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date: 26 September 2017

Wars of Spanish-American Independence

Summary and Keywords

The wars of Spanish-American independence were a series of military campaigns that took place in the Americas between 1809 and 1825, which resulted in the creation of more than a dozen republics in the territories that had previously been part of the Hispanic monarchy. Triggered in the short term by the Napoleonic invasion of the Spanish peninsula in 1808, there were more deep-seated reasons, however, that led to the collapse of an empire that had existed for three hundred years. Classic historiography has stressed the importance of the Bourbon Reforms that brought to the fore the contradictions within the Hispanic monarchy and gave rise to a sense of proto-nationalism. These interpretations have given much importance to the role of the Enlightenment and the fear brought by possible social revolution. Some authors consider that these wars were the result of the Americans’ long-held contempt for Europeans. These views consider that struggle for liberation had begun much earlier, possibly as far back as the 1780s, inspired by the American and French Revolutions. More recent historiography has highlighted the war that engulfed Spain itself between 1808 and 1814 as the crucial event that led to fighting in the Americas. This event is seen as not just the trigger for the events to unfold, unleashing conflicts that had been simmering for much longer, but what shook to the ground the archaic but surprisingly durable composite Hispanic monarchy.

This article will discuss the main events that caused the wars, the moments each national historiography has identified as the ones linked to the independence of their particular region, as well as the events themselves. It begins by looking at the historical antecedents, including the Bourbon Reforms, the American, French, and Haitian revolutions, and at the Napoleonic invasion of the Spanish peninsula. It then discusses the creation of juntas in the Americas and how the confrontation between different jurisdictions resulted in war. The article discusses who were the people involved in the wars and the main events that took place.

Keywords: wars of independence, Bourbon Reforms, Túpac Amaru Rebellion, Haitian Revolution, liberalism, Constitution of Cadiz, royalism, juntas, Simón Bolívar, José de San Martín


Although the wars that led to independence did not actually begin until conflict started in the Spanish peninsula in 1808, the reasons that led to the collapse of the Hispanic monarchy in the American mainland were deeply rooted. Many of the changes were related to the advent of the Bourbons, a new dynasty that took over the Spanish throne and attempted to implement reform. During the War of Spanish Succession (1701–1714), the Hispanic monarchy had proved to be quite resilient as the connection between the overseas possessions and the metropolis were equally disrupted while the Austrian Hapsburgs and the French Bourbons fought over who would take control of the Hispanic monarchy after the last Spanish Hapsburg died without an heir. During this crisis, however, none of the Spanish possessions sought any form of independence.

There were two crucial differences between these conflicts. First is the issue of constitutional legitimacy. In 1808 the king was captured by Napoleon’s armies and forced into exile in France. He abdicated in favor of Joseph Bonaparte, triggering a constitutional crisis never before encountered. In contrast, the key question in 1701 was which dynasty was going to take the throne in the absence of an heir. This was not a constitutional but a dynastic crisis, quite common in the 17th and 18th centuries. The ways to resolve it and ensure the balance of power between the European monarchies was maintained were well established, even if war ensued. The second difference had to do with the relationship between the people and the monarch. After the American and French revolutions the idea that it was the people who gave the king the right to govern had been firmly established. In Spain this concept was considered to be part of an old pact that had originated in the Middle Ages, but as Brian Hamnett has shown it was a much more modern idea.1 Newer historiography tends to consider the monarchical crisis as the main reason that led to the collapse of the monarchy. It was not just a trigger, as previous historiographical schools had contended, but it was why the empire began to unravel.

The Bourbon Reforms

Once the French Bourbons took control of the Spanish crown they began a process of deep reform. The Hapsburgs had established the vice-regal structure with two large vice royalties: New Spain in the northern hemisphere and Peru in the southern. The cities of Mexico and Lima were the seats of regional power, supported by wealthy mineral deposits and a large number of indigenous taxpayers. The legal system was divided between a Republic of Spaniards and a Republic of Indians. Commerce was tightly regulated with only some cities allowed to trade. In the two centuries in which the Hapsburgs oversaw the Hispanic monarchy, the peripheries grew, and by the 18th century contraband was rife and those of Spanish descent born in the Americas, known as Creoles, became ever more important socially, economically, and politically.

Once in power, the Bourbons changed many of the ways in which the overseas dominions were governed as they sought to maximize the return from the colonies. The Bourbon Reforms altered the relationship between the peninsula and America making it much more about a metropolis and its colonies. The change was so great that some scholars, such as John Lynch, have described them as a “second conquest of the Americas.”2 The reforms, inspired in the rational ideas of the Enlightenment, were comprehensive and included an administrative, economic, military, and even religious overhaul. Two new viceroyalties were created, one in the northern part of South America with the name of New Granada (1717–1739) and the other in the south called Río de la Plata (1776), and the French inspired Intendant system was rolled out with varying degrees of success. The economic reforms included an overhaul of the mining industry, deepening of taxation, and so called “free trade,” which was not really an opening of all trade, but only the end of the monopoly of certain ports to trade. Changes in the military were centered in the development of local militias that would now include local notables, as well as people of mixed origin, free blacks, and noble Indians, who were allowed to carry arms, wear uniforms, and be tried in military courts. One of the most disruptive changes was the religious reform, which sought to claim more power for the crown and which resulted in the 1767 expulsion of the Jesuits. According to Jaime Rodriguez O. the reforms were crucial in changing the relationship between what had been conceived as kingdoms that were equal and integral parts of the Spanish Crown into colonies.3 While Anthony Pagden has argued that these kingdoms in America were “quasi-autonomous” in the same way as were Aragon, Naples, or the Netherlands.4

Traditional historiography considers that the Bourbon reforms were crucial in the development of an identity separate to that of Spain, this has been a central focus of the work of John Lynch, Jaime Rodriguez, as well as of Simon Collier and David Brading who have developed the idea of Creole patriotism emerging from a sense of frustration with the new policies implemented by the Bourbons. Newer historiography such as that produced by Jeremy Adelman, Alejandra Irigoin and Regina Grafe, Jordana Dym, Gabriel Paquette and Juan Luis Ossa has seen the Bourbon Reforms in a more nuanced way as they also provided Creoles with an opportunity to reassert their position and to take advantage of opportunities in the resurgent militia as well as in the commercial ventures opened by the widening of trade and the creation of trading guilds the consulados, as well as in local politics.5

The Túpac Amaru Rebellion

The strongest reactions to the Bourbon Reforms were the anti-tax riots and uprisings that engulfed South America from the 1760s and reached their zenith in the 1780s. The most violent and longest lasting was the Túpac Amaru Rebellion in Cuzco of 1780, led by José Gabriel Condorcanqui, a mestizo claiming Inca origin. Later expanding to the area around Lake Titicaca under the leadership of Julian Apasa (who took the name of Túpaj Katari), the rebellion continued until 1783. This region had been one of the hardest hit by the creation of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata in 1776 and the dismemberment of ancient structures linked to the economic circuit of Potosí, the largest silver mine in the region. This was compounded with increased taxation, more efficient tax collection, and the continuation of the forced sale of goods to indigenous peoples. Peruvian historiography of the 1970s chose the Túpac Amaru Rebellion as the starting point for the wars of independence and linked the uprising to the American Revolution. Even though Túpac Amaru entertained at some point the idea of making himself an Inca, he began his uprising in the name of the king and in defense against “bad government.” This rebellion expressed deep-seated frustration with the Bourbon Reforms and showed some of the fissures within the colonial edifice, but it was ultimately defeated by a multiethnic coalition that included Indian nobles who did not recognize Túpac Amaru as one of their own and the troops they raised among their followers of the Indian nobles. The work of Charles Walker reviews the rebellion and the historiography on it in detail, whereas Sinclair Thompson looks at the uprising of Tupac Katari in the region of La Paz.6

Uprisings took place all around the Andes in the 1780s, with unrest in Cuzco, La Paz, Arequipa, and the Revolt of the Comuneros in New Granada. Even as they showed frustration with the colonial system, they also made clear that there was still enough will in the American territories to remain under the Hispanic monarchy and that the influence of the American Revolution was not enough to really inspire a real desire to fight for independence. What these rebellions made evident, above all, was that some people were extremely disappointed with the system. Nevertheless, all the uprisings were defeated by locally raised militias as the troops sent from the peninsula represented a fraction of the armed forces in the Americas and were located in the main ports of Havana, Cartagena, Callao, and Veracruz, far away from the areas of conflict in the highlands.

As Gabriel Paquette noted in his 2006 historiographical essay on independence, these uprisings were conceived by traditional historiography as one of the causes of independence because they brought to the fore the fear of possible social revolutions.7 These rebellions also provided national historiographies a chance to present them as movements that were precursors to independence. This is in spite of what current scholarship shows that in most cases those with a strong desire to maintain an older order defeated these uprisings. This is seen clearly in the work of David T. Garrett on the Cuzco nobility and the defeat of Túpac Amaru.8 Although these uprisings in the Andes coincided with the American Revolution and as David Cahill and Anthony McFarlane have shown they had a strong anti-tax sentiment as a reaction to the Bourbon Reforms, they were not directly inspired by the thirteen colonies’ quest for independence.9


Even if the American Revolution did not trigger the wars of independence in Spanish America, the Declaration of Independence from Britain in 1776, the enactment of the first modern constitution in 1787, and the creation of a federal republic where some states still retained slavery, did inspire some of the Spanish American elites to imagine the possibility of independence. The French Revolution would add further fuel to this fire. The events of 1789 were followed closely by the burgeoning press and important tracts such as the Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen of that same year were well known and commented on even in the most distant provinces of the Hispanic monarchy. In 1791 the exiled Jesuit Juan Pablo Viscardo y Guzman wrote a “Letter to the Spanish Americans” exhorting them to fight for independence. Both traditional historiography and some proponents of Atlantic history have seen the wars of independence as the last revolutionary event in this period.

