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Argentina and Uruguay entered the war against Paraguay in 1865, and it then became known as the "War of the Triple Alliance". After it lost in conventional warfare, Paraguay conducted a drawn-out guerrilla resistance, a disastrous strategy that resulted in the further destruction of the Paraguayan military and much of the civilian population through battle casualties, hunger and diseases.
Since their independence from Portugal and Spain in the early 19th century, the Empire of Brazil and the Spanish-American countries of South America were troubled by territorial disputes.The outdated boundary lines did not represent actual occupation of lands by Portuguese and Spanish.By the early 1700s, the Treaty of Tordesillas was deemed all but redundant and it was clear to both parties that a newer one had to be drawn based on realistic and feasible boundaries.In the case of Paraguay with her neighbor Brazil, the problem was to define whether the Apa or Branco rivers represented their actual boundary, a persistent issue that also confused Spain and Portugal in the late 18th century.
The region between both rivers was depopulated, except for some tribes that roamed the area attacking nearer Brazilian and Paraguayan settlements.Before the war Paraguay had experienced rapid economic and military growth as a result of its protectionist policies which had boosted the local industry (much to the detriment of British imports).