The printing press set up in Rio Grande do Sul by Antonio Isidoro da Fonseca in 1747 was immediately closed down by the government. Portugal’s King Joao V (r. 1706-50) was ill and dying when he ended the official “ransom” expeditions in Brazil in 1748 and declared that all Indians should be freed. That year the new captaincies of Goias and Mato Grosso were carved out of the large captaincy of Sao Paulo. In January 1750 Portugal and Spain agreed to the Treaty of Madrid that established the borders of Brazil as nearly half of South America. During the first half of the 18th century Brazil imported 790,200 slaves from Angola and Costa da Mina in Africa. During the same period the Portuguese were immigrating at the rate of about ten thousand per year. Between 1734 and 1769 Rio de Janeiro imported 156,638 slaves from Luanda. By the middle of the 18th century the native population, which had been about 2.5 million in 1500, had been reduced to less than 1.5 million. An epidemic of measles and dysentery struck in 1749 and was followed by smallpox the next year that caused the death of 40,000 people around Belem.
The Uruguay River was recognized as the southern border of Brazil. In 1682 Spanish Jesuits had crossed the river and established missions for the Seven Peoples, which became the home for 30,000 Guaranis. To avoid promiscuity the Jesuits approved of early marriages for the Indians. After the treaty of 1750 the Spaniards insisted on the tribes moving across the river to their territory, but in 1752 the natives resisted. In 1754 the Jesuits surrendered their missions, but the Indians refused to comply during the Guarani War (1754-56). A Spanish army of 2,000 tried to force them to move but was badly supplied and had to retreat. In November 1754 some of the Indian chiefs made a treaty with the Portuguese and Gomes Freire de Andrade, Governor of Rio de Janeiro 1735-63, but in February 1756 a combined Spanish-Portuguese army demanded that the seven missions surrender to the Portuguese. Both armies together had about 1,800 men. After waiting one day the Europeans opened fire and killed 1,400 while suffering only three deaths. By June all seven missions had surrendered. Finally in 1758 Pedro de Cevallos, the new viceroy of La Plata, moved the remaining Indians across the Uruguay. Jose Basilio da Gama published his epic poem O Uraguai about this in 1769. He celebrated the heroism of the native chiefs Cepé and Cacambo and the Portuguese conquerors while treating the Jesuits as “ignorant, envious, hypocritical, and sowers of discord.”
Francisco Xavier de Mendonça Furtado was the step-brother of the politically powerful Sebastiao Jose de Carvalho e Mello, who was named the Marques of Pombal in 1770 and advised the new King Jose I (r. 1750-77) from 1750 and was dictatorial from 1755 to 1777. Reforms began in 1751: a board was formed to oversee the inspection of the quality of sugar and tobacco, and a high court was established at Rio de Janeiro with ten judges and jurisdiction over thirteen districts. In 1754 the Portuguese and Spanish secretly agreed to push the Dutch and French colonies out of South America. That year Pombal passed legislation to provide stipends for magistrates and other officers in order to reduce corruption. Mendonça Furtado was governor from 1751 to 1759 and was given royal orders to end Indian slavery. In 1754 he went on an expedition up the Amazon and Negro rivers, and he came to believe that the mission Indians and those working on the cattle ranches of the Jesuits were virtual slaves. In 1755 Pombal persuaded King Jose to issue two laws that restored the rights of the Indians, prohibited racial discrimination against them, and encouraged marriages between the Portuguese and natives. When the Jesuits tried to avoid the emancipation law by transferring the titles of their aldeias to the Pope, the Crown took away their temporal power over the mission villages.
A commercial company for Greater Para and Maranhao was chartered in 1755, and between 1757 and 1778 they imported 25,365 African slaves. The cities of Sao Luis and Belem increased to about 10,000 inhabitants each. Tobacco in the Amazon was easily taxed and was a royal monopoly. The Crown also chartered a company for Pernambuco and Paraiba in 1759. Indian slavery was abolished in 1757. King Jose and Pombal persuaded Pope Benedict XIV to issue a bull in 1758 that forbade Jesuits from engaging in commerce, hearing confessions, or preaching. The following year even their right to teach was removed, and another law expelled the Jesuits from all of Portugal’s dominions. In 1757 the missions were put under directors, and in 1760 about six hundred Jesuits were forced to leave Brazil.
Bahia founded the Brazilian Academy of the Reborn in 1759, and it met fifteen times to write a history of Portuguese America but closed within a year. In 1761 the Treaty of Pardo cancelled the 1750 treaty between Spain and Portugal, and border skirmishes occurred in Brazil during the Seven Years War (1756-63). The Spanish general Pedro de Cevallos besieged Colonia in 1762 and challenged Portuguese rights in Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul. The price of sugar went up during the Seven Years War.
The capital of Brazil was transferred from Salvador to Rio de Janeiro in 1763. Severe epidemics broke out periodically and were especially bad from 1762 to 1772. Portuguese Governor Jose Custodia attacked the Spaniards without authorization in 1767 in Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul. Two years later Luis de Almeida, the Marques do Lavradio, arrived as the new viceroy, and he sent Francisco Jose da Rocha to investigate in 1771. He found that Governor Antonio de Veiga e Andrade was giving land to favorites, but the Crown would not give Lavradio permission to use military force in Rio Grande do Sul to end corruption. In 1771 the Crown took over the diamond mines. Martinho de Melo e Castro was Secretary of State for the Navy and Overseas Territories 1770-95.
In 1773 Pope Clement XIV abolished the Society of Jesus (Jesuits). After observing two years of Indian freedom, Mendonça Furtado decided that they must be controlled. The Tupi-Guarani language, which had been used by the Jesuits, was now forbidden as they were taught the Portuguese language and culture. In exchange the Portuguese took seventeen percent of all gross income from sales plus ten percent tax for the government. All male Indians between the ages of 13 and 60 were required to work half of each year for the colonists. After much protest the Directorio was abolished in 1798.
After the Spanish allowed Juan Vertiz to enter the area to attack rustlers in 1773, Pombal sent reinforcements to Rio Grande. Rocha was made commander of Colonia in 1775, but he realized it was indefensible and was ordered to pull out. Cevallos took possession of Santa Catarina Island in 1777. Portugal’s King Jose died on February 24. Maria I (r. 1777-92) became queen, and Pombal lost his power on March 5. Spain and Portugal signed an armistice in June and the Treaty of San Ildefonso in October 1777. Spain retained Colonia and the Seven Peoples. The two state-owned commercial companies were abolished by 1779 in order to allow free trade between Portugal and northern Brazil.
In 1778 Para’s Governor Joao Pereira Caldas organized a military campaign against the Mura and Munduruku tribes of the Tapajos. The Muru feared the hostility of the fierce Munduruku and surrendered to the Portuguese in 1785. The Munduruku with two thousand warriors moved east and threatened Maranhao, but half of them were killed by Portuguese firearms. Two captured men persuaded the Munduruku to make peace, and they settled on the lower Tapajos River.
The sale of beef did not increase greatly until they learned how to dry it in charquis in 1780. Mixed with beans and rice, the feijoada became a standard meal. By 1800 Rio Grande do Sul was exporting an average of 600,000 arrobas (9 million kilos) of beef annually. The cowboys were called vaqueiros and the outlaws gauchos. During the last part of the 18th century cotton made Maranhao the most prosperous part of Brazil.
In 1772 Viceroy Marques do Lavradio sponsored the Scientific Academy in Rio de Janeiro. Music was popular in Brazil, especially among the mulattoes. Ouro Preto had a theater in the 1740s and an opera house by 1770. Population data from Minas Gerais showed that in 1776 Africans were 52 percent, mulattoes 26 percent, and Europeans 22 percent. Slaves could only work in the mines for about ten years, and by 1786 freed slaves made up 34 percent of all the people in Minas Gerais. Jose Joaquim da Maia had studied at the University of Coimbra in Portugal and went to medical school in Montpelier, France in 1786. He met with the American ambassador Thomas Jefferson and asked for support for the revolution in Brazil.
Luis de Cunha Meneses governed Minas Gerais erratically, and in July 1788 the new Governor Luis Antonio Furtado de Mendonça ordered a head tax (derrama) to make up for the accumulated deficit of 384 arrobas of gold from back taxes owed. Gold had been diminishing, and the people were alarmed. Joachim Jose de Silva Xavier became known as Tiradentes because he could pull teeth. He lost his salary as a cavalry officer, and a mining attempt with four slaves increased his debt. Also an engineer, he went to Rio de Janeiro for a license to build water mills. There he met Jose Alvares Maciel, who had just returned from Portugal; he had studied philosophy and natural history in Coimbra and manufacturing in England. Tiradentes and Maciel talked about the possibility of a revolution in Brazil.
Tiradentes, while on his way back to Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais, began a campaign for independence because Portugal was keeping Brazil poor. He persuaded Lt. Col. Francisco de Paula Freire de Andrada, who was second in command to Governor Furtado and Maciel’s brother-in-law, that he could help lead the revolt. In December 1788 they met in Andrada’s home with the influential cleric Carlos Correia de Toledo e Melo and other prominent men. They looked to the United States as their model and hoped that Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo would join. The United States Constitution was banned, but Tiradentes got a copy and translated it into Portuguese. He talked about it to anyone who disliked Portuguese rule. Some had read Guillaume Raynal’s philosophical history on European commerce in the two Indies that described the revolt in North America. They wanted restrictions on diamond mining removed, debts to the Crown forgiven, incentives for setting up factories, the permanent army replaced by citizen militia, and the freeing of all slaves born in Brazil.
However, Col. Silverio dos Reis informed Viscount de Barbacena on March 15, 1789 and got his debts canceled. Other denunciations followed in April. Tiradentes tried to escape and was arrested on May 10; others were detained later that month. The Crown’s tax called derrama was canceled, and the agitation calmed down. The conspiracy was called “Inconfidencia Mineira,” meaning the miners’ failure of duty. During the trial Tiradentes took responsibility for the idea of the revolution “without inspiration from anyone.” Several conspirators were given the death sentence, but all the others had their sentences commuted, some to exile for life. Tiradentes was hanged on April 21, 1792; his head was nailed to a pole, and the four quarters of his body were displayed as a warning to others. Yet Tiradentes became a famous martyr, and April 21 later became a national holiday.
Francisco de Sousa Coutinho was Governor-general of Para from 1790 to 1803, and in 1797 he wrote a report on how to civilize the natives there. He blamed the directors for subjugating the Indians in order to maintain their power and wealth. The next year Prince Regent Joao abolished the directorate; but the new decree forced the natives to sell their communal land, and Indians without a “fixed occupation” had to work for the government or private settlers. Outsiders were allowed to exploit the natural resources. Worst of all, the natives were put under the military discipline of non-commissioned officers selected from chiefs and local colonists.
In 1792 Queen Maria I was considered mentally incapacitated, and her 25-year-old son Joao began ruling Portugal as Prince Regent. In 1794 a Jacobin plot inspired by the French Revolution was aborted in Rio de Janeiro. Rodrigo de Souza Coutinho became Secretary of State for the Navy and for the Overseas Territories in 1796. He was influenced by Adam Smith and tried to promote economic progress in Brazil by introducing hemp and developing cinnamon, pepper, cochineal, and other products. He promoted the ox-drawn plow and disseminated instruction for improving techniques for processing cotton, coffee, and sugar, though Prince Regent Joao was slow to implement his ideas. In 1797 in Salvador Illuministas formed the Cavaleiros da Luz (Knights of the Light), and this led to Masonic lodges being founded in Brazil by the French starting in 1801. Bahia was influenced by the French Revolution, but their “Conspiracy of the Tailors” revolt that started in Salvador, where two-thirds of the population was black, was suppressed in August 1798 by the Portuguese. Four leaders were hanged, and six were banished to Africa.