Other historians consider that the French Revolution did not inspire enough of a reaction to launch wars of independence, but it did set in motion a series of events, which eventually resulted in the outbreak of the conflict and ultimately independence from Spain. The Haitian Revolution was that first spark. It began as a slave revolt in 1791 and soon became the largest slave uprising in the Americas, with insurrectionists controlling two-thirds of the island by 1792. The revolutionaries in France granted free men of color civil and political rights and dispatched six thousand men to quell the rebellion. Following a geopolitical strategy, the British and the Spanish joined forces with the rebels. Sensing impending defeat the French declared the end of slavery, a move confirmed by the National Convention and enshrined in the constitutions of 1793 and 1795.

Meanwhile in Europe, once the French king was guillotined, the other monarchies called for a defense of the status quo and war against the French Republic began. Spain was at the forefront, fighting against the Convention between 1793 and 1795. Catalonia and Northeastern Spain were invaded. Fearing the possible loss of the Basque provinces, Spanish minister Manuel de Godoy traded the eastern part of Hispaniola for Guizpicoa. By this point the forces made up mostly of freed slaves and led by Toussaint L’Ouverture had all but defeated the British in the name of the French Republic. By December 1800 his troops invaded the territory ceded by the Spanish in Santo Domingo and a month later the slaves there were freed. In 1801 L’Ouverture issued a constitution for Saint Domingue and Napoleon reacted by sending in troops led by his brother-in-law Charles Leclerc. The French were able to reassert their control of the island, albeit temporarily, as in January 1804 Jean-Jacques Dessalines declared a Haitian Republic.

The work of David Geggus provides much detail for the study of the Haitian Revolution and it shows the complexities of the movement and how it changed over time.10 At this point two independent republics existed in the Americas. Haiti, which had emerged from a slave rebellion, and the United States, which had expanded west after the 1803 purchase of the French territories in North America into a federation of very different states, some of which still allowed slavery. Elites in Spanish and Portuguese America could see these two very different options of what was available in terms of independence. They saw it was possible for white elites to prevail and retain the institution of slavery, asin the United States, or risk social upheaval as in Haiti. Classic historiography has seen this fear of social revolution, first expressed by the Túpac Amaru rebellion and then the Haitian revolution, as very strong incentives for elites to remain loyal to their respective metropolis, and this has been seen as a reason why there was much less appetite for independence in places like Brazil and Cuba, where there were large numbers of slaves, or in Peru and Central America, where there were large numbers of Indians.

British Interventions in 1806 and 1807

After the peace of Amiens of 1802 Spain became allies with Bonaparte and a year later, once hostilities broke out again, Britain, its erstwhile ally, became an enemy. The alliance with Napoleon proved disastrous when the entire Spanish navy was destroyed at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The absolute control of the oceans allowed the British navy to attempt two operations targeting Spain’s American dominions. The first was the invasion of the Captaincy General of Venezuela led by Francisco de Miranda, a firebrand originally from Caracas who had traveled the world and participated in the American and French Revolutions. The troops under his command disembarked in the city of Coro but stayed only for ten days, as it was clear there was no appetite for independence. The second were the unsuccessful attempts to invade the Río de la Plata in 1806 and 1807. The first expedition stayed in Buenos Aires for over a month, but local militias eventually expelled the British. The second invasion managed to take control of the port city of Montevideo for several months and from there launched a second unsuccessful attack on Buenos Aires. These episodes in Venezuela and the Río de la Plata show how at this juncture locals were uninterested in independence.

The attempts by the British in this period and the reaction in support for the crown found both in Venezuela and Buenos Aires shows that even with outside support there was not enough appetite in these regions for outright independence. Francisco de Miranda had been advocating for this solution for years and had managed to convince the British to support him. In the Río de la Plata the support for the Hispanic monarchy was absolute. One of the questions that newer historiography has asked about these episodes is why, if the discontent with the regime was so great in these regions, were they unsuccessful.

Crisis of 1808

The Spanish alliance with Napoleon became increasingly problematic when in 1807 his troops were allowed to cross the Iberian Peninsula to invade the Portuguese who remained allied with the British. Fearing the worst, the Braganza dynasty relocated the whole court to Rio de Janeiro aboard British ships. The situation in Spain, now overrun with French troops, became very volatile. In March 1808 the Spanish army mutinied in the city of Aranjuez forcing King Charles IV to abdicate in favor of his son Ferdinand VII. Two months later, this time in the city of Bayonne, Charles abdicated again, however, this time in favor of Napoleon’s brother Joseph. When news reached Madrid in early May 1808 the people reacted angrily and a mob took over the city, but did not prevail. Napoleonic forces eventually took control of most of the country and the whole royal family was taken to France as captives.

Although the monarchical crisis of 1808 has been seen as the trigger for the wars of independence, most classical explanations of the wars, such as those of Lynch and Brading, have tended to highlight other longer term aspects such as the Bourbon Reforms and the development of a Creole identity in opposition to a peninsular one. This changed dramatically with the interpretations of French historian François-Xavier Guerra, and Jaime Rodriguez, who were convinced that independence would not have occurred had the crises not started in 1808.11 Both gave much emphasis to the importance of the political events that followed and in particular to the elections for the Cortes of Cádiz.

In the areas not yet taken by the French, local juntas were established claiming to hold power in the name of the absent king. This is the process that Antonio Annino, François-Xavier Guerra, and José Carlos Chiaramonte have described as the “retroversion” of sovereignty, which meant that it was returned to “the people.” The thinking was that as sovereignty originated in the people and it was them who gave it to the king, so if the monarch was absent then sovereignty returned to the people and they had the right to rule themselves. The appearance of the juntas also had to do with the autonomous feeling of the regions from where they sprung. They were set up in many cities and provinces throughout 1808 by local municipal governments, the ayuntamientos, with the support of the most prominent members of society. Realizing they needed to work together, the juntas of Murcia, Seville, Valencia, and Castilla y Leon called for the establishment of a Supreme Central Junta that met in Aranjuez in September 1808 after victory at the Battle of Bailen.

Reaction in the Americas

The first to react to these events was Mexico City. In September 1808 Viceroy Iturrigaray was ousted by some of the most conservative groups in the city. They feared the viceroy, who was considered to be close to the liberals, would declare independence after he had refused to accept the validity of the juntas of Seville and Oviedo, both of which had sent representatives. In his place elderly General Garibay was installed as the new viceroy of Mexico. The situation in the Río de la Plata was more complicated as Viceroy Santiago Liniers was French and had only taken the position in Buenos Aires after the second British invasion of a couple of months prior. Across the river, Governor Francisco Javier Elio did not trust Liniers and in September 1808 declared a junta in Montevideo. Meanwhile in Rio de Janeiro Ferdinand VII’s sister Carlota Joaquina who had fled with her husband King João IV of Portugal sought to be named regent of the Río de la Plata. Her plans did not prosper due in large measure to the long-standing enmity between the subjects of the Spanish and the Portuguese crowns in the Southern Atlantic region.

Throughout the Americas Ferdinand VII was sworn in as the new king and the Junta Central was recognized as caretaker government. This was in spite of Napoleon’s attempts to cloak his takeover with some legitimacy after passing the Acte Constitutionnel de l’Espagne in Bayonne in July 1808. The crisis of legitimacy brought by the abdication of the king could not be so easily resolved. Although initially those in America remained expectant, waiting to see what would happen in the Iberian Peninsula, and loyal to the absent and captive king, the idea that sovereignty had returned to the people began to dominate the thoughts of many. The creation of juntas in Spain itself compounded this problem as it became evident that each locality had its own interests in mind. It was this thought that led to the unraveling of the Hispanic monarchy and eventually the outbreak of war. In Brazil the situation could not have been more different as the king was now located in Rio de Janeiro and the balance of power between metropolis and colony had shifted completely. This was a crucial reason why there was no appetite for independence in Brazil at that moment.

The First American Juntas

A first junta was created in Montevideo in 1808. This was an attempt to force the hand of viceroy Liniers and ensure he declared his allegiance to the Junta Central. Some months later in May 1809 a junta was established in the city of Chuquisaca in what today is Bolivia. It was set up amid fears that the government would declare allegiance to the wife of the king of Portugal, Carlota Joaquina, the sister of captive King Fernando who was at that moment resident in Río de Janeiro. To prevent this the lawyers in the city, who were linked to the court and the university, forced the president of the Audiencia to step down. The reaction from Buenos Aires was limited, as Liniers did not have enough power to do much. The junta had the support of Elio and the newly arrived viceroy of the Río de la Plata, Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros, who was at the time also in Montevideo. By July the situation had escalated and on the day of the Virgin of Mount Carmel, as the city celebrated with a procession, another junta was established in the city of La Paz, this time with the name of Tuitiva. The main difference between the juntas of Chuquisaca and La Paz was that the former wanted to remove an unpopular Intendant, while the latter wanted to separate itself from the jurisdiction of Buenos Aires and the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata.

The creation of the junta of La Paz led to the breaking of hostilities in the Andes. Bolivian historiography takes this as the beginning of their struggle for independence and there were in fact regions far away from the cities that remained outside of the control of the Spanish crown from this moment onward. The fight for independence in this region would last, however, until 1825. What precipitated the action in 1809 was that the viceroy in Lima, Fernando de Abascal, was not prepared to accept juntas that had ideas he considered dangerous. Even though the junta declared they had risen in the name of the absent king, and in fact were under the jurisdiction of Buenos Aires and not Lima, Abascal organized for an armed contingent to travel from Cuzco, Arequipa, and Puno in southern Peru to end with the junta. These forces were all made up of local militias and paid by the merchant guild of Lima and the most prominent families in southern Peru. Juan Manuel de Goyeneche, a local Creole, who had trained for a military career in the peninsula and had recently traveled from Seville via Montevideo, Buenos Aires, Chuquisaca, and La Paz with instructions from the Junta Central, led the expedition, which took over La Paz without much difficulty.

Only a month after the Junta Tuitiva was created in La Paz another junta was set up in Quito. Similarly to that seen in Chuquisaca the president of the Audiencia was forced to resign by a group of local notables. Once again the junta was established in the name Ferdinand VII. The junta asked the municipal authorities of the towns within its jurisdiction to join in what they considered to be a government of “liberty and independence.” This has been taken by Ecuadorean historiography to mean the origin of their country, but following on what Brian Hamnett has asked, two questions emerge: whom were they seeking independence from and independence of what exactly were they proposing. It seems that to a large degree the independence Quito sought was not as much from Madrid as from Bogotá, the new vice-regal capital, or from Lima, the previous vice-regal authority. The question of what was going to become independent is also pertinent, as it was certainly not only the present-day republic of Ecuador that came into existence in 1830 after the failure of the union proposed by Bolivar known as Colombia.

Troops were sent from both Lima and Bogotá to end with the Quito junta. Although there was no real confrontation as in the case of La Paz, by October the ousted president of the Audiencia had been returned to his position and the leaders of the junta punished. The swift reaction of the two vice-regal capitals shows to what degree they considered it important to retain their control over Quito. It also makes it clear why this city wanted independence from Lima and Bogotá. The experiences of Chuquisaca, La Paz, and Quito are similar because they all stood at the margins between the older viceroyalty of Peru and newer viceroyalties of New Granada and Río de la Plata. The creation of these juntas as well as the effort to finish with them makes it clear how from the very beginning the wars of independence were not fought solely between Americans and Spaniards as traditional historiography would have it, but was to a large degree a fight between regions, cities, and provinces. Detailed study of why these juntas emerged and how they sought more local autonomy shows that it was not about the inexorable rise of nations. Bolivia and Ecuador, for example, emerged much later in the process (1825 and 1830, respectively) after the disintegration of the entity now known as Gran Colombia.

Juntas of 1810

By this point the illusion that Napoleon could be defeated swiftly had vanished and it was clear conflict was going to last much more than had been hoped. Surrounded by enemy forces the Junta Central was dissolved. Protected by the British navy, a Regency Council was established in Cádiz. It called for the meeting of the Cortes and in an attempt to legitimize their position it promised to extend political rights to the people of America. So when the Cortes finally met in September they included representatives from all over the Hispanic monarchy, albeit initially with Cádiz residents as stand-ins. In spite of this provision and the promise of elections, the news of the establishment of the Regency Council and the call to the Cortes had an unexpected consequence in the Americas, as a large number of juntas was set up.

The first one was in Caracas in April 1810, which came to be when a meeting of the Cabildo ousted the governor. A month later, in May 1810, the city of Buenos Aires deposed the viceroy, and installed an autonomous junta. In June, the Cabildo of Cartagena de Indias accused the governor of supporting the French and a junta was created there as well. Many other cities in the viceroyalty of New Granada followed suit, including Bogotá, where the viceroy was overthrown in July 1810. Quito set up their junta in August, in spite of having to contend with the troops sent in from Peru by Viceroy Abascal. Once Chile declared a junta in Santiago in September 1810 nearly all the mayor cities in South America had created autonomous juntas. Some refused to bow down to the authority of the regency while others accepted it. Even if the actual desire for independence was at this point not clear in all these cases, this is the moment that all the national historiographies have chosen to highlight as the one that triggered the wars of independence.

The main outlier case was Peru as no junta was attempted in 1810. Some conspiracies have been noted, but in reality the only viceroy that remained unencumbered by the mobilization experienced in the continent was Abascal. Lima, the most traditional center of power in the Pacific, remained loyal to the changing authorities in Spain and engaged with the process first by calling for elections and then sending their representatives to the Cortes in Cádiz. In the absence of autonomous juntas Peruvian historiography on independence has sought other foundational moments and from the 1970s Túpac Amaru was chosen as the hero to memorialize as a “precursor” of the movement for independence in Peru.

In New Spain the situation was quite different. Although between 1809 and 1810 there were some conspiracies, the vice-regal authority in Mexico City remained strong after the turmoil of 1808. In September 1810, however, a local uprising in Dolores, a small town in the center of the viceroyalty, resulted in a large insurrection. Local priest Miguel de Hidalgo began the uprising on September 16, 1810, backed by popular mobilization. He claimed to defend the absent king, and the Creole leadership thought this would allow them to push their demands for self-determination. But they had not counted on the massive support from the people from more popular sectors who had different needs and expressed them much more violently. This was not a junta movement similar to the ones seen in South America where the Creole elites had taken control of local governments. In New Spain the insurgency was much more reminiscent of the rebellions seen in the 1780s in the Andes. Local militias from Mexico City were mobilized and by 1811 Hildago had been captured and executed. The insurgency, which he began, continued and some remote areas remained outside the control of vice-regal authorities until final independence was achieved. The “grito de Dolores” when the insurrection by Hidalgo began is the moment Mexican historiography has chosen as the one to celebrate as the origin of its independence.

All the major historiographies in Spanish America consider that by 1810 most of the countries that now exist had already begun the process of independence. This is why the bicentenaries were celebrated in 2010 with little discussion of the wars that engulfed the continent for most of the following decade, as it was not until the 1820s and even the 1830s that the countries that we know today were actually established. The strong national myths created to develop a sense of self and of difference with the neighboring countries have contributed to this perception that independence took place early on. This is in fact far from the truth as some of the most violent confrontations took place between 1811 and 1821 when people from all walks of life fought against each other, often without much clarity of why they were supporting one side or the other.

Recent historiography considers that the period between 1808 and 1810 played a much greater role in the process of independence than previous studies, which were more interested in the antecedents. As Jeremy Adelman has noted a gulf between Spain and its American possessions had been steadily growing since the 18th century due to their different trade interest, so that when crisis struck and the peninsular authorities lost control the push for independence became stronger.12 François-Xavier Guerra and Jaime Rodriguez O. have been the greatest proponents of the importance of this political juncture, and in particular of the role that elections and new representative institutions played on the process of independence.13 Authors such as Jordana Dym have called attention to the importance of local circumstances and how each jurisdiction had to come to terms with the absence of the king, leading to a myriad of responses.14

Who Fought the Wars of Independence?

Another issue that dominated traditional historiography has been that the wars of independence were fought between Americans who sought freedom and their Spanish oppressors. This is in fact inexact as the situation was much more complex due to the way in which society had developed in the Americas. It is true that those born in Spain were at the pinnacle of colonial society, even if they had arrived in the Americas with very little. Moreover, Creoles lost some of their position by the sole fact of having been born in America. This is in spite of them being economically solvent and in many cases the most important people in their localities. Mestizos, on the other hand were a daily reminder that the social divisions between castes were illusory as people from all origins mixed. They could in some cases even reach positions of importance or be considered “white” in the context of the colonies. As for Indians they were a very diverse group, as it was not the same thing to be a noble Cacique in charge of collecting taxes and living in material comfort than being an Indian in a community that had to work to pay these taxes. Indians could also abandon their places of origin and take employment away from the responsibilities of taxation and communal ownership of land or they could join the ranks of the mestizo if they changed the way they dressed and spoke. Slavery was another matter central in the Spanish American experience. There were regional variations: some places, such as Chile, had hardly any slaves, while others like Venezuala were mostly populated by the descendants of blacks, some free and others slaves. The distinction between free blacks and slaves was also important as freedom could be obtained in a variety of ways and documents could be purchased to improve the position of a free black in the caste system.

This diversity made the wars more violent and complex. It was not Spaniards against Americans, just as it was not the case that slaves and Indians allied themselves against the elites. People supported one or the other side for a variety of reasons and often changed sides depending on the circumstances they encountered. In some cases slaves were promised freedom, and they backed the crown because they believed their chances to obtain that freedom would be better with them. This was also the case with Indians, who wanted to maintain some of their traditional rights to land and felt protected by the guarantee that the king would look after them if they paid their taxes. Noble Indians switched allegiances if they thought their traditional rights were being jeopardized. Creoles and Mestizos chose sides according to the chances they saw as opening up for them and the realities that shaped the conflicts themselves. Some of the participants in the wars were idealistic and fought because they hoped to create a better world. Others were more opportunistic and saw that breaking away from the control of the metropolis would bring them new chances to improve their lives. In some cases people were simply pushed by events in one direction or another.

Being large multiethnic polities where differences between people were at the basis of society, the dangers of ideas that promoted the notion of equality such as the ones put forward by the French Revolution were always going to be great. The experiences of Haiti and the United States and their processes for independence offered cautionary tales to Creole elites who wanted to be free of the Hispanic monarchy, while they provided hope to many who had seen the chances for advancement thwarted by their position in society. What was not clear-cut was how a person’s position in society influenced the choices they made on who to support.

Both Creole elites and mestizos opted either to support the king and his representatives or to fight for independence depending on what they thought would provide them with a better position. On several occasions they would change sides due to circumstances, like being captured, or through choice in an attempt to improve their situation. Indians and blacks also fought on both sides and as the work of Marcela Echeverri shows; sometimes when they were loyal to the crown they chose to be so in a very deliberate way because they were convinced that doing so afforded them better opportunities.15 In the case of African descendants, both free and slave, Peter Blanchard has detailed the way in which their support for each side varied regionally, and even in places that we do now not associate with large black populations such as Buenos Aires, where black recruits played an important role.16 What cannot be stressed enough is that the conflict was not entirely a case of Spaniards against Americans.

The Wars of Independence Begin in Earnest

The first confrontations were between the juntas. This was because competing juntas fought over the areas they felt entitled to control. The junta of Caracas, for instance, considered that the other provincial juntas and the cities that still did not have them should bow down to its authority. Some city councils such as the ones in Coro and Maracaibo refused and declared instead they would remain loyal to the absent king without establishing a junta. This led to the first armed confrontations in which militias from the different towns fought each other. The aim was, in the manner of 18th-century conflict, to bring the other city to capitulation; as this did not happen events escalated into a full-blown civil war. After the return of Miranda, the Caracas junta became more radicalized and in July 1811 it called for the full independence of Venezuela. A military offensive against this first Venezuelan republic was launched from the Caribbean and by 1812 Miranda had been forced to surrender.

In New Granada, where a series of local juntas were established, there was no clarity on how to move forward to create a unified state. Similarly to Venezuela some of the localities remained loyal to the regency, often as a result of long-standing enmities with cities in their vicinity. This was the case of Santa Marta, which remained loyal, while Cartagena proclaimed independence and its own constitution in 1811. Anthony McFarlane asserts that the exact number of juntas in New Granada is not known, but that there were around thirty of them, exceeding all other regions, even Spain itself.17 In contrast to Caracas, Bogotá did not have the same ability to claim central power as Cartagena retained much of the military force having been the most important port in the region for so long. Bogotá did try to assert itself against the loyalist province of Popayan that in 1809 had sent troops to suffocate the Quito junta. Popayan was taken but the loyalists retreated to Pasto where with the support of Abascal they mobilized a multiethnic coalition that remained loyal to the absent king until the bitter end, as has been studied by Marcela Echeverri.18

In the case of Buenos Aires, the junta created in 1810 sought to retake the northern provinces. To do so they sent an army made up of men who had studied law at the University of Chuquisaca. They were successful and by the end of the year they controlled all the cities up to Lake Titicaca. But their success did not last long as the same army that had been put together in southern Peru by viceroy Abascal a year earlier was sent under the command of Goyeneche, who took control of the Audiencia de Charcas in 1811. The wars in this part of the Andes were to prove intractable in large measure because conflict was fueled by the desire of both sides to control the mining city of Potosí where most of the silver in the region was produced. Every time one of the sides was successful in pushing the other to the border, a status quo would be established for some months until the other side would inevitably push back again. The war was also impossible to win, as both the junta in Buenos Aires as well as the Abascal regime in Lima could not really penetrate enemy land. More details of these conflicts can be found in the book by Natalia Sobrevilla Perea.19

The Buenos Aires junta sent another expeditionary force into Paraguay under Manuel Belgrano, which failed to take this province. A year later in 1811 the Creole elites of Paraguay declared themselves independent from both Spain and Buenos Aires. Their isolation and the difficulties in the terrain, as well as their inward looking economy, protected them from any further conflict until much later in the 19th century. Montevideo meanwhile had remained under Elio a staunch loyalist stronghold, but once a rural rebellion began an attack on Buenos Aires was launched. Local notable José Gervasio Artigas became its leader and he received the backing of Buenos Aires. He was, however, unable to take control of the port city as Elio managed to cling on to it thanks to its natural defenses, direct access to the sea, as well as support from the Portuguese. Forced to flee into the areas controlled by the Buenos Aires junta, this is the moment that Uruguayan historiography has chosen to commemorate as the start of their wars of independence, although their country did not really emerge as such until much later in the 1830s as a buffer between Argentina and Brazil.

War became a crucial factor in the development of competing identities. It was through conflict that territories that had hitherto been considered part of a wider Hispanic monarchy started to develop their own ideas of identity. These identities tended to be much closer to the area in which they lived. The newly created viceroyalties of New Granada and Río de la Plata wanted to retain control over the areas that came under their jurisdiction, but as the monarchical crises had opened the gates to local responses this was often not possible to achieve.

The Constitutional Moment

As conflict intensified in most of the Americas a game-changing event took place in March 1812 when a constitution for the whole Hispanic monarchy was enacted in Cádiz. Although constitutions had already been rolled out—for instance, by Napoleon and the Cartagena junta—this was the first attempt at a constitution that succeeded in involving a large part of the people in the Hispanic monarchy. The places where the constitution had most impact were the areas where the crown had been established the longest—Mexico, Guatemala, Cuba, and Peru—with some of the other provinces that remained loyal putting the charter in practice as well. All these differences on how the constitution was received in the Iberian Peninsula can been seen in the collection edited by Scott Eastman and Natalia Sobrevilla Perea.20 The promise of reform and representation lured many of those wavering into believing this was a real opportunity to maintain their loyalty to the Hispanic monarchy. Even territories that had autonomous juntas such as Buenos Aires and Chile left a door open to a possible acceptance of the constitution and did not declare against it outright. In the places where the constitution was enacted elections took place, not just for deputies to attend the Cortes in Spain, but also for municipal councils in every town with more than one thousand inhabitants. According to François-Xavier Guerra, the elections themselves were the revolution as they changed the perception people had of power and legitimacy.21

The Cádiz Constitution was important, among other reasons, because it made it possible for the liberals to present their idea of how the Hispanic monarchy should look. The context allowed for responses that moved toward deep reform, which some in Spain had been advocating due to the influence of the Enlightenment. These liberals, however, wanted reform as they sought to create a constitutional monarchy that would keep the empire united. To achieve this they implemented liberal measures such as promoting freedom of the press and the abolition of the Inquisition, the difference between the Republic of Spaniards and of Indians, as well as the taxation of Indians, which had at its basis the idea that all men should be equal. The right to vote was widespread as all men over the age of twenty-five, from European or American origin who were not under the subjugation of another could vote in the first round of elections. There would be two other rounds. Women and those of African origin could not vote, but free blacks could be allowed to vote if they could prove their merits. This led people of African descent to resent the constitution, while others took full advantage of the loophole. These differences in the case of Colombia are shown in the work of Marixa Lasso who sees opposition by Afro-Colombians to the constitution in Cartagena, whereas Marcela Echeverri presents them supporting it in Popayan.22

All these changes were crucial for the positive reception of the constitution in many places in the Americas. In New Spain the charter was so popular that in some regions it stemmed the advance of those fighting for independence. There was only one issue that remained unresolved, and that was that people in Europe and America were not counted in the same way. Had this been the case Americans would have outnumbered Europeans. The work of Jaime Rodriguez O. and François-Xavier Guerra gives the Cádiz Constitution a much more prominent role than that of previous historiographical currents, which were more concerned with the antecedents to independence. Atlantic history and in particular the work of José María Portillo Valdés opened up new paths of enquiry as this approach sought to see Spain and America not as two different areas of study, but instead as part of the same transatlantic empire.23 Although more critical to the Atlantic perspective Roberto Breña has done much to unravel the liberalism of this period and the way it spanned both the peninsula and America. The bicentenary of the constitution gave rise to new research such as the collection edited by Scott Eastman and Natalia Sobrevilla Perea on how the constitution was implemented, understood, and rejected in the Iberian Atlantic.24 This work has challenged previous historiography by showing that some areas of the Americas embraced the constitution and were not inclined to seek independence because they considered the new charter provided them with enough reform.

A Deepening of the Wars

The passing of the constitution emboldened Abascal into taking control of the areas that had historically belonged to the viceroyalty of Peru before the Bourbon Reforms. This included the Audiencia of Charcas, which he had retaken from the junta of Buenos Aires, and Quito whose independent junta he had also ended in alliance with the royalists of Popayan. By 1813 his next move was Chile, as he believed their junta had become progressively radicalized. The expedition he sent south coincided with the moment his men had penetrated the deepest into the Río de la Plata. So far in fact that in 1813 the royalists were forced to capitulate after the Battle of Salta to save their lives. Once again the men from the junta of Buenos Aires, this time under the direction of Manuel Belgrano, took control of the Audiencia de Charcas.

On the opposite side of the continent, Simón Bolívar carried out a very successful campaign to restore the Venezuelan republic in 1813. Using Napoleonic strategy he advanced rapidly, taking his opponents by surprise in what became known as the “admirable campaign.” In spite of his success his attempt to sustain the second Venezuelan republic failed, because he was unable to garner enough popular support for his ideas for reform. José Tomás Boves opposed him. He was a Spaniard who worked the llanos, the backwater savannahs inhabited by horse-riding mestizos who eked out a living from the grasslands. In retaliation for the successful offensive launched by Boves, Bolívar called a war to death. This led to the escalation of violence but did not result in success. Bolívar was forced to retreat back into exile.

