Latin American Independence Movements Latin American Independence (1807-1824), political and military movement that ended colonial rule by Spain and Portugal over Mexico, Central America, and South America and gave birth to the modern independent nations of Latin America. When the independence movement began at the beginning of the 19th century, Latin America contained two large and productive colonial empires, the Spanish and the Portuguese. Spain’s colonies stretched from what is now the western United States and Mexico to Argentina, while Portugal’s empire was in Brazil. Under the system of colonialism, these territories were subject to extensive and complex networks of control by Spain and Portugal. Both empires functioned fairly well for three centuries. But by the mid-1700s grievances developed among the colonists, who complained about economic restrictions and tax burdens imposed by the imperial powers. Those born in the colonies also resented the fact that European-born residents were favored for important bureaucratic and administrative positions. There were many reasons why independence movements arose in Latin America when they did. Colonists were influenced by new political ideas from Europe’s Age of Enlightenment, which questioned traditional beliefs and authority and introduced such concepts as limiting the power of monarchs. The American Revolution and the French Revolution, both in the late 1700s, provided inspiration for some Spanish-American and Brazilian colonists to seek more control over their economic and political affairs. Against this background, dramatic events in Spain and Portugal sparked the independence movements, beginning in 1807. Warfare with France caused Spain to loosen control over its American colonies, which led to a degree of colonial self-government. The war forced the Portuguese royal court to flee to Brazil, which became for a time the center of that empire. By 1824 both of the great empires had collapsed. Once the Spanish colonies and Brazil won their independence, however, they found themselves ill-prepared to function effectively. Because of the colonial system, their economies were not diversified, their roads and ports were not developed, and their people lacked experience at representative government. Leaders were divided over the roles that government and the church should play in the new nations. Within many countries, regions fought with each other for political or economic power. The independent nations created somewhat more open societies than the colonial regimes they replaced, introducing republican institutions, gradually ending slavery, and allowing some improvement in the status of nonwhites. But many of the countries came under the control of military dictators, setting a pattern that continued into the 20th century.
Mexican Independence Movements The independence movement in Mexico took a very different course from the campaigns in South America. Concerned about the crisis in Spain, a small group of peninsulares, rather than Creoles, carried out a coup d’etat in 1808. The peninsulares desired stability in Mexico and overthrew the viceregal government when it allowed the Creoles influence. As a result, the great Viceroyalty of New Spain (Mexico), a huge region of more than six million people, was governed by some 15,000 peninsulares. Two years after this coup, a widespread rebellion erupted. Creoles, including a priest named Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, had been planning an uprising against the peninsulares, but their plot was discovered before they had organized their forces to take action. Hidalgo hurriedly launched the revolt on September 16, 1810, ringing the bell of his parish church in the village of Dolores and summoning the Native American population to fight the peninsulares in the name of Ferdinand VII. In his famous Grito de Dolores, Hidalgo called for independence and reforms to benefit the oppressed Native Americans. Hidalgo’s call set off a massive revolt by tens of thousands of Native Americans north of Mexico City, who were suffering the effects of rising food prices and falling wages. The Native Americans were joined by mestizos and mulattoes, who also were hurt by the economy. The revolt was extremely destructive, as Hidalgo’s army vented its rage over years of oppression. The damage to haciendas and mines retarded Mexico’s economic development for decades after the revolt ended. Facing such violent rebellion, few of Mexico’s Creoles joined Hidalgo, instead supporting the peninsulares, whose government offered stability. After initial victories, Hidalgo marched his army of about 80,000 to Mexico City. Knowing that his army would turn into a mob if it captured the capital and aware that a royal army was approaching, Hidalgo withdrew. While retreating, his army was defeated by the royalists in January 1811. Hidalgo was captured by the royalists in March and executed on July 30, 1811. Hidalgo was replaced by another parish priest, José María Morelos y Pavón. Morelos, a mestizo, was a better military tactician than Hidalgo. He also had a more specific political agenda, which called for social and racial equality as well as independence from Spain. Under his leadership the patriots captured some territory and declared independence in 1813. But the royalists still controlled the capital and much of the viceroyalty. In 1815 Morelos was captured and executed. For the next six years the rebellion continued on a smaller scale, much of it carried out by provincial guerrilla bands. In 1820 the royalists chose Agustín de Iturbide, a Creole officer in the royalist army, to defeat the remaining guerrillas. Iturbide immediately set out to find the most important rebel leader, Vicente Guerrero, a mestizo. But instead of defeating Guerrero, Iturbide made a deal with him to overthrow Spanish authority. In February 1821 they issued their Plan of Iguala, which declared the independence of Mexico. The plan’s three major provisions called for creation of a monarchy with limited powers, for Catholicism to be the official state religion, and for racial equality. Iturbide and Guerrero’s forces joined to form the Army of the Three Guarantees. It won immediate support from royalists, since it kept Mexico a monarchy, and from patriots, since it created an independent Mexico. When a new viceroy arrived from Spain in 1821, he and Iturbide signed the Treaty of Córdoba, based largely on the Plan of Iguala, and the independent Mexican empire was created. The governing junta of Mexico City appointed Iturbide its president in September 1821. Under the treaty, a member of European royalty was to be offered the throne of the new empire, but before arrangements could be made Iturbide himself became Emperor Agustín I in May 1822. Agustín had to govern a large empire with a weak and disrupted economy. Revolts against his government began soon after he took office. In 1823 the emperor resigned and went into exile, and a republic was proclaimed, but the country continued to be divided among political factions. Agustín returned to Mexico the following year, but was imprisoned and then executed.
