to blow it up, the statue still stands defiant and proud.  
  6. Sandino:
Bloodied but Unbowed.
The Carrion store is aptly named. Like vultures, carrion crows feed on dead animals, offal and road kill. So “savage consumerism” is consuming itself. As he stands atop Somoza’s last bunker, brooding over high water mark of consumerism’s catastrophic stupidity within Nicaragua, Sandino offers us all a more intelligent, sustainable, and indeed happy, way of life, reminding us of the fate of all civilizations that get too big for their boots – their roots in the Earth:

“I met a traveler from an antique land
 Who said: ‘Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
 Stand in the desert…. Near them, on the sand,
 Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
 And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
 Tell that its sculptor well those passions read,
 Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
 The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed.
 And on the pedestal these words appear:
 ‘My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
 Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
 Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
 Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
 The lone and level sands stretch far away.” 

 after revolution


On assuming office in 1981, US President Ronald Reagan condemned the FSLN for joining with Cuba in supporting Marxist revolutionary movements in other Latin American countries such as El Salvador. Reagan said he was also concerned about the growing Soviet and Cuban presence in Nicaragua, and the Soviet hope to turn Nicaragua into a “second Cuba”.

In contrast to the administration’s warnings of a ‘Soviet beachead’ in Nicaragua, the June 1984 Bureau of Intelligence and Research report, “Soviet Attitudes Towards, Aid to, and Contacts with Central American Revolutionaries,” reported that “Soviet military aid to Nicaragua is unobtrusive and sometimes ephemeral.” The author of the report, Dr. Carl Jacobsen found that “the limited amounts of truly modern equipment acquired by the Sandinistas . . . came from Western Europe not the Eastern bloc.” The report concluded that “all too many US claims proved open to question” and that “the scope and nature of the Kremlin’s intrusion are far short of justifying the President’s exaggerated alarms.” [54]

Furthermore, the International Court of Justice determined that “the evidence is insufficient to satisfy the Court that, since the early months of 1981, assistance has continued to reach the Salvadorian armed opposition from the territory of Nicaragua on any significant scale, or that the Government of Nicaragua was responsible for any flow of arms at either period.” [55]

Under the Reagan Doctrine, his administration authorized the CIA to have paramilitary officers from their elite Special Activities Division begin financing, arming, training and advising rebels, some of whom were the remnants of Somoza’s National Guard, as anti-Sandinista guerrillas that were branded “counter-revolutionary” by leftists (contrarrevolucionarios in Spanish).[56] This was shortened to Contras, a label the anti-socialist forces chose to embrace. Edén Pastora and many of the indigenous guerrilla forces unassociated with the “Somozistas” also resisted the Sandinistas. The Contras operated out of camps in the neighboring countries of Honduras to the north and Costa Rica to the south.[56] As was typical in guerrilla warfare, they were engaged in a campaign of economic sabotage in an attempt to combat the Sandinista government and disrupted shipping by planting underwater mines in Nicaragua’s Port of Corinto,[57] an action condemned by the International Court of Justice as illegal.[58] The US also sought to place economic pressure on the Sandinistas, and the Reagan administration imposed a full trade embargo.[59]

US support for this Nicaraguan insurgency continued in spite of the fact that impartial observers from international groupings such as the European Economic Community, religious groups sent to monitor the election, and observers from democratic nations such as Canada and the Republic of Ireland concluded that the Nicaraguan general elections of 1984 were completely free and fair. The Reagan administration disputed these results, despite the fact that the government of the United States never had any observers in Nicaragua at the time.

The Reagan administration critisized the elections as a “sham” based on the charge that Arturo Cruz, the candidate nominated by the Coordinadora Democrática Nicaragüense, comprising three rightwing political parties, did not participate in the elections. However, the administration privately argued against Cruz’s participation for fear his involvement would legitimize the elections. U.S. officials admitted to the New York Times that “The Administration never contemplated letting Cruz stay in the race because then the Sandinistas could justifiably claim that the elections were legitimate, making it much harder for the United States to oppose the Nicaraguan Government.” [60]

After the U.S. Congress prohibited federal funding of the Contras in 1983, the Reagan administration continued to back the Contras by covertly selling arms to Iran and channeling the proceeds to the Contras (the Iran–Contra affair).[61] When this scheme was revealed, Reagan admitted that he knew about the Iranian “arms for hostages” dealings but professed ignorance about the proceeds funding the Contras; for this, National Security Council aide Lt. Col. Oliver North took much of the blame.

Senator John Kerry‘s 1988 U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations report on Contra-drug links concluded that “senior U.S. policy makers were not immune to the idea that drug money was a perfect solution to the Contras’ funding problems.”[62] According to the National Security Archive, Oliver North had been in contact with Manuel Noriega, a Panamanian general and the de facto military dictator of Panama from 1983 to 1989 when he was overthrown and captured by a U.S. invading force.[63] He was taken to the United States, tried for drug trafficking, and imprisoned in 1992.[64]

In August 1996, San Jose Mercury News reporter Gary Webb published a series titled Dark Alliance, linking the origins of crack cocaine in California to the Contras.[65] Freedom of Information Act inquiries by the National Security Archive and other investigators unearthed a number of documents showing that White House officials, including Oliver North, knew about and supported using money raised via drug trafficking to fund the Contras. Sen. John Kerry’s report in 1988 led to the same conclusions; major media outlets, the Justice Department, and Reagan denied the allegations.[66]

The International Court of Justice, in regard to the case of Nicaragua v. United States in 1984, found; “the United States of America was under an obligation to make reparation to the Republic of Nicaragua for all injury caused to Nicaragua by certain breaches of obligations under customary international law and treaty-law committed by the United States of America”.[67] United States however rejected and did not comply with the judgement under the ‘Connally Amendment’ (part of the conditional participation of USA in the International court of Justice, which excludes from ICJ’s jurisdiction “disputes with regard to matters that are essentially within the jurisdiction of the United States of America, as determined by the United States of America”).[68

 the edn @ copyright 2012


princess soraya art photography

Princess Soraya (Iran)

Soraya Esfandiary (1932 – 2001) was the second wife and Queen consort of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Shah of Iran.

Soraya Esfandiari Bakhtiari  
Soraya Esfandiari Bakhtiari
Soraya and Bijan Esfandiari Bakhtiari were the children of Khalil Khan Esfandiari-Bakhtiari, and Eva Karl of Germany. Soraya was born in Isfahan on June 22nd, 1932 and Bijan was born 5 years later on 15th of October 1937 also in Isfahan.After the death of their grandfather, Esfandiar Khan (Sardar Asad)1, Bibi Maryam (Soraya’s grandmother) had sent Khalil to Berlin and her other son, Soltan Morad (later Montazem-Dolleh) to London to study. It appears that the decision to send children to different European countries to study were for political reasons. The family leaders needed to be close to the spheres of influence irrespective of which super-power came on top in any given period.

  Khalil Esfandiari

Khalil Esfandiari
Eva Karl in Berlin

Eva Karl in Berlin
  Esfandiar Khan, paternal grandfather

Esfandiar Khan, paternal grandfather
Bibi Maryam, paternal grandmother

Bibi Maryam, paternal grandmother
On the trip to Germany, a stepbrother, Hormoz Khan, accompanied Khalil. They arrived in Berlin in autumn of 1924 and were immediately drawn to it. Most of Khalil Khan’s time in Berlin was spent however in pursuit of beautiful blonds with whom he had great success due to his looks and his aristocratic Eastern background.He was only 21 and a student of political science when he met and fell in love with 16 year old Eva Karl, daughter of Franz Karl who had been living in Czarist Russia for some years representing German manufacturers and had returned to Germany at about the same time as the beginning of the First World War. Franz Karl had three children; Eva, Barbara, and Franz. After one-year courtship, Khalil and Eva were married on the 22nd June 1926 and moved to Isfahan 2 years later.

Moving to Isfahan
Isfahan was the birthplace of Khalil khan and most of his family still lived there so he was no stranger to the city. Isfahan had a large German community and was also known to be the center of influence of German agents like Meyr and Wassmuss who had sought and secured the protection of some of the Bakhtiaris and had plotted subversive actions against the British interests especially in and around the oil installations. In such surroundings, Khalil and Eva were both comfortable and felt secure and far away from the troubles of Europe. They began building a beautifully designed house complete with an orchard.

On the 22nd of June 1932 Soraya was born in the English Missionary Hospital in Isfahan. A beautiful girl with blue/green eyes. In the Persian tradition, it is usually believed that the first-born should be a boy. It would win admiration to the mother and does honour to the father. But in the Esfandiary household such customs were not of great importance and birth of a healthy child was always a good omen for an enlightened couple especially when the child was born on the 6th wedding anniversary of her parents.
Back to Germany
Soon after Soraya was born, Khalil Khan and Eva decided that the child and Eva should go back to Germany to ensure that the baby would have good health care and return when she was stronger. Khalil told his wife that he could not leave Iran at that time but Eva should take the child with her to Germany and that he would follow as soon as he could. So mother and daughter left Isfahan for Germany when Soraya was only 8 months old and considered fit to be taken on such a long journey. The trip took them to the Caspian Sea to the port of Enzeli, by boat to Baku, and then train to Berlin where they stayed with Eva’s parents.
  Soraya's German Grandparents

Soraya’s German Grandparents, Mr. & Mrs. Karl
Soraya Age 5

Soraya age 5
Meanwhile the situation in Iran was getting very unhealthy for the Bakhtiaris as the new Shah began persecuting, imprisoning, and executing their leaders. The Shah had decided that the Bakhtiaris had to be crushed for several reasons. Their semi-autonomy was troubling to the central government and their agreement with the British over the protection of oil pipelines and shares in the oil profits were not in line with the new policies of the Shah in terms of consolidation of the shareholdings of the Anglo Iranian Oil. The Bakhtiaris were ordered to surrender their Arms to the representatives of the Government and the Khans were forced to sell or relinquish their shares in the oil companies. Bakhtiaris were also rounded up for conscription duties away from their territory. The strange bed-fellowship of the British and the Bakhtiaris was especially troubling to Reza Shah as he had become a great admirer of the Germans and had closed his eyes to the activities of the German agents in the country. He was convinced in his heart that the Axis powers would be victorious in the War. A belief that would eventually cost him his throne. An uprising by a small faction in the Bakhtiari territory gave the Shah the excuse to arrest the Khans and sentence some to death and others to varying prison terms.Khalil khan felt it was time to be away from Iran for a while and decided to join his wife and daughter in Berlin; so it was after a 6 months separation that the young family was united again. The family rented a 4 room apartment in Nestorstrasse and Khalil khan registered with the police, much against his will, as a “farmer” because his family owned land and farms in Persia. His own claim to be registered as a Khan was brushed aside as there was no such “profession” in Germany!

Life in Berlin
During the family’s stay in Berlin, Soraya or ‘Raya as she was called, became inseparable from her grand father Franz Karl. He would come and fetch her every Sunday to take her to the zoo and go for walks. Franz Karl recalled that she was choosy and would not play with everyone. She would scrutinize especially the boys most carefully and it wasn’t long before she was ordering even the biggest and oldest ones about. He remembers that Soraya was quite fearless at that young age and gives an example “I remember a walk through the Grunwald, when a huge black dog pursued us. His wild looks and violent barking quite frightened me, but Soraya ran towards him and put her arms round his neck. I was terrified. There was no need to be. The dog and the little girl became friends immediately”.2 From her childhood Soraya had a great love for animals. In her home in Berlin she looked after a yellow canary and a mischievous black-and-white fox terrier.A new world had opened up for Soraya in Berlin. She always remembered and recalled her first children’s party outside of Berlin near one of the many lakes. There were a lottery, shooting gallery, sack racing and egg-and-spoon racing. There was also a little open-air theatre where she played the part of the Sleeping Beauty. Her part consisted solely in being awakened from her hundred-years sleep by the young prince’s kiss, an experience that even at that age she found extremely pleasant!

The stay in Berlin was uneventful and Khalil khan was constantly thinking of returning to Iran and waiting for the political climate for the Bakhtiaris to become tolerable. Nineteen thirty-six and thirty-seven were tough years for the young Esfandiary family. Hitler had announced general conscription and from him and Marshall Goring the talk was now of war.

  Soraya and friend in Berlin Zoo

Soraya and friend in Berlin Zoo
Return to Isfahan
Khalil khan was beginning to become aware of the political situation in Europe, which he had so far ignored. Now it suddenly affected him personally. It was becoming more difficult to get all the money he needed out of Persia and the family were headed for financial crisis for the first time and the likelihood of him being drafted into the Armed Forces was becoming real. So it was in the autumn of 1937 with Eva pregnant that they decided once more to leave Berlin and return to Isfahan. Tearfully, little Soraya said goodbye to her grandfather and her friends and her toys were given to a church.3
After an arduously long journey, they reached Isfahan. This time however, they were not particularly welcomed and the parents were immediately put under supervision by the authorities and could not leave town without the permission of the police. This was due to the order of the king that all Bakhtiari movements be watched and reported. Apart from this inconvenience, they were left in peace. By the time of their arrival, the house in Isfahan was nearly ready for occupation and it was a short time later that Eva gave birth to a beautiful boy, Bijan, on the 15th of October 1937. Soraya was now a lovely little 5 year old when her brother Bijan was born. Bijan was chubby, blond and full of life. The family started working on the house to complete it and especially on the gardens by planting more fruit trees and building a small round pond for dipping in during the hot days of summer.
  The house in Isfahan

The house in Isfahan
The design of the house was a mixture of both Persian and European. It was a comfortable home for the young family and their German Sheppard dog and a greyhound. It was equipped with wood-burning fireplaces and stoves. It also had bath with running hot and cold water, which was a luxury in those days. Soraya attended the German school in Isfahan run by a Mrs. Mentel and spent much time with the children of other German families her own age.
The traditional Persian studies however were not ignored and a teacher would come to the house to teach both kids the school syllabus in Farsi. The German school remained open until June 1941 when the Allied forces closed it down and expelled the German citizens. Frauline Mentel however remained in Iran and continued her teachings in private at her modest home. It was in 1944 that the children began their schooling at the English Missionary School in Isfahan and continued until their departure for Europe in 1947.Whenever they could, the young family would spend time in the village of Ghahfe-rokh and stayed at Esfandiar Khan’s fort, play in the surrounding forest and fishing and swimming in the stream. They would also ride on horseback and Khalil khan would do some game hunting. Soraya was a pretty good rider but Bijan would get on a horse reluctantly.

  Soraya, Eva, Bijan in Isfahan 1940

Soraya, Eva, Bijan in Isfahan 1940
Soraya and Bijan at Esfandiar Khan's Fort in Ghahfe-Rokh 1942

Soraya and Bijan at Esfandiar Khan’s Fort in Ghahfe-Rokh 1942
  Isfahan 1947

Isfahan 1947
The Shah asks Soraya’s hand in marriage
When the 2nd World War ended, Eva who was longing to return to Europe after 10 years in Isfahan persuaded Khalil Khan that it was time to return. They moved to Switzerland in 1947 and rented an apartment in Zurich. Soraya was sent to “La Printaniere” in Montreaux, a finishing school to polish up her French. A year later she was transferred to “Les Roseaux” near Lausanne, another finishing school. She became fluent in French and learned some English. To improve her English, it was arranged that she would spend the summer of 1950 in England. Some of her 2nd cousins also lived in London. Two of whom, Goudarz, a keen amateur photographer, and Malekshah were staying at a boarding house near St. James’s Park with Bibi Shoakat, Goudarz’s mother and attending a language school. Soraya was also enrolled in the same school and moved in with her cousins and Bibi Shoakat in order to enjoy the protection and supervision of these family members.
  In Switzerland

In Switzerland
At this time, the Shah after having divorced his first wife, Princess Fauzieh of Egypt, was looking for a wife and many candidates were being introduced to him either in person or through photographs. One day, the Queen Mother (Taj-ol-Moluk) asked her close friend and confidant Forough Zafar Bakhtiari, daughter of Sardar Zafar, that surely she could find a suitable bride for the Shah amongst the vast Bakhtiari family. Forough Zafar began her search and remembered that one of her nieces, Ghamar Ahmadi who had just returned from a trip to Europe, had mentioned that while in Switzerland, she was invited to Khalil Khan Esfandiari’s apartment and had met his daughter Soraya whom she found to be a very beautiful, well educated, and spoke several languages. Ghamar Ahmadi also added that Soraya was now studying in England to polish up her English. When Forough Zafar mentioned Soraya to the Queen Mother, the Queen asked to see some photographs. Forough Zafar contacted Goodarz, in London and asked him to take some photos of Soraya and send them to her in Tehran as soon as possible. As it was just after the World War II, mail was not very fast or efficient so it took a while for the photos to arrive. Meanwhile, before the arrival of the photos, Princess Shams was traveling to London to see and interview two other candidates for the Shah. Forough Zafar asked the Princess, “while in London, perhaps you could also arrange to meet Soraya Esfandiari by inviting my nephew Malekhah. I will make sure he brings Soraya along with him so you could meet her personally”. The meeting took place at the Princess’s private suites and she was so impressed by Soraya’s beauty and personality that she dispatched an urgent message to the Queen Mother telling her that “Having met Forough Zafar’s cousin, I don’t need to see any other girl. This woman is born to be a Queen. She is beautiful, very well educated, and has excellent mannerism”.4 At this time the photographs from London also reached Forough Zafar who immediately took them to the Queen Mother who in turn passed them on to the young Shah. The Shah looked at the photographs and listened to the description that Princess Shams had given of her, and expressed his desire that they should meet. Message was sent to Princess Shams to bring Soraya to Tehran with her.

  Forough Zafar

Forough Zafar
Soraya writes in her memoirs, “Le Palais de Solitudes” that “when Malekshah asked me to go to the reception with him, at first I was reluctant to meet any of the Pahlavi family because of what they had done to the Bakhtiaris but I had heard that Princess Shams was a nice and attractive women so my curiosity got the better of me”. Princess Shams and Soraya went to Paris from London to do some shopping at the fashion houses of Dior and Channel. Upon hearing the news of Soraya’s impending trip to Tehran, Forough Zafar wrote to Khalil Khan telling him what was happening and suggested that he should join the Princess and Soraya in Paris. The Princess and Soraya flew from Paris to Rome where they were joined by Khalil Khan and then on to Tehran. Coincidentally, Amir Jang was also traveling to Tehran on the same flight but unaware of what was happening. It was with a full wardrobe of the latest Parisian fashion that they arrived in Tehran.Soraya was pretty much exhausted after the long trip and wanted to rest but the Queen Mother and the Shah were so curious to see her as soon as possible that she was summoned to the Queen Mother’s palace for a small dinner the same evening. The Royal family received her warmly and for a quarter of an hour, they exchanged small talk followed by the usual Persian custom of enquiring after her health and the health of her relatives! They all awaited the arrival of the Shah.

Princess Shams had told Soraya that her brother was not particularly handsome in order not to raise her expectations. At last someone announced the arrival of His Majesty the Shah. They all got to their feet and the Shah appeared in the dress uniform of a general of the Iranian Air Force which was evidently his favourite uniform. He embraced his mother and then Soraya was presented to him. The two were drawn to one another instantly and sparks began to fly. At the dinner table, Soraya sat next to the Shah and talked about Switzerland and the country around Montreux and Lausanne and her likes and dislikes. After dinner they played games and the family became more relaxed. Late that evening Soraya left to get some sleep but at 2 in the morning the Shah telephoned and asked to speak to Khalil Khan. When Khalil Khan came to the phone, the Shah told him that he is asking for Soraya’s hand and he wants to know how she felt about it. Soraya’s answer was of course yes as she too was smitten by the young handsome Shah. Next morning, the imperial Court informed the news media and Soraya’s photographs were distributed amongst the newspapers.5 The next day the Shah came to visit Soraya who was staying at Amir Hossein Khan Zafar’s villa, and began courting her. It was towards the end of that year on the 11th of October 1950, that they were officially engaged.

In the ensuing weeks, the Shah and his fiancée saw one another almost daily and with each meeting, they grew more intimate. They went riding in the foothills of Shemiran, played tennis, and went flying with the Shah at the controls. In the evenings the Shah’s sisters and brothers gave small parties for the couple that were lots of fun. They also inspected several of the Royal palaces in and around Tehran for their future residence. Soraya eventually chose one modest and small palace on Pasteur Ave as their future residence and decorators were hired to do the necessary work. The couple also set a date of December 26th as their wedding day. At this time, Soraya suddenly fell ill with typhoid and as her fever did not abate, the wedding was postponed.

The wedding
Soraya recovered sufficiently for the wedding to take place on the date they had set in February although still very weak and shaky. On the 12th of February 1951 the couple were married. The wedding ceremony took place at the famed Hall of Mirrors at the Golestan Palace amidst much pomp and circumstance. The wedding guests numbered 1,600 according to some news reports. The bride wore a beautifully crafted wedding dress by Christian Dior consisting of 37 yards of silver lame with 20,000 feathers and 6,000 diamond pieces sewn on. Soraya was still very weak from her recent fight with Typhoid and was shivering in the cold that February night. The Shah draped a beautiful Dior mink jacket around her shoulders, which added to her difficulty in walking under such heavy load of the jacket and the dress with the long train. The Shah and Dr. Ayadi came up with a solution. A skillful lady-in-waiting was summoned with a pair of scissors who cut off yards of the petticoat and the trail without her having to take off the wedding gown.6
  The wedding of the Shah and Soraya The Shah and Soraya  
In Rome
Shah and Soraya lived very happily and very much in love for the next two years without much event until the relationship between the King and the popularly elected and nationalistic Prime Minister, Dr. Mossadegh came to a head. The events that led to the events of 1953 have been well documented and many of the details have now been written about and no need to go through them in this article. It should however be mentioned that the Shah, the British, and the US had agreed that Mossadegh ought to be dismissed from his post and the Shah subsequently ordered his dismissal and remained in his residence by the Caspian awaiting news of Dr. Mossadegh’s reaction. First reports were not good and he decided to leave Iran with Soraya and his personal pilot. After a brief stop in Baghdad, the Royal couple arrived in Rome with mush anxiety and not sure of the next phase of their lives. The Shah and Soraya stayed at the Hotel Excelsior in Rome. The media was having a field day and one interview after another was being given. Soraya is well remembered in her dotted strapless dress and her large sunglasses.The Shah and Queen Soraya were staying in their suite most of the time with ears pinned to the short wave radio tuned to Radio Tehran. What they heard on the radio was not encouraging and the Shah was getting desperate and losing his nerve. The young couple discussed their next move and the Shah turned to Soraya and said: “We shall have to economize, for I am sorry to say that I don’t have much money; enough perhaps to buy us a farm somewhere”. Soraya then asked where would they go and to her horror he replied: “probably America. My mother and my sister Shams are already there and I hope my brothers may be able to follow us. We could then all live together in order to live economically”. The Shah’s capital at that time consisted of the estate that his father had left him and the Shah’s allowance of $750,000 per annum out of which he had to meet all the expenses of the Court as well as providing for his family dependents. In consequence he had been unable to put much aside.7

  In exile in Rome

In exile in Rome
News of the Coup
It was two o’clock in the afternoon of 19th August 1953. The Shah and Soraya had just returned from a shopping spree and were having lunch at the hotel’s dining room when a young reporter from Associated Press came to their table and triumphantly handed them a Teletype message. It read: “MOSSADEGH OVERTHROWN-IMERIAL TROOPS CONTROL TEHRAN-ZAHEDI PREMIER”. The news had just come over the Teletype and while they continued with their lunch, the AP reporter hastened back and forth between his office and the hotel bringing them the latest breaking news and developments. Soraya was calm but the Shah had turned so pale that Soraya feared he might faint. The Shah and Soraya embraced and rushed downstairs where all the media had gathered. As the royal couple reached the lobby, the hotel manager rushed forward and handed the Shah a telegram, which had just arrived. The telegram read: “Your Majesty, the people of Iran have risen. We are all awaiting Your Imperial couple’s safe and speedy return to the capital” the telegram was signed: “General Zahedi, Prime Minister”. The CIA and the British Intelligence Services had pulled off the coup successfully the Shah returned to Tehran on the 21st August 1953 to a hear t warming welcome. Soraya also returned shortly after.
  Soraya and the Shah Soraya and the Shah  
Soraya liked having some of her family members around her at the Court. Rostam Amir Bakhtiar became her Private Secretary and Malekshah Zafar, Ghobad Zafar, Majid Bakhtiar, Salar Bakhtiar and Jamshid Bakhtiar became frequent visitors to the Court and were nightly partners of the Shah in games of Poker and Bridge. General Teymour Bakhtiar, a distance cousin of Soraya, a brave and charismatic commander of an Armoured Brigade who had moved towards Tehran at the head of his brigade to back the Royalists, was rewarded and became the Military Governor of Tehran. He later became the most powerful man in Iran as the head of the newly formed Internal Security, SAVAK.The quiet days of marriage followed. The Royal couple were constantly together and they had time to travel. Amongst the trips were the state visit to Russia in 1956 to meet Mr. Khrushchev; other visits took them to India, the United States, Britain, Turkey, Spain, and Lebanon. These journeys also provided a sort of delayed honeymoon for the couple.8 Back in Tehran, Soraya busied herself with renovating and fixing up their residential palaces and attending to charity organizations formed under her patronage. “Queen Soraya Pahlavi Charity” was the principal charity of her patronage, which was formed and managed efficiently by Forough Zafar.

Meanwhile, the Shah had appointed Soraya’s father ambassador to Germany, a post he cherished even though he did not involve himself with the duties of an ambassador. He left that to the Minister and other Foreign Office professionals posted to the embassy.

The Divorce
When in 1949 an attempt was made upon the Shah’s life from which he escaped with only minor injuries, his advisers urged him to consider an heir for the sake of continuity of the monarchy. In many instances in other monarchies of the world, a brother or an uncle would be appointed as heir until a direct heir was born but the Shah always resisted such suggestion. He did however consider for a while, appointing Prince Ali Reza as his heir but when he died in an air crash, this subject became more troubling. With the political situation in Iran becoming quiet and more stable, the question of succession became a topic of everyday conversation and concern between the Soraya and the Shah. Soraya had been to every known specialist in the world to find a cure for her sterility but of no avail. Even during their December 1954 visit to the U.S. Soraya was seen by the best but the news was not encouraging. One doctor had suggested a very risky operation with a minimum chance of success but maximum risk, which the couple did not accept.One day in July 1957 the couple went for a long walk in the Palace grounds. The Shah talked about the dynasty’s survival and brought up the heir issue and the fact that they would soon have to make a decision no matter how painful. They talked about alternatives like the Shah taking a second wife and perhaps changing the constitution to allow one of his half brothers to become king after him. They couldn’t agree on any of these alternatives and found each one unacceptable. They finally decided with tears in their eyes and with very heavy hearts, to separate. Before departure for Europe, Soraya burnt all her personal papers; packed her souvenirs and gifts she had received, and left Tehran on the 14th of February 1958 never to see her beloved country again. Soraya settled in the Shah’s Saint-Moritz villa for a while and during her stay, the Shah would call her every day, and then he decided to stop. From Switzerland she went home to stay with her parents in Germany for a while. Amir Jang, the elder of the family and a Senator was dispatched to see Soraya in order to try and persuade her to agree to the Shah taking a second wife but she refused. General Yazdanpanah accompanied by his wife and General Dr. Ayadi also traveled to Germany on two occasions to persuade Soraya to return. Eva received them but Soraya refused even to meet with them. The Shah and Soraya divorced on the 14th March 1958 after 7 years of marriage. They had already said their sad tearful good byes in private. Their love for one another remained until the end. Soraya began her grief in private and in dignity like a true Bakhtiari.

Soraya’s years away from Iran
The Shah had been intent on providing a life of comfort and dignity for his ex-Queen. He had settled a sum of money on her in addition to having made several settlements in her favor during the course of their marriage in the form of money as well as land and securities. Soraya under advise from her father, had invested well so at the time of the divorce, she had a modest fortune that together with the Shah’s final settlement would be enough to enable her to live in comfort. The shah also issued a special decree and bestowed upon Soraya the title of Imperial Princess for life accompanied by a diplomatic passport. She therefore became by rank, equal to Shah’s sisters and the Persian Embassies had to continue treating her as a member of the Royal family. Furthermore, in the European society, she took precedence over many members of the highest nobility. She enjoyed the diplomatic passport and the privileges that came with it until the 1979 Iranian revolution when King Hassan of Morocco ordered that a Moroccan diplomatic passport be issued to her. Eventually, she became a German citizen just a few years before her death.Soraya lived in Rome for a while heart broken and a recluse. She rented a pretty villa located among vineyards, thirty minutes from Rome. Her old friends would come and keep her company but on the whole she lived quietly and slowly began to enjoy her new life but her restless soul could not settle down. Soon, she became restless and during the summer months when Rome became too hot, she traveled to Northern Europe and stayed in Cologne for a while with her mother with whom she felt secure. The period of sadness and aimless life seemed to have no end for her. Now alone and without any aids or protection of the Imperial court, she had to do everything herself, and even harder still was that she now had to learn how to live the life of an ordinary citizen again. She was alone, frightened, and uncertain of her future. Her only security and comfort was in her immediate family. She began traveling extensively.

She moved from Rome to Cologne, to Munich, to Paris, to Rome to Monaco and eventually ended up in Rome again. She was allured by the movie industry as it had always been her dream to one day become a movie star. She met Dino de Laurentis at a party one evening in Rome. Dino offered her a role in a movie he was making. Soraya readily accepted. The movie’s title was “Three faces of a woman” and Mauro Bolognini, Michelangelo Antonioni and Franco Indovina directed it. The movie was a disaster. The rumor has it that when the Shah heard that Soraya was to appear in a movie, he was so infuriated that the whole world would now his ex-wife in romantic scenes that he ordered all the copies be bought and destroyed. Soraya kept one copy, which was eventually sold at the auction of her estate in Paris in May of 2002 together with all her personal effects.

  Movie poster

Movie Poster
Auction of Soraya's belongings

Auction of Soraya’s belongings
Princess Soraya fell under the spell of Franco Indovina and found comfort in his expressions of love. A passionate love affair began to flourish between the two but the future was uncertain. Franco was married and had two children. Indovina told her that he would divorce his wife and they would have a life together.9 Soraya left for Munich and came back 6 months later to join Franco who had just separated from his wife. The couple had a blissful 5 years of life together filled with love and happiness until that fateful day on the 4th of May 1972 when Franco’s plane crashed in Sicily and he was tragically killed.
  With Indovina at the movie set

With Indovina at the movie set
This second blow to her life and the tragedy of losing her loved one in such manner drove her at first into a period of total solitude. It took her several months to come out of the state of grief and moved to Paris where she was welcomed and embraced by the High Society of the European nobility most of whom found it a privilege to have the ex-Empress of Iran on their guest list. She also spent much time in her villa in Marbella, Spain.During this period of exile, Khalil Khan kept in touch with General Dr. Ayadi 10 and Assadollah Alam 11 in Tehran. Ayadi was the Shah’s personal physician and a great admirer of Queen Soraya. Through Dr. Ayadi, the Shah was also kept up to date with news of Soraya and her well being. Khalil khan would use this conduit to ask for financial assistance for Soraya every now and again. Soraya would also write to the Shah through Mr. Alam asking for financial assistance. For example, she wrote to Alam in 1976 asking the Shah to purchase for her an apartment she had seen in Avenue Montaign of Paris. Mr. Alam was instructed to act immediately and arrange the purchase. 12 On another occasion in 1973, Soraya wrote to the Shah through the office of Alam saying that due to the collapse of the share prices in the stock market, her income and standard of living had greatly suffered. The Shah ordered Alam to make the necessary arrangements to transfer money to her account.13

Soraya’s Death
Soraya continued her life in Paris and spent her summers at her Villa Maryam (named after her grandmother) in Marbella, Spain. She moved in the high society circles and spent her time with a select few friends. The sad end came at 2 PM Thursday 25th of October 2001. She was only 69. Her maid found her dead on the floor of her bedroom in her apartment at 46 Ave Montaign. Apparently a massive brain hemorrhage was the cause of Soraya’s death.The service at the American Church in Paris, a close walking distance from Soraya’s apartment was arranged for the 7th of November 2001 and her brother Bijan along with other family members and Paris dignitaries were to attend the services. Bijan, aided by a companion, traveled by car from Koln a few days earlier. Sadly while staying at Hotel George V in Paris, Bijan died suddenly before he could attend the funeral of his sister.

  With her brother Bijan in later years

With her brother Bijan in later years
On the day of the service, “Cathedrale Americaine de la Sainte Trinite” in Avenue George V filled up with approximately 400 friends, family and dignitaries including Count of Paris Henri d’Orleans, Prince Gholam Reza Pahlavi and his wife, Beatrix de Hohenlohe, Rixa de Oldenburg, Anne de Bourbon, some members of the Bakhtiari family and her friends. Outside the Cathedral, a large crowd of camera teams and photographers from all over the world had gathered looking for prominent faces. The memorial service began at 3 PM when the coffin was brought in draped in blue silk and adorned with a single rose carried by 6 pallbearers.
  Funeral services for Soraya  
Canon Sharon Gracen gave the sermon. During her sermon, she recited some of Rumi’s writings; she was followed by some kind words and remembrance by the ex-ambassador of France to Iran, Francis Dore, followed by Alexandre de Villiers who had once been commissioned by Queen Farah to write a book about Iran and the Imperial family. A distinguished former cabinet minister of Iran, Dr. Majid Majidi spoke on behalf of the Iranian exiles in France and expressed his condolences to the Bakhtiari family for their loss. Iranian soprano, Darya Dadvar delivered a beautiful Ava Maria by Franz Schubert to the music of the organist.The body was taken to Germany on Friday 16th of November and buried in her family tomb in the cemetery of Westfriedhof, Munich.

As a young girl, Soraya had pictures of some movie stars framed, in addition to a photo of the young Shah. She would tell all her friends and cousins that one day she will either become an actress or marry the king. Both aspirations became realities but none brought her lasting happiness.

indonesia version

Soraya Esfandiari Bakhtiari
Soraya dan Bijan Esfandiari Bakhtiari adalah anak-anak Khalil Khan Esfandiari-Bakhtiari, dan Eva Karl dari Jerman. Soraya lahir di Isfahan pada tanggal 22 Juni 1932 dan Bijan lahir 5 tahun kemudian pada 15 Oktober 1937 juga di Isfahan.
Setelah kematian kakek mereka, Esfandiar Khan (Sardar Asad) 1, Bibi Maryam (nenek Soraya) telah mengirimkan Khalil ke Berlin dan anaknya yang lain, Soltan Morad (kemudian Montazem-Dolleh) ke London untuk belajar. Tampaknya keputusan untuk mengirim anak ke negara-negara Eropa yang berbeda untuk belajar adalah untuk alasan politik. Para pemimpin keluarga yang dibutuhkan untuk menjadi dekat dengan lingkungan yang berpengaruh terlepas dari yang super-kuasa yang di atas dalam periode tertentu.

Khalil Esfandiari
Eva Karl di Berlin
Esfandiar Khan, kakek dari pihak ayah
Bibi Maryam, nenek dari pihak ayah

Di perjalanan ke Jerman, saudara tiri, Hormoz Khan, disertai Khalil. Mereka tiba di Berlin pada musim gugur 1924 dan segera tertarik untuk itu. Sebagian besar waktu Khalil Khan di Berlin dihabiskan namun dalam mengejar blonds indah dengan siapa ia telah sukses besar karena penampilannya dan latar belakang aristokrat Timur itu.
Dia hanya 21 dan seorang mahasiswa ilmu politik ketika ia bertemu dan jatuh cinta dengan 16 tahun Karl Eva, putri dari Franz Karl yang telah tinggal di Tsar Rusia selama beberapa tahun mewakili produsen Jerman dan telah kembali ke Jerman pada hampir sama waktu sebagai awal Perang Dunia Pertama. Franz Karl memiliki tiga anak; Eva, Barbara, dan Franz. Setelah satu tahun pacaran, Khalil dan Eva menikah pada 22 Juni 1926 dan pindah ke Isfahan 2 tahun kemudian.

Pindah ke Isfahan
Isfahan adalah tempat kelahiran Khalil khan dan sebagian besar keluarganya masih tinggal di sana sehingga ia tidak asing dengan kota. Isfahan memiliki komunitas besar dan Jerman juga dikenal sebagai pusat pengaruh agen Jerman seperti Meyr dan Wassmuss yang telah mencari dan dijamin perlindungan dari beberapa Bakhtiaris dan telah diplot tindakan subversif terhadap kepentingan Inggris khususnya dalam dan di sekitar minyak instalasi. Dalam lingkungan seperti itu, Khalil dan Eva sama-sama nyaman dan merasa aman dan jauh dari masalah Eropa. Mereka mulai membangun rumah indah dirancang lengkap dengan kebun buah-buahan.

Pada 22 Juni 1932 Soraya lahir di Rumah Sakit Misionaris Inggris di Isfahan. Seorang gadis cantik dengan biru / hijau mata. Dalam tradisi Persia, biasanya percaya bahwa sulung harus laki-laki. Ini akan memenangkan kekaguman kepada ibu dan melakukan kehormatan untuk ayah. Namun dalam rumah tangga Esfandiary kebiasaan seperti itu tidak penting dan kelahiran anak yang sehat selalu pertanda baik untuk pasangan yang tercerahkan terutama ketika anak lahir pada ulang tahun pernikahan 6 orang tuanya.
Kembali ke Jerman
Segera setelah Soraya lahir, Khalil Khan dan Eva memutuskan bahwa anak dan Eva harus kembali ke Jerman untuk memastikan bahwa bayi akan memiliki kesehatan yang baik dan kembali ketika dia masih kuat. Khalil mengatakan kepada istrinya bahwa ia tidak bisa meninggalkan Iran pada waktu itu tetapi Eva harus membawa anak bersamanya ke Jerman dan bahwa ia akan mengikuti sesegera mungkin. Jadi ibu dan anak meninggalkan Isfahan untuk Jerman saat Soraya hanya 8 bulan dan dianggap cocok untuk dibawa pada suatu perjalanan panjang. Perjalanan membawa mereka ke Laut Kaspia ke pelabuhan Enzeli, dengan perahu ke Baku, dan kemudian melatih ke Berlin di mana mereka tinggal dengan orang tua Eva.
Kakek-nenek Jerman Soraya, Mr & Mrs Karl
Soraya usia 5

Sementara itu situasi di Iran menjadi sangat tidak sehat bagi Bakhtiaris sebagai Shah baru mulai menganiaya, memenjarakan, dan mengeksekusi para pemimpin mereka. Shah telah memutuskan bahwa Bakhtiaris harus dihancurkan karena beberapa alasan. Semi-otonomi mereka mengganggu kepada pemerintah pusat dan perjanjian mereka dengan Inggris atas perlindungan jaringan pipa minyak dan saham dalam keuntungan minyak tidak sejalan dengan kebijakan baru Shah dalam hal konsolidasi kepemilikan saham dari Iran Anglo minyak. Bakhtiaris diperintahkan untuk menyerah Senjata kepada perwakilan Pemerintah dan para Khan dipaksa untuk menjual atau melepaskan saham mereka di perusahaan minyak. Bakhtiaris juga ditangkap karena tugas wajib militer jauh dari wilayah mereka. Tempat tidur persekutuan-aneh dari Inggris dan Bakhtiaris itu terutama mengganggu ke Reza Syah saat ia telah menjadi pengagum besar dari Jerman dan telah menutup matanya untuk kegiatan agen Jerman di negara ini. Dia yakin dalam hatinya bahwa kekuatan Poros akan menang dalam perang. Sebuah keyakinan yang akhirnya akan membuatnya kehilangan tahtanya. Pemberontakan oleh sebuah faksi kecil di wilayah Bakhtiari memberi Shah alasan untuk menangkap para Khan dan kalimat beberapa mati dan orang lain untuk berbagai penjara.
Khalil khan merasa sudah waktunya untuk pergi dari Iran untuk sementara waktu dan memutuskan untuk bergabung dengan istri dan anak perempuannya di Berlin; jadi setelah pemisahan 6 bulan bahwa keluarga muda itu bersatu lagi. Keluarga itu menyewa sebuah apartemen 4 kamar di Nestorstrasse dan Khalil khan terdaftar dengan polisi, banyak bertentangan dengan keinginannya, sebagai “petani” karena keluarganya memiliki tanah dan peternakan di Persia. Klaim-Nya sendiri untuk didaftarkan sebagai Khan menepis karena tidak ada “profesi” seperti di Jerman!

Hidup di Berlin
Selama tinggal keluarga di Berlin, Soraya atau ‘Raya sebagai ia dipanggil, menjadi tak terpisahkan dari kakek-nya Franz Karl. Dia akan datang dan menjemputnya setiap hari Minggu untuk membawanya ke kebun binatang dan pergi untuk berjalan. Franz Karl ingat bahwa dia adalah pemilih dan tidak akan bermain dengan semua orang. Dia akan meneliti terutama anak laki-laki yang paling hati-hati dan tidak lama sebelum ia memesan bahkan yang terbesar dan tertua tentang. Dia ingat bahwa Soraya cukup kenal takut pada usia muda dan memberi contoh “Saya ingat berjalan melalui Grunwald, ketika seekor anjing hitam besar mengejar kami terlihat liar Nya dan menggonggong kekerasan cukup menakutkan aku,. Tapi Soraya berlari ke arahnya dan menempatkannya lengan mengelilingi leher, aku takut.. Tidak perlu untuk menjadi. Anjing dan gadis kecil menjadi teman segera “.2 Dari masa kecilnya Soraya memiliki cinta yang besar untuk hewan. Di rumahnya di Berlin setelah dia melihat burung kenari kuning dan terrier hitam-putih nakal rubah.
Sebuah dunia baru telah dibuka untuk Soraya di Berlin. Ia selalu ingat dan ingat pesta anak pertamanya di luar Berlin di dekat salah satu dari banyak danau. Ada lotere, galeri tembak, balap karung dan telur-dan-sendok balap. Ada juga teater terbuka kecil di mana ia memainkan bagian dari Sleeping Beauty. Bagiannya terdiri semata-mata terbangun dari seratus tahun tidur oleh ciuman pangeran muda, pengalaman yang bahkan pada usia itu dia menemukan sangat menyenangkan!

