I saw the following letter in today's Guardian:

Having just returned from that country, I note one curious fact you missed about Uruguay (Shortcuts, G2, 23 October): duelling is allowed provided that both parties are registered blood donors.

Is this claim about duelling true?

  • 1
    Hmmm... According to Wikipedia it was made illegal in Uruguay in 1992 [citation-needed, naturally], but Paraguay is the one that is associated with the urban legend.
    – Oddthinking
    Oct 31, 2013 at 13:57
  • 2
    The whole history of why dueling became legal in Uruguay (not Paraguay) in 1920 and illegal again in 1992 is the subject of my book: The Pen, the Sword, and the Law: Dueling and Democracy in Uruguay (Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2022). Apologies for using this thread to promote it, but anyone reading this thread might really be interested. Jan 13 at 20:06

1 Answer 1



In 1920, duelling was made legal subject to some strict conditions:

MONTEVIDEO, Uruguay, Aug 5 — The Chamber of Deputies has approved a bill suppressing existing penalties on duelling, provided certain conditions are fulfilled.

The penalties are suppressed under the bill, provided the seconds submit previously to a court of honor consisting of three members, the question of whether an offense justifying the duel exists and if so who is the offended party.

Blood banks weren't established until the 1930s, so being a blood donor could not have been a requirement.

While a court of honor met as recently as 1990, this law was overturned in 1992.

Uruguay's congress has rescinded a 72-year-old law that allowed disputes to be settled by a duel.


In 1990, police inspector Saul Claveria challenged La Republica newspaper publisher Federico Fasano to a duel over an article that linked Claveria to smuggling.

Claveria eventually withdrew his challenge, saying Fasano was not a worthy opponent.

The lower house approved rescinding the law earlier and the Senate followed suit on Wednesday. It now goes to President Luis Lacalle for signing.

I could find no sign of the law being re-enacted since 1992.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .