Dispersed throughout the Napoleonic Wars were multiple smaller wars and revolutions, such as the Peninsular War of 1807 to 1814, a battle over the Iberian Peninsula between France and Spain. When Portugal was slow to do as he commanded, Napoleon did not hesitate to send an army of 30,000 troops marching through Spain to capture Portugal, beginning the Peninsular War. However, as the soldiers moved through Spain, they stayed in control of the northern parts they crossed, making Napoleon’s intentions clear to see. This is when Napoleon turned on Spain, suddenly becoming aggressive towards them. Unable to organize an army to fight back, and fearing a hostile takeover, Spain’s Prime Minister Manuel de Godoy urged King Charles IV to flee to South America. On their way out of Madrid, they were stopped in Aranjuez, where Godoy was dismissed as Prime Minister, Charles IV was forced to abdicate the throne, and Ferdinand VII (Charles IV’s son) was put in Charles’ place. Soon after, in 1808, Ferdinand VII was also made to abdicate, replaced by Napoleon’s brother, Joseph Bonaparte. Now, Spain was under French rule, and its colonies in South America, such as the Viceroyalty of the River Plate Basin, belonged to France. The V.R.P. contained what is roughly present day Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, and Paraguay, which is the area of the Rio de la Plata Basin, giving it its name and history. Back in Madrid, the Supreme Central Junta, which was the only revolutionary government standing, opposed Joseph’s rule, but was swiftly silenced by the military. As a result, the remaining revolutionary parts of Spain lost a lot of territory; in 1810, the French became more aggressive, capturing most of Andalusia and its capital Seville, and forcing the Supreme Junta into Cadiz, where it promptly dissolved itself. The Supreme Junta was replaced by a new
3/15/2018 government, called the Council of Regency of Spain, which the V.R.P. refused to acknowledge as their authoritative government, essentially beginning the May Revolution in Buenos Aires, Argentina from May 18, 1810 to May 25, 1810. In rebellion, the V.R.P. created their own revolutionary government, named the Primera Junta, which consisted of representatives and delegates from only countries within the viceroyalty. Although their former viceroy, Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros tried to stay in power, and was elected to be a temporary president of the Primera Junta, he was quickly pressured to resign on May 25, 1810, the last day of the May Revolution. Now, the countries of the Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata banded together to gain freedom, forming the United Provinces of Rio de la Plata instead. From here forward, the battle for freedom and unity was the Argentine War of Independence, which was mainly between two opposing sides - the royalists and patriots.
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