Background • The ideas of liberty, equality, and democratic rule found their way to European colonies. • Latin America • The time seemed right for the people who lived there to gain control of the land.
Colonial Society Divided • In Latin American colonial society, class dictated people’s place in society and jobs. • At the top of Spanish-American society were the “Peninsulares” (people who had been born in Spain, which is the on the Iberian Peninsula).
They formed a tiny percentage of the population. • They were the only ones to hold high office in Spanish Colonial government.
Creoles • Then you have the “Creoles” (Spaniards born in Latin America). • They were below the peninsulares. • They could not hold high-level political office, but they could rise as officers in Spanish colonial armies. • Together these two groups controlled land, wealth, and power in the Spanish colonies.
The Bottom • Below the peninsulares and the creoles were the mestizos (person of mixed European and Indian ancestry). • Below them were the mulattos (persons of mixed European and African ancestry, and enslaved Africans). • The Indians were at the bottom of the social ladder.
Revolutions in the Americas • By the late 1700s, colonist in Latin America were electrified by the news of the American and French Revolutions. • The success of the American Revolution encouraged them to try to gain freedom from their European masters.
Haiti • The French colony called Saint Domingue was the first Latin American territory to free itself from European rule. • Nearly 500,000 enslaved Africans worked on French plantations, and they outnumbered their masters.
Masters would use brutal methods to terrorize them and keep them powerless. • In 1791, they rose up against their French masters.
Toussaint L’Ouverture • Toussaint L’Ouverture emerged as their leader. • He was a former slave with no knowledge of military and diplomatic matters. • He took control of the entire island and freed all of the enslaved Africans.
In 1802, French troops landed in Saint Domingue to remove Toussaint from power. • He agreed to stop if they would end slavery, but the French seized him and sent him to the French Alps where he died in 1803. • Despite this, in 1804 Haiti declared itself as an independent colony .
Creoles Lead Independence • Even though they could not hold high public office, they were the least oppressed of those born in Latin America. • They were the best educated and many times traveled to Europe to be educated.
There they adopted their Enlightenment ideas. • When they returned to Latin America, they brought the ideas of Revolution with them.
South America for Independence • In South America wars of independence rested on two creole generals. • Simon Bolivar: wealthy Venezuelan creole • Jose de San Martin: Argentinian.
Bolivar • He declared Venezuela’s independence from Spain in 1811. • His volunteer army of revolutionaries suffered numerous defeats. • He had been exiled twice. • Hope came in 1819: he lead 2,000 troops through the Andes into modern day Columbia.
He took the Spanish army by complete surprise and won a decisive victory. • He won Venezuela's independence, and in 1821 then marched south into Ecuador. • There he would met Jose de San Martin, and together they would decide the future of the Latin America revolutionary movement.
San Martin Leads Southern Liberation • He declared Argentina’s independence in 1816. • Spanish forces in Chile and Peru still posed a threat. • He lead a march through the Andes to Chile, where he joined forces lead by Bernardo O’Higgins (son of a former viceroy of Peru).
They finally managed to free Chile. • In 1821, San Martin planned to drive Spanish forces out of Lima, Peru. • He needed a much larger force.
San Martin left his army under the command of Bolivar. • With the two forces joined together they defeated the Spanish at the Battle of Ayacucho (Peru) on Dec. 9, 1824.
This was the last major battle of the war for independence. • The future countries of Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, and Ecuador were united into a country called Gran Colombia
Mexico Ends Spanish Rule • In most Latin American countries, the creoles led the revolutions. • Not in Mexico, the Indians and mestizos had the leadings roles.
In 1812, Padre Miguel Hidalgo (a priest in the small village of Dolores) took the first step toward independence. • He was poor but well-educated. • He believed in Enlightenment ideas. • He issued a call for rebellion against the Spanish.
The next day, Hidalgo’s Indians and mestizo followers began a march toward Mexico City. • Made up of 80,000 men. • The uprising of the lower class alarmed the Spanish army and creoles.
They feared the loss of their property, control of the land, and their lives. • The army defeated Hidalgo in 1811. • The rebels then turned to Padre Jose Maria Morelos. • He led the revolution for four years.
In 1815 a creole officer defeated him. • Events in Mexico took another turn in 1820 when a revolution Spain put a liberal group in power.
Creoles feared the loss of their privileges in the Spanish-controlled colony. • So, they united in support of Mexico’s independence from Spain.
Brazil’s Royal Liberator • Brazil’s road to independence was unique. • It occurred without violence upheavals or widespread bloodshed. • Even a member of the Portuguese royal family played a key role in freeing Brazil from Portugal.
As Napoleon closed in on Portugal, the royal family picked up and went to Brazil for 14 years. • After the defeat of Napoleon, the family stayed another 6 years before returning to Portugal. • The king planned to make Brazil a colony again, but many Brazilians refused this.
In 1822 the creoles demanded Brazil’s independence from Portugal. • 8,000 Brazilians signed a petition asking Dom Pedro (the king’s son) to rule.
The king agreed and declared Brazil independent. • Brazil had won its independence in a bloodless revolution.