Latin America at Mid-century The first quarter-century of independent life brought numerous changes to Latin America, but not many that altered the fundamental structures of society and the economy. There had been an increase in political turbulence, though with important variations among countries, and an increase in the extent of political participation as compared to the colonial era, yet for the great majority of Latin Americans national politics had little meaning. They usually did not take part either in the elections or in the "revolutions." They were still illiterate, still more susceptible to the influence of clergy and rural gentry than to that of partisan ideologues, and still subsisting at a very low level of material comfort, though seldom exposed to actual hunger. There had been, of course, some Latin Americans who hoped independence would usher in more rapid transformations. Rivadavia and his circle at Buenos Aires are perhaps the most clear-cut example, but Santander at the head of the government of Gran Colombia, O'Higgins in Chile, the Andrada brothers in Brazil, and the men who founded the Mexican republic at the departure of Iturbide shared many of the same ambitions. The decade of the 1820s did in fact see a flurry of reform activity almost everywhere. However, some of the "reforms" had only superficial effect, some were quickly repealed, and, with a few partial exceptions such as Venezuela and Guatemala, the next two decades saw an obvious waning of the impulse to change things. The 1830s and 1840s were typified instead by a preoccupation with the attainment of order and a generally moderate approach to questions of religious, social, or economic policy. This retreat from the reformist activism of the immediate post-independence years was in part a result of the resistance stirred up, most evidently among the clergy, by that first round of liberal legislation. It was also caused by a spreading conviction that, until political order was more firmly established, even the most inherently desirable reform measures were premature. Equally or more important, however, was the fact that Latin America's economic outlook had suddenly turned dark. For a few years, the new nations appeared to have a substantial quantity of resources at their disposal, thanks to the foreign loans recklessly offered and taken in the European money markets and also to the buoyant condition of foreign trade, stimulated both by the availability of foreign exchange from those loans and by the removal of the last official barriers to trade with non-Latin American ports. But, as pointed out above, these proved to be highly ephemeral circumstances. Most of the loans were soon in default, and the sources of credit dried up. Likewise, the volume of trade necessarily fell off until a precarious balance was reached between imports and what Latin America could pay for with its exports. It then became harder to conceive ambitious schemes for rapidly modernizing the new nations in the image of northern Europe or the United States, and Latin Americans scaled down their expectations in a mood of greater realism.
