Independence in Latin America Social Studies for 9th E.G.B. Teacher: Mauricio Torres
Background Liberal ideas were spreading to Latin America (LA)with explosive results. From Mexico to the tip of South America, revolutionary movements arose to overthrow the reigning European powers. By 1825, most of LA was freed from colonial rule.
Napoleon Invades SpainThe spark that finally ignited widespreadrebellion in LA was Napoleon’s invasion ofSpain in 1808.LA leaders saw Spain’s weakness as anopportunity to reject foreign dominationand demand independence from colonialrule.
Slaves win freedom in Haiti Before Spanish colonists cried for freedom, revolution had erupted in Hispaniola (today called: Haiti). Slaves rose up in rebellion, forming an army. They were over- worked and under-fed. Their leader was Toussaint L’Ouverture. He was a self-educated former slave, who was a brilliant general. Their army fought against the Spanish, French and British! By 1798, they controlled most of the island and by 1804, they“We are fighting so that liberty – were independent. But it wasn’t until 1820 that they became athe most precious of all earthly republic.possessions – may not perish.”
Mexico Creoles in Spanish America did not like the example set by the Haitians. They wanted power for themselves, not change. Father Hidalgo, presided over a poor parish called Dolores. During mass, he asked his listeners: “My children, will you be free?”. This was called the Cry of Dolores. This called Mexicans to independence.
Mexico The rebels marched to the outskirts of A conservative called, Agustín de Mexico City. The creoles changed their support because Father Hidalgo wanted to Iturbide reached out to Mexican end slavery and improve the conditions revolutionaries, whom he had for natives. This was not accepted by fought for years. creoles. Backed by creoles, mestizos and The rebels faced opposition and a year natives he overthrew the Spanish later, Hidalgo was captured and executed. Viceroy. His successor, José Morelos was also México was now independent, and captured and shot. Iturbide declared himself Emperor. Spanish forces, backed by conservative He was quickly overthrown. creoles hunted the surviving guerrillas.
South America In South America, Native Americans had rebelled against Spanish rule as early as the 1700s., though with limited results. It was not until the 1800s that discontent among the creoles sparked a widespread drive for independence.
Bolivar Educated creoles like Simon Bolivar admired the French and American Revolutions; fueling their own dreams of independence. Bolivar made a first attempt in 1810 and he was defeated. He had to exile himself in Haiti. He returned and launched a daring attack on Bogotá, an important city in the Andes, catching the Spanish by surprise. By 1824, he had liberated the territories we now know as Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela and Perú.
San Martín Born in Argentina, like Bolivar he was a creole and was educated in Europe. In 1816 he helped the Argentinian people win their freedom. His army crossed the Andes into Chile and then moving north to Peru. San Martín then handed command over to Bolivar.
Gran Colombia Bolivar worked tirelessly to unite the lands he had liberated into a single nation, the Gran Colombia. Rivalries between generals and leaders made that dream impossible. It finally split into Ecuador, Colombia, Panama and Venezuela. Civil wars burst in the newly freed lands.
Brazil When Napoleon’s armies conquered Portugal, the royal family fled to Brazil. In 1822, Dom Pedro the Portuguese Prince, proclaimed independence and became Brazil’s emperor. He accepted a constitution that provided freedom of the press, freedom of religion and an elected congress. Brazil remained a monarchy until 1889, after which, it became a republic.
Outcome For the next hundred years or so, most of the Latin American countries stayed practically the same: Dependent on Europeans for commerce. Only the aristocracy enjoyed real privileges. Peasants were still oppressed. Latin America’s people had simply changed one set of masters for another.
Ask Yourself Analyze: Why do you think France, Spain and Britain sent armies to fight the revolt in Haiti? What were Iturbide’s motives for rebellion? Understand: Bolivar and San Martin: why was their education so important as an inspiration for rebellion? Recall: For what reason was the Gran Colombia short lived?
Bibliography Ellis, E. G., & Esler, A. (2009). World History. (P. Hall, Ed.) Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, US: Pearson Education INC. Images taken from www.google.com and Wes, K. P. (n.d.). Retrieved June 5, 2012, from Kyliepwess Blog: http://kyliepwes.edublogs.org/