Ilha Brasileira is a small river island located at the mouth of the Quaraí River, in a triple border area, between the municipalities of Barra do Quaraí, in Brazil, Monte Caseros, in Argentina, and Bella Unión, in Uruguay. The island is approximately 4 kilometers long and 0.8 kilometers wide, with a total area of 2.75 km².
Administratively, the island belongs to the Brazilian municipality of Barra do Quaraí, located in Rio Grande do Sul. It has been claimed for over a century by Uruguay. However, none of the countries showed an active interest in the island.
Similar to the other territorial dispute between Brazil and Uruguay, related to a sector called Rincão de Artigas, the existence of such a dispute does not interfere with the current economic and diplomatic negotiations between the two countries.
Between 1964 and 2011, the island had only one house and one resident, a Brazilian farmer named José Jorge Daniel, who died in 2011, at the age of 95. Daniel was a former employee of one of the farms of the 24th president of Brazil. , João Goulart. He decided to live on the island after the president was deposed from his position in 1964. Shortly before his death, José Daniel left the place due to his health condition, going to be treated at his daughter's house, in the city of Uruguaiana in Rio Grande do Sul. . "Seu Zeca - the guardian of Ilha Brasileira", as he was known throughout the state of Rio Grande do Sul, was the last inhabitant of the island. In the place where José Jorge Daniel's house was, a 5 meter high cross was erected, made of eucalyptus wood. Currently, Ilha Brasileira is uninhabited. Locally, there are projects aiming to make it a municipal environmental reserve.
Since the 1930s, Ilha Brasileira has been the subject of territorial disputes by the Uruguayan government, which alleges that Brazil improperly occupied the island's territory. Although the borders between the two countries were clearly defined in a treaty signed in 1851 , from the 1930s onwards, Uruguay began to have a different interpretation from the one agreed upon at the time of drafting the treaty. The text of the treaty mentions that the limits between both countries would be demarcated by the Quaraí River, "belonging to Brazil the island or islands that are located at the mouth of the said river Quaraí in Uruguay". However, on September 8, 1940, after the ratification of the Complementary Convention on Limits between Brazil and Argentina, the Uruguayan government presented a note of reservation to the treaty before the chancelleries of both countries, stating that the island would not be located at the confluence (mouth) of the Quaraí and Uruguay rivers, but that it was downstream from such point, therefore belonging to the Uru guai. In 1974, the government of Uruguay established a decree determining that the official maps produced in the country would start to mark the island located at the mouth of the Quaraí river as a "disputed limit". Although multiple inquiry notes have already been submitted by the Republic of Uruguay, Brazil has never given an official response to this dispute. of this island, Itamaraty stated that "the issue is not part of the bilateral agenda between Brazil and Uruguay".Although it mentions the existence of controversies regarding territorial delimitation, the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) establishes that "the so-called Ilha Brasileira belongs to Quaraí today, a river island with an area of approximately 200 hectares located at the mouth of the Quaraí River".
Ecological Disaster of August 2009
In August 2009, a massive fire destroyed 40% of the native vegetation that occupied the entire length of the island. On the same occasion, Espinilho Park, in Barra do Quaraí, also caught fire.