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WORLD CIVILIZATION CHAPTER NOTES 24-34 Chapter 24 Nation Building and Economic Transformation in the Americas 1800-1890 I. Independence in Latin America (1800-1830) Revolution in Spain and Portugal’s colonies in the Americas was not stimulated by revolutionary ideas, but by Napoleon’s invasion of these European nations. This invasion led to the royal Portuguese family fleeing from Portugal, and the Spanish king, Ferdinand VII being replaced by Napoleon’s brother. The results of this was, especially among Spain’s colonies that there was a division as to which authority colonial elites should obey as a central authority. In Venezuela this led to a Creole revolution that ended in their 1811 independence. The revolutionary movement of Venezuela placed overwhelming political authority in the hands of Simón Bolívar (1783-1830), who became the pre-eminent leader of the independence movement in Spanish America. His revolution was aided by 4 factors: 1) He used the force of his personality to mobilize political support. 2) His education in England, where he studied the classics and the works of the Enlightenment provided him with the foundation to move toward independence. 3) He further enlisted demobilized English veterans of the Napoleonic Wars. 4) And his agenda was also assisted by a military revolt in 1820Spain. All of this helped him liberate present-day Venezuela, Columbia, and Ecuador. Having defeated the last of the Spanish armies in 1824, Bolívar tried to unify Venezuela, Columbia, and Ecuador into the single nation of Gran Columbia, but by 1830 this experiment had failed and resulted in the splitting of these three nations. 1
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In Buenos Aires the problems of Spain led to the overthrow of the viceroy in 1810, and by 1816 they declared their independence as the United Provinces of the Rio de la Plata. In Mexico when news of Napoleon’s invasion reached the elite, conservative Spaniards in Mexico overthrew the local viceroy, because he was too sympathetic to Creoles. With the power of the colonial authorities weakened by the events in Spain, anger and fear spread through towns and villages in central Mexico. And by September 16, 1810 Miguel Hidalgo y Castilla, who was a parish priest, rang the church bells of the small town of Dolores and urged the crowd that gathered to rise against Spanish oppression. Tens of thousands of the poor began to attack the ranches and mines that were exploiting them. The military soon turned on Hidalgo and he was captured, tried, and executed in 1811. But the revolution continued under the leadership of a second priest named Jose Maria Morelos who created a formidable fighting force and was able to convene a congress in 1813 that declared independence and drafted a constitution. Despite this however, loyalist’s forces remained strong and Morelos was defeated and executed in 1815.
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