In Mexico the insurgency continued after the death of Hidalgo under the leadership of José María Morelos, one of his lieutenants, who was also a priest. Just as in the case of Venezuela and in the Audiencia de Charcas the resolve of both sides deepened and conflict became more intractable. The remote valleys and jungles that the vice-regal powers had never really controlled now became liberated areas. This was the case not just in the Amazon east of the Andean Altiplano, but also in the thick forests close to the Pacific coast west of the city of Valladolid in New Spain. From here, Morelos called for a Congress to meet in Chilpancingo in 1813. Although it was clear his forces were unable to defeat the vice-regal army it was also evident that they could not be destroyed if they remained in areas that were difficult to access. At the end of the year Morelos declared independence from Spain and marched on to the city of Valladolid with more than six thousand men. He was determined to make his mark, but instead he was defeated. Morelos was deposed and the Constitution of Apazingan was enacted in 1814 in an insurgent attempt to regroup.

In Peru, conflict had been limited to small uprisings in provincial towns inspired by the propaganda arriving from the Río de la Plata. This changed in 1814 when a rebellion broke out in the city of Cuzco. It was due to the growing frustration that the innovations brought by the Cádiz Constitution were not being properly implemented and the high cost of keeping most of the troops in the Audiencia de Charcas. Within six months the rebellion controlled the provinces in southern Peru that had risen with Túpac Amaru. In spite of its initial success the troops from the Altiplano, many of them of Cuzqueño origin, returned and ended this attempt to create an Inca-inspired polity. It is interesting how Peruvian historiography has not taken this as the point of origin of its independence, focusing instead on either Túpac Amaru or the declaration of independence in Lima of 1821.


In 1814 the defeat of Napoleon and the return of Ferdinand VII changed things very dramatically. The Cádiz Constitution was immediately discarded and reinforcements were sent to the Americas in an attempt to regain the lost territories. In Mexico, the restoration coincided with the lowest point for the insurgents who were cornered in the Pacific lowlands and in the jungles between Mexico City and Veracruz. In Peru, Abascal was celebrating having retaken Chile, and reasserted control not only over Cuzco, but over the Audiencia de Charcas as well. It even seemed at that point possible for his army to continue into the Río de la Plata. This was until Montevideo’s navy was defeated in May 1814. After five years of being the last loyalist bastion on the Atlantic the port city fell to the control of Buenos Aires. The loyalist forces sent from Peru were able to maintain hold on the provinces of the Altiplano, defeating the porteño forces decisively both in 1814 and in 1815. But in Montevideo the situation was complicated by the fact that even though the city was no longer supporting the King, they nevertheless did not want to be under the control of Buenos Aires. This led to a war between the provinces and the intervention of the Portuguese who in 1816 invaded the Banda Oriental.

In the northern section of South America conflict became most intractable with the arrival of General Pablo Morillo and his expedition in 1815. The situation in Venezuela was already in hand as Boves had destroyed Bolívar’s second republic and he had been forced to seek refuge in Jamaica. In New Granada things were more complicated because of the multiplicity of localities that had remained independent, not only from Spain, but also from each other. Morillo’s large military force and his experience in the peninsular wars allowed him to retake Cartagena and Bogotá in 1816. He was successful in finishing all the other attempts at independence by placing occupying forces in the areas he believed still harbored ideas of resistance and worked with those who had remained loyal. Morillo had all the power of a military dictator and used it accordingly.

By 1816 it was clear that there could be no rapprochement between Ferdinand VII and the Buenos Aires junta. So in August of that year independence of the United Provinces of South America was declared in the city of Tucuman. The name chosen was inclusive enough to fit all the possible future permutations the new polity could take. It could in theory include independent Paraguay, the Banda Oriental, where Artigas and his men were fighting the Portuguese, and the territories of the Audiencia de Charcas, still contested with the Viceroyalty of Peru. It was clear that fighting in the Altiplano was futile so a new plan was hatched to aid the Chileans who had sought refuge in the province of Cuyo after Abascal had ended their first attempt at independence in 1814. This is when General José de San Martín came into his own as he organized an army to cross the Andes into Chile. The restoration of absolutism and the abolition of the constitution that resulted from Fernando VII’s return to power has been seen by many authors, such as Timothy Anna, as the point of no return.25

A Second Offensive

In spite of the difficulties that those fighting for independence faced both in Mexico and in the northern sections of South America between 1815 and 1816, a second offensive was attempted from 1817 onward. In the south where independence was more secure the strategy focused on gaining the independence of Chile. In Mexico the insurgency continued to cling on to their far-flung positions and the situation was similar in Venezuela where a series of leaders still fighting for independence managed to hold on to Margarita Island and some areas in eastern Venezuela. Bolívar had sought refuge in Haiti where he promised he would liberate slaves in the territories where he fought, once he succeeded in bringing them independence. He joined the forces of the east in March 1816. The grasslands of western Venezuela were another space where many had sought refuge after previous defeats. From these bases a second offensive was organized once Morillo moved from Caracas into New Granada. In the west, Antonio José Paez emerged as the most successful leader keeping the royalists at bay. By 1817, Paez and Bolívar had begun to collaborate in trying to take control over the great plains of the Orinoco basin to convert those grasslands into the center of resistance. Guyana and the mouth of the great river were also part of this strategy as both Bolívar and Morillo were convinced that control over the ports in the Caribbean was crucial. The tide started to change once Bolívar took the city of Angostura. From there he could control the Orinoco basin and continue his attack.

A second offensive began in the southernmost part of the Andes under the command of San Martín. His forces were, to a large degree, made up of slaves from Buenos Aires who had been promised their freedom in exchange for fighting, people from the province of Cuyo and Chilean refugees. San Martín’s training as a military officer in the Spanish army paid off as he was able to prepare his men for the punishing crossing of the cordillera and organize them for the Chilean campaign, which began in earnest 1817 with the victory at the Battle of Chacabuco. This battle, fought in a classic European style, allowed for San Martin to take over Chile. It was, however, not decisive as the royalists still had much support in the south and were able to rearm and attack once more at Maipú in 1818. This time the royalists were completely defeated although some bases in the south remained loyal. Political command of Chile was left to a close ally, General Bernardo O’Higgins, so San Martín could devote his full attention to the invasion of Peru by sea. As Chileans manned and British officered, a navy was cobbled together and by 1819 it was marauding the Peruvian coast.

By 1818, Bolívar and Paez had encountered Morillo twice. First they defeated him but then they lost, and were forced to retreat to the llanos. Bolívar then decided to transfer the theater of action to New Granada as Morillo had moved most of his forces back to Venezuela where the royalists were extremely difficult to beat. In February 1819 a Constituent Congress met in the city of Angostura. Bolívar was made president and the constitution he proposed was enacted. He then proceeded to march on to New Granada following a punishing but unguarded route through the highlands. He prepared his men well and took advantage of those who had come from Europe as part of the British Legion and who helped him professionalize his troops. The gamble paid off and in April 1819 Bolívar defeated the royalists in the Battle of Boyacá. This gave him access to Bogotá as the viceroy fled to Cartagena. With control over the capital, as well as the most populated regions in eastern New Granada, Bolívar formed a new government and created the Republic of Colombia by bringing together Venezuela, New Granada, and Quito, despite the fact that most of these regions remained loyal to the king.

The Return of the Constitution

In early 1820 troops were being prepared in Cádiz to sail off to Buenos Aires in an effort to contribute to the titanic task of retaking control of the provinces that had by now declared independence. Most of the soldiers were not eager to embark and there was a growing feeling that these overseas wars were a lost cause. Building on this discontent Colonel Rafael Riego rose against his superiors and declared in favor of returning to the Cádiz Constitution of 1812. Much to the authorities surprise he had the backing from the majority of the troops and by March the Constitution had been reinstated inaugurating a second period of liberalism in Spain. Inspired by these actions, liberals in the city of Porto rose in a revolution that demanded a constitutional monarchy for Portugal, like the one in neighboring Spain, and the return of King João from Brazil. The consequences of these actions in the Americas were far reaching. On the one hand it meant that no further troops could be sent, but most importantly it installed a regime in power that was open to the possibility of negotiation with those who sought independence.

News reached New Spain first. The move was initially welcomed and the constitution was reinstated in June 1820. But with time it became increasingly clear that the issues that had been sticking points in 1810–1814, namely the equality of representation in elections, political autonomy, or even free trade, were not going to change substantially. In February 1821, Colonel Agustín de Iturbide, the officer who had defeated Morelos, called for independence under the banner of an army of three guarantees: “Religion, Independence, Union.” The Plan of Iguala, which he proposed, would install an independent monarchy in Mexico under the tutelage of Ferdinand VII or one of his brothers and end the decade-long insurgency. In the months that followed the plan gained more and more support. After O’Donojú, the representative of the new liberal government in the peninsula, gave his blessing, the road was open for Iturbide to declare the Mexican Empire in September 1821. As no member of the Spanish royal family accepted the offer of becoming the monarch, Iturbide was crowned emperor of a territory that included all the provinces from Oregon to the Isthmus of Panama.