Export Growth during 19th Century The mood of Latin America, or at least of the middle and upper sectors of the population, changed again about mid-century, as most countries entered a period of around twenty-five to thirty years in which economic growth provided a renewed basis for optimism and liberal reformers generally seized the political initiative. To the extent that economic growth was in fact the key variable-and it was by no means the only influence at work-it was centered in the external sector, where some spectacular increases in the quantity and value of Latin Not surprisingly, there were conspicuous differences in the rate and timing of the increases. In Mexico, there would be no real surge of export-led growth until after about 1880, whereas in Colombia, say, exports quadrupled from the 1830s to 1880 and then performed erratically for the rest of the century. Nor was the growth in Latin American trade truly impressive by world-wide standards: general international trade increased five times from 1840 to 1870, and U.S. exports almost eight times from 1845 to 1880. Nevertheless, in strictly Latin American terms, the expansion of trade was substantial. The United States, which was both rising industrial power and major commodity exporter, was actually in a better position than Latin America to meet the growing world demand for foodstuffs and raw materials. Yet there were tropical commodities such as sugar and coffee that North America did not offer, and there were other products-Argentine hides and Chilean minerals, for example-that Latin America could supply competitively thanks to low production costs. The continuing drop in ocean-freight rates, with technological advances in the shipping industry, like-wise favored Latin American trade. And shipping advances did more than lead to lower freight rates. The increasing speed and reliability of steam navigation would make it possible to ship some perishable commodities or other kinds of merchandise for which sailing ships and the earliest steamships had not been suited, creating totally new export industries. An example is the exporting of live cattle from the Rio de la Plata to Europe, first accomplished in the 1860s; only then was it possible to transport animals quickly and efficiently enough, in conditions that would permit them to be sold and eaten after arrival.
British Influence on Latin America Between 1870 and 1914, despite setbacks caused by commercial and financial crises in the mid 1870s and the early 1890s, Britain's economic interests in Latin America reached their peak. In the major countries their influence appeared pervasive and almost unassailable. Already, in the 1890s, even before the astounding growth of Britain's interests in the River Plate which occurred between 1900 and 1914, the United States consul in Buenos Aires had claimed: 'It almost seems that the English have the preference in everything pertaining to the business and business interests of the country. . . . They are "in" everything, except politics, as intimately as though it were a British colony.' Apart from their role as Argentina's leading trading partner British businessmen accumulated substantial investments in government loans, railways, public utilities, commercial banks, meat- packing plants, and land in Argentina. These assets represented almost 10 per cent of Britain's total overseas investment in 1913. In Brazil, where the level of Britain's trade grew more slowly, they still appeared to possess a dominant role in public finance, shipping, the import trade, export credit, railways, cables and telegraphs. They had even obtained concessions to install a radio network. British investments in Mexico also expanded noticeably early in the twentieth century, despite the twenty-year hiatus in relations after 1867 and the United States' domination of Mexico's trade. In addition Britain possessed important interests in Peru, Chile and Uruguay, and many smaller investments elsewhere. Commentators in both Latin America and the United States began to believe in the existence of a close alliance of merchant bankers, companies and government officials defending and promoting British interests. Yet by the middle of the twentieth century Britain's influence had disintegrated. The First World War permitted the United States to gain ground in Latin America at the expense of the European powers. It also transformed Britain from a substantial international creditor into a debtor, making it impossible for the City of London to regain its prewar eminence in the supply of overseas finance. In the 1920s the majority of new foreign investment in Latin America came through New York. The Depression, and the advent of Imperial Preference in Britain in the early 1930s, added further blows. Trade declined, and Britain's investments in the region, with the exception of the petroleum and manufacturing interests which had been growing since the turn of the century, became largely unprofitable. Moreover, the oil companies, railways and public utilities all came under increasing attack from nationalist critics. The Second World War reduced trade further and put Britain into debt to the major Latin American countries as well as to the United States. By 1945 Britain's exports to the region amounted to less than a quarter of their 1938 level. Over the next few years many of the pre-1914 investments, which had become almost worthless, were surrendered to Latin American governments in exchange for a cancellation of Britain's debts. While a handful of the old railway and utility companies and merchant houses remained in business after 1950, the only truly significant investments left were Royal Dutch-Shell's interests in Venezuela, the Bank of London and South America's branch network, and a few manufacturing companies. Both for the British government and for many businessmen, Latin America, in contrast to the United States, Europe and the Commonwealth, no longer possessed any real significance.