Tinggal di Berlin adalah lancar dan Khalil khan terus-menerus berpikir untuk kembali ke Iran dan menunggu iklim politik untuk Bakhtiaris menjadi lumayan. Sembilan belas tiga puluh enam dan tiga puluh tujuh adalah tahun berat bagi keluarga Esfandiary muda. Hitler mengumumkan wajib militer umum dan dari dia dan Marshall Goring bicara itu sekarang perang.

Soraya dan teman di Berlin Zoo

Kembali ke Isfahan
Khalil khan mulai menjadi sadar akan situasi politik di Eropa, yang telah selama ini diabaikan. Sekarang tiba-tiba terpengaruh secara pribadi. Itu menjadi lebih sulit untuk mendapatkan semua uang yang dibutuhkan dari Persia dan keluarga itu menuju krisis keuangan untuk pertama kalinya dan kemungkinan dia sedang disusun ke dalam Angkatan Bersenjata itu menjadi nyata. Jadi, pada musim gugur 1937 dengan hamil Eva bahwa mereka memutuskan sekali lagi untuk meninggalkan Berlin dan kembali ke Isfahan. Sambil menangis, sedikit Soraya mengatakan selamat tinggal pada kakeknya dan teman-teman dan mainannya yang diberikan kepada church.3
Setelah perjalanan panjang susah payah, mereka mencapai Isfahan. Namun kali ini, mereka tidak terlalu disambut dan orang tua itu segera diletakkan di bawah pengawasan oleh otoritas dan tidak bisa meninggalkan kota tanpa izin dari polisi. Hal ini disebabkan urutan raja bahwa semua gerakan Bakhtiari diawasi dan dilaporkan. Selain ketidaknyamanan ini, mereka dibiarkan dalam damai. Pada saat kedatangan mereka, rumah di Isfahan hampir siap untuk pendudukan dan itu adalah waktu kemudian bahwa Eva melahirkan seorang anak cantik, Bijan, pada tanggal 15 Oktober 1937. Soraya kini sedikit indah 5 tahun ketika Bijan adiknya lahir. Bijan adalah gemuk, berambut pirang dan penuh kehidupan. Keluarga itu mulai bekerja pada rumah untuk melengkapinya dan terutama pada kebun dengan menanam pohon lebih banyak buah dan membangun kolam bulat kecil untuk mencelupkan dalam pada hari-hari panas musim panas.
Rumah di Isfahan

Desain rumah itu campuran keduanya Persia dan Eropa. Itu adalah rumah yang nyaman bagi keluarga muda dan anjing Jerman mereka Sheppard dan greyhound. Ia dilengkapi dengan pembakaran kayu perapian dan kompor. Hal ini juga harus mandi dengan air panas dan dingin, yang merupakan kemewahan pada masa itu. Soraya menghadiri sekolah Jerman menjelang Isfahan oleh Mentel Ibu dan menghabiskan banyak waktu dengan anak-anak dari keluarga Jerman lainnya sebayanya.

Studi-studi Persia tradisional namun tidak diabaikan dan guru akan datang ke rumah untuk mengajar kedua anak-anak silabus sekolah di Persia. Sekolah Jerman tetap terbuka hingga Juni 1941 ketika pasukan Sekutu menutupnya dan mengusir warga Jerman. Frauline Mentel namun tetap di Iran dan kembali mengajar dia secara pribadi di rumah sederhana itu. Itu adalah tahun 1944 bahwa anak-anak mulai sekolah mereka di Sekolah Misionaris Inggris di Isfahan dan berlanjut sampai keberangkatan mereka untuk Eropa tahun 1947.
Setiap kali mereka bisa, keluarga muda akan menghabiskan waktu di desa Ghahfe-Rokh dan tinggal di benteng Esfandiar Khan, bermain di sekitar hutan dan memancing dan berenang di sungai. Mereka juga akan naik di atas kuda dan Khalil khan akan melakukan beberapa permainan berburu. Soraya adalah seorang pembalap cukup bagus tapi Bijan akan naik kuda enggan.

Soraya, Eva, Bijan di Isfahan 1940
Soraya dan Bijan di Esfandiar Khan di Fort Ghahfe-Rokh 1942
Isfahan 1947

Shah meminta tangan Soraya dalam pernikahan
Ketika Perang Dunia 2 berakhir, Eva yang rindu untuk kembali ke Eropa setelah 10 tahun di Isfahan membujuk Khalil Khan bahwa sudah waktunya untuk kembali. Mereka pindah ke Swiss pada 1947 dan menyewa sebuah apartemen di Zurich. Soraya dikirim ke “La Printaniere” di Montreaux, sebuah sekolah akhir untuk memoles bahasa Prancis-nya. Setahun kemudian ia dipindahkan ke “Les Roseaux” dekat Lausanne, sekolah lain Finishing. Dia menjadi fasih berbahasa Prancis dan belajar bahasa Inggris. Untuk meningkatkan bahasa Inggris-nya, itu diatur bahwa ia akan menghabiskan musim panas 1950 di Inggris. Beberapa sepupu 2nd nya juga tinggal di London. Dua di antaranya, Goudarz, seorang fotografer amatir yang tajam, dan Malekshah tinggal di sebuah rumah kos di dekat Park St James dengan Bibi Shoakat, ibu Goudarz dan menghadiri sekolah bahasa. Soraya juga terdaftar di sekolah yang sama dan pindah bersama sepupu-sepupunya dan Shoakat Bibi untuk menikmati perlindungan dan pengawasan dari anggota keluarga.
Di Swiss

Pada saat ini, Syah setelah menceraikan istri pertamanya, Putri Fauzieh Mesir, sedang mencari seorang istri dan calon banyak yang diperkenalkan kepadanya baik secara langsung atau melalui foto.
Suatu hari, Bunda Ratu (Taj-ol-Moluk) bertanya pada teman dekat dan orang kepercayaan Forough Zafar Bakhtiari, putri Sardar Zafar, yang pasti ia bisa menemukan pengantin yang cocok untuk Shah di antara keluarga Bakhtiari luas. Forough Zafar mulai pencariannya dan ingat bahwa salah satu keponakannya, Ghamar Ahmadi yang baru saja kembali dari perjalanan ke Eropa, telah menyebutkan bahwa sementara di Swiss, ia diundang ke apartemen Khalil Khan Esfandiari dan telah bertemu Soraya putrinya yang dia ditemukan menjadi beberapa bahasa yang sangat indah, berpendidikan, dan berbicara. Ghamar Ahmadi juga menambahkan bahwa Soraya kini belajar di Inggris untuk memoles bahasa Inggris-nya. Ketika Forough Zafar disebutkan Soraya kepada Ibu Ratu, Ratu meminta untuk melihat beberapa foto. Forough Zafar dihubungi Goodarz, di London dan meminta dia untuk mengambil beberapa foto Soraya dan mengirimkannya padanya di Teheran secepat mungkin. Seperti itu hanya setelah Perang Dunia II, surat itu tidak terlalu cepat atau efisien sehingga butuh beberapa saat untuk foto-foto tiba. Sementara itu, sebelum kedatangan foto, Syams Putri sedang melakukan perjalanan ke London untuk melihat dan mewawancarai dua calon lain untuk Shah. Forough Zafar meminta sang Putri, “sementara di London, mungkin Anda juga bisa mengatur untuk bertemu Soraya Esfandiari dengan mengundang Malekhah keponakan saya, saya akan memastikan ia membawa Soraya bersamanya sehingga Anda bisa bertemu dengannya secara pribadi.”. Pertemuan berlangsung di suite pribadi sang Putri dan dia sangat terkesan dengan keindahan Soraya dan kepribadian yang dia mengirim pesan darurat kepada Ibu Ratu mengatakan bahwa “Memiliki sepupu bertemu Forough Zafar, saya tidak perlu melihat gadis lain. Wanita ini lahir akan menjadi Ratu. Dia cantik, sangat berpendidikan, dan memiliki perangai yang sangat baik “.4 Pada saat foto-foto dari London juga mencapai Forough Zafar yang segera membawa mereka ke Ibu Ratu yang pada gilirannya meneruskannya ke Syah muda. Shah melihat foto-foto dan mendengarkan uraian bahwa Putri Syams telah diberikan, dan menyatakan keinginannya bahwa mereka harus bertemu. Pesan itu dikirim ke Syams Putri untuk membawa Soraya ke Teheran dengannya.

Forough Zafar

Soraya menulis dalam memoarnya, “Le Palais de kesunyian” bahwa “ketika Malekshah meminta saya untuk pergi ke resepsi dengan dia, pada awalnya saya enggan memenuhi salah satu keluarga Pahlevi karena apa yang telah mereka lakukan Bakhtiaris tetapi saya harus mendengar bahwa Putri Syams adalah seorang perempuan yang bagus dan menarik sehingga rasa ingin tahu saya mendapat yang lebih baik dari saya “. Putri Syams dan Soraya pergi ke Paris dari London untuk berbelanja di rumah mode Dior dari dan Channel. Setelah mendengar berita tentang perjalanan yang akan datang Soraya ke Teheran, Forough Zafar menulis kepada Khalil Khan mengatakan kepadanya apa yang terjadi dan menyarankan bahwa ia harus bergabung dengan Putri dan Soraya di Paris. Putri dan Soraya terbang dari Paris ke Roma di mana mereka bergabung dengan Khalil Khan dan kemudian ke Teheran. Secara kebetulan, Amir Jang juga bepergian ke Teheran dengan penerbangan yang sama tetapi tidak menyadari apa yang terjadi. Itu adalah dengan lemari penuh dari mode Paris terbaru yang mereka tiba di Teheran.
Soraya cukup banyak kelelahan setelah perjalanan panjang dan ingin beristirahat tapi Bunda Ratu dan Shah begitu penasaran untuk melihatnya sesegera mungkin bahwa dia dipanggil ke istana Ibu Ratu untuk makan malam kecil pada malam yang sama. Keluarga Kerajaan diterima dengan hangat dan selama seperempat jam, mereka bertukar obrolan ringan diikuti dengan kebiasaan Persia biasa bertanya setelah kesehatannya dan kesehatan keluarganya! Mereka semua menunggu kedatangan Shah.

Putri Syams mengatakan kepada Soraya bahwa kakaknya tidak terlalu tampan agar tidak meningkatkan harapan dia. Akhirnya seseorang mengumumkan kedatangan Mulia Shah. Mereka semua bangkit berdiri dan Shah muncul di seragam seorang jenderal dari Angkatan Udara Iran yang jelas seragam favoritnya. Ia memeluk ibunya dan kemudian Soraya yang disajikan kepadanya. Keduanya tertarik satu sama lain langsung dan percikan api mulai terbang. Di meja makan, Soraya duduk di samping Shah dan berbicara tentang Swiss dan negara sekitar Montreux dan Lausanne dan sejenisnya dan tidak suka. Setelah makan malam mereka bermain game dan keluarga menjadi lebih rileks. Larut malam Soraya tersisa untuk tidur tetapi pada 2 pagi Shah menelepon dan minta bicara dengan Khalil Khan. Ketika Khalil Khan datang ke ponsel, Shah mengatakan kepadanya bahwa ia adalah meminta tangan Soraya dan dia ingin tahu bagaimana perasaannya tentang hal itu. Jawaban Soraya tentu saja ya sebagai dia juga sedang dikalahkan oleh Shah tampan muda. Keesokan paginya, Pengadilan kekaisaran informasi media berita dan foto-foto Soraya dibagikan antara newspapers.5 Keesokan harinya Shah datang mengunjungi Soraya yang tinggal di Hossein Amir Khan Zafar vila, dan mulai merayunya. Saat itu menjelang akhir tahun itu pada 11 Oktober 1950, bahwa mereka resmi bertunangan.

Pada minggu-minggu berikutnya, Shah dan tunangannya melihat satu sama lain hampir setiap hari dan dengan setiap pertemuan, mereka tumbuh lebih intim. Mereka pergi naik di kaki bukit Shemiran, bermain tenis, dan pergi terbang dengan Shah di kontrol. Di malam hari saudari Syah dan saudara memberikan partai kecil bagi pasangan yang menyenangkan. Mereka juga memeriksa beberapa istana Kerajaan di Teheran dan di sekitar tempat tinggal untuk masa depan mereka. Soraya akhirnya memilih salah satu istana sederhana dan kecil di Pasteur Ave sebagai tempat tinggal masa depan mereka dan dekorator yang disewa untuk melakukan pekerjaan yang diperlukan. Pasangan itu juga menetapkan tanggal 26 Desember sebagai hari pernikahan mereka. Pada saat ini, Soraya tiba-tiba jatuh sakit tipus dan demam nya tidak mereda, pernikahan ditunda.

Soraya cukup pulih untuk pernikahan akan berlangsung pada tanggal mereka telah ditetapkan pada bulan Februari meskipun masih sangat lemah dan gemetar. Pada 12 Februari 1951 pasangan menikah. Upacara pernikahan berlangsung di Aula terkenal of Mirrors di Istana Golestan di tengah-tengah banyak kebesaran dan keadaan. Para tamu pernikahan bernomor 1.600 menurut beberapa laporan berita. Pengantin wanita mengenakan gaun pengantin indah dibuat oleh Christian Dior terdiri dari 37 meter dari perak lumpuh dengan 20.000 bulu dan potongan berlian 6.000 dijahit pada. Soraya masih sangat lemah dari pertarungan terakhir dengan Tifoid dan menggigil dalam dingin yang Februari malam. Shah tersampir sebuah jaket bulu Dior indah di sekitar bahunya, yang menambah kesulitan dia dalam berjalan di bawah beban berat seperti jaket dan baju dengan kereta panjang. Syah dan Dr Ayadi datang dengan solusi. Sebuah terampil dayang-menunggu dipanggil dengan gunting yang memotong meter dari rok dan jalan tanpa dia harus melepas pernikahan gown.6

Di Roma
Shah dan Soraya hidup sangat bahagia dan sangat mencintai selama dua tahun berikutnya tanpa acara banyak sampai hubungan antara Raja dan dipilih secara populer dan Perdana Menteri nasionalistik, Dr Mossadegh datang ke kepala. Peristiwa yang menyebabkan peristiwa tahun 1953 telah didokumentasikan dengan baik dan banyak rincian kini telah ditulis tentang dan tidak perlu pergi melalui mereka dalam artikel ini. Namun itu harus disebutkan bahwa Syah, Inggris, dan Amerika Serikat telah sepakat bahwa Mossadegh harus diberhentikan dari jabatannya dan Shah kemudian memerintahkan pemecatannya dan tetap di kediamannya oleh berita Kaspia menunggu reaksi Dr Mossadegh itu. Laporan pertama adalah tidak baik dan ia memutuskan untuk meninggalkan Iran dengan Soraya dan pilot pribadinya. Setelah singgah sebentar di Baghdad, pasangan Kerajaan tiba di Roma dengan kecemasan bubur dan tidak yakin dari fase berikutnya dari kehidupan mereka. Syah dan Soraya tinggal di Excelsior Hotel di Roma. Media sedang mengalami hari lapangan dan wawancara satu demi satu sedang diberikan. Soraya dengan baik diingat dalam gaun tanpa tali putus-putus dan kacamata hitam besar itu.
Shah dan Ratu Soraya tinggal di suite mereka sebagian besar waktu dengan telinga ditempelkan ke radio gelombang pendek sesuai untuk Radio Teheran. Apa yang mereka dengar di radio tidak mendorong dan Shah sudah mulai putus asa dan kehilangan keberaniannya. Pasangan muda mendiskusikan langkah berikutnya dan Shah beralih ke Soraya dan berkata: “Kita harus menghemat, sebab Aku menyesal untuk mengatakan bahwa saya tidak punya uang banyak, cukup mungkin untuk membeli kami pertanian di suatu tempat”. Soraya kemudian bertanya di manakah mereka pergi dan dengan ngeri dia menjawab:. “Mungkin Amerika Ibu dan Syams adikku sudah ada dan saya harap saudara-saudara saya mungkin dapat mengikuti kami Kami semua kemudian bisa hidup bersama untuk hidup secara ekonomi. “. Modal Syah pada waktu itu terdiri dari warisan bahwa ayahnya telah meninggalkannya dan penyisihan Syah sebesar $ 750.000 per tahun dari luar yang harus memenuhi semua biaya Pengadilan serta menyediakan untuk tanggungan keluarganya. Karena ia tidak mampu menempatkan banyak aside.7

Di pengasingan di Roma

Berita tentang kudeta
Saat itu pukul dua sore hari 19 Agustus 1953. Syah dan Soraya baru saja kembali dari berbelanja dan sedang makan siang di ruang makan di hotel ketika seorang reporter muda dari Associated Press datang ke meja mereka dan menyerahkan mereka penuh kemenangan pesan Teletype. Bunyinya: “Mossadegh digulingkan-IMERIAL PASUKAN PENGENDALIAN Teheran-Zahedi PREMIER”. Berita itu baru saja selama Teletype dan sementara mereka dilanjutkan dengan makan siang mereka, reporter AP bergegas bolak-balik antara kantor dan hotel membawa mereka berita terbaru dan perkembangan. Soraya tenang tapi Syah telah berubah jadi pucat yang Soraya takut ia akan pingsan. Syah dan Soraya memeluk dan bergegas ke lantai bawah di mana semua media berkumpul. Sebagai pasangan kerajaan sampai di lobi, manajer hotel bergegas ke depan dan menyerahkan Shah telegram, yang baru saja tiba. Telegram itu berbunyi: “Yang Mulia, rakyat Iran telah meningkat Kita semua menunggu kembali beberapa Imperial Anda yang aman dan cepat ke ibukota.” Telegram itu ditandatangani: “Jenderal Zahedi, Perdana Menteri”. CIA dan Badan Intelijen Inggris telah ditarik dari kudeta berhasil Shah kembali ke Teheran pada tanggal 21 Agustus 1953 sampai dengan mendengar pemanasan t diterima. Soraya juga segera kembali.

Soraya suka memiliki beberapa anggota keluarganya di sekitarnya di Pengadilan. Rostam Amir Bakhtiar menjadi Sekretaris Pribadi dan Malekshah Zafar, Ghobad Zafar, Majid Bakhtiar, Salar Bakhtiar dan Jamshid Bakhtiar menjadi sering pengunjung ke Pengadilan dan merupakan mitra malam dari Shah dalam permainan Poker dan Jembatan. Umum Teymour Bakhtiar, sepupu jarak Soraya, seorang komandan berani dan karismatik dari Brigade lapis baja yang bergerak menuju Teheran di kepala brigade-nya untuk mendukung royalis, dihargai dan menjadi Gubernur Militer Teheran. Dia kemudian menjadi orang yang paling berkuasa di Iran sebagai kepala Keamanan Dalam Negeri yang baru terbentuk, SAVAK.
Hari-hari yang tenang pernikahan diikuti. Pasangan Kerajaan itu selalu bersama-sama dan mereka punya waktu untuk bepergian. Di antara perjalanan adalah kunjungan kenegaraan ke Rusia pada tahun 1956 untuk memenuhi Mr Khrushchev, kunjungan lain membawa mereka ke India, Amerika Serikat, Inggris, Turki, Spanyol, dan Lebanon. Perjalanan ini juga memberikan semacam bulan madu yang tertunda untuk Kembali couple.8 di Teheran, Soraya menyibukkan diri dengan merenovasi dan memperbaiki istana tempat tinggal mereka dan menghadiri kepada organisasi-organisasi amal yang dibentuk berdasarkan patronase nya. “Ratu Soraya Amal Pahlevi” adalah amal utama patronase nya, yang dibentuk dan dikelola secara efisien oleh Forough Zafar.

Sementara itu, Shah telah menunjuk duta besar ayah Soraya ke Jerman, sebuah pos ia dihargai meskipun ia tidak melibatkan diri dengan tugas-tugas seorang duta besar. Ia meninggalkan kepada Menteri dan para profesional Office lainnya Luar Negeri diposting ke kedutaan.

Perceraian ini
Ketika pada tahun 1949 upaya yang dilakukan pada kehidupan Syah dari mana ia melarikan diri dengan hanya luka ringan, penasihatnya mendesak dia untuk mempertimbangkan ahli waris demi kelangsungan monarki. Dalam banyak kasus di kerajaan-kerajaan lain di dunia, saudara atau paman akan diangkat sebagai ahli waris sampai ahli waris langsung lahir tapi Shah selalu menolak saran tersebut. Namun ia tidak menganggap untuk sementara waktu, menunjuk Pangeran Ali Reza sebagai ahli warisnya tetapi ketika ia meninggal dalam kecelakaan udara, hal ini menjadi lebih mengganggu. Dengan situasi politik di Iran menjadi tenang dan lebih stabil, persoalan suksesi menjadi topik percakapan sehari-hari dan perhatian antara Soraya dan Shah. Soraya telah berkunjung ke setiap spesialis dikenal di dunia untuk menemukan obat untuk kemandulan, tapi ada gunanya. Bahkan selama 1954 kunjungan Desember mereka ke Soraya AS terlihat oleh yang terbaik tetapi berita itu tidak menggembirakan. Satu dokter menyarankan operasi yang sangat berisiko dengan kesempatan minimal sukses tetapi risiko maksimum, yang pasangan tidak menerima.
Suatu hari pada Juli 1957 pasangan itu pergi berjalan-jalan di halaman Istana. Shah berbicara tentang kelangsungan hidup dinasti dan dibesarkan isu pewaris dan fakta bahwa mereka akan segera harus membuat keputusan tak peduli betapa menyakitkan. Mereka berbicara tentang alternatif seperti Shah mengambil istri kedua dan mungkin mengubah konstitusi untuk memungkinkan salah satu saudara tirinya untuk menjadi raja sesudah tuanku. Mereka tidak bisa menyepakati salah satu alternatif dan menemukan masing-masing tidak dapat diterima. Mereka akhirnya memutuskan dengan berlinang air mata dan dengan hati yang sangat berat, untuk memisahkan. Sebelum berangkat untuk Eropa, Soraya membakar semua surat-surat pribadinya; dikemas souvenir dan hadiah yang telah diterimanya, dan meninggalkan Teheran pada 14 Februari 1958 tidak pernah melihat negara tercinta lagi. Soraya menetap di Saint-Moritz Syah vila untuk sementara dan selama tinggal, Shah akan meneleponnya setiap hari, dan kemudian ia memutuskan untuk berhenti. Dari Swiss ia pulang untuk tinggal bersama orang tuanya di Jerman untuk sementara waktu. Amir Jang, yang lebih tua dari keluarga dan Senator sebuah dikirim untuk melihat Soraya untuk mencoba dan membujuknya untuk menyetujui Shah mengambil istri kedua tetapi dia menolak. Umum Yazdanpanah didampingi oleh istri dan Umum Dr Ayadi juga berkunjung ke Jerman pada dua kesempatan untuk membujuk Soraya untuk kembali. Eva menerima mereka tetapi Soraya bahkan menolak untuk bertemu dengan mereka. Syah dan Soraya bercerai pada 14 Maret 1958 setelah 7 tahun menikah. Mereka sudah mengatakan selamat tinggal sedih mereka menangis baik secara pribadi. Cinta mereka satu sama lain tetap sampai akhir. Soraya mulai kesedihannya dalam martabat pribadi dan dalam seperti Bakhtiari benar.

Tahun Soraya dari Iran
Shah telah bertekad menyediakan kehidupan yang nyaman dan martabat bagi mantan Ratu-nya. Dia telah menetap sejumlah uang pada dirinya selain telah membuat beberapa pemukiman yang mendukung dia selama pernikahan mereka dalam bentuk uang serta tanah dan surat berharga. Soraya bawah menyarankan dari ayahnya, telah diinvestasikan baik sehingga pada saat perceraian, ia memiliki keberuntungan sederhana yang bersama-sama dengan penyelesaian akhir Syah akan cukup untuk memungkinkan dia untuk hidup dengan nyaman. Syah juga mengeluarkan keputusan khusus dan diberikan kepada Soraya judul Imperial Putri untuk hidup disertai dengan paspor diplomatik. Dia karena itu menjadi oleh pangkat, sama dengan saudara Shah dan Kedutaan Persia harus terus memperlakukan dia sebagai anggota keluarga kerajaan. Selanjutnya, dalam masyarakat Eropa, ia mengambil diutamakan daripada banyak anggota bangsawan tertinggi. Dia menikmati paspor diplomatik dan hak istimewa yang datang dengan itu sampai revolusi Iran tahun 1979 ketika Raja Hassan dari Maroko memerintahkan paspor diplomatik Maroko dikeluarkan padanya. Akhirnya, ia menjadi warga negara Jerman hanya beberapa tahun sebelum kematiannya.
Soraya tinggal di Roma untuk jantung sementara rusak dan pertapa. Dia menyewa sebuah villa cantik yang terletak di antara kebun-kebun anggur, tiga puluh menit dari Roma. Teman-teman lamanya datang dan menemaninya tetapi secara keseluruhan ia tinggal dengan tenang dan perlahan mulai menikmati kehidupan barunya tetapi jiwa gelisah dia tidak bisa tenang. Segera, ia menjadi gelisah dan selama musim panas ketika Roma menjadi terlalu panas, ia pergi ke Eropa Utara dan tinggal di Cologne untuk sementara waktu dengan ibunya dengan siapa dia merasa aman. Masa kesedihan dan kehidupan tanpa tujuan sepertinya tidak ada habisnya untuknya. Sekarang sendirian dan tanpa alat bantu atau perlindungan dari pengadilan Imperial, ia harus melakukan semuanya sendiri, dan bahkan lebih sulit lagi adalah bahwa dia sekarang harus belajar bagaimana menjalani kehidupan warga negara biasa lagi. Dia sendirian, ketakutan, dan tidak pasti tentang masa depannya. Satu-satunya keamanan dan kenyamanan berada di keluarga dekat. Dia mulai bepergian secara ekstensif.

Dia pindah dari Roma ke Cologne, ke Munich, ke Paris, ke Roma untuk Monaco dan akhirnya berakhir di Roma lagi. Dia terpikat oleh industri film karena selalu mimpinya untuk suatu hari menjadi bintang film. Dia bertemu Dino de Laurentis pada malam satu partai di Roma. Dino menawarinya peran dalam film yang ia buat. Soraya mudah diterima. Judul film ini adalah “Tiga wajah seorang wanita” dan Mauro Bolognini, Michelangelo Antonioni dan Franco Indovina diarahkan itu. Film ini adalah bencana. Rumor mengatakan bahwa ketika Shah mendengar bahwa Soraya adalah untuk muncul dalam film, ia begitu marah bahwa seluruh dunia sekarang akan mantan istrinya dalam adegan romantis yang ia memerintahkan semua salinan dibeli dan dihancurkan. Soraya terus satu salinan, yang akhirnya dijual dengan lelang real di Paris dalam bulan Mei 2002 bersama dengan semua efek pribadinya.

Film Poster
Lelang barang milik Soraya

Putri Soraya jatuh di bawah mantra Franco Indovina dan menemukan kenyamanan dalam ekspresi cintanya. Sebuah kisah cinta yang penuh gairah mulai berkembang antara kedua tapi masa depan tidak pasti. Franco adalah menikah dan punya dua anak. Indovina mengatakan bahwa dia akan menceraikan istrinya dan mereka akan memiliki kehidupan together.9 Soraya berangkat ke Munich dan kembali 6 bulan kemudian untuk bergabung Franco yang baru saja berpisah dari istrinya. Pasangan ini memiliki 5 tahun bahagia hidup bersama penuh dengan cinta dan kebahagiaan sampai hari yang menentukan pada 4 Mei 1972 ketika pesawat Franco jatuh di Sisilia dan ia tragis tewas.
Dengan Indovina di set film

Ini pukulan kedua untuk hidup dan tragedi kehilangan dia cintai dengan cara tersebut mengantarnya pada awalnya menjadi sebuah periode kesendirian total. Butuh waktu beberapa bulan dia untuk keluar dari keadaan kesedihan dan pindah ke Paris dimana dia disambut dan dianut oleh Masyarakat Tinggi kaum bangsawan Eropa yang sebagian besar merasa hak istimewa untuk memiliki-Ratu mantan Iran dalam daftar tamu mereka . Dia juga menghabiskan banyak waktu di vilanya di Marbella, Spanyol.
Selama masa pengasingan, Khalil Khan terus berhubungan dengan Jenderal Dr Ayadi 10 dan Assadollah Alam 11 di Teheran. Ayadi adalah dokter pribadi Syah dan pengagum Ratu Soraya. Melalui Dr Ayadi, Shah juga terus up to date dengan berita dan Soraya nya kesejahteraan. Khalil khan akan menggunakan saluran ini untuk meminta bantuan keuangan untuk Soraya setiap sekarang dan lagi. Soraya juga akan menulis ke Shah Alam melalui Mr meminta bantuan keuangan. Sebagai contoh, ia menulis kepada Alam pada tahun 1976 meminta Shah untuk membeli sebuah apartemen untuknya ia terlihat di Jalan Montaign Paris. Pak Alam diperintahkan untuk segera bertindak dan mengatur pembelian. 12 Pada kesempatan lain pada tahun 1973, Soraya menulis kepada Shah melalui kantor Alam mengatakan bahwa karena runtuhnya harga saham di pasar saham, pendapatan dan standar hidup telah sangat menderita. Syah memerintahkan Alam untuk membuat pengaturan yang diperlukan untuk mentransfer uang ke account.13 nya

Soraya Kematian
Soraya melanjutkan hidupnya di Paris dan menghabiskan musim panas nya padanya Villa Maryam (bernama setelah neneknya) di Marbella, Spanyol. Dia bergerak di kalangan masyarakat tinggi dan menghabiskan waktu dengan beberapa teman pilih.

[1] 1844-1903. “Sardar Asad” was a title given by the king. Sardar means, “Head of the Army, or a General”.
[2] Soraya, Queen of Persia by Walter W. Krause 1956 London
[3] Soraya, The Autobiography of Her Imperial Highness. Doubleday & Co., New York 1964
[4] As recalled by Marie Meghdadi, Forough Zafar’s daughter
[5] As recalled and told by Princess Soraya to her close friends
[6] Autobiography of H.I.H, Princess Soraya; English translation from German
[7] Soraya, The Autobiography of H.R.H. Princess Soraya. Page 93. Doubleday and Company, NY 1964
[8] “Mission for My Country” by Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Hutchinson & Co. Ltd. 1961
[9] Autobiography of Soraya “Le Palais Des Soltudes”. 1st Edition, Michel Lafon, 1991
[10] Dr. Ayadi was a very powerful man who had the ear of the Shah. He was a wealthy landowner and had the concession for the export of Iranian shrimp from The Persian Gulf. He was a leader of the Bahai sect in Iran.
[11] Shah’s closest confidant
[12] Alam’s memoirs, volume 5
[13] Alam’s memoirs

The Russia History Collections Part Three

The Russia History


Part Three

Created by


Dr Iwan Suwandy,MHA

Copyright@ 2012






UNTIL 1913.


Based on that collections I am starting to se

SEARCH  more related info, and this era pre and during Wold War I before Russia independent.

I hope all the collectors,scholar and young generation who want tostudy in Russian must read this E-BOOK IN CD-ROM, but I am sorry this is only sample,the complete info with full illustration only for premium member.

This study still not complete ,more info and crorrection comment stil need.

Jakarta April 2012

Dr Iwan suwandy.MHA














Russia: NAGAI TARTARS. Antique print.Bankes.c.1790


Stufa in maiolica, russia, 1790


Three-part bibliotheque

Period : Russia, circa 1790-1800.

Material : mahogany veneer, mahogany burr ; ormolu ; verre églomisé (gilded glass).

Dimensions : 91 ½ in. high ; 93 ½ in. wide ; 19 in. deep


St Petersburg

The Imperial tapestry manufactory in St Petersburg is best known for the tapestries produced during the reigns of Catherine the Great and Paul I.  However tapestry carpets were also produced, some with Imperial marks and dates.  A small group of knotted pile carpets were produced







 House of Romanov



Michael I

Maria Vladimirovna Dolgorukova

one stillborn child

Eudoxia Lukyanovna Streshneva

5 February 1626
ten children



Alexis I the Quietest

Maria Ilyinichna Miloslavskaya
17 January 1648
13 children

Natalia Kirillovna Naryshkina
1 February 1671
3 children



Feodor III

Agaphia Simeonovna Grushevskaya
28 July 1680
one son

Marfa Matveievna Apraksina
24 February 1682
no children



Sophia (regent)

unmarried, no children



Ivan V
jointly with Peter I

Praskovia Feodorovna Saltykova
5 daughters



Peter I the Great
jointly with Ivan V 1682–1696

Eudoxia Feodorovna Lopukhina
3 children

Marta Helena Skowrońska
9 children


28 June 1709




28 June 1709

Forces Engaged

Russian: 44,000 men and 100 cannon. Commander: Czar Peter the Great.

Swedish: 17,000 men and 4 cannon. Commander: King Charles XII.


Sweden’s defeat marked their decline and the arrival of Russia as a serious European power.

Historical Setting

Sweden had expanded from a Scandinavian power to a major force in European politics because of the statecraft and military genius of Gustavus Adolphus. He died in 1632 at the battle of Leutzen in the Thirty Years’ War and was succeeded by Charles X. Charles expanded on Gustavus’s strong performance by taking Sweden to its greatest limits and power by 1655. During the First Northern War, Charles defeated Poland and Denmark, but the war ended with his death in 1660. Peace lasted for four decades, until the reign of Charles XII, when Poland began showing its traditional restlessness under foreign dominance. In 1700, Polish King Augustus II organized the Northern Union, made up of Poland, Denmark, and Russia. Russia was the most enthusiastic supporter of the Union, not because it desired Polish liberation but because Czar Peter I wanted his country to supplant Sweden as the dominant Baltic power.

Charles XII was but 18 years of age when he rose to the throne of Sweden in 1700, but he did not lack for military talent. He made the first move of what came to be called the Second, or Great, Northern War by invading Denmark, which he viewed as the weak link in the enemy chain. With Copenhagen threatened, the Danes concluded a quick peace, signing the Treaty of Travedal on 28 August 1700. Although the Danes promised to remain passive and not aid their erstwhile allies, the fact that they possessed a strong fleet worried Charles because it was a potential threat to his lines of communication when he faced Poland and Russia.

Charles quickly turned eastward and landed 8,000 men at Livonia with the intent of relieving the besieged city of Riga, but instead marched on Narva when he learned that the attacking Russian force outnumbered the defenders by a four-to-one margin. The Russians remained unaware of Charles’s approach until he attacked them in a driving snowstorm on 20 November. The Russians were badly beaten, losing 10,000 dead, wounded, or taken prisoner, while another 30,000 fled, abandoning all their artillery and supplies. Charles next marched on Poland, where a 4-year campaign against King Augustus finally ended in Swedish victory with the signing of the Treaty of Altranstadt on 24 September 1706. Poland pledged to remain quiet, accepting Swedish puppet Stanislas Leszczynski in place of King Augustus. Charles spent the winter reorganizing and resupplying for the campaign against Russia the following year.

While Charles was defeating Denmark and Poland, Czar Peter had spent his time reorganizing his own army after the embarrassment at Narva. He also built up his fleet in the Baltic at the same time that he was building his capital at St. Petersburg, at the mouth of the Neva River. By not marching to the aid of his allies, Peter had had the time to significantly upgrade his military strength. He needed it; Charles invaded out of Poland on 1 January 1708 with Moscow as his goal. As is so often the case, the Russians were able to slow the invading army by gradual withdrawals and a scorched-earth policy. Accomplishing the desired goal of depriving Charles and his army of supplies, the Swedish king marched his forces southward to join with his new ally, Ivan Mazepa, hetman of the Cossacks. That move meant that the supply line that Charles wanted to maintain became badly strained, and Peter took advantage of that. He attacked a force under Swedish General Carl Lewenhaupt at Lesnaia on 9 October 1708. Lewenhaupt commanded a force of 11,000 marching to reinforce Charles, but after the defeat at Lesnaia only 6,000 got through, and without artillery or supplies.

The Battle

The winter of 1708–1709 was spent in skirmishes between Peter’s army and the combined Swedish-Cossack force, during which time Charles’s force of 40,000 was cut almost in half because of combat and the severe cold. In the spring of 1709, Charles decided to press on to Moscow, rather than reinforce his army. Along the line of march lay the town of Poltava on the Vorskla River. Charles laid siege to Poltava on 2 May. Peter sent his cavalry commander Menshikov to distract and observe the Swedes, while he both put down a Cossack rising along the Dnieper River and convinced the Turkish government to stay aloof from this struggle. The Turks not only stayed out of it, temporarily at least, but also forbade Crimean Cossacks from aiding the Swedes. With his rear covered, Peter marched on Poltava, arriving in early June. He established a camp on the west bank of the Vorskla, a few miles north of Poltava.

The Russians defending Poltava had held out much longer than Charles had anticipated, and the Swedish king was running low on both food and gunpowder. To make bad matters worse, on 17 June Charles was wounded in the foot, making it impossible for him to lead his troops in battle with his normal energy. With 40,000 Russians now in the neighborhood, he should have lifted the siege and withdrawn to Poland, but instead he decided to fight Peter. When Peter learned of Charles’s wound, he too thought that the time for battle had come. Much closer to Poltava he built a new camp, a fortified square with the east flank on the Vorskla and the south flank along a marshy wood with a stream running through it. That wood and stream separated the Russian camp from Poltava. Peter was sure this new camp would provoke Charles to attack, and he was correct.

Charles’s army began its march to battle at 0300 on 28 June 1709. They had to move west from Poltava and then turn north to enter a gap between the aforementioned woods and a marsh farther west. Between the woods and marsh, Peter had built six redoubts to slow any advance and then began building four more perpendicular to the six. The result was a T formation with the crossbar between the woods and marsh and the upright pointing at the oncoming Swedes, who had to divide their forces to either side. Charles left 5,600 men behind to cover Poltava and guard the base camp, leaving him with but 12,500 men for his attack. Although Charles moved his men in the dark of night, Peter learned of the operation and quickly established a line of mixed infantry and cavalry behind the line of six redoubts.

Charles was forced by the redoubts to split his force, half to the east and half to the west; he was carried on a litter with the left, western force. His plan was to rush past the fire of the redoubts to engage the Russians behind, who he was sure would not stand and fight; he remembered their shoddy performance at Narva and assumed nothing had changed. The problem with this plan was that he refused to share it with his subordinates for, like Alexander of Macedon, he was a hands-on, lead-from-the-front commander who liked to be in the midst of battle to act and react as circumstances dictated. Because he was on a litter, though, he could not do that, and his primary subordinate, General Rehnskjöld, was not allowed to act on his own initiative. Overcentralized command doomed the Swedes.

On the left flank, the attacking Swedes soon swept past the redoubts and drove back the Russians on the far side. On the right, however, General Roos proceeded to attack the redoubts to reduce or capture them. That meant that he not only made slow progress, but he suffered lots of casualties. When, late in the morning, Charles was ready to press his attack on Peter’s camp, he had but half his army with him because Roos was bogged down and soon surrounded and captured. The troops in the center of the attack also managed to break through the line of redoubts and, driving Russian troops before them, were in a position to wheel right and storm the Russian camp. This force, under Lewenhaupt, received orders to retreat and join with Charles, however, thus losing their momentum and giving Peter time to prepare his army. Who sent the order to Lewenhaupt was hotly debated at the time, for both Charles and Rehnskjöld denied sending it, but, with the shifting fortunes of battle and the conflicting reports of success and failure, it could have been sent almost at any time in the previous few hours.

While Charles redeployed his forces on the plain behind the redoubts, Peter brought 40,000 men out of his camp, along with 100 cannon. Charles certainly should not have attacked this greatly superior force, at least until the artillery he had back at Poltava was brought up, but his disdain for the Russian troops over-rode good sense. Four thousand infantry and cavalry advanced across the open plain into the teeth of the Russian guns, and they were mowed down by the hundreds. Peter rode constantly through his own lines shouting encouragement and giving orders. Charles was unable to do so, and thus his uninspired men had no chance of breaking the Russian line. By noon, Charles was obliged to leave the field.


Charles left behind 3,000 dead and 2,800 prisoners, including General Rehnskjöld and four other generals. Charles gathered up the troops that he had left at Poltava and they made their way east and south. At the junction of the Vorskla and Dnieper Rivers, he found all boats destroyed, but he built enough rafts to escape with 1,000 men. The remainder were captured on 30 June. Charles fled to seek refuge with the Turks, Russia’s traditional enemy, who granted him sanctuary.

Peter scored a major triumph at Poltava, but almost threw it all away. Rather than consolidating his victory, he pressed a campaign against Poland while demanding that the Turks surrender Charles to him. Instead of Charles, the Turks sent 200,000 troops to the Russian frontier. In the spring of 1711, Peter declared war on Turkey and soon found himself in command of 38,000 starving men along the River Pruth, with the region devastated by the Turks, who outnumbered him five to one. On 11 August, the Turks attacked and were beaten back. Their commander, Grand Vizier Baltaji Mehmet, entered into negotiations with Peter and soon granted him and his army parole. A few days’ siege would have brought Peter’s army to its knees, but instead he lived to fight another day.

War continued between Russia and Turkey on one front and Russia and Sweden on another, while Charles remained in Turkey arguing with his allies. Russia and Turkey signed the Treaty of Adrianople in 1713, but not until 1721 did Russia and Sweden sign the Treaty of Nysted; Charles XII had been killed in battle 3 years earlier. Thus ended the Great Northern War after 21 years, and Sweden, which entered the war as such an important power, exited it a broken country.

Russia, on the other hand, replaced Sweden as the major power in the Baltic region. In the Treaty of Nysted, Russia received Livonia, Estonia, and Ingermanland on the Baltic as well as the Finnish Karelia territory. Peter, who had long envied European progress, had access now to what the west could provide. He imported experts on almost everything to drag Russia into the modern world, and technical advisors as well as intellectuals stayed in St. Petersburg to fulfill his dreams. This brought a facade of western civilization to Russia, which the aristocrats were able to appreciate, but the mass of Russian peasantry remained poor, ignorant, and exploited. Peter’s wars and building projects killed tens of thousands; as much as 20 percent of the Russian population died during his reign. Many of them died in the military, which Peter was determined to make the equal of any European army or navy. When he died, the Russian navy possessed forty-eight ships of the line, and the army had more than 200,000 regulars and 100,000 reserves.

