• Amanda Roraback

Spanish Colonies


1492 - Columbus

1521 - Discovery of Mexican silver mines

1810 - Father Hidalgo El Grito (first stage of Mexican Revolution)












  • 60 Franciscan missionaries claimed to have converted 5 million Indians in 12 years

  • Converted quickly so not much education - allowed superstition, spirits, witchcraft, miracles, magic

  • Lack of education also led to image of natives as children who needed protection and guidance.

  • Catholic hierarchy helped convince natives that God endowed king with supernatural powers

  • And to observe social class

  • King was object of veneration


  • Before silver mines were found, the only rewards for Spanish settlers were land and Indians to work the lands

  • Royal authorities parceled out the Indians to the conquistadors

  • Tribute and labor from specific number of Indian villagers

  • Encomenderos supposed to convert them and protect them


  • 9 out of 10 Indians killed

  • Spaniards deprived of labor

  • But land was freed up

  • Spanish-American haciendas

  • Provided crops for Spanish cities and mining camps


  • Encomiendas ended late 1500s

  • New exploitation

  • Lad drafts, debt peonage etc.


  • Divided into

  • Republic of Spaniard

  • Republic of Indians

  • Villages created

  • To keep Indians safe from plagues

  • And to watch over Indian conversion

  • Indian restrictions

  • couldn't dress in European clothing

  • not allowed to ride horses

  • ot allowed to have arms

  • Indians had to pay tribute

  • Whites were exempt from tribute

  • priests were like intermediaries




  • 1810 Peasant Rebellion

  • Led by Father Miguel de Hidalgo

  • Parish priest

  • Rallied mestizos and indigenous people against colonial rule

  • Social and economic rebellion against all the elites of Mexico

  • Seen as dangerous by conservative creoles

  • Who wanted freedom from Spanish colonial rule

  • But also wanted to retain their privileged status

  • Father Hidalgo was caught and executed by fearful crreoles

  • But his rebellion continued three years after his death

  • Second stage of rebellion

  • Led by General Augustin de Iturbide

  • who proclaimed independence form Spain

  • Empire short-lived

  • creole elites deposed him in 1823 and declared the establishment of a republic

  • Within two years, the republic split to form the Central American Federation

  • 13 years independent nations of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica formed




1816 - Argentina declares independence

1818 - San Martin liberates Chile

1819 - Gran Colombia is founded

1820 - Brazil annexes Uruguay

1821 - Peru gains independence and Venezuela and Ecuador are liberated

1822 - Brazil breaks away from Portugal

1825 - Bolivia is liberated


  • 1700 Charles II died, succeeded by Philip of Anjou, grandson of Louis XIV

  • First Bourbon King, became Philip V

  • Philip V and his son, Ferdinand VI concentrated on reforming Spain

  • Left colonies to their customary arrangement

  • 1759-1788 Charles III

  • 5th son of Philip V

  • To throne after death of his 1/2 brother Ferdinand VI

  • Pious Catholic who believed in divine right

  • Believed colonies existed for benefit of Spain

  • Sole purpose was to buy Spain's products, and supply crops and silver

  • 1756-1763 Seven Years War

  • Charles III saw GB as rival for dominance in America

  • Entered war on side of France

  • France (and Spain) lost

  • Britain seized Spanish port of Havana and Cuba

  • Held it for 10 months

  • Modernized machinery for processing sugar

  • And opened it to trade

  • Caused transformation showing Spain its potential

  • Caused Bourbons to reform

  • 1779 American Revolution

  • Spain joined colonists and France against Britain

  • 1788 Charles III died

  • Succeeded by Charles IV

  • Badly educated, left decisions to wife and advisers

  • Especially Manuel Godoy (young Secretary of State and queen's lover)

  • 1789 French Revolution

  • 1793 Louis XVI executed (Marie Antoinette soon followed)

  • Godoy protested

  • France declared war on Spain intent to "leave no Bourbon on the throne"

  • Spain tried to forge alliance with Britain - didn't work (bitterness over American Evolution)

  • 1795 Spain had to negotiate peace with France

  • France forced Spain to supply them with soldiers, ships, money

  • Britain destroying Spain with blockade

  • 1799 Napoleon to power

  • 1805 British destroy Spain's fleet at Battle of Trafalgar

  • 1806 Napoleon creates Continental System

  • Cut off trade between Britain and Europe

  • Only Portugal defied it

  • Napoleon got permission from Charles IV to send troops to Spain to subdue Portugal

  • Was an army of occupation

  • 1808 Charles IV forced to abdicate

  • By mob of Spanish peasants, workers and soldiers

  • Spanish nobles and churchmen conspired to replace Charles IV with his son, Ferdinand

  • Napoleon forced them both to abdicate

  • Napoleon put his brother Joseph on the throne

  • 1807-1814 Peninsular Wars

  • 1808-1810 Juntas emerged across Spanish America

  • ​To rule in the name of Ferdinand VII.