It was precisely in Panama that the Republic of Colombia, proclaimed by Bolívar, began. At this point the republic was little more than an illusion, as only some provinces of central New Granada and southern Venezuela had been freed. The 1820 Riego uprising, however, changed the balance of power and made Bolívar’s plan much more plausible. Morillo could no longer rule with an iron fist and had to give the civilian authorities elected under the aegis of the constitution many prerogatives. He was also forced to call for a truce with Bolívar and give him the opportunity to accept the Cádiz Constitution. This led to deep divisions in the loyalist camp, which resulted in the viceroy being forced out of Cartagena. After this, New Granada fell like a house of cards and Bolívar concentrated on expelling Morillo from Caracas. In June 1821 he finally accomplished this feat at the battle of Carabobo. Colombia, as imagined by Bolívar, was nearly complete. Only the southern territories of Pasto, Popayan, and Quito remained loyal to the newly reestablished constitutional regime. Guayaquil, at that point still dependent on Lima, declared for independence in 1820 under the aegis of the naval incursions from Chile.

In Lima, Viceroy Joaquín de la Pezuela received the news of the reinstatement of the Cádiz Constitution with a conspicuous lack of enthusiasm. A veteran of the wars in the Altiplano he had seen firsthand the kind of trouble the constitutional regime could breed after having had to suppress the Cuzco rebellion in 1814. In 1820, Pezuela was also occupied with fending off the attack by sea launched by San Martín a year prior. He was nevertheless forced to bring back the charter, which he did in September, days before San Martín himself disembarked south of Lima, with a large expeditionary force. It was made up of the veterans of the campaign of the Andes that had crossed with him into Chile from Cuyo and an important number of Chileans. San Martín also brought several trunks full of uniforms, convinced his cause would receive overwhelming popular support. This was not the case and during his first months in Peru he only received the backing of some enthusiasts, slaves who hoped to gain their freedom in exchange for fighting, and the elites in the northern coast of Peru who wanted to continue their trade relationship with newly independent Chile. A column was dispatched to the Andes where most of the towns dutifully declared for independence but did nothing more. Pezuela had to negotiate with San Martín as mandated by the regime in Madrid, but both sides were convinced the negotiations would amount to nothing.

By December 1820 all the north of Peru had declared for independence, a crucial battle had been won by the expeditionary forces in Cerro de Pasco, the most important mining region in the Central Andes, and the largest royalist ship, the Esmeralda, had been taken by those fighting for independence. Frustrated, the army officers who had arrived in Peru after the Napoleonic wars ousted Pezuela in January 1821. They accused him of inaction and replaced him with General José de la Serna. Military action, however, was not forthcoming and conversations with San Martín continued. The results were equally dismal and in July 1821 La Serna and his men abandoned Lima and sought refuge in the Andes. The elites in the capital feared Indians and slaves, so they invited San Martín to take over. On the July 28, a formal ceremony proclaiming independence was carried out following all the patterns of the colonial celebrations. This is the date Peruvians remember as marking their liberation and it is the reason why some historiography holds that outsiders forced independence on reluctant Peruvian loyalists. By this point all the rest of the areas in the mainland had achieved independence from Spain and by 1822 even Brazil had declared independence, establishing an empire headed by the son of King João, Pedro.

More remarkable is that from July 1821 an alternative loyalist government was installed in the Andes under the aegis of the Cádiz Constitution. Hence the same region that had risen under Túpac Amaru in 1780 and again in 1814 was now one of the last remaining bastions of royalism in the Americas. The others were Popayan, Pasto, and Quito, which Bolívar did not manage to completely control until victory at the Battle of Pichincha in 1822. To obtain the ultimate liberation of the republic Bolívar had imagined as Colombia, he needed the reinforcements sent by San Martín from northern Peru. San Martín who had been invested with the title of Protector in Lima had encouraged debate on whether Peru should be a monarchy or a republic, but managed little more. During his time in the capital it was increasingly clear he was unable to attack the royalists who had found refuge in the unassailable southern Andes. San Martín called for elections of a Congress and in July 1822 traveled to Guayaquil to meet Bolívar. Due to the discretion of the two men it is impossible to know exactly what transpired in this meeting. But it is known that upon his return, San Martín opened sessions at the Peruvian Congress and abandoned Lima and eventually America for good.

Bolívar remained in Colombia while he sent his most trusted lieutenant, General Antonio José de Sucre, south. In 1823 the Peruvian government attempted to attack the royalists who were trying to reach them through the southern port of Arica. Two campaigns were put together and both failed, although during the second attempt the forces sent from Lima managed to penetrate as far inland as La Paz and Oruro. This was to no avail as the well-prepared royalist army would have had to be divided into two fronts for this plan to succeed and Sucre, who could have provided the support, was reluctant to get embroiled. The Peruvian independent government was weak, and in fact so prone to division that when Bolívar finally arrived in Lima half of the government had relocated to Trujillo and had set up an alternative regime. In Peru, Bolívar was eventually made Dictator, which gave him free reign to organize his army. He abandoned Lima because he realized, as had the royalists some years prior, that the city was impossible to defend and expensive to provision. During this time Lima fell twice to the royalists.

Final Capitulation

The constitutional regime fell in 1823 when an expeditionary force, known as the Hundred Thousand Sons of Saint-Louis, crossed the border from France. By then the only territories that remained loyal in the American mainland were southern Peru and the Audiencia de Charcas. The islands of the Caribbean had not been affected by the wars of independence and became instead a refuge for the loyalists from the rest of the continent. In southern Peru, the fall of the constitutional regime jeopardized the position of the supporters of the crown. Ayuntamientos members had been elected and many of the constitutional reforms that had been outlined between 1812 and 1814 were now implemented. News of the end of the regime came as a big blow to the officers who had retained control of these regions for nearly three years with virtually no external help and divisions surfaced immediately. In Charcas, Pedro Antonio de Olañeta welcomed the return of absolutism while La Serna and his men found their position compromised. Bolívar finally organized a fighting force that was trained to fight at high altitude and maintain their formation while on the attack.

The final military encounters of the wars of independence took place in the Peruvian Andes. The first was the Battle of Junín, which was fought in June 1824 on a 3,000-meter-high plain. The two cavalries met with lances for forty-five minutes and not a single shot was fired. Bolívar emerged victorious, but the battle was not decisive and enemy forces met again at the Pampa de la Quinua on December 9, 1824. The second battle fought there, the Battle of Ayacucho, was decisive. By then, La Serna did not have his full army as Olañeta had defected. Sucre led the battle while Bolívar marched on Lima and after nearly four hours of combat, and with La Serna wounded, a capitulation agreement was made. With its signing the wars of independence formally came to an end. Of the 9,944 men who fought for the crown at Ayacucho only 748 returned to Spain, with the rest remaining in America. After this very long conflict it was clear there was no more space for defending the crown even in a region that had proven so loyal till the end. Nothing could stop Sucre’s advance, first to La Paz and later to Potosí, and in April 1825 Olañeta was killed by one of his men.

At this point only three offshore enclaves remained: San Juan de Ulúa, off the coast of Veracruz, capitulated in late 1825, and the fortresses of Real Felipe at Callao and Chiloe both surrendered in January 1826 after long and painful sieges. Their defeat confirmed the absolute independence of the American mainland and the end of the wars of independence. The Caribbean possessions of Cuba and Puerto Rico remained firmly under the control of the Spanish crown and would remain so until the Spanish-American War of 1898. The process of building nations out of the states that emerged began in the 1820s and continued throughout the first half of the 19th century as borders were settled and various federations, confederations, and unions were attempted until the new republics were consolidated.

Discussion of the Literature

The most important and recent book to have appeared on the topic is Anthony McFarlane, War and Independence in Spanish America.26 This is a comprehensive overview of the conflicts that provides much detail on all the theaters of war as well as on their causes and consequences. Another author who is essential to the understanding of the process is Brian Hamnett, whose The Politics of Counter-Revolution: Liberalism, Royalism and Separatism in Mexico and Peru 1800–1824 has also been translated into Spanish.27 Also extremely useful is Hamnett’s “Process and Pattern: A Re-examination of the Ibero-American Independence Movements, 1808–1826.”28 The importance of Tupac Amaru as well as the impact of the rebellion in the historiography has been recently reevaluated by Charles Walker in The Tupac Amaru Rebellion.29

Some of the most important texts were written in the 1970s and early 1980s. John Lynch produced his acclaimed The Spanish American Revolutions, 1808–1826;. Timothy Anna published The Fall of the Royal Government in Mexico City, The Fall of the Royal Government in Peru, and Spain and the Loss of America.30 At the tail end of this historiographical wave is Jorge Dominguez, Insurrection or Loyalty: The Breakdown of the Spanish American Empire.31 These works saw the Bourbon Reforms as one of the main reasons for independence.