Rio de Janeiro’s exports of sugar doubled between 1790 and 1807, and its coffee exports of 1798 increased sevenfold by 1807. The salt and whaling monopolies were abolished in 1801. That year the British Foreign Secretary Hawkesbury instructed the ambassador in Lisbon to offer assistance if the Prince Regent wanted to move his dominions to Brazil. Brazil was providing 80% of Portugal’s imports from its colonies, and its re-exports were 60% of Portugal’s exports. On August 12, 1807 Napoleon Bonaparte ordered the Portuguese Foreign Minister Antonio de Araujo de Azevedo to close their ports to British ships and imprison English residents and confiscate their property, or France would invade Portugal. In October the British Foreign Secretary George Canning offered British protection if the Prince Regent withdrew to Brazil. Souza Coutinho urged the Prince Regent to move there. The French began marching toward Portugal in early November, and a British fleet arrived off Tagus on November 23. Prince Regent Joao with his family and more than 10,000 nobles, officials, and others sailed from Tagus by November 29. Joao brought with him the royal treasury, government records, a printing press, and several libraries. They were welcomed at Bahia on January 22, 1808. While in Salvador on January 28 he opened Brazil’s ports to friendly nations, ending the old Portuguese monopoly.
Prince Regent Joao arrived at Rio de Janeiro on March 7, 1808 and was welcomed by the Brazilians. He quickly decreed significant reforms that made Brazil the center of the Portuguese empire. On April 1 he cancelled the decrees that blocked setting up factories in Brazil, and he exempted tariffs on raw materials imported for industry. In the next six months Portugal’s governmental institutions were established in Rio de Janeiro. Souza Coutinho became Minister of Foreign Relations and War, and he dominated until he died in 1812. The French occupied Portugal, and the Portuguese opened Brazil’s ports to the English in exchange for British protection. On June 12 Dom Joao limited free trade to the ports of Rio de Janeiro, Belém, Sao Luis, Recife, and Salvador. The tariff on imported goods was reduced from 24% to 16% for goods in Portuguese ships. Several British trading companies established offices in Rio de Janeiro, and by August there were about 175 British merchants and agents. In 1808 British goods imported in Brazil were worth more than £2,000,000, and the Bank of Brazil was chartered to finance government debt.
Rio de Janeiro became the capital with a ministry of four portfolios and a council of state, the supreme court of justice, the royal treasury, the royal mint, the Bank of Brazil, and the royal printing office. They founded a royal library, a military academy, and medical and law schools. The government encouraged industries, welcomed foreign scholars and artists, and funded immigrants from northern Europe. In the thirteen years Dom Joao was in Rio de Janeiro its population of 50,000 more than doubled. Many of the immigrants were Spanish, French, and British. The Royal Press began in March 1808, and they published Brazil’s first newspaper, the Gazeta do Rio de Janeiro twice a week. Salvador’s first newspaper Idade d’Ouro do Brasil began in 1811. That year Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations was published in a Portuguese translation. From June 1808 until 1822 Hipolito Jose da Costa criticized Portuguese tyranny in the influential liberal newspaper Correio Brasiliense in London, and it circulated openly in Brazil.
The Ministry of War and Foreign Affairs was also set up in Rio de Janeiro. Troops were brought from Portugal and were garrisoned in Brazil’s main cities. Taxes were increased because Brazil had to pay the court’s expenses and military costs. In 1811 Dom Joao sent a military expedition to try to annex the Banda Oriental to Brazil and another for the same purpose in 1816. They defeated the Uruguayan independence movement led by Jose Artigas. Because of the 8,000 warriors who had been shipped to Salvador in the five years after the Fulani jihad, the Governor of Bahia had to use the militia to put down slave rebellions in 1807, 1814, and 1816. In the towns the Brazilians kept their slaves locked up at night so that they would not try to escape.
The British Ambassador Strangford negotiated the Treaty of Navigation and Commerce that was signed in February 1810. The tariff on British merchandise exported to Brazil was reduced to 15%. The Treaty of Alliance and Friendship signed at the same time the British agreed to protect Portugal’s colonies while the Portuguese crown promised to limit the slave trade to its own territories and to restrict the internal slave trade. The English were given the right to have their own judges in Brazilian ports. In 1811 their Royal Navy seized 17 out of 32 slaving ships trading from Salvador. During the War of 1812 the exports of cotton from Pernambuco increased their profits by 500%. At the Congress of Vienna on January 22, 1815 the Portuguese agreed to stop the slave trade north of the equator, and the British were given permission to board ships suspected of transporting slaves. In exchange the British expunged the claims for damages on an indemnity of £300,000. However, these agreements were not effective as the Portuguese slave trade increased. By 1815 Bahia had a sugar mill using steam power, and Pernambuco got a steam engine two years later.
On December 16, 1815 the empire was decreed the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil, and the Algarves. When Queen Maria I died on March 20, 1816, the Prince Regent became King Joao VI. On January 9, 1817 his son Dom Pedro was made Prince Royal of the United Kingdom. That month Portuguese troops led by General Lecor occupied Montevideo.
Montevideo was founded in 1729 and gained its own jurisdiction with its first governor in 1751. The exchange treaty of 1750 traded Colonia de Sacramento back to the Portuguese for the seven eastern Parana missions with their 30,000 inhabitants. The Jesuits petitioned the Spanish government to give up the agreement. This was rejected, and they instigated a revolt by the missions, provoking the Guarani War in 1754. When Carlos III (r. 1759-88) became king of Spain, the exchange treaty was finally abandoned. In 1762 Governor Pedro Cevallos of Buenos Aires used subsidies from Peru and Potosi to form an army of 6,000 to besiege the Portuguese at Colonia, and the comuneros of Corrientes deserted. After he tried to punish some of them in 1764, they revolted and imprisoned Lieutenant Governor Manuel de Rivera, replacing him with the cabildo. The population of the fifteen Jesuit missions increased from about 42,000 in 1750 to about 50,000 in 1768. In 1767 Carlos III ordered all Jesuits expelled from Spain and the Indies. Governor Francisco de Paula Bucareli had the Jesuits seized and taken to Buenos Aires, and they were deported in May 1768.
In 1752 Indian attacks caused massacres and cattle losses that stimulated the vecinos of Buenos Aires to call an open assembly (cabildo abierto). They organized a permanent rural militia paid for by taxing hide exports, mule trains, and ox carts. By the late 1760s the militias were operating, and work on a line of forts had begun. Spanish merchants in Buenos Aires campaigned to end the subordination to Lima and to abolish trade restrictions. A few families established land dynasties. Juan Esteban de Anchorena arrived in 1765 and became wealthy by selling slaves and trading contraband. By that year Buenos Aires had about 5,500 soldiers. Military subsidies from Potosi went from 13,000 pesos in 1750 to 650,000 in 1775. Comunero movements asserted their traditional liberties and prerogatives in Catamarca in 1752, in La Rioja in 1758, and in Corrientes in 1765.
The French had settled on the Falkland Islands in 1764 to promote fishing and whaling, but Spain claimed the islands and compensated the French. In 1766 the English founded the colony of Port Egmont on the Falkland Islands, but Governor Bucarelli of Buenos Aires forced them out. The English complained to the Spanish court and returned in 1771, but they abandoned Port Egmont three years later.
Spain’s King Carlos III appointed Pedro Antonio de Cevallos the first viceroy of Rio de la Plata in 1776, and in October he sailed from Cadiz with 116 ships and 9,000 men and spent the winter in Buenos Aires. On April 22, 1777 he landed in Montevideo with 9,316 men and marched to Colonia de Sacramento. Then Cevallos invaded Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil, and the Portuguese surrendered Santa Catarina Island. In July he ordered the silver coins from the Potosi mint to go directly to Buenos Aires instead of to Lima. The Treaty of San Ildefonso signed October 1 secured Santa Catarina and large interior frontiers for the Portuguese. Cevallos returned to Buenos Aires on October 15 and proclaimed labor regulations and freedom of trade in November. The officers were legally represented in the Cabildo, which handled requests and complaints from the inhabitants. Peru’s Viceroy Guirior protested this new viceroyalty, but the royal treasury funded the intendancy of the army in March 1778 at Buenos Aires. The province of Buenos Aires already had a population of 37,000, and by the end of the century it would triple. The annual export of hides went from an average of 150,000 before 1778 to 1,400,000 in 1783.
Juan Jose Vertiz was appointed viceroy of Rio de la Plata in June 1778, and he implemented liberal reforms. He sent pioneers instead of troops into the desert and tried to protect the frontiers with new forts. He improved public works in paving, lighting, and cleaning the city and established an orphanage, a hospital, a new school, and the Colegio de San Carlos. Vertiz promoted tolerant education, and profits from printing and theater supported charitable hospitals. Under the viceroyalty manufacturing that competed with Spain was still prohibited, and by 1780 tobacco and playing-cards had become royal monopolies. He had to quell the great Indian revolt from 1780 to 1783. Spain had joined the victorious alliance with the United States in 1782, and after the peace of 1783 immigration from Spain increased. That year the viceroyalty was organized into eight new jurisdictions with four intendancies in Upper Peru, one in Paraguay, and three centered on Buenos Aires, Cordoba, and Salta del Tucuman. These were intended to unify Spanish rule, but they actually increased regional and local feelings.
Nicolas del Campo, Marquis of Loreto, was viceroy 1784-89. The royal audiencia was installed in 1785, and he promoted the cattle industry that was expanded by salting meat. In the next ten years 185,000 quintales of jerked beef were exported. While Nicolas de Arredondo was viceroy 1789-95, numerous ports were permitted to import African slaves without paying a duty. In 1793 farmers petitioned Carlos III not to hinder their exports. In 1794 the tribunal (consulado) of commerce was established in Buenos Aires, and Arredondo sent colonists to the Patagonian coast and promoted whaling and fishing with a company given royal privileges. In 1797 an equal number of grazers and farmers (hacendados) were added. Yet Buenos Aires suffered a commercial depression in the late 1790s, and prices of imported linen, wine, and vegetable oils increased sharply from 1797 to 1799. Buenos Aires was allowed to export jerked beef to British colonies in the Caribbean and to import sugar and manufactured goods. Most of the slave ships now came from Brazil.
Rio de la Plata had five different viceroys in the next twelve years. Arredondo was dismissed on March 16, 1795, but Pedro de Melo continued his policies until his death on April 15, 1797. Antonio Olaguer Fellu had governed Montevideo since 1790 and was viceroy for the next two years before returning to Spain in 1799. Manuel Belgrano was influenced by the educational doctrines of Count Pedro Rodriguez Campomanes and believed in free education that is practical. In 1799 Belgrano helped found schools of navigation and design, and he planned others in agriculture, commerce, and chemistry. Gabriel de Avilés moved from being governor of Chile to be viceroy of Rio de la Plata 1799-1801 before his promotion as viceroy of Peru. Joaquin del Pino had governed Montevideo for seventeen years before moving on to Chile in 1790 and becoming viceroy of Rio de la Plata 1801-04. He was considered an enlightened ruler who carried out public works such as expanding the port. He appointed Santiago de Liniers to govern the missions, but he was removed on July 6, 1802 for failing to provide the necessary supplies. Buenos Aires suffered another commercial recession. In 1801 Francisco Antonio de Azcuenaga published the first periodical in Rio de la Plata, and the next year Hipolito Vieytes started publishing an agricultural weekly that continued until February 1807 when the English invaded Montevideo.
Lazaro Ribera Espinosa (1796-1806) governed Paraguay and was considered especially corrupt and tyrannical. He let his favorites monopolize commerce and allowed the Creoles few rights. In 1803 King Carlos IV (r. 1788-1808) decreed the land between the Parana and Uruguay rivers a separate province, and Viceroy Pino appointed Bernardo Velasco governor of Buenos Aires. Two years later the Crown made Velasco governor of Paraguay as well.
