Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)




Fabricio Prado

Committee Member

Simon Middleton

Committee Member

Paul Mapp


During 1806 and 1807, there were British Invasions of the coastal zone of the Rio de la Plata region. In two different opportunities, the British army attacked Buenos Aires and Montevideo. Buenos Aires was the capital city of the Spanish Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata and Montevideo was the region's principal port and the base of the Spanish fleet in the South Atlantic. In August 1806, after 46 days of British control, the rioplatense corps defeated the British army in Buenos Aires. After the downfall, the British forces regrouped and delineated a new strategy. In 1807 they decided to take Montevideo and plan the attack on Buenos Aires from the eastern coast of the river. Once again, local military forces beat the British army, forcing them to leave the area after signing an armistice. This political periphery of the Spanish empire revealed itself as an attractive economic hub for developing British imperial commerce. The goal was to dominate Buenos Aires and Montevideo because the location of their ports was a pivotal place for the international markets and to face inter-imperial rivalries. They also provided access to the southern part of the American continent and a connection between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. This study explores the organization of the British invasions of Rio de la Plata at the beginning of the nineteenth century to understand the nature and project of the British empire in the South Atlantic.



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