Evolution Of Latin America At the time of independence Latin America was still, in many respects, a frontier of European colonization. Apart from the principal centers of pre-Columbian civilization in highland Mexico and the Andes, Spanish and Portuguese settlements were largely concentrated near the coast. Much of the interior - the Amazon and Orinoco basins, the lowlands to the east of the Andes, Patagonia, the deserts of northern Mexico (which then included California, New Mexico, Arizona and Texas) - remained beyond their control. Population was sparse and the principal cities and ports small. The Peruvian census of 1827, for example, suggests a population of about 1.5 million, almost two-thirds of whom were 'Indian'. Lima, the capital, had only 60,000 people. Brazil in 1819 had a population of about 3.6 million, almost one-third of them slaves. Enormous disparities in wealth, income and social status were evident everywhere in Latin America. Small 'white' elites comprising merchants, bureaucrats and landowners dominated countries in which most people were of mestizo (mixed race), African or indigenous descent. In Brazil, the surviving Spanish colonies in the Caribbean (Cuba, Puerto Rico and eastern Hispaniola), and parts of the Peruvian, Colombian and Venezuelan coasts, slavery remained essential to commercial agriculture. Elsewhere both mineral production and primitive manufacturing, as well as the large haciendas which often dominated the countryside, depended heavily on the labor of the indigenous population. Yet despite the poverty of many of the region's inhabitants, complex networks of internal trade and migration had developed, especially, but not only, close to the mining centers. Agricultural commodities such as grain, sugar and wine, imported manufactures, artisan products like textiles, and other goods like mules, cattle, salt and, in the Andes, coca were widely traded.
Latin American Wars of the 19th century General de Lorencez, the French commander, now unrestricted by the reluctance of Great Britain and Spain, broke his promise to return to the coast and occupied the town of Orizaba. He was joined by General Marquez, the Mexican Conservative who had turned guerrilla following the War of the Reform. Together the French and Mexican Conservatives routed the Liberals attempting to hold the heights of Acultzingo, which dominated the road to Mexico City, on April 28, 1862. The 6,500-man French army expected to be warmly welcomed at the Conservative stronghold of Puebla (80 mi E of Mexico City), which lay along the route to Mexico City. Instead, de Lorencez found the city well fortified by 3,791 Liberals who were commanded by Gen. Ignacio Zaragoza. Without hesitating, on May 5 de Lorencez threw his force at the center of the Mexican defenses, the Cerro (Hill) of Guadalupe. This force was repulsed so he attacked the enemy's right. Here, Gen. Porfirio Diaz, commanding the 2nd Brigade, again pushed the French back. The French army expended half of its ammunition and sustained 476 casualties. The Liberals sustained only 227 casualties. The Mexicans tried to follow up their success but were defeated at Cerro del Borrego. Lorencez retreated back to Orizaba. The results of the first Battle of Puebla shocked the French army. Napoleon ill was too committed to back down, plus now the considerable reputation of the French army was at stake. During September and October 1862, some 26,000 more French troops, many of them veterans of the Crimean and Italian campaigns, landed at Vera Cruz. General Forey replaced Lorencez in command. Forey remained on the coast for some time trying to convert Mexicans to the French cause. Meanwhile, Juarez, deprived of the revenue from the Vera Cruz customs house, imposed new taxes, forced loans, and issued a levee en masse (a product of the French Revolution, this decree assigned every citizen a task in fighting the enemy). But all that could be gathered by war-weary Mexico was some 30,000 fighters (national guard and regulars). Most of the manpower was divided between the "Army of the East," commanded by Gen. Gonzalez Ortega who was charged with defending Puebla (General Zaragoza had died from typhoid on September 8) and the "Army of the Center," commanded by Ignacio Comonfort (who had returned from exile to fight the invader), who was to defend Mexico City should the French bypass Puebla. The 31,000-man French army (which included about 3,000 Mexican Conservatives) began its march toward Puebla early in 1863. Defending the city were 23,930 men under Ortega supported by another 8,000 men under Comonfort. The attack against Puebla began on March 16. Initially, the defenses proved strong enough to hold the French at bay. On the twenty-ninth the French stormed Fort Iturbide and the fighting entered the city. For a week the French advanced slowly, capturing one house at a time with losses of some 600 men in the process. On May l0 a French detachment ambushed a Mexican relief force under General Comonfort at San Lorenzo, killing 1,000 soldiers and capturing 1,000 prisoners as well as 20 loaded supply wagons and 8 cannon. By May 17 every animal had been eaten and every bullet fired in Puebla. General Ortega ordered all remaining military equipment destroyed, and some 12,000 Mexican soldiers surrendered. Of these some 5,000 men now embraced the Conservative cause. The 868 officers were to be taken to Martinique and France as prisoners of war. Notwithstanding, 336 of them, including Porfirio Diaz and Ortega, escaped while still in Mexico. Mexico City, having few natural defenses, was abandoned by Juarez, his cabinet, and the remnants of the Mexican army on May 31; they fled north to San Juan Potosi (327 mi NNW of Mexico City). The French army entered Mexico City during early June to a well-orchestrated reception. General Forey, contributing to the charade that the public supported the French intervention, wrote, 'The entire population of the capital welcomed us with an enthusiasm verging on delirium. The soldiers of France were literally crushed under the garlands and nosegays."