A new vision on independence, which highlighted the importance of the 1808 juncture, appeared during the 1990s and later. Most important among such works are François-Xavier Guerra, Modernidad e independencias, and Jaime E. Rodriguez O., The Independence of Spanish America.32 Also important in understanding this moment and particularly the question of legitimacy are Antonio Annino’s De los Imperios a las Naciones: Iberoamérica and José Carlos Chiaramonte’s Nación y Estado en Iberoamérica, El lenguaje politico en tiempos de la independencia.33

Works on the Bourbon reforms are also important to have a full context on the realities of Spanish America in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Among them the most important ones are: John Lynch, Bourbon Spain; John Fisher, Bourbon Peru 1750–1824; and Anthony McFarlane, Colombia before Independence: Economy, Society and Politics under Bourbon Rule.34 As for the military reforms and their impact on the wars of independence see Christon I. Archer, The Army in Bourbon Mexico, 1760–1810; Leon C. Campell, The Military and Society in Colonial Peru, 1750–1810 ; and John Fisher, Allan Kuethe, and Anthony McFarlane, Reform and Insurrection in Bourbon New Granada and Peru (Baton Rouge: University of Louisiana, 1990).35 For a wider look at Spain and its empire see Anthony Pagden, Spanish Imperialism and the Political Imagination: Studies in European and Spanish-American Social and Political Theory 1513–1830 (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1990).36 More recent works shed new light on the Bourbon Reforms include Alejandra Irigoin and Regina Grafe, “The Spanish Empire and Its Legacy: Fiscal Redistribution and Political Conflict in Colonial and Post-Colonial Spanish America,” and Jordana Dym, From Sovereign Villages to Nation States: City, State and Federation in Central America 1759–1839.37

The armies with which the wars were fought can be better understood with a series of books on particular aspects. For slave participation for both the royalists and those fighting for independence, Peter Blanchard’s Under the Flags of Freedom: Slave Soldiers and the Wars of Independence in Spanish South America is essential.38 For the British participation in the campaigns see Matthew Brown’s Adventuring through Spanish Colonies: Simón Bolívar, Foreign Mercenaries and the Birth of New Nations.39 Most recent is Juan Luis Ossa, Armies, Politics and Revolution: Chile 1808–1826.40 On the generals who fought until the bitter end in the Peruvian highlands see Natalia Sobrevilla Perea, “From Europe to the Andes and Back: Becoming ‘Los Ayacuchos’.”41

A series of books have appeared to coincide with the bicentenaries of independence. John Chasteen’s Americanos: Latin America’s Struggle for Independence is a useful introduction to the main characters and events, but is quite generic.42 Jeremy Adelman’s Sovereignty and Revolution in the Iberian Atlantic concentrates on the rivalries between the Spanish and Portuguese crowns in the southern Atlantic, but does not really present an integral analysis of the wars of independence.43 Also important is the work of Gabriel Paquette, particularly in understanding how historiography on the wars has changed, as demonstrated in his article “The Dissolution of the Spanish Atlantic Monarchy.”44

Biography is a genre that has had a resurgence in recent historiography, with some of the principle characters receiving attention. For example, see John Lynch, Bolívar: A Life, and San Martín: Argentine Soldier, American Hero.45 A recent biography of Bolívar with a literary twist is Marie Arana, Bolívar: American Liberator.46 Other important biographies include Pamela Murray, For Glory and Bolívar: The Remarkable Life of Manuela Saenz; Karen Racine, Francisco de Miranda: A Transatlantic Life in the Age of Revolution; James Dunkerley, The Third Man: Frances Burdett O’Connor and the Emancipation of the Americas; and Natalia Sobrevilla Perea, The Caudillo of the Andes: Andrés de Santa Cruz.47

Primary Sources

Most of the primary sources for this topic are in Spanish. Major national collections can be found in print in mayor libraries across the world, particularly for the cases of Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, Chile, and Argentina. Epistolary collections have been published for most of the important participants in these conflicts. National archives in each of the independent republics hold most of the materials and some can also be found in Spain, especially to understand the royalist camp, Great Britain, France, the Vatican, and the United States. Some North American universities such as Yale, Harvard, University of Texas at Austin, as well as the John Carter Brown Library and the Lilly Library at the University of Indiana have relevant collections. A useful collection of primary sources in English for teaching is Latin American Independence: An Anthology of Sources, which is edited and translated by Sarah C. Chambers and John Charles Chasteen.48 Another excellent resource, edited and translated by Ward Stavig and Ella Schmidt, is The Tupac Amaru and Catarista Rebellions: An Anthology of Sources49

Further Reading

Adelman, Jeremy. Sovereignty and Revolution in the Iberian Atlantic. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006.Find this resource:

Anna, Timothy. The Fall of the Royal Government in Mexico City. Lincoln: University of Nebraska, 1978.Find this resource:

Anna, Timothy. The Fall of the Royal Government in Peru. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1979.Find this resource:

Anna, Timothy. Spain and the Loss of America. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1983.Find this resource:

Annino, Antonio. De los Imperios a las Naciones: Iberoamérica. Zaragosa, Spain: Ibercaja, 1994.Find this resource:

Arana, Marie. Bolívar: American Liberator. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2013.Find this resource:

Archer, Christon I.The Army in Bourbon Mexico, 1760–1810. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1977.Find this resource:

Blanchard, Peter. Under the Flags of Freedom: Slave Soldiers and the Wars of Independence in Spanish South America. Pittsburg, CA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008.Find this resource:

Brading, David. The First America: The Spanish Monarchy, Creole Patriots and the Liberal State 1492–1867. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1993.Find this resource:

Brown, Matthew. Adventuring through Spanish Colonies: Simón Bolívar, Foreign Mercenaries and the Birth of New Nations. Liverpool, UK: Liverpool University Press, 2006.Find this resource:

Cahill, David. From Rebellion to Independence in the Andes: Soundings from the South 1750–1830. Amsterdam: Askant, 2002.Find this resource:

Campell, Leon C.The Military and Society in Colonial Peru, 1750–1810. Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1978.Find this resource:

Chambers, Sarah. From Subjects to Citizens: Honor, Gender, and Politics in Arequipa, Peru, 1780–1854. University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 1999.Find this resource:

Chambers, Sarah C., and John Charles Chasteen, eds. and trans. Latin American Independence: An Anthology of Sources. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 2010.Find this resource:

Chasteen, John. Americanos: Latin America’s Struggle for Independence. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.Find this resource:

Chiaramonte, José Carlos. Nación y Estado en Iberoamérica, El lenguaje politico en tiempos de la independencia. Buenos Aires: Sudamericana, 2004.Find this resource:

Collier, Simon. Ideas and Politics of Chilean Independence 1808–1833. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1967.Find this resource:

Dominguez, Jorge. Insurrection or Loyalty: The Breakdown of the Spanish American Empire. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1980.Find this resource:

Dunkerley, James. The Third Man: Frances Burdett O’Connor and the Emancipation of the Americas. London: Institute of Latin American Studies, 1999.Find this resource:

Dym, Jordana. From Sovereign Villages to Nation States: City, State and Federation in Central America 1759–1839. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2006.Find this resource:

Eastman, Scott, and Natalia Sobrevilla Perea. The Rise of Constitutional Government in the Iberian Atlantic World: The Impact of the Cádiz Constitution of 1812. Tuscaloosa: Alabama University Press, 2015.Find this resource:

Echeverri, Marcela. “Popular Royalists, Empire, and Politics in Southwestern New Granada.” Hispanic American Historical Review 91, no. 2 (2011).Find this resource:

Fisher, John. Bourbon Peru, 1750–1824. Liverpool, UK: Liverpool University Press, 2003.Find this resource:

Fisher, John, Allan Kuethe, and Anthony McFarlane. Reform and Insurrection in Bourbon New Granada and Peru. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1990.Find this resource:

Garrett, David T.Shadows of Empire: The Indian nobility of Cuzco 1750–1825. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005.Find this resource:

Geggus, David. The Haitian Revolution: A Documentary History. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 2014.Find this resource:

Guardino, Peter. Peasants, Politics, and the Formation of Mexico’s National State: Guerrero, 1800–1857. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1996.Find this resource:

Guerra, François-Xavier. Modernidad e independencies. Madrid: MAPFRE, 1992.Find this resource:

Hamnett, Brian. The Politics of Counter-Revolution: Liberalism, Royalism and Separatism in Mexico and Peru 1800–1824. 1976.Find this resource:

Hamnett, Brian. “Process and Pattern: A Re-examination of the Ibero-American Independence Movements, 1808–1826.” Journal of Latin American Studies 29, no. 2 (1997): 279–328.Find this resource:

Helg, Aline. Liberty and Equality in Caribbean Colombia, 1770–1835. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004.Find this resource:

Irigoin, Alejandra, and Regina Grafe. “The Spanish Empire and Its Legacy: Fiscal Redistribution and Political Conflict in Colonial and Post-Colonial Spanish America.” Journal of Global History 1 (2006): 241–267.Find this resource:

Landers, Jane. Atlantic Creoles in the Age of Revolutions. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2011.Find this resource:

Lasso, Marixa. Myths of Harmony: Race and Republicanism during the Age of Revolution, Colombia, 1795–1831. Pittsburgh, CA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2007.Find this resource:

Lynch, John. The Spanish American Revolutions, 1808–1826. London: Wiedenfield & Nicolson, 1973.Find this resource:

Lynch, John. Bourbon Spain. Oxford: Blackwell, 1989.Find this resource:

Lynch, John. Bolívar: A Life. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006.Find this resource:

Lynch, John. San Martín: Argentine Soldier, American Hero. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2009.Find this resource:

McFarlane, Anthony. Colombia before Independence: Economy, Society and Politics under Bourbon Rule. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1993.Find this resource:

McFarlane, Anthony. War and Independence in Spanish America. New York: Routledge, 2008.Find this resource:

Murray, Pamela. For Glory and Bolívar: The Remarkable Life of Manuela Saenz. Austin: University of Texas Press, 2008.Find this resource:

Ossa, Juan Luis. Armies, Politics and Revolution: Chile, 1808–1826. Liverpool, UK: Liverpool University Press, 2015.Find this resource:

Pagden, Anthony. Spanish Imperialism and the Political Imagination: Studies in European and Spanish-American Social and Political Theory 1513–1830. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1990.Find this resource:

Paquette, Gabriel. “The Dissolution of the Spanish Atlantic Monarchy.” The Historical Journal 52, no. 1 (2009): 175–212.Find this resource:

