A photograph exhibition on the Siege of Paysandu was inaugurated on Thursday as part of the 10th Annual International History Meeting on the War of the Triple Alliance (1864-1870), a war that devastated Paraguay and that was preceded by the siege of that Uruguayan city.
The photographs and illustrations that are being exhibited at the Library of Congress in downtown Asuncion are copies of the originals kept in the National Library of Uruguay.
The Siege of Paysandu was a crucial battle during the Uruguayan War, which was fought between Uruguay's governing Blanco Party and an alliance made up by the Empire of Brazil, Argentina and the Uruguayan Colorado Party.
Paysandu fell to the invading Brazilian and Colorado forces, and the Blanco government soon lost the war, capitulating in February 1865 after nearly six months of armed conflict.
Paraguay's support for the Blanco Party led to the Paraguayan War, also known as the War of the Triple Alliance, which was fought between Paraguay and the alliance made up by the Empire of Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay under the Colorado Party.
The exhibition includes photographs of Uruguayan general Leandro Gomez, remembered for his heroic defense of the city of Paysandu against Brazilian and Colorado forces.
Other photographs included in the exhibition show the Church of Paysandu after it was severely damaged during the siege.
Uruguay's ambassador in Paraguay, Federico Perazza, said during the opening ceremony that the photographs represented a crucial testimony of the destruction created by the Siege of Paysandu.
Perazza also recalled the importance of the Siege of Paysandu for Paraguayans, as it led to War of the Triple Alliance, which he described as a "genocide."
"Every Uruguayan feels indebted with Paraguay for that dreadful war," Perazza said.
Historians from Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil and Uruguay will participate in this year's International History Meeting on the War of the Triple Alliance, delivering 22 talks on the conflict.
According to historians' estimates, Paraguay lost nearly half of its population during the War of the Triple Alliance, and the large number of male casualties led to a sex ratio of four women for every man.