Latin American Revolutions

How did Enlightenment Ideals undermine European power in Latin America? What common political-economic issues in Latin America remained after the revolutions? (terms: Haiti, Carib, Toussaint L'Overture, Simone Bolivar, Ben Franklin, Paraguay, caudillo, voudoun, Liberation Theology, H.D. Thoreau, neo-colonialism, hacienda)

Haiti (Carib for "mountain")

Slave owners feared slave revolt during the French Revolution, but apparently the natural desire for freedom was the main cause of the first revolt in Saint-Domingue. Bookman Dutty "Listen to the voice of liberty which speaks in the hearts of all of us." p.548

500,000 black slaves
40,000 whites
30,000 free people of color (mulato and black)

vodoun (voodoo) synchretic blend of African and Catholic traditions

Toussaint L'Ouverture establishes an alliance with the Spanish against French slaveowners, then switched sides against the French when Robspierre in 1794 abolished slavery in all colonies. Napoleon reverses policy on slavery in 1799. After continued rebellion and exile of Toussaint L'Ouverture, Haiti (Carib name for mountain) got its independence in 1804, after 50,000 troops perish in Haiti, most dying in the hands of slaves. (a side note: 55,000 American troops die defending the former French colony, Vietnam, 150 years later).


1833 Britain abolishes slavery. The United States placed an economic embargo on Haiti and did not recognize it as a country until the Civil War. Slavery continues in other forms for the next hundred years: endentured servitude. Slavery is abolished in America in 1863, in Puerto Rico 1876, in Cuba 1886, and in Brazil 1888. No compensation was paid although it was promised by the Republican government during the war.


Tupac Amaru leads mestizos and Incan Indians against Spanish rule. Tupac Amaru, the name of the last Incan emperor who died fighting the Spanish is still used by revolutionary groups in Peru.


Mulattoes led a revolt in Bahia, in 1798. Brazil gains stature as a second capital for Portugal. Brazil becomes a monarchy unlike the rest of S.America which become Republics.


Father Miguel Hidalgo leads "first wave" of the revolt until he is executed; then, Jose' Maria Morelos takes command and has greater ambitions to abolish slavery, displace the creole elites, and abolish the priviledges and landholdings of the church. The mexican revolution was more radical in this sense because of its focus on toppling the creole elite. Liberation Theology would later be a term to describe priests that sought seek socio-economic-political change. Peasant/farmer poverty was and remains their biggest concern. Military, business, and foreign powers. Conservative creole finally siez power in Mexico and unstable. Texas becomes U.S. territory only after an agressive campaign to send immigrants over the border. 1836 Texas declares independence from Mexico. 1845, Texas is annexed by the U.S. H.D. Thoureau writes Civil Disobedience in 1843.

Paraguay ("The New Historiography")

Jose Gaspar Rodriguez de Francia ruled in Paraguay between 1811 and 1840 and diverged the most from other parts of Latin America in his emphasis on land reform and self-government. He redistributed lands from the church, government, and large scale land-owners to mestizos and Indians. Self-sufficiency in food production and an education system that elliminated literacy. State iron, textile, and livestock mills. From 1865 to 1870, Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay, backed by loans from Britain fought against Paraguay, killing off their adult male population, and opened it to foreign investment.

General Overview

Creole and Mazombo (Portugese decendants) elites (representing 5% of pop.) led revolutions for independence in other parts of Latin America. Simon Bolivar, and Jose' de San Martin represented creole concerns for the most part. The Comunero Revolt in Columbia in 1781. Try telling the tragic tale of Simon Boli'var. Educated in France, he has visions of a Gran Columbia (becomes Columbia, Venezuala, and Ecuador)