Although Russians began to act like Europeans, their Asian heritage lingered on. Peter had to remedy that to build the empire he wanted. The only way to do that was to adopt European government administrative techniques and philosophies to provide the necessary regular taxation power he needed. The western administration, however, employed eastern ruthlessness in execution, and more dead Russians were the result as Peter suppressed any objections to his actions. Although he did introduce a number of western social reforms, they rarely applied to the masses, who continued to work and produce the labor and taxes, just as they had done for centuries. That resource, coupled with the land and mineral resources that Peter developed, brought Russia overnight into Europe as a country to be reckoned with. Although its power waxed and waned over the following centuries, Russia was here to stay on the world scene. “A new threat to Europe had arisen; again Asia was on the move, but this time her Mongoloid hordes were girt in the panoply of the West” (Fuller, A Military History of the Western World, vol. 2, p. 186).

Had Peter lost at Poltava, it is certainly questionable if Sweden would have bent Russia to its will. If the Turks had not let Peter go from the River Pruth, Turkey may well have emerged as the major eastern power that Russia became because the struggle between those two countries never ebbed, and Russian military power certainly acted as a curb to Ottoman desires in eastern Europe.


Creasy, Edward S. Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World. New York: Harper, 1851; Fuller, J. F. C. A Military History of the Western World, vol. 2. New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1955; Hatton, R. M. Charles XII of Sweden.





The accession of Peter the Great (1682-1725) to the throne of Russia marked a turning point in its history. At the beginning of his rule, he realized that Russia could not become a strong country economically unless it had access to the sea. His first aim was a foothold on the Black Sea coast, which meant war with Turkey, and the first clashes showed that the Russian army was not up to Peter’s nationalistic ambitions. He therefore reorganized it, modelling it largely on the west European armies, especially in matters of recruitment, administration, armaments and training. In 1689 he ruthlessly crushed an uprising by the Streltzi regulars, and disbanded their units. In 1699, the order was issued for the creation of a new Russian standing army, and eligible men aged between 17 and 32 were recruited for life-long military service. Twenty-seven infantry and two dragoon regiments were created.


The Russian army was traditionally cavalry-oriented; the reason why Peter recruited only two regular dragoon regiments was that he was counting on the numerous yeomanry militia (dvoriani) who reported for war with their own horses, armament and equipment, and formed cavalry units. However, after the serious defeat by the Swedes at Narva in 1700, Peter gave up the concept of irregular units and during his rule raised 32 dragoon regiments.


The first were called Schneewanz and Goltz, after their colonels. After 1708, regiments were named for their places of formation and recruitment. They were organized according to the infantry model, in 10 companies of 100 men. Every regiment also had three three-pound cannon. In 1704, an additional company of 100 grenadiers was added to the dragoon regiments; in 1711, these were organized in three regiments of mounted grenadiers.


Until the mid-eighteenth century, Russian cavalry rules envisaged units dismounting and fighting in infantry squares; this was a throwback to the dragoons’ infantry training. The reason for this was that Russia lacked large numbers of heavy horses, which were later bought from Germany for the forming of cuirassier regiments.

During the Great Northern War (1700-21), Peter introduced two large dragoon formations: one under General Menschikov, consisting of 11 regiments, the other under General Golitzin, 10 regiments strong. The king thus had at his disposal large corps of mounted infantry armed with artillery and all that was needed for independent action in Russia’s vast expanses.


Reputedly, in a conversation between Charles XII of Sweden and Peter the Great, Charles enumerated the virtues of his army, its many successes and captured standards. Peter retorted that Russia was a large country, and that his dragoons could sleep in their saddles. It is a fact that the Russian dragoons and their horses were tough, and that they suffered remarkably small losses from exhaustion, illness or cold during military operations and long marches.


Emperors of Russia



Peter I the Great




Catherine I

Peter I of Russia
9 childre




Peter II





Frederick Wilhelm, Duke of Courland
November 1710
no children



Ivan VI (disputed)





Alexey Razumovsky
no children




Portrait of Tsar Vasiliy IV of Russia by Viktor Vasnetsov in 1897

The above portrait of Vasily IV of Russia, painted by Viktor Vasnetsov in 1897, depicts the tsar wearing the ceremonial robes, the Monomakh’s crown and the royal scepter in his right hand. Apart from colored stones, the upper part of the ceremonial robe is embroidered with four rows of pearls, two rows around the neck and two rows around its lower edge.

False Dmitriy II, second pretender to the Russian throne, who claimed to be Tsarevich Dmitriy Ivanovich of Russia

During the reign of Tsar Vasili IV around July 1607, there appeared at Starodub, a highly educated young man, with aristocratic skills, who spoke both Russian and Polish languages and an expert in liturgicl matters. The man claimed to be the Muscovite boyar Nagoy, but later confessed under torture to be Tsarevich Dmitry, the youngest son of Ivan the Terrible. The young man was taken at his word and soon became the nucleus of an anti-Russian alliance, that included the Cossacks and Poles, and even ordinary muscovites who were attracted by the promise of wholesale confiscation of the estates of Boyars. As the popularity of False Dmitriy II increased, the ambitious Jerzy Mniszech, the father-in-law of False Dmitriy I, approached the new False Dmitriy and got his consent to marry his daughter Marina Mniszech, the widow of the first False Dmitry. The marriage of False Dmitriy II to the Polish princess, Marina Mniszech, earned the support of the magnates of the Polish Luthunian Commonwealth, who had previously supported False Dmitriy I. They made funds avilable for his campaign and gave him an army of 7,500 soldiers. False Dmitriy II’s army quickly captured many important towns in Russia, that was taken over and reinforced by the Polish-Lithuanian army, and in the spring of 1608 his army advanced towards Moscow, routing the army of Tsar Vasily Shuisky at Bolkhov. False Dmitriy II set up camp at the village of Tushino, just outside Moscow, where an army of over 100,000 men assembled, consisting of Polish, Cossack and other soldiers. He also won the allegiance of more cities, such as Yaroslavl, Kostroma, Vologda and Kashin. However, when the Polish king Sigismund III Vasa arrived at Smolensk, most of his Polish soldiers deserted his army and joined the forces of the king. Around this time, a strong Russio-Swedish army under the joint-command of Prince Mikhail Skopin-Shuisky and Jacob de la Gardie approached Tushino, and false Dmitriy II was forced to flee tushino, disguised as a peasant. He escaped to Kostroma where he was joined by his wife Marina Mniszech who was now pregnant with his child. False Dmitriy II made another unsuccessful attack on Moscow, and with the help of his Cossack forces held on to territory in south-eastern Russia. However, on December 11, 1610, after he had drunk deeply with his boyar friends, he was killed by a young Tartar prince, Peter Ursov, whom he had punished by flogging previously.

Marina Mniszech widowed for the second time gave birth to False Dmitriy’s son, Ivan Dmitriyevich, posthumously in January 1611. Marina Mniszech then married her third spouse Ivan Zarutsky, who took upon himself the task of supporting the nomination of her son, Ivan Dmitriyevich, for the Russian throne. However, by the summer of 1613, after the Poles had been expelled from Moscow and Michael Romanov, the son of Patriarch Filaret had been elected as the new tsar, Marina Mniszech and Ivan Zarutsky, having lost their supporters fled to Astrakhan. The people of Astrakhan, did not like the pretender and his family staying in their city, and when they rose against them in 1614, they escaped into the steppes. Ivan Zarutsky failed to get support for another Cossack uprising, and was finally captured by the Cossacks around June 1614 and handed over to the government. Ivan Zarutsky and Marina Mniszech’s 3-year-old son, Ivan Dmitriyevich were executed in 1614, and Marina Mniszech died in Prison in Moscow soon afterwards.


Sketch of False Dmitriy II by unknown artist around 1610

The above sketch of False Dmitriy II by unknown artist, probably drawn around 1610, depicts him wearing a woolen cap, with a hair ornament affixed to it on the side. The hair ornament appears to be made up of a large oval-shaped pearl, with a smaller drop-shaped pearl hanging from it, and a plume of feathers rising from above.

Nominal rule of Wladyslaw IV Vasa as Tsar of Russia from September 6, 1610 to November 4, 1612

After Tsar Vasili IV was deposed by the Council of Seven Boyars on July 27, 1610, they elected the 15-year-old Wladyslaw IV Vasa, the son of the Polish king Sigismund III Vasa, as the new Tsar of Russia, on September 6, 1610. The Poles entered Moscow on September 21, 1610, suppressing brutally riots that broke out in the capital city, which was set on fire. King Sigismund III Vasa refused to accept the suggestion of the Council of Seven Boyars to send his son Wladyslaw to Moscow to accept the throne after converting to Orthodox Christianity. This was because of the unsettled conditions in Moscow where anti-Polish feelings were running high, and King Sigismund III Vasa’s ultimate aim of converting Moscow’s population from Orthodox Christianity to Catholicism. However, the Council of Seven Boyars continued to recognize, Wladyslaw IV Vasa as the Tsar of Russia, and struck Muscovite silver and gold coins in the mints of Moscow and Novogrod, with his titulary, “Tsar and Grand Prince Vladislav Zigimontovich of all Russia.”

The Polish occupation of Moscow, provoked a national uprising against the invasion in 1611 and 1612. In opposition to the “Council of Seven Boyars” and the Poles, a “Council of All the Land” was formed in April 1611, headed by Prince Dmitriy Mikhailovich Pozharsky. A volunteer army was formed led by Prince Dmitriy Pozharsky and the merchant Kuzma Minin. This army fought with the occupying Polish forces and finally expelled them from the capital on November 4, 1612. The activities of the Council of Seven Boyars and the nominal rule of Wladyslaw IV Vasa ended with the expulsion of Poles from Moscow on November 4, 1612.


Portrait of Prince Wladyslaw IV Vasa by Peter Paul Rubens, executed on oil on canvas in 1624, during his visit to Brussels as the personal guest of Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia of Spain

The above portrait of Prince Wladyslaw IV Vasa before he was elected king of Poland, depict him wearing a hat with a hat-ornament affixed to one side. The hat ornament incorporates a large drop-shaped pearl and several smaller spherical pearls. The prince also appears to be wearing another vertical pearl ornament just below the collar of his coat.

Appreciation of pearls by the Tsars and Tsarinas of the Romanov dynasty

The Time of Troubles in Russian History that began with the death of the heirless Feodor I Ivanovich on January 7, 1598, marking the end of the main line of Tsars of the Rurik dynasty, was actually a period of succession struggles, resulting in civil wars and foreign intervention, further compounded by the Russian famine of early 17th-century, caused by extremely cold summers that wrecked crops, and increased social disorganization. This period of instability finally came to an end in February 1613, with the expulsion of Poles from Moscow, and the election of the 16-year-old Michael Romanov, the son of Patriarch Filaret who was living in captivity in Poland, as the new Tsar of Russia, by a National Assembly constituted of representatives from around fifty cities in Russia. This marked the beginning of a new dynasty of Tsars in Russia, known as the Romanov dynasty, that ruled Russia until the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917.

Tsar Michael Fyodorovich Romanov – First Tsar of the House of Romanov from 1613 to 1645

Michael Romanov was crowned Tsar of All Russia on July 22, 1613. The new Tsar with the help of his counsellors immediately set about restoring law and order in the vast country, and one of his first tasks was the elimination of gangs of robbers who devastated the country side. He then made peace with Russia’s former enemies, Sweden and the Polish-Lithunian Commonwealth, with whom he signed peace treaties in 1617 and 1619 respectively. The signing of the peace treaty with Poland, enabled the Tsar’s father, Feodor Nikitich Romanov (Patriach Filaret) to return from captivity in Poland in 1619, and take over the affairs of the government, on behalf of his young son, Tsar Michael Romanov, a position which he held, until his death in 1633. Tsar Michael became famous as a gentle and pious Prince, who gave little trouble to anyone, preferring to rule from behind the scenes, effacing himself behind his counsellors.


Portrait of Tsar Michael I of Russia by unknown artist depicting him with the coronation regalia of the Tsardom of Russia

Coronation regalia depicted on the portrait –

Coronation robes heavily embroidered with rows of pearls.

The Orb set with pearls and colored stones.

Monomakh’s Cap or Crown, set with pearls and colored stones.

The royal scepter.

“Millennium of Russia” monument in Veliky, Novgorod depicting Michael I being offered the Monomakh’s Cap and scepter by Kuzma Minin and protected by Dmitriy Pozharsky


Eudoxia Streshneva – Second wife (1626-1645) of Tsar Michael Fyodorovich Romanov (1613-1645)

Tsar Michael Romanov married twice. His first wife was Maria Vladimirovna Dolgorukova, whom he married in late 1624, but died four months later in 1625. His second wife was Eudoxia Streshneva, whom he chose himself from an array of fair noble maidens, and married on February 5, 1626. The marriage proved to be a very successful one, producing 10 children, out of whom only five survived into adulthood. The second surviving child, Tsarveich Alexis succeeded his father, as the second tsar of Russia of the Romanov dynasty. Eudoxia Streshneva died just five weeks after her husband in 1645.


Potrait of Eudoxia Streshneva second wife of Tsar Michael I

Ornaments worn by the Tsarina -

Robes embroidered with pearls.

Brooch used as a pin holding together ends of the outer robe.

Crown set with rows of pearls and colored stones.

Earrings probably set with pearls.


Tsar Michael I choosing his bride from several fair maidens in 1626

The above painting by Ilya Yefimovich Repin executed between 1884 and 1887, depict Tsar Michael I choosing his bride from an array of fair maindens in 1626. The tsar chose Eudoxia Streshneva as his second bride, whom he married on February 5, 1626. All the maidens assembled appear to be heavily bedecked with ornaments incorporating pearls, such as pearl drop earrings, pearl necklaces, brooches and stomachers, and bracelets. The tsar himself is depicted wearing some form of pearl ornament on the upper part of his robes.

Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich Romanov – Second Tsar of the House of Romanov from 1645 to 1676

When Tsar Michael Romanov died on July 12, 1645, he was succeeded by his eldest and only surviving son, Alexei Mikhailovich Romanov who ascended the throne at the age of 16 as Tsar Alexis I. During the early years of his rule, Tsar Alexis I’s chief advisor and minister was boyar Boris Morozov, who adopted a cautious foreign policy, securing a truce with Poland and avoiding any conflicts with the Ottoman empire. By abolishing many unnecessary and expensive court offices, and limiting privileges given to foreign traders he relieved the public burden. In 1648, Boris Morozov successfully procured the marriage of the 19-year-old tsar to his relative, the 23-year-old Maria Miloslavskya. In fact the Tsar was required to choose his bride from among hundreds of noble girls, but the selection was managed by Boris Morozov, who manipulated the selection to favour his relative, Maria Miloslavskya, whom the Tsar married on January 17, 1648. Ten days later, Boris Morozov himself married a sister of Maria Miloslavskya, a marriage that enhanced his power in the court. However, Boris Mozorov soon became unpopular that led to the Moscow Salt Riots of May 1648, leading to his dismissal and exile to a monastery.

After a period of disturbances all over the Tsardom following the Salt Riots, patriarch Nikon who had displayed tact and courage during the disturbances at Novgorod, was appointed the Tsar’s chief minister in 1651. After peace was restored all over the tsardom, Tsar Alexis diverted his attention towards Russia’s neighbour and longtime enemy, the Polish-Lithunian commonwealth who had annexed Russian lands during the Time of Troubles. He took advantage of Poland’s weakness and disorder following the Khmelnitsky uprising, and having got the approval of the national assembly, ordered the Russian army to attack lands held by the commonwealth. The campaign led to a series of wars involving Russia, Poland and Sweden, that eventually led to the Treaty of Andrusovo in 1667, in which Poland accepted the loss of Left-bank Ukraine, Kiev and Smolensk to Russia. Tsar Alexis was outraged by the killing of King Charles I of England in 1649, by the Parliamentarians led by Oliver Cromwell. In retaliation, he broke off diplomatic relations with England, banned all English merchants from entering Russia, provided financial assistance to the widow of Charles I and accepted all royalist refugees in Moscow.


Portrait of Tsar Alexis I of Russia by unknown west European artist in the 17th-century

Royal regalia depicted on the portrait

The above portrait of Tsar Alexis I of Russia by an unknown west European painter, probably executed in the 17th-century, depict the tsar wearing his royal regalia, that includes the following :-

Royal robes heavily bedecked with pearls.

Monomakh’s cap or crown set with pearls and colored stones.

The royal scepter set with pearls and colored stones.



Portrait of Tsar Alexei Mikhailovich in the Hermitage Museum by unknown artist

Coronation regalia depicted on the portrait

The above portrait of Tsar Alexis I by an unknown artist depict him with the following coronation regalia

Coronattion robes heavily bedecked with colored stones and rows of pearls

A necklace with a cross hanging as pendant.

Monomakh’s cap or crown set with colored stones and rows of pearls.

The Orb set with colored stones and rows of pearls.

The royal scepter incorporating pearls at one end.



Tsar Alexis of Russia choosing his bride

The above painting of Tsar Alexis I choosing his bride, drawn by Grigory Sedov in 1882, over two hundred years after its occurrence, depicts the young Tsar Alexis choosing his bride before his marriage in 1648. Tsar Alexis I married Maria Miloslavskaya, who was four years his senior, and daughter of boyar Ilya Danilovich Miloslavsky, a relative of Boris Morozov. The six princesses depicted in the painting are all wearing a tiara or a headdress studded with pearls. At least two of them are depicted wearing multistrand pearl necklaces. Some of them are wearing drop earrings incorporating pearls. The dresses of at least two of the princesses are studded with pearls. The 19-year-old tsar is also depicted wearing a necklace incorporating pearls and a cap lined with pearls. The artist Grigory Sedov has attempted to recreate the mode of dressing and the type of ornaments worn by princesses in Russia two hundred years earlier, in the mid-17th-century. The expressions on the faces of the princesses in the painting are perfectly natural, and speaks of the artist’s ability in depicting the true nature of things in a bygone era.

Maria Ilynichna Miloslavskya – First wife (1648-1669) of Tsar Alexis I (1645-1676) and Tsaritsa consort of All Russia

Maria Miloslavskya was the first wife of Tsar Alexis of Russia, whom he married in 1648. Maria was four years senior to the tsar at the time of the marriage. The marriage turned out to be a happy one and produced 13 children in 21 years of marriage, out of whom two sons and six daughters survived into adulthood. The eldest son became Feodor III of Russia and the second son, Ivan V of Russia, who co-ruled with his half-brother Peter I of Russia. The third surviving dughter, Sophia Alekseyevna acted as regent to Peter I during his minority. Maria Miloslavskya died a few weeks after her 13th childbirth in 1669.


Portrait of Maria Miloslavskya drawn by Ivan Saltanov probably in the 1670s

Ornaments worn by the Tsaritsa -

A crown or headdress studded with pearls and colored stones.

A broad collar lined by a single row of pearls at its edges.

Broad bands studded with pearls and lined by rows of pearls at its edges, wrapped around each hand.

Natalia Kirillovna Naryshkina – Second wife (1671-1676) of Tsar Alexis I and Tsarina of All Russia

Two years after the death of his first wife, Tsar Alexis I decided to marry again, and took as his second wife, the 20-year-old Natalia Kirillovna Naryshkina , whom he married on February 1, 1671. Natlia was the daughter of a petty nobleman, Kirill Poluektovich Naryshkin, but was brought up in the house of the western-leaning boyar Artamon Matveyev who had married the Scottish-descended Mary Hamilton. The marriage produced three children, a son, who became Peter the Great of Russia and two daughters, out of whom only one survived into adulthood. Natalia was widowed when Tsar Alexis I died in 1676, but was treated with affection by her stepson Feodor, who ascended the throne as Tsar Feodor III of Russia. When Feodor III died in 1682, his brother Ivan V became co-Tsar with Natalia’s son Peter. Natalia acted as regent for Peter, who was still a minor, with her foster Artamon Matveyev serving as advisor. However, her regency was short-lived, as she was soon replaced by Feodor III’s elder sister, Sofia Alekseyevna, during the revolt of the Streltsy on May 15, 1682, in which two of her own brothers and her foster-father were killed, and her own father, Kirill Naryshkin was forced to take-up robes as a monk. Until August 1689, Natalia almost lived in poverty with her son, Peter the co-Tsar, in Alexei’s summer palace, about 5 km. from Moscow. Peter, who reached the age of 17 in August 1689, overthrew his half-sister Sofia, who had been ruling as an autocrat for 7 years in his name, and took control of his kingdom, and continued to rule as co-Tsar with his half-brother Ivan V. Sophia was forced to enter a convent, and Peter’s mother was restored to her rightful position as nominal leader of the court.


Portrait of Natalia Narishkina, second wife of Tsar Alexis I and mother of Peter the Great


In the above portrait of Natalia Narishkina drawn by an anonymous artist in the 18th-century, the former Tsaritsa is depicted almost dressed like a nun, and significantly without any ornaments decorating her person.

Feodor III Alexevich – Romanov Tsar of Russia from 1676 to 1682

Feodor was the eldest surviving son of Tsar Alexis I and his first wife, Maria Miloslavskya, and succeeded his father as Tsar in 1676 at the age of 15. Feodor was educated by the most learned Slavonic monk, Simeon Polotsky and thus possessed a fine intellect and noble disposition, eventhough he was disfigured and paralyzed by a mysterious disease from the time of his birth. Yet in spite of his physical disabilities he soon demonstrated that he was capable of ruling on his own, just as any other normal human being. A remarkable feature of his court was the lack of an oppressive atmosphere, leniency in the application of penal laws and a new sense of liberalism that pervaded his court. His notable achievements included the founding of the Academy of Sciences, and merit being made the main criteria for all appointments to the civil and military services, that replaced the former system of mestnichestvo, in which special preference was given to people of noble birth. Fedor III’s chief advisor in running the affairs of the state was Artamon Matveyev, foster father of Natalia Narishkina, mother of Peter I.

Tsar Feodor III took as his first wife an Ukranian noblewoman, known as Agaphia Simeonovna Grushevskaya, whom he married on July18, 1680. Feodor was 19 and Agaphia 17 at the time of their marriage. Agaphia was as learned as Feodor, and could speak and write languages like Polish, French and Latin. Agaphia turned out to be an angelic wife and Tsarina to Tsar Feodor, merciful and loyal to the disabled tsar and concerned about public welfare. She shared the radical views of her husband, and being well informed about western European life styles, she was the first to advocate beard-shaving and the use of western attire in the Russian court. She herself was the first tsarina to expose her hair and to wear a western dress in the Russian court.

She gave birth to her first child, a son, the expected heir to the throne on July 11, 1681, but unfortunately Agafya died three days later, due to complications of childbirth. Six days later, the nine-day old infant tsarevich also died, totally devastating Feodor III, who deeply mourned their passing away.


Portrait of Tsar Feodor III of Russia by unknown artist executed in the late 1600s

Coronation regalia depicted on the portrait :-

The above portrait of Tsar Feodor III of Russia, executed by an unknown artist, in the late 1600s depict the Tsar wearing coronation regalia. The components of the regalia, incorporating pearls are as follows :-

The Monomakh’s cap or crown heavily studded with pearls.

The coronation robe with its upper flap going round the shoulders, heavily studded with pearls.

The Orb depicted on the lower right-hand end of the portrait, also studded with rows of pearls.

A cross hanging as pendant from a necklace, probably made up of a double-strand of pearls.

Marfa Matveyevna Apraksina – Second wife (February 24, 1682 to May 7, 1682) of Tsar Feodor III and Tsarina of All Russia

Seven months after the death of his first wife, Feodor III took as his second wife Marfa Apraksina, daughter of Matvey Vasilyevich Apraksin, on February 24, 1682. However, just three months after this marriage, Feodor III died on May 7, 1682, at the age of 21, without a surviving issue, that sparked the Moscow uprising of 1682, as rumours spread that the Naryshkins in their desire to promote Natalia Naryshkin’s son Peter to the throne of Russia, strangled to death, the mentally and physically disabled Ivan, Tsar Feodor III’s younger brother, who was next in line of succession to the throne. The uprising subsided only when Ivan appeared in front of the rampaging crowds, to show that he was still alive and well.


Portrait of Marfa Apraksina by unknown author

Ornaments worn by the Tsarina :-

Headdress studded with pearls.

Drop earrings incorporating pearls.

Several necklaces around the neck, one of which appears to be a single-strand choker necklace, and the longest a multistrand pearl necklace, with a zig-zag lower strand.

Rings incorporating pearls.

Ivan V Alekseyevich Romanov – co-Tsar of Russia with his younger half-brother Peter I from 1682 to 1696

When the childless Feodor III died on May 7, 1682, a dispute arose between the families of his two wives, Miloslavsky and Naryshkin families, as to who should inherit the throne. Ivan, the second surviving son of Tsar Alexis I by his first wife, Maria Miloslavskya, was the next in line of succession to the throne, but was chronically ill and of infirm mind, and it was doubtful whether he had the mental ability for such a challenging task as ruling a vast country like Russia. Hence, the Boyar Duma (Council of Russian nobles) overlooked Ivan, and instead chose his half-brother, the ten-year-old Peter, Alexis I’s next son by his second wife, Natalia Narishkina, to be the next Tsar of Russia, with his mother appointed as regent. This arrangement was apparently ratified by the people of Moscow, but members of the Milolavsky family who were not happy with the decision of the Boyar Duma, spread the rumour that the Naryshkins had strangled to death, the mentally and physically disabled Ivan, in order to promote the chances of Peter, sparking off riots all over Moscow. The ambitious Sophia Alekseyevna, the third surviving daughter of Tsar Alexis I, then led a rebellion of the Streltsy, the Russian elite military corps, during which two brothers of Natalia Naryshkina and her foster father, Artamon Matveyev were killed, and her own father, Kirill Naryshkin was forced enter a monastery. The ultimate outcome of the uprising was that Ivan and Peter were proclaimed as joint Tsars, with Ivan being recognized as the senior of the two, and Sophia Alekseyevna replacing Natalia Naryshkina as Regent during the minority of the two tsars. Sophia ruled as an autocrat during the next seven years, in the name of both co-Tsars.

Ivan had a close relationship not only with his half-brother Peter, but also his stepmother Natalia Naryshkina. In fact he was not interested at all in becoming the Tsar, but was persuaded by his ambitious elder sister, Sophia Alekseyevna, who ruled as an autocrat in his name. In 1689, when Peter had turned 17, he planned to takeover power from his regent and half-sister Sophia, who was now unpopular due to two unsuccessful Crimean campaigns. When Sophia heard of Peter’s plans, she attempted to raise another riot, by misleading the Streltsy and the people of Moscow, that the Naryshkin’s had destroyed Ivan’s crown, and were about to set his room on fire. But the plan failed as Ivan himself declared his allegiance to his half-brother Peter, who had escaped in the middle of the night to the impenetrable monastery of Troitsky, from where he gathered his supporters and moved against Sophia, who was overthrown and forced to enter a convent. Peter I and Ivan V then continued there rule as co-Tsars, with Peter’s mother, Natalia Naryshkina being restored to her former position in court, exercing power on behalf of her son and stepson. Natalia died five years later in 1694, when Peter took complete control of his kingdom, with his brother Ivan V continuing nominally as a co-Tsar. When Ivan V died in 1696, at the age of 29 years, Peter became the sole ruler of his kingdom.


Portrait of Tsar Ivan V by unknown artist

Ornaments depicted on the portrait :-

A brooch rhomboidal in shape and studded with cabochon cut colored stones or black pearls.

A collar set with equally spaced large pearls in the center and lined at the edges by a single row of pearls.

Praskovia Saltykova – Wife of Tsar Ivan V and Tsaritsa consort of All Russia from 1684 to 1696

Two years after ascending the throne as co-Tsar, Ivan V married Praskovia Saltykova, the daughter of Fyodor Petrovich Saltykov, who was chosen by Ivan himself from an array of maidens parading before him. Ivan was 18 and Praskovia 20 years of age at the time of their marriage. Despite his physical and mental disabilities, Ivan’s marriage to Praskovia produced five robust daughters, one of whom would ascend the throne of Russia, as Empress Anna Ivanovna. However, by the age of 27, Ivan V was described by foreign diplomats, as senile, paralytic and almost blind. Ivan V died two years later, in 1696 at the age of 29 years.

After Ivan V’s death, Praskovia lived as a dowager Tsarina, holding court in Moscow and later Saint Petersburg, functioning as the first lady of the Russian court, as Peter had no legal wife at that time, until he officially married his second wife Catherine, at Saint Isaac’s Cathedral on February 9, 1712. Peter’s two daughters Elizabeth (future empress) and Anna (mother of future emperor, Peter III) were also educated at Praskovia’s court. Praskovia died in October 1723, a little over an year before Peter the Great’s own death in February 1725.


Portrait of Tsaritsa Praskovia Saltykova by artist Ivan Nikitin executed in the early 18th-century

Ornaments worn by the tsarina :-

A headdress or hairdo, incorporating three rows of large white spherical pearls on either side, and a single row of pearls radiating on either side of a centerpiece, set with colored stones.

Peter I the Great – Tsar of All Russia from 1682 to 1721 and later Emperor of All Russia from 1721 to 1725

Peter I who was co-Tsar with Ivan V from 1682 to 1696, became the sole Tsar of Russia after Ivan V’s death on February 8, 1696. Peter, who grew to become the tallest monarch in Europe during his period, with a height of 6 ft. 8 ins. also became one of the greatest Tsars in the history of Russia, assuming the title of Emperor of All Russia during the latter part of his rule from 1721 to 1725. His policy of expansion and modernization, learning from west European countries, eventually transformed the tsardom of Russia into a great empire not only in extent but also in terms of political power.


Portrait of young Peter the Great executed by unknown artist in the late 17th-century

Ornaments depicted on the portrait :-

A single-strand pearl necklace.

A large oval-shaped brooch set with colored stones and pearls, at the end of a V-shaped black garland, at the point where the outer red cloak splits, revealing the inner black robe.

Three smaller brooches on the red cloak in the space between the necklace and the black garland. These brooches are also set with colored stones and pearls


Peter modernized the Russian army along western lines, and consolidated his authority by brutally suppressing all rebellions against his rule, going to the extent of disbanding the Streltsy, the Russian elite military corps, that always constituted a threat to any incumbent tsar. Russia had only one outlet to the sea, at the time he took control of the country, in the north on the White Sea at Arkhangelsk, whose harbour was frozen for nine months in a year. This was a serious limitation for the expansion of trade with the outside world and the setting up of a modern navy. Peter realized that possible outlets for his country were situated in the Baltic Sea in the north, which was under the control of Sweden and Black Sea in the south, controlled by the Ottoman Empire. After an unsuccessful attempt to capture the fortress of Azov from the Ottomans in 1695, he finally succeeded in July of 1696, and established the first Russian naval base at Taganrog in 1698.

In 1697 he undertook a journey to Europe with a large Russian delegation, visiting France, England, the Netherlands, Austria and cities such as Dresden and Leipzig, with the intention of forging a broad anti-Ottoman alliance, but received poor response, as there was little enthusiasm in Europe for such a move. However, Peter made use of this opportunity to learn first-hand about life in western Europe, and various skills such as shipbuilding in Amsterdam and the techniques of city building in Manchester, knowledge which he subsequently used in the building up of the Russian navy and the building of his new capital city at Saint Petersburg. During this tour he also engaged the services of shipwrights, seamen, builders of locks and fortresses, and others with useful skills, who would later follow him to Russia, and help build his country. Peter was forced to cut short his European tour and return to Russia, because of a rebellion by the Streltsy which was fortunately crushed even before he returned home. However, soon after his arrival in Russia, he executed over 1,200 rebels, disbanded the Streltsy and forced his half-sister Sophia, whom the Streltsy wanted to instal on the throne, to become a nun. It was during his visit to England in 1698, that Sir Godfrey Kneller painted Peter’s portrait in battle dress, that was subsequently presented to King William III of England.


Portrait of Peter the Great painted by Sir Godfrey Kneller during his visit to England in 1698

Ornaments depicted on the portrait :-

What looks like a single row of pearls, along the edges of a belt connecting the ends of the outer cloak, which too appears to be embroidered wirh rows of pearls.


Soon after his return from the West, Peter was determined to do away with age old Russian traditions and adopt west European customs. He ordered his courtiers and officials, either to trim their long beards or be clean shaven, and discard their robes and wear western attire. He abolished arranged marriages and encouraged men and women to select their own partners, resuting in more durable relationships. Towards the end of the year 1699, Peter ordered that new year should be celebrated in Russia not on September 1 but January 1, and that the old Russian calendar be replaced by the Julian Calendar with effect from January 1, 1700, which was year 7207 in the old Russian calendar.

Desirous of taking control of an outlet in the Baltic Sea, which was controlled by Sweden, Peter tried to forge an alliance with Sweden’s other enemies, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Denmark-Norway and Saxony. Peter’s first attempt to seize the Baltic coast ended in disaster in the Battle of Narva in 1700, in which the Russian army was badly defeated by the forces of Charles XII of Sweden. Having defeated the Russians, Charles XII directed his forces against the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, giving Peter time to re-organize his army. As the war continued between Sweden and the Commonwealth, Peter began the construction of a new capitl city known as Saint Petersburg, named after St. Peter, the Apostle, in 1703, in a province of the Swedish empire which he had captured earlier, known as Ingermanland. As construction of the new capital continued, in 1707, Peter secretly married Martha Skavronskaya, who converted to Orthodox Christianity and took the name Catherine. In 1706, after suffering repeated defeats at the hands of Charles XII, the Polish king August II abdicated. Charles then invaded Russia, hoping to march towards Moscow, and defeating Peter’s army on the way, at Golovchin in July, 1708. However, Charles’ army was stopped at the next encounter at Lesnaya, by Peter’s forces, who inflicted heavy losses on Charles’ forces, after stopping Swedish reinforcements from reaching them. Charles then abandoned his march to Moscow, and instead invaded Ukraine. Peter then made a tatical withdrawl to the south of Ukraine destroying everything that could assist the Swedes, along their way. Deprived of local supplies, in the winter of 1708-1709 the Swedish army was forced to halt its advance, but resumed again in the summer of 1709. On June 27, 1709, Peter’s forces intercepted the Swedish army at Poltava, resulting in a battle in which the Swedish forces were routed, and forced Charles to seek refuge in the Ottoman empire.


Portrait of Peter the Great by artist Jean-Marc Nattier executed around 1710

Description of above portrait :-

Peter the Great is depicted on the above portrait, wearing battle dress and holding a staff in his right hand, that rests on his helmet, and his left hand holding the hilt of a gem-studded sword.


Having defeated Charles XII, Peter restored August II to his throne in Poland, and diverted his attention towards the Ottoman empire, initiating the Russio-Turkish war of 1710. However, Peter’s campaign in the Ottoman empire proved to be disastrous, forcing him to sign a treaty in which he had to return the Black seaports seized in 1697, and guarantee safe passage to Charles XII back to Sweden. Peter’s northern armies then captured the Swedish province of Livonia, driving the Swedes into Finland. The Russian naval fleet then inflicted a defeat on the Swedish fleet at the Battle of Gangut in 1714, and the Russians occupied most of Finland. In his confrontation with Charles XII, Peter also obtained the assistance of the electorate of Hanover and the kingdom of Prussia, but Charles XII refused to yield. In 1718, Charles XII was killed in battle, and Sweden which was at war with all its neighbours, made peace with them by 1720, except Russia. Peace with Russia finally came in 1721, by the Treaty of Nystad, that ended the Great Northern War, and Russia was granted four provinces south and east of the Gulf of Finland, and Peter secured the much wanted access to the sea.

Immediately after peace was made with Sweden, in recognition of his conquests, Peter was officially proclaimed Emperor of All Russia on October 22, 1721 and the Russian Tsardom officially became the Russian Empire. During the last years of his rule he introduced reforms in the Russian Orthodox Church, replacing the Patriarchate with a collective body known as the Holy Synod, a council of ten clergymen. He replaced the Council of Nobles, known as the Boyar Duma, with a nine member Senate, which became the supreme council of state. He divided the country into new provinces and districts, and enhanced tax revenues, by placing tax collection under the overall supervision of the Senate. He created the famous “Table of Ranks” a new order of precedence, in which merit and service to the emperor were criteria instead of birth, that deprived most of the boyars of their high ranks and positions. He introduced compulsory education in the sciences and mathematics, for the children of nobility, and all government officials including clerical staff. In 1724, Peter had his second wife, Caherine, crowned as Empress of All Russia, although he still remained the actual ruler. This was a move on his part to ensure a smooth succession after his death, as all his male issues had predeceased him, including his eldest son, Alexei by his first wife Eudoxia, who was tortured and killed on Peter’s orders in 1718, because the boy had disobeyed him and opposed his policies.

Peter the Great died on February 8, 1725 of Uremia, at the age of 52 years, having reigned for 42 years, 28 years as sole ruler and 14 years as co-ruler with his half-brother Tsar Ivan V.


Diamond Order of Peter the Great

The above Diamond Order of Peter the Great is studded with diamonds of different sizes, shapes and cuts, mostly preserving the original natural facets and characteristic octahedral crystalline shapes.

Eudoxia Lopukhina – First wife of Tsar Peter I of Russia and Tsaritsa Consort of All Russia from 1689 to 1698

Peter the Great married his first wife, Eudoxia Lopukhina in 1689, soon after he wrested power from his half-sister and regent, Sophia Alekseyevna in August of that year. The marriage was arranged by his mother, Natalia Naryshkina, who was restored to her former position in court by Peter, after being ignored and living in isolation for seven years during Sophia’s regency. Eudoxia was senior to Peter by two years, at the time of her marriage, and was chosen by Natalia mainly because of Eudoxia’s mother’s relationship to the well known boyar Fyodor Rtishchev. Eudoxia was crowned Tsarina of All Russia soon after her marriage. Eudoxia gave birth to her first child Tsarevich Alexi Petrovich in 1690. She gave birth to two more sons, Alexander and Paul in 1692 and 1693. Out of the three children only Tsarevich Alexi Petrovich survived into adulthood, and was the next in line of succession to the throne. However, their marriage soon ran into trouble, aggravated by Eudoxia’s conservative relatives, whom Peter hated. Peter soon abandoned Eudoxia and took a Dutch beauty, Anna Mons as his mistress.

In 1697, just before Peter embarked on his European tour, he asked his Naryshkin relatives to persuade Eudoxia to enter a monastery, which she refused. However, soon after Peter returned from his European tour in 1698, he decided to end his unhappy marriage, by divorcing Eudoxia and forcing her to enter the intercession convent of Suzadal. Eudoxia who entered the convent, managed to live there as a lay person and even find a lover by the name of Stepan Glebov, who was executed by quatering when the tsar was informed of the relationship. Eudoxia and her son and heir apparent Tsarevich Alexi Petrovich, soon became the center of opposition to Peter’s reforms, around whom disgruntled Church officials rallied. Tsar Peter soon brutally suppresses this opposition, putting his son and former wife on trial, executing all bishops who supported them, and transferring Eudoxia to another convent in Ladoga. Tsarevich Alexi Petrovich suspected of plotting to overthrow his father, confessed on torturing, and was convicted and sentenced to be executed. But, Peter was hesistant in authorizing his execution, and the tsarevich died in prison, probably of injuries suffered during his torture.

when Catherine I, Peter’s second empress consort, ascended the throne after, Peter’s death, Eudoxia was secretly moved to the Shlisselburg fortress in St. Peterburg, but in 1727, when Eudoxia’s grandson, Peter II ascended the throne, Eudoxia was released from incarceration, and returned to Moscow with great pomp and pagentry, where she kept her own court at the Novodevichy Convent, unitl her death in 1731.


Portrait of Eudoxia Lopukhina by artist Pintor Desconhecido in the 18th-century

Marfa Skavronskaya later Catherine I of Russia – Unofficial second wife from 1703 to 1712 and Official second wife and Tsaritsa/Empress consort of Peter the Great from 1712 to 1725. Empress of Russia from 1725 to1727

Peter the Great met his second wife, Marfa Skavronskaya, for the first time at the house of his best friend, Prince Aleksandr Menshikov, whom he was visiting, in 1703. Marfa was a mistress or housemaid to Menshikov, and probably served in the same capacity previously in the households of high-ranking officers of a victorious regiment of the Russian Army, that captured Marienburg from the Swedes, such as Brigadier General Rudolph Felix Bauer and Field Marshal Boris Sheremetev. Marfa’s foster father, Johann Ernst Gluck, a Lutheran pastor agreed to work as a translator to the Field Marshall who took the pastor and his family to Moscow. Marfa was one of five children, whose parents Samuel Skavronsky and his wife had died in the plague, around 1689. Orphaned Marfa, who was just 3 years old was taken by an aunt and given to Pastor Gluck living in Marienburg, a border town near the Russian-Estonian border, for adoption. Whatever the origins or pedigree of Marfa, Peter the Great fell head over heels for the young and beautiful girl, and soon took her as his mistress. They lived in a three-room log cabin in St. Petersburg where the new capital city was taking shape. Marfa did the cooking and caring for the children, while Peter tended a garden, as though they were an ordinary couple. Their relationship turned out to be the most successful in Peter’s life, Marfa becoming a charming, compassionate and caring wife, calming Peter during his frequent rages and taking care of him during his epileptic seizures. In 1705, Marfa converted to Orthodox Christianity and took the name of Yekaterina Alexeyevna. So devoted was she to her husband, that she accompanied Peter, always on his military campaigns, and as reported by Voltaire in his book, “Peter the Great,” during one such campaign in 1711, Catherine was responsible for not only saving Peter’s life but also the Russian Empire. Peter’s army surrounded by overwhelming numbers of Turkish troops, was left with no option but surrender. It was then that Catherine gave Peter the invaluable advice, to negotiate a retreat with the Grand Vizier Baltagi, in return for a bribe in the form of jewelry adorning her person and those of other women in the group. Baltaji allowed the retreat that saved Peter’s life and the Russian Empire which he controlled. Peter credited Catherine for her life-saving suggestion, and immediately afterwards proceeded to marry her officially, at a cermony which took place at St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg, on February 9, 1712. After the wedding, Catherine became Tsarina of All Russia, and later on October 22, 1721, when Peter elevated the Tsardom of Russia to an Empire, Catherine became its first Empress.