More Wars By 1848 Mexico was in chaos. It had been crushed in a catastrophic war with the United States, having to sacrifice one-third of its national territory in order to get the invaders to leave. Many of the northern states were in rebellion and talking of secession, and the Yucatan seceded for a second time. Banditry was common throughout the distressed nation and French and American filibusters invaded the north. Ignoring these ills, the Liberals and Conservatives continued to fight for control of Mexico, resulting in short-lived governments, a lack of central control, and continued civil disorder. In early 1853 the Mexican Conservatives recalled Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna from exile to restore order. They hoped that their patriarch, Lucas Alaman, would be able to prevent Santa Anna from abusing power. However, Alaman died on June 1, and on December 16 Santa Anna abolished the Congress and adopted the title of "His Most Serene Highness." While consolidating into his own hands political power, Santa Anna also needed to find money to guarantee the loyalty of his supporters. As a consequence, he sold to the United States the Mesilla Valley (30,000 square miles) for $10 million. Known as the Gadsden Purchase, the Mexican public was outraged. On March 1, 1854, Liberals in the state of Guerrero proclaimed the "Plan of Ayutla" to overthrow "His Most Serene Highness." Santa Anna marched south at the head of 5,000 men to put down the rebellion; however, Ignacio Comonfort, who controlled Acapulco (284 mi S of Mexico City), withstood an attack and refused to surrender the port on April 20, leaving Santa Anna without a supply base. Santa Anna burned some Indian villages, shot the few Liberals he caught, and then returned to Mexico City proclaiming that the rebellion had been crushed. Meanwhile, the Liberals slowly gained control, first over the south, then the west and north, and finally over the east. Santa Anna twice marched out of Mexico City and twice precipitously returned. On August 4, 1855, Santa Anna resigned and five days later fled into exile, first to Cuba and then to Colombia. The old liberal Gen. Juan Alvarez, a full-blooded Indian who had fought with Morelos during the War for Independence, was swept into power. He was demagogic but supported liberal reforms imposed upon the Church. The Chief Justice Minister of the new government, Benito Juarez, guided a series of laws through Congress known as the Ley Juarez and LeyLerdo. As a consequence, Conservatives sparked uprisings in San Luis Potosi and Guanajuato against the anti Church policies and caused Alvarez' resignation. He was replaced by the more moderate Ignacio Comonfort on December 11, 1855. Before resigning, Alvarez had recreated a national guard drawn from civilians as a counterbalance to the Conservative-dominated, regular army and called a constitutional congress.
Mexico in the 19th Century In 1845 U.S. president James K. Polk sent diplomat John Slidell to Mexico to seek border adjustments in Texas in return for the U.S. government’s settlement of the claims of U.S. citizens against Mexico, and also to make an offer to purchase California and New Mexico. The Mexican authorities refused to negotiate with Slidell. After the failure of this mission, a U.S. army under General Zachary Taylor advanced to the mouth of the Río Grande, the river that the state of Texas claimed as its southern boundary. Mexico, claiming that the boundary was the Nueces River, to the northeast of the Río Grande, considered the advance of Taylor’s army an act of aggression and sent troops across the Río Grande in 1846. Polk, in turn, declared the Mexican advance to be an invasion of U.S. soil, and the U.S. Congress declared war on Mexico. Santa Anna, who had been deposed and exiled to Cuba in 1844, was called back to the presidency to attempt to save the republic. Mexican forces were defeated in battle after battle, however, and U.S. troops occupied much of northern Mexico by the end of the year. Mexico City fell in 1847, and Mexican forces surrendered soon thereafter. Under the terms of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, signed in 1848, the Río Grande was fixed as the southern boundary of Texas. Territory now forming the states of California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, and Wyoming became part of the United States. During the Mexican War, the Maya people of the Yucatán Peninsula had launched a major revolt against the white and mestizo population of the region. This struggle, known as the Caste War of the Yucatán, began in 1847 and was an effort to end the exploitation of the Maya and stop nonnatives from taking over communal Maya 9 lands. The rebellion was largely defeated by 1853, and the war drove many Maya across the Yucatán Peninsula into remote regions of what is now the state of Quintana Roo. These eastern Maya maintained an independent state in the region until Mexico’s federal army occupied their land and subdued them in 1901. Famine, disease, and battlefield casualties combined to kill at least 30 percent of the prewar