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Place of migration
Migrated to/Born in South America

Eliza Lynch was born in Charleville, County Cork on the 19th of November 1833. Her father was a doctor and her mother came from a naval family. 

When Eliza was 10 years old, her family left Ireland to escape the Great Famine. They arrived in Paris where they would settle. Six years later at the age of 16, she married Xavier Quatrafages, a French Officer. When her husband was deployed to Algiers, Eliza went with him, but returned two years later seemingly due to ill health. This return to Paris signalled the end of Eliza's marriage as an annulment was granted on the grounds that he had not been given permission from his commanding officer. Eliza's new life was about to begin. 

Eliza became a high profile member of French society. She was close friend with Princess Mathilde Bonaparte (Napoleon's niece). In fact it was the Princess who convinced Eliza that she should become a courtesan. She was introduced to many high ranking men. It was in this manner that she came into contact with Francisco Solano Lopez, son of the President of Paraguay. 

In 1854, within a year of meeting her, Lopez took Eliza home to Paraguay where they lived together as a couple. Together they had six children in ten years. Lopez succeeded his father as President in 1862. Though the pair never married, Eliza was now the de facto First Lady of Paraguay. But she was not well like by the people who were fearful of her power over the President. Her status as an unwed mother and a foreigner, as well as her confidence and ambition also ostracized her. 

In 1864, Lopez went to war with Brazil and Uruguay over disputed land claims. Many blamed Eliza for this blind ambition which led to war. Paraguay was ravaged by the war with a devastatingly high death toll. Throughout the war, Eliza stayed with Lopez, leading a female group of supporters for the soldiers. When they reached Cerro Corá, the site of the final battle of the war, Lopez was killed, as was the couple's eldest son. Eliza buried both her partner and her son before being taken prisoner herself. 

After the war, Eliza was banished from Paraguay. She took her children and fled to France where she remained for the rest of her days. She died there in 1886 at the age of 52. 


Additional Information
Date of Birth 19th Nov 1833 VIEW SOURCE
Date of Death 26th Jul 1886 VIEW SOURCE

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