1717-portrait of Catherine I of Russia by Jean-Marc Nattier

The above portrait of Catherine I was executed by Jean-Marc Nattier in 1717, when she was the Tsaritsa-consort of Russia.

Ornaments depicted on the portrait :-

Hair ornament incorporating a row of six large spherical pearls, with a drop-shaped pearl hanging from it in the center.

A headband incorporating a single row of pearls behind the hair ornament in front.

Several drop-shaped pearls on the front bodice of her dress.

A brooch containing pearls at the center of a red bow, below the red band running diagonally across the bodice of her dress.

A single row of pearls incorported along the edge of a purple-colored velvet-like cloak, placed carelessly on part of her lap in front and seen again behind her on either side


Peter’s marriage to Catherine produced 12 children, out of whom only two survived into adulthood, Anna and Elizabeth, of whom the latter subsequently become empress of Russia. In 1724, Peter had Catherine crowned as Empress, and named her officially co-ruler of Russia, the first time a woman became a ruler of Russia, although Peter still remained the actual ruler. Peter’s intentions in doing so was quite clear, for he was determined to ensure a smooth succession in case of his sudden death, and wanted his wife to succeed him, the new appointment giving her the opportunity and experience in the techniques of ruling the nation. This is what exactly happened when Peter died several months later, on February 8, 1725, of uremia. Peter’s best friend Menshikov, who was a member of the Supreme Privy Council, and other members who were appointed by Peter, decided that Catherine should be the natural successor to Peter, as the late Emperor had intended, and proclaimed her the new Empress of Russia, supported by the Guards Regiments with whom she was very popular. Thus, Catherine became the first woman ever to rule Russia, paving the way for more women to ascend the throne subsequently. Apart from continuing with Peter the Great’s policies of modernizing Russia, her policies in general were cautious and reasonable. Her greatest achievement was reduction in military expenditure, that was consuming about 65% of the government’s annual revenue, as the nation was no more at war, and such an enormous expenditure was not justified. The cut in military expenditure enabled her to grant tax relief to the peasantry, a measure that increased her popularity. Catherine died at the age of 43, two years after her husband in 1727.


Portrait of Empress Catherine I of Russia by Heinrich Buchholz around 1725

The above portrait of Catherine I was executed by Heinrich Buchholz in 1725, after she ascended the throne, as the first Empress of Russia, as her left hand placed on the crown, and her right hand carrying the royal scepter indicates.

Ornaments depicted on the portrait :-

Tiara set with pearls and a drop-shaped pearl hanging from the center.

An elaborate stomacher set with pearls, with a central large drop-shaped pearl and a smaller drop-shaped pearl below it, along the median line, and a row of five drop-shaped pearls hanging from either side of perfectly matching motifs.

A second circular brooch set with pearls, on the left side, just below the row of five pearls on the left side of the stomacher.

A third brooch holding together the ends of a blue-colored sash across the right shoulder and left waist.

The Empress is depicted placing her left hand on a crown set with rows of pearls, placed on an orange-colored cushion.

An Orb, also set with rows of pearls, is depicted on one side of the crown and slightly behind it

Peter II of Russia – Emperor of All Russia from 1727 to 1730

After the death of Peter the Great’s co-ruler and wife Empress Catherine I, on May 17, 1727, the stage was now set for normal succession rules to take precedence in order to avoid a succession crisis. Accordingly, the next in line of succession to the Russian throne, was Peter the Great’s only male-line grandson, Peter Alekseyevich, the only son of Tsarevich Alexi Petrovich, the eldest son of Peter I by his first wife, Eudoxia Lopukhina, who married Princess Charlotte Christine of Brunswick-Wolfenbuttel, and later died in prison in 1718 due to injuries caused by torture. If not for Empress Catherine’s ascension to the throne, in 1725, who obviously was Peter the Great’s chosen successor, Peter Alekseyevich would have succeeded his grandfather, under the normal rules of succession of Russia. Peter Alekseyevich’s claim to the throne was supported by a majority of the Russian people, and the nobility, who detested claims by the Holy Roman Emperor, Charles VI, who was Peter’s uncle. Peter’s claim was also supported by the purported last will of Catherine I. Accordingly, Peter II was proclaimed Emperor of All Russia on May 18, 1727, rejecting the claims of Charles VI.


Portrait of Emperor Peter II by Russian painter Molchanov around 1730

Peter II was just 12 years old at the time he ascended the throne of Russia, and first came under the care of Menshikov, who lodged him in his own palace on the Vasiliesky Island, and planned to get his daughter married to him. Menshikov played the role of a regent to Peter II, but soon became arrogant and domineering, and tried to dominate the emperor himself, which was resented by Peter, who got him arrested in September 1727. Peter II then came under the influence of another Prince Vasily Dolgorukov, who persuaded Peter to transfer the seat of power back to Moscow, where he exerted total control over the young emperor. The coronation of Peter was held in Moscow on February 25, 1728. Prince Vasily then got Peter engaged to his niece, Princess Catherine Dolgorukova, and the wedding was eventually fixed for January 30, 1730. Unfortunately Peter II contracted smallpox and died coincidentally on the same day his wedding was originally scheduled to take place. With his death, the direct male line of the Romanov dynasty came to an end. Peter II was buried in the Kremlin, the only Romanov monarch not buried in the Peter and Paul Cathedral in Saint Petersburg.

Anna Ivanovna of Russia – Empress of Russia from 1730 to 1740

After the death of Peter II on January 30, 1730, the Supreme Privy Council of Russia decided that Anna Ivanovna, the 4th-daughter of co-Tsar Ivan V and his wife Praskovia Saltykova, should ascend the throne as the new Empress of Russia, thus overlooking the eligibility of two surviving daughters of Peter the Great, Anna and Elizabeth. The choice of the Supreme Privy Council was limited only to the surviving daughters of Ivan V and Peter the Great, as there were no surviving sons from either one of them. However, the Supreme Privy Council had already set a precedence by selecting Catherine as Empress and successor, to Emperor Peter the Great. Hence, they were only following a precedent set earlier, and Empress Anna Ivanovna became the second female monarch in the history of Russia to rule the country. By selecting Anna Ivanovna as empress, if the Supreme Privy Council and the nobility had believed that they had only selected a figure-head to be the Empresss of Russia, so that real power could be exercised by them from behind the scenes, they were sadly mistaken, as time passed, making use of her popularity with the Imperial Guards and the lesser nobility Anna Ivanovna established herself as a powerful autocratic ruler.

Anna married Frederick Wilhelm, Duke of Courland, in November 1710, a marriage that was arranged by Peter the Great. During the couple’s return trip to Courland from St. Petersburg in January 1711, Frederick Wilhelm died, and Anna was widowed just two months after her marriage. Anna never remarried after her husband’s death, but continued to rule as the Duchess of Courland from 1711 to 1730. Anna preferred to spend most of her time in Moscow, rather than the capital, St. Petersburg, and took a sadistic delight in cruel jokes, that sometimes humiliated the old nobility, and did not even spare entire populations of the city, who panicked at the ringing of fire bells that raised false alarms. Anna gave powerful positions in her administration to Baltic Germans instead of Russian nobles whom she always distrusted. One such Officer who gained her favour, and had considerable influence over her policies was Ernst Johann von Biron, whom she raised to the throne of Courland and was rumoured to be the lover of the Empress. In spite of her distrust of the nobility, she also granted them many privileges. Anna’s reign also marked the beginning of Russian territorial expansion into Central Asia, which was eventually realized fully by Catherine II. As Anna’s health declined, she made arrangements for her succession, excluding descendants of her uncle, Peter the Great, and trying to secure the line of her father, Ivan V, by declaring her grandnephew, Ivan VI as her successor, with her favourite, Biron as regent. Anna’s choice of successor, was not popular, because Ivan VI’s mother, Anna Leopoldovna was detested for her German counsellors and relatives. Yet, when Empress Anna died on October 28, 1740, the infant Ivan VI who was just two months old, was proclaimed Emperor, and Ernst Johann von Biron, became the regent.


Portrait of Empress Anna Ioannovna by Louis Caravaque in 1730

Ornaments depicted on the portrait :-

Crown studded with colored stones and rows of pearls.

An elaborate stomacher set with pearls and colored stones.

The Empress is depicted holding the Orb, placed on a velvet-covered cushion, with her left hand.

The Empress is holding the royal scepter in her right hand.

Ivan VI Antonovich – Proclaimed Emperor as an infant on October 28, 1740 and ruled until December 6, 1741, with his mother Anna Leopoldovna acting as regent.


Portrait of Ivan VI of Russia by unkown artist, when the infant Emperor was just above one year old

Ivan VI who was proclaimed as Emperor during his infancy, was born in St. Petersburg, on August 23, 1740, to the Duchess Anna Leopoldovna of Mecklenburg, niece of Empress Anna of Russia, and grand-daughter of Tsar Ivan V. Anna Leopoldovna’s husband was Prince Antony Ulrich of Brunswick-Luneburg. Ivan’s grand-aunt, Empress Anna adopted him when he was an eight-week-old infant, and declared him her successor on October 5, 1740, just three weeks before her death on October 28, 1740. Soon after Empress Anna’s death, Ivan was proclaimed Emperor and Ernst Johann von Biron became regent, in accordance with the late Empress’ wishes. However, Biron was removed just 12 days after he assumed the regency, and was replaced by Ivan’s mother, Anna Leopoldovna, with the actual running of the government being undertaken by the vice-chancellor, Andrei Osterman.

Anna Leopoldovna however, became very unpopular because of her German relatives and counsellors, and just 13 months after Ivan VI was proclaimed as Emperor, Elizabeth Petrovna, one of the two surviving daughters of Peter the Great, staged a coup d’etat and seized the throne on December 6, 1741, with the blessings of the population and the army, thus ending the short rule of Ivan VI and the regency of his mother. Ivan VI was then incarcerated for the rest of his life, being moved from one fortress to another, such as Dunamunde, Kholmogory and finally Shlisselburg, where he was killed by his guards, on July 16, 1764, in an attempt to free him during the rule of Catherine II

Elizabeth Petrovna – Empress of Russia from 1741 to 1762

Elizabeth Petrovna was the second of the two surviving daughters of Peter the Great and Catherine I of Russia, and was born on December 18, 1709, at the time her parents were secretly married and their marriage not yet publicly solemnized, which only took place subsequenty at St. Isaac’s Cathedral in St. Petersburg, on February 9, 1712. Though bright as a child, she did not have the benefit of a perfect formal education, yet under the guidance of her French governess, attained fluency in French, Italian and German, and also acquired the aristocratic skills of dancing and riding. Elizabeth turned out to become an extraordinarily beautiful and vivacious young lady, a leading beauty in the court of Peter the Great, as depicted in the portrait of Ivan Nikitin in the 1720s. Attempts by Peter the Great, to arrange a suitable match for Elizabeth before his death did not materialize. His first proposal to get the young French king, Louis XV, to marry Elizabeth was turned down by the Bourbons. Subsequently, Elizabeth was betrothed to a Prince of Holstein-Gottorp, Karl Augustus, like her sister Anna who married the Duke of Holstein-Gottorp. But, unfortunately Karl Augustus died few days after the betrothal. During the rule of her nephew Peter II and later her cousin Anna, Elizabeth kept a low profile, but took several young and handsome men as lovers, such as a sergeant in the Guards regiment, Alexis Shubin, who was later banished to Siberia by Empress Anna, a coachmen and even a waiter and finally a young and handsome Ukrainian peasant, who was a member of a church choir group, Alexis Razumovsky, who would subsequently become her morgantic spouse after she ascended the throne as empress.

Elizabeth, being the daughter of Peter the Great, was greatly respected by the Russian guards regiments. Elizabeth often visited the regiments, attending all their special events and functions, and acting a godmother to their children. After the death of Empress Anna, Elizabeth was kept out of her legitimate inheritance to the throne, which was instead given to a descendant of Tsar Ivan V, the infant Ivan VI with his mother Anna Leopoldovna as regent. The regency of Anna Leopoldovna became very unpopular, not only because of the high taxes imposed and other economic problems, but also because she was surrounded by several German relatives and counsellors. Elizabeth decided that the time was ripe to seize power, and staged a coup d’etat supported by the Russian guards regiments. The coup succeeded without any bloodshed, and the infant Emperor and his parents were arrested and incarcerated in a fortress. Elizabeth ascended the throne as Empress of Russia on December 6, 1741, at the age of 33 years.

Immediately after ascending the throne, Elizabeth exiled most of the unpopular German advisers who were at the helm of affairs in the previous regime. During her reign her hidden talents surfaced, and she became renowned for her keen judgement and diplomatic tact, reminiscent of her father, Peter the Great. Elizabeth abolished the cabinet council system introduced by Empress Anna, and re-constituted the Senate, as it was under Peter the Great. She gave priority to settling all disputes with Sweden, and opened negotiations, that led to the Treaty of Abo, in which Sweden surrendered to Russia, territory in southern Finland, east of the River Kymmene, that became the boundary between the two states. She took the country into the War of Austrian Succession between 1740 to 1748 forming an Anglo-Austro-Russian alliance against the Franco-Prussian coalition, dispatching 30,000 Russin troops to the Rhine, that accelerated peace negotiations, and the signing of the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748. During the final years of her rule, She took Russia into the Seven-Years War (1756-1763), forming an Austro-Franco-Russian alliance against Prussia, with the intention of eliminating the danger posed by Frederick the Great of Prussia to the Russian empire. Elizabeth’s sheer determination and firmness despite her failing health helped to hold together the anti-Prussian alliance until her death in January 1762.

Elizabeth’s court was reputed to be one of the most splendid in all of Europe, holding sumptuous balls and masquerades. She was proud of her dancing skills and wore the most exquisite dresses to court. Her wardrobe included fifteen thousand ball gowns, several thousand pairs of shoes and unlimited number of silk stockings. The empress determined the styles of dresses and decorations worn by her courtiers, and imitating the Empress’ hairstyle was forbidden.


Portrait of Empress Elizabeth Petrovna by Charles Van Loo

Ornaments worn by the Empress :-

Hair ornament set with pearls and colored stones.

Drop earrings incorporating pearls and diamonds.

Multistrand pearl bracelets on both hands.

Brooches on the right shoulder and near the hip, keeping in place a blue sash.

Another brooch attached to the left side of the bodice of her dress.


Elizabeth’s legacy include the establishment of the University of Moscow, the Academy of Fine Arts in Saint Peterburg, the Winter Palace and the Smolny Cathedral. She has gone down in history as one of the best loved Russian monarchs, for not allowing any Germans in governmet, and not executing anyone for any offence during her reign.


Elizabeth of Russia by V. Eriksen in the 18th-century

Ornaments worn by the Empress :-

Hair ornaments incorporating diamonds.

Drop earrings incorporating diamonds.

Elaborate stomacher incorporating diamonds.

Peter III of Russia – Emperor of Russia from January 1762 to July 1762

Empress Elizabeth was not officially married and did not have any legitimate children, to be made heir to the throne and succeed her after her death. Elizabeth’s elder sister Anna, who was married to the Duke of Holstein-Gottorp, Karl Friedrich, had a son named Peter, who was born on February 21, 1728. Anna died less than two weeks after giving birth to Peter. In 1739, when Peter was 11 years old, his father died and Peter succeeded him as the Duke of Holstein-Gottorp, assuming the name Karl Peter Ulrich. After Elizabeth became empress in December 1741, she got down her nephew Peter from Germany, converted him to Orthodox Christianity, and proclaimed him the heir-presumptive to the Russian throne, on November 7, 1742. She assigned Russian tutors to her nephew and also selected a suitable partner to marry the heir-presumptive. Her choice was Peter’s own second cousin, Sophia Augusta Frederica, daughter of Prince Christian Augustus and Johanna Elizabeth of Holstein-Gottorp. Like Peter, Sophia was converted to Orthodox Christianity and given the name Ekaterina (Catherine) Alexeievna in memory of Elizabeth’ mother, Catherine I. Their marriage took place on August 21, 1745. Peter was 17 and Catherine 16 years of age at the time of their marriage. The newly weds settled in the Palace of Oranienbaum, where they lived for the next 16 years. The marriage turned out to be an unhappy one, both of them taking lovers, yet producing two issues, Paul in 1754, the future emperor, and Anna Petrovna in 1757 who died two years later in 1759. Even though Catherine claimed subsequently, that Paul was not fathered by Peter, Paul physically resembled Peter in many ways, and many historians believe that Catherine’ claim of Paul’s illegitimacy was an attempt to cast doubt on Paul’s right to the throne, in order to prop up her own chances of succeeding to the throne.

When Empress Elizabeth died on January 5, 1762, she was succeeded by Peter, who ascended the throne, as Peter III of Russia, and Catherine became the Empress Consort of Russia. The new Emperor and his consort moved into the Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg. Even after ascending the throne, Peter continued his close relationship with his mistresss, Elizabeth Vorontsova, while Catherine too carried on with her liason with several men, like Sergei Saltykov, Grigory Grigoryevich Orlov and others. Peter III’s ascension to the throne saw a complete reversal in the foreign policies of his predecessor and aunt Empress Elizabeth. The anti-Prussian alliance which Elizabeth helped to maintain in the Seven Years War, until her death in January 1762, suddenly collapsed, when Peter III, who had a great admiration for the Prussian king, Frederick II, decided to extend a hand of friendship to the king, and made peace with Prussia, to the detriment of the relationship with Austria. Overnight Prussia turned from an enemy to an ally of Russia. Peter III gave up all Russian conquests in Prussia, and allied his troops with the Prussian army against Austria, leading to the re-capture of Silesia and forcing Austria to the negotiating table, that ended the Seven Years War. Peter also made an attempt to restore Schleswig, which was previously captured by Denmark, to his duchy, Holstein-Gottorp, by isolating Denmark politically and sending 40,000 Russian troops to Colberg in Russian Pomerania, in preparation for war with Denmark, but the attempt did not materialize, as he was dethroned by his wife Catherine on July 9, 1762, and subsequently murdered by her agents.

During Peter III’s short period of rule that lasted precisely 186 days, he had passed 220 new laws, that reflect the making of a great emperor in the future, had his monarchy survived. Some of the progressive laws he proclaimed, include freedom of religious worship, a move that had not even been dreamt of, at that time in the more advanced countries of Western Europe; laws to fight corruption in government; establishing public litigation; abolishing the much-hated and feared Secret Police, an organ of repression created by Peter the Great;



Peter III

Princess Sophie Friederike Auguste of Anhalt-Zerbst
16 August 1745
one son



Catherine II the Great

Peter III of Russia
16 August 1745
one son




Prison reformers: Howard

John Howard

Born September 2, 1726, Hackney, London, died January 20, 1790, Kherson, Ukraine, Russian Empire. He was an English philanthropist and reformer in the fields of penology and public health. On his father’s death in 1742, Howard inherited considerable wealth and travelled widely in Europe. He then became High Sheriff in Bedfordshire in 1773.

He spent the last years of his life studying means of preventing plague and limiting the spread of contagious diseases. Travelling in Russia in 1790 and visiting the principal military hospitals that lay en route, he reached Kherson in Ukraine. In attending a case of camp fever that was raging there, he contracted the disease and died.




Alexandra Pavlovna and her sister, Elena Pavlovna
by Marie Elisabeth Louise Vigee-Le Brun

Alexandra was very close to her younger sister, Elena. In 1795, the sisters were painted by the French artist, Marie-Élisabeth-Louise Vigée-Le Brun (1755-1842).


Alexandra Pavlovna


Alexandra Pavlovna
by Vladimir Borovikovsky

In the late 1790s, her sister Elena Pavlovna was betrothed to Hereditary Prince Friedrich Ludwig of Mecklenburg-Schwerin (1778-1819). Alexandra Pavlovna was engaged to Archduke Joseph Anton Johann of Austria, Palatine of Hungary (9 March 1776 – 13 January 1847). He was the son of Maria Louisa of Spain (24 November 1745 – 15 May 1792) and Leopold II, Holy Roman Emperor (5 May 1747 – 1 March 1792). Elena Pavlovna and Friedrich Ludwig were married on 23 October 1799, at the Palace of Gatchina. Alexandra Pavlovna married Archduke Joseph of Austria on 30 October 1799, at the Gatchina Palace, in Gatchina. Elena moved to Schwerin with her husband, while Alexandra and Joseph settled in the Castle of Alcsút, in Hungary. Alexandra gave birth to a daughter, Alexandrine on 8 March 1801, in Budapest, Hungary. Sadly the baby girl died on the day of her birth.

The Child of Archduchess Alexandra and Archduke Joseph:
Archduchess Alexandrine of Austria (8 March 1801 – 8 March 1801)

Alexandra died of puerperal fever, aged 17, on 16 March 1801, in Wien, Austria. Joseph built a mausoleum dedicated to his wife, but the Austrian Court refused her burial in any Catholic Cemetery. She was interred in Hungary. Her sister, Elena Pavlovna died on 24 September 1803. She was buried in the Helena Paulovna Mausoleum in Ludwigslust, which was named in her memory. Archduke Joseph of Austria married his second wife, Princess Hermine of Anhalt-Bernburg-Schaumburg-Hoym (1797-1817) on 30 August 1815, at Schaumburg. They had two children, a daughter and a son. Joseph of Austria married his third wife, Duchess Maria Dorothea of Württemberg on 24 August 1819, at Kirchheim unter Teck. They had five children, three daughters and two sons




Paul I

Princess Wilhelmina Louisa of Hesse-Darmstadt
29 September 1773
one stillborn daughter

Princess Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg
26 September 1776
ten children



19th Cent. Grand Duchess Alexandra Pavlovna of Russia, Archduchess of Austria

Alexandra Pavlovna was born on 9 August 1783, in Tsarskoye Selo. She was the daughter of


Maria Feodorovna, Empress Consort of Russia (25 October 1759 – 5 November 1828) and



Paul I, Emperor of Russia (1 October 1754 – 23 March 1801).

Her maternal grandparents were Friederike Dorothee Sophie of Brandenburg-Schwedt, Duchess of Württemberg (18 December 1736 – 9 March 1798) and Friedrich Eugen, Duke of Württemberg (21 January 1732 – 23 December 1797). Her paternal grandparents were Catherine II the Great, Empress of Russia (2 May 1729 – 6 November 1796) and Peter III, Emperor of Russia (21 February 1728 – 17 July 1762). Alexandra’s parents were married on 7 October 1776. Her siblings were: Alexander I (1777-1825), Konstantin Pavlovich (1779-1831), Elena Pavlovna (1784-1803)Maria Pavlovna (1786-1859)Catherine Pavlovna (1788-1819)Anna Pavlovna (1795-1865), Nicholas I (1796-1855) and Michael Pavlovich (1798-1849). Her mother was her father’s second wife. Paul I married first Grand Duchess Natalia Alexeievna of Russia (25 June 1755 – 15 April 1776) on 29 September 1773. Natalia Alexeievna died shortly after she delivered a still born daughter on 15 April 1776.


Alexandra Pavlovna

by Dmitry Levitsky


Pavel I Petrovich Romanov,


Tsar of Russia was born on 1 October 1754 at St. Petersburg, Russia.3 He was the son of



Alexander I the Blessed

Princess Louise of Baden
28 September 1793
2 daughters




Constantine I (disputed)

Princess Juliane of Saxe-Coburg-Saalfeld
26 February
no children



Nicholas I

Princess Charlotte of Prussia
13 July 1817
7 childre



Alexander II the Liberator

Princess Marie of Hesse and by Rhine
16 April 1841
8 children



Alexander III the Peace-Maker

Princess Dagmar of Denmark
9 November 1866
6 children




Petr III Romanov, Tsar of Russia and


Catherine II Sofie Auguste von Anhalt-Zerbst, Tsarina of Russia.


He married, firstly, Wilhelmine Luisa Prinzessin von Hessen-Darmstadt, daughter of


Ludwig IX Landgraf von Hessen-Darmstadt and


Karoline Henriette Christine Pfalzgräfin von Zweibrücken-Birkenfeld, on 10 October 1773. He married, secondly,



Sophia Dorothea Prinzessin von Württemberg, daughter of


Friedrich II Eugen Heinrich Herzog von Württemberg and


Friederike Dorothea Prinzessin von Brandenburg-Schwedt, on 7 October 1776




 St. Petersburg, Russia.

Emperor Peter III Romanov died on 24 March 1801 at age 46 a


 St. Petersburg, Russia, assassinated.3

     He gained the title of
Grand Duke Pavel Petrovich of Russia.3 He succeeded to the title of Tsar Pavel I of Russia on 17 November 1796.3

Child of


Pavel I Petrovich Romanov, Tsar of Russia and


Wilhelmine Luisa Prinzessin von Hessen-Darmstadt

  1. unnamed child Romanov b. 26 Apr 1776, d. 26 Apr 1776

Children of Pavel I Petrovich Romanov, Tsar of Russia and Sophia Dorothea Prinzessin von Württemberg

  1. Aleksandr I Pavlovich Romanov, Tsar of Russia+ b. 23 Dec 1777, d. 1 Dec 1825
  2. Konstantin Pavlovich Romanov, Grand Duke of Russia+4 b. 8 May 1779, d. 27 Jun 1831
  3. Aleksandra Pavlovna Romanov, Grand Duchess of Russia+ b. 9 Aug 1783, d. 16 Mar 1801
  4. Elena Pavlovna Romanov, Grand Duchess of Russia+ b. 24 Dec 1784, d. 24 Sep 1803
  5. Mariya Pavlovna Romanov, Grand Duchess of Russia+ b. 16 Feb 1786, d. 23 Jun 1859
  6. Ekaterina Pavlovna Romanov, Grand Duchess of Russia+ b. 21 May 1788, d. 19 Jan 1819
  7. Olga Pavlovna Romanov, Grand Duchess of Russia b. 22 Jul 1792, d. 26 Jan 1795
  8. Anna Pavlovna Romanov, Grand Duchess of Russia+ b. 18 Jan 1795, d. 1 Mar 1865
  9. Nikolai I Pavlovich Romanov, Tsar of Russia+ b. 6 Jul 1796, d. 2 Mar 1855

10.Mikhail Pavlovich Romanov, Grand Duke of Russia+ b. 8 Feb 1798, d. 9 Sep 1849

House of Romanov

House of Romanov
House of Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov

Country Tsardom of Russia
Russian Empire
Kingdom of Poland
Grand Duchy of Finland
Grand Duchy of Oldenburg
Duchy of Holstein
Ancestral house

and so forth, and so forth, and so forth

Current head Disputed:

Founding 1613 — Michael I
Dissolution Russia:
1917 — Nicholas II abdicated as a result of the February Revolution in favour of Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich, who refused to accept the throne until it could be approved by the Russian Constituent Assembly
Cadet branches

The House of Romanov (Russian: Рома́нов, IPA: [rɐˈmanəf]) was the second and last imperial dynasty to rule over Russia, reigning from 1613 until the February Revolution abolished the crown in 1917. The later history of the Imperial House is sometimes referred to informally as the House of Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov.

The Duke of Holstein-Gottorp, who was himself a member of a cadet branch of the Oldenburgs, married into the Romanov family early in the 18th century; all Romanov Tsars from the middle of that century to the revolution of 1917 were descended from that marriage. Though officially known as the House of Romanov, these descendants of the Romanov and Oldenburg Houses are sometimes referred to as Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov.[citation needed] [edit] Origins

A 16th-century residence of the Yuryev-Zakharyin boyars in Zaryadye, near the Kremlin.

The Romanovs share their origin with two dozen other Russian noble families. Their earliest common ancestor is one Andrei Kobyla, attested as a boyar in the service of Semyon I of Moscow. Later generations assigned to Kobyla the most illustrious pedigrees. An 18th century genealogy book claimed that he was the son of the Prussian prince Glanda Kambila, who came to Russia in the second half of the 13th century, fleeing the invading Germans. Indeed, one of the leaders of the Old Prussian rebellion of 1260-1274 against the Teutonic order was named Glande.

His actual origin may have been less spectacular. Not only is Kobyla Russian for “mare”, some of his relatives also had as nicknames the terms for horses and other domestic animals, thus suggesting descent from one of the royal equerries. One of Kobyla’s sons, Feodor, a boyar in the boyar duma of Dmitri Donskoi, was nicknamed Koshka (cat). His descendants took the surname Koshkin, then changed it to Zakharin, which family later split into two branches: Zakharin-Yakovlev and Zakharin-Yuriev. During the reign of Ivan the Terrible, the former family became known as Yakovlev (Alexander Herzen being the most illustrious of them), whereas grandchildren of Roman Zakharin-Yuriev changed their name to Romanov.

[edit] Rise to power

A crowd at the Ipatiev Monastery imploring Mikhail Romanov’s mother to let him go to Moscow and become their tsar (Illumination from a book dated 1673).

The family fortunes soared when Roman’s daughter, Anastasia Zakharyina, married Ivan IV in February 1547. When her husband assumed the title of tsar, which literally means Caesar, she was crowned the very first Tsaritsa. Their marriage was an exceedingly happy one, but her untimely and mysterious death in 1560 changed Ivan’s character for the worse. Suspecting the boyars of having poisoned his beloved, the tsar started a reign of terror against them. Among his children by Anastasia, the elder (Ivan) was murdered by the tsar in a quarrel; the younger Feodor, a pious and lethargic prince, inherited the throne upon his father’s death.

Throughout Feodor’s reign, the Russian government was contested between his brother-in-law, Boris Godunov, and his Romanov cousins. Upon the death of childless Feodor, the 700-year-old line of Moscow Ruriks came to an end. After a long struggle, the party of Boris Godunov prevailed over the Romanovs, and the former was elected new Tsar in 1599. Godunov’s revenge on the Romanovs was terrible: all the family and its relatives were deported to remote corners of the Russian North and Ural, where most of them died of hunger or in chains. The family’s leader, Feodor Nikitich Romanov, was exiled to the Antoniev Siysky Monastery and forced to take monastic vows with the name Filaret.

The Romanovs’ fortunes again changed dramatically with the fall of the Godunov dynasty in June 1605. As a former leader of the anti-Godunov party and cousin of the last legitimate Tsar, Filaret Romanov was valued by several impostors who attempted to claim the Rurik legacy and throne during the Time of Troubles. False Dmitriy I made him a metropolitan, and False Dmitriy II raised him to the dignity of patriarch. Upon expulsion of Poles from Moscow in 1612, the Assembly of the Land offered the Russian crown to several Rurik and Gedimin princes, but all of them declined the honour of it.

On being offered the Russian crown, Filaret’s 16-year-old son Mikhail Romanov, then living at the Ipatiev Monastery of Kostroma, burst into tears of fear and despair. He was finally persuaded to accept the throne by his mother Kseniya Ivanovna Shestova, who blessed him with the holy image of Our Lady of St. Theodore. It is little known that he was spirited to Moscow on the donation from the Stroganov family of Perm. Feeling how insecure his throne was, Mikhail attempted to emphasize his ties with the last Rurik tsars and sought advice from the Assembly of the Land on every important issue. This strategy proved successful. The early Romanovs were generally loved by the population as in-laws of Ivan the Terrible and innocent martyrs of Godunov’s wrath.

[edit] The era of dynastic crisis

Mikhail was succeeded by his only son Alexei, who steered the country quietly through numerous troubles. Upon his death, there was a period of dynastic struggles between his children by his first wife (Feodor III, Sofia Alexeevna, Ivan V) and his son by his second wife Nataliya Kyrillovna Naryshkina, the future Peter the Great. New dynastic struggles followed the death of Peter. His only son Alexei, who did not support Peter’s modernization of Russia, had previously been arrested and died in prison shortly thereafter. Near the end of his life, Peter managed to alter the succession tradition of male heirs to allow him to name his own heir. Power then passed into the hands of his second wife, the Empress Catherine. Within five years, the Romanov male line ended with the death of Peter II.

[edit] The Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov Dynasty

‹ The Holstein-Gottorps of Russia retained the Romanov surname and sought to emphasize their matrilineal descent from Peter the Great, through Anna Petrovna (Peter I’s elder daughter by his second wife). Paul I was particularly proud to be great-grandson of the illustrious Russian monarch, although his German-born mother, Catherine II (of the House of Anhalt-Zerbst), insinuated in her memoirs that Paul’s real father had been her lover Serge Saltykov. Painfully aware of the hazards resulting from battles of succession, Paul established the house law of the Romanovs—one of the strictest in Europe—basing the succession to agnatic primogeniture and requiring Orthodox faith from the monarch, the dynasts, the consort of the emperor and from those of first heirs in line. Later, Alexander I, facing prospect of a morganatic alliance of his brother and heir, added the requirement that consorts of Russian dynasts had to be of equal birth (i.e., born to a royal or sovereign house).

Paul I was murdered in his palace in Saint Petersburg. Alexander I succeeded him on the throne and later died without leaving a male heir. His brother, crowned Nicholas I, succeeded him on the throne. Nicholas I fathered four sons and provided them with excellent education for the prospect of ruling Russia and successfully leading in military conflicts.

Alexander II, son of Nicholas I, became the next Russian emperor. Alexander was an educated, intelligent man, who held that his task was to keep peace in Europe and Russia. However, he believed only a country with a strong army could keep the peace. By paying attention to the army, giving much freedom to Finland, and freeing the serfs in 1861, he gained much popular support (Finns still dearly remember him). His family life was not so happy; his beloved wife Maria Alexandrovna had serious problems with her lungs, which led to her death and to the dissolution of the close-knit family due to his quick morganatic marriage to his long time mistress, Princess Catherine Dolgoruki. His legitimization of his children by Catherine, and rumors that he was about to crown his new wife Empress, ending the morganatic status of his second marriage, caused great tension with the entire extended Romanov family. In particular, the Grand Duchesses were scandalized at the thought of being made permanently subordinate to Catherine Dolgoruki, since as an Empress she would have precedence over all of them. (She wouldn’t have precedence over the next Empress Consort, however,as only mothers of Emperors had precedence over the wife of the reigning sovereign . On March 13, 1881, Alexander was killed after returning from a military parade. Slavic patriotism, cultural revival, and Panslavist ideas grew in importance in the latter half of this century, drawing the dynasty to look more ‘Russian’. Yet tighter commitment to orthodox faith was required of Romanovs. Several marriages were contracted with princesses from other Slavic monarchies and other orthodox kingdoms, and even a couple of cadet-line princesses were allowed to marry Russian high noblemen – whereas until 1850s, practically all marriages had been with German princelings.

Wedding of Nicholas II and Alexandra Feodorovna.

Alexander II was succeeded by his son Alexander III. Alexander III, the second-to-last Romanov tsar, was responsible for conservative reforms in Russia. Never meant to be emperor, he was educated in matters of state only after the death of his older brother, Nikolai. This lack of extensive education may have influenced his politics as well as those of his son, Nicholas II. Alexander III cut an impressive figure. Not only was he tall (6’4″ according to some sources), but his physique was proportionately large. Rumors spread about his incredible strength – a strength that was the size of his temper. In addition, the beard he wore hearkened back to the likeness of tsars of old, contributing to the aura of authority with which he carried himself.

Alexander, fearful of the fate which had befallen his father, strengthened autocratic rule in Russia. Many of the reforms the more liberal Alexander II had pushed through were reversed. Alexander, at his brother’s death, not only inherited the throne, but also a betrothed – Danish princess Maria Fyodorovna. Despite contrasting natures and size, the pair got on famously, was the first time a Tsar didn’t have a mistress, and produced six children.

The former Imperial Waiting Room at the main train station in Nizhny Novgorod

The eldest, Nicholas, became Tsar upon his father’s sudden death (due to kidney disease) at age 49. Unready to inherit the throne, Nicholas reputedly said, “I am not ready to be Tsar….” Though an intelligent and kind-hearted man, lacking any preparation to rule, he continued his father’s harsh polices. His Tsarina, the loving German princess Alexandra Fyodorovna, was also a liability. Like the Tsar, she was not a ruler. When the Tsar took control of the army in the front lines during World War I, he left his wife in charge of Russia for he trusted only her. Like Nicholas, she failed at ruling. She was indecisive and did not trust anyone’s advice. She was not intuitive in the ways of politics and not competent in this area. The fact that she was a German also lessened the Russian people’s faith in her.

Constantine Pavlovich and Michael Alexandrovich, although sometimes counted among Russian monarchs, were not crowned and never reigned. They both married morganatically, as did Alexander II with his second wife. Six crowned representatives of the Holstein-Gottorp-Romanov line include: Paul (1796–1801), Alexander I (1801–1825), Nicholas I (1825–55), Alexander II (1855–81), Alexander III (1881–94), and Nicholas II (1894–1917).

[edit] Downfall

Further information: Shooting of the Romanov family and Canonization of the Romanovs

One of the imperial Fabergé eggs presented by Nicholas II to his wife.

All these emperors (except Alexander III) had German-born consorts, a circumstance which damaged their popularity during World War I. Nicholas’s wife Alexandra Fyodorovna, although devoutly Orthodox, was particularly hated by the populace, largely because of her German origins.

Alexandra was a carrier of the gene for hemophilia, which she inherited from her maternal grandmother, Queen Victoria. Her only son, the long-awaited heir to the throne, Alexei inherited the gene and developed hemophilia. Nicholas and Alexandra also had four daughters (Olga, Tatiana, Maria, and Anastasia).

The February Revolution of 1917 resulted in abdication of Nicholas II in favor of his brother Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich. The latter declined to accept the crown, terminating the Romanov dynasty’s rule over Russia. (Many believe that the crown did not technically pass to Michael, as Tsarevich Alexei would have automatically succeeded his father, Nicholas II. Thus Alexei would have been the only one who could renounce the crown, Michael could not abdicate, and the crown would still be in the Romanov name.)

After the February Revolution, Nicholas II and his family were placed under house arrest in the Alexander Palace. Several members of the Imperial Family, including Grand Duke Cyril Vladimirovich of Russia, managed to establish good relations with the interim government and eventually fled the country during the October Revolution.

Yekaterinburg‘s “Church on the Blood“, built on the spot where the last Tsar and his family were killed.

[edit] Execution of Tsar & Family

On July 17, 1918, Bolshevik authorities, led by Yakov Yurovsky, shot Nicholas II, his immediate family, and four servants in the cellar of the Ipatiev House in Yekaterinburg, Russia.

The family was told that they were to be photographed to prove to the people that they were still alive. The family members were arranged appropriately and left alone for several minutes, the gunmen then walked in and started shooting. The girls did not die from the first shots, because bullets rebounded off jewels that were sewn into their corsets. The gunmen tried to stab them with bayonets, that failed, because of the jewels, the gunmen then shot each girl in the head at close range.

Ironically, the Ipatiev House has the same name as the Ipatiev Monastery in Kostroma, where Mikhail Romanov had been offered the Russian Crown in 1613. The spot where the Ipatiev House once stood has recently been commemorated by a magnificent cathedral “on the blood.”

After years of controversy, Nicholas II and his family were proclaimed passion-bearers by the Russian Orthodox church in 2000. (In orthodoxy, a passion-bearer is a saint who was not killed because of his faith like a martyr but died in faith at the hand of murderers.)

[edit] Execution of Extended Family

On 18th July 1918, the day after the killing at Yekaterinburg of the last Tsar, Nicholas II and family, members of the extended Russian royal family, the Romanovs, including a nun, and servants met a brutal death by being thrown down a mineshaft near Alapayevsk by Bolsheviks. All except Grand Duke Sergei Mikhailovich of Russia survived the fall, hand-grenades were thrown down after them killing Grand Duke Sergei’s secretary, Fyodor Remez. Other victims died a slow death[citation needed] including Prince Ioann Konstantinovich of Russia, Prince Konstantin Konstantinovich of Russia, Prince Igor Konstantinovich of Russia and Prince Vladimir Pavlovich Paley, Grand Duke Sergei’s secretary Varvara Yakovleva and Grand Duchess Elizabeth Fyodorovna, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. Grand Duchess Elizabeth had departed her family after the death of her husband in 1905 and donated all her wealth to the poor and became a nun, but was shown no mercy.[1]

The bodies were recovered from the mine by the White army in 1918, who arrived too late to rescue them. The bodies were placed in coffins and were moved around Russia during struggles between the White and the opposing Red Army. By 1920 the coffins were interred in a former Russian Mission in Beijing, now beneath a parking area. In 1981 Princess Elisabeth was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia, and in 1992 by the Moscow Patriarchate. In 2006 representatives of the Romanov family were making plans to reinter the remains elsewhere.[2] The town is a place of pilgrimage to the memory of Elizabeth Romanov.

[edit] Remains Of Tsar

In 1991, the bodies of Nicholas II and his wife, along with three of their five children and four of their servants, were exhumed (although some questioned the authenticity of these bones despite DNA testing). Because two bodies were not present, many people believed that two Romanov children escaped the killings. There was much debate as to which two children’s bodies were missing. A Russian scientist made photographic superimpositions and determined that Marie and Alexei were not accounted for. Later, an American scientist concluded from dental, vertebral, and other remnants that it was Anastasia and Alexei who were missing. Much mystery surrounded Anastasia’s fate. Several films have been produced suggesting that she lived on.

After the bodies were exhumed in June, 1991, they sat in laboratories until 1998, while there was a debate as to whether they should be reburied in Yekaterinburg or St. Petersburg. A commission eventually chose St. Petersburg, so they (along with several loyal servants who died with them) were interred in a special chapel in the Peter and Paul Cathedral near the tombs of their ancestors.

[edit] Empress Marie Fedorovna

In September 2006, Empress Marie Fedorovna, the consort of Alexander III, was buried in the Peter and Paul Cathedral beside her husband. Having fled Russia at the time of the Revolution, she had spent her remaining years in exile in her native Denmark, where she was initially buried in Roskilde Cathedral. The transfer of her remains was accompanied by elaborate ceremonies, including at St. Isaac’s officiated by the Patriarch. For monarchists, the reburial of the Empress in the former Imperial Capital, so many years after her death, further underscored the downfall of the dynasty. Princes Dmitri and Nicholas Romanov were present at the ceremony, along with Princess Catherine Ioannovna of Russia, daughter of Prince Ioann Konstantinovich of Russia, Prince Nikita Kepta Romanoff, son of Kristina Tasha Romanova. Other members of the Imperial Family present included the descendants of the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna including Prince Michael Andreevich of Russia the senior direct male descendant. Princess Catherine who was 90 years old at the time, and died in Montevideo Uruguay the following year, was the last member of the Imperial Family to be born before the fall of the dynasty, and was ultimately to become the last surviving uncontested dynast of the Imperial House of Russia.

