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Juan Antonio Lavalleja

Lavalleja, Juan Antonio (hwän äntōˈnyō läväyāˈhä) [key], c.1786–1853, Uruguayan revolutionist. After serving under José Gervasio Artigas, Lavalleja was imprisoned for a short time by Brazil, then in control of Uruguay. Subsequently he led a small group—the Thirty-three Immortals—in a declaration of independence from Brazil in 1825. To secure support from Buenos Aires the declaration accepted the sovereignty of the United Provinces of La Plata (Argentina). After the victory of Ituzaingó (1827), Uruguay became (1828) an independent buffer state. Two bitter rivals sought the presidency in 1830—Lavalleja and Fructuoso Rivera. Rivera ultimately won power, and the disgruntled Lavalleja twice (1832, 1834) revolted unsuccessfully. From exile in Buenos Aires he joined Manuel Oribe against Rivera. A long civil war (1843–51) ensued during which two parties developed: the Blancos [whites], led by Lavalleja, and the Colorados [reds], led by Rivera. These rival factions have dominated Uruguayan politics to the present day. When war ended, Lavalleja was one of a triumvirate chosen (1853) to govern Uruguay, but he died before serving.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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