Portal:Spanish American wars of independence

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Spanish American wars of independence

Decisive events of the war: Cortes de Cádiz (1812) (top left); Congress of Cúcuta (1821) (bottom left); Crossing of the Andes (1817) (bottom right); Battle of Tampico (1829) (top right).

The Spanish American wars of independence were the numerous wars against Spanish rule in Spanish America with the aim of political independence that took place during the early 19th century, after the French invasion of Spain during Europe's Napoleonic Wars. Although there has been research on the idea of a separate Spanish American ("creole") identity separate from that of Iberia, political independence was not initially the aim of most Spanish Americans, nor was it necessarily inevitable. After the restoration of rule by Ferdinand VII in 1814, and his rejection of the Spanish liberal constitution of 1812, the monarchy as well as liberals hardened their stance toward its overseas possessions, and they in turn increasingly sought political independence.

The violent conflicts started in 1809 with short-lived governing juntas established in Chuquisaca and Quito in opposing the government of the Supreme Central Junta of Seville. In 1810, numerous new juntas appeared across the Spanish domains in the Americas when the Central Junta fell to the French invasion. Although various regions of Spanish America objected to many crown policies, "there was little interest in outright independence; indeed there was widespread support for the Spanish Central Junta formed to lead the resistance against the French." While some Spanish Americans believed that independence was necessary, most who initially supported the creation of the new governments saw them as a means to preserve the region's autonomy from the French. Over the course of the next decade, the political instability in Spain and the absolutist restoration under Ferdinand VII convinced many Spanish Americans of the need to formally establish independence from the mother country.

These conflicts were fought both as irregular warfare and conventional warfare, and as wars of national liberation and civil wars. The conflicts among the colonies and with Spain eventually resulted in a chain of newly independent countries stretching from Argentina and Chile in the south to Mexico in the north in the first third of the 19th century. Cuba and Puerto Rico remained under Spanish rule until the Spanish–American War in 1898. The new republics from the beginning abolished the formal system of racial classification and hierarchy, casta system, the Inquisition, and noble titles. Slavery was not abolished immediately but ended in all of the new nations within a quarter century. Criollos (those of Spanish descent born in the New World) and mestizos (those of mixed American Indian and Spanish blood or culture) replaced Spanish-born appointees in most political governments. Criollos remained at the top of a social structure that retained some of its traditional features culturally, if not legally. For almost a century thereafter, conservatives and liberals fought to reverse or to deepen the social and political changes unleashed by those rebellions.

The events in Spanish America were related to the wars of independence in the former French colony of St-Domingue, Haiti, and the transition to independence in Brazil. Brazil's independence, in particular, shared a common starting point with that of Spanish America, since both conflicts were triggered by Napoleon's invasion of the Iberian Peninsula, which forced the Portuguese royal family to flee to Brazil in 1807. The process of Latin American independence took place in the general political and intellectual climate that emerged from the Age of Enlightenment and that influenced all of the Atlantic Revolutions, including the earlier revolutions in the United States and France. A more direct cause of the Spanish American wars of independence were the unique developments occurring within the Kingdom of Spain and its monarchy during this era.

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The Battle of Pequereque was a clash which took place on 19 June 1813, during the second Upper Peru campaign of the Argentine War of Independence, between scouting forces of the United Provinces Army of the North and the royalist Army of Perú. The Republican cavalry of the Army of the North, led by Colonel Cornelio Zelaya, prevailed over the royalists, under the command of Colonel Pedro Olañeta. The troops of Olañeta took back Pequereque three days after the battle. The Dragones retreated to the plain of Vilcapugio to avoid a further engagement with the enemy, who by that time had gathered the bulk of their forces around Ancacato. Zelaya was later sent by Belgrano to Cochabamba to recruit a bigger cavalry force from local volunteers. He would eventually join the main expeditionary force after the defeat of Vilcapugio.

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San Martín por Castro 2.jpg
José Francisco de San Martín, known simply as Don José de San Martín (c. 1778 Yapeyú, Corrientes, Spanish Empire – 17 August 1850 Boulogne-sur-Mer, France), was an Argentine general and the prime leader of the southern part of South America's successful struggle for independence from Spain.

Born in Yapeyú, Corrientes, in modern Argentina, he left his mother country at the early age of seven and studied in Málaga, Spain.

In 1808, after joining Spanish forces in the Peninsular War against the French and participating in several battles such as the Battle of Bailén, San Martín started making contact with South American supporters of independence from Spain.

In 1812, he set sail for Buenos Aires from England, and offered his services to the United Provinces of South America, present-day Argentina. After the Battle of San Lorenzo of 1813, and some time on command of the Army of the North (Spanish: Ejército del Norte) during 1814, he began to put into action his plan to defeat the Spanish forces that menaced the United Provinces from Upper Peru, making use of an alternative path to the Viceroyalty of Peru. This objective first involved the establishment of a new army, the Army of the Andes, in Cuyo Province, Argentina. From there, he led the Crossing of the Andes to Chile, and prevailed over the Spanish forces at the Battle of Chacabuco and the Battle of Maipú (1818), thus liberating Chile from royalist rule. Then he set sail to attack the Spanish stronghold of Lima, in Peru, by sea.

On 12 July 1821, after seizing partial control of Lima, San Martín was appointed Protector of Peru (Protector del Perú), and Peruvian independence was officially declared on 28 July. A year later, after a closed-door meeting with fellow libertador Simón Bolívar at Guayaquil, Ecuador on 22 July 1822, Bolívar took over the task of fully liberating Peru. San Martín unexpectedly left the country and resigned the command of his army, excluding himself from politics and the military, and moved to France in 1824. The details of the 22 July meeting would be a subject of debate by later historians.

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Let the orientals be as enlightened as they are brave
— José Gervasio Artigas (1764-1850)

(Spanish: Sean los orientales tan ilustrados como valientes)

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Portrait of José María Morelos, leader of the Mexican War of Independence

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