France and England had decided to take over the navigation on the Parana and Uruguay rivers, so to dominate the trade in commodities in the Rio de la Plata and void the will to fight of the Argentine Confederation, led by Brigadier General Dan. Juan Manuel de Rosas, so that between 2 August 1845 and 31 August 1848, the British and French fleets closed to foreign trade all ports in the Argentine Confederation and the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, except from Montevideo.

France initiated unilaterally in 1838 the blockade to the Río de la Plata from March of that year to October 1840 totaling 949 days, more than two and a half years, then in accordance with England to continue together with the blockade, which they kept in these conditions from September 1845 to August 1847, for a total of 700 days, almost two years, only to then continue it until June 1848 France, for another 300 days. The Anglo French blockade covered 1949 days straight, over five years.

The first French intrusion

In November 1837 the French vice-consul in Buenos Aires government demanded the release of two French prisoners: César Hipólito Bacle the engraver (accused spy) and

Smuggler Raul Lavie. Also claimed that French citizens were exempt (like the British) to comply with conscription in the Argentine armed forces. As the Foreign Minister Felipe Arana refused this demand, the French fleet blockaded the ports of Buenos Aires and Montevideo.

The October 1, 1838 the French fleet, Commanded by Captain Daguenet Hyppolite, comprising the Corvette Expeditive, The  Brigantine  Bordelaise and the Schooner Ana and then the Riverists units (Uruguayan) Loba and Euphrasia attacked and captured the island Martín Garcia defended by three pieces of artillery (one of 24 and two of 12) commanded by Argentine Navy Lieutenant Colonel Jerónimo Costa and Lieutenant Juan Bautista Thorne.

The General Fructuoso Rivera declared war on the Argentine Confederation

On March 10, 1839, General Rivera (first constitutional president of Uruguay) declared war on the Argentine Confederation and offered ports Uruguay to the French forces. The latter opened the blockade to the province of Corrientes and began their advance on the Uruguay River, so in Concepción del Uruguay, are sunk by their crews to prevent them falling into French hands, Argentine ships, the Schooner ARA San Martín of Lieutenant Commander Toll and Bernadet and the Gunboat  ARA Porteña of the Lieutenant Jorge.

The actions between 1839 and 1842

The forces of General Juan Galo de Lavalle (unitary) departed the island Martín García with four French war ships commanded by a french Commodore Lalande de Calau with several Uruguayan sloops and disembarked in Gualeguaychú (September 2, 1839). The General Pascual Echagiie (Federal) was defeated by Lavalle in the Battle of Cagancha (29 December 1839). On September 12 Lavalle defeated the forces of Entre Rios commanded by Colonel Vicente Zapata in the Battle of Yeruá.

In 1840 Argentina bloodletting continued:

Battle of St. Christopher (April 10), Combat of Sauce Grande (July 16), Combat of Navarro (August 23), Battle of Cañada de la Paja (Arroyo Morales) (3 September), the plundering of Santa Fe (September 29), Combat of QUEBRACHO Herrado (Córdoba - 28 November).

During 1841:

Combat of Famaillá (Tucumán - 19 September). On October 9, 1841 they kill the General Lavalle. Combat Caaguazú (November 28 Corrientes) occurs.

In 1842:

Combat of Arroyo Grande (January 11) and the Naval and Terrestrial Combat of Costa Brava (Brown defeats Garibaldi - 15 and August 16, 1842).

There is a border zone between the provinces of Entre Rios and Corrientes named Costa Brava. Giuseppe Garbaldi could not keep sailing due to the downpipe and decided to face Guillermo Brown sailing in their search. The battle was held by river and land since Brown landed Marines commanded by Lieutenant Mariano Cordero. In the evening Garibaldi sent fire ships without success (floats with explosives carried by the current) against the Argentina squad and was also unsuccessful in its direct attack Brigantine ARA Echagüe. Being overwhelmed Garibaldi set fire to their ships Constitution and Pereyra giving rise to a huge explosion. Garibaldi and his men could be destroyed by Federal forces Almirante Brown, while escaping by land, but Brown had a noble gesture and let them go. The complement of this victory was the Combat of Arroyo Grande (6 December 1842) in which General Manuel Oribe and Viana defeated General Fructuoso Rivera.

Reasons for the Anglo-French invasion

Various historian shave cited various economic and political reasons for such invasion. It was also mentioned that Florencio Varela who, representing Argentines Unitarians, traveled to Britain where he exhibited the contested Blood Tables (which revealed the ferocity of the Federal regime) and requested the intervention of those powers.