  • Mexico City and Montevideo - caretaker govts. dominated by Peninsulares

  • Santiago, Caracas and Bogota - caretaker govts. dominated by Criollos

  • 1810 Cadiz Cortes (Parliament)

  • ​Represented both Spain and Spanish America

  • 1812 Cadiz created a liberal constitution

  • ​Proclaimed Spain's American possessions to be full members of the kingdom, not mere colonies

  • But Creoles who participated in the new Cortes denied equal representation.

  • Cotes didn't grant permanent free trade to Americans

  • Didn't give autonomy to overseas dominions

  • Spanish Americans not happy with reduction of power and autonomy

  • 1814 Ferdinand IV restored to power

  • ​New energetic attempt to reestablish Spanish imperial power

  • Used military force

  • 1820 Troops waiting in Cadiz to be sent to stop Creoles revolted

  • Ferdinand had to agree to series of liberal measures

  • Divided and weakened loyalist opposition to independence in Americas

  • Because many supporters of the crown now had doubts about monarchy for which they were fighting


  • 1806 General Francisco de Miranda

  • A former genera in the French Revolution

  • First attempt at an uprising

  • Catastrophic - ordinary Venezuelans didn't join him

  • ​Criollo elites (cacao) feared removal of Spanish control might bring revolution that would destroy their own power

  • As happened in Saint-Domingue (Haiti) in 1791

  • Slaves in Venezuela had carried out their own uprisings in 1790s

  • Simon Bolivar ("El Libertador")

  • Wealthy, aristocratic Criollo born in Caracas

  • At that time, only a handful of families owned most of the land in Venezuela, Bolivar was among the wealthiest in the colony

  • Married in 1802 (wife died next year) he was womanizer

  • 1804-1807 to Europe

  • When he was 16 he moved to France where he was introduced to the ideas of the Enlightenment

  • Was in France when Miranda was staging his uprising

  • Created the Patriotic Society for the Development of Agriculture

  • He returned to Venezuela in 1807

  • 1808 Napoleon deposed Spanish king Ferdinand VII

  • And put his brother Joseph into power

  • In January 1809, a representative of Joseph Bonaparte's government arrived in Caracas

  • Demanded that taxes continue to be paid

  • And recognize Joseph as monarch

  • Caracas exploded

  • ​People declared loyalty to Ferdinand VII

  • Ruling Junta was proclaimed and the Captain-General of Venezuela was deposed

  • Apr. 19, 1810 the Supreme Caracas Junta

  • Patriots who wanted full independence and royalists loyal to Ferdinand agreed

  • They would not tolerate French rule

  • Creoles demanded self rule - until Ferdinand VII restored

  • Changes

  • Outlawed slavery, exempted Indians from tribute, reduced trade barriers

  • Sent envoys to Britain (Bolivar) and US (Bolivar's brother, Juan Vicente, died in shipwreck)

  • And Convinced Miranda to come back

  • Who helped found the First Venezuelan Republic

  • July 5, 1811 Ruling junta voted in favor of complete independence from Spain

  • Formed republic

  • Manifesto of Cartagena

  • ​But interior of Venezuela dominated by mixed raced cowboys (Llaneros) who supported king - prevented revolutionaries from going inland

  • 1812 Earthquake

  • People thought it was God's punishment for turning against

  • ​It hit mostly rebellious cities

  • Revolt against Miranda and Bolivar

  • Miranda sued for peace and took the treasury

  • Bolivar, disgusted, arrested Miranda and turned him over to the Spanish (jail)

  • Bolivar fled to New Granada (Colombia)

  • To fight for independence there

  • Given 200 men and ​Spanish forces

  • His prestige and army grew

  • June 24, 1813 - Admirable Campaign

  • Bolivar desperate to liberate Venezuela

  • War to the death "Guerra a muerte"

  • Any natives who didn't help would be killed on the spot

  • Suicidal charge up Magdalena River

  • Spanish troops overwhelmed and abandoned their posts

  • By July royalists forces collapsing

  • One of greatest military victories in history

  • August 6, 1813 - Bolivar declared Second Venezuelan Republic

  • ​Given name Liberator

  • He became dictator of the new nation

  • 1814 - Legions of Hell

  • News of Bolivar's war crimes cause reaction

  • Reached bandits in countryside

  • Under pro-Spanish Jose Tomas Boves

  • ​Anti-Bolivar Legions of Hell glorified in rape, mutilation and torture of all who stood in their way.

  • June 1814 - Battle of La Puerta

  • Boves defeated Bolivar

  • Second Republic ended

  • Bolivar fled into exile

  • May 1815 - Letter from Jamaica

  • Cry for liberty and freedom

  • "Do not adopt the best system of government but the one most likely to succeed"

  • Said American natives couldn't rule themselves ("pardos" - people of mixed ethnicity)

  • Because of centuries of Spanish oppression

  • Said free South America would need a strong leader at the helm - a president for life

  • Letter reinforce his position as most important leader of the Independence movement

  • Civil War in Venezuela

  • ​Between pro-independence leaders and royalists forces

  • Devastating countryside

  • 1815 - Large military expedition sent by Ferdinand VII

  • 1815 Bolivar met with Alexandre Petion

  • Petion was first President of the Republic of Haiti (1807-1818)

  • Petion offered Bolivar guns and support

  • But Bolivar would have to free all the slaves in South America, including his own

  • 1816 - Another invasion by Bolivar failed miserably

  • Three year war of attrition with Haitian money

  • ​But royalists strong

  • Anti-royalist Jose Antonio Paez and his llaneros joined Bolivar

  • May to July 1819 Crossing the Andes

  • War in stalemate

  • Bolivar decided to attack the vice-royal capital Bogota

  • Between him and Bogota was flooded plains, swamps, rivers

  • So decided to cross snow-capped Andes mountains with 2,400 men

  • 2000 had died by the time he reached Bogota, New Granada (Colombia)

  • 1819 Battle of Boyaca

  • Bolivar success

  • Element of surprise, no one believed he would cross Andes

  • Quickly recruited new soldiers from the unhappy people eager for liberty

  • Defeated Spanish General Jose Maria Barreiro on banks of Boyaca River

  • Bolivar lost 13 killed, royalists lost 200 killed.

  • Aug. 10, 1819 Bolivar marched into Bogota unopposed

  • Considered the beginning of the independence of the North of South America

  • 1819 Angosura

  • Congress convened in Angostura

  • Named Bolivar the president of a New Republic, Gran Colombia

  • Venezuela Ecuador, Colombia, Panama

  • Jun. 24, 1821 - Battle of Carabobo

  • Bolivar crushed royalist forces led by Spanish Field Marshal Miguel de la Torre

  • Then set sites on the south

  • Sent army under Antonio Jose de Sucre

  • 1822 Guayaguil

  • ​San Martin and Bolivar met face-to-face

  • San Martin made evaluation that only Bolivar and his supporters could complete liberation of the Andes

  • Northerners in the South

  • From that point on, the northerners took charge of struggle in Peru and Bolivia

  • Spanish forces threatened to recapture lands that San Martin's armies had emancipated.

  • Bolivar guided his soldiers to victory in Lima, Peru and Upper Peru

Gran Colombia (1819-1831)

  • Included Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, Venezuela, northern Peru, western Guyana and parts of Brazil.

  • Ruled by Bolivar

  • Who was a great general

  • But not a great dictator

  • Bolivar's failures

  • Wasted money on military expeditions and nixed all attempts to reform

  • Tried to force all the countries liberated to join Gran Colombia

  • Bolivar turned into a despot

  • Ignored liberal constitution

  • Nearly assassinated in Bogota

  • Gran Colombia not internationally recognized

  • Dissolved in 1831

  • ​Because of political differences between supporters of federalism and centralism

  • Bolivar into exile and his protege Sucre was assassinated


  • Antonio Jose de Sucre

  • Sent south by Bolivar

  • May 24, 1822 Battle of Pichincha

  • ​Sucre fought royalist force in Ecuador

  • On muddy slopes of Pichincha Volcano (near Quito)

  • Battle was a great victory for Sucre and the patriots

  • Drove Spanish out of Ecuador

  • July 26, 1822 Guayaquil Conference

  • Meeting between

  • Simon Bolivar

  • Jose de San Martin

  • To discuss future of Peru and rest of South America

  • Ecuador folded into Gran Colombia


  • Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata

  • Included Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and part of Brazil

  • Capital was Buenos Aires

  • Argentina had rolling plains (pampas)

  • Was a colonial backwter until 18th c.

  • ​When direct trade stimulated economy

  • 1806 British occupied Buenos Aires

  • Extortionist taxes

  • Spanish colonial officials were ineffective

  • Volunteer militia of Criollos and peninsulares organized resistance - pushed British out.

  • 1808 Napoleon deposed Ferdinand VII

  • A Junta was set up in Argentina

  • Junta had conflicting views

  • Some conservatives were loyal to Ferdinand VII

  • Others, like Marino Belgrano and

  • Sept. 25, 1808 - Supreme Council (Junta of Seville) established

  • Took over Spanish government in absence of the King

  • Overseas kingdoms were supposed to send representatives.

