1810-Britain negotiates preferential trading privileges in Brazil in return for its support for the Portuguese royal family during the Napoleonic Wars.
1825-British government grants formal recognition to some new Latin nations. Ships stocked with trade goods, mostly cotton, docked in large numbers along both coasts in South America. London speculators invest in mining enterprises. Later after disappointing results, most new Latin governments were unable to pay interests on loans from London and the mining companies failed, causing ruin to Latin merchants. Some republics revert to dictatorship or political anarchy.
Brazil maintains it’s loan payments, and remained healthy, while its nabors are in economic free-fall.
1840-Britain abolishes import duties and free-trade begins, and Latin America's exports begin to increase in value, and many companies enter the stock market to invest in railways, public utilities and commercial banking.
Britain’s trade interests in Mexico, Peru, Chile, and Uruguay, increase.
During WWI, the U.S. gains on Britain in trade with Latin America, and Britain goes from being a lender to being a debtor, and London looses it’s dominance in overseas finance.
The majority of new foreign investment in Latin America, now comes through New York.
WWII reduces Britain’s trade even further, and Britain is in debt to major Latin countries and the U.S. Many of Britain’s investments were surrendered to Latin governments for cancelation of debts.
Great differences in wealth, income and social status were evident throughout Latin America in the time of her independence. White elites groups of merchants, bureaucrats and landowners dominated in countries in which the majorities were a mixed race, African, or native Indian. The Brazilian Spanish colonies of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, and parts of Peru and Venezuela, were engaged in slavery. Elsewhere mineral production and manufacturing was at play, with most of labor being done by native people. Trade continued around mining centers, and goods like grain, sugar, wine, textiles, mules, cattle, salt, and in the Andes, coco were widely traded.
The Spanish, fled Latin America for the Caribbean or Europe, and the Portuguese left Brazil and took large amounts of capital. The warring armies of independence, seized cattle, food and mules, while recruiting new troops in areas they passed through. The loss of transport animals and moneys, disrupted commercial networks, and the mining industry was severely impaired. The new independent governments were faced with huge debts from the lenders that supplied goods to the military, or had their property confiscated.
The” patriots” gained there independence but left the future of Latin America in doubt. Hopes of political stability faded, and many new republics except Chili, lapsed into anarchy, while governments tended to rise and fall on the whims of military leaders. And most governments were in increasing debt.
In addition to money problems, many new country's faced civil conflicts. Mexico, Argentina, Colombia, Central America, Peru, and Bolivia, all had internal struggles, and as instability increased power often left from the capitals to the regions.
To the British there were two exceptions to the instability, they were Brazil, which developed a political structure as a result of meditations between landowners and the government of Rio, and Chile which remained peaceful with a steady growing economy.
As politics became more stable in Latin America, political power began to shift from military leaders to civilians. Opening markets, freeing land and labor from old restrictions, ending slavery, and reducing the power of the church, became predominate.
The increasing power of governments depended on economic growth. Growing credit in London, and other European lenders, gave access to foreign loans. As debts were being paid, new infrastructure was being built, like the railroads and the telegraph, which made it easier to control outlying areas. Foreign investors took interest again and Latin countries began to prosper and expand.
While the economy around major cities boomed, in many rural areas standards of living for the majorities declined. The rich employed Europeans, instead of the local people, possibly because of racism.
While parts Latin America remain in a state of flux, with unstable politics and poverty, other Latin governments continue to prosper.