Article

Latin American Independence

Jane Landers

in Atlantic History

ISBN: 9780199730414
Published online December 2010 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199730414-0036
Latin American Independence

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  • History of the Americas
  • European History
  • African History
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  • Regional and National History

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The various independence movements in Latin America drew on Enlightenment philosophies about proper forms of government and the Rights of Man and on the revolutionary examples of the American colonies and Saint Domingue. Spanish American creoles chafed under the increasingly more intrusive and extractive Bourbon monarchies, as well their declining status in imperial administrations staffed by peninsular Spaniards. Napoleon’s invasion of Spain gave creoles the excuse they needed to claim self-rule in the name of their imprisoned king, but early attempts at full-blown independence, such as Francisco Miranda’s in Gran Colombia and Father Hidalgo’s in New Spain, were crushed. Simón Bolívar led the independence wars in northern South America while Juan de San Martín led the southern campaigns. Spain responded by sending peninsular troops under General Pablo Morrillo to secure the north and the result was bloody race war. Royalists in the viceroyalties of New Spain and Peru also held out against independence. Meanwhile, Brazilian independence took a completely different course. In 1808, in the wake of Napoleon’s invasion of Portugal, the king and court fled to Brazil, thus elevating the former colony to the royal headquarters. When King João finally returned to Portugal in 1821, his son Pedro I remained in Brazil to declare a bloodless independence.

Article.  3604 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas ; European History ; African History ; History ; Regional and National History

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