[edit] Alexei

Late summer of 2007, a Russian archaeologist announced the discovery by one of his workers. The excavation discovered the following items in the two pits which formed a “T”: (#1) remains of 46 human bones fragments; (#2) bullet jackets from short barrel guns/pistols; (#3) wooden boxes which had deteriorated into fragments: (#4) pieces of cermanic which appear to be amphoras which were used as containers for acid; (#5) iron nails; (#6) iron angles: (#7) seven fragments of teeth; (#8) fragment of fabric of a garment. The area where the remains were found were near the old Koptyaki Rd. under what appeared to be double bonfire sites which is about 70 km from the mass grave in Pigs Meadow near Yekaterinburg. The general directions were described in Yurovsky’s memoirs owned by his son, although no one is sure who wrote the notes on the page. The archaeologists said the bones are from a boy who was roughly between the ages of ten and thirteen years at the time of his death and of a young woman who was roughly between the ages of eighteen and twenty-three years old. Anastasia was seventeen years, one month old at the time of the murder, while Maria was nineteen years and one month old. Alexei would have been fourteen in two weeks time. Alexei’s elder sisters Olga and Tatiana were twenty-two and twenty-one years old at the time of the murder. The bones were found using metal detectors and metal rods as probes. Also, striped material was found that appeared to have been from a blue-and-white striped cloth; Alexei commonly wore a blue-and-white striped undershirt.

[edit] DNA Proof

On April 30, 2008, Russian forensic scientists announced that DNA testing proves that the remains belong to the Tsarevich Alexei and to one of his sisters. DNA information, made public in July 2008, that has been obtained from Ekaterinburg and repeatedly subject to independent testing by laboratories such as the University of Massachusetts Medical School, USA, and reveals that the final two missing Romanov remains are indeed authentic and that the entire Romanov family housed in the Ipatiev House, Ekaterinburg were executed in the early hours of 17 July 1918. In March 2009, results of the DNA testing were published, confirming that the two bodies discovered in 2007 were those of Tsarevich Alexei and one of his sisters.

[edit] Romanov family jewelry

On August 28, 2009, a Swedish public news outlet reported that Romanov family jewelry, found in 2008 in the archives of the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, was returned. The jewelry was allegedly turned over to the Swedish embassy in St. Petersburg in November 1918 by Duchess Marie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin to keep it safe. The jewelry’s worth was estimated to 20 million SEK (about 2.6 million US dollars).[3]

[edit] Contemporary Romanovs

There have been many theories regarding the possible survival of members of Nicholas II’s family. However, recent research shows that all of the Romanovs, including Tsarevich Alexei and Grand Duchess Anastasia who had been thought to have escaped the Bolshevik attack, were killed.[4][5]

Many relatives survived, including Nicholas II’s two sisters, Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna of Russia and Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna of Russia. Xenia’s and Olga’s descendants survive to this day. Cyril Vladimirovich, Grand Duke of Russia, a descendant of Alexander II of Russia, claimed the title Emperor and Autocrat of all the Russias in 1924 and some of his descendants retain such claims. In addition the Romanov Family Association exists for most descendants of Emperor Paul I of Russia. Both branches of the Romanov family are feuding with one another over the question of succession. Other close family relatives include Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, who was a great-nephew of the last Tsaritsa. Prince Philip’s DNA was used by forensic scientists to identify the body of the last Tsaritsa and her children.[6]

[edit] Heraldry


The Imperial Arms of the House of Romanov, which were restricted in use to the Emperor and certain members of the Imperial Family






Murdered Russia Nobles




Tsar Peter III of Russia. 

Catherine, along with her lover Grigori Orlov, planned to overthrow Peter, as she believed he would divorce her in order to marry his mistress Elisabeth Vorontsova. The Leib Guard, on which Peter planned to impose harsher discipline, revolted and Peter was arrested and forced to sign his own abdication; Catherine became Empress with the support of most of the nobility. Shortly thereafter, Peter was killed while in custody at Ropsha. While Catherine did not punish the responsible guards, doubts remain as to whether she ordered the murder or not.


Tsar Paul I of Russia. 

A conspiracy was organized—some months before it was executed—by Counts Petr Alekseevich Pahlen, Nikita Petrovich Panin, and the half-Spanish, half-Neapolitan adventurer Admiral Ribas. The death of Ribas delayed the execution. On the night of the March 23 [O.S. March 11] 1801, Paul was murdered in his bedroom in the newly built St Michael’s Castle by a band of dismissed officers headed by General Bennigsen, a Hanoverian in the Russian service, and General Yashvil, a Georgian. They charged into his bedroom, flushed with drink after supping together, and found Paul hiding behind some drapes in the corner. The conspirators pulled him out, forced him to the table, and tried to compel him to sign his abdication. Paul offered some resistance, and one of the assassins struck him with a sword, after which he was strangled and trampled to death. He was succeeded by his son, the 23-year-old Alexander I—who was actually in the palace—and to whom General Nicholas Zubov, one of the assassins, announced his accession, accompanied by the admonition, “Time to grow up! Go and rule!”.




Tsar Alexander II of Russia. 

On 13 March (1 March Old Style Date), 1881, Alexander fell victim to an assassination plot. The explosion, while killing one of the Cossacks and seriously wounding the driver and people on the sidewalk, had only damaged the bulletproof carriage, a gift from Napoleon III of France. The tsar emerged shaken but unhurt. Rysakov was captured almost immediately. Police Chief Dvorzhitsky heard Rysakov shout out to someone else in the gathering crowd. The surrounding guards and the Cossacks urged the tsar to leave the area at once rather than being shown the site of the explosion. A young man, Ignacy Hryniewiecki, standing by the canal fence, raised both arms and threw something at the tsar’s feet


Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. 

On the night of 16/17 July 1918, the royal family was awakened around 2:00 am, told to dress, and led down into a half-basement room at the back of the Ipatiev house; the pretext for this move was the family’s safety – that anti-Bolshevik forces were approaching Ekaterinberg, and the house might be fired upon. Present with Nicholas, Alexandra and their children were their doctor, and three of their servants, who had voluntarily chosen to remain with family – the Tsar’s personal physician Eugene Botkin, his wife’s maid Anna Demidova, and the family’s chef, Ivan Kharitonov, and footman, Alexei Trupp. A firing squad had been assembled and was waiting in an adjoining room, composed of seven Communist soldiers from Central Europe, and three local Bolsheviks, all under the command of Bolshevik officer Yakov Yurovsky (the soldiers are often described as Hungarians; in his account, Yurovsky described them as “Latvians”).




Russia. Ruble, 1810-SPB FG


Russia Tartary:1810 Modes Of Travelling By Yakoutes, Antique Print.



XX Anniversary of the War and Peace Ball
for the first time in Russia since 1810!


Franco-Russian Diplomacy, 1810-1812

“I will not draw sword first, but I shall sheathe it last” – Alexander I

On June 24, 1812,


while Napoleon was standing on the shores of Niemen River and watching his Grande Armée crossing the Russian border,

read more Naoleon In Moscow

1812: Background for Napoleon’s Russian campaign  

The two emperors Napoleon (left) and Alexander I (right) negotiating the Tilsit Treaty in a pavilion set up on a raft in the middle of the Niemen River, beginning 25 June 1807.  

In 1806, Napoleon won a conclusive battle against Austria at Wagram. Austria was then forced to sign the treaty of Vienna, which reduced it to a state of powerlessness. From a military point of view, Napoleon had now gained control over most of Europe and was beginning to create a European Community, almost 200 years before it became a reality. As was the case for Adolf Hitler 129 years later, only two European nations stood between him and the total political dominance: Britain and Russia.

In November 1806 the Holy Synod of the Russian Orthodox Church issued a denunciation of Napoleon, accusing him of conspiring with evil people against the Christan Faith, due to Napoleons declaration of his regard for Islam. Russia therefore launched a military crusade against him. This initiative was cut short by Napoleon routing the Russian army at Eylau (January 1807) and at Friedland (June 1807). Tsar Alexander I of Russia the sensibly enough suggested peace and and an alliance, which was negotiated and signed 7 July 1807 at Tilsit.

Cracks in this alliance, however, rapidly began to show. Especially Napoleon’s creation of the Grande Duchy of Warsaw in 1807 had, in effect, introduced the first material renewed conflict of interest between France and Russia. This new political unit inevitably raised the possibility of a restoration of the Kingdom of Poland. Such a restoration would entail the loss of Russia of some if not all previous land acquisitions at the expense of Poland – an area of 463,000 km2 with a population of more than seven million. Napoleon was beginning to fear that Russia would use the Polish question as an excuse to seek an understanding with Britannia. The French-Russian relationship began to deteriorate. By 1811, there was much open talk about the coming war in both countries, although probably both Napoleon and Alexander had no personal wishes to go down the road to war.

Caught up by the internal dynamics of this development, Napoleon decided to strike first, and began a relentless build-up of forces through the autumn and winter of 1811 and into the spring of 1812. The army Napoleon was assembling would be large by any scale, including soldiers from almost every nation of Europe. The largest non-French contingent were the Poles, who numbered some 95,000. In total, the ‘Grande Armée‘ probably numbered around 450,000. Also Alexander did everything he could to prepare his armed forces for the expected confrontation, and in 1812 he had almost 600,000 men under arms. Napoleons army, however, was fortified by the reputation of the French arms: The common belief that they were invincible made them almost invincible.

Click here to jump back to the list of contents.

1812: Napoleon’s Russian summer campaign   

22 June 1812 the Grande Armée invaded Russia, crossing the river Niemen. What officially was proclaimed as the Second Polish War had begun. The Russian army had spend a year and a half deploying for an offensive, but instead began retreating the moment operations began. To add to the general confusion, issues like command and strategy had not been decided because of chaos and intrigue at the Russian headquarters. As nobody and nothing was prepared, the Russian army commanded by general Barclay therefore continued their retreat without major resistance, looking for a suitable position in which to make a stand. Apparently such a position was not easily found, so the retreat continued for weeks. This development left people in Moscow and St. Petersburg bewildered about what was going on, and Tsar Alexander found himself in a difficult position. Already on 28 June Napoleon entered Vilna, 170 km east of Niemen.

In western Russia the weather July 1806 turned out to be exceedingly warm with daytime temperatures reaching 36oC (Zamoyski 2005). Many French soldiers who had previously campaigned in Egypt claimed that they had never marched in such a heat. Early July a heavy thunderstorm drifted across the area near Vilna, for a short time making all roads impassable. Worse, loses among the Grande Armée’s horses were horrific. This left Napoleon’s artillery in a difficult position, but the army’s supply organisation was even harder affected. After the rainstorm, the warm weather continued. The remaining horses were having a terrible time. Unused to the kind of diet they were exposed to, they suffered from colic and diarrhoea or constipation. The overall supply situation therefore rapidly deteriorated, and most soldiers had to find something to eat and to prepare it themselves. Not surprisingly, under these circumstances, many soldiers died of dehydration, malnutrition and hunger, while others got dysentery. When the Grande Armée 28 July reached Vitebsk 400 km into Russia, the whole army had already been reduced by a third, without fighting a single major battle. The summer weather was beginning to turn the whole campaign into a nightmare.

The Russian army was no happier than the French, and its troops were in a state of dejection as they retreated towards Smolensk, 380 km southwest of Moscow. Napoleon was convinced that the Russian army would have to fight in defence of the wholly city of Smolensk. The Russian forces and general Barclay were, however, in a state of tactical confusion, and no strong defence of the city was organised. Smolensk went up into flames, and fell to Napoleon 17 August. The burnt-out city represented neither an effective bastion nor a hard-needed resource for his army. According to his secretary Baron Fain (Zamoyski 2005), Napoleon himself was presumably feeling disheartened and disgusted at the turn events had taken, and did not quite know what to do next. 

The battle of Smolensk had also demonstrated the unpleasant fact to Napoleon, that the individual Russian soldier did not lay down his arms even in very difficult situations. 129 years later Adolf Hitler would make the identical observation. The French were dismayed by all this. This was not how war was supposed to be. In addition, these discomforts were added to by the fact that the Russians had adopted a new tactic now that the invaders were in the Russian homeland proper. They evacuated the entire population as they retreated, leaving towns and villages deserted and burnt down. It became increasingly difficult for the French army to find provisions.

Napoleon realised that he could not stop where he was, and as he would not retreat for political reasons, he could only advance in the hope of eventually obtaining a decisive military victory over the Russians. If not before, the Russians would surely make a stand in defence of their old capital Moscow. Based on existing knowledge on climate in western Russia, Napoleon at that time expected at least two months of decent campaigning weather ahead.

The mood at Russian headquarters was hardly better, even though the general situation was changing in their favour. The retreat was a good deal less orderly than before, and the Russian armies were now leaving behind them a trail of abandoned wagons and dead or dying men and horses. Like the French, the Russians were disturbed by the inhumane turn the campaign had taken. The ongoing retreat meant that discipline were fast breaking down, and everybody was on the lookout for traitors. All this was having a detrimental effect on the army and Barclay’s authority.

In St. Petersburg Tsar Alexander found the general mood depressingly defeatist, and decided that the Russian army needed a new commander instead of Barclay. He was hard pressed by the public opinion to choose Field Marshal Mikhail Ilarionovich Kutuzov as Barclay’s successor. Alexander himself was not to happy about this, as he considered Kutuzov both immoral and incompetent. His sister Catherine, however, urged him to bow to the inevitable, and Kutozov was appointed 20 August 1812. Kutuzov declared that he was going to save Moscow, and set off to find his headquarters.

After assessing the state of the Russian army Kutuzov suddenly felt that he could not face Napoleon, whose strength now was gauged at 165,000, down from the original 450,000. The Russian summer had taken its toll. Kutuzov therefore decided to continue the retreat initiated by Barclay two months before. Perhaps he also suspected Napoleon to be a superior general to himself. On 3 September Kutuzov inspected defensive positions found near the village of Borodino, about 100 km west of Moscow. Here he was going to make a stand.

Kutuzov took up entirely defensive positions without any tactical possibility of gaining the initiative. Luckily for him, Napoleon had just caught a cold with an associated attack of dysuria, and was in anything approaching his usual form. In fact, Napoleon was going to deliver probably the worst performance of his entire military career. The invading French army was now down to 126,000, while Kutuzov had about 155,00 men under his command.

The Battle at Borodino 6 September 1812 (oil painting by Hess), with Napoleon watching from the Shevardino Redoubt (oil painting by Vereschagin). 

The first large battle during Napoleon’s Russian campaign began in the morning of 6 September 1812. Before this battle, both armies had lost more than half their original strength during eight weeks of Russian summer. The battle of Borodino was a hard fought battle with several Russian counterattacks, but slowly the French was getting the upper hand due to its superiority on the tactical level, and the Russian army had to retreat. The battle of Borodino was the greatest massacre in recorded history, not to be surpassed until the first day of the battle at Somme in 1916. Recent estimates give a total of about 73,000 casualties, 45,000 Russian and 28,000 French including allies.

Kutuzov’s army was now in no condition to give battle on any positions, however strong. He therefore fell back to the village Fili west of Moscow, initially announcing that he would fight in front of Moscow to the last drop of blood. At the following council of war in Fili, however, he took the decision to abandon Moscow to Napoleon, to preserve the Russian army in being, a scene memorably portaryed in Tolstoy’s War and Peace. The Russian army therefore continued its retreat through the Moscow to the consternation of the inhabitants. Kutuzov then turned south and later southwest, setting up a fortified camp for his army near Tarutino, about 120 km SW of Moscow.

The village Fili (now a suburb of Moscow) reappears later in history. Somewhat ironic, this was the location chosen by Trotsky in 1922 for cooperation with the German Junckers aircraft company for secret German-Russian production of aircrafts and engines, at a time where the German Reichwehr by the 1919 Versailles treaty was limited to 100,000 men and the development of military aircraft, tanks, battleships and other top-of-the-range military assets was limited (Bellamy 2007). In early December 1941, Fili also marks one of the the foremost position reached by the German Wehrmacht on their trust towards Moscow during operation Barbarossa.

Click here to jump back to the list of contents.

1812: Napoleon in Moscow  

In the afternoon of 14 September, what was left of the Grande Armée entered Moscow. Napoleon took up residence at the Kremlin the following day. About two-thirds of the 270,184 inhabitants had left, and the remainder were hiding in their homes. Nobody with an official status was left to take care of a formal surrender and make arrangements for feeding the soldiers, as would normally be the case in a civilised war. To make things even worse, before leaving Moscow, the city commander Count Rostopchin had ordered his Police Superintendant Voronenko to burn not only the remaining supplies, but everything he could. Voronenko and his men set to work, presumably assisted by the city’s criminal elements. The fire raged out of control and spread to several districts of the city. In the morning of 16 September flames were lapping around the walls of Kremlin, and Napoleon had to evacuate himself and take up residence in the Petrovsky Palace, a few kilometres outside Moscow.

Moscow burning 15-18 September 1812. On the 18 September Napoleon returns to Kremlin after having evacuated himself to the Petrovsky Palace outside Moscow. Oil paintings by Vereschagin.

After three days the fire began to abate, and on 18 September Napoleon rode back into Moscow. Two thirds of the city was destroyed by the fire, robbing him of a wealth of material resources. And there was still no delegation formally surrendering Moscow to him. Even worse, Tsar Alexander still apparently did not understand that Russia was defeated, and therefore had no ambitions of making peace with Napoleon. It was all very frustrating.

Napoleon now had to consider taking up winter quarters in Moscow. Alternatively he would have to retreat with his back home, a move which for political reasons was difficult. So for the time being, he choose to remain in Moscow, hoping that Alexander finally would come to his senses.

Napoleon had studied the available weather information, which told him that it normally did not get really cold until the beginning of December, so he did not feel any sense of urgency. What he did not realise, was how sudden low temperatures may come if a high pressure area settles over eastern Europe, pumping arctic air masses south across Russia, where the lack of high mountains leave the whole country open for arctic air masses. In addition, he had no experience of temperature being only one factor, but that the wind strength also had to be taken into account.

Early October 1812 the weather remained to be fine and warm, and Napoleon was teasing Armand Caulaincourt, his finest civilian aide, about his anxiety about the winter climate. On 13 October, however, the weather suddenly turned cold, and Moscow was covered in a blanket of thin snow. Presumably this was a meteorological surprise to Napoleon, and it rapidly made him make up his mind. The same day he declared that the army would leave as rapid as possible, and take up winter quarters further west, where well-stocked bases were at hand in Minsk and Vilna. Napoleons army left Moscow 20 October.

Click here to jump back to the list of contents.

1812: Napoleon’s retreat from Moscow  

The actual armed forces at Napoleon’s disposal as he left Moscow numbered no more than 95,000, and probably less. Marchal Kutuzow was still camping passively SW of Moscow, reinforcing his army to about 97,000 men. He was, however, still in no hurry to engage in regular warfare. So while Napoleon was retreating west towards Smolensk along the Moscow road, Kutuzov did not seriously attempt to cut across their line of retreat, even though he was excellently placed to do so.

The French retreat was slow, mainly due to lack of horsepower. The shortage of fodder had debilitated the horses, and they were growing too week to pull the guns and wagons. Part of the problem was that Napoleon saw himself carrying out a tactical withdrawal rather than a retreat. Therefore he refused to abandon a proportion of their guns to liberate horses and thereby save time. This determination not to loose face would cost him dear. As well as slowing their progress, all this had a demoralising effect on the French troops, marching down a devastated road, seeing only abandoned equipment, human and animal corpses. Kutuzow was still following south of the French army, but resolutely opposed to any suggestions from his generals to make an offensive move.

The good news for the French was that the weather was magnificent, and that the early snow in Moscow presumably just was a meteorological mishap. On 31 October, at Viazma, Napoleon therefore ridiculed those who had been attempting to scare him with stories of the Russian winter. The weather remained fine during the first days of November 1812, until 3 November, which was to be the last warm day. The wind turned north and the night between 4 and 5 November brought with it a rapid drop in air temperature. On 6 November the French retreat was entering a new phase. It began to snow, and in short time it lay half a meter thick on the ground. The drop in temperature had not been that great, probably not exceeding -10oC. But the French army was not used to or dressed for cold weather. There was no such thing as a winter uniform, since in those days armies did not fight in winter. The cold also provided the last straw for many of the remaining horses. The meteorological change early November 1812 had a profound effect on the whole French army.

Napoleon and his army retreating in western Russia early November 1812. 

Also the Russian army under Kutuzow was affected by the cold, and food and clothing was equally scarce. The war now grow even more vicious than before, and captives had become an unwelcome encumbrance to both sides. Many prisoners, French or Russian, were simply despatched with a bullet to the head.

When Napoleon 9 November reached Smolensk, the wind was still northerly and air temperatures were down to -15oC. On 14 November, they sank to -28oC. His army was now reduced to about 35,000 men. Kutuzow made some attempts at intersecting Napoleons further retreat towards Minsk, but without substantial success. 22 November Napoleon reached Tolochin, where he was informed that other Russian forces just had taken Minsk further to the west. What was left of the French army was surrounded. Napoleon, nevertheless, managed to extricate himself from this impossible situation by fainting an attack towards south, while his engineers at the same time was constructing two bridges across the frozen river Berezina, which was crossed 27-28 November.

The following two days may have been among the worst of the entire retreat. When Napoleon reached Pleshchenitse on 30 November, a temperature of -30oC was recorded be Dr. Louis Lagneau (Zamoyski 2005). Frostbite was widespread among the tired and hungry soldiers. Selfishness reached new heights. Now that Napoleon had managed to get beyond his reach, Kutuzov felt even less inclined to force the pursuit than before. Also his army was in a terrible condition. His main force, which has marched out of Tarutino 97,000 strong one month before, was now reduced to 27,000 men due to the cold, according to his own figures (Zamoyski 2005).

Retreat of the French army in western Russia, mid- and late November 1812. Oil paintings by Vereschagin.

On the evening of 5 December, at Smorgonie, Napoleon decided that it was time for him to go back to Paris, and take control from there. He called together his marshals and apparently apologised for his mistake of having remained in Moscow for too long. He then set off into the night. The Imperial Mameluke, Roustam, later reported that the wine in Napoleon’s carriage froze that night, causing the bottles to shatter. On 6 December the temperature fell even more, reaching -37.5oC according to Dr. Louis Lagneau. 

This was the end. On 9 December the main mass of the French army turned up at the gates of Vilnia. Vilnia, however, could not be hold, and the retreat had to continue towards the starting point along the river Niemen. The weather continued bitterly cold, with daytime temperatures around -35oC. The French commander Murat realised that the line of Niemen could not be held, and had to retreat all the way to first Königsberg, and later Danzig and Küstrin much longer to the west. Eventually, the remnants of the French army were driven all the way back to Dresden.

It was only when the French retreat finally came to a stop towards the end of January 1813 that the true scale of the disaster began to emerge. June 1812 somewhere between 550,000 and 600,000 French and allied troops have been assembled along Niemen. Only about 120,000 came out of Russia in December 1812, including substantial reinforcements received after the invasion was launched 22 June. Presumably at least 400,000 French and allied troops died during the campaign, less than 100,000 in battle. On the Russian side is has been estimated that up to 400,000 soldiers and militia died, about 110,000 of them in battle. 

The extremely cold winter November-December 1812, in combination with the previous warm summer July-August 1812 had been devastating for the whole military operation on both French and Russian side, and were to have lasting effects on Europe’s political future.

The catastrophic outcome of the Russian campaign sealed Napoleon’s fate. Not only did it cost him 300,000 of his best French soldiers (today this would compare to a loss of 700,000 men), but it also punctured the aura of superiority and being invincible that has been surrounding Napoleon’s person. Few saw this more clearly than the German patriots in Prussia, who had been suffering under the humiliation of French dominion. On 28 February 1813 an alliance was concluded between Russia and Prussia, and two weeks the latter declared war on France.



Tsar Alexander



 I was enjoying a ball arranged at

the General Benningsen’s estate, near Vilna. It was late in the evening, when one of his ADC’s approached him. Only a few words filtered into hall, but it was enough to reveal what had happened: “The war has begun.” But when did the possibility of war between the two empires first assume a degree of reality? Diplomats began to think and talk about it early in 1810 and the general public, towards the end of the same year.

Read more Tsar Alexander I


Russian Tsar Alexander I (ruled Russia 1801-1825).

Czar Alexander I, the emperor of Russia from 1801-1825, was best known for his alternately befriending, then fighting Napoleon I. In the early 1810’s (1813-1815) Alexander helped form the Big Four, which finally defeated the French emperor.


As a part of the Congress of Vienna,

the czar played a big part in the agreement to balance power and to get along with one another. In this meeting, Alexander was determined to obtain the only spoil that he wanted, Poland. The allies (Britain, Russia, Prussia), afraid of the Asiatic Russians obtaining too much control, only gave Russia a portion of Poland. Disgusted and disillusioned by the cynicism of Metternich, Talleyrand, and Castlereagh towards the idea of all people getting along, the czar formed the Holy Alliance in 1815. With this group, Alexander I tried to create a world based on the ideas of justice and charity.
    Because of these radical and liberal ideas, czar Alexander I was thought to be foolish and almost childish in his goals. Alexander was an idealist, and towards his later year, the czar became even more involved in mystical and spiritual events. Alexander was also a very religious man. He had such liberal ideas as giving Poland a liberal constitution (this allowed Poland to be partially restored) and funding


INTERNATIONAL LAW – The Congress of Vienna, 1814-1815


(The founder of the Rothschild dynasty, Mayer Amschel Bauer, told the secret of controlling the government of a nation over 200 years ago. He said, “Permit me to issue and control the money of a nation and I care not who makes its laws)

In 1802, Europe was made up of several hundred states, which were dominated by England, Austria, Russia, Prussia and France, which was the most powerful country. In 1804, when Napoleon Bonaparte took over France, his military exploits had led to the complete control of virtually all of Europe. In 1812, when Napoleon moved against Russia; England, Spain and Portugal were already at war with France. They were later joined by Sweden, Austria; and in 1813, Prussia joined the coalition to end the siege of Europe, and to “assure its future peace by the re-establishment of a just equilibrium of the powers.” In 1814, the coalition defeated France, and in March of that year, marched into Paris. France’s borders were returned to their original 1792 location, which had been established by the First Peace of Paris, and Napoleon was exiled to Elba, a small island off the Tucson coast of Italy.

From September, 1814 to June, 1815, the four powers of the allied coalition, winners of the Napoleonic Wars, met at the Congress of Vienna, along with a large number of rulers and officials representing smaller states. It was the biggest political meeting in European history. Representing England was Lord Robert Stewart, the 2nd Viscount Castlereagh; France, with Foreign Minister Charles-Maurice Talleyrand de Perigord; Prussia, with King Friedrich Wilhelm III; and Austria, with Emperor Franz II.

(Left picture: Robert Stewart 2nd Marquess of Londonderry in the Peerage of Ireland on the death of his father in 1821.)

“An unusual feature of the “Congress of Vienna” was that it was not properly a Congress: it never met in plenary session, and most of the discussions occurred in informal, face-to-face, sessions among the Great Powers with limited participation by delegates from the lesser states. On the other hand, the Congress was the first occasion in history where on a continental scale people came together in place to hammer out a treaty, instead of relying mostly on messengers and messages between the several capitals. The Congress of Vienna settlement, despite later changes, formed the framework for European international politics until 1914.

Throughout the 19th century, there was growing interest in establishing new national identities, which had a drastic impact on the map of Europe. These transformations also highlighted the failure of a certain ’European order’ which led to the outbreak of the First World War.

“….Besides, the decisions of the Congress were made by the Five Great Powers (Austria, France, Prussia, Russia and the United Kingdom), and not all the countries of Europe could extend their rights at the Congress. For example, Italy became a mere “geographical expression” as divided into eight parts (Parma, Modena, Tuscany, Lombardy, Venetia, Piedmont-Sardinia, the Papal States, Naples-Sicily) under the control of different powers, while Poland was under the influence of Russia after the Congress. The arrangements that made the Five Great Powers finally led to future disputes. The Congress of Vienna preserved the balance of power in Europe, but it could not check the spread of revolutionary movements on the continent.


(1815) Alliance between Britain, Russia, Austria, and Prussia first formed in 1813 to oppose France in the final phase of the Napoleonic Wars. It was officially renewed in 1815 to enforce the peace settlement concluded at the Congress of Vienna. The allies agreed to meet occasionally to keep European political development within terms of the 1815 settlement. This program was partially carried out by the Congresses of Aix-la-Chapelle (1818), Troppau (1820), Laibach (1821), and Verona (1822).

Other representatives were: Frederick VI, King of Denmark; Maximilian Joseph, King of Bavaria; Friedrich I, King of Württemberg; Napoleon II, King of Rome; Eugene de Beauharnais, Viceroy of Italy; King Friedrich August I of Saxony; Count Leowenhielm of Sweden; Cardinal Consalvi of the Papal States; Grand Duke Charles of Baden; Elector William of Hesse; Grand Duke George of Hesse-Darmstadt; Karl August, Duke of Weimar; the King of Bohemia; the King of Hungary; and emissaries from Spain, Portugal, Denmark, Holland, and other European States.


(Left picture: Ercole Consalvi (June 8, 1757January 24, 1824) was a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church).



The main concern of the Congress was to redistribute conquered territories, create a balance of power, restore the pre-Napoleonic order through King Louis XVIII, return the power to families who were ruling in 1789, and to return the Roman Catholic Church to its former power. Discussion revolved around the creation of a Federation of Europe that would establish a group of independent kingdoms which would be tied together through an administrative governing body that would, among other things, provide military defense. In their plan, Switzerland was made a neutral state that served as a repository for their finances.  


Engraved portrait of Eugene de Beauharnais. Engraved with watercolors by Alix – c. 1805.

Prince Eugene was Joséphine’s only son, whom Napoléon made Viceroy of Italy. He is seen here in his official uniform. From the first time Napoléon met him, he was impressed by the young man’s modesty, sincerity and good looks).


In March, 1815, Napoleon left Elba,

because the pension promised him by


King Louis XVIII was discontinued,

and he believed that Austria was preventing his companion,


Marie Louise, and


his son, the former King of Rome (who became the Duke of Reichstadt in Vienna) from being able to join him. Plus, he was made aware of the growing discontent with the King. Thus Napoleon returned, began the Hundred Days War, and was immediately labeled a “public enemy.” The coalition at the Congress put aside their diplomatic business, and joined in the battle.

Shortly before Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo, negotiations at the Congress of Vienna were completed, and the treaty was signed on June 9, 1815. The Second Peace of Paris, in November, exiled Napoleon to St. Helena, an island 1,000 miles off the African coast, where he died in 1821.

On September 26, 1815, the Treaty of Holy Alliance was signed by Alexander I of Russia, Francis II of Austria, and Frederick William III of Prussia, while the allies were negotiating the Second Peace of Paris. The Treaty guaranteed the sovereignty of any monarch who would adhere to Christian principles in the affairs of State.

The Treaty made them a “true and indissoluble brotherhood.” Alexander claimed he got the idea from a conversation with Castlereagh. Castlereagh later said that the Alliance was a “piece of sublime mysticism and nonsense.” Prussia and Austria claimed they went along with it, out of fear of Russian retaliation. Although the Alliance had no influence on matters, it did indicate to other countries that they had banded together against them and it succeeded in temporarily crushing Europe’s growing liberal movement.






(Picture above: Alexander I of Russia (Russian: Александр I Павлович, Aleksandr I Pavlovich) (23 December 1777 – 19 November 1825), also known as Alexander the Blessed (Russian: Александр Благословленный, Aleksandr Blagoslovlennyi) served as Emperor of Russia from 23 March 1801 to 1 December 1825 and Ruler of Poland from 1815 to 1825, as well as the first Russian Grand Duke of Finland).

Austrian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Prince Klemens Furst von Metternich, the most influential statesman in Europe, and a Rothschild agent, said that the purpose of his idea for a European Federation was only to preserve the social order, and he was convinced that Alexander was insane.

In 1916, the Senate Congressional Record (pg. 6781) reproduced a document known as the “Secret Treaty of Verona” which had been signed in November 22, 1822 by Austria (Metternich), France (Chateaubriand), Prussia (Bernstet), and Russia (Nesselrode); and was partially the reason for the establishment of the Monroe Doctrine. Its purpose was to make some changes to the treaty of the Holy Alliance, and Article One stated: “The high contracting powers, being convinced that the system of representative government is equally as incompatible with the monarchical principles as the maxim of the sovereignty of the people with the divine right, engage mutually, in the most solemn manner, to use all their efforts to put an end to the system of representative governments, in whatever country it may exist in Europe, and to prevent its being introduced where it is not yet known.”

It was designed and proposed a form of collective and collaborative security for Europe, then called a Congress system. According to the Congress system the main signatory powers were to meet periodically (every two years or so) and collectively manage European Affairs. The following ten years saw 5 European Congresses where disputes were resolved with a diminishing degree of effectiveness. Finally, by 1822, the whole system had collapsed because of the irreconcilable differences of opinion between the United Kingdom, Austria and Russia, and because of the lack of support for the Congress system in British public opinion.

Publication The Congress of Vienna, 1814-1815





Emperor Napoleon I

But long before this, subterranean currents had been undermining the Franco-Russian relationship. On 2 December 1805, at Austerlitz, Napoleon inflicted a crushing defeat on the combined Austrian and Russian armies. In 1806-1807 the Russian armies dispatched by the Tsar to save Prussia from final defeat fought Napoleon in the bloody battles of Pultusk, Eylau and, finally, on 14 June 1807, Friedland, after which Alexander I agreed to peace and concluded an alliance with Napoleon. The two emperors met personally at the town of Tilsit, on an elaborate raft moored in the middle of the Niemen River. Alexander did not forget these painful experiences. And he was not unaware of the widespread displeasure prevailing in Russia, particularly in the army, over the “ignominious peace of Tilsit.” Humiliation was not the sole difficulty. Napoleon had forced Alexander to join him Napoleon’s Continental System: Russia had obligated herself not to buy anything from, or sell anything to, the English or to allow Englishmen into Russia. She also obligated herself to declare war on England. The blockade against England caused great suffering to Russian landowners and merchants. This Franco-Russian alliance, entered into force at Tilsit in 1807, manifested its first fissure in the following year during the September meeting of the two emperors at Erfurt. And the fissure widened in 1809 during Napoleon’s war against Austria. Let us dwell for a moment on the two years 1807-1809.



In the panic following the Russian Army’s rout at Friedland, Alexander decided not only on peace but also on a decisive, almost revolutionary turn in foreign policy. It is not our purpose to give a complete picture of Alexander as a man and a sovereign, but a brief consideration is necessary.

In the course of his career, Alexander passed through several transformations. As heir to the throne he had exhibited one persona;


after the murder of his father, Paul I, another; before Austerlitz, a third; after Austerlitz, yet a fourth; now, after Tilsit, he unveiled a fifth. And how many more changes he was to go through in 1814 and the following years! Not only his moods changed, but his relationships to people, his opinions of people, his attitude towards life. Indeed, his whole character seemed to become transformed. One of his contemporaries likened Alexander to Buddha, who according to Hindu legends undergoes various “transformations”, “becoming” something anew over the course of his life, each time showing a wholly new face. What kind of men was he then? What were his aspirations? Alexander knew how to keep himself in hand as did no other among Russia’s Tsars and, indeed, as few autocrats anywhere.

In 1805 Alexander had suffered an ignominious rout at Austerlitz and it was absolutely impossible to throw the blame on anyone else. Everyone knew that the Tsar himself, against the will of Kutuzov, the senior Russian officer present, had led army to disaster and that when all was lost he publicly burst into tears and fled the bloody field. But the enemy was so dangerous, and the nobility which surrounded the Tsar so hated and feared this enemy, that they largely forgave Alexander for Austerlitz, merely because, in spite of everything, he refused to make peace with Napoleon and because a year after Austerlitz he again took the field against “the enemy of mankind”. This time the war was longer and bloodier.

With the peace made at Tilsit, it appeared that Napoleon would cease his warring, and Europe would have peace. It seemed to Russia’s elite that after Austria’s defeat in 1809, and after Napoleon’s marriage to the Austrian Emperor’s daughter, the power of the French Emperor had grown so strong on the Continent that England would soon consent to any peace, to avoid being made bankrupt by the blockade imposed by the Continental System.

Napoleon himself thought otherwise.

For him the Austrian marriage was the best means of securing his rear if he should again fight Russia. To his rapprochement with Austria, as to all political combinations in this period of his rule, he attached chiefly strategic significance. He saw clearly that his main task was to crush England-and this was impossible as long as the coasts of the Baltic, White, and Black Seas remained open to English goods. Even more clearly he realized that without a new and decisive defeat of the Russian armed forces, this aim could not be achieved. Moreover, without this defeat, he could not fully secure his power over the northern European coastline, he could not subjugate Spain, and he could not expect the Germans to give up all hope of national liberation.

The Provocations of 1810

For these reasons, he began in 1810 to pursue his famous policy of “the moving frontier”; more exactly, he did not begin it, but intensified it: by a mere stroke of his pen, he annexed a number of new lands to his Empire, sent his troops to garrison German fortresses, and gradually moved the spearhead of his power eastward, closer and closer to Russia. At the same time, he took the most stringent measures against violators of the Continental blockade. Silence reigned in Europe.…

Prince P. A. Vyazemsky, a friend of the great Russian author, Pushkin, was later to write,

“Napoleon was equally terrifying to kings and peoples. No one who has not lived in this epoch, can know, or even imagine, how stifling existence was at that time. The fate of every state, of nearly every person, depended more or less, in one way or another, if not today then tomorrow, on the whims of the Tuileries’ cabinet or on the military dispositions of Napoleon’s headquarters. Everyone lived as under the threat of an earthquake or a volcano. No one could act or even breathe freely.”

The annexation of Holland to the French Empire in June 1810, the transfer of three French divisions from southern to Baltic Germany in August of the same year, the transport from the French Empire of 50,000 rifles to the Duchy of Warsaw and of an artillery regiment to the French-occupied Magdeburg-all menacing symptoms of an approaching storm-Russian diplomacy was directly related to the Austrian marriage and the Austrian alliance with Napoleon. Napoleon no longer needed Russia; his power over Europe had a new support in Vienna.

On 5 August and 17 September 1810, at Trianon, Napoleon established a new tariff system, according to which taxes on colonial goods (sugar, tea, pepper, etc.) were significantly increased. All over Europe English goods were confiscated. Russia was gently asked to adopt similar measures, but the Russian government refused, explaining that this would be contrary to her independence and interests.

In December 1810, Napoleon annexed the Hanseatic cities Hamburg, Bremen, and Lubeck, and took advantage of the occasion to acquire the entire territory between Holland and Hamburg, including the Duchy of Oldenburg. Alexander’s sister, Ekaterina, was married to the son and heir of the Duke of Oldenburg. Alexander protested. But Napoleon “added a fresh humiliation”: he ordered his foreign minister, Jean-Baptiste de Nompere de Champagny, the Duke of Cadore, to reject the Russian note of protest without even reading it.

In reply Tsar approved on a new tariff (entered into force on 1 January 1811), increasing the duties on all luxury articles and wines, the very articles imported from France.

From then on, relations between the two emperors grew steadily worse. The more Napoleon’s troops poured into Poland and Prussia, contrary to the conditions of the peace of Tilsit, which stipulated their withdrawal from Prussia, the more vigilantly and zealously Napoleon insisted on the fulfillment of the blockade, the more did Russia’s secret hopes centre on England.

Consequently, in a report presented to Napoleon on 7 April 1810 by the Duke of Cadore, the Emperor read:

“The British Cabinet has not lost hope of a rapprochement with Russia and Turkey, thus securing on the Baltic Sea, in the Archipelago, and on the Black Sea more useful outlets for her manufactures than it might obtain by any peace, even if this peace should temporarily open up to her the ports of France, Germany, Holland, and Italy.”

The Duke of Cadore feared that the British might succeed in this stratagem. A struggle of interests was being fought round Alexander, he said, and England could achieve much “by promises, advantageous offers, and alluring guarantees.”

“The venality of the St. Petersburg Court had always been an established fact. This venality was quite open during the reigns of Elizabeth, Catherine, and Paul. If in the present reign it is less public, if we still have in Russia a few friends inaccessible to English proposals, such as Count Rumyantsev, the Princes Kurakin, and a very small number of others, it is nevertheless true that the majority of the Tsar’s courtiers, partly from habit, partly from attachment to the Empress Dowager, partly from vexation at the drop in their incomes through lower exchange rates, partly as a result of bribery, are secret partisans of England.”

In this secret report, the Duke of Cadore frankly acknowledged the difficulty of preventing a possible rapprochement between England and Russia: “How will it be possible to rupture completely the secret relations between England and Russia, when their more or less weighty common interests impel both courts to renew these relations?” It is necessary to observe that Champagny was only an obedient tool of his sovereign. His mission, as he saw it, was to play up to the Emperor and to echo his passions and thoughts. For instance, he put it down to his own credit that his predecessors had sought to conclude a peace with England, while he, the Duke of Cadore, stood for the continuation of the war. It was only necessary to complete the conquest of Spain: then all the ports of Europe would be closed. “Once in Cadiz, Sire, you will be in a position either to break or strengthen the bonds with Russia.” Europe must be closed to English ships and goods from Cadiz to St. Petersburg.

In December 1810, after publication of the new Russian tariff, all Europe began to discuss the coming war between the two empires. In a letter to his beloved sister, Ekaterina Pavlovna, dated 26 December 1810, Alexander referred to it for the first time: “It seems that blood must flow again. But at least I have done everything that is humanly possible to avoid it.” This letter discussing the seizure by Napoleon of Peter of Oldenburg’s duchy (Peter’s son and heir, George was the husband of Ekaterina Pavlovna) contains no other important passages, except for a significant list of matters that Alexander wished to talk over with his sister at their next meeting. He was then preparing for a journey to Tver, where his sister lived, and he actually did appear there in March 1811. In this list a prominent place is given to military matters, such as the organization of the army, the increase of its effectives, reserves, etc. If, by the seizure of Oldenburg, Napoleon intended not only to secure the German Baltic coast, but also to vex Alexander, he certainly achieved his aim. But, more important, Alexander realized that this was only a beginning; it was clear that Napoleon was not insulting him for nothing.