  • Jose de San Martin served in the junta

  • Some large cities (like Quito and Charcas) resented being subsumed into bigger "kingdoms" and created their own juntas

  • Jul. 15 1809 Baltasar Cisneros

  • Spanish royalist

  • Appointed Viceroy

  • Nov. 25, 1809

  • Cisneros created Political Surveillance Court

  • ​To persecute afrancesados (Francophile supporters of Joseph Bonaparte)

  • And independists. who wanted self-government

  • May 18-May 25, 1810 May Revolution

  • Rivalry between royalists loyal to Ferdinand VII and those who wanted liberal changes

  • Prominent Criollos forced Cisneros to consent to a cabildo abierto

  • An open meeting of the municipal council and local notables

  • Pretense of loyalty to Ferdinand

  • Junta created by that session marked end of Spanish rule in Buenos Aires

  • Ended authority of Viceroy Cisneros

  • Replaced it with Primera Junta (First Assembly)

  • ​At first only representatives from Buenos Aires

  • Then expanded to the Junta Grande

  • New government had trouble after 1810

  • Early radical liberal government dominated by Mariano Moreno

  • Then series of triumvirates and supreme dictators.

  • Bitter rivalries between Buenos Aires and other provinces

  • Criollo merchants in Buenos Aires tried to maintain economic dominance over interior

  • Sept. 24, 1810 Council of Regency of Spain and the Indies recovered Spanish mainland and formed the Cortes of Cadiz

  • Dissolved the Supreme Central Junta

  • Drafted the Spanish Constitution of 1812

  • Most in the Spanish Americas didn't want to recognize a rump government

  • And formed regional juntas (New Granada, Venezuela, Chile Rio de la Plata)

  • Claiming to carry out actions in name of Ferdinand VII

  • Buenos Aires was the principle center of resistance

  • To Sevilla junta and its successor, the Cadiz-based Council of Regency

  • 1812 Jose de San Martin

  • Sent to Argentina - joined the revolutionaries against Spain (loyalty to his homeland)

  • 1813 Constituent assembly meeting

  • Adopted flag, anthem, other symbols of national identity

  • 1814 Spanish resumed functions

  • ​Napoleon defeated

  • January 9, 1815

  • Carlos Maria de Alvear became Supreme Director of the United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata

  • July 9, 1816 Congress of Tucuman

  • Army trained by Jose de San Martin

  • Assembly in Tucuman

  • Declared independence of United Provinces of South America (legal name of Argentina)

  • But received no delegates from several provinces

  • United Provinces of Rio de la Plata soon split apart

  • ​Local caudillos, who called on support of gauchos, dominated each region

  • Montevideo and surroundings became Estado Oriental ("Eastern State")

  • Later Uruguay

  • Regional leader Jose Gervasio Artigas formed army of 1000s of gauchos

  • Paraguay resisted Buenos Aires military and became isolated

  • Upper Peru separated from Buenos Aires and became Bolivia

  • 1820s Liberals gained control

  • ​Reforms: education, financial, agricultural, immigration


  • Led by Bernardo O'Higgins

  • 1814 junta defeated by royalists

  • Jan. 18-Feb. 8, 1817

  • San Martin directed 5,000 men in dramatic crossing of the Andes

  • To a point in Chile where loyalist forces didn't expect invasion.

  • In alliance with Chilean patriots under Bernardo O'Higgins

  • Feb. 12, 1817

  • Surprised and defeated royalists at Casas de Chacabuco

  • Took Santiago

  • Didn't take governorship - but gave it to O'Higgins

  • O'Higgins became Supreme director

  • Because San Martin wanted to concentrate on capture of Lima

  • April 15, 1818 Battle of Maipu

  • Victory of Argentine and Chilean rebels

  • Commanded by Jose de San Martin

  • Defeated Spanish royalists near Santiago, Chile

  • Aug 1820

  • San martin had accumulated a shoddy fleet of ships (mostly armed merchant ships)

  • Left for Peru

  • Butt many Peruvian Criollos not anxious to break with Spain

  • So San Marin managed only a shaky hold on Lima and the coast

  • July 28, 1821 Peru independence

  • Jose de San Martin was made protector

Upper Peru (Bolivia)

  • 1824-25 Battle of Ayacucho

  • Between Royalists and Indepedentist forces

  • Independist forces were led by Bolivar's lieutenant, Antonio Jose de Sucre

  • Ended Spanish American wars of independence

  • Renamed itself "Bolivia"


Royal court of Portugal had fled to Brazil to escape Npoleon's Iberianinvasion 1805

set up a governemtn in exile in Rio de Janeiro

1821, the Portuguese court returend home

Leaving Prince Pedro as regent of razil

1823, when Brazilian croles demanded indepdnence from Portugal,

pedro agreed

when they sought to curtail his powers, he accepted offer to beocme emperor of an independent razil

Creole ellites dominated the monarchy (same as in other ltin Ermican repubics)

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