Rafael de Sobremonte was viceroy of Rio de la Plata 1804-07. In October 1804 a British squadron captured four Spanish ships going from Argentina to Cadiz with nearly five million pesos of silver. English ships brought 1,560 soldiers under General William C. Beresford and took over Buenos Aires on June 27, 1806. He immediately proclaimed that the administration of justice would protect private property, the Catholic religion, and freedom of commerce. A thousand peasants led by the Creole Juan Martin de Pueyrredon revolted, but they were defeated at Perdriel by the British troops. Santiago Liniers was given a thousand soldiers by Montevideo’s Governor Ruiz Huidobro, and peasants joined them. They attacked Buenos Aires on August 12 and suffered 200 casualties while killing or wounding 300 English; 1,200 British surrendered, and Beresford was imprisoned.
An open Cabildo declared Santiago Liniers the lieutenant of the Viceroy Marquis of Sobremonte. Because the army of Rio de la Plata had only 2,400 men, a citizen militia was quickly formed with five battalions of Creoles and four of Spaniards in Buenos Aires. General Baird sent 1,300 men from the Cape of Good Hope to seize Maldonado, and with forces led by General Samuel Auchmuty they captured Montevideo on February 3, 1807. One week later the open Cabildo in Buenos Aires deposed Sobremonte, and Liniers replaced him. Bradford in May began editing the English weekly Star of the South, which also appeared in Spanish as Estrella del Sud.
General John Whitelocke left a thousand men to guard Montevideo and attacked Buenos Aires with 11,000 soldiers on June 28. Liniers left 1,600 Creole soldiers in the city and sallied forth with 7,000 Creoles, who were routed by General Gower’s division. However, the people rallied, and alcalde Martin Alzaga fortified the city and defeated the forces of General Whitelocke, who surrendered and evacuated both Buenos Aires and Montevideo. In November 1808 Liniers ended the restrictions on imported British goods, and the increased trade improved the economy. However, the monopoly faction led by Martin de Alzaga turned against Liniers and accused him of being an agent for the French. He called for a cabildo abierto and a junta to replace the viceroy. His followers attempted a coup and rebelled against Liniers, but they were defeated on January 1, 1809. By 1809 the populations of Tucuman and Cuyo had expanded to about 250,000 with 60,000 in the region of Cordoba, 40,000 in Santiago del Estero, 30,000 in San Miguel, and 24,000 in Catamarca.
The junta of Seville, which was still resisting the French, sent Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros to replace Liniers as viceroy, and he arrived in August 1809. He reversed Liniers’ trade policies, and revenues declined. British asked to resume landing their goods, and Cisneros submitted the proposal to the Cabildo which was divided on the issue. Mariano Moreno anonymously wrote the Representacion de los Hacendados for the local cattle ranchers advocating free trade as explained by Adam Smith for a two-year trial period.
In January 1810 Manuel Belgrano began publishing the Correo de Comercio to promote trade and revolution. News of French victories in Spain arrived in March, and the militia leader Cornelio de Saavedra decided to convoke a cabildo abierto and replace the viceroy with a junta. News of Seville’s fall arrived at Buenos Aires on May 14, and Viceroy Cisneros agreed to convoke a cabildo abierto because he was promised he would be the head of the new junta.
The revolutionary open Cabildo met on May 22, 1810, and the conflict between free traders and the monopolists increased during the debates. The procurator Julian de Leiva managed to get the former viceroy Cisneros appointed president of the Junta and commander-in-chief. The other four members of the Junta were Cornelio de Saavedra, Juan Jose Castelli, and two peninsulares. On the 24th Leiva wrote a code for the Junta which left judicial power with the Royal Audiencia of Buenos Aires and required Cisneros to have support of other members of the Junta to act. The Cabildo’s consent was required for new taxes. The Junta would sanction a general amnesty for those who spoke at the open Cabildo, and the Junta would invite other cities to send delegates. Saavedra, Pedro Andrés Garcia, and the other commanders of the armed forces agreed to the code, and that afternoon the Junta took the oath of office.
The next day on May 25 a crowd gathered in the Plaza de la Victoria with the militia and demanded that Cisneros resign and that a new junta be appointed. However, the Cabildo rejected the resignation of Cisneros and the change in the Junta. The demonstrators broke into the chapter house and demanded that the people elect the new junta rather than the Cabildo. A petition with 411 signatures was submitted. When the sun came out, people considered it an omen of revolution, and the Cabildo accepted the petition. The Primera Junta was formed with similar rules, and the new president Saavedra spoke to the crowd. The voting members were Dr. Castelli, Dr. Manuel Alberti, Dr. Manuel Belgrano, Col. Miguel de Azcuénaga, Domingo Matheu, and Juan Larrea with Dr. Juan Jose Paso and Dr. Mariano Moreno as secretaries. They were all from Buenos Aires at first, but they added representatives from other cities later, and it came to be called the Junta Grande. On June 2 Moreno signed a decree that founded the Gaceta de Buenos Aires, and the first issue was published five days later.
Montevideo and Asuncion declined to join the new government of Buenos Aires and proclaimed their loyalty to Spain’s new Council of Regency which had replaced the fallen Junta of Seville. The opposition in Cordoba was led by the intendant Juan Gutiérrez de la Concha and the former viceroy Santiago Liniers, and they formed an army that allied with the Spanish army in Upper Peru led by General Jose Manuel de Goyeneche. These forces marched on Buenos Aires; but they were defeated in August 26, and the leaders were shot without a trial by the order of Secretary Moreno who advocated a declaration of independence and a republic with Buenos Aires in control and enforcing free trade. Ten members of the Cabildo had sworn allegiance to the Regency Council in July, and they were jailed on October 16. Moreno wanted to execute them, but Saavedra had them banished to Lujan, Ranchos, and Salto. Saavedra authorized the forming of provincial juntas in the interior, and late in 1810 military governors were sent to Corrientes, Entre Rios, and Santa Fe. On December 6 the Junta adopted a decree that abolished honors previously given to Saavedra and declared that all members of the Junta were equal. Moreno resigned, and on December 18 they formed the Junta Grande that lasted one year. In January 1811 the Junta formed a Committee of Public Safety to find opponents and receive information on counter-revolutionaries.
Manuel Belgrano was appointed commander of an army that gathered support from Corrientes, Santa Fe, Paraguay, and Band Oriental. However, on July 24 the Junta in Paraguay also pledged allegiance to the Regency Council of Spain. Others in Paraguay supported the Junta Grande while a third group favored Paraguay’s independence. Belgrano led less than 200 men there, but volunteers increased his army to about 950. In late October his army settled a border dispute between Corrientes and Yapeyu. In November the army moved to the coast of Parana, and Belgrano proclaimed that the natives in the missions had full civil and political rights. The army went to Candelaria and crossed the Parana River; but they were outnumbered at the battle of Paraguari and eventually retreated. Belgrano had dispersed his forces and had only 400 men, and the armies of Yegros and Cabañas attacked with nearly 3,000 soldiers at Tacuari on March 9, 1811; finally Belgrano had only 235 men left and accepted an armistice.
The military of Paraguay took over the government in Asuncion on May 14, 1811 and declared its independence from Spain. Jose Gaspar Rodriguez de Francia was in the ruling Junta. On October 11 Paraguay formed a military alliance with Argentina which thus recognized Paraguay’s independence. Francia resigned from the Junta at the end of 1811, but the following November the Junta put him in charge of foreign policy with command over half the army and munitions. He gained control of the government and put off Argentina’s envoy Nicolas de Herrera in 1813. Two members of the Paraguay Junta who wanted union with Argentina were expelled. All the men in Paraguay were allowed to vote for the first Congress of 1,100 delegates that met on September 30, and they supported Francia’s independent foreign policy, rejected an invitation to attend a constitutional congress at Buenos Aires, and on October 12 established Paraguay as the first republic in Spanish America with Francia as first consul. He was supposed to alternate with the second consul Fulgencio Yegros every four months, but Yegros let Francia rule. In March 1814 Francia prohibited Spaniards from marrying each other; they could only wed Indians, Africans, or mulattoes. On October 1 the Congress voted to give him dictatorial powers for three years, and on June 1, 1816 they extended this to life.
Juan Jose Castelli led the army of Buenos Aires that destroyed the resistance in Cordoba, marched through Tucuman, and up the altiplano. Volunteers joined them, and on November 7, 1810 they defeated the Spaniards north of Jujuy at Suipacha. They moved into Upper Peru (now Bolivia), and Castelli agreed to a peace with the Spaniards. However, Goyeneche gained reinforcements from Peru, and on June 20, 1811 they defeated the revolutionary army at Huaqui south of Lake Titicaca. Castelli’s surviving troops retreated to Tucuman.
President Saavedra was often in conflict with the liberal Moreno who was sent on a diplomatic mission to England but died suspiciously on the voyage on March 4, 1811. Saavedra’s faction instigated a riot in Buenos Aires in April and banished Moreno’s followers. That allowed Saavedra to resign and take control of the army of the North. The Junta Grande was dissolved and replaced on September 23 with a triumvirate that was controlled by the Junta Conservadora. The First Triumvirate was the lawyer Feliciano Chiclana, Juan Jose Paso, and Manuel de Sarratea. Although the First Triumvirate lasted less than thirteen months, they declared freedom of the press, approved a law of individual security, created a chamber of appeals, and regulated the administration of justice. Their secretary Bernardino Rivadavia created maritime insurance to promote trade, a discount bank in Buenos Aires, new meat-salting plants, and land development by European immigrants. On January 13, 1812 they created the Intendancy of the Buenos Aires Province, and on February 18 they approved the white and cerulean blue flag of the Argentine army. They sent Belgrano to protect Rosario from naval attacks by Spain and ordered Lt. Col. Jose de San Martin to form the Granaderos a Caballo cavalry. On September 4 they established the first Commission of Immigration.
After the revolution of May 1810 Montevideo’s military governor Francisco Javier de Elio declared himself viceroy of Rio de la Plata, and the Junta at Cadiz in Spain confirmed this on January 19, 1811. He went to eliminate the Buenos Aires Junta and used naval forces to blockade the city, but his attempts to tax Montevideo provoked a rebellion in February in the Banda Oriental led by Jose Gervasio Artigas who was supported by 180 men from Buenos Aires. On April 11 he claimed control of the revolution in his Mercedes Proclamation. Elio sent the naval captain Jose Posadas with 1,230 men; but 200 of them defected as they were defeated by one thousand revolutionaries fighting for Artigas at the battle of Las Piedras on May 18. Elio was reinforced by a force from Spain that arrived in September. They forced Buenos Aires to accept a truce, and Artigas fled west into Entre Rios. Elio was left with only Montevideo and Colonia del Sacramento, and he went back to Spain in November and resigned as viceroy in January 1812. The British in Rio de Janeiro wanted to avoid a war on the Rio de la Plata that would interfere with commerce. In July the Portuguese withdrew, and Montevideo was besieged again. The loyalist Martin de Alzaga planned to take over the government in Buenos Aires; but their conspiracy was discovered, and on July 6 Alzaga and more than thirty of his followers were hanged.
The terms of the three members of the First Triumvirate expired after one year, and people in Buenos Aires revolted against the appointment of anti-Morenist members. The military leaders Jose de San Martin and Carlos Maria de Alvear founded the Sociedad Patriotica and intervened on October 8 to allow the Buenos Aires Cabildo to elect the Second Triumvirate which called the Assembly of Year XIII which was inaugurated on January 31, 1813. The Second Triumvirate kept Paso from the First and added wealthy Nicolas Rodriguez Peña and the lawyer Antonio Alvarez Jonte. The Congress passed a law declaring that all children born after the date of the law were free citizens even if their parents were slaves. They abolished Indian servitude and tribute, and they ended the Spanish Inquisition and torture. They cancelled all titles of nobility and created a national currency.
