domingo, diciembre 26, 2010

Matías Ale

Otro capítulo de este librito sobre las armadas, esta vez sobre la brasilera en la década de 1820:

The navy’s most formidable warships were its large sailing vessels, but these were of little use on the rivers and inshore coastal waters where the Cisplatine War was fought. The three largest warships Brazil lost were corvettes, one (the Itaparica) captured on a river and two (the Duqueza de Goias and Maceió) abandoned after running aground in shallow water. Under such conditions the brigs, schooners and gunboats of the Brazilian and Argentinian navies saw most of the action, often in bitter fighting, with several of the smallest warships changing hands two or three times during the course of the conflict. As of May 1827, the Argentinian navy (not counting privateers) included two corvettes, four brigs and ten schooners, of which exactly half (one corvette, two brigs and five schooners) had been captured from the Brazilian navy.8 By 1828 the Brazilian fleet included one ship of the line, nine frigates, five corvettes and sixty-one brigs, schooners and gunboats, with another nine warships (including a ship of the line, two frigates and two corvettes) under construction. That year the naval budget consumed 3,500 contos of réis (£700,000), triple the outlay of 1823, and the fleet quite rightly was held to blame for Brazil’s huge budget deficit and spiralling inflation.

The rising cost of the navy in particular and the Cisplatine War in general occasioned fiery speeches in the Brazilian assembly. But Deputy Cuhna Mattos, speaking in 1827, summed up the thoughts of many patriotic Brazilians in concluding that ‘to maintain our honour and dignity at sea, we must maintain a large naval force’.Thanks to Dom Pedro’s naval build-up, by 1830 Brazil could boast of having the world’s eighth largest navy and, in the western hemisphere, the second largest, trailing only that of the United States. In larger warships built-and-building the Brazilian navy’s force of two ships of the line and eleven frigates remained clearly inferior to the American navy’s ten ships of the line and sixteen frigates but, if measured either in larger warships or in total warships, the Brazilian fleet was stronger than all the other navies of Latin America combined.

Op cit, p. 82-83

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