population of the Yucatán Peninsula during the Maya revolt. The conflict also decimated the sugar industry of southeastern Yucatán, and induced much of the region’s remaining population to move to the northwest. In addition, the rebellion strained relations between the Maya and nonnatives throughout southern Mexico, resulting in more racially motivated conflicts later in the century. After the Mexican War, Mexico was confronted with a grave reconstruction problem. Finances were devastated, and the prestige of the government, already weak, had diminished considerably. Santa Anna, who had been compelled to resign after the war, returned from exile in 1853 and, with the support of conservatives, declared himself dictator. Later that year, Santa Anna sold the Mesilla Valley in northwestern Mexico to the United States for $10 million. Known as the Gadsden Purchase, the deal clarified the New Mexico boundary and gave an additional strip of territory (now southern Arizona and a slice of southwestern New Mexico) to the United States. This was the last territorial transfer made by Mexico. Early in 1854 a group of young liberals launched a revolt against Santa Anna; after more than a year of intense fighting, the liberal forces prevailed and took over the government. Santa Anna fled into exile, and liberal rebel leader Juan Álvarez became the provisional president of Mexico. The rebellion was the first event in a long, fierce struggle between the powerful conservative elites that had traditionally dominated Mexico and the liberals.
Mexican Fight for Independence During the late 18th century, after Spain suffered a number of military defeats in Europe, the Spanish monarchy determined to improve the defenses of its empire. To pay for these improvements, it attempted to increase revenues. The Spanish monarchy was also concerned about inefficiency and corruption in the bureaucracy of its colonial governments. Bribery and extortion were common, despite periodic royal investigations. In the late 1700s the monarchy instituted a series of administrative changes, known as the Bourbon Reforms, that aimed to raise money for defense and centralize government authority. Spain sent one of its leading bureaucrats, José de Gálvez, on a visita, or official tour of inspection, of New Spain between 1765 and 1771. Gálvez reorganized tax collection methods and changed the tax structure. One of the most significant reforms, decreed in 1778, lifted restrictions on colonial trade. The measure allowed colonists a greater role in commerce and permitted widespread trade between the Viceroyalty of New Spain and other Spanish colonies in the Americas. Another reform, aimed at centralizing the colonial government, created important administrative positions and filled them all with peninsulares. As part of the effort to defend its empire, Spain created colonial armies by enlarging existing militias. The extensive tax and administrative changes received little sympathy in Mexico, where many had prospered under the old system. Attempts to institute reforms provoked riots and antigovernment protests, which were put down by force, further upsetting many Mexicans. Many colonists disapproved of Spain’s attempt to 4 strengthen its political control. Criollos, in particular, were upset that they had been excluded from the new administrative jobs in the viceroyalty. The colonists’ new-found economic freedom also increased their resentment against Spain—many colonists believed they would benefit even more if they broke away from Spain completely and ran their own economic affairs. Efforts by the Spanish monarchy to limit the power of the Catholic Church also aroused opposition in New Spain. The church and various religious orders, most notably the Jesuits, had amassed great wealth and held large amounts of land in the colony. The monarchy viewed the church as an economic and political rival and moved to limit its power by curtailing church privileges. In 1767 the monarchy expelled the Jesuits from Spain and its colonies, and confiscated the economic holdings of the religious order. The Spanish monarchy went even further in 1804, seizing additional land and economic assets from the Catholic Church. These actions angered many colonists and priests, and induced many clergy to begin to support the idea of independence. By the beginning of the 19th century, criollo resentment against the peninsulares and the government of New Spain had seriously weakened the link between the colony and the parent country. To these internal conditions was added the influence of the Enlightenment, a European intellectual movement that challenged many political and social institutions, such as class distinctions, monarchy, and religion. Many criollos in New Spain read the works of leading Enlightenment writers and began to question the legitimacy of their colonial relationship with Spain. The Mexican colonists were also influenced by the political examples of the American Revolution (1775-1783) and the French Revolution (1789-1799), both of which overthrew a monarchy and established a republican form of government.