Caulaincourt is Recalled

In May 1811, Napoleon recalled Caulaincourt, his ambassador to St. Petersburg. His reason was that Caulaincourt stood for peace with Russia and believed that Napoleon was provoking the Tsar deliberately and without justification. Caulaincourt left St. Petersburg on 15 May. “Should Emperor Napoleon start a war,” Alexander said to him during Caulaincourt’s leave-taking, “it is possible and even likely that he will beat us. But this will not give him peace. The Spaniards have often been beaten, but for all that they are neither conquered nor subjugated, and they are closer to Paris than we are, and they have neither our climate nor our resources. We shall enter into no compromises; we have vast spaces in our rear, and shall preserve a well-organized army. With all that at our disposal, we shall never be forced to conclude peace, no matter what defeats we may suffer. We may even force the conqueror to make peace. Emperor Napoleon expressed this idea to Chernishev after Wagram. He himself acknowledged that he would never have been willing to negotiate with Austria, if Austria had not preserved her army; and, with a little more stubbornness, the Austrians might have obtained better terms. Napoleon needs results as rapid as his own thoughts; he will not achieve them with us. I shall profit by his lessons. They are the lessons of a master. We shall let our climate, our winter, wage the war for us. The French soldiers are brave, but less enduring than ours, they are more easily disheartened. Miracles occur only in the presence of the Emperor, but he cannot be everywhere. Moreover, he will inevitably be in a hurry to return to his country. I will not draw sword first, but I shall sheathe it last. Sooner would I retreat to Kamchatka than yield a province or put my signature to a peace made in my conquered capital, a peace which would turn out to be a mere truce.”


Armand de Caulaincourt
French Ambassador to Russia

Caulaincourt, to be sure, often over-idealized Alexander. In this instance, however, his testimony is extremely plausible, although one must bear in mind that the Caulaincourt’s memoirs were written well after events, and several incidents may have taken on a different light when seen in retrospect.

Caulaincourt feared a war with Russia. Upon his return to Paris on 5 June 1811, he was promptly received by Napoleon, to whom he conveyed the Tsar’s words. Caulaincourt insisted that the idea of restoring Poland would have to be sacrificed in order to preserve the peace and the alliance with Russia. At the same time, he maintained that under no circumstances would Russia start a war.

Napoleon contradicted him. As always during this period, Napoleon emphasized his own conceptions: the Russian nobility was dissolute, decrepit, self-seeking, undisciplined, incapable of self-sacrifice, and, after the first defeats, following the beginning of an invasion, they would take fright and force the Tsar to sign a peace.

Caulaincourt objected strongly:

“You are mistaken, Sire, about Alexander and the Russians. Do not judge Russia from what others tell you about her. And do not judge the Russian army from what you saw of it after Friedland, crushed as it was and disarmed. Threatened with an attack for over a year, the Russians have made preparations and strengthened their forces. They have considered all possibilities, even the possibility of great defeats. They have made preparations for defense and resistance to the utmost.”

Napoleon listened, but soon changed the subject. He spoke of his Grand Army, the inexhaustible resources of his world empire, of his invincible Guard. In all history, he pointed out, no military leader had commanded such enormous forces, such troops, magnificent in all respects. At the same audience, Caulaincourt protested that it was unjust to demand that Russia fulfill in every particular the ruinous conditions of the Continental System, while Napoleon himself violated them in the interests of the treasury and French industry, by granting licenses for trade with England to individual merchants and financiers. Napoleon shut his ears to all these arguments. “One good battle,” he replied, “will put an end to all your friend Alexander’s excellent resolutions, and to all his fortifications built on sand.”

With a feeling of despair, Caulaincourt saw that he was accomplishing nothing. Napoleon’s confidence in victory was increasing month by month as his grandiose preparations took shape, and he refused to take any warning seriously. Russo-French relations were in a muddled state.



sp:Russian conservative Konstantin Aksakov (son of Sergei Aksakov and brother of Ivan Aksakov) wrote a memo to Emperor Alexander II, “On the Internal State of Russia” [TXT | Raeff3:231-51]
*–This loyal and strong defense of freedom of speech could not be published until 1881
*–Collection of writings =
Tribune of the Slavophiles: Konstantin Aksakov
*1853:Poetic defense of freedom of Expression [



Russian Emperor Alexander II reigned for 26 years
2) RUSSIAN REVOLUTIONARY SITUATIONS (The first and the second)
*–Alexander II, Emperor of Russia.
The Politics of Autocracy: Letters of Alexander II to Prince A. I. Bariatinskii, 1857-1864
*–Aleksandr Nikitenko,
The Diary of a Russian Censor (1975)


British documents on foreign affairs–reports and papers from the Foreign Office confidential print. Part I, from the mid- nineteenth century to the First World War. Series A, Russia, 1859 -1914 (1983)
*–Nikolai K. Girs,
The Education of a Russian Statesman: The Memoirs of Nich. Karl. Giers (1962)
*–W. Bruce Lincoln,
In the Vanguard of Reform: Russia’s Enlightened Bureaucrats, 1825-1861
Nikolai Miliutin: An Enlightened Russian Bureaucrat
*–Daniel T. Orlovsky,
The Limits of Reform: The Ministry of Internal Affairs in Imperial Russia, 1802-1881 (1981)
*–S. Frederick Starr,
Decentralization and Self-Government in Russia, 1830-1870 (1972)
*–N. G. O. Pereira,
Tsar-Liberator: Alexander II of Russia, 1818-1881 (1984)
*–E. M. von Almedingen,
The Emperor Alexander II (1962)
*–James Malloy,
P. A. Valuev and his career in Nineteenth century Russian state service
*–Werner Eugen Mosse,
Alexander II and the Modernization of Russia. London:1958
Website of Walter Moss, “Alexander II and His Times”

<>1855:USA| Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass [TXT]
Wagar on Whitman [TXT]

<>1855ja:Shimoda | After losing all but the ship Diana (1806:1812:GO) to needs of the Crimean War, and after great earthquake and tidal wave leveled Shimoda and shipwrecked Diana [Beasley, MHJ:61], in 1855fe07 Putiatin arranged Treaty of Amity (Nichiro Washin Joyaku). Modelled on Kanagawa treaty, recently signed by USA Commander Matthew Perry [KEJ,4:179. PHandG:782]. Lensen thinks Shimoda “provisions” are “more extensive” than Kanagawa [KEJ,6:270]. “Went beyond” by opening 3 ports [KEJ,6:341]. Opened Shimoda, Hakodate, and Nagasaki to Russia, but only for ship repairs and provisioning. BUT did allow posting of consuls at Hakodate or Shimoda Russia chose Hakodate and established reciprocal extra-territoriality. Kurils divided so that Japan held those islands south of Iturup (Etorofu); Russia, those north of Urup (Uruppu) [KEJ,6:270 Lensen. I think he means "S FROM" and "N FROM". NB!:Kurils divided N of Etorofu (KEJ,2:238 Stephan)]. Sakhalin a “common possession” (Lensen) or “jointly occupied” (Stephan) [Harrison, Japan's N.Frontier]. Lensen feels that “relations between Russian residents, mostly personnel of naval vessels wintering in Japan, and local inhabitants were on the whole amicable. As military men, Japanese officials could identify more readily with monarchist naval officers than with merchants or with missionaries [KEJ,6:341]. Lensen goes too far to put Russia in good light. Says 1st lessons in European shipbuilding from Putiatin’s stranded crew, but cf.PH&G:766 re.Adams “Anjin”

<>1855my08:Heda, NW coast of Izu Peninsula | Putiatin and 40 men were moved to Heda, built European-style schooner in partnership with Japanese craftsmen, and departed for Russia from Japan (took 2 wks) [KEJ,6:270]
*That year novelist Ivan Aleksandrovich Goncharov began serial publication of his
Fregat Pallada (1858:book publication) about his experience with Putiatin in Japan
*–Goncharov mocked and ridiculed Japanese in a most unfortunate manner. “It was difficult to look without laughter at these skirt-clad figures with their little topnots and their bare little knees”. Lensen says that G’s portrait of Japan as “ludicrous and effeminate” was very damaging

<>1855je16:San Francisco Journal carried article by the German traveler Julius Frobel which stressed parallel rise of USA and Russia. Prognosis = three-way suzerainty over globe, USA, Europe and Russia
*–Frobel later wrote memoirs of his travels to the New World, Frobel, Julius, 1805-1893
Seven years’ travel in Central America, northern Mexico, and the far West of the United States (London:1859) F1409.F92

<>1855oc13:1857my21; French intellectuals Edmund and Jules Goncourt kept diary of everyday life in Paris in which they reflected on the inferiority of women [P20:14]

<>1856:1870; Italian unification under the leadership of Camillo di Cavour and Giuseppe Garibaldi, a complex 14-year process of gathering widely different jurisdictions under single governmental administration, not complete until Rome and Vatican City brought under the authority of the new Italian liberal monarchy [MAP]
Italy“, the nation-state, made its late appearance on the historical stage [DPH:187-91]

<>1856:Sergei Aksakov published Chronicles of a Russian Family, a remarkable tale of gentry family life in the time of serfdom on the Orenburg, trans-Volga frontier or Bashkir steppes [excerpts= KRR:352-4]
*1914:Mikhail Nesterov landscape portrait of area around Aksakov homestead in
Olga’s Gallery
Sergei Aksakov’s UO bibliography
*–For Sergei’s famous sons, GO
Konstantin and Ivan

<>1856mr18 (mr30 NS): Treaty of Paris ended Crimean War [VSB,3:606-7 | DPH:197-9 | DIR2:209-20 | ORW:118] France, England, Turkey, Sardinia, Russia, Austria, and Prussia. Russia agreed to neutralization of Black Sea, open to all commercial fleets but closed to all military navies
*–Romania (till 1859 called Moldavia and Walachia) became semi-independent states under Ottoman Turkish suzerainty. Russia ceded to Romania the mouth of the Danube River and Bessarabia. All of lower Danube placed under international commission
*–Russian imperial advance in Ottoman Turkish Central Asia was hereby pushed back. Ottoman Turkey was now declared to be part of what was called the “European concert” and its integrity protected as such. Turkey became a part of Europe in the effort to keep its imperial domains from becoming a part of Russia
*–Russian imperialist ambitions were conspicuously damaged while the imperialist ambitions of
“The West” were conspicuously advanced. The concept of “The West” (and the derivative expression “Westernization”) very possibly originated in Russia [LOOP on anachronistic use of the term "Westernization"]. Now these loose concepts were increasingly used to describe powerful and rapidly modernizing (i.e., industrializing) northwestern European nation-states in their domineering or imperialist relationship to the rest of the world. The rest of the world was labeled over time with a series of progressively less slanderous adjectives = “savage”, “primitive”, “backward”, “undeveloped”, and (by the late 20th century) “developing”
*–It took Russia twenty years to bolster its military strength and prepare to reassert itself into the Black Sea and the Balkans. The first moves in “
The Great Game” after Crimea went England’s way, but Russia waited its turn
*1856de:Caucasus Mountains, northern slopes. Chechen people shifted from imam leadership to Russian administration as General Evdokimov introduced program of receiving into Russian territory immigrants from Shamil’s Chechen and Daghestan territories

<>1856mr30:Russian Emperor Alexander II advised Moscow aristocrats gathered in their provincial noble assembly, “It is better to abolish serfdom from above than to await the time when it will begin to abolish itself from below” [VSB,3:589 | DPH:282]

  • Noble assemblies were institutions created in the time of Catherine II [ID]
  • These aristocratic “corporate” or soslovie-based institutions responded to Alexander’s dramatic announcement in hope and fear
  • Russian landowning elites now entered into a brilliant, yet futile — perhaps we could say final — period of corporate or “class-conscious” political action
  • Newspaper reports on this Moscow Noble Assembly alerted reading public to the immediate possibility of significant reform
  • 1858su:Nizhnii-Novgorod and Moscow nobles heard addresses by Alexander II on same theme [VSB,3:591]
  • Internal Ministry official Aleksei Levshin and Senator Yakov Solov’ev described the background to reforms [VSB,3:589-91]
  • At the autocratic center, in Petersburg, the Main Committee and Editorial Commission laid the groundwork for abolition of serfdom [VSB,3:591-3]
  • Landowning nobles (rural gentry political activists) distrusted the reformist state and were thus not at all certain that this “great reform” would be all that great
  • What might this suggest about the status of the landowning aristocracy as a “ruling class” in Imperial Russia?

<>1856de01:USA WDC | Jefferson Davis, USA Secretary of War (1853-57) and future president of the rebellious Confederacy, addressed new challenge faced by a dispirited and idle US military, scattered across the Great Plains in small, vulnerable forts without a specific mission appropriate to the size and ambition generated in the Mexican-American War [ID]

  • Davis understood the close parallel of frontier and imperialist expansion =

The occupation of Algeria by the French presents a case having much parallelism to that of our western frontier, and affords an opportunity of profiting by their experience. Their practice, as far as understood by me, is to leave the desert region to the possession of the nomadic tribes; their outposts, having strong garrisons, are established near the limits of the cultivated region, and their services performed by large detachments making expeditions into the desert regions as required [Webb,Great Plains:194-5 & ff.]

  • 1855mr03:Davis had gotten $30,000 from Congress to experiment with camels in TX
  • 1858:Davis was the first to propose construction of a railroad to the Pacific Ocean. He considered it a military necessity and thus a government project, that is, it required government subvention (monetary support) of private enterprise. Davis arranged for government survey of 4 possible routes
  • Davis understood the military-industrial closeness of frontier (imperialist?) expansion and the development of railroads
  • As USA was poised to open its own industrial era of railroad construction and to launch a campaign into the Great Plains against the Native Americans who lived there, it was temporarily diverted by the disasters of the great Civil War

<>1857ja26:Russian Emperor Alexander II decree laid out plan for vigorous development of railroads [VSB,3:607]

<>1857my10:1858au02; India | Sepoy Rebellion ushered in brutal year of imperialist war which pitted England against an Indian independence movement

  • Prominent English cultural figure, John Ruskin [ID] , delivered a speech characteristic of British imperialist attitudes toward those who resisted their power = “Since the race of man began its course of sin on this earth, nothing has ever been done by it so significative of all bestial, and lower than bestial degradation, as the act [of] the Indian race in the year that has just passed by” [2011au19:TLS:3]
  • The rebellion forced abolition of 250-year-old English East India Co. and caused imposition in India of direct administration by imperialist English crown
  • Termination of the great English mercantilist corporation, followed in a decade by the demise of the Russian-America Company [ID], indicated that a 300-year phase of European overseas-corporate economic life was over
  • And all this just as a new breed of industrial company moved to the center of European economic life, as epitomized by the new railroad companies [ID] and trans-national grain and petroleum corporations

<>1857oc11:Nagasaki | Putiatin back from China, where he was working to create a new generation of treaties more favorable to Russia than the old Nerchinsk Treaty. He found no word from Edo
*1857oc16:Nagasaki officials decided to move ahead in their dealings with Putiatin, using the Dutch proposal as prototype
*–Week later Putiatin signed similar treaty, w/promise that another port than Shimoda would be opened. USA diplomatic representative Townsend Harris wouldn’t accept this plan and proposed to force a greater opening of
Putiatin soon had some imperialist success in China, and Russian imperialist ambitions in Asia mounted as the 19th century wound down

<>1857:1870; In London political exile, the pundit Alexander Herzen was beyond the grip of Russian censorship and free to publish and circulate back in Russia his influential journal of opinion and political news, Kolokol [The Bell] for 13 years, until his death [KMM:165-90 | RRC2,2:321-31 | Excerpts: Edie,1:328-78 | VSB,2:582-4]

  • 1849:1855; Various Herzen writings [DIR3:271-84]
  • 1851:Paris | Six years before the appearance of Kolokol, Herzen explained to Europeans that Russia had a long and progressive revolutionary tradition, “Du développment des idées revolutionnaires en Russie” [KMM:158-64]
  • 1851se22:Herzen letter to Michelet [Excerpts = TXT | DIR2:233-54]. Herzen defended Russia from standard west European clichés repeated in Michelet’s writing. Herzen insisted, “The time has come to show Europe that they cannot speak about Russia as of something mute, absent, and defenseless”
  • Herzen’s critical and radical patriotism, his insistence that Russia was as able as Europe to reach for the better future, and especially his inclination to idealize Russian village political tradition, inspired the “populist” movement. [TXT on the meaning of "obshchina" in Russian political discourse in the 1860s]
  • 1852:Herzen, with his close associate Nikolai Ogarev, founded “Free Russian Press”. The press issued a stream of information and opinion back into Russia where censorship constrained free expression. These publications were suppressed by Russian officials, but they were read in secret and with enthusiasm both by political opponents of autocracy and by the autocrat himself
  • 1852:1868; Herzen published, first in serial form, one of the great political/intellectual autobiographies of all times, My Past and Thoughts. These memoirs not only shed light on the early history of European socialism and the rise of the Russian intelligentsia [ID] but entered into the Russian literary canon
  • 1856:London| Voices from Russia [Golosa iz Rossii] began to appear. It contained examples of the a growing body of thoughtful essays sent to Herzen from Russia, where official censorship prevented free deliberation on significant national issues
    • The lead article was critical of political extremism and was signed “A Russian Liberal” (written jointly by Konstantin Kavelin and Boris Chicherin)
    • Chicherin also published a piece on the weaknesses of the Russian aristocracy, “Ob aristokratii, v osobennosti russkoi” [GRV:189-93]
    • That very year, back in Russia, Kavelin’s MS critique of serfdom circulated = “Gosudarstvennoe krepostnoe pravo v Rossii” [GRV:194-7]
  • Russian liberalism stood forth here at mid-century, promoted in the publication Herzen and Ogarev, who are always thought to be more nearly “socialists” than “liberals”
  • 1857fe03:Herzen letter to the novelist Turgenev compared Russia, America and Europe [VSB,3:634-5]
  • 1858:Herzen wrote of Russia and America: “Both — from different direction — reached across awesome expanses, building towns, settlements, and colonies, to the shores of the Pacific Ocean, the ‘Mediterranean of the future’”
  • 1859:”Russian Germans and German Russians” offered more critique of “The West” [VSB,3:635-6]
  • 1867:Herzen portrait painted by Nikolai Gay and in Olga’s Gallery
    *–Martin Malia, 
    Alexander Herzen and the Birth of Russian Socialism
    *–VRR, ch.1 & ch.3 on Herzen & Kolokol
    *–Alexander Kucherov, “Alexander Herzen’s Parallel between the United States and Russia”, in Curtiss, ed., Essays…:34-47
    *–English playwright Tom Stoppard on Herzen [
    TXT] Review of Stoppard’s dramatic trilogy, “The Coast of Utopia” [TXT]

<>1858:London exile, as a result of unsuccessful radical republican political activism in Italy, provided Guiseppe Mazzini the opportunity to publish a theoretical and political journal, Pensiero ed Azione [Thought and Action]

<>1858:Leipzig | Russian priest and advocate of greater independence of the Russian Orthodox Church from state control and for general church reforms, I. S. Belliustin, published Description of the Clergy in Rural Russia: The Memoir of a Nineteenth-Century Parish Priest [Excerpt= KRR:336-9]

  • The Church, as institution,  was largely put outside the range of tsarist reform planning. The Petrine subordination of church to state [ID] was given little official attention
  • However, the newly aroused public and energized seminary teachers and students, as well as certain activist clergy (such as Belliustin), subjected the Russian Orthodox Church to critical scrutiny

<>1858my:Russian pundit Nikolai Dobroliubov (-1861), “The Organic Development of Man….” [Raeff3:263-87 | CF=Selected Philosophical Essays | 1859:review of Nikolai Goncharov's novel about aristocratic indolence, Oblomov | RRC2,2#28 | DIR3:321-5]

  • In the late 1850s and early 1860s, the monthly journal Sovremennik [Contemporary], in which Dobroliubov and Nikolai Chernyshevskii played leading roles, gained great popularity because of its broad-ranging “muckraking” journalism and advocacy of a “modern” secular, science-based world view
  • Because of censorship, philosophical, political-economic and social issues had to be disguised as literary criticism
  • Belinsky, Chernyshevsky and Dobroliubov: Selected Criticism
  • Chernyshevskii wrote on leading issues in the life of the struggling Russian agrarian order =
    • 1857: “On the Ownership of Landed Property”
    • 1858: “A Critique of the Philosophical Prejudices against Communal Possession” [SLM | Q.PSS#05:357-92]
  • He also developed a deep interest in contemporary European political-economic thought and its efforts to understand the geographically expanding industrial transformation of traditional agrarian civilization, the rise of the historically unprecedented social formation wage-labor
    • He wrote “Capital and Labor” (1860) [VSB,3:637]
    • He translated into Russian and extensively annotated John Stuart Mills’ principles of political economy [ID]
  • He also wrote engagingly on philosophical issues, as in “The Anthropological Principle in Philosophy” [Edie,2:29-60 | VSB,3:638]
  • Chernyshevskii, Selected Philosophical Essays
  • Chernyshevskii was an outstanding example of the new “public intellectual” in European life, filled with confidence in science and progress and the need to propagate their virtues among the educated public, and this in order to solidify or promote the growth of a modern civil society
  • Mid-century pundits or journalists put themselves in competition with secular and Church censorship, the traditional institutions of control and maintenance of prevailing world views at that interpretive taxonomic level of historical experience [ID]
    Wagar on world view of the Russian 1860s [TXT]
    *–Vladimir Nabokov,
    The Gift [short novel lampooned Chernyshevskii and the epoch of Russian positivism]
    *–William Woehrlin,
    Chernyshevsky: The Man and the Journalist
    *–N. G. O. Pereira,
    The Thought and Teachings of N. G. Cernysevskij
    *–VRR, ch.5 & ch.6

<>1858my28:China and Russia signed Aigun treaty; 1858je13:Tientsin treaty [DIR2:257-70 | DIR3:296-304]

<>1858au19:Japan, Edo | Putiatin signed 1st Russian/Japanese treaty of Friendship and Commerce w/Nagai Naomune (1816:1891) Inoue Kiyonao etc

<>1859:1862; Prussian [north German] Ambassador to St. Petersburg court was future architect of German unity, Otto von Bismarck

<>1859:1863; Russian revolutionary situation (the first, lasting 4 years) arose early in the Era of Great Reforms [KRR:430ff | FFS:101-96 (1860:1864 | various petitions etc)]

  • The 1860s have been called “The First Russian Revolutionary Situation” which was provoked when Alexander II and his administration decided they could no longer allow themselves to govern as they had in the past
  • Failure in the Crimean War [ID] exposed glaring Russian weaknesses
  • Serfdom over the long run and the legacy of Nicholas I more recently [ID] made the status quo unacceptable even to highest authorities
  • Promotion of Imperial interests required extensive change
  • The state came to see the need for extensive change, and the people of Russia, the subjects of the tsar, agreed
  • The situation in which old regime authorities and their subjects agreed on the need for significant change was revolutionary
    • First because authorities and subjects did not agree about what changes needed to be made
    • Second, two forces — state bureaucrats and various social groups — were ready to mobilize themselves to promote their own various and clashing ideas about change. Different ideas were rooted in different interests. Social formations, individuals and institutions act according to interests [ID]
  • A new and recognizably modern political opposition arose =
    • Radical-left pro-reform and radical-right anti-reform factions arose in the ranks of civilian and military state servitors and attenuated official reform energies
    • Peasants wanted more land under better conditions
    • Gentry thought they were invited to help design the reform when the tsar asked noble assemblies to form gentry committees to deliberate on serfdom
    • An emerging “civil society” sought political and social reforms well beyond anything the state could accept, simply because the causes that inspired civili society were not the causes that inspired official reform
    • A lively new print medium weighed in, from abroad and on the domestic scene
    • Poland rose up in rebellion against Russian rule
  • Reformist authorities (who promoted reform) and reactionary authorities (who opposed reform) could agree on this =
  • Political activism (self-generated public mobilization) on the part of either peasants, gentry, “intelligentsia” [ID], or national minorities was unacceptable
  • But reactionary authorities proved wrong on their one essential do-nothing position because tsarist government could not rule as in the past, and significant changes had to be made
  • An emerging Russian “public” agreed, but an increasingly mobilized public, for a brief and intense period of crisis, rejected changes proposed by reigning authorities
  • That was the essence of the mid-century revolutionary situation, but no revolution followed
  • The state temporarily restrained its own radical reformers and reactionary resistance and pushed through compromised but authentic reforms
  • The state prevailed over peasants with its army
  • The state prevailed over the gentry and the fledgling civil society with harsh police measures and subtle policies of cooptation
  • A second revolutionary situation nonetheless arose 15 years later at the end of the reign of Alexander II
    *–Alan Kimball, “Tsarist State & Origins of Revolutionary Opposition in the 1860s
    *–VRR, ch.4-13 (90-315)
    *–Jonathan Daly, Autocracy Under Siege: Security Police and Opposition in Russia, 1855-1905 (1998)


Saint Nicholas II

Princess Alix of Hesse and by Rhine
26 November 1894
5 children





The Bolsheviks

 played little role in the revolution of 1905. Lenin only returned to Russia from exile in September and the revolution was stamped out by early December. Again Lenin went into European exile. But he believed that his views had been vindicated by the experiences of 1905. In particular, he came to believe even more fervently in non-cooperation with liberal parties or even with socialists who cooperated with liberals.

So Lenin kept the Bolshevik faction together in the years before World War I. During the war most European socialists supported their national governments in the war effort. Only a tiny minority, Lenin among them, called for the transformation of the war among nations into a war among classes. By this time Lenin had come to believe that Russia was the weakest link in the chain of capitalist countries. Under the pressure of war , he expected the Russian link to snap and to see the establishment of the first socialist country in the world in Russia. Other, more advanced capitalist nations would soon follow the Russian example and join the socialist family of nations.







Russia: Cutting Ice. River Niva. Old Antique Print.1908


Russia: MOSCOW. Spassky Gate.Kremlin.Vintage Print.1912




Russia: CAUCASUS: Hunting party. Old Vintage Print.1913




Russia: NOVGOROD.Nuns haymaking. Old Vintage Print.1913



Russia: RICH TARTARS.Costume. Old Vintage Print.1913



Russia: Farming.Blessing the ground. Vintage Print.1913



Russia: BLESSING THE WATER. Old Vintage Print.1913


Russia: COSTUME.Turcoman + Wife. Old Vintage Print.1913



Russia: TOULA. A Country Mayor. Old Vintage Print.1913










War and Revolution in Russia 1914 – 1921

Russia signalled her withdrawal from World War One soon after the October Revolution of 1917, and the country turned in on itself with a bloody civil war between the Bolsheviks and the conservative White Guard. Jonathan Smele charts this turbulent episode in the forging of post-tsarist Russia


During the war


Conditions in Europe in 1914 made it virtually inevitable that war would break out sooner or later. Intense nationalism, militarism, a precarious balance of power resulting from the division of the major powers into two rival alliances, and competition for overseas empiresall played a part in creating a situation in which war could occur at almost any time.


Throughout the 19th century, nationalism (a strong patriotic feeling of loyalty to one’s people or county) flourished. By the 20th century, it had become chauvinism: national pride had been exaggerated to such a degree that it meant not only love for one’s country but contempt for the peoples of other nations.


Though there had not been a major war in Europe since 1815, all the Great Powers (Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, and Russia) had amassed huge arsenals, far beyond the needs of national defense, prior to World War I. The sense of power derived from military strength helped swell national pride. However, in time of international crisis, these arsenals tended to make European leaders think in terms of military rather than diplomatic solutions.


The Great Powers had arranged themselves into two rival alliances, producing a balance of power that, it was hoped, would prevent war. Actually the alliances led to a state in which the slightest disturbance of the existing political order or military situation caused a crisis, and each crisis increased the tension that would eventually lead to war. The alliances also made it certain that war, once it began, would involve all the Great Powers.

The alliance system that existed at the outbreak of World War I was developed after the Franco-Prussian War (187071). Otto von Bismarck, chancellor of Germany, knew that France would someday seek to avenge its humiliating defeat in that war. To reduce this threat, Bismarck entered into various alliances with the goal of isolating France from the other countries of Europe. In 1879 Bismarck concluded the Dual Alliance, a mutual defense pact with Austria-Hungary. He expanded this agreement in 1882 to include Italy, forming the Triple Alliance.

Bismarck realized that an alliance between France and Russia would be a fundamental threat to German security because in the event of war with either power Germany would be forced to fight on two fronts. Bismarck arranged the Emperors’ Alliance (1881) and the Reinsurance Treaty (1887) with Russia, agreements that guaranteed Russian neutrality in the event of a Franco-German conflict.

In 1890 Bismarck was dismissed by the new German kaiser (emperor), William II. William thought that Germany should not be allied with both Austria and Russia because of their rivalry for dominance in the Balkans. Though he wanted to remain on friendly terms, William allowed the agreements with Russia to lapse.

To offset the threat of the Triple Alliance, France and Russia formed their own Dual Alliance in 1894. France also improved relations with Great Britain by entering into an informal understanding with the British known as the Entente Cordiale (1904). This was expanded into the Triple Entente in 1907 with the inclusion of Russia.


The most impressive display of the power of the European states in the 19th and early 20th centuries was the expansion of their political and economic influence to areas outside Europe. Imperial expansion provided new sources of raw materials, new markets for goods produced in the mother country, and national prestige.

Several times in the decades preceding the war, conflicting colonial ambitions in Africa threatened to lead European powers to war. Britain and France, in the Entente Cordiale, ended years of rivalry by pledging to cooperate in the colonization of Africa. Germany, which was the newest imperial power, tried to compete with the more established imperial nations (Britain and France). Twice, in 1905 and 1911, Germany attempted to undermine French authority in Morocco. Both times Germany’s gains were negligible, but the German actions caused French leaders to consider war to defend their imperial interests.

The situation in the Balkans was even more explosive: it was, in fact, the competition there between Russia and Austria-Hungary that eventually triggered World War I. Austria wanted to incorporate some of the smaller Balkan states into its empire. Russia’s Balkan policy was based on Pan-Slavism, a movement to achieve cultural and political unity in a confederation of Slavic states dominated by Russia. The situation was further complicated by the rival territorial claims of various ethnic groups in the Balkans.

In the Balkan Wars (191213), the Turks were pushed out of most of the Balkans by Serbia, Bulgaria, Montenegro, and Greece. When disputes arose among the victors over how the former Turkish territories were to be divided, Austria and Russia proposed conflicting settlements. Only mediation by the other European powers prevented a general war in southern Europe.

These countries also had other territorial ambitions. Serbia was seeking an outlet on the Adriatic. France and Great Britain wanted to extend their influence in the Middle East. Also, German, French, and British business interests were seeking concessions and markets in various countries, and each success brought an envious outcry from competing nations. British industrialists were particularly worried by German competition in their home market.

The Assassination of the Archduke

On June 28, 1914, Archduke Francis Ferdinand, heir to the Hapsburg throne, was assassinated by a 19-year-old student, Gavrilo Princip, in Sarajevo (in the Austro-Hungarian province of Bosnia-Herzegovina). Princip, a Serb living in Bosnia, was assisted in the preparations for the assassination by a Serbian revolutionary society that was trying to overthrow Austrian rule in Bosnia.

All of Europe awaited Austria-Hungary’s response to the assassination. The chief of the Austrian general staff, General Franz Conrad von H tzendorf, and the foreign minister, Count Leopold von Berchtold, both wanted to use the assassination as a pretext to absorb Serbia into the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Before any action could be taken against Serbia, however, they had to secure German support, to deter Russian intervention. The kaiser promised to support the Austrian government in any action it took because he did not believe that Russia would intervene.

Ultimatums and Declarations

Htzendorf and Berchtold could now act. Berchtold drew up an ultimatum with terms that he knew would be unacceptable to Serbia. He also set a 48-hour time limit for Serbia’s response. In a carefully worded reply, Serbia agreed to all of the conditions of the ultimatum, except for the Austrian demand to conduct an investigation and trial in Serbia. The Serbians proposed that if this reply was unsatisfactory, the question of Serbia’s guilt in the assassination should be submitted to the Hague Tribunal for arbitration. Austria-Hungary, declaring that Serbia’s reply was unacceptable, severed diplomatic relations with Serbia and ordered mobilization.

Russia pledged full support for Serbia and ordered mobilization on July 25. The next day, Sir Edward Grey, the British foreign minister, proposed a conference of the Great Powers to resolve the crisis, but Austria-Hungary was unwilling to attend. On July 27 France ordered mobilization in support of Russia. On July 31 Germany gave Russia an ultimatum that threatened mobilization if Russia did not rescind its mobilization orders within 12 hours.

Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia on July 28 and then began shelling Belgrade (the capital of Serbia). Russia did not respond to Germany’s ultimatum. Germany declared war on Russia on August 1, and on France on August 3. France and Britain declared war on Germany on August 3 and 4, respectively. Austria-Hungary declared war on Russia on August 6.

The Plan of Campaign

To some extent, every major power had developed military plans for a continental war. Germany had the most detailed plans. Count Alfred von Schlieffen, chief of the German general staff from 1891 to 1905, had developed a strategy for the invasion of France and had set up a timetable for troop movements and operations.

The Schlieffen Plan, as it came to be known, called for a large force to march west through Belgium and then south, to Paris. A small force would be deployed at the French border to lure the French forward, causing them to expose their west flank and rear. Schlieffen calculated that Russia would mobilize very slowly, thus not posing a threat to Germany’s eastern frontier until after operations in the west were concluded. Then, Germany could turn its forces toward Russia.

Austria-Hungary’s plan was to mount a coordinated Austro-German offensive in the east to knock Russia out of the war. However, the High Command accepted the Schlieffen Plan and agreed to contain Russia while Germany sought to gain a quick victory in the west.

France’s plans were much less detailed than Germany’s. The French generals planned a series of offensives along the Franco-German border to reclaim Alsace and Lorraine, territories seized by the Germans in the Franco-Prussian War. When this plan was executed, however, the attacks were not well coordinated and were easily repelled by the Germans.

Unlike the other powers, Great Britain did not have any detailed military plans in the event of war. When the war broke out, Britain sent a small expeditionary force to hold the position on the west flank of the French army.

Russian strategy called for the defeat of Austria-Hungary before engaging Germany. However, the Russians abandoned their plan when they were prodded by the French into an invasion of East Prussia, in order to help relieve the German pressure on the Western Front

The Opposing Forces

When the war began the Central Powers had 11,000,000 men (counting reserves) opposing the Allies’ 9,500,000 (also counting reserves). The Central Powers’ armies were better equipped. In training and morale, the two sides were about equal.

The Central Powers

Germany was the best prepared of any country. It had an excellent system of military training and its army was well-supplied and confident. At the beginning of the war, Germany mobilized an army of 2,500,000 and had reserves totaling 4,500,000.

At the beginning of hostilities, Austria immediately mobilized about 1,000,000 men. By the middle of October, 1914, this number had been increased by another 500,000. Bulgaria and Turkey mobilized their forces shortly after the outbreak of hostilities, but their armies were poorly equipped and poorly trained.

The Allies

France had the strongest army among the Allies. Not only was it well trained, but many of the troops on active duty were veterans of combat in Africa. The French had an excellent general staff and the morale of the soldiers was high. However, the French were not as well equipped as the Germans. At the start of hostilities, France mobilized 2,000,000 men and had another 2,000,000 in reserve.

The British had a strong navy but a small army. The regular army numbered only 250,000. There were also 700,000 reserves in various stages of training. Britain alone of the belligerents had never adopted peacetime conscription or universal military training.

Russia had a regular army of about 1,000,000 men with 3,000,000 more in reserve. Serbia had an army of some 250,000, with an equal number in reserve. Both Serbia and Russia were poorly equipped. The Belgian army totaled about 263,000 and had no reserves



World War I was the great armed conflict of 1914-18. Until World War II, it was often called the Great War because it was the most destructive and widespread war the world had ever seen.

World War I began as a local conflict over a minor issue. Eventually it engulfed much of Europe and drew in, directly or indirectly, all the major powers of the world. The first declaration of war was made by Austria-Hungary against Serbia on July 28, 1914. Before the armistice was signed on November 11, 1918, 28 nations (counting the British Empire as one nation) were directly engaged in the conflict.

World War I saw many innovations in military technology.

On one side were France, Belgium, the British Empire, Russia, and Serbia; and, later, Japan, Italy, the United States, and 16 other countries. They were called the Allied and Associated Powers, or the Allies. The opposing side consisted of Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire (Turkey), and Bulgaria. They were known as the Central Powers.

After the war, there were numerous boundary changes in Europe and the Middle East. Four empires the Austro-Hungarian, German, Russian, and Ottomancollapsed.

Austria and Hungary were reduced to small separate states and Czechoslovakia was created from Austro-Hungarian territory in Central Europe. The Kingdom of the Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes (which became Yugoslavia in 1929) was established, comprising Austro-Hungarian lands in the Balkans and the kingdoms of Serbia and Montenegro. Poland, which had been partitioned among the Germans, Austrians, and Russians in the 18th century, was reestablished along its historical borders, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania were freed from Russian domination. In the Middle East, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Egypt, Hejaz (a territory within modern Saudi Arabia), Transjordan (modern Jordan), and Palestine were carved out of the Ottoman Empire.

France’s quick defeat in World War II has been attributed, at least in part, to the devastation it suffered in World War I. The vast system of overseas holdings of Great Britain began to change from an empire to a commonwealth. The war was at least partly responsible for the success of the Russian Revolution and the rise of Communism. The United States, after the war, its first experience of being involved in European affairs, declined to take a role as a world leader and retreated into isolationism, refusing to join the League of Nations. Many people thought of World War I as “the war to end all wars,” fought “to make the world safe for democracy.” Because of an overly harsh peace treaty, the weakness of the League of Nations, a worldwide economic depression, and the rise of fascism, the war had the opposite effect. It made the second World War almost inevitable.Important dates during World War I


The auguries for war

In 1913, Tsar Nicholas II celebrated the tercentenary of Romanov rule in Russia. He and his dynasty ruled over a huge empire, stretching from central Europe to the Pacific Ocean and from the Arctic to the borders of Afghanistan.

the events that took place on the Eastern Front…would have a profound impact upon world history for the remainder of the century

This mighty imperium covered one-sixth of the land surface of the globe, and was populated by almost 150 million people of more than a hundred different nationalities.

However, the Russian Empire was riven by many tensions. Just five years after the celebrations, Nicholas and his family would be dead, executed by the Bolsheviks, while his empire would be defeated in the World War and wracked by revolutions, civil wars and foreign interventions.

By 1921, after a period of great unrest, the Bolsheviks triumphed in Russia, and largely reunited the old empire (formally constituted as the USSR in 1923). The repercussions of the events that took place on the Eastern Front, from 1914 to 1921, however, would have a profound impact upon world history for the remainder of the century and beyond – although it was the battles of the Western Front that eventually achieved greater fame.


Campaigns and crises: 1914-1916


Russian prisoners after defeat in East Prussia, 1915  © In 1914, Russia was hardly prepared for war. Just nine years earlier she had been defeated in a war with tiny Japan. The Revolution of 1905, when revolts and uprisings had forced the Tsar to concede civil rights and a parliament to the Russian people, had also shaken the empire.

The subsequent reforms and rebuilding were far from complete, but as workers and land-hungry peasants rallied to the Russian flag and marched off to fight against the Central Powers, the initial auguries for both war and national unity were not bad.

This failed Russian advance…signalled the beginning of an unrelenting Russian retreat

National unity, however, could only be built on victory and, in that regard, Russia’s hopes were dashed early in the Great War. At Tannenberg and the First Battle of the Masurian Lakes, in 1914, Russia lost two entire armies (over 250,000 men).

This failed Russian advance into East Prussia did disrupt Germany’s Schlieffen Plan and thus probably prevented the fall of Paris, but it also signalled the beginning of an unrelenting Russian retreat on the northern sector of the Eastern Front. By the middle of 1915 all of Russian Poland and Lithuania, and most of Latvia, were overrun by the German army.

Many factors – including the militarisation of industry and crises in food supply – threatened disaster on the home front

Fortunately for the Russians, they did better in 1916. The supply of rifles and artillery shells to the Eastern Front was vastly improved, and in the Brusilov Offensive of June 1916, Russia achieved significant victories over the Austrians – capturing Galicia and the Bukovina – and she was also more than holding her own in Transcaucasia, against Turkey.

However, the country’s political and economic problems were greatly exacerbated by the war. Many factors – including the militarisation of industry and crises in food supply – threatened disaster on the home front.

Added to this cocktail were rumours that the tsarina, Alexandra, and her favourite, the infamous Rasputin, were German spies. The rumours were unfounded, but by November 1916 influential critics of the regime were asking whether Russia’s misfortunes – including 1,700,000 military dead and 5,000,000 wounded – were a consequence of ‘stupidity or treason’.

This was a rabble-rousing exaggeration, but certainly the outdated strategies of Russia’s General Staff had cost hundreds of thousands of lives, while the regime seemed careless of such appalling losses.


1917: From February to October


Aleksandr Fyodorovich Kerensky, leader of the Provisional Government, 1917  © Food riots, demonstrations and a mutiny at the Petrograd Garrison in February 1917 forced Nicholas II to abdicate as war still continued. A Provisional Government led by liberals and moderate socialists was proclaimed, and its leaders hoped now to pursue the war more effectively.

Real power in Russia after the February Revolution, however, lay with the socialist leaders of the Petrograd (later All-Russian) Soviet of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies, who were elected by popular mandate (unlike the ministers of the Provisional Government).

Anarchist and Bolshevik agitators played their own part in destroying the Russian Army’s ability to fight

The Soviet leaders rather half-heartedly supported a defensive war, but were more committed to an unrealistic programme of ending the conflict, through a general peace ‘without annexations or indemnities’ – a formula that neither the Allies nor Germany would ever accept.

