|Name:||Francisco Solano Lopez|
|Birth Day:||July 24, 1827|
|Death Date:||Mar 1, 1870 (age 42)|
As per our current Database, Francisco Solano Lopez died on Mar 1, 1870 (age 42).
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He became a General at the age of 18, an honor that was delivered by the President himself: his father, Carlos Antonio López.
Solano López was born in Manorá, a barrio of Asunción in 1827. His father, Carlos Antonio Lopez, ascended to the Paraguayan Presidency in 1841 following the death of the nation's longtime dictator, José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia. The elder Lopez would commission his son as a Brigadier General in the Paraguayan Army, at the age of 18, in 1844. During the Argentine Civil Wars, Solano Lopez was appointed commander-in-chief of Paraguayan forces stationed along the Argentine frontier. He pursued his early military studies in Rio de Janeiro and Asunción specializing in fortifications and artillery.
Solano Lopez was dispatched to Europe in 1853 as minister plenipotentiary to Britain, France, and the Kingdom of Sardinia. Lopez went on to spend over a year and a half in Europe, most of it in Paris. He also traveled to Russia where he served as a foreign military observer during the Crimean War. He purchased large quantities of arms and military supplies, together with several steamers, on behalf of the Paraguayan military. He also modernized the Paraguayan Army with the novelties he acquired in Europe, adopting the French Code and the Prussian System of military organization (receiving some praise for this innovation many years later). His diplomatic work also included organizing a project to build a new railroad and efforts to establish a French émigré colony in Paraguay. He installed the first electric telegraph in South America. Lopez also became a great admirer of the French Second Empire and developed a fascination with Napoleon Bonaparte. López later equipped his army with uniforms designed to match those of the Grande Armée and it was said that he also ordered for himself an exact replica of Napoleon's crown, yet this remains unproven.
Solano López returned from Europe in 1855 and his father appointed him Minister of War. He was elevated to the office of Vice President of Paraguay in 1857.
In November 1859, López was on board the war steamer Tacuari, which was attacked by British Royal Navy ships attempting to pressure his father into releasing a British citizen from prison. The British consul who ordered the attack was Sir William Dougal Christie, later replaced by Edward Thornton who personally supported Argentina in the War of the Triple Alliance.
With his father's death in 1862, López convened the Congress of Paraguay, and was unanimously proclaimed President of Paraguay for a term of ten years.
In 1863, the Empire of Brazil—which did not have friendly relations with Paraguay—began providing military and political support to an incipient rebellion in Uruguay led by Venancio Flores and his Colorado Party against the Blanco Party government of Bernardo Berro and his successor, Atanasio Aguirre. The besieged Uruguayans repeatedly asked for military assistance from their Paraguayan allies against the Brazilian-backed rebels. López manifested his support for Aguirre's government via a letter to Brazil, in which he said that any occupation of Uruguayan lands by Brazil would be considered as an attack on Paraguay.
When Brazil did not heed the letter and invaded Uruguay on 12 October 1864, López seized the Brazilian merchant steamer Marqués de Olinda in the harbor of Asunción, and imprisoned the Brazilian governor of the province of Mato Grosso, who was on board. In the following month (December 1864) Lopez formally declared war on Brazil and dispatched a force to invade Mato Grosso. The force seized and sacked the town of Corumbá and took possession of the province and its diamond mines, together with an immense quantity of arms and ammunition, including enough gunpowder to last the whole Paraguayan Army for at least a year of active war. However, Paraguayan forces could not or would not seize the capital city of Cuiabá, in northern Mato Grosso.
The Paraguayan Congress, summoned by López, bestowed him the title of "Marshal-President" of the Paraguayan Armies (an equivalent of Grand Marshal, he was the only Paraguayan who gained that rank in his own lifetime) and gave him extraordinary war powers. On 13 April 1865, he declared war on Argentina, seizing two Argentine war vessels in the Bay of Corrientes. The next day, he occupied the town of Corrientes, instituted a provisional government of his Argentine partisans, and announced that Paraguay had annexed Corrientes Province and Argentina's Entre Ríos Province.