What was the little Ice Age? The Little Ice was when the Climate throughout the world started dropping. The little Ice age is believed to come back sometime in the future Scientists study the earth cores daily, they think that by studying the core samples, they can predict the weather in the future People believe that the temperature is a on going cycle that keeps repeating itself.
When did the little Ice Age Occur? The Little ice age occurred nearly 7 centuries ago It Happened from the 14th to the 19th century, this ice age caused many death and hardships for our ancestors
The Effect on History Impact on Agriculture Lamb (1966) points out that the growing season changed by 15 to 20 percent between the warmest and coldest times of the millennium. That is enough to affect almost any type of food production, especially crops highly adapted to use the full-season warm climatic periods. During the coldest times of the LIA, England's growing season was shortened by one to two months compared to present day values. The availability of varieties of seed today that can withstand extreme cold or warmth, wetness or dryness, was not available in the past. Therefore, climate changes had a much greater impact on agricultural output in the past. Impact on Health The cooler climate during the LIA had a huge impact on the health of Europeans. As mentioned earlier, dearth and famine killed millions and poor nutrition decreased the stature of the Vikings in Greenland and Iceland. Cool, wet summers led to outbreaks of an illness called St. Anthony's Fire. Whole villages would suffer convulsions, hallucinations, gangrenous rotting of the extremities, and even death. Grain, if stored in cool, damp conditions, may develop a fungus known as ergot blight and also may ferment just enough to produce a drug similar to LSD. (In fact, some historians claim that the Salem, Massachusetts witch hysteria was the result of ergot blight.) Malnutrition led to a weakened immunity to a variety of illnesses. In England, malnutrition aggravated an influenza epidemic of 1557-8 in which whole families died. In fact, during most of the 1550's deaths outnumbered births (Lamb, 1995.) The Black Death (Bubonic Plague) was hastened by malnutrition all over Europe. One might not expect a typically tropical disease such as malaria to be found during the LIA, but Reiter (2000) has shown that it was an important cause of illness and death in several parts of England. The English word for malaria was ague, a term that remained in common usage until the nineteenth century
America’s Transitions since Independence The Latin American movements for the independence started earlier in this century. All of the Americas have been fighting to detach from Spanish and Portuguese powers. Thanks to those movements we all now have our own political system. That new politics that influenced our countries happened during the Europe enlightenment period, many of us are proud for such influences because we now function on our very own and not dependent on other countries. Our fathers fought for change and independence to give us all the life we now all lead. A quarter through this long fought century, new transitions were starting to become more noticeable. Although some countries noticed some type of change, but yet still hoped for faster transitions. To encourage the transitions, more actions were yet to come in order to establish some sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. One of the Countries that hoped for that change was Guatemala. They were still trying hard for independence, thinking that other neighboring countries were showing greater improvements at much faster rates. No matter what the America’s went through, and how fast it went through, satisfaction was still right around the corner. Earlier in our century, we hoped for export and growth. Researchers and hardworking Americans, showing great enhancements in technology, made these changes possible. Thanks to them, we now have transportations that were not even possible last century, 18th century. Trade is done faster and more efficient. We take advantage of our transportations and trade with other countries, some of our household items, are brought over the Atlantic Ocean, from Great Britain. I believe along with my other fellow Americans that the technology has yet far more time to develop to its full potential. Until now we are doing fairly well for being a newly independent country. One of the most recent battles won by one of our neighbors was the “Batalla de Puebla” which translates to “The Battle of Puebla”. The French Army under estimated the Mexican forces. After the first day of fighting the French had realized that they were not fully prepared for this battle. In the first battle, the French had nearly lost twice as much casualties as the Mexican forces did. Unfortunate for the second battle, the Mexicans were not as fortunate as in the first battle. Unable to match the first day of battle, the French were successful in turning their luck around. The Mexicans with much courage under the commands of Porfirio Diaz and other great generals stood by their grounds and continued fighting. Not giving up just yet, the French kept advancing. The significance of this war was that the Mexican forces fought long and hard for independence. Even though at some point they seemed outnumbered by the French, they just kept fighting for their lands. Not ever abandoning their country and standing up for freedom, it was accomplished earlier in this century. The French trying to take advantage of the newly independent country got what they deserved. Mexico was doing well this century, winning their independence from the Spaniards, and now defeating the French about twenty years ago.