On September 25, 1812 Belgrano led the Army of the North with 1,800 men to victory over the 3,000 Spanish troops led by General Pio de Tristan near the city of San Miguel de Tucuman. The Spaniards suffered more than a thousand casualties, and Tristan retreated with his army to garrison Salta. Belgrano reinforced his army and improved discipline. On February 11, 1813 they swore an oath to be loyal to the Assembly of Year XIII. Nine days later Belgrano’s army of 3,000 defeated Tristan’s 3,400 soldiers at Salta. The Argentines had 103 killed; but 481 Spaniards died, and 2,776 prisoners were taken. The revolutionaries also captured ten cannons and 2,118 muskets. Belgrano granted amnesty to Tristan and released the prisoners. Belgrano established a base at Potosi in June with 2,500 soldiers, and he tried to improve relations with the natives that had been ruined by Castelli’s campaign. He planned to join with the armies of Cardenas and Zelaya, but the royalists defeated Cardenas and gained his plans. This enabled the Spaniards led by Pezuela to surprise Belgrano on October 1 at Vilcapugio and win a marginal victory. Belgrano got reinforcements at Cochabamba, but the Spaniards defeated him again at Ayohuma on November 14.
Meanwhile on February 3, 1813 San Martin’s cavalry defeated a small force of Spaniards at San Lorenzo. The Second Triumvirate appointed San Martin general, but he did not take over Belgrano’s army until after his defeat in November. In April 1813 delegates from the eastern bank of the river inspired by Artigas demanded the Congress declare independence and create a republican constitution for a loose confederation in which provinces would elect their own governors and make treaties, but in June the Congress denied those representatives admission. Artigas renounced Buenos Aires and withdrew his troops from the siege of Montevideo. Congress declared him an enemy, and Artigas went to Entre Rios and Corrientes where they named him their protector.
From 1806 to 1810 the government at Buenos Aires had received 1.1 million pesos in revenues from the interior, but the revolutionary government from 1810 to 1815 brought in only 180,000 pesos. During these wars some merchants profited by supplying the armies, but others suffered from labor shortages. The revolution had not abolished slavery, but leaders needing soldiers offered emancipation for enlistment.
The Second Triumvirate ended on January 22, 1814, and nine days later the Assembly elected Gervasio Antonio de Posadas to be the first Supreme Director. He denounced Artigas as a traitor and put a price on his head. Posadas created a navy and appointed William Brown as chief commander. Their small fleet attacked Spanish ships off the coast of Montevideo and defeated them on May 17. This enabled Alvear’s army to force the 5,000 Spanish troops in Montevideo to surrender in late June. Artigas returned with an army, and after months of harassment Alvear withdrew his army. Artigas declared Montevideo the independent Eastern Province. This caused the fall of Posadas, and his nephew Alvear became the Supreme Director on January 11, 1815. However, the troops objected, and on April 21 he was replaced by Ignacio Alvarez Thomas. Jose Rondeau commanded the Northern Army which rejected the return of Alvear. Rondeau led another campaign into Upper Peru, but they were defeated on October 21 at Venta y Media and on November 28 at Sipe-Sipe near Cochabamba. The Spaniards could not move south because they were stopped by the provincial army of Salta led by Governor Martin Miguel de Guemes.
At the end of 1815 a second Congress convened at Tucuman. The provinces of Santa Fe, Entre Rios, Corrientes, and the Eastern Province had formed the Federal League of Free Peoples on June 29, 1815. The other revolutionary provinces sent representatives to the Congress of Tucuman, and on May 3, 1816 the delegates elected the former triumvir Juan Martin de Pueyrredon as Director. On July 9 they declared the independence of the United Provinces of Rio Plata which eventually became known as Argentina. Cordoba was in open revolt. Pueyrredon avoided conflict with the federalists and initiated a campaign against the Spaniards in Chile. San Martin and his army of 5,000 crossed the Andes Mountains.
In June 1816 the Portuguese attacked the government of Artigas at Montevideo. Pueyrredon and Buenos Aires refused to support Artigas, and Montevideo surrendered to the Portuguese in January 1817.
The government of Chile monopolized tobacco commerce in 1753. They began building the University of San Felipe at Santiago in 1738, but teaching (mostly law and theology) did not begin until 1758. Crime was a major problem, and Manuel de Amat severely punished a rebellion by prisoners in Santiago. He then established a police force for the city that was extended to all of Chile in 1758.
Chile experienced another major uprising in 1766, and the government expelled 300 Jesuits in 1768. The first coins used in Chile were pesos in 1750, and the mint became a royal service in 1772. Agustin de Jauregui was Captain-general and Royal Governor 1772-80, and in his first year he enforced strict laws and reformed tax collection. He invited Araucanian chiefs to Santiago in 1774. They agreed on peace and established a school for Indians; but they were not allowed advanced instruction, and the school was moved to Chillan in 1780. He started the postal service in 1775. The next year the province of Cuyo was transferred from Chile to the new viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata. A large demonstration in the plaza of Santiago in July 1776 persuaded Governor Jauregui to reform taxes, and he initiated a militia system in 1777. Chile was made a captaincy-general in 1778. The year Convictorio Carolino replaced the main Jesuit college. Jauregui became viceroy of Peru in 1780 and was succeeded in Chile by Tomas Alvarez de Acevedo for five months and then Ambrosio de Benavides from December 1780 to 1787.
The “conspiracy of the three Antonios” to make Chile independent of Spain that included chemist Jose Antonio Rojas and the two French Antoines Gramuset and Berney failed in 1780. Berney had been unjustly dismissed from the Colegio Carolino, and he drafted a constitution that called for a republic based on “Love your neighbor as yourself” and “Do not to another what you do not wish him to do to you.” A senate would be elected by the people, including Araucanians. The death penalty, slavery, and social classes were to be abolished, and free trade was to extend to all nations including the Chinese and Africans. The document concluded that Chileans had decided to separate themselves from Spain and become an independent republic. The lawyer Mariana Perez de Saravia supported the project and sent a letter to Tomas Alvarez de Acevedo, the regent of the Audiencia. Benavides arrested the conspirators on January 1, 1781. Berney and Gramuset were tried secretly and imprisoned; but Rojas was too well known, and so his charges were dropped. The planned revolution was unknown to most Chileans until historians discovered it much later. In 1787 a new system of intendencias was introduced with powerful officials who received annual salaries of 10,000 pesos.
Ambrosio O’Higgins was born in Ireland and came to Chile as an engineer and worked his way up to colonel in the militia, Intendant of Concepcion, Chile’s President (1788-96), and then was Viceroy of Peru until he died in 1801. He abolished encomiendas in 1791 and gave the natives small parcels of land. A Commercial Tribunal (consulado) was established at Santiago in 1795, and the Academia de San Luis was founded in 1797. After 1798 Chile was no longer under the administration of Peru. A militia had replaced the army in the last third of the century and required 250,000 pesos from the 600,000 pesos in the budget that came mostly from the tobacco monopoly, customs duties, and a sales tax. When the Spaniards first invaded Chile in 1541, the native population was estimated to be at least a half million. By the end of the 18th century Chile had about 200,000 Spaniards (including Creoles born in America) and about 300,000 mestizos, most of whom worked in the fields. Living among these Europeans were about 20,000 African slaves and mulattoes and only about 2,000 Indians. At least 100,000 Araucanians lived in the interior not controlled by the Spaniards.
In 1808 news that King Carlos IV and his hated minister Godoy had been replaced by his son Fernando VII was welcomed in Chile, but France’s Napoleon took over in May and appointed his brother Joseph to govern the Spanish empire. The elderly brigadier Garcia Carrasco governed Chile with the help of his secretary Juan Martinez de Rozas who was one of the twelve auxiliary councilors he appointed. On January 22, 1809 a famous decree from Spain called for Americans to participate in the Central Junta by sending representatives. A smuggling scandal with the ship Scorpion damaged Carrasco and Rozas. Carrasco expelled 79 foreigners out of fear of revolution; but this provoked protests in Santiago’s Cabildo. On February 14, 1810 the liberal poet Manuel Jose de Quintana wrote the decree that announced installation of the Cortes soon and the need for America to send deputies.
On April 17 Viceroy Cisneros of the Rio Plata warned Governor Carrasco that Chile had subversive groups advocating independence. On May 24 Carrasco declared that those favoring independence and liberty were trying to cause insubordination and were following the bad examples of La Paz, Quito, and Charcas. The next day he arrested Jose Antonio de Rojas, Juan Antonio Ovalle, and Bernardo de Vera y Pintado. When Carrasco sent the prisoners to Peru, demonstrations erupted. Chileans were inspired by the May revolution in Buenos Aires, and the Buenos Aires government sent a letter to Santiago in August urging them to organize a “legitimate representative authority. Carrasco was deposed on July 16.
Bernardo O’Higgins was the son of Ambrosio O’Higgins and a Chilean mother, and he was educated in England where he was influenced by Francisco de Miranda in 1798. He returned to Chile in 1802, and in 1810 he joined Rozas and raised a militia force for the Junta. The anonymous Catecismo politico cristiano in 1810 criticized commercial monopolies, excessive taxation, and poor education, and the author advocated independent institutions and republican government, writing,
The people, which has conferred the right of command
on the King can, like any constituent party,
revoke its powers and name other guardians
who better correspond to the public good.1
In 1810 Juan Egaña wrote his Plan of Government that advocated free trade to benefit local economies and a conference to organize a defensive federation of the American colonies. In 1811 he was elected deputy for Melipilla to the first National Congress and with Camilo Henriquez drafted a constitution for Chile. On October 24 Egaña presented his memorandum on education to the Congress. Egaña became president of the Senate in 1812 and helped create the Instituto Nacional de Chile in 1813.
On August 14, 1810 Jose Miguel Infante, the procurador of the Santiago Cabildo, criticized the Council of Regency. The 80-year-old Count Toro Zambrano called a Cabildo Abierto on September 18, and Infante gave a speech in which he affirmed the right of a Spanish province to set up a junta under the supreme authority of the Council of Regency. The Cabildo elected Count Toro Zambrano president of the First Junta, which had five creoles and two Spaniards. They formed a patriot battalion, bought arms from England, and founded a munitions factory. Julio Alemparte argued that the American Cabildos were bridges for revolution. In December the Junta decreed the expansion of the army. Rozas on February 21, 1811 opened the ports with a 30% duty on all imports that began taking in revenue for the government. Toro Zambrano died on February 26 and was succeeded by Rozas. By March all the major cities except Santiago and Valparaiso had elected 36 representatives. To stop the elections in Santiago the Audiencia Real (appellate court) instigated a revolt led by Col. Tomas de Figueroa on April 1. This failed; he was executed, and the Audiencia was dissolved. On May 1 the deputies met, and Rozas persuaded the Junta to become an assembly. However, a majority cancelled his policies and appointed conservative administrators and judges.
Chile’s first National Congress opened on July 4, 1811, but it was dominated by the conservatives led by the Larrain family. The members swore to protect the Catholic religion, obey Fernando VII, and defend Chile. Rozas resigned but led those favoring a republic. In 1811 Coquimbo and Concepcion became separate provinces. The moderate Fray Joaquin Larrain led a revolution on September 4 and became head of the National Congress four days later until October 12. Chile had about 5,000 slaves who worked mostly as domestics and artisans for the wealthy. The educator Manuel de Salas persuaded the Congress to pass a law on October 11 to abolish the slave trade in Chile and to free all children born of slaves and any slave coming into Chile and staying more than six months.
Jose Miguel Carrera had fought against Napoleon in Spain, and he came back to Chile and with a third group gained control of Congress with the help of his two brothers. Carrera led a junta with Bernardo O’Higgins and another who were reluctant to join him. On November 15, 1811 a revolt threatened them, and Carrera took dictatorial power. Mackenna was arrested, and Carrera sent O’Higgins to mediate between Rozas and the Larrain elders. Rozas refused to recognize his authority in Concepcion, and Carrera sent troops. They met and came to terms, but Carrera banished Rozas in 1812. That year Carrera established a liberal constitution for Chile, dissolved the Audiencia, and made September 18 a holiday. The famous fifth article stated that no decree or law issued from outside of Chile would have any effect, and those trying to implement it would be punished. They still recognized King Fernando VII to gain time for the revolution. Carrera founded the Instituto Nacional de Chile and the National Library. Friar Camilo Henriquez edited Chile’s first newspaper, La Aurora de Chile.