On 1 May 1865, Brazil joined Argentina and Uruguay in signing the Treaty of the Triple Alliance, which stipulated that they should unitedly pursue war with Paraguay until the existing government of Paraguay was overthrown and "until no arms or elements of war should be left to it." This agreement was literally carried out. This treaty also stipulated that more than half of the Paraguayan territories would be conquered by the Allies after the war. The treaty, when made public, caused international outrage and voices rose in favour of Paraguay.
The war which ensued, lasting until 1 March 1870, was carried on with great stubbornness and with alternating fortunes, though López's disasters steadily increased. His first major setback came on 11 June 1865, when the powerless Paraguayan fleet was destroyed by the Brazilian Navy at the Battle of Riachuelo, which gave the Allies control over the various waterways surrounding Paraguay and forced Lopez to withdraw from Argentina.
On 12 September 1866, López invited Mitre to a conference in Yatayty Corá. López believed that the time was right to treat for peace and was ready to sign a peace treaty with the Allies. No agreement was reached though since Mitre's conditions were that every article of the Treaty of the Triple Alliance was still to be carried out, a condition which López refused. Regardless of López's refusal, a peace treaty was not something Mitre could guarantee except on the terms of article VI of the treaty which stated that "The allies pledge themselves solemnly not to lay down their arms unless by common accord, nor until they have overthrown the present Government of Paraguay, nor to treat with the enemy separately, nor sign any Treaty of peace, truce, armistice, or Convention whatsoever for putting an end or suspending the war, unless by a perfect agreement of all".
In 1868, when the allies were pressing him hard, he convinced himself that his Paraguayan supporters had actually formed a conspiracy against his life. Thereupon, several hundred prominent Paraguayan citizens were seized and executed by his order, including his brothers and brothers-in-law, cabinet ministers, judges, prefects, military officers, bishops and priests, and nine-tenths of the civil officers, together with more than two hundred foreigners, among them several members of the diplomatic legations (the San Fernando massacres). During this time, he also had his 70-year-old mother flogged and ordered her execution, because she revealed to him that he had been born out of wedlock.
Allied troops captured the Paraguay capital city of Asunción on 1 January 1869, forcing López and what remained of his army and government to flee to the countryside. By late 1869, López was at last driven with a handful of troops to the northern frontier of Paraguay. He arrived at Cerro Corá on 14 February 1870. Two detachments were sent in pursuit of Solano López, who was accompanied by 200 men in the forests in the north, where he received news of the considerable Brazilian forces that were closing in on him. This caused some of the officials who were still with López to abandon him and approach the allied force, under the command of the Brazilian General José Antônio Correia da Câmara, which they readily joined as scouts in order to lead them to López.
In 2007, Argentine President Cristina Kirchner named an Argentinean military unit after Marshal Francisco Solano López. It was the 2nd Armored Artillery Group. During the ceremony, the national anthems of both nations were sung and high-ranking officers of both armies were present. The Chief of the Argentine Army gave a speech at the event in which he stated: "Talking about the Paraguayan Army and the Argentine Army is talking of one and the same thing.
On 1 March, a national holiday in Paraguay, "Dia de los Heroes" (Heroes' Day) is held in honor of López's memory. It is the most important holiday in the country after Independence Day. López is still considered to be the greatest Paraguayan national hero, and his remains are located at the National Pantheon of the Heroes in Asunción. It is customary in Asunción that when something historically worth celebrating happens (such as the victory of the former President Fernando Lugo in the 2008 elections), people flock with their flags to the street in front of the Pantheon and celebrate the event.
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Currently, Francisco Solano Lopez is 194 years, 0 months and 0 days old. Francisco Solano Lopez will celebrate 195th birthday on a Sunday 24th of July 2022.
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