Essay about Latin American Independence

636 Words 3 Pages
Latin American Independence

The Spanish amassed great wealth and power in their American colonies through oppression, slavery and racism. An amazing variety of classes developed and created a social gap in the people. At the turn of the nineteenth century, the American-born population began to advance towards independence. The process did not happen over night. Instead, it developed slowly due to social, political, ethnic, and economic factors, and the often bloody war for independence raged for fifteen years. Enlightenment radically altered the ideas of people in Europe and America. Ideas that challenged old truths began to develop; ideas that praised individual rights such as the notion that ultimate authority in society
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(Clayton & Conniff, 20) Creole unrest was widespread when Napoleon invaded Spain and Portugal in 1807. For the Latin American revolution, the timing could not have been better. The monarchs were disposed and Napoleon installed his brother as king. Spanish rebels fought the illegitimate Bonaparte in a civil war for six years. This left the colonies isolated and they rejected the authority of Spain. As a solution, they created local governments, of juntas, primarily filled with Creoles to rule in the king's absence. "Dissatisfaction had been given ideological form by the Enlightenment, awhile the crown and peninsulares had thoroughly antagonized Creoles for decades by denying them what they considered their legitimate aspirations. Napoleon's invasions of Spain, by suspending colonial loyalty to the Spanish sate, touched off the fuse to the powder keg." (Clayton & Conniff, 22) Independence took different courses between regions. Some, such as Brazil, were relatively peaceful, but others, such as Peru and Mexico, were bloody. The wars for independence distinguished many brave and courageous soldiers. The names of patriots such as Bolivar, Hidalgo, San Martin, and Artigas among many others, inspire pride in the Latin America. After the revolutions began, success did not come smoothly. Counterrevolutions took

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