In the 1820s Brazil declared itself independent of Portugal and established the Brazilian Empire, complete with an emperor. But the spirit of independence didn't die there. In the 1830s, some gauchos in the southern end of the empire grew restless over grievances like high taxes on their salted beef products, and they started a republican resistance known as "The Ragamuffin War." Ragamuffin was a reference to the fringes on the clothes worn by the gauchos.
An Italian military leader exiled from Europe for fomenting revolution in the Old World decided to throw in his lot with these ragamuffins. Together, the Brazilian gauchos and the Italian forces had a number of military successes.
The Ragamuffins declared the Juliana Republic an independent country in July 1839, but they were overrun by imperial forces just four months later. Juliana was not to be — but Italy was. The Italian military leader who joined the Ragamuffins was none other than Giuseppe Garibaldi. In fact, it was in Brazil where the young nationalist cut his teeth before heading back to help unite Italy a decade later [source: Velho].