San Theodoros

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San Theodoros
Republic of San Theodoros
Location of República de San Teodoro
Series The Adventures of Tintin
Creator Hergé
Genre Comic strip
Capital Los Dopicos/Las Dopicos (formerly Tapiocopolis, c. 1946 and nicknamed Alcazaropolis, c. 1976)
Language(s) Spanish; possibly Creole
Ethnic groups Spanish, Spanish mestizo, Bibaro, Arumbajo (or Arumbaya)
Government Banana republic
Military dictatorship

San Theodoros is a fictional country in The Adventures of Tintin, the comics series by Belgian cartoonist Hergé. It is a banana republic under the yoke of military government located in Latin America. San Theodoros is depicted in The Broken Ear and Tintin and the Picaros, and is referred to in The Seven Crystal Balls and The Red Sea Sharks.

The flag of San Theodoros


The Spanish invaders founded the city of "Our Lady of Las Dopicos" in 1539, which was actually near Tenuzco, the capital of the Pazteca empire. In the series, the capital had two spelling variations: Los Dopicos and Las Dopicos.

San Theodoros apparently became independent around the early 1830s as a result of the unstated actions of General José Olivaro,[1][2] possibly similar to those of Simón Bolívar or José de San Martín. Endless rebellions after Olivaro in the 1840s until 1930s made San Theodoros have the most number of presidents in history.

During the The Broken Ear, San Theodoros and its hostile neighbor Nuevo Rico go to war over the area of Gran Chapo (grand chapeau, "Big Hat") in 1937—an allusion to the Chaco War fought by Bolivia and Paraguay over Gran Chaco from 1932–1935. It was thought that the area was custodian of large oil reserves, so a war sparked in the area. The Chapo War, accidentally started by Colonel Tintin,[3][4] was short, lasting only a few weeks at most,[5][6] resulting in a stalemate. It is eventually revealed that the notion of the presence of oil in the area was incorrect.[7][8]

Military coups and counter-coups of General Alcazar and General Tapioca have followed each other with regularity[9][10]—and soldiers switch sides every time. In fact, revolution seems like a tradition in San Theodoros, as evidenced in Tintin and the Picaros, where it is said that mass executions after a revolution by firing squads is a tradition. A San Theodoran firing squad consists of six soldiers.

In The Red Sea Sharks, General Alcazar is seen in exile, having been deposed again by his rival. Alcazar is now negotiating for arms sales by this time.

The latest information about the country is from 1976 when General Alcazar, now supported by the International Banana Company, ousted General Tapioca during a carnival in an unusually bloodless coup. His guerrillas, collectively known as the Picaros, wore carnival outfits during the operation. Tintin and his associates had their minor part in the proceedings, although Tintin concocted the plan, and insisted that there be no bloodshed. After the coup General Alcazar renamed the capital from Tapiocapolis to Alcazaropolis after himself.


Determining the location of the country is difficult, given the conflicting references in the books. The capital, Los Dopicos, is shown in The Broken Ear as having a seaport, whereas in Tintin and the Picaros, it appears to be inland. It is possible that the capital's situation is similar to that of San Salvador, El Salvador, where the inland downtown area and coastal suburbs are separated by a small mountain. In the TV series, at the beginning of The Broken Ear when the museum is closed and the janitor was dusting the exhibits and whistling, it was shown that there was a map in the museum that San Theodoros and Nuevo Rico is somewhere near Guyana, bordering Venezuela and Brazil. In Tintin and the Picaros, the Paris Flash report clearly claims that the country is, as a matter of fact, in South America, since Bianca Castafiore reportedly "continued her brilliant progress through South America", after successfully visiting Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela, and is to visit San Theodoros. In the very same book, Captain Haddock, on an attempt to call General Tapioca, says "Hello, International? Give me South America... Tapiocapolis... General Tapioca!" which lies as yet another proof that the country is located in South America. The Bibaro indigenous tribe seems to be inspired by the Jivaros of Ecuador, another pointer to South America.

The country has a few magnificent Paztec pyramids in Trenxcoatl, including one called Hotuatabotl featured in Tintin and the Picaros. (Paztec is a pun merging Aztec with pastèque, watermelon. The names of the pyramids, puns on "trench coat" and "hot water bottle" respectively, are meant to look like Nahuatl, e.g. the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl.) In the jungle areas of the country live the Indian tribes of Bibaro (pun of Latin bibere, "to drink", and possibly a reference to the Jivaros of Ecuador with which they share the habit of creating shrunken heads) and Arumbajo (or Arumbaya).

Local businesses[edit]

  • The central bank is called Banco de la Nación.
  • The national airline is SANTAERO.
  • The state lottery is called Loteria Naciónal.

People and culture[edit]

Most of the population seems to be humble and poor, as depicted in Tintin and the Picaros. The national drink is aguardiente, as said in The Broken Ear. They are festive people, having their own carnival celebrated at the capital, Los Dopicos, from February 22–24 every year. The most visible honor bestowed in San Theodoros, as shown in Tintin and the Picaros, is the Order of San Fernando.

The Paztecas are people who came together and formed Pazteca Empire. They were highly developed with respect to their neighbors. They were great architects and astronomers. They built numerous temples and palaces. They were on to agriculture, in which successful applied methods of cultivation, trade and, through its excellent roads. In addition, a heavy toll charged to Bíbaros and Arumbayas in exchange for peace.