Portillo Valdés, José María. Crisis Atlántica: Autonomía e independencia en la crisis de la monarquía hispana. Madrid: Marcial Pons, 2006.Find this resource:

Racine, Karen. Francisco de Miranda: A Transatlantic Life in the Age of Revolution. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 2003.Find this resource:

Rodriguez O., Jaime E.The Independence of Spanish America. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1998.Find this resource:

Sartorius, David. Ever Faithful: Race, Loyalty, and the Ends of Empire in Spanish Cuba. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2014.Find this resource:

Sobrevilla Perea, Natalia. The Caudillo of the Andes: Andrés de Santa Cruz. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2011.Find this resource:

Sobrevilla Perea, Natalia. “From Europe to the Andes and Back: Becoming ‘Los Ayacuchos’.” European Historical Quarterly 41, (2011): 472–488.Find this resource:

Stavig, Ward, and Ella Schmidt, eds. and trans. The Tupac Amaru and Catarista Rebellions: An Anthology of Sources. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 2008.Find this resource:

Thompson, Sinclair. We Alone Will Rule: Native Andean Politics in the Age of Insurgency. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2002.Find this resource:

Van Young, Eric. The Other Rebellion: Popular Violence, Ideology, and the Mexican Struggle for Independence, 1810–1821. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2002.Find this resource:

Walker, Charles. The Tupac Amaru Rebellion. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014.Find this resource:


(1.) Brian Hamnett, Revolución y contrarrevolución en México y el Perú: Liberalismo, realeza y separatismo, 1800–1824 (Mexico: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1978), translation of The Politics of Counter-Revolution: Liberalism, Royalism and Separatism in Mexico and Peru 1800–1824 (1976).

(2.) John Lynch, The Spanish American Revolutions, 1808–1826 (London: Wiendenfield & Nicolson, 1973).

(3.) Jaime Rodriguez O., The Independence of Spanish America (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1998).

(4.) Anthony Pagden, Spanish Imperialism and the Political Imagination: Studies in European and Spanish-American Social and Political Theory 1513–1830. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1990.

(5.) Jeremy Adelman, Sovereignty and Revolution in the Iberian Atlantic (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006); Alejandra Irigoin and Regina Grafe. “The Spanish Empire and Its Legacy: Fiscal Redistribution and Political Conflict in Colonial and Post-Colonial Spanish America,” Journal of Global History 1 (2006), 241–267; Jordana Dym, From Sovereign Villages to Nation States: City, State and Federation in Central America 1759–1839 (Albuquerque: New Mexico, 2006); Gabriel Paquette, “The Dissolution of the Spanish Atlantic Monarchy,” The Historical Journal 52, no. 1 (2009), 175–212; Juan Luis Ossa, Armies, Politics and Revolution. Chile 1808–1826 (Liverpool, UK: Liverpool University Press, 2015).

(6.) Charles Walker, The Tupac Amaru Rebellion (Cambridge, MA: Harvard, 2014); Sinclair Thompson, We Alone Will Rule: Native Andean Politics in the Age of Insurgency (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2002).

(7.) Paquette, “The Dissolution of the Spanish Atlantic Monarchy,” 175–212.

(8.) David T. Garrett, Shadows of Empire: The Indian Nobility of Cuzco 1750–1825 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005).

(9.) David Cahill, From Rebellion to Independence in the Andes: Soundings from the South 1750–1830 (Amsterdam: Askant, 2002); Anthony McFarlane, War and Independence in Spanish America (New York: Routledge, 2008).

(10.) David Geggus, The Haitian Revolution: A Documentary History. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 2014.

(11.) François-Xavier Guerra, Modernidad e independencies (Madrid: MAPFRE, 1992); Rodriguez O., The Independence of Spanish America.

(12.) Adelman, Sovereignty and Revolution.

(13.) Guerra, Modernidad e independencies; Rodriguez O., The Independence of Spanish America.

(14.) Dym, From Sovereign Villages to Nation States.

(15.) Marcela Echeverri, “Popular Royalists, Empire, and Politics in Southwestern New Granada.” Hispanic American Historical Review 91, no. 2 (2011).

(16.) Peter Blanchard, Under the Flags of Freedom: Slave Soldiers and the Wars of Independence in Spanish South America. (Pittsburgh, CA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008).

(17.) McFarlane, War and Independence in Spanish America, 97.

(18.) Echeverri, “Popular Royalists, Empire, and Politics.”

(19.) Natalia Sobrevilla Perea, The Caudillo of the Andes: Andrés de Santa Cruz (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2011).

(20.) Scott Eastman and Natalia Sobrevilla Perea, The Rise of Constitutional Government in the Iberian Atlantic World: The Impact of the Cádiz Constitution of 1812 (Tuscaloosa: Alabama University Press, 2015).

(21.) Guerra, Modernidad e independencies.

(22.) Marixa Lasso, Myths of Harmony: Race and Republicanism during the Age of Revolution, Colombia, 1795–1831 (Pittsburgh, CA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2007); Echeverri, “Popular Royalists.”

(23.) José María Portillo Valdés, Crisis Atlántica: Autonomía e independencia en la crisis de la monarquía hispana (Madrid: Marcial Pons, 2006).

(24.) Eastman and Perea, Rise of Constitutional Government.

(25.) Timothy Anna, Spain and the Loss of America (Lincoln: Nebraska University Press, 1983).

(26.) McFarlane, War and Independence in Spanish America.

(27.) Hamnett, Politics of Counter-Revolution. A Spanish-language edition was published in Mexico (Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2011.

(28.) Brian Hamnett, “Process and Pattern: A Re-examination of the Ibero-American Independence movements, 1808-1826.” Journal of Latin American Studies 29, no. 2 (1997): 279–328.

(29.) Walker, The Tupac Amaru Rebellion.

(30.) John Lynch, The Spanish American Revolutions; Timothy Anna, The Fall of the Royal Government in Mexico City (Lincoln: Nebraska University Press, 1978); Timothy Anna, Spain and the Loss of America (Lincoln: Nebraska University Press, 1983).

(31.) Jorge Dominguez, Insurrection or Loyalty: The Breakdown of the Spanish American Empire (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1980).

(32.) Guerra, Modernidad e independencias; Rodriguez O., Independence of Spanish America.

(33.) Antonio Annino, De los Imperios a las Naciones: Iberoamérica (Zaragosa, Spain: Ibercaja, 1994); José Carlos Chiaramonte, Nación y Estado en Iberoamérica, El lenguaje politico en tiempos de la independencia (Buenos Aires: Sudamericana, 2004).

(34.) John Lynch, Bourbon Spain (Oxford: Blackwell, 1989); John Fisher, Bourbon Peru 1750–1824 (Liverpool, UK: Liverpool University Press, 2003); Anthony McFarlane, Colombia before Independence: Economy, Society and Politics under Bourbon Rule (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1993).

(35.) Christon I. Archer, The Army in Bourbon Mexico, 1760–1810 (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1977); Leon C. Campell, The Military and Society in Colonial Peru, 1750–1810 (Philadelphia: American Philosophical Society, 1978); John Fisher, Allan Kuethe, and Anthony McFarlane, Reform and Insurrection in Bourbon New Granada and Peru (Baton Rouge: University of Louisiana, 1990).

(36.) Pagden, Spanish Imperialism and the Political Imagination.

(37.) Alejandra Irigoin and Regina Grafe, “The Spanish Empire and Its Legacy: Fiscal Redistribution and Political Conflict in Colonial and Post-Colonial Spanish America,” Journal of Global History 1 (2006), 241–267; Jordana Dym, From Sovereign Villages to Nation States: City, State and Federation in Central America 1759–1839. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2006

(38.) Blanchard, Under the Flags of Freedom.

(39.) Matthew Brown, Adventuring through Spanish Colonies: Simón Bolívar, Foreign Mercenaries and the Birth of New Nations (Liverpool, UK: Liverpool University Press, 2006).

(40.) Ossa, Armies, Politics and Revolution.

(41.) Natalia Sobrevilla Perea, “From Europe to the Andes and Back: Becoming ‘Los Ayacuchos’,” European Historical Quarterly 41 (2011), 472–488.

(42.) John Chasteen, Americanos: Latin America’s Struggle for Independence (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008).

(43.) Jeremy Adelman, Sovereignty and Revolution in the Iberian Atlantic (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2006)

(44.) Gabriel Paquette, “The Dissolution of the Spanish Atlantic Monarchy,” The Historical Journal 52, no. 1 (2009), 175–212.

(45.) Lynch, Bolívar: A Life; John Lynch, San Martín: Argentine Soldier, American Hero (New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2009).

(46.) Marie Arana, Bolívar: American Liberator (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2013).

(47.) Pamela Murray, For Glory and Bolívar: The Remarkable Life of Manuela Saenz (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2008); Karen Racine, Francisco de Miranda: A Transatlantic Life in the Age of Revolution (Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 2003); James Dunkerley, The Third Man: Frances Burdett O’Connor and the Emancipation of the Americas (London: Institute of Latin American Studies, 1999); Sobrevilla Perea, “From Europe to the Andes and Back.”

(48.) Sarah C. Chambers and John Charles Chasteen, eds. and trans., Latin American Independence: An Anthology of Sources (Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 2010).

(49.) Ward Stavig and Ella Schmidt, The Tupac Amaru and Catarista Rebellions: An Anthology of Sources (Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 2008).