I. Independence in Latin America, 1800–1830
A. Roots of Revolution, to 1810
1. Wealthy colonial residents of Latin America were frustrated by the political and economic power of colonial officials and angered by high taxes and imperial monopolies. Events in Europe ultimately caused a crisis of legitimacy that led to the colonial revolutions in Latin America.
2. The Portuguese royal family fled to Brazil, where King John VI maintained his court for over a decade.
3. Napoleon’s invasion of Portugal and Spain in 1807 and 1808 led dissenters in Venezuela, Mexico, and Bolivia to overthrow Spanish colonial officials in 1808–1809. The Spanish authorities quickly reasserted control, but a new round of revolutions began in 1810.
B. Spanish South America, 1810–1825
1. A Creole-led revolutionary junta declared independence in Venezuela in 1811. Spanish authorities were able to rally free blacks and slaves to defend the Spanish Empire because the junta’s leaders were interested primarily in pursuing the interests of Creole landholders.
2. Simón Bolívar emerged as the leader of the Venezuelan revolutionaries. Bolívar used the force of his personality to attract new allies (including slaves and free blacks) to his cause and to command the loyalty of his troops.
3. Bolívar defeated the Spanish armies in 1824 and tried to forge Venezuela, Colombia, and Ecuador into a single nation. This project was a failure, as were Bolívar’s other attempts to create a confederation of the former Spanish colonies.
4. Buenos Aires was another important center of revolutionary activity in Spanish South America.
5. In 1816, after Ferdinand regained the Spanish throne, local junta leaders declared independence as the United Provinces of Rio de la Plata.
6. The new government was weak, and the region quickly descended into political chaos.
C. Mexico, 1810–1823
1. In 1810, Mexico was Spain’s richest and most populous colony, but the Amerindian population of central Mexico had...