The Bíbaros and Arumbayas are South American tribes that were long living with neighbor Pazteca Empire. They survived by hunting and foraging. They lived in simple huts and were under the leadership of a chief.

With the Arumbayas lives the English explorer Ridgewell, who tries to teach them golf.[11][12] In the English books, they speak Cockney English, but it is written in such a way that it looks meaningless upon a casual glance. (One example: "Cohrluv ahduk! Ai tolja tahitta ferlip inbaul intada oh'l! Andatdohn meenis ferlip ineer oh'l!" instead of "Cor love a duck! I told you to hit the flippin' ball into the hole! And I don't mean his flippin' earhole!"[11]) In the original French, the Arumbaya language seems to be another incarnation of Hergé's favourite Brussels dialect (Marols).[12][13]


The Spanish colonists saw San Theodoros being rich in chocolate, coffee, corn, and gold. Oil reserves in the country were never proved. The economy, in the national sense, was controlled by rich foreign firms, causing poverty to citizens. As of 1970, the estimated GNP (Gross National Product) stood at $45.0 million, and the per capita at a measly $11. Slow economic growth characterized the entirety of Tapioca's three terms. Alcazar's return to power and a quick stabilization of politics in 1976 paved way for increase in tourism potential and an increase of GNP to $306 million.


An interesting detail is the ridiculous proliferation of colonels; in The Broken Ear story, the army of San Theodoros initially had 3487 colonels but only 49 corporals during Alcazar's regime.[14][15] The entire number of troops deployed by the armed forces possibly stands at approximately 44,900[citation needed] men during Alcazar's first term and should have been larger during Tapioca's dictatorship. San Theodoros also appears to suffer from the lack of equipment among its troops, as they can be seen wearing a variety of at least eight ammunition pouches and tunics, of varying type and colour. This lasted only during every civil war. The army appears to have armoured vehicles at its disposal, along with MG08 heavy machine guns, Vickers machine guns, Mannlicher-type rifles, Mil Mi-1 helicopters and (presumably) artillery, around 95 of them, along with anti-tank guns like the Canon de 75 modèle 1897, 72 of which Alcazar bought in preparation for the Chapo war.[16][17]

San Theodoros appears to have a navy and air force, but little is seen of them. There could have been at least 10 major navy ships and 40 aircraft. The army later on appears to be armed with Beretta AR-70 rifles and wears German style stahlhelms. The army could also have an arsenal of tanks, approximately 50. At one time under General Tapioca, San Theodoros enjoys close military cooperation with fascist Borduria, another fictional country in the Tintin universe, which would explain the style of its military uniform and its munitions. Tapioca's symbol can be compared to the moustache of the Bordurian dictator Marshal Kûrvi-Tasch. After General Alcazar returns to power, some military units are depicted clad in guerrilla-style uniforms.

In The Broken Ear, both San Theodoros and its warring neighbour Nuevo Rico buy arms from the same arms dealer, Basil Bazarov,[18][19] a character based on Basil Zaharoff.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The Broken Ear 2008 ed., p. 30, panels 3, 6, 7. ISBN 978 1 4052 4068 0
    (Spanish) AL GENERAL / OLIVARO / LIBERTADOR / DE / SAN TEODORO / 1805–1899
  2. ^ L'oreille cassée 1984 ed., reprinted 2011, p. 30, panels 3, 6, 7. ISBN 978 2 203 00105 3
  3. ^ The Broken Ear 2008 ed., pp. 40ff
  4. ^ L'oreille cassée 1984 ed., pp. 40ff
  5. ^ The Broken Ear 2008 ed., pp. 42, 45, 46, 53, 56
  6. ^ L'oreille cassée 1984 ed., pp. 42 (Cette fois, c'est la guerre), 45 (Et le soir), 46 (Le lendemain ... Plusieurs jours ont passé ... Le lendemain matin), 53 (Quelques jours après), 56 (Et quelques jours après ... Huit jours plus tard)
  7. ^ The Broken Ear 2008 ed., p. 56
  8. ^ L'oreille cassée 1984 ed., p. 56 (La mission ... n'avait pas trouvé trace de pétrole)
  9. ^ The Broken Ear 2008 ed., pp. 20–21
  10. ^ L'oreille cassée 1984 ed., pp. 20–21
  11. ^ a b The Broken Ear 2008 ed., p. 52
  12. ^ a b L'oreille cassée 1984 ed., p. 52
  13. ^ The corresponding golf passage in the French edition reads: "Wé houn goun! stoum érikos! Kemahal onerdecos s'ch proporos rabarokh!"
  14. ^ The Broken Ear 2008 ed., p. 22
  15. ^ L'oreille cassée 1984 ed., p. 22
  16. ^ The Broken Ear 2008 ed., p. 34 ("six dozen")
  17. ^ L'oreille cassée 1984 ed., p. 34 (six douzaines)
  18. ^ The Broken Ear 2008 ed., pp. 33–34. Bazarov represents "Korrupt Arms GmbH" (cf. Krupp).
  19. ^ L'oreille cassée 1984 ed., pp. 33–34. In French, Bazarov is "Bazaroff", of "Vicking Arms Co. Ltd" (cf. Vickers).