In February 1813 during the Spanish reconquest Viceroy Jose Fernando de Abascal of Peru sent a force of 2,400 men led by Brigadier Antonio Pareja to force the insurgents in southern Chile to submit to Spanish rule. They sailed south, took Concepcion, and advanced north up the central valley gaining 600 more men and 2,000 militia in a civil war. Carrera organized resistance, but on April 27 the royalists defeated the Chileans at Yerbas Buenas near Linares. Carrera, his brothers, Bernardo O’Higgins, and Juan McKenna united with the radical patriots and fought the royalists in cruel conflicts. O’Higgins went to his estate at Las Canteras and raised 1,400 men in the Los Angeles area. Carrera besieged Chillan, and in fighting that followed the royalists burned Las Canteras. Carrera’s mistakes led to defeat in August; but O’Higgins and McKenna won battles, and O’Higgins took command of those fighting for independence on December 9.
Only Concepcion remained under the royalists. Viceroy Abascal sent General Gavino Gainza to Chile, and he landed at Arauco on January 31, 1814. Gainza met with Mapuches on February 3, and their war chief Mañil provided 6,000 warriors. The Junta had to retreat from their capital at Talca which was taken on March 3. The next day the royalists captured Jose Miguel Carrera and his brother Luis Carrera. On March 7 the Cabildo Abierto in Santiago appointed Francisco de la Lastra as Supreme Director. Mackenna and O’Higgins joined forces on March 23 and marched to keep Gainza’s royalists out of Santiago. By April 5 both armies were exhausted. The British captain James Hillyar mediated a treaty by the Lircay River on May 3, 1814. Chileans got some autonomy and open trade but had to recognize the Spanish Constitution of 1812 and the sovereignty of King Fernando VII. Spanish forces left the province of Concepcion, and deputies were to be sent to the Spanish Cortes. This compromise was resented by both sides. Viceroy Abascal was furious and court martialed Gainza in Lima, replacing him with Mariano Osorio.
The Carrera brothers escaped from the royalists and achieved another military coup in Santiago, putting Jose Miguel Carrera in charge again. He banished McKenna and ordered O’Higgins to submit. The latter was preparing to fight Luis Carrera; but Viceroy Abascal repudiated the peace treaty and sent another force from Peru under General Mariano Osorio that landed in the south. Carrera and O’Higgins agreed to fight for Chile together. Juan Jose Carrera’s contingent fled from Osorio’s army into Rancagua. O’Higgins bravely entered Rancagua on September 30 to defend it, but Jose Miguel Carrera declined to relieve them. Osorio attacked with twice as many men and defeated them on October 2, 1814. O’Higgins and Carrera fled with 500 men across the Andes to Mendoza where Jose de San Martin governed Cuyo and had formed an alliance with the Araucanians.
General Osorio led the royalists into Santiago on October 5 and was made governor by Viceroy Abascal. Radical leaders and even the moderate Joaquin Larrain were banished to the island of Juan Fernandez for three years. Property was confiscated or destroyed, and forced loans were exacted. The Audiencia and the Inquisition were revived, and free trade was squelched. Luis Carrera went to meet Juan Mackenna in Buenos Aires but killed him in a duel in November. Mackenna had been mentor to O’Higgins, and this caused a blood feud. San Martin and Alvear had formed the Masonic Lautaro Lodge in Buenos Aires that was dedicated to independence in America.
Osorio was succeeded by Marco del Pont on December 26, 1815. Manuel Rodriguez led guerrilla forces against this regime while Bernardo O’Higgins and refugees from Buenos Aires joined the army of General Jose de San Martin in February 1816. Pueyrredon made San Martin commander and captain-general of the Army of the Andes and sent him instructions for the expedition into Chile.
Franciscans established missions among the Campa natives in 1742; but Juan Santos, who could speak Latin, Spanish, Quechua, and Campa, proclaimed himself Atahualpa II in 1743 and led a rebellion that lasted until the 1760s. Viceroy Jose Antonio Manso de Velasco (Conde de Superunda) in 1749 protested corregidors using the repartimientos system to force Indians to buy items they did not want. After a rumor circulated that Juan Santos had been assassinated in 1749, two thousand people conspired to revolt in the Lima area; but the mestizo Jorge Gobea informed Viceroy Manso de Velasco. Many were arrested and tortured, and six leaders were hanged. Yet on September 29, 1749 in Huarochiri 20,000 revolted. They were defeated by the forces under Sebastian Francisco de Melo, and the leaders Francisco Jimenez Inca and Juan Pedro were hanged on July 6, 1750.
Manuel de Amat was viceroy of Peru from 1761 to 1776 and had a flamboyant romance with the actress Villegas Micaela, whom he called la Perricholi. He had militias formed in most of the provinces. A decree prohibiting the distillation of alcohol provoked a rebellion at Quito in 1765 as the government took over the monopoly. A mob broke into the offices of the agent, broke the containers of alcohol in the street, and burned the building. The Jesuits promised to abolish the monopoly and other duties while granting a general pardon. The insurgents held the city from May to September when the viceroys of Peru and New Granada established a garrison. When the Jesuits were expelled from Peru in 1767, the property confiscated included 5,200 slaves and credits for 500,000 pesos in gold and 800,000 pesos in silver. In 1771 people in Lima began to converse at cafés, and two years later The Journey of a Blind Traveler from Buenos Aires to Lima was successfully published under the pseudonym of Concolorcorvo, describing the manners of the time.
In June 1777 Jose Antonio de Areche arrived in Lima as the royally appointed visitador. He increased the sales tax from four to six percent while Viceroy Manuel de Guirior imposed a 12.5% tax on liquor. Areche made charges against the Viceroy, who was replaced by Jose de Galvez in July 1780. By then revolts in Cuzco, Arequipa, and Huancavelica were being dwarfed by a widespread Inca uprising. The corregidor Antonio Aliaga in Tinta had so abused the natives that even the Church had excommunicated him. Jose Gabriel Condorcanqui proclaimed himself Tupac Amaru II and led a rebellion. On November 4 he captured Aliaga and forced him to sign a large money order that also included muskets, horses, and mules. Then he executed Aliaga by making him drink molten gold. Tupac Amaru led his rebels to Quiquijana; the corregidor had fled to Cuzco, but they plundered large quantities of cotton and woolen cloth and more firearms, giving 300 to his 6,000 men. Rebels took 700,000 pesos from Endeiza and other merchants at Oruro, and their numbers swelled to 20,000 men. Areche mustered 17,000 soldiers at Cuzco, and Viceroy Vertiz of Buenos Aires sent three detachments. In November a thousand men under Governor Tiburcio de Landa of Paucartambo took refuge in a church; but a negotiation with Tupac Amaru failed, and all but 28 wounded men were slaughtered. Tupac Amaru had three thousand armed men by the end of November. During the revolt at least twenty caciques remained loyal to the crown.
The authorities announced they were abolishing the repartimientos and the sales tax. In January 1781 Tupac Amaru sent letters to the Cuzco Cabildo and the bishop asking for moderate reforms and an end to corregidor abuses. He promised to respect priests, Church property, women, and unarmed men. Another attack on Paucartambo failed in February, but the Inca chief gathered 60,000 men at Tinta. Tupac Amaru wrote to Areche, again asking for reforms, but Areche refused to negotiate. General del Valle left Cuzco with an army of 17,116 men. Tupac Amaru was betrayed and captured. General del Valle immediately hanged 67 Indian prisoners at Tinta, and on May 15 Areche sentenced Tupac Amaru to watch the execution of his family before being drawn and quartered. All aspects of Quechua culture were prohibited including dramas, musical instruments, art, costumes, and even the language. Many Indians were still armed, and a war of extermination ensued that took an estimated 80,000 lives. At Sorata only the clergy remained alive as 20,000 were killed. La Paz was besieged for six months, and the war would last two years. In 1783 Felipe Velasco, calling himself Tupac Inca Yupanqui, tried to incite rebellion in Huarochiri but failed. Viceroy Agustin de Jauregui put Huarochiri under military occupation by replacing the civilian official with a military officer. The Indians did not forget the abuses of the Spaniards, and thirty years later they sided with the Creoles in the independence struggle.
Corregidors sold merchandise to the Indians because they were able to compel them to pay their debts. This repartimiento system was legalized from 1752 to 1782. When it was abolished, Alonso Carrio de la Bandera argued that the corregidors could make about 10,000 pesos a year without injuring the Indians. Viceroy Theodoro de Croix (1784-90) decreed that all books by Montesquieu, Raynal, Machiavelli, and the Encyclopédie be burned. During this era bullion was 88% of Peru’s exports. Reaction to the French Revolution created a secret police in Lima, and after 1790 they investigated everyone entering the kingdom. In 1792 the viceroyalty of Peru had 483 parish priests for 608,894 Indians. The number of mestizos was about half that. Less than 13% were Europeans, and about 4% were African slaves and 4% free Africans. Mulattos suffered more discrimination than mestizos who could often pass for white. In the second half of the 18th century the province of Cajamarca had thirteen Indian rebellions.
Ambrosio O’Higgins was viceroy of Peru 1796-1801. After war began between Spain and England in 1797, he strengthened defenses at Callao and built a fort in Pisco. O’Higgins promised a highroad from Lima to the port of Callao, and it was completed in 1799. His son Bernardo was illegitimate. When Ambrosio learned that his son was conspiring with Miranda for independence from Spain, he removed him from his will; but he changed his mind on March 14, 1801, four days before he died. Viceroy Gabriel de Avilés arrived in November and served until 1806. That year the free Indians of Lacamarca resisted attempts by landowners to require them to perform labor and personal service.
José Fernando de Abascal y Sousa was viceroy of Peru 1806-16, and he raised taxes. On May 23, 1806 an expedition to disseminate the smallpox vaccine led by Dr. Francisco Javier de Balmis arrived in Lima. Viceroy Abascal ordered mass vaccinations, but those making money selling the vaccine prevented it from being more widely used. On December 1 a major earthquake in Lima caused damage to the city walls that cost 150,000 pesos to repair.
The Mercurio Peruano expressed the views of the 18th-century enlightenment, advocating liberty and equality. However, most liberals accepted the uniform religion and language. When the imperial government of Spain was overthrown by Napoleon’s French army in 1808, the cabildos became more important. In 1809 the cabildos of Peru chose Jose de Silva y Olave, the rector of the University of San Marcos, to go to Spain with instructions from the Lima Cabildo and the current demands of the creoles. They criticized the intendants for abusing their power and oppressing the cabildos. Conservatives favored restoring the corregidores and repartimientos that forced the Indians to buy their goods. They wanted free trade, lower taxes, and the abolition of monopolies because they raised prices. Peru had been dominating South America because they monopolized the trans-Atlantic trade and exported bars of gold and silver.
During the Peninsular War (1807-14) in Europe regional juntas were established while Viceroy Abascal supported the Cadiz Cortes against Napoleon. Abascal relied on creoles in his militia which was supposed to have 40,000 men. In 1809 the cabildos in Peru were allowed to elect seven deputies to Spain, and they demanded greater representation but did not want Indians, mestizos, and Africans voting. That year Abascal sent troops led by Captain General Jose Manuel de Goyeneche to defeat a revolt in La Paz of Alto Peru (now Bolivia) even though it was under the Viceroy of Rio de la Plata. After the revolution in Buenos Aires on May 25, 1810 Abascal sent Goyeneche there again to reincorporate the province in his viceroyalty, and on July 13 he decreed that Upper Peru was part of Peru. However, the revolutionaries defeated the royalists at Suipacha on November 7. He used the chief Mateo Pumacahua of Chincheros to help defeat the rebellion in La Paz in 1811, and they attacked and plundered the Indians of Sicasica, Cochabamba, and Oruro. Pumacahua was promoted and even was president of the Audiencia. On August 2, 1810 Abascal’s imperial troops defeated an uprising in Quito to bring that province back under Peru.
