The Republic of Pampa – The Brazil that Never Was

The Republic of Pampa was a separatist movement in the early 90’s that didn’t quite take off. The Pampa Independence Movement started to campaign for a public vote on the secession of the Rio Grande do Sul, and over 1 million signatures were collected. The idea for a separate Southern Brazil, however, was much older. The movement in the 90’s was inspired by the Farroupilha Revolution, started on the 20th of September of 1835 with a ten years war against Brazil by the Rio Grande do Sul Republic. The revolution gave birth to many republics and other revolutions, all of which fell short of their goals.

This Revolution was the cause of the rushed coronation of Dom Pedro II, at that time 15 years old, in direct violation of the Brazilian constitution. Second only to the War of Cabanagem, it is considered the bloodiest civil war to have ever occurred in Brazil.

Rio Grande do Sul Republic

The Riograndense Republic, often called Piratini Republic, was a separatist state that existed between September 11, 1836 and March 1, 1845 geographically coinciding with the present state of Rio Grande do Sul, in Brazil. It voted itself a Constitution in 1843.

Independence was proclaimed by Antônio de Souza Netto, who assigned Bento Gonçalves da Silva as its first president during the rebellion which became the War of Tatters. It was led mostly by foreigners who had fought in the Argentina-Brazil War, generals who decreed that no compromise could be reached between the Brazilian Empire and Republican forces.

In 1839, the Piratini Republic formed a confederation with the short-lived Juliana Republic which proclaimed its independence in the same year. November 1839, however, saw the war result in the defeat of the Juliana Republic.

The Riograndense Republic had five capitals during its nearly nine years of existence: the cities of Piratini (for which it is often called Piratini Republic), Alegrete, Caçapava do Sul (official capitals), Bagé (for only two weeks), and São Borja. The war between the Gaúchos and the Brazilian Empire was ended by the Ponche Verde Treaty.

Modern Separatist Movement

In 1992 the Pampa Independence Movement, led at that time by Irton Marx, re-proclaimed independence under the symbolic name of Federal Republic of Pampa, or Gaucho Pampas. The Republic covers only the State of the Rio Grande do Sul, the same original territory of the Rio-Grandense Republic, but some people would like include also the states of Santa Catarina and Paraná. A primary motivation for the proposal is that the population of these three states, unlike the population of the other states of Brazil, is almost entirely Caucasian. They also argue that since their economic productivity is greater on a per capita basis than the rest of Brazil, they should be independent so that their revenues don’t have to go so support the rest of Brazil. A few also include the State of São Paulo. The official language would remain the Portuguese; some say also that the German and Italian languages would be made co-equal, but this was never of the Movement proposal.

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4 thoughts on “The Republic of Pampa – The Brazil that Never Was

  1. Pingback: Breaking Up of Brazil – 1891 « Eyes On Brazil

  2. I must say the Republic of Pampas sounds extraordinary. The western hemisphere needs a nation that would represent the Germans and Italians population’s growth and influence; culturally and economically. These two groups combined out number the rest of the European settlers in this terra nova(new world). Their only function, in this side of the pond was to settle and assimulate;that’s all.

    • Yes, it would have definitely been an interesting place, though, in some ways, it did come true. The south of Brazil is economically as if it were its own country and there are quite a lot of towns in the mountains there that have populations of Germans and Italians where 95% of residents are non-Brazilians, so to speak. Although they are dying out, Talian (a Venetian dialect of Italian) and Hunsrückisch (a dialect of old German) are spoken there too.

  3. I have a set of horse stirrups marked “Republic Riograndense” and dated 1835. They coincide with the time that Garibaldi was in the rebublic. Does anyone have any info on these? A Tirri

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