Against this background, the war minister (later Prime Minister) Kerensky of the Provisional Government hoped to strengthen Russia’s hand with a new Russian offensive on the Eastern Front in June. But by then the ability of Russia’s officers to induce their men to obey had been entirely negated by the hopes of social transformation and an end to the war that the February Revolution had unleashed in the trenches – leading to what historian Alan Wildman has termed ‘trench bolshevism’.

Anarchist and Bolshevik agitators played their own part in destroying the Russian Army’s ability to fight. Many anti-war radicals, along with the Bolshevik leader, Vladimir Lenin, were ferried home from exile in Switzerland in April 1917, courtesy of the German General Staff (which had spent roughly 30 million marks trying to foment disorder in Russia by the end of 1917).

most of the generals and forces of the political right threw their weight behind a plan for a military coup

The summer offensive was a disaster. Peasant soldiers deserted en masse to join the revolution, and fraternisation with the enemy became common. Meanwhile, in an attempt to restore order and resist the German counter-offensive, most of the generals and forces of the political right threw their weight behind a plan for a military coup, under the Russian Army’s commander-in-chief, General Kornilov.

The coup failed, but had two important consequences: on the one hand, the generals and the conservatives who had backed Kornilov felt betrayed by Kerensky (who arrested Kornilov after having appeared to have been in agreement with him) and would no longer defend the government; on the other, Kerensky’s reputation with the moderate left and with the population at large plummeted when it became clear that he had initially supported Kornilov’s plans for the restoration of the death penalty and for the dissolution of soldiers’ revolutionary committees.

The only winners were the Bolsheviks, with Lenin at their head, who were able to topple Kerensky and take power in the October Revolution of 1917- without significant resistance from either the government or the army.


Brest-Litovsk and its consequences


Delegates at negotiations for the Brest-Litovsk treaty, March 1918  © After taking power, the Bolsheviks promised to deliver ‘Peace, Bread and Land’ to the beleaguered people of Russia. With regard to the first of these, a ‘Decree on Peace’ (26 October 1917) was dashed off by Lenin, calling upon all belligerents to end the slaughter of World War One.

Not that Lenin was a pacifist: rather, his hope was to transform the world war into an international civil war, when the ‘imperialist’ powers refused to cease fighting and thereby revealed their rapacious ambitions.

the anti-Bolshevik Russians who had remained loyal to the Allies now took up arms

However, the Central Powers responded to the Bolsheviks’ appeal by agreeing to an armistice on the Eastern Front, and Lenin’s lieutenant, Trotsky, found himself in the uncomfortable position, during the winter of 1917-18, of negotiating a separate peace treaty with Imperial Germany and her allies at the Polish town of Brest-Litovsk.

Trotsky tried to delay matters and to inculcate revolution in central Europe by refusing the harsh terms presented to him. When Germany, however, merely resumed its invasion of Russia on the Eastern Front, pushing further east in five days of February 1918 than it had in the previous three years (the German soldiers, to Trotsky’s consternation, continued to obey their officers), the Bolsheviks were forced to sign the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk on 3 March 1918.

This punitive treaty effectively handed over Finland, Poland, the Baltic provinces, Ukraine and Transcaucasia to the Central Powers, together with one-third of the old empire’s population, one-third of its agricultural land and three-quarters of its industries.

Outraged by this, the anti-Bolshevik Russians who had remained loyal to the Allies now took up arms in earnest against the Bolsheviks. They were actively assisted by Allied forces in Russia, who hoped to rebuild the Eastern Front. Notable in this regard was the Czechoslovak Legion, a 40,000-strong army made up of former POWs, who in 1918 seized the entire Trans-Siberian Railway, from the Volga to Vladivostok.


Civil War: Whites v Reds


Leon Trotsky saluting in the street, October, 1917  © During the civil war thus unleashed by the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk the Bolsheviks (Reds), who controlled Petrograd, Moscow and the central Russian heartland, soon found themselves surrounded by hostile forces (Whites) – made up of the more conservative elements in Russia – who launched a series of campaigns in 1919 that threatened to crush the revolution.

During these campaigns Admiral Kolchak, the ‘Supreme Ruler’ of the Whites, attacked across the Urals from Siberia; General Denikin advanced on a broad front up the Volga, into Ukraine and to the town of Orel (within 250 miles of Moscow); and General Iudenich’s North West Russian Army, based in Estonia, twice reached the outskirts of Petrograd.

they managed to arm, man and manoeuvre an army that by 1921 had grown to almost five million soldiers

The Reds, however, rebuffed these attacks, and survived, and by late 1920 had driven the Whites back into the Black Sea, the Baltic and the Pacific – causing hundreds of thousands of White soldiers and civilians to emigrate.

The Reds were able to take advantage of internal lines of communication and could utilise the railways, arsenals and the economy of the most populous provinces of the former empire. In this way they managed to arm, man and manoeuvre an army that by 1921 had grown to almost five million soldiers.

The Whites, in contrast, never commanded forces totalling more than 250,000 men at one time, were separated from each other by huge distances, and were based around the less developed peripheries of Russia. Also, crucially, the Whites underestimated the Bolsheviks’ capacity to resist.

The White armies, in contrast, exhibited only brutality, venality, disorder…

It still seems surprising that Trotsky was able to fashion a Red Army more effective than that of the experienced White generals ranged against him. He, however, enjoyed the material advantages mentioned, and he also introduced some revolutionary innovations: notably the network of Political Commissars – devout Bolsheviks who offered political guidance to the Red Army and who watched over the loyalty of the 50,000 imperial army officers the Reds employed to help command their forces. He also used terror most ruthlessly.

The White armies, in contrast, exhibited only brutality, venality, disorder and a lack of political and military direction. Even their most effective fighters, the Cossacks, were more interested in booty and in securing their own regional autonomy than in driving Lenin from the Kremlin.


Allied intervention

Despite their strength in Russia itself, the Reds were internationally isolated, but neither did the Whites enjoy unlimited Allied support. The liberal British leader Lloyd George, the socialist French prime minister Clemenceau and the American Democratic president Woodrow Wilson were no friends of Lenin – but neither were they particularly enamoured of the White generals, whom they suspected of reactionary aims.


Liberty, Equality and Fraternity: a banner of the Russian Revolution, 1917  ©

In fact, although anti-Bolshevik sentiments were not altogether absent from Allied leaders’ minds when they made the decision to intervene in Russia in 1918, their main interest was in the Great War, not the Russian civil war, and their desire was to try and reconstitute the Eastern Front, to ease the pressure on the Western Front. That motivation disappeared on 11 November 1918.

after the armistice, most Allied efforts were directed towards finding an honourable way out of Russia.

Moreover, none of the western powers had any great interest in helping to build a united Russia – they preferred to keep that huge country weak – and in any case, they had enough on their plates in 1919. With domestic war weariness, the Paris Peace Conference, the division of the German and Ottoman Empires, and the economic crises of central Europe to contend with, they had no wish to sink further into the Russian quagmire. The only power with the capacity to intervene effectively in Russia was Japan, but with memories of the Russo-Japanese War of 1904-5 still fresh, her intervention was unlikely to be welcomed by the Russians.

Consequently, although the matériel the Allies sent to Russia was crucial in allowing the Whites to mount the campaigns they did in 1919 (the British alone sent one hundred million pounds-worth of equipment to Kolchak and Denikin), only a few thousand British, French and American troops ever set foot in Russia, and few of them saw action. And after the armistice, most Allied efforts were directed towards finding an honourable way out of Russia, rather than a means of more forcefully intervening.

It was this victory that helped forge post-tsarist Russia’s self-image

Nevertheless, the Red Army’s victory over what became characterised under Stalin as ‘The Three Campaigns of the Entente’ (a loaded reference to the efforts of Kolchak, Denikin and Iudenich, who were portrayed as being ‘puppets’ of western capitalism), in a civil war that cost perhaps ten million lives, assumed a hallowed place in Soviet and Russian history.

It was this victory that helped forge post-tsarist Russia’s self-image as a strong country that had stood up to the bullying of the west, and that lay at the root of the Cold War. Even Gorbachev, often seen as a friend of the west, was prone to mentioning it; and it cannot be far from President Putin’s mind as events unfold in the Middle East.

After the war


World Without End was a global phenomenon, a work of grand historical sweep, beloved by millions of readers and acclaimed by critics. Fall of Giants is his magnificent new historical epic. The first novel in The Century Trilogy, it follows the fates of five interrelated families—American, German, Russian, English, and Welsh—as they move through the world-shaking dramas of the First World War, the Russian Revolution, and the struggle for women’s suffrage.

Thirteen-year-old Billy Williams enters a man’s world in the Welsh mining pits…Gus Dewar, an American law student rejected in love, finds a surprising new career in Woodrow Wilson’s White House…two orphaned Russian brothers, Grigori and Lev Peshkov, embark on radically different paths half a world apart when their plan to emigrate to America falls afoul of war, conscription, and revolution…Billy’s sister, Ethel, a housekeeper for the aristocratic Fitzherberts, takes a fateful step above her station, while Lady Maud Fitzherbert herself crosses deep into forbidden territory when she falls in love with Walter von Ulrich, a spy at the German embassy in London.Continue reading …

These characters and many others find their lives inextricably entangled as, in a saga of unfolding drama and intriguing complexity, Fall of Giants moves seamlessly from Washington to St. Petersburg, from the dirt and danger of a coal mine to the glittering chandeliers of a palace, from the corridors of power to the bedrooms of the mighty. As always with Ken Follett, the historical background is brilliantly researched and rendered, the action fast-moving, the characters rich in nuance and emotion. It is destined to be a new classic.

In future volumes of The Century Trilogy, subsequent generations of the same families will travel through the great events of the rest of the twentieth century, changing themselves-and the century itself. With passion and the hand of a master, Follett brings us into a world we thought we knew, but now will never seem the same aga



Historical Vignette 116 – Engineers in Russia 





With the passing of the living history of the First World War, many of its significant events will fade from memory. Despite this loss, some still can name a few of the American experiences in this war, such as Belleau Wood or the “The Lost Battalion.” There was, however, one theater in which American soldiers and engineers served and fought that was forgotten long ago, even though it influenced the later events of the Cold War.

Shortly before the end of World War I, American and other Allied troops were deployed to Russia.  Ostensibly, their mission was to protect donated war supplies in northern Russia and Siberia from German troops, to help Russia remain in the war, and to assist Allied prisoners of war in a chaotic, revolutionary Russia. In reality, the mission was never clear to American troops; even at the highest levels there was confusion. Secretary of War Newton Baker handed Maj. Gen. William S. Graves, commander of the American troops in Siberia, his orders with the words: “This contains the policy of the United States in Russia which you are to follow. Watch your step; you will be walking on eggs loaded with dynamite. God bless you and good-bye.”

Accompanying the soldiers when they landed at Archangel, northern Russia, on August 2, 1918, and at Vladivostok, Siberia, on August 16, 1918, were Army engineers. In the case of northern Russia, the engineers were from the 310th Engineer Battalion. They served a crucial role in what became known as the Russian Expedition.

In the vast spaces of northern Russia and Siberia, railroads were critical, and Army engineers repaired and maintained them.  They also constructed defensive fortifications, often using unique designs adapted to the bitter winter weather. In northern Russia, for example, engineers of the 310th constructed 316 log blockhouses and 273 machine gun emplacements. They also had to maintain equipment that was never meant to function in such harsh winters. Of course, they were also required to do battle in these same brutal conditions as fighting escalated between the Bolsheviks and supporters of the provisional government.

After World War I ended in November of 1918, the justification for maintaining a presence in Russia weakened and shifted. Ultimately, the lack of mission and domestic pressure led to the withdrawal of the 5,000 American soldiers in northern Russia in June of 1919. The following April, the 7,950 Americans in Siberia went home. When this obscure and little understood operation ended, it faded in American memory. Crucially, however, the Russians never forgot that American troops once fought on their soil. The experience, for them, very much influenced the direction the Cold War took in the aftermath of World War II.

The Office of History has in its collection a scrapbook of photos taken of the 310th Engineers while in Russia and a collection from William M. Black of the Allied Expeditionary Force, Siberia. This page presents some of those images that illustrate the conditions in Russia. Hover cursor over the images for captions.


This shot was one of the most famous shots made by Russian photographers during World War 2. It was made in the ruins of Stalingrad city – the place where the most heavy city battles took place. Some historians say that after those battles near Staliningrad the Nazi invasion of Russia broke down.
The monument itself depicts Russian children dancing around a crocodile, looking so unreal with the traces of bullets on the sculptures and the burning ruins on the background.
Later, after the war the monument was rebuilt, even earlier than surrounding buildings.









Pretenders to the Russian throne since 1917




Michael II (disputed)

Natalia Brassova
15 October 1911
one son (born before his parents’ marriage) Vladimir Cyrillovich, Grand Duke of Russia (1938–1992)






The end @ Copyright 2012



The Aung San Syuu Kyi History Collections

The Aung San Syuu Kyi History








Aung San

Aung San
Myanmar-Yangon-Aung San Statue.jpg
Statue of Aung San on the northern shore of Kandawgyi Lake in Yangon
Nickname Buffalo General
Born 13 February 1915
Natmauk, Magwe, British Burma
Died 19 July 1947 (aged 32)
Rangoon, British Burma
Allegiance Burma National Army
Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League
Communist Party of Burma
Rank Major General
Battles/wars World War II
History of Burma
WikiProject Burma (Myanmar) peacock.svg

Bogyoke (General) Aung San (Burmese: အောင်ဆန်း; MLCTS: buil hkyup aung hcan:, pronounced [bòdʑoʊʔ àʊɴ sʰáɴ]); 13 February 1915 – 19 July 1947) was a Burmese revolutionary, nationalist, and founder of the modern Burmese army (Tatmadaw), and considered to be the Father of (modern-day) Burma.

He was a founder of the Communist Party of Burma and was instrumental in bringing about Burma’s independence from British colonial rule in Burma, but was assassinated six months before its final achievement. He is recognized as the leading architect of independence, and the founder of the Union of Burma. Affectionately known as “Bogyoke” (General), Aung San is still widely admired by the Burmese people, and his name is still invoked in Burmese politics to this day.

Aung San is the father of Nobel Peace laureate and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.




Aung San was born to U Pha, a lawyer, and his wife Daw Suu in Natmauk, Magway District, in central Burma on 13 February 1915. His family was already well known in the Burmese resistance movement; his great uncle Bo Min Yaung fought against the British annexation of Burma in 1886.

Aung San received his primary education at a Buddhist monastic school in Natmauk, and secondary education at Yenangyaung High School. He went to

 Rangoon University (now the University of Yangon) and received a B.A. degree in English Literature, Modern History, and Political Science in 1938. 

Names of Aung San

  • Name at birth: Htein Lin (ထိန်လင်း)
  • As student leader and a thakin: Aung San (သခင်အောင်ဆန်း)
  • Nom de guerre: Bo Tayza (ဗိုလ်တေဇ)
  • Japanese Name: Omoda Monji (面田紋次)
  • Chinese Name: Tan Lu Sho
  • Resistance period code name: Myo Aung (မျိုးအောင်), U Naung Cho (ဦးနောင်ချို)
  • Contact code name with General Ne Win: Ko Set Pe (ကိုစက်ဖေ)

 Struggle for independence

After Aung San entered Rangoon University in 1933, he quickly became a student leader.[1] He was elected to the executive committee of the Rangoon University Students’ Union (RUSU). He then became editor of their magazine Oway (Peacock’s Call).[2]

In February 1936, he was threatened with expulsion from the university, along with U Nu, for refusing to reveal the name of the author of the article Hell Hound At Large, which criticized a senior University official. This led to the Second University Students’ Strike and the university authorities subsequently retracted their expulsion orders. In 1938, Aung San was elected president of both the Rangoon University Student Union (RUSU) and the All-Burma Students Union (ABSU), formed after the strike spread to Mandalay.[2][3] In the same year, the government appointed him as a student representative on the Rangoon University Act Amendment Committee.

In October 1938, Aung San left his law classes and entered national politics. At this point, he was anti-British, and staunchly anti-imperialist. He became a Thakin (lord or master – a politically motivated title that proclaimed that the Burmese people were the true masters of their country, not the colonial rulers who had usurped the title for their exclusive use) when he joined the Dobama Asiayone (Our Burma Union), and acted as their general secretary until August 1940. While in this role, he helped organize a series of countrywide strikes that became known as ME 1300 Revolution (၁၃၀၀ ပြည့် အရေးတော်ပုံ, Htaung thoun ya byei ayeidawbon), named after the Burmese calendar year.

He also helped found another nationalist organization, the Freedom Bloc (ဗမာ့ထွက်ရပ်ဂိုဏ်း, Bama-htwet-yat Gaing), by forming an alliance between the Dobama, the ABSU, politically active monks and Dr Ba Maw‘s Sinyètha (Poor Man’s) Party, and became its general secretary. What remains relatively unknown is the fact that he also became a founder member and first secretary-general of the Communist Party of Burma (CPB) in August 1939. Shortly afterwards he co-founded the People’s Revolutionary Party, renamed the Socialist Party after the Second World War.[2] In March 1940, he attended the Indian National Congress Assembly in Ramgarh, India. However, the government issued a warrant for his arrest due to Thakin attempts to organize a revolt against the British and he had to flee Burma.[3] He went first to China, seeking assistance from the government there[4] (China was still under nationalist government during World War II), but he was intercepted by the Japanese military occupiers in Amoy, and was convinced by them to go to Japan instead.[2]

World War II period

Whilst Aung San was in Japan, the Blue Print for a Free Burma, which has been widely but mistakenly attributed to him, was drafted.[5] In February 1941, Aung San returned to Burma, with an offer of arms and financial support from the Fumimaro Konoe government. He returned briefly to Japan to receive more military training, along with the first batch of young revolutionaries who came to be known as the Thirty Comrades.[2] On 26 December 1941, with the help of the Minami Kikan, a secret intelligence unit formed to close the Burma Road and to support a national uprising and headed by Colonel Suzuki, he founded the Burma Independence Army (BIA) in Bangkok, Thailand (which was aligned with Japan for most of World War II).[2]

The former capital of Burma, Rangoon (now Yangon), fell to the Japanese in March 1942 (as part of the Burma Campaign in World War II). The BIA formed an administration for the country under Thakin Tun Oke that operated in parallel with the Japanese military administration until the Japanese disbanded it. In July, the disbanded BIA was re-formed as the Burma Defense Army (BDA). Aung San was made a colonel and put in charge of the force.[3] He was later invited to Japan, and was presented with the Order of the Rising Sun by the Emperor.[3]

On 1 August 1943, the Japanese declared Burma to be an independent nation. Aung San was appointed War Minister, and the army was again renamed, this time as the Burma National Army (BNA).[3] Aung San became skeptical of Japanese promises of true independence and of Japan’s ability to win the war. He made plans to organize an uprising in Burma and made contact with the British authorities in India, in cooperation with Communist leaders Thakin Than Tun and Thakin Soe. On 27 March 1945, he led the BNA in a revolt against the Japanese occupiers and helped the Allies defeat the Japanese.[2] 27 March came to be commemorated as ‘Resistance Day’ until the military regime later renamed it ‘Tatmadaw (Armed Forces) Day’.

Post-World War II

After the return of the British, who had established a military administration, the Anti-Fascist Organisation (AFO), formed in August 1944, was transformed into a united front, comprising the BNA, the Communists and the Socialists, and renamed the Anti-Fascist People’s Freedom League (AFPFL). The Burma National Army was renamed the Patriotic Burmese Forces (PBF) and then gradually disarmed by the British as the Japanese were driven out of various parts of the country. The Patriotic Burmese Forces, while disbanded, were offered positions in the Burma Army under British command according to the Kandy conference agreement with Lord Louis Mountbatten in Ceylon in September 1945.[2] Aung San was offered the rank of Deputy Inspector General of the Burma Army, but he declined it in favor of becoming a civilian political leader and the military leader of the Pyithu yèbaw tat (People’s Volunteer Organisation or PVO).[2]

In January 1946, Aung San became the President of the AFPFL following the return of civil government to Burma the previous October. In September, he was appointed Deputy Chairman of the Executive Council of Burma by the new British Governor Sir Hubert Rance, and was made responsible for defence and external affairs.[2] Rance and Mountbatten took a very different view from the former British Governor, Sir Reginald Dorman-Smith, and also Winston Churchill, who had called Aung San a ‘traitor rebel leader’.[2] A rift had already developed inside the AFPFL between the Communists and Aung San, leading the nationalists and Socialists, which came to a head when Aung San and others accepted seats on the Executive Council, culminating in the expulsion of Thakin Than Tun and the CPB from the AFPFL.[2][3]

Aung San was to all intents and purposes Prime Minister, although he was still subject to a British veto. On 27 January 1947, Aung San and the British Prime Minister Clement Attlee signed an agreement in London guaranteeing Burma’s independence within a year; Aung San had been responsible for its negotiation.[2] During the stopover in Delhi at a press conference, he stated that the Burmese wanted ‘complete independence’ not dominion status and that they had ‘no inhibitions of any kind’ about ‘contemplating a violent or non-violent struggle or both’ in order to achieve this, and concluded that he hoped for the best but he was prepared for the worst.[3]

Two weeks after the signing of the agreement with Britain, Aung San signed an agreement at the Panglong Conference on 12 February 1947 with leaders from other national groups, expressing solidarity and support for a united Burma.[2][6] Karen representatives played a relatively minor role in the conference and, as subsequent rebellions revealed, remained alienated from the new state. U Aung Zan Wai, U Pe Khin, Major Aung, Sir Maung Gyi and Dr. Sein Mya Maung and Myoma U Than Kywe were among the negotiators of the historical Panglong Conference negotiated with Bamar representative General Aung San and other ethnic leaders in 1947. All these leaders unanimously decided to join the Union of Burma.

In general elections held in April 1947, the AFPFL won 176 out of 210 seats in the election for a Constituent Assembly, while the Karens won 24, the Communists 6 and Anglo-Burmans winning 4.[7] In July, Aung San convened a series of conferences at Sorrenta Villa in Rangoon to discuss the rehabilitation of Burma.


On 19 July 1947, a gang of armed paramilitaries of former

Prime Minister U Saw[citation needed]

broke into the Secretariat Building in downtown Rangoon during a meeting of the Executive Council (the shadow government established by the British in preparation for the transfer of power) and assassinated Aung San and six of his cabinet ministers, including his older brother Ba Win, father of Sein Win leader of the government-in-exile, the National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma (NCGUB). A cabinet secretary and a bodyguard were also killed. U Saw was subsequently tried and hanged. During his trial a number of middle-ranking British army officers were implicated in the plot; they also were tried and imprisoned. Rumours of higher-level British involvement, and/or involvement by Ne Win, Aung San’s long-term rival for leadership within the AFPFL, are unproven and probably unfounded.[8]

related info


General Aung San, the leader of Burma’s independence movement, was assassinated on 19 July 1947. Burma’s first constitution was established in 1948. Therefore Mr Yeo’s incoherent comments were completely incorrect.  The Burmese  military did not rule the country  “since independence”, as Mr Yeo said.

Chronologically, Burma was a fully democratic republic from 1948 to 1962.  On 4 January 1948, the nation became an independent republic, named the Union of Burma, with Sao Shwe Thaik as its first President and U Nu as its first Prime Minister.

Why does Mr Yeo owe an apology to Aung San Suu Kyi? Mr Yeo said “that it was also General Aung San who created the rule that a Burmese who married a foreigner cannot rule the country and that now Aung San Suu Kyi is married to a foreigner.”

Mr Yeo is thoroughly mistaken.

The 1948 Constitution stated: “No person shall be eligible for election to the office of President unless he is a citizen of the Union who was, or both of whose parents were, born in any of the territories included within the Union.” Aung San Suu Kyi’s parents were both Burmese. She was born in Burma and she is still a Burmese citizen. Therefore she can be President of Burma, as stated in the Consitution.

Mr Yeo’s comment is thus a great insult to  Aung San Suu Kyi and her family. Also, Mr Yeo, who is Singapore’s Foreign Minister, has insulted over 52 million Burmese who hold the highest respect for General Aung San.

As Burma’s first constitution was established only in 1948, after General Aung San had been murdered, it is  impossible for General Aung San to create a rule to ban any Burmese  who married a foreigner from ruling  the country . The  military junta  only introduced  the   rule  in 2008,  deliberately aimed at preventing Aung San Suu Kyi’s participation in the 2010 elections.

Mr Yeo would have Burmese adhere to the Constitution which was first suspended when General Ne Win came to power through a coup, and which was later amended by the junta for political purposes. Equally, should not Mr Yeo be demanding that the Burmese junta adhere to the results of the 1990 elections which Aung San Suu Kyi’s NLD won overwhelmingly?

Mr Yeo’s  comments, which shows his ignorance of Burmese history, has added fuel to the fire, especially at a time when Aung San Suu Kyi is in a politically-motivated mock trial for breaking the conditions of her house arrest. The charges were laid after an American man paid an uninvited visit to her home. It is widely expected she will  end up in jail. The verdict of her trial is expected to be delivered on Friday.

Mr Yeo said:  “It was because her husband is a foreigner and from the ‘western world’ that the ‘western world’ has come to support Aung San Suu Kyi and have failed to recognise the rule of the military”.

In 1972, Aung San Suu Kyi married  Dr Michael Aris, a scholar of Tibetan culture, in Bhutan. The following year she gave birth to their first son, Alexander Aris, in London; their second son, Kim, was born in 1977. Following this, she earned a Ph.D. at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London in 1985.

Mr Yeo denigrated not only Aung San Suu Kyi’s personal life , his comments also  cast aspersions on  her family and her supporters. Mr Yeo’s labeling of Dr Aris as someone from the ‘western world” shows his lack of  sympathy for Aung San Suu Kyi, her husband and their children.

Dr Aris died of cancer on his 53 birthday on March 27 1999. He had requested to see his wife one last time in Burma but his request was denied by the military junta.

The fact that the ‘western world’ supports  Aung San Suu Kyi has  nothing to do with her husband being a foreigner .  The support for the Burmese cause and for Aung San Suu Kyi comes from all parts of the world,  including Asean countries.

Mr Yeo added that “the problem in Burma is actually a very deep family dispute and the road to democracy for Burma is long and that the elections next year is but a small step towards that goal.”

Burma’s political imbroglio is created by neither Aung San Suu Kyi nor her party, the National League for Democracy (NLD) . The NLD had won a landslide victory in the 1990 elections organised by the military junta which, till today, has refused to hand power over to the NLD. Burma’s problems  are created by the military regime itself such as forcing millions of ethnic minorities  to flee to   neighboring countries, ignoring humanitarian aid to  cyclone Nargis’ victims and killing monks and protesters. The military  regime imprisons  thousands of political prisoners.  News are now emerging that the regime is also seeking to build nuclear reactors with help from North Korea.

Mr Yeo said that “ASEAN has worked well in keeping the peace in this region, in subjecting the member nations to peer pressure and in trying to forge economic integration.”

Ironically,  Mr Yeo’s statement is contradicted by Singapore’s Senior Minister, Mr Goh Chok Tong, who had said that “Singapore investors will likely wait until after Myanmar’s elections next year before pouring any more money into the country”. His comment came at the end of a four-day trip to Burma in June where he met  with Burma’s top generals, including Senior Gen Than Shwe.

To conclude, Singapore’s Foreign Minister insulted Aung San Suu Kyi, her  husband Dr Michael Aris and Burma’s independence leader, General Aung San.

Given the fact that Mr Yeo has gotten his facts wrong, Does he not owe Aung San Suu Kyi – and the Burmese people – an apology?

John Moe is a Burmese pro-democracy activist who had lived and worked in Singapore for eleven years.  He was expelled from Singapore for his involvement in a protest in Singapore in 2007. John can be reached at


While he was War Minister in 1942, Aung San met and married Khin Kyi, and around the same time her sister met and married Thakin Than Tun, the Communist leader. Aung San and Khin Kyi had four children. Their youngest surviving child, Aung San Suu Kyi, is a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and leader of the Burmese Opposition, the National League for Democracy (NLD), and was until 13 November 2010, held under house arrest by the military regime. Their second son, Aung San Lin, died at age eight, when he drowned in an ornamental lake in the grounds of the house. The elder, Aung San Oo, is an engineer working in the United States and has disagreed with his sister’s political activities. Their youngest daughter, Aung San Chit, born in September 1946, died a few days after her birth.[9] Aung San’s wife Daw Khin Kyi died on 27 December 1988.

[edit] Legacy

A statue of Aung San in Mandalay

His place in history as the Architect of Burmese Independence and a national hero is assured both from his own legacy and due to the activities of his daughter. Aung San Suu Kyi was only two when her father died. A martyrs’ mausoleum was built at the foot of the Shwedagon Pagoda and 19 July was designated Martyr’s Day (Azani nei), a public holiday. His literary work entitled “Burma’s Challenge” was likewise popular.

Aung San’s name had been invoked by successive Burmese governments since independence until the military regime in the 1990s tried to eradicate all traces of Aung San’s memory. Nevertheless, several statues of him adorn the former capital Yangon and his portrait still has pride of place in many homes and offices throughout the country. Scott Market, Yangon’s most famous, was renamed Bogyoke Market in his memory, and Commissioner Road was retitled Bogyoke Aung San Road after independence. These names have been retained. Many towns and cities in Burma have thoroughfares and parks named after him. His portrait was held up everywhere during the 8888 Uprising in 1988 and used as a rallying point.[2] Following the 8888 Uprising, the government redesigned the national currency, the kyat, removing his picture and replacing it with scenes of Burmese life.


  1. ^ Maung Maung (1962). Aung San of Burma. The Hauge: Martinus Nijhoff for Yale University. pp. 22, 23. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Martin Smith (1991). Burma – Insurgency and the Politics of Ethnicity. London and New Jersey: Zed Books. pp. 90, 54, 56, 57, 58, 59, 60, 65, 69, 66, 68, 62–63, 65, 77, 78, 6. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Aung San Suu Kyi (1984). Aung San of Burma. Edinburgh: Kiscadale 1991. pp. 1, 10, 14, 17, 20, 22, 26, 27, 41, 44. 
  4. ^ Stewart, Whitney. (1997). Aung San Suu Kyi: fearless voice of Burma. Twenty-First Century Books. p. 17. ISBN 978-0-8225-4931-4
  5. ^ Gustaaf Houtman, In Kei Nemoto (ed) – Reconsidering the Japanese military occupation in Burma (1942–45) (30 May 2007). “Aung San’s lan-zin, the Blue Print and the Japanese Occupation of Burma”. Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa (ILCAA), Tokyo: Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. ISBN978-4-87297. pp. 179–227.
  6. ^ “The Panglong Agreement, 1947″. Online Burma/Myanmar Library.
  7. ^ Appleton, G. (1947). “Burma Two Years After Liberation”. International Affairs (Royal Institute of International Affairs 1944–) (Blackwell Publishing) 23 (4): 510–521. JSTOR 3016561
  8. ^ Kin Oung, “Who killed Aung San?” (Bangkok: White Lotus, 1993)
  9. ^ Wintle, Justin (2007). Perfect hostage: a life of Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s prisoner of conscience. Skyhorse Publishing. p. 143. ISBN 9781602392663

Books on Burma

Letters from Burma by Aung San Suu Kyi
“In these fifty-two pieces, originally written for a Japanese newspaper and begun soon after her release from house arrest, she paints a vivid, poignant yet fundamentally optimistic picture of her native land.These letters were awarded the prestigious Japanese Newspaper Association’s Award for 1996. They are illustrated with pencil drawings by the Burmese artist Heinn Htet. ” ~ Penguin Books
The Voice of Hope by Aung San Suu Kyi and Alan Clements
“The Voice of Hope is a rare and intimate journey to the heart of her struggle. Over a period of nine months, Alan Clements, the first American ordained as a Buddhist monk in Burma, met with Aung San Suu Kyi shortly after her release from her first house arrest in July 1995. With her trademark ability to speak directly and compellingly, she presents here her vision of engaged compassion and describes how she has managed to sustain her hope and optimism.” ~ Barnes and Nobel
Freedom from Fear by Aung San Suu Kyi
“This collection of writings, now revised with substantial new material, including the text of the Nobel Peace Prize speech delivered by her son, reflects Aung San Suu Kyi’s greatest hopes and fears for her people and her concern about the need for international cooperation, and gives poignant and humorous reminiscences as well as independent assessments of her role in politics.” ~ Barnes and Noble
Undaunted: My Struggle For Freedom and Survival in Burma by Zoya Phan
Named for a courageous Russian freedom fighter of World War II, Zoya Phan was born in the remote jungles of Burma to the Karen ethnic group, who since the 1960’s has struggled for freedom and democracy against the brutal Burmese military dictatorship. Even though her family constantly lived in hiding, her parents educated her and her siblings to understand the importance of resisting the repressive, to hold their dreams of living in a free society, and to survive myriad relentless attacks.
Burma: Insurgency and the Politics of Ethnicity by Martin Smith
With unparalleled command of largely inaccessible Burmese sources and interviews with many of the leading participants, Martin Smith charts the rise of modern political parties and unravels the complexities of the long-running insurgencies waged by opposition groups, including the Communist Party of Burma, the Karen National Union and a host of other ethnic nationalist movements. In this revised and updated edition, the author vividly explains how one of the most fertile and potentially prosperous countries in Asia has collapsed to become one of the world’s poorest.
Than Shwe: Unmasking Burma’s Tyrant by Benedict Rogers – coming soon
Than Shwe is one of the world’s most brutal dictators, presiding over a military regime that persists in repressing and brutalizing its own people. Until now, his story has not been told. Than Shwe: Unmasking Burma’s Tyrant provides the first-ever account of Than Shwe’s journey from postal clerk to dictator, analyzing his rise through the ranks of the army, his training in psychological warfare, his belief in astrology, his elimination of rivals, and his ruthless suppression of dissent.
The Lizard Cage by Karen Connelly
In her long-awaited first novel, Karen Connelly recreates the world of a Burmese prison, and of the country’s tumultuous years in the late 1980’s, when millions of people rose up to protest against the brutality of their military government. This is a story of human resilience, love and humour — a potent act of empathy and witness.

The Iron Road by James Mawdsley
Twenty-eight-year-old James Mawdsley spent much of the past four years in grim Burmese prisons. The Iron Road is his story, and the story of the regime that jailed him, the way it jails, tortures, and kills hundreds of Burmese each day. Mawdsley was working in New Zealand when he learned about the struggle of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese Nobel laureate who is under house arrest. Outraged, he went to Burma, staged a one-man protest, and was jailed.
From the Land of Green Ghosts: A Burmese Odssey by Pascal Khoo Thwe
Pascal, a member of the Kayan Padaung tribe, was the first member of his community to study English at a university. Within months of his meeting with Dr. Casey, Pascal’s world lay in ruins. Burma’s military dictatorship forces him to sacrifice his studies, and the regime’s brutal armed forces murder his lover. Fleeing to the jungle, he becomes a guerrilla fighter in the life-or-death struggle against the government. In desperation, he writes a letter to the Englishman he met in Mandalay.
From the Land of Green Ghosts unforgettably evokes the realities of life in modern-day Burma and one man’s long journey to freedom despite almost unimaginable odds


Aung San Suu Kyi

Aung San Suu Kyi
Leader of the National League for Democracy
Assumed office
27 September 1988
Preceded by Position established
Personal details
Born (1945-06-19) 19 June 1945 (age 66)
Rangoon, British Burma
(now Yangon)
Political party National League for Democracy
Spouse(s) Michael Aris (1972–1999)
Children Alexander
Alma mater University of Delhi
St Hugh’s College, Oxford
University of London
Religion Theravada Buddhism
Awards Rafto Prize
Nobel Peace Prize
Jawaharlal Nehru Award
International Simón Bolívar Prize
Olof Palme Prize

Aung San Suu Kyi, AC (Burmese: အောင်ဆန်းစုကြည်; MLCTS: aung hcan: cu. krany, Burmese pronunciation: [ʔàʊɴ sʰáɴ sṵ tɕì]; born 19 June 1945) is a Burmese opposition politician and the General Secretary of the National League for Democracy. In the 1990 general election, her National League for Democracy party won 59% of the national votes and 81% (392 of 485) of the seats in Parliament.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7] She had, however, already been detained under house arrest before the elections. She remained under house arrest in Burma for almost 15 of the 21 years from 20 July 1989 until her most recent release on 13 November 2010,[8] becoming one of the world’s most prominent (now former) political prisoners.[9]

Suu Kyi received the Rafto Prize and the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 1990 and the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. In 1992 she was awarded the Jawaharlal Nehru Award for International Understanding by the government of India and the International Simón Bolívar Prize from the government of Venezuela. In 2007, the Government of Canada made her an honorary citizen of that country,[10] one of only five people ever to receive the honor.[11] In 2011, she was awarded the Wallenberg Medal.[12]

On 1 April 2012, her opposition party, the National League for Democracy, announced that she was elected to the Pyithu Hluttaw, the lower house of the Burmese parliament, representing the constituency of Kawhmu,[13] when the party claimed to have swept the election in a landslide victory;[14] however, the election results must be confirmed by the official electoral commission which has yet to release any outcome, and may not make an official declaration for days.[15]

Suu Kyi is the third child and only daughter of Aung San, considered to be the father of modern-day Burma.


[edit] Name

Aung San Suu Kyi derives her name from three relatives: “Aung San” from her father, “Suu” from her paternal grandmother and “Kyi” from her mother Khin Kyi.[16] She is frequently called Daw Aung San Suu Kyi. Daw is not part of her name, but is an honorific, similar to madame, for older, revered women, literally meaning “aunt.”[17] She is also often referred to as Daw Suu by the Burmese (or Amay Suu, lit. “Mother Suu,” by some followers),[18][19] or “Aunty Suu”, and as Dr. Suu Kyi,[20] Ms. Suu Kyi, or Mrs. Suu Kyi by the foreign media. However, like other Burmese, she has no surname (see Burmese names). The pronunciation of her name is approximated as “Awn Sahn Sue Chee,” although the “ch” in “Chee” is unaspirated.[21]

[edit] Personal life

Part of a series on the
Democracy movements in Burma
Flag of National League for Democracy.svg

The fighting peacock flag
Post-independence Burma
Internal conflict in Burma
Burmese Way to Socialism
State Peace and Development Council
Mass protests
8888 Uprising · Protests of 2007
Concessions and reforms
Roadmap to democracy
New constitution
Reforms of 2011
1990 · 2010 · 2012
National League for Democracy · 88 Generation Students Group · Burma Campaign UK · Free Burma Coalition · U.S. Campaign for Burma · Generation Wave · All Burma Students’ Democratic Front · The Irrawaddy · Democratic Voice of Burma · Mizzima News
U Nu · Aung Gyi · Tin Oo · Aung San Suu Kyi · Min Ko Naing · Thein Sein
Related topics
Human rights in Burma · Politics of Burma · Foreign relations of Burma

Aung San Suu Kyi was born in Rangoon (now named Yangon).[22] Her father, Aung San, founded the modern Burmese army and negotiated Burma’s independence from the British Empire in 1947; he was assassinated by his rivals in the same year. She grew up with her mother, Khin Kyi, and two brothers, Aung San Lin and Aung San Oo, in Rangoon. Aung San Lin died at age eight, when he drowned in an ornamental lake on the grounds of the house.[16] Her elder brother emigrated to San Diego, California, becoming a United States citizen.[16] After Aung San Lin’s death, the family moved to a house by Inya Lake where Suu Kyi met people of very different backgrounds, political views and religions.[23] She was educated in Methodist English High School (now Basic Education High School No. 1 Dagon) for much of her childhood in Burma, where she was noted as having a talent for learning languages.[24] She is a Theravada Buddhist.

Suu Kyi’s mother, Khin Kyi, gained prominence as a political figure in the newly formed Burmese government. She was appointed Burmese ambassador to India and Nepal in 1960, and Aung San Suu Kyi followed her there, she studied in the Convent of Jesus and Mary School, New Delhi and graduated from Lady Shri Ram College in New Delhi with a degree in politics in 1964.[25][26] Suu Kyi continued her education at St Hugh’s College, Oxford, obtaining a B.A. degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics in 1969. After graduating, she lived in New York City with a family friend and worked at the UN for three years, primarily on budget matters, writing daily to her future husband, Dr. Michael Aris.[27] In 1972, Aung San Suu Kyi married Aris, a scholar of Tibetan culture, living abroad in Bhutan.[25] The following year she gave birth to their first son, Alexander Aris, in London; their second son, Kim, was born in 1977. Subsequently, she earned a PhD at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London in 1985. She was elected as an Honorary Fellow in 1990.[25] For two years she was a Fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies (IIAS) in Shimla, India. She also worked for the government of the Union of Burma.

In 1988 Suu Kyi returned to Burma, at first to tend for her ailing mother but later to lead the pro-democracy movement. Aris’ visit in Christmas 1995 turned out to be the last time that he and Suu Kyi met, as Suu Kyi remained in Burma and the Burmese dictatorship denied him any further entry visas.[25] Aris was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1997 which was later found to be terminal. Despite appeals from prominent figures and organizations, including the United States, UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and Pope John Paul II, the Burmese government would not grant Aris a visa, saying that they did not have the facilities to care for him, and instead urged Aung San Suu Kyi to leave the country to visit him. She was at that time temporarily free from house arrest but was unwilling to depart, fearing that she would be refused re-entry if she left, as she did not trust the military junta‘s assurance that she could return.[28]

Aris died on his 53rd birthday on 27 March 1999. Since 1989, when his wife was first placed under house arrest, he had seen her only five times, the last of which was for Christmas in 1995. She was also separated from her children, who live in the United Kingdom, but starting in 2011, they have visited her in Burma.[29]

On 2 May 2008, after Cyclone Nargis hit Burma, Suu Kyi lost the roof of her house and lived in virtual darkness after losing electricity in her dilapidated lakeside residence. She used candles at night as she was not provided any generator set.[30] Plans to renovate and repair the house were announced in August 2009.[31] Suu Kyi was released from house arrest on 13 November 2010.[32]

 Political beginnings

Coincident with Aung San Suu Kyi’s return to Burma in 1988, the long-time military leader of Burma and head of the ruling party, General Ne Win, stepped down. Mass demonstrations for democracy followed that event on 8 August 1988 (8–8–88, a day seen as auspicious), which were violently suppressed in what came to be known as the 8888 Uprising. On 26 August 1988, she addressed half a million people at a mass rally in front of the Shwedagon Pagoda in the capital, calling for a democratic government.[25] However in September, a new military junta took power.