In 1811 Viceroy Abascal sent 300,000 pesos to the royalists in Montevideo. He tried to resist the liberal reforms in Spain’s Constitution of 1812, but this provoked revolts in Cusco, Tacna, Cajamarca, and Arequipa that he suppressed. That year an Indian uprising in Huanuco was also put down. In the second half of 1812 he was obligated to dismiss unpopular officials, to appoint more creoles, not to sell offices nor allow hereditary cabildos, to abolish the Indian tribute and required public service (mita), and to allow a free press. Abascal also sent military expeditions to Chile in February 1813 and January 1814 to reincorporate it, and the Queen’s Talavera Regiment went there in August in the Reconquista that lasted until 1817.
Reformers established a new cabildo in Cuzco and challenged the Audiencia, which imprisoned the creole leaders. On August 2, 1814 the prisoners escaped, rallied support, and arrested most in the Spanish faction. To gain military support they recalled Pumacahua from retirement and made him part of the triumvirate. The creole Jose Angulo recruited thousands of Indians loyal to Pumacahua for three expeditions south to Puno and La Paz, north to Huamanga and Huanacavelica, and southeast to Arequipa. On the way to La Paz they gained more Indians and mestizos and slaughtered the Spanish garrison there. Spaniards led by General Juan Ramirez came from Alto Peru and recaptured La Paz and Puno. Pumacahua with 12,000 Indians captured Arequipa on November 10. He heard about Ramirez, retreated, and shot many prisoners. Pumacahua was betrayed by informers (cholos), and Ramirez defeated him in March 1815 and executed him in May. By then many rebel leaders had been executed. Fernando VII had been restored as King of Spain in May 1814, and he annulled the Constitution of 1812. Royalists dominated Peru for the next five years. Joaquin de la Pezuela had organized the counter-revolution in Upper Peru, and he succeeded Abascal as viceroy on July 7, 1816.
The Spanish Viceroyalty of New Granada from 1717 to 1819 included what became Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador and Panama. Viceroy Sebastian de Eslaba came to Cartagena in 1740 and stayed until he retired in 1749. That year Archbishop Azua forbade clergy from selling alcohol. Dissatisfied creoles (criollos) began protesting against the Caracas Company in 1748, and Juan Francisco de Leon led rebellions against it from 1749 to 1751. The naval officer Jose Alfonso Pizarro was viceroy 1749-53 and established a monopoly on the sale of alcohol. Viceroy Jose Solis (1753-61) implemented internal improvements and had the mint at Bogota rebuilt. He established missions and ordered the colony’s first census. He improved the postal service, tax collection, and the Audiencia (law court). He revived the chair of medicine at the Colegio del Rosario and founded the Hospital San Juan de Dios during a measles epidemic.
Viceroy Pedro de Messia de la Cerda (1761-73) made tobacco a government monopoly. An earthquake in 1765 destroyed the mines of Concepcion that had an annual production of about 300,000 pesos. Quito had been part of New Granada since 1740. In 1765 the people rebelled against the liquor monopoly and high customs duties, and they governed Quito for more than a year. After royal troops occupied the city, Viceroy Messia de la Cerda granted amnesty to all those involved in the insurrection. In addition to Cadiz in 1765 Spain allowed Spaniards to trade to seven ports in the Caribbean—Barcelona, Malaga, Alicante, Cartagena, Corunna, Gijon, and Santander.
In 1767 more than 187 Jesuits were banished, and their fourteen colleges with about 5,000 students were abandoned. In 1769 the Spaniards captured 22 Guajiros to work on fortifications at Cartagena. On May 2 at El Rincon the natives burned the church with two Spaniards who had taken refuge there, and they captured the priest. The rebellion spread to 20,000 armed Indians who burned most of the settlements in the area, killing more than a hundred Spaniards and capturing even more. Cartagena sent a hundred soldiers, and reinforcements helped them disperse the rebels, though the Guajiros regained territory. Viceroy Manuel Guiror (1773-76) promoted missions, but an uprising of Indians in the province of Riohacha using fire-arms was suppressed. Guiror did not add any new taxes, but he was diligent in collecting them. He divided Bogota into barrios.
Manuel Antonio Florez was viceroy at Cartagena 1776-81. He introduced a public printing press, and on January 9, 1777 he opened the royal library to the public. When Spain declared war on England in 1779, Carlos III gave Juan Francisco Gutierrez de Piñeres as visitador-regente (presiding judge) the authority to raise more money. He doubled the price of tobacco and rum, and he imposed a tax of two pesos on each white man and one peso on each man of color. On September 27, 1780 the Intendant Jose de Abalos wrote a letter to Jose de Galves, the Universal Secretary of the Indies, complaining about the bad effects of the Guipuzcoa Company’s monopoly in Venezuela. The high taxes and corruption of those collecting them that took half the revenues caused resentment and rebellion in October. Many Indians heard about the revolt of Tupac Amaru in Peru and joined.
About 6,000 people in Socorro and San Gil refused to pay their taxes. On March 16, 1781 Jose Delgadillo led a group of protestors to the house of the alcalde Jose de Angulo in Socorro, saying they would not pay the imposts and shouting, “Long live the King and death to the bad government!” The Socorro Cabildo (Assembly) that day suspended the new taxes, and at San Gil a mob burned the tobacco in the storehouse. At Simacota tobacco was burned, and brandy was poured out. The regent Gutierrez de Piñeres recalled some of the taxes in this area. Ciriaco de Archila sent verses from Bogota that were read aloud to a crowd of 4,000. Then the mob broke into the offices and destroyed taxable items such as liquor, playing cards, stamped paper, and tobacco. Yet reports indicated little or no looting for personal gain nor was anyone killed.
In April 1781 six thousand rebels assembled in Socorro and elected a comun with four leaders. The chief Juan Francisco Berbeo organized a force of 4,000 men, and the outnumbered local soldiers surrendered. Other towns did likewise, and about 20,000 comuneros marched toward Bogota. The leaders Juan Francisco Berbeo, Antonio Jose Monsalve, Francisco Rosillo, and Clemente Jose Estevez wrote to Viceroy Florez that they wanted to secure prudently the “tranquility of these republics” without loss of life or property. Oidor (Judge) Osorio marched out of Bogota with fifty men, but they were overwhelmed and captured. The insurgents declared their independence and aimed to govern themselves democratically as a republic.
Gutierrez de Piñeres convened the Audiencia at Bogota, appointed commissioners to negotiate, appealed to Archbishop Antonio Caballero, decreed a reduction in the sales and war taxes, and organized the militia. However, the insurgents next attacked the house of an administrator at Zipaquira. Berbeo sent Juan Bautista Morales to England to ask for military aid. The town of Giron opposed the revolution and gathered a company of 200 lances; but they fled when 4,000 rebels arrived. Ambrosio Pisco was a descendant of the zipas, and in May 1781 he put himself under Berbeo’s command. Indians at Silos published the proclamation of Tupac Amaru II and swore obedience to him as Emperor of America. The insurgents presented their demands for the abolition of monopolies and most taxes. Archbishop Caballero, the commissioners, and the Audiencia approved the demands, and their oaths were solemnized with Church rituals; but the commissioners secretly declared that they would not be bound by the agreement. The revolutionaries returned to their towns with the document they called the charter of their liberties. Berbeo went to Bogota and was appointed corregidor (corrector) and chief justice of Socorro and San Gil.
Spaniards often discriminated against those born in America whom they called creoles, but Archbishop Caballero also promised that creoles would be preferred over peninsulares (Spaniards) for office appointments. However, Viceroy Florez immediately rejected the agreement and sent additional troops. In August 1781 five hundred soldiers from Cartagena arrived at Bogota. Most of the leaders gave in, but others resisted. The Indians would not fight trained troops and fled to the mountains. The educated mestizo Jose Antonio Galan and a few others were sentenced in January 1782 and hanged. Pisco was imprisoned in Cartagena for fourteen years. Regent Gutierrez de Piñeres returned to Bogota and annulled the agreement. The comuneros had controlled about a third of New Granada, and some tax officials were killed. After this rebellion, the Spanish officials reduced the local militia and increased the imperial army. Spain also held back from New Granada the intendant system that gave more local authority.
In 1782 Archbishop Caballero became viceroy and issued a general amnesty to those involved in the comuneros uprising. Before resigning in 1789 he promoted education, missions, mining techniques, and the botanical expedition led by Jose Celestino Mutis. Viceroy Jose de Ezpeleta (1789-97) continued the efforts in science, industry, and the arts. By the end of the colonial period the Catholic Church had 1,850 men and women in holy orders for the 1,400,000 inhabitants of New Granada. In 1800 New Granada had about 70,000 slaves and 140,000 free Africans. Slave rebellions were endemic from 1750 to 1790. A major revolt broke out in 1785 in Cartajo and spread to Cauca, Choco, and Valle. In 1799 slaves rebelled on the hacienda San Bartolomé near Mompox.
Antonio Nariño was a prosperous merchant and intellectual with a library of 2,000 books. He admired Socrates, Plato, Montesquieu, Rousseau, Franklin, and Washington. When Pedro Fermin de Vargas, the corregidor of Zipaquira, went abroad in 1791-92 to raise money for revolution, he sold his books to Nariño who also owned a printing press. In 1793 he printed a few copies of his Spanish translation of the Declaration of the Rights of Man from the French revolution. After selling only one copy and giving away one other, he changed his mind and tried to get them back. Word got out, and they found subversive books in his library. Nariño’s property was confiscated, and he was sentenced to ten years imprisonment in North Africa and permanently banished from America. Even his defense attorney was sentenced to ten years. Nariño escaped at Cadiz and went to Madrid, Paris, and London, where he asked for help for the Spanish colonies from a member of the British cabinet. In 1795 his friend Francisco de Santa Cruz Espejo, an Indian doctor and lawyer in Quito, satirized the dismal economic conditions and was imprisoned for subversion. Eventually Nariño went back to New Granada and turned himself in to the new Viceroy in 1797. He spent six years in prison, but later he was arrested again. He was in a Cartagena prison when the independence movement reached fruition in 1810.
In 1749 Juan Francisco de Leon led an effort to abolish the monopoly of the Caracas Company, and they marched to Caracas. The authorities made an agreement, but nothing really changed. When Leon gathered his forces again, Spain sent a new governor with 1,500 troops to crush the rebellion; Leon was captured and imprisoned in Spain for the rest of his life. Gradually some reforms were made, but the Caracas Company became less profitable.
The Intendancy of New Granada put the six provinces of Venezuela under an administrator at Caracas in December 1776, and in September 1777 Venezuela became a captaincy-general with its capital at Caracas and included the autonomous provinces of Maracaibo, Coro, Guayana, Trinidad, Cumana, Puerto Cabello, Margarita, and Caracas. That year the bishopric of Merida began for Merida, Maracaibo, and Trujillo. In 1783 immigration was opened to anyone of the Catholic faith. Merida got a seminary in 1785 and began granting degrees in 1806. That year the Caracas Company stopped doing business, and the 1778 decree of Carlos III allowing free trade was finally implemented in Venezuela. The Real Audiencia of Caracas established judicial administration over Venezuela in July 1786. In 1789 the Caracas Company’s monopoly was abolished as free trade was announced. Guayana became a diocese in 1790. The Real Consulado of Caracas was established in June 1793 to promote and regulate commerce between the United Provinces of Venezuela and Spain and other Spanish colonies. The archdiocese of Caracas formed in 1803 and included the dioceses of Merida and Guayana. Venezuela became an archbishopric the next year. By then Caracas was a city of about 40,000.
