Latin American revolutions

Latin American revolutions

The term Latin American revolutions refers to the various revolutions that took place during the early 19th century that resulted in the creation of a number of independent countries in the Latin American region. This is considered to be one of the most influential series of events in the history of the Western Hemisphere.

Leaders of Latin American revolutions

*José de San Martín (Argentina, Chile, Peru)
*Miguel de Hidalgo (Mexico)
*Francisco de Paula Santander (Colombia)
*Simón Bolívar (Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Panama and Bolivia)
*Francisco de Miranda (Venezuela)
*Toussaint L'Ouverture (Haiti)
*Jean-Jacques Dessalines (Haiti)
*Vicente Guerrero (Mexico)
*José María Morelos (Mexico)
*Bernardo O'Higgins (Chile)
*Antonio José de Sucre (Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia)

Countries in which major revolutions took place

:"Dates correspond to either the time period of fighting or when the respective country declared independence"
*Haiti (1791-1804)
*Ecuador (1809-1822)
*Bolivia (1809-25)
*Argentina (1810-16)
*Chile (1810-18)
*Colombia (1810-19)
*Mexico (1810-21)
*Paraguay (1811)
*Venezuela (1811-22)
*Peru (1821)
*Brazil (1822)

Conditions for revolution

American Revolution

The rebellion by the British colonies in North America from Great Britain was spurred by a number of taxes and Acts that the colonists had no say over. This infuriated colonists, and started the American Revolution. Colonists in North America were able to start a government of their own because of Enlightenment thinking, and because they were governing themselves on the state level for many years before the rebellion.

French Revolution

The French Revolution (1789–1799) was a period of political and social upheaval in the political history of France and Europe as a whole, during which the French governmental structure, previously an absolute monarchy with feudal privileges for the aristocracy and Catholic clergy, underwent radical change to forms based on Enlightenment principles of democracy, citizenship, and inalienable rights. These changes were accompanied by violent turmoil, including executions and repression during the Reign of Terror, and warfare involving every other major European power.

Napoleonic Wars

This was a series of wars fought between France (led by Napoleon Bonaparte) and alliances involving Britain, Prussia, Spain, Russia and Austria at different times, from 1799 to 1815.

Other factors

Other factors included European Enlightenment thinking. The Enlightenment spurred the desire for social and economic reform to spread throughout Latin America. Ideas about free trade and physiocrat doctrine were raised by the Enlightenment.

The revolutions

Miguel Hidalgo led the successful independence movement of Mexico. Simón Bolívar helped in a number of revolutions in northern South America. A wealthy Creole officer, Bolívar impassioned his fellow South Americans to support him in fighting against the Spanish. Between 1817 and 1822, he won a series of victories in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia. The first uprising against Spanish rule took place in 1809, but only in 1822 did Ecuador fully gain independence and became part of the Federation of Gran Colombia, from which it withdrew in 1830. Luz de America was the nickname given to Ecuador's capital Quito which saw the first revolt against Spanish occupation. The nickname served the urge for the call of independence that was heard around the continent, and inspired the eventual domino collapse of the crown throughout Latin America. The first 3 countries were united in a new nation called Gran Colombia, which broke up in 1830 due to political differences and regional interests. Bolívar rejected all attempts to crown him king of the newly independent areas and worked until his death in 1830 for the cause of independence and republican government. In the Southern Cone of the continent, the fight for independence was led by the Argentine General José de San Martín, who campaigned in Argentina, Chile, and declared Peruvian independence.

World Reaction



United States

Acceptance or rejection of these new nations


During the 1800s, Latin American countries were faced by many challenges in developing their economy. Though they were politically independent from countries such as Spain and Portugal, many countries remained economically dependent on Europe. Latin American countries exported sugar, beef, copper and coffee to Europe in exchange for manufactured goods.

United States and Great Britain

As a result of these successful revolts, United States President James Monroe asked Secretary of State John Quincy Adams to draft the Monroe Doctrine" It stated that the United States would not tolerate any European interference in the Western Hemisphere. This measure was taken in order to safeguard the newfound liberties revolutionaries such as Bolivar and Hidalgo fought for. Also, it was taken as a precautionary measure against the vast naval might of the United States' European contemporaries.

Great Britain's trade with Latin America had greatly expanded by this time so they supported the revolutionaries against the Spanish, who had in the past always attempted to obstruct British trade. British diplomatic pressure was sufficient to prevent Spain from attempting to seriously reassert its control over their lost colonies during the early 1820s.

Within Latin America

Simón Bolívar attempted to create a Pan-American government in Gran Colombia. Geographical barriers made this impossible. Latin America never did create a unified government because it had too many military rulers, and few civilian rulersFact|date=May 2007. Because every ruler who came to power was from the military, Caudillos, there were countless revolutions, which never allowed Latin America to become unitedFact|date=May 2007. Added that Latin America is a land of various and very diverse cultures that do not identify many similiarties or have a sense of unity with one another.

Resulting changes in international policies

Increased interest in Africa

Growing tensions in Europe

Growth of United States political power

Organization of American States

The notion of closer hemispheric union in the American continent was first put forward by the Liberator Simón Bolívar who, at the 1826 Congress of Panama, proposed creating a league of American republics, with a common military, a mutual defense pact, and a supranational parliamentary assembly. This meeting was attended by representatives of Gran Colombia (comprising the modern-day nations of Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Venezuelathe Commercial Bureau of the American Republics (renamed the "International Commercial Bureau" at the Second International Conference in 1901–02). These two bodies, in existence as of 14 April 1890, represent the point of inception to which today's OAS and its General Secretariat trace their origins.


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