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In South America, Paraguayan naval units seize a Brazilian steamship and touch off a crisis that will lead to war

South America, 1857, zoomable map
Brazil was engaged in a land campaign in Uruguay supporting the Colorado Party against the government in Montivideo. Paraguay had warned Brazil against such action and, encouraged by the poor performance of Brazil's troops in the field,  became increasingly belligerent. On this day, in the River Paraguay, the Paraguayan navy seized the Brazilian vessel Marquês de Olinda, ostensibly to support the Uruguayan government. All diplomatic relations were broken off and a month later, Paraguayan army units invaded Brazil's western provinces. (By John Osborne)
Source Citation: 
Hendrik Kraay, Thomas Whigham (eds), I Die with My Country: Perspectives on the Paraguayan War, 1864-1870 (Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 2004), 123