Francisco de Miranda was born in Caracas on March 28, 1750, and he attended the Royal University of Caracas. He developed revolutionary ideas and became an aide to General Juan Manuel de Cagigal in Cuba. Miranda was arrested in Havana by Captain-general Bernardo Galvez in 1783 and was sentenced to ten years, but Cagigal got him released. Miranda went north and met George Washington and criticized the Congress of the Confederation. In 1785 he went to England and then toured Europe, collecting books. According to his diary he had an extraordinary number of lovers, including Empress Catherine of Russia in 1787. In 1790 Miranda asked British Prime Minister William Pitt to support an effort for South American independence. He became a general in France’s revolutionary army under General Dumouriez in 1793 and won some important battles. During the reign of terror in 1794 Miranda was investigated, but he was acquitted and released in 1795. He returned to London and conspired with Bernardo O’Higgins, Andres Bello, and Antonio Nariño. In December 1797 Miranda claimed to be part of the junta from the provinces of Spanish America, and he asked Britain for ships and soldiers. In the United States he met with Rufus King; but Alexander Hamilton called Miranda “an intriguing adventurer,” and President Adams opposed him.
Spain codified its slave laws on May 31, 1789, but planters in the Spanish Caribbean resisted the attempt to improve slave conditions, and Venezuela suspended the law in 1794. The next May 300 Africans revolted in Coro led by the zambo (African) Jose Leonardo Chirino and Jose Caridad Gonzalez. They took over haciendas, plundered property, and killed landowners before invading the city of Coro. They were crushed eventually, and many were shot without trial. In 1795 the Crown decreed that pardos (mixed races) could buy their equality with creoles, but the creoles in the Caracas Cabildo blocked its enactment. The book Derechos del hombre y del ciudadano (Rights of Man and of the Citizen) was read in the Antilles and Venezuela, but the Audiencia of Caracas prohibited it in 1797.
Jose Maria España and Manuel Gual led a revolutionary plot in the port city of La Guaira in 1797 that was discovered in July before they could raise arms from other countries. España and Gual fled. España returned to La Guaira and was hanged in spring 1799 when ninety revolutionaries were hanged or imprisoned. That year conspirators were also thwarted in Maracaibo.
Miranda appealed to the United States Government again in 1805. President Jefferson gave no official support but allowed private persons to back him. Miranda managed to raise a “Columbian army” of 180 men, and they gained eight ships at Trinidad; but when they landed at La Vela de Coro with 400 soldiers on August 3, 1806, instead of a popular uprising, the inhabitants fled. Miranda lost British support and returned to Trinidad. He went back to London in 1808 and was treated as a popular hero. Edmund Burke published a pamphlet advocating South American emancipation. When Napoleon’s army took over Spain that year, his envoys in Caracas had to escape from a mob that still supported the Spanish crown.
In June 1808 Viceroy Antonio Amar y Borbon learned of the changes in Spain and called troops from Cartagena to Bogota. He summoned officials, ecclesiastics, and prominent citizens to meet on September 5; but the creoles tried to form a junta in Bogota, and they resented his sending troops to quell the revolution in Quito. In September 1809 the lawyer Camilo Torres published his Memorial de agravios advocating equality between Spaniards and creoles. The Socorro Cabildo instructed their deputy of New Granada to the Central Junta to demand the emancipation of Indians, distribution of communal lands (resguardos) to individual Indians, abolition of slavery, free manufacturing and trade, tax reform, and improvements in education and communication. Vargas also wanted industrial diversification. Racial discrimination was rampant, and families took legal action to stop relatives from marrying mestizos. Mestizos went to court to be declared as such so that they would not have to pay the Indian tribute, to gain social mobility, and so they could pass for white.
In Quito many critics had been arrested in 1808 and were charged with conspiracy. On August 19, 1809 creoles deposed President Count Ruiz de Castilla, overthrew the Audiencia, and formed a Junta headed by the Marquis of Selva Alegre with the Bishop of Quito as vice president. They controlled the local militia and raised more troops, abolished the tobacco monopoly, lowered taxes, and tried to confiscate ecclesiastical property. Selva Alegre wrote to Viceroy Abascal that this was a temporary expedient, and he sent royalist forces. The Junta negotiated some terms before surrendering to President Castilla on October 28. When soldiers arrived from Lima, Guayaquil, and Bogota, Castilla renounced the agreement and imprisoned more than eighty rebels while the royalist troops went on a rampage in Quito. On August 2, 1810 patriots tried to rescue the prisoners, and more than sixty were killed. Spanish repression provoked another revolt in October with broader participation. Lima troops were forced to withdraw, and a general pardon was granted. The quiteños only recognized their own Junta, and many Spanish administrators were killed. On February 15, 1812 their revolutionary Congress promulgated the Free State of Quito even while factions struggled against each other. Royalist forces from Cuenca recruited many loyal Indians, and General Toribio Montes marched into Quito on November 8 and eliminated the rebel leaders. Then he reassured others with reconciliation.
The llanos (herders) of Casanare rose up in May 1810, and in July cabildos revolted against corregidors in Cali, Pamplona, and Socorro. In Bogota those favoring independence led by Camilo Torres, Miguel de Pombo, and Jose de Acevedo y Gomez formed a supreme council on July 20 with the approval of Viceroy Amar. Three days later the crowd demanded the arrest of the Viceroy and his wife, and the Junta no longer recognized the Regency Council of Spain. Independent juntas were soon organized in the provinces of Cartagena, Santa Marta, Antioquia, El Choco, Socorro, Casanare, Neiva, Mariquita, Pamplona, and Tunja, but by the end of the year the royalists took over Santa Marta.
A Supreme Congress representing the provinces was installed at Santa Fe de Bogota on December 22. Their charter with its legislative, executive, and judicial branches was influenced by the constitutions of the United States and France and was signed on March 30, 1811. They recognized the Catholic religion as the only one in the state. They banned torture, and every citizen capable of bearing arms was considered a soldier.
Jorge Tadeo Lozano was elected the first president of Cundinamarca in March. Antonio Nariño advocated a stronger central government, and he edited the opposition newspaper, La Bagatela. General Antonio Baraya was sent to suppress the congress in Tunja led by Camilo Torres and Frutos Gutierrez. President Lozano and his vice president resigned in September, and Nariño was elected president. In November 27 representatives from Cartagena, Antioquia, Casanare, Neiva, Pamplona, and Tunja signed the Act of Federation of the United Provinces of New Granada and sent it to other provinces for ratification.
Cartagena had been the first province to declare complete independence from Spain on November 11, 1811, and its President Manuel Rodriguez Torices befriended Bolivar and his compatriots. In Spain liberals had adopted a constitution in 1812. Spaniards occupied the valleys of the Magdalena River and had cut off Cartagena from the interior. On July 25, 1812 Miranda and Monteverde signed a capitulation by which the republican provinces recognized the Spanish Cortes.
Nariño came into conflict with Antonio Baraya and got the Assembly to suspend the Constitution and declare him dictator. After a failed military campaign against the federalists, Nariño restored the Constitution. When the federalists conspired to kill him, Nariño resigned. On September 12, 1812 the Assembly appointed him dictator again. In October representatives from Cartagena, Antioquia, Casanare, Cundinamarca, Pamplona, Popayan, and Tunja formed the United Provinces of New Granada and elected Camilo Torres as their first president. Baraya’s secretary was young Francisco de Paula Santander, who reported that the discontent of the towns deprived of self-government caused Baraya to disobey Nariño who clashed with this Congress. After another failed military expedition with 1,500 men, he returned to Bogota and fortified the capital. Nariño tried to negotiate with Baraya, who demanded surrender.
On January 9, 1813 Baraya attacked with 3,000 poorly armed men, and more than a thousand of them were captured by Nariño’s forces. Nariño negotiated an agreement in which the Congress recognized him as President of Cundinamarca, and he released the prisoners. In June the electoral college in Bogota made Nariño dictator for life, and they declared Bogota independent on July 18. Nariño led 1,400 men south in September and defeated the royalists at Juanambu and in Popayan in January 1814. The royalist Governor Col. Juan Samano fled to Pasto, and the royalist pastusos defeated the republicans on May 11, 1814. Nariño surrendered himself and was held in a dungeon for thirteen months. Then he was taken to Quito, Callao, and around Cape Horn to Cadiz, where he was imprisoned for four more years before being freed by the Spanish revolution of 1820.
Simon Bolivar was born on July 24, 1783 in Caracas to wealthy Creole aristocrats. His father died when he was three years old, and his mother died six years later. His inheritance made him one of the richest men in Caracas. Bolivar traveled to Spain in 1799, and at court he was under the protection of Manuel Mallo and then the Marques de Ustariz. In 1802 he married the daughter of a nobleman from Caracas. They settled in Caracas, but she died of disease before their first anniversary. He said he would never remarry, but he had mistresses. Bolivar went to Paris, where he lived with Fanny du Villars. He read books and was most influenced by Hobbes, Spinoza, Locke, Condillac, Buffon, D’Alembert, Helvetius, Montesquieu, Voltaire, and especially Rousseau. In Paris he met Alexander von Humboldt, who originated the science of ecology and had traveled widely in South America for five years. On December 2, 1804 Bolivar witnessed Napoleon crowning himself. He had admired him as the hero of the republic and the genius of liberty, but now he saw the Emperor Napoleon as “a hypocritical tyrant, an insult to liberty and an obstacle to the progress of civilization.”2 In 1805 Bolivar adopted “Freedom and Fame” as his motto, and his old tutor Simon Rodriguez reminded him of the teachings of Rousseau. On the Monte Sacro in Rome, where the ancient plebeians had challenged the patricians, Bolivar made a vow to Rodriguez that he would liberate his country.
Bolivar returned to Venezuela in 1807 after Miranda’s failed revolution. He came into conflict with his neighbors over his plan to irrigate his indigo plantation, and he defended himself against the armed slaves of Antonio Nicolas Briceño. In November the French army attacked Portugal, and Napoleon deposed the house of Braganza. On May 5, 1808 Napoleon persuaded Carlos IV and his powerful chief minister, Manuel de Godoy, to abdicate the throne of Spain. The Emperor named his brother Joseph Bonaparte to rule Spain and appointed viceroys and governors for the American colonies. Venezuela’s Captain-general Juan de Casas learned of this on July 5 but kept it from the public for a while. Napoleon chose Jose Hipolito Odoardo as the deputy for Caracas to the Spanish National Assembly. However, the Supreme Central Junta had two deputies for each province but none for America. French delegates arrived in Caracas, and their presence caused a riot on July 15. Casas ordered three of the ringleaders arrested, and he called a meeting of officials on July 27. The three Army officers were arrested that day and were held for several months.
Spaniards rebelled and organized guerrilla warfare, proclaiming Fernando VII king. Francisco Miranda sent a letter from London urging the city council of Caracas to govern. In September the Central Supreme Junta of Spain declared war on France. The French delegates were rejected in Venezuela, Mexico, Buenos Aires, Montevideo, and La Paz as the Americans also accepted Fernando as king. Most of the Americans turned to the cabildo abierto (open assembly) of their city governments. Spain allowed the South Americans only 12 delegates for fifteen million people while twelve million Spaniards were represented by 36 delegates. The Americans included only three million Europeans along with eight million Indians and four million Africans. Matthew Gallagher and James Lamb brought the first free press to Venezuela, and the first periodical, the Gaceta de Caracas, was published in October.
On November 24, 1808 some aristocrats in Caracas demanded the right to call an assembly to govern until King Fernando VII regained the throne. Bolivar did not sign the petition, and those who did were arrested. The leader Antonio Fernandez de Leon was sent to Spain. In January 1809 Spain formed an alliance with England against the French. The petitioners were reprieved on February 18. Vicente de Emparan arrived as the new Captain-general of Venezuela in May, but the new inspector of the militia was Bolivar’s brother-in-law Fernando Rodriguez de Toro. The first attempt to depose Emparan was on December 14, and an uprising was planned for April 1810, but Emparan had some leaders arrested and banished others, including the Bolivars. Yet he returned to Caracas a few days later, and the revolutionaries sought to establish the Junta Central as the government.