Influenced[33] by both Mahatma Gandhi‘s philosophy of non-violence[34][35] and more specifically by Buddhist concepts,[36] Aung San Suu Kyi entered politics to work for democratization, helped found the National League for Democracy on 27 September 1988,[37] but was put under house arrest on 20 July 1989. Offered freedom if she left the country, she refused.

One of her most famous speeches was “Freedom From Fear”, which began: “It is not power that corrupts, but fear. Fear of losing power corrupts those who wield it and fear of the scourge of power corrupts those who are subject to it.”

She also believes fear spurs many world leaders to lose sight of their purpose. “Government leaders are amazing”, she once said. “So often it seems they are the last to know what the people want.”[38]

[edit] Political career

[edit] 1990 general election

In 1990, the military junta called a general election, in which the National League for Democracy (NLD) received 59% of the votes, guaranteeing NLD 80% of the parliament seats. Some claim that Aung San Suu Kyi would have assumed the office of Prime Minister;[39] in fact, however, as she wasn’t permitted, she did not stand as a candidate in the elections (although being a MP isn’t a strict prerequisite for becoming PM in most parliamentary systems). Instead, the results were nullified and the military refused to hand over power, resulting in an international outcry. Aung San Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest at her home on University Avenue (

) in Rangoon, during which time she was awarded the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought in 1990, and the Nobel Peace Prize the year after. Her sons Alexander and Kim accepted the Nobel Peace Prize on her behalf. Aung San Suu Kyi used the Nobel Peace Prize’s 1.3 million USD prize money to establish a health and education trust for the Burmese people.[40] Around this time, Suu Kyi chose non-violence as an expedient political tactic, stating in 2007, “I do not hold to non-violence for moral reasons, but for political and practical reasons,”[41] however, nonviolent action as well as civil resistancein lieu of armed conflict are also political tactics in keeping with the overall philosophy of her Theravada Buddhist religion. 

[edit] 1996 attack

On 9 November 1996, the motorcade that she was traveling in with other National League for Democracy leaders Tin Oo and U Kyi Maung, was attacked in Yangon. About 200 men swooped down on the motorcade, wielding metal chains, metal batons, stones and other weapons. The car that Aung San Suu Kyi was in had its rear window smashed, and the car with Tin Oo and U Kyi Maung had its rear window and two backdoor windows shattered. It is believed the offenders were members of the Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) who were allegedly paid 500 kyats (@ USD $0.5) each to participate. The NLD lodged an official complaint with the police, and according to reports the government launched an investigation, but no action was taken. (Amnesty International 120297)[42]

[edit] House arrest

Aung San Suu Kyi has been placed under house arrest for 15 of the past 21 years, on different occasions, since she began her political career,[43] during which time she was prevented from meeting her party supporters and international visitors. In an interview, Suu Kyi said that while under house arrest she spent her time reading philosophy, politics and biographies that her husband had sent her.[44] She also passed the time playing the piano, and was occasionally allowed visits from foreign diplomats as well as from her personal physician.[45]

The media were also prevented from visiting Suu Kyi, as occurred in 1998 when journalist Maurizio Giuliano, after photographing her, was stopped by customs officials who then confiscated all the reporter’s films, tapes and some notes.[46] In contrast, Suu Kyi did have visits from government representatives, such as during her autumn 1994 house arrest when she met the leader of Burma, General Than Shwe and General Khin Nyunt on 20 September in the first meeting since she had been placed in detention.[25] On several occasions during Suu Kyi’s house arrest, she had periods of poor health and as a result was hospitalized.[47]

The Burmese government detained and kept Suu Kyi imprisoned because it viewed her as someone “likely to undermine the community peace and stability” of the country, and used both Article 10(a) and 10(b) of the 1975 State Protection Act (granting the government the power to imprison people for up to five years without a trial),[48] and Section 22 of the “Law to Safeguard the State Against the Dangers of Those Desiring to Cause Subversive Acts” as legal tools against her.[49] She continuously appealed her detention,[50] and many nations and figures continued to call for her release and that of 2,100 other political prisoners in the country.[51][52] On 12 November 2010, days after the junta-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) won elections conducted after a gap of almost 20 years, the junta finally agreed to sign orders allowing Suu Kyi’s release,[53] and Suu Kyi’s house arrest term came to an end on 13 November 2010.

[edit] UN involvement

The UN has attempted to facilitate dialogue between the junta and Suu Kyi.[54] On 6 May 2002, following secret confidence-building negotiations led by the UN, the government released her; a government spokesman said that she was free to move “because we are confident that we can trust each other”. Aung San Suu Kyi proclaimed “a new dawn for the country”. However on 30 May 2003 in an incident similar to the 1996 attack on her, a government-sponsored mob attacked her caravan in the northern village of Depayin, murdering and wounding many of her supporters.[55] Aung San Suu Kyi fled the scene with the help of her driver, Ko Kyaw Soe Lin, but was arrested upon reaching Ye-U. The government imprisoned her at Insein Prison in Rangoon. After she underwent a hysterectomy in September 2003,[56] the government again placed her under house arrest in Rangoon.

The results from the UN facilitation have been mixed; Razali Ismail, UN special envoy to Burma, met with Aung San Suu Kyi. Ismail resigned from his post the following year, partly because he was denied re-entry to Burma on several occasions.[57] Several years later in 2006, Ibrahim Gambari, UN Undersecretary-General (USG) of Department of Political Affairs, met with Aung San Suu Kyi, the first visit by a foreign official since 2004.[58] He also met with Suu Kyi later the same year.[59] On 2 October 2007 Gambari returned to talk to her again after seeing Than Shwe and other members of the senior leadership in Naypyidaw.[60] State television broadcast Suu Kyi with Gambari, stating that they had met twice. This was Suu Kyi’s first appearance in state media in the four years since her current detention began.[61]

The United Nations Working Group for Arbitrary Detention published an Opinion that Aung San Suu Kyi’s deprivation of liberty was arbitrary and in contravention of Article 9 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948, and requested that the authorities in Burma set her free, but the authorities ignored the request at that time.[62] The U.N. report said that according to the Burmese Government’s reply, “Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has not been arrested, but has only been taken into protective custody, for her own safety”, and while “it could have instituted legal action against her under the country’s domestic legislation … it has preferred to adopt a magnanimous attitude, and is providing her with protection in her own interests.”[62]

Such claims were rejected by Brig-General Khin Yi, Chief of Myanmar Police Force (MPF). On 18 January 2007, the state-run paper New Light of Myanmar accused Suu Kyi of tax evasion for spending her Nobel Prize money outside of the country. The accusation followed the defeat of a US-sponsored United Nations Security Council resolution condemning Burma as a threat to international security; the resolution was defeated because of strong opposition from China, which has strong ties with the military junta (China later voted against the resolution, along with Russia and South Africa).[63]

In November 2007, it was reported that Suu Kyi would meet her political allies National League for Democracy along with a government minister. The ruling junta made the official announcement on state TV and radio just hours after UN special envoy Ibrahim Gambari ended his second visit to Burma. The NLD confirmed that it had received the invitation to hold talks with Suu Kyi.[64] However, the process delivered few concrete results.

On 3 July 2009, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon went to Burma to pressure the junta into releasing Suu Kyi and to institute democratic reform. However, on departing from Burma, Ban Ki-moon said he was “disappointed” with the visit after junta leader Than Shwe refused permission for him to visit Suu Kyi, citing her ongoing trial. Ban said he was “deeply disappointed that they have missed a very important opportunity.”[65]

[edit] Periods under detention

  • 20 July 1989: Placed under house arrest in Rangoon under martial law that allows for detention without charge or trial for three years.[54]
  • 10 July 1995: Released from house arrest.[16]
  • 23 September 2000: Placed under house arrest.[43]
  • 6 May 2002: Released after 19 months.[43]
  • 30 May 2003: Arrested following the Depayin massacre, she was held in secret detention for more than three months before being returned to house arrest.[66]
  • 25 May 2007: House arrest extended by one year despite a direct appeal from U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to General Than Shwe.[67]
  • 24 October 2007: Reached 12 years under house arrest, solidarity protests held at 12 cities around the world.[68]
  • 27 May 2008: House arrest extended for another year, which is illegal under both international law and Burma’s own law.[69]
  • 11 August 2009: House arrest extended for 18 more months because of “violation” arising from the May 2009 trespass incident.
  • 13 November 2010: Released from house arrest.[70]

[edit] 2007 anti-government protests

Protests led by Buddhist monks began on 19 August 2007 following steep fuel price increases, and continued each day, despite the threat of a crackdown by the military.[71]

On 22 September 2007, although still under house arrest, Suu Kyi made a brief public appearance at the gate of her residence in Yangon to accept the blessings of Buddhist monks who were marching in support of human rights.[72] It was reported that she had been moved the following day to Insein Prison (where she had been detained in 2003),[73][74][75][76] but meetings with UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari near her Rangoon home on 30 September and 2 October established that she remained under house arrest.[77][78]

[edit] 2009 trespass incident

U.S. Senator Jim Webb visiting Suu Kyi in 2009. Webb negotiated the release of John Yettaw, the man who trespassed in Suu Kyi’s home, resulting in her arrest and conviction with three years’ hard labour.

On 3 May 2009, an American man, identified as John Yettaw, swam across Inya Lake to her house uninvited and was arrested when he made his return trip three days later.[79] He had attempted to make a similar trip two years earlier, but for unknown reasons was turned away.[80] He later claimed at trial that he was motivated by a divine vision requiring him to notify her of an impending terrorist assassination attempt.[81] On 13 May, Suu Kyi was arrested for violating the terms of her house arrest because the swimmer, who pleaded exhaustion, was allowed to stay in her house for two days before he attempted the swim back. Suu Kyi was later taken to Insein Prison, where she could have faced up to five years confinement for the intrusion.[82] The trial of Suu Kyi and her two maids began on 18 May and a small number of protesters gathered outside.[83][84] Diplomats and journalists were barred from attending the trial; however, on one occasion, several diplomats from Russia, Thailand and Singapore and journalists were allowed to meet Suu Kyi.[85] The prosecution had originally planned to call 22 witnesses.[86] It also accused John Yettaw of embarrassing the country.[87] During the ongoing defence case, Suu Kyi said she was innocent. The defence was allowed to call only one witness (out of four), while the prosecution was permitted to call 14 witnesses. The court rejected two character witnesses, NLD members Tin Oo and Win Tin, and permitted the defense to call only a legal expert.[88] According to one unconfirmed report, the junta was planning to, once again, place her in detention, this time in a military base outside the city.[89] In a separate trial, Yettaw said he swam to Suu Kyi’s house to warn her that her life was “in danger”.[90] The national police chief later confirmed that Yettaw was the “main culprit” in the case filed against Suu Kyi.[91] According to aides, Suu Kyi spent her 64th birthday in jail sharing biryani rice and chocolate cake with her guards.[92]

Her arrest and subsequent trial received worldwide condemnation by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, the United Nations Security Council,[93] Western governments,[94] South Africa,[95] Japan[96] and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, of which Burma is a member.[97] The Burmese government strongly condemned the statement, as it created an “unsound tradition”[98] and criticised Thailand for meddling in its internal affairs.[99] The Burmese Foreign Minister Nyan Win was quoted in the state-run newspaper New Light of Myanmar as saying that the incident “was trumped up to intensify international pressure on Burma by internal and external anti-government elements who do not wish to see the positive changes in those countries’ policies toward Burma”.[87] Ban responded to an international campaign[100] by flying to Burma to negotiate, but Than Shwe rejected all of his requests.[101]

On 11 August 2009 the trial concluded with Suu Kyi being sentenced to imprisonment for three years with hard labour. This sentence was commuted by the military rulers to further house arrest of 18 months.[102] On 14 August, U.S. Senator Jim Webb visited Burma, visiting with junta leader Gen. Than Shwe and later with Suu Kyi. During the visit, Webb negotiated Yettaw’s release and deportation from Burma.[103] Following the verdict of the trial, lawyers of Suu Kyi said they would appeal against the 18-month sentence.[104] On 18 August, United States President Barack Obama asked the country’s military leadership to set free all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi.[105] In her appeal, Aung San Suu Kyi had argued that the conviction was unwarranted. However, her appeal against the August sentence was rejected by a Burmese court on 2 October 2009. Although the court accepted the argument that the 1974 constitution, under which she had been charged, was null and void, it also said the provisions of the 1975 security law, under which she has been kept under house arrest, remained in force. The verdict effectively meant that she would be unable to participate in the elections scheduled to take place in 2010 – the first in Burma in two decades. Her lawyer stated that her legal team would pursue a new appeal within 60 days.[106]

[edit] 2009: International pressure for release, and Burmese general election 2010

It was announced prior to the Burmese general election that Aung San Suu Kyi may be released “so she can organize her party,”[107] However, Suu Kyi was not allowed to run.[108] On 1 October 2010 the government announced that she would be released on 13 November 2010.[109]

Burma’s relaxing stance, such as releasing political prisoners, was influenced in the wake of successful recent diplomatic visits by the US and other democratic governments, urging or encouraging the Burmese towards democratic reform. U.S. President Barack Obama personally advocated for the release of all political prisoners, especially Aung San Suu Kyi, during the US-ASEAN Summit of 2009.[110]

Democratic governments[which?] hoped that successful general elections would be an optimistic indicator of the Burmese government’s sincerity towards eventual democracy.[111] The Hatoyama government which spent 2.82 billion yen in 2008, has promised more Japanese foreign aid to encourage Burma to release Aung San Suu Kyi in time for the elections; and to continue moving towards democracy and the rule of law.[111][112]

In a personal letter to Suu Kyi, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown cautioned the Burmese government of the potential consequences of rigging elections as “condemning Burma to more years of diplomatic isolation and economic stagnation”.[113]

The Burmese government has been granting Suu Kyi varying degrees of freedom throughout late 2009, in response to international pressure. She has met with many heads of state, and opened a dialog with the Minister of Labor Aung Kyi (not to be confused with Aung San Suu Kyi).[114]

Suu Kyi was allowed to meet with senior members of her NLD party at the State House,[115] however these meeting took place under close supervision.

[edit] 2010 release

Aung San Suu Kyi addresses crowds at the NLD headquarters shortly after her release.

Aung San Suu Kyi meets with US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton in Yangon (1 December 2011)

On the evening of 13 November 2010, Aung San Suu Kyi was released from house arrest.[116] This was the date her detention had been set to expire according to a court ruling in August 2009[117] and came six days after a widely criticized general election. She appeared in front of a crowd of her supporters, who rushed to her house in Rangoon when nearby barricades were removed by the security forces. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate had been detained for 15 of the past 21 years.[118] The government newspaper New Light of Myanmar reported the release positively,[119] saying she had been granted a pardon after serving her sentence “in good conduct”.[120] The New York Times suggested that the military government may have released Suu Kyi because it felt it was in a confident position to control her supporters after the election.[119] The role that Aung San Suu Kyi will play in the future of democracy in Burma remains a subject of much debate.

Her son Kim Aris was granted a visa in November 2010 to see his mother, Aung San Suu Kyi, shortly after her release, for the first time in 10 years.[121] He visited again in 5 July 2011, to accompany her on a trip to Bagan, her first trip outside Yangon since 2003.[122] Her son visited again in 8 August 2011, to accompany her on a trip to Pegu, her second trip.[123]

Discussions were held between Suu Kyi and the Burmese government during 2011, which led to a number of official gestures to meet her demands. In October, around a tenth of Burma’s political prisoners were freed in an amnesty and trade unions were legalised.[124][125]

In November 2011, following a meeting of its leaders, the NLD announced its intention to re-register as a political party in order contend 48 by-elections necessitated by the promotion of parliamentarians to ministerial rank.[126] Following the decision, Suu Kyi held a telephone conference with U.S. President Barack Obama, in which it was agreed that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would make a visit to Burma, a move received with caution by Burma’s ally China.[127] On 1 December 2011, Suu Kyi met with Hillary Clinton at the residence of the top-ranking US diplomat in Yangon.[128] Suu Kyi also held an hour long interview for a class of 3000 students at Virginia Tech via Skype on 5 December 2011. During the interview, Suu Kyi answered questions from students, sharing her wisdom in her fight for democracy.[129]

On 21 December 2011, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra met Suu Kyi in Yangoon, becoming Suu Kyi’s first-ever meeting with the leader of a foreign country after her release from house arrest.[130]

On 5 January 2012, British Foreign Minister William Hague met Aung San Suu Kyi and his Burmese counterpart. This represented a significant visit for Suu Kyi and Burma. Suu Kyi studied in the UK and maintains many ties there, whilst Britain is Burma’s largest bilateral donor.

[edit] 2012 by-elections

In December 2011, there was speculation that Suu Kyi would run in the 2012 national by-elections to fill vacant seats.[131] On 18 January 2012, Suu Kyi formally registered to contest a Pyithu Hluttaw (lower house) seat in the Kawhmu Township constituency in special parliamentary elections to be held on 1 April 2012.[132][133] The seat was previously held by Soe Tint, who vacated it after being appointed Construction Deputy Minister, in the 2010 election.[134] She is running against Union Solidarity and Development Party candidate Soe Min, a retired army physician and native of Twante Township.[135]

On 3 March 2012, at a large campaign rally in Mandalay, Suu Kyi unexpectedly left after 15 minutes, because of exhaustion and airsickness.[136]

In an official campaign speech broadcast on Burmese state television’s MRTV on 14 March 2012, Suu Kyi publicly campaigned for reform of the 2008 Constitution, removal of restrictive laws, more adequate protections for people’s democratic rights, and establishment of an independent judiciary.[137] The speech was leaked online a day before it was broadcast.[138] A paragraph in the speech, focusing on the Tatmadaw‘s repression by means of law, was censored by authorities.[139]

Suu Kyi has also called for international media to monitor the upcoming by-elections, while publicly pointing out irregularities in official voter lists, which include deceased individuals and exclude other eligible voters in the contested constituencies.[140][141] On 21 March 2012, Aung San Suu Kyi was quoted as saying “Fraud and rule violations are continuing and we can even say they are increasing.”[142]

When asked whether she would assume a ministerial post if given the opportunity, she said the following:[143]

I can tell you one thing – that under the present constitution, if you become a member of the government you have to vacate your seat in the national assembly. And I am not working so hard to get into parliament simply to vacate my seat.

On 26 March 2012, Suu Kyi suspended her nationwide campaign tour early, after a campaign rally in Myeik (Mergui), a coastal town in the south, citing health problems due to exhaustion and hot weather.[144]

On 1 April 2012, the NLD announced that Suu Kyi had “easily” won the vote for a seat in Parliament, though the official counting had not yet finished.[145]

[edit] International support

May 2009 demonstration for Aung San Suu Kyi in Rome, Italy

The 2009 celebration of Aung San Suu Kyi’s birthday in Dublin, Ireland

Aung San Suu Kyi has received vocal support from Western nations in Europe,[146] Australia[146] and North[147] and South America, as well as India,[3] Israel,[148] Japan[149] the Philippines and South Korea.[150] In December 2007, the US House of Representatives voted unanimously 400–0 to award Aung San Suu Kyi the Congressional Gold Medal; the Senate concurred on 25 April 2008.[151] On 6 May 2008, President George Bush signed legislation awarding Suu Kyi the Congressional Gold Medal.[152] She is the first recipient in American history to receive the prize while imprisoned. More recently, there has been growing criticism of her detention by Burma’s neighbours in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, particularly from Indonesia,[153] Thailand,[154] the Philippines[155][156] and Singapore.[157] At one point Malaysia warned Burma that it faced expulsion from ASEAN as a result of the detention of Suu Kyi.[158] Other nations including South Africa,[159] Bangladesh[160] and the Maldives[161] have also called for her release. The United Nations has urged the country to move towards inclusive national reconciliation, the restoration of democracy, and full respect for human rights.[162] In December 2008, the United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution condemning the human rights situation in Burma and calling for Suu Kyi’s release—80 countries voting for the resolution, 25 against and 45 abstentions.[163] Other nations, such as China and Russia, are less critical of the regime and prefer to cooperate only on economic matters.[164] Indonesia has urged China to push Burma for reforms.[165] However, Samak Sundaravej, former Prime Minister of Thailand, criticised the amount of support for Suu Kyi, saying that “Europe uses Aung San Suu Kyi as a tool. If it’s not related to Aung San Suu Kyi, you can have deeper discussions with Myanmar.”[166]

Aung San Suu Kyi greeting supporters from Bago State in 2011.

Vietnam, however, does not support calls by other ASEAN member states for Myanmar to free Aung San Suu Kyi, state media reported Friday, 14 August 2009.[167] The state-run Việt Nam News said Vietnam had no criticism of Myanmar’s decision 11 August 2009 to place Suu Kyi under house arrest for the next 18 months, effectively barring her from elections scheduled for 2010. “It is our view that the Aung San Suu Kyi trial is an internal affair of Myanmar”, Vietnamese government spokesman Le Dung stated on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. In contrast with other ASEAN member states, Dung said Vietnam has always supported Myanmar and hopes it will continue to implement the “roadmap to democracy” outlined by its government.[168]

[edit] Nobel Peace Prize

Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991. The decision of the Nobel Committee mentions:[169]

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 1991 to Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar (Burma) for her non-violent struggle for democracy and human rights….Suu Kyi’s struggle is one of the most extraordinary examples of civil courage in Asia in recent decades. She has become an important symbol in the struggle against oppression……In awarding the Nobel Peace Prize for 1991 to Aung San Suu Kyi, the Norwegian Nobel Committee wishes to honour this woman for her unflagging efforts and to show its support for the many people throughout the world who are striving to attain democracy, human rights and ethnic conciliation by peaceful means.
—Oslo, 14 October 1991

Nobel Peace Prize winners (Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Dalai Lama, Shirin Ebadi, Adolfo Pérez Esquivel, Mairead Corrigan, Rigoberta Menchú, Prof. Elie Wiesel, U.S. President Barack Obama, Betty Williams, Jody Williams and former U.S. President Jimmy Carter) called for the rulers of Burma to release Suu Kyi in order to “create the necessary conditions for a genuine dialogue with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and all concerned parties and ethnic groups in order to achieve an inclusive national reconciliation with the direct support of the United Nations.”[54] Some of the money she received as part of the award helps fund London-based charity Prospect Burma, which provides higher education grants to Burmese students.[170]

[edit] Organizations

  • Freedom Now, a Washington, D.C.-based non-profit organization, was retained in 2006 by a member of her family to help secure Aung San Suu Kyi’s release from house arrest. The organization secured several opinions from the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention that her detention was in violation of international law; engaged in political advocacy such as spearheading a letter from 112 former Presidents and Prime Ministers to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urging him to go to Burma to seek her release, which he did six weeks later; and published numerous opeds and spoke widely to the media about her ongoing detention. Its representation of her ended when she was released from house arrest on 13 November 2010.[171]
  • Aung San Suu Kyi has been an honorary board member of International IDEA and ARTICLE 19 since her detention, and has received support from these organisations.
  • The Vrije Universiteit Brussel and the Université catholique de Louvain, both located in Belgium, have granted her the title of Doctor Honoris Causa.[172]
  • In 2003, the Freedom Forum recognized Suu Kyi’s efforts to promote democracy peacefully with the Al Neuharth Free Spirit of the Year Award, in which she was presented over satellite because she was under house arrest. She was awarded one million dollars.[173]
  • In June of each year, the U.S. Campaign for Burma organizes hundreds of “Arrest Yourself” house parties around the world in support of Aung San Suu Kyi. At these parties, the organizers keep themselves under house arrest for 24 hours, invite their friends, and learn more about Burma and Aung San Suu Kyi.[174]
  • The Freedom Campaign, a joint effort between the Human Rights Action Center and US Campaign for Burma, looks to raise worldwide attention to the struggles of Aung San Suu Kyi and the people of Burma.
  • The Burma Campaign UK is a UK based NGO (Non Governmental Organisation) that aims to raise awareness of Burma’s struggles and follow the guidelines established by the NLD and Aung San Suu Kyi.
  • St. Hugh’s College, Oxford, where she studied, had a Burmese theme for their annual ball in support of her in 2006.[175]
  • Aung San Suu Kyi is the official patron of The Rafto Human Rights House in Bergen, Norway. She received the Thorolf Rafto Memorial Prize in 1990.
  • She was made an honorary free person of the City of Dublin, Ireland in November 1999, although a space had been left on the roll of signatures to symbolize her continued detention.
  • In November 2005 the human rights group Equality Now proposed Aung Sun Suu Kyi as a potential candidate, among other qualifying women, for the position of U.N. Secretary General.[176] In the proposed list of qualified women Suu Kyi is recognised by Equality Now as the Prime Minister-Elect of Burma.[2]
  • The UN’ special envoy to Myanmar, Ibrahim Gambari, met Aung San Suu Kyi on 10 March 2008 before wrapping up his trip to the military-ruled country.[177]
  • Aung San Suu Kyi is an honorary member of The Elders, a group of eminent global leaders brought together by Nelson Mandela.[178] Her ongoing detention means that she is unable to take an active role in the group, so The Elders place an empty chair for her at their meetings.[179] The Elders have consistently called for the release of all political prisoners in Burma.[180]
  • In 2008, Burma’s devoted human rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize, was welcomed as Club of Madrid Honorary Member.
  • In 2011 Aung San Suu Kyi is the Guest Director of the 45th Brighton Festival
  • In June 2011, the BBC announced that Aung San Suu Kyi was to deliver the 2011 Reith Lectures. The BBC covertly recorded two lectures with Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma, which were then smuggled out of the country and brought back to London.[181] The lectures were broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and the BBC World Service on 28 June 2011 and 5 July 2011.
  • In November 2011, Suu Kyi received Francois Zimeray, France’s Ambassador for Human Rights.

[edit] Books

[edit] Authored

[edit] Edited

  • Tibetan Studies in Honour of Hugh Richardson. Edited by Michael Aris and Aung San Suu Kyi. (1979). Vikas Publishing house, New Delhi.

[edit] Awards

[edit] Popular media

  • She was portrayed by Adelle Lutz in John Boorman‘s 1995 motion picture Beyond Rangoon, which takes place during the 8888 Uprising.
  • Jazz saxophonist Wayne Shorter composed in her honor the piece “Aung San Suu Kyi”, which appeared on 1+1 (1997), a duet album with pianist Herbie Hancock.
  • In a list compiled by New Statesman in 2006, she was voted as number one among the “50 Heroes of Our Time”.[208]
  • The 2000 song “Walk On” by U2 is about her, according to Bono.[209] Suu Kyi was regularly mentioned as the song was played during 2001’s Elevation Tour. During the 2009 leg of the 360° Tour, the band invited fans to wear masks of Suu Kyi’s face (printable from their website) during the song “Walk On”.[210]
  • The Lady Of Burma, a play written by Richard Shannon and staged in the London Old Vic, dealt with the life of Aung San Suu Kyi and received rave reviews in the UK press, including The Independent.[211]
  • She was voted as number 34 among “The World’s 50 Most Influential Figures 2010″ by the British magazine New Statesman.[212]
  • “Unplayed Piano” by Damien Rice was released in Ireland on 17 June 2005 and in the UK on 20 June 2005 to coincide with Aung San Suu Kyi’s 60th birthday. The song was written for Suu Kyi following a visit by Damien to Burma in July 2004. Proceeds from the sale of the single go to the Burma Campaign UK. Rice and Hannigan recorded a charity song, campaigning for her release, called “Unplayed Piano”, which they performed at the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo.
  • Actress Michelle Yeoh portrays Aung San Suu Kyi in the 2011 film The Lady, directed by Luc Besson.
  • A 2m x 2m portrait of her was painted for the 54th Venice Biennale by Gavin Rain, working with the Burma Campaign UK in an attempt to highlight her current plight. The painting was also on display at the Italian premier of the 2011 film The Lady in Rome in October 2011, attended by both Yeoh and Besson.[213]


The south Africa Zulu War history Collections

The South Africa Zulu War History Collections

Part One


Created by

Dr iwan suwandy,MHA

Copyright @ 2012





how amizing pictures which many seeking by the antique picture collectors and many use for the war games.

After made study , I have found that the Zulu War consit two episode ,firast the zulu-boer war and then the anglo-zulu war.

I hove antique pictures collectors,the historian and the war gamer will enjow to look at this CD-ROM.

This Information still not complete that is why corrections,comment and new info still need,

Jakarta April 2012

Dr Iwan suwandy,MHA




Zulu Wars

1838 to 1879

Zulus — versus — Boers, and British


Boer-Zulu War : 1838

The Zulus were one of the most important tribes in the history of South Africa. They were originally only one among many other like tribes in the region, sometimes called Bantu, or Kaffir, but in the early 1800’s a leader named Chaka united a great many African tribes into a Zulu empire, by fairly brutal means. Chaka was succeeded by his brother Dingan. Shortly after this, a great many Boer Voertrekkers moved into the region, and tried to negotiate the purchase of some land from the Zulu king. After an exchange of gifts and demonstrations of friendship, Dingan suddenly ordered a massacre of the ambassadors and a nearby group of several hundred Voortrekkers. He then attacked the remaining Voertrekkers, who by this time, were prepared to defend themselves. At the Battle of Blood River, a group of less than 500 Boers held off over 10,000 Zulus, with great slaughter.

The Boers then allied themselves with Mpane, one of Dingan’s enemies, and helped him drive Dingan out and assume the Zulu throne. For many years afterward, the relationship between Boer and Zulu was moderately peaceful, although there were a number of disputes. When the British laid claim to the coastal area of Natal, Mpane made a treaty with them, and allied himself with the British against the Boers. The British did not want to settle most of the region, however, it merely wanted to limit Boer influence, and took the side of the Zulus in border disputes to oppose the expansion of Boer territory


Beside them stood the women quietly loading guns.

Battle / Outcome


Battle of Blood River
Boers defeat Zulus

Fought December 16, 1838, between the Boers of the Transvaal, and the Zulus under Dingaan. The Zulus were totally routed, with heavy loss. The Boer losses were small.


Pieter Retie

Leader of Boers during the Great Trek. Murdered by Dingaan during negotiations


Ruled Zulus after assassinating Shaka. Murdered Boer leaders leading to Zulu-Boer War

Andries Pretorius

Leader of Boers who avenged death of Piet Retief, and formed the Transvaal Republic

Antique Picture Collections

Story Links

Natal And The Zulus

Natal, as we know, was given its name by Vasco da Gama from the fact that his ships passed its shores on Christmas day. But from that day on for over three hundred years the only white men who landed on its soil were an occasional slave-trader or ivory-hunter, or sailors driven thither by the dreadful circumstance of shipwreck. We have many pitiful tales of such castaways forcing a path through the swamps or over the mountains to Delagoa Bay, some even making for the Cape, and usually perishing from hunger or thirst or by the savagery of the natives. There was, to take only one case, the wreck of the Stavenisse  in 1687, when the crew might have died of starvation were it not that several English sailors, wrecked some time before, came to their aid with beads by means of which they purchased food from the natives. How some of them made a vessel and sailed to Table Bay is like a chapter of Robinson Crusoe. “John Kingston, the Englishman, made a saw out of the ring of the ‘luijk.’ We made one trip to the wreck, and picked whatever would serve our purposes; we found three anchors among the rocks, or thrown up on the beach, among them our best bower, with the piece of the cable to which the ship had ridden. We broke the shank in two; one part served for an anvil; the rest, with the arms and ring, were beaten into nails and bolts.” Many sailors were murdered owing to the belief of the natives that (as Henry Fynn tells us) “white men were not human beings, but a production of the sea, which they traversed in large shells, coming near the shore in stormy weather, their food being the tusks of elephants which they would take from the beach if laid there for them, and placing beads in their room which they obtained from the bottom of the sea.”  etc……..

The Boer of To-Day

The wholesale slander and misrepresentation with which the Boers of South Africa have been pursued can not be outlived by them in a hundred years. It originated when the British forces took possession of the Cape of Good Hope, and it has continued with unabated vigour ever since. Recently the chief writers of fiction have been prominent Englishmen, who, on hunting expeditions or rapid tours through the country, saw the object of their venom from car windows or in the less favourable environments of a trackless veldt.

In earlier days the outside world gleaned its knowledge of the Boers from certain British statesmen, who, by grace of Downing Street, controlled the country’s colonial policy, and consequently felt obliged to conjure up weird descriptions of their far-distant subjects in order to make the application of certain harsh policies appear more applicable and necessary. Missionaries to South Africa, traders, and, not least of all, speculators, all found it convenient to traduce the Boers to the people in England, and the object in almost every case was the attainment of some personal end. Had there been any variety in the complaints, there might have been reason to suppose they were justifiable, but the similarity of the reports led to the conclusion that the British in South Africa were conducting the campaign of misrepresentation for the single purpose of arousing the enmity of the home people against the Boers. The unbiased reports were generally of such a nature that they were drowned by the roar of the malicious ones, and, instead of creating a better popular opinion of the race, only assisted in stirring the opposition to greater flights of fancy.

American interests in South Africa having been so infinitesimal until the last decade, our own knowledge of the country and its people naturally was of the same proportions. When Americans learned anything concerning South Africa or the Boers it came by way of London, which had vaster interests in the country, and should have been able to give exact information. But, like other colonial information, it was discoloured with London additions, and the result was that American views of the Boers tallied with those of the Englishman. etc……….


Interview with President Kruger

As is the rule with them everywhere, Englishmen in South Africa speak of Mr. Kruger with contempt and derision. Unprejudiced Americans and other foreigners in South Africa admire him for his patriotism, his courage in opposing the dictatorial policy of England’s Colonial Office, and his efforts to establish a republic as nearly like that of the United States of America as possible. My desire to see Mr. Kruger was almost obliterated a week after my arrival in the country by the words of condemnation which were heaped upon him by Englishmen whenever his name was mentioned. In nearly every Englishman’s mind the name of “Oom Paul” was a synonym for all that was corrupt and vile; few gave him a word of commendation.

When I came into the pretty little town of Pretoria, the capital of the Transvaal, where the President lives and where he mingles daily with the populace with as much freedom and informality as a country squire, there was a rapid transformation in my opinion of the man. The Boers worship their leader; to them he is a second George Washington, and even a few Englishmen there speak with admiration of him.

The day before my arrival in the town John McCann, of Johannesburg, who is a former New-Yorker and a friend of the President, informed Mr. Kruger of my intention to visit Pretoria. The President had refused interviews to three representatives of influential London newspapers who had been in the town three months waiting for the opportunity, but he expressed a desire to see an American.

“The Americans won’t lie about me,” he said to Mr. McCann. “I want America to learn our side of the story from me. They have had only the English point of view.” I had scarcely reached my hotel when an emissary from the President called and made an appointment for me to meet him in the afternoon. The emissary conducted me to the Government Building, where the Volksraad was in session, and it required only a short time for it to become known that a representative from the great sister republic across the Atlantic desired to learn the truth about the Boers etc………..

Preparations for Defence

Ever since the Jameson raid both the Boers and the Uitlanders have realized that a peaceful solution of the differences between the two is possible but highly improbable. The Uitlanders refused to concede anything to the Boer, and asked for concessions that implied a virtual abandonment of their country to the English, whom they have always detested. The Boers themselves have not been unmindful of the inevitable war with their powerful antagonist, and, not unlike the tiny ant of the African desert, which fortifies its abode against the anticipated attack of wild beasts, have made of their country a veritable arsenal.

Probably no inland country in the world is half so well prepared for war at any time as that little Government, which can boast of having less than thirty thousand voters. The military preparation has been so enormous that Great Britain has been compelled, according to the colonial secretary’s statement to the British Parliament, to expend two and a half million dollars annually in South Africa in order to keep pace with the Boers. Four years ago, when the Transvaal Government learned that the Uitlanders of Johannesburg were planning a revolution, it commenced the military preparations which have ever since continued with unabating vigour. German experts were employed to formulate plans for the defence of the country, and European artillerists were secured to teach the arts of modern warfare to the men at the head of the Boer army. Several Americans of military training became the instructors in the national military school at Pretoria; and even the women and children became imbued with the necessity of warlike preparation, and learned the use of arms. Several million pounds were annually spent in Europe in the purchase of the armament required by the plans formulated by the experts, and the whole country was placed on a war footing. Every important strategic position was made as impregnable as modern skill and arms could make it, and every farmer’s cottage was supplied with arms and ammunition, so that the volunteer army might be mobilized in a day.

In order to demonstrate the extent to which the military preparation has been carried, it is only necessary to give an account of the defences of Pretoria and Johannesburg, the two principal cities of the country. Pretoria, being the capital, and naturally the chief point of attack by the enemy, has been prepared to resist the onslaught of any number of men, and is in a condition to withstand a siege of three years. The city lies in the centre of a square, at each corner of which is a lofty hill surmounted by a strong fort, which commands the valleys and the surrounding country. Each of the four forts has four heavy cannon, four French guns of fifteen miles range, and thirty heavy Gatling guns. Besides this extraordinary protection, the city has fifty light Gatling guns which can he drawn by mules to any point on the hills where an attack may be made. Three large warehouses are filled with ammunition, and the large armory is packed to the eaves with Mauser, Martini-Henry, and Wesley-Richards rifles. Two extensive refrigerators, with a capacity of two thousand oxen each, are ample provision against a siege of many months. It is difficult to compute the total expenditures for war material by the Boer Government during the last four years, but the following official announcement of expenses for one year will serve to give an idea of the vastness of the preparations that the Government has been compelled to make in order to guard the safety of the country:

War-Office salaries  $262,310
War purposes 4,717,550
Johannesburg revolt   800,000
Public works 3,650,000


The Defense Of Rorke’s Drift

Come listen for a moment,All ye, whose peaceful lifeIn even flow is ne’er disturbedBy scenes of blood and strife;Who sit around your hearth fires,Secure from war’s alarms;This humble lay sets forth to-dayA British deed of arms. Left on the wild, lone borderA small but fearless band,Guarding the watery entranceTo savage Zululand;On the warm midday breezes,Like thunder’s distant sound,Came the long roll of cannonFar o’er the hostile ground,

And we wondered that our column

So soon the foe had found.


Then came two flying horsemen

Riding with loosened rein,

And the powdery dust like a whirlwind rose

As they scoured across the plain;

A few more rapid hoof strokes,

And we heard the news they bore—

“In yonder glen nigh half our men

Lie weltering in their gore.


“Our men, too soon surrounded,

Were slaughtered as they stood,

Facing their slayers to the last,

Dying as soldiers should.

How we escaped we know not,

From that fierce whirlwind’s frown,

But on this post a conquering host

E’en now is marching down.”


We set to work undaunted

To raise a barricade,

With mealie bags and scattered stores

A breastwork soon was made;

And scarcely was it finished,

When burst upon our sight,

Dark as the lowering storm-cloud

Sweeps the blue vaulted height,

Moving along the fair hill-side,

In vast black lines extending wide.

Rank upon rank of warriors tried,

In panoply of savage pride

Advancing to the fight.


Yes, on they came in thousands—

One hundred strong we stand,

Against the very pick and flower

Of warrior Zululand:

And how may we resist them,

Or hope to hold our own,

Flushed as they be with victory—

The greatest e’er they’ve known?


And eyes with lust of carnage,

Like coals through the darkness gleamed,

And bayonets crashed with stabbing spear,

Thick the red torrent streamed:

Drowning the roar of battle—

Drowning the deafening clang—

Each demon yell like a blast of hell,

Fiercer and higher rang.


Again and again we met them

Through the long fearful night,

We fought as ne’er we fought before

And ne’er again may fight,

To ‘venge our slaughtered comrades,

To guard our solemn trust,

And to reclaim our country’s name

Trampled in savage dust.


Piled high against our breastwork,

And scattered o’er the plain,

Four hundred of their warrior strength

Lay stark amid the slain

Lay where their fierce hot life-blood

The greedy earth had wet

Still terrible, in threatening scowl,

Each grim dead face was set.


And twelve from out our number

Their brave career had run,

Their final muster-roll had passed,

And their last duty done;

So carefully we laid them

Deep in the green earth’s breast,

An alien sod above them trod;

Peace with their ashes rest!


Yes, for old England’s honour

And for her perilled might,

We strove with vast and whelming odds,

From eve till morning light;

And thus with front unflinching,

One hundred strong we stood,

And held the post ‘gainst a maddened host

Drunken with British blood.


Her sons in gallant story,

Shall sound old England’s fame,

And by fresh deeds of glory

Shall keep alive her name;

And when, above her triumphs,

The golden curtains lift

Be treasured long, in page and song,

The memory of Rorke’s Drift.




More story only for premium membe

The Zulu War

South Africa History


Part Two


Created by

Dr iwan suwandy,MHA

Copyright @ 2012

Anglo-Zulu War : 1879



Thus did a hundred men keep three thousand savages at bay.

When the British finally annexed the Transvaal (the Boer Territory) in 1877, forty years after the battle of Blood River, they inherited the border disputes with the Zulus. Now, instead of supporting the Zulus against the Boers, they sought to dictate terms to the Zulus. These terms included the standard mix of British imperial demands, such as agreeing not to take up arms without British consent, and allowing a British “resident” to live permanently at court, along with a few humanitarian demands, such as the ending of forced marriages.


When the Zulus entirely failed to respond to their entreaties, the British followed their standard course of diplomacy in such situations, and sent in troops. They were at first unopposed in their march through Zulu territory. Eventually the lead column advanced to Isandhlwana on its way to the Zulu capital of Ulundi. At this point they were surrounded and attacked by 10,000 Zulus and massacred almost to a man. Among the few survivors was a reconnoitering party under the command of Lord Chelmsford which was absent from the camp at the time. A few survivors managed to travel back to the base camp at Rorke’s Drift and warn them of the approach of the Zulus, so the garrison had time to prepare. A force of 4000 Zulus attacked Rorke’s Drift in the afternoon, but the garrison was able to drive them back, and at dawn the Zulus withdrew.