Wemust also say that at that time there was any risk to the British living in Buenos Aires that could have justified the invasion.

In 1846 Charles Barker wrote: "Mr. Barton told me a few days ago about all my friends in Buenos Ayres. The British properties have been strictly conserved throughout the line which says a lot about Rosas for more than rough that he could be. I doubt a similar provocation to foreign ownership would have been preserved in our own country. "


Another important factor to consider our position regarding the navigability of rivers. The rivers belong to the territory which were taking, was owner the Argentine Confederation under international law then recognized by both sides and therefore had every right to open or close its streams to navigation.

It has also been said that neither Lord Aberdeen, and his successor Lord Ellenborough, had never supported what was "an act of aggression against a territory in the Argentine Confederation", or they would not ordered support of military forces to the Rio de la Plata "

1845: The crucial year

On July 6, 1845 the Argentine General Juan Pablo López occupied Santa Fe On August 12 is conducted Combat San Geronimo or Malabrigo. On July 31, 1845 French invasion fleet blocks the Anglo Argentine ports and Río de la Plata without prior declaration of war on the Argentine Confederation, in a way to prevent supplies reaching to General Manuel Oribe and Viana Uruguayan who Montevideo had under terrestrial siege.

On August 2, the Anglo-French fleet capture off Montevideo the Argentine Confederation Squadron through deception during diplomatic negotiations over  the blockade.

On August 5 Giuseppe Garibaldi (Italian mercenary serving the Uruguayan the Anglo and French) using the stolen ships to the Argentina squad invades the island Martín García and September 12 captures the Colonia del Sacramento.

On August 9, 1845 the English newspaper "British Packet and Argentine News" published in Buenos Aires the following:

The current scenes seen in the Rio de la Plata reflect a shame such that it is impossible for us to describe them without blushing because we always used to look with a noble pride the glories of old England, how could it be otherwise when we have had the misfortune to watch the agents of our own country go hand in hand with the French to to penetrate with the most brutal cowardice huge atrocity and disgusting infamy?. If such are the fruits that enjoy decant, this "cordial understanding" European policies on both sides of the Channel we say, Cursed be supporting such policies. The consequences may not be disastrous for peace and social interests worldwide.

On September 18, Giuseppe Garibaldi, Italian a mercenary in the service of the blockers, with the support of the invading allies attacked Paysandú being rejected by the forces of argentine General Antonio Díaz. On October 13 Garibaldi's convoy is attacked and loses the schooner  Pyramid. That same day Garibaldi captures the city of Salto.

The Anglo French Blockade

Finally, the Anglo-French fleet starts the blockade to the Río de la Plata on August 2, 1845, which will run until August 31, 1850. During the event, the invading squadrons closed to foreign trade all ports in the Argentine Confederation and in the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, with the exception of Montevideo. The enemy ships were stationed in the anchorage, "Outside of Buenos Aires", the Rio Salado, in the "Tuyú Bay" (San Clemente), in the "Ensenada de Barragán" (near the city of La Plata) and the "Martín García" island.

Invading Anglo French Squad:


Commander: Admiral Luis Francisco Leblanc.

The French force was composed of:

Frigate Minerva.

Corvettes: Sapho, Camille, Perlé, Adour, expeditive and Bordelaise,

Brigantines: Pylade, Solphe, Cerf, Latin, Badine, Assas and Alert.

Schooners: Vigilante, Eclaire, Forte, San Martin, Fortune, Martin Garcia, Ana, Cayman, Firmness and Ceres, which were acquired by the French fleet in Montevideo.


Commander: Vice Admiral Edward Augustus Inglefield

Vapor HMS Gorgon:

Captain Sir Charles Hotham Artillery: 6/64 and 4/32 - Ton. 1111

Vapor HMS Firebrand:

Ship Captain James Hope. (Partner) Artillery: 6/64 and 4/32 - Ton. 1190

Sloop HMS Comus:

Commander J. Inglefield (partner). Artillery: 16/32 - Ton. 490

Brigantine HMS Philomel:

Lieutenant  Commander Sir BJ Salivan (Commander) artill. 10/32 - Ton. 360

Brigantine HMS Dolphin:

Lieutenant RT Levinge (3rd son of Sir Richard Levinge) Art 3/32-Tn. 319

The Schooner HMS Fanny:

Lieutenant Junior Astley Cooper Key (Knight) Artillery 1/24 - Tn. 136