On April 19 the City Council was summoned to meet by its Vice President Mayor Jose de las Llamozas, though only Emparan could legally call the meeting. They invited him to attend, and he agreed. After Juan German Roscio, Jose Felix Sosa, and the religious canon Jose Cortes Madariaga joined the meeting, the City Council decided to depose Emparan and his staff. They called it the Supreme Junta for the Conservation of the Rights of Fernando VII. They sent Bolivar to London to confer with Miranda. On May 3 the Junta sent notification to the Spanish Regency government that Venezuela had withdrawn from its dominion. The Regency reacted by calling them rebels and appointing Fernando Miyares as captain-general and sending Antonio Cortabarria of the Spanish Supreme Council of the Indies to Puerto Rico to prepare a naval squadron to defeat Venezuela. The Junta appealed to other towns, and they were joined by Barcelona on April 27, Cumana on the 30th, Margarita on May 4, Barinas on the 5th, and Guayana on the 11th. Mérida would join on September 16 and Trujillo on October 6, but Coro and Maracaibo stayed out. The Junta called for elections on June 11, and voting was restricted to the free classes.
Buenos Aires constituted a temporary assembly on May 25, and Viceroy Antonio Jose Amar y Borbon of New Granada was overthrown at Bogota on July 20. Similar revolutions in Chile and Mexico soon followed. The Creole aristocrats had made a revolution for liberty but rarely mentioned equality and fraternity.
In June 1810 Bolivar was promoted to colonel of the militia, and the official reason for his mission to England was to preserve trade. He met with the new foreign minister, Richard Wellesley, and told him that independent Venezuela would not recognize the Regency-council of Spain. Wellesley promised that the British fleet would protect Venezuela from the French and would work for reconciliation between Venezuela and Spain. He advised Venezuela to preserve friendly trading relations with Spain. The Regency-council at Cadiz allowed trade between England and the American colonies, but they declared Venezuelans rebels and blockaded their coast. Bolivar recommended declaring war on Spain. He was grateful for the protection of the British navy, and he studied their parliamentary institutions. He told friends that he hoped for an American federation, and in his painted portrait he wore a medal with the words, “There is no country without freedom.” Bolivar told Miranda to return to Venezuela. Miranda was considered an enemy of Spain and could not travel on the same warship as Bolivar.
The government in Caracas proclaimed freedom of trade, abolishing duties and the sales tax. They offered refuge to Spaniards fleeing Europe and pledged to support the war against France. Bolivar joined the Patriotic Society for improving agriculture and industry, and this group advocated complete independence. The Venezuelan provinces of Coro, Maracaibo, and Guayana remained loyal to the Regency-council, mostly because they did not like Caracas, and they called up their militias. The Marqués of Toro was appointed General-in-Chief of the Western Army and marched against Coro with 3,000 men in November 1810; but they were poorly equipped and retreated with heavy losses. A conspiracy of Puerto Rican Spaniards was suppressed without violence.
Public opinion and Bolivar persuaded authorities to grant Miranda permission to enter the country, and they arrived together on December 5 at La Guaira. Bolivar’s brother Juan Vicente went to the United States in May 1811 and met with President Madison, but instead of buying arms he sent back weaving, paper, and minting machines. Juan Vicente died at sea on his return, and Simon Bolivar took over his wealthy estate. However, according to his uncle’s entail, he had to choose between his estate and his brother’s.
On March 2, 1811 the new Venezuelan Congress met in Caracas. The Junta resigned, and the Congress elected three members to govern as a triumvirate. They appointed a Council of advisors, a High Court of Justice, and set up commissions to compose a constitution and laws. On July 1 the Congress accepted a Bill of Rights that abolished torture and protected press freedom. Two days later they began debating independence, and on July 5 seven of the ten provinces in the Captaincy-general of Venezuela declared independence, and the Congress ratified it two days later. The three provinces that chose to remain under Spanish rule were Maracaibo, Coro, and Guayana. Miranda brought a new flag that was yellow, blue, and red, and people celebrated on July 14, Bastille Day. Bolivar and some other aristocrats freed their slaves. Roscio, the author of The Triumph of Liberty Over Despotism, and Francisco Iznardi wrote the Act of Independence, and the Gaceta de Caracas printed it on the 16th.
On July 11 Spaniards and Capucin monks opposing independence paraded with theatrical pageants mocking the revolution. Sixty men from the Canary Islands rode mules and wore tin helmets, shouting for the King and against traitors. They were arrested; Miranda advised the death sentence, and sixteen were executed and had their heads put on poles by the city gates. Valencia revolted on July 13, but paradoxically its Spaniards supported the republic and its native Venezuelans the King. Miranda accepted command of the army on the condition that Bolivar was not included in the expedition. Bolivar objected, but this was resolved by Toro naming Bolivar his adjutant. Africans rose up in Valencia, and Miranda with Bolivar besieged Valencia, which capitulated on August 13. Bolivar wanted to liquidate the enemies, but Miranda was lenient. The next day the Junta established the Patriotic Society for Agriculture and Economy to promote economic development, but it became political about the time Bolivar and Miranda joined in December. The newspaper El Patriota Venezolano became their organ, and three other newspapers also published articles pleading for liberty.
The Congress debated constitutional provisions for five months, and on December 21 the Constitution of the Federated States of Venezuela was signed by 37 representatives. The presidency was a committee of three, and the seven states had liberal autonomy. African slavery was abolished, but full citizenship was limited to those with property. Bolivar and Miranda believed the country was too divided. Provinces and cities fought each other, especially after the three million pesos in the royal treasury were spent in the first year of independence. In August 1811 state employees had their salaries cut in half. The government issued two million pesos in paper money, but lack of income from customs duties and the tobacco monopoly did not support the notes. Prices went up fast, and severe penalties were used to prevent gold and silver from going out of circulation. People spent large notes to get silver as change, and forged notes circulated. Some private citizens helped pay the civil servants and soldiers. The capital of Venezuela was moved to Valencia in October.
Congress met in Valencia from February to April 1812. In March they elected Fernando Toro, Javier Ustariz, and Iznardi as the new triumvirate. A major earthquake on March 26, 1812 was interpreted by many as a sign of God’s anger, though many of those killed were in churches on Holy Thursday. Nearly ten thousand people were killed in Caracas and La Guaira and four thousand elsewhere. Royalist regions seemed to be spared, and many priests preached that it was a sign from God against the revolution. Bolivar worked to dig out the wounded and with soldiers dispersed an excited crowd that had been stirred up by a monk. The government issued manifestos that it was a natural phenomenon. On April 16 the Executive Power of Valencia threatened all enemies of the Venezuelan Confederation with the death penalty for conspiracy against the regime, and it would be applied to those who refused conscription under the military law of June 19, 1812. After Toro declined the offer, Congress gave Miranda dictatorial powers on April 23. He put Col. Ustariz in charge of defending Valencia; but he evacuated the capital as most people joined the royalists. People acclaimed Juan Domingo Monteverde as he entered Valencia on May 3. Miranda tried to retake the capital; but he was undermined by aristocratic creoles, and hundreds of men defected.
Maracaibo’s Governor Fernando Miyares put 500 men under Monteverde, and Coro’s commander Jose Ceballos sent 264 men under the priest Torrellas and Reyes Vargas, who was backed by Indians. Monteverde captured Carora and Barquisimeto. Many troops and cavalry went over to Monteverde, who allowed looting while Ceballos did not. Miranda sent Bolivar to defend Puerto Cabello, where the San Felipe fortress had an arms supply and political prisoners. Miranda missed opportunities while training his army. He proclaimed martial law and promised to emancipate all slaves serving under him.
Captain Antoñanzas captured Calabozo for the royalists and released prisoners that included Jose Tomas Boves who had defeated Ustariz. Monteverde flanked Miranda on the north and the south, forcing him to retreat to Victoria in June. Miranda’s forces won a battle but did not pursue the enemy, and his officers wanted to arrest him. The royalists attacked Puerto Cabello, killing more than a hundred men. The small garrison surrendered on July 6 as Bolivar and seven officers fled by ship to La Guaira. Monteverde held the central region around Caracas, but Miyares was still in command over Maracaibo, Coro, and Guayana. Miyares wanted to punish the rebels, but Monteverde persuaded him to withdraw to Coro. Miranda’s army disintegrated, and he capitulated on July 25, 1812.
The royalists entered Caracas on the 30th. Miranda went to La Guaira where he was arrested. A war council, which included Bolivar, Casas Leon, and Dr. Miguel Peña, accused Miranda of taking money and arranging his escape. They turned him over to the Spaniards, who put him in prison until his death in 1816. Other leaders were also arrested, and eight were sent to prison at Cadiz. Monteverde arrested many civilians in August, and many believed that he was violating the general amnesty of the capitulation. Roscio was pilloried and shipped to Spain. According to Judge Jose Francisco Heredia, 723 men were unjustly imprisoned. Heredia also reported that Bolivar intended to join Wellington’s army to fight for Spain’s liberty; but when authorities confiscated his brother’s estate, he changed his mind. Casas Leon and Dr. Peña were given immunity, and Francisco Iturbe persuaded Monteverde to give Bolivar a pass so that he could go to Cartagena.
Bolivar asked the government of Cartagena to help him liberate Venezuela. On December 15 in his “Memorial to the Citizens of New Granada” known as the “Manifesto of Cartagena” Bolivar analyzed the defeat in Venezuela and warned that the Americans must unify their government, or they will suffer civil war. He promised that if they entered Venezuela, they would be joined by thousands of patriots eager to overthrow the tyrants and defend their liberty. He was supported by his friends Manuel Rodriguez de Torices who governed Cartagena and President Camilo Torres of the Union of New Granada. The Cartagena government commissioned the French captain Pierre Labatut and put Bolivar under his command. Although only ordered to defend Barrancas, Bolivar quickly organized two hundred men and attacked Tenerife; by December 27 his troops had taken Mompox. Labatut wanted him court martialed, but President Torres defended Bolivar’s victorious campaign. Labatut marched into Santa Marta in January 1813 and granted a general amnesty.
A thousand Spaniards led by Ramon Correa were advancing toward Colombia from the east. Bolivar was given permission to enter Venezuelan provinces, and Col. Manuel del Castillo in the south asked him for help. Bolivar led the patriots, into Venezuela, and on February 28, 1813 without ammunition they attacked with bayonets Correa’s Spaniards at Cucuta and captured needed money. The next day Bolivar occupied San Antonio de Tachira. President Torres promoted Bolivar to brigadier general and commander in the north. He ordered Castillo to attack the Spaniards, and he reluctantly did so and then resigned. Bolivar even threatened to shoot young Francisco de Paula Santander whom he called the “man of laws” because of his adherence to constitutional principles. He was welcomed as a liberator in Mérida on May 23.
Because the revolutionaries held the capital, the new Governor and Captain-general of New Granada, Francisco Montalvo y Ambulodi, took up residence in Santa Marta on May 30. After Bolivar doubled his army, they marched into the capital of Trujillo on June 14. The next day he issued his famous decree to the people of Venezuela, promising to destroy Spaniards and Canary Islanders who did not support the American side while forgiving the past trespasses of Americans. He believed that in a war to the death the people would fight harder for their liberty than the royalists would for their king. Bolivar’s uncle, Jose Felix Ribas, fought off a rearguard attack ordered by Monteverde, and four hundred prisoners joined the army of independence. On July 6 Bolivar captured 200,000 pesos from the Barinas treasury of the tobacco administration, and he used it to pay his soldiers back wages. In the west Ribas led two bayonet attacks on the Spaniards that enabled his forces to reunite with Bolivar’s at San Carlos on July 28.
Bolivar now had 2,500 troops, and the 1,200 Spaniards retreated to Valencia. Bolivar attacked them with cavalry, and they killed the officers and captured most of the men, who joined the republican army. Forces led by Atanasio Girardot pursued Monteverde while Bolivar entered Valencia on August 2, 1813. He granted amnesty and allowed people to leave independent Venezuela. He demanded the surrender of Caracas and the port of La Guaira, and four days later he entered the capital as a liberator. On August 8 Bolivar wrote to the New Granadan Congress commission which had appointed him that he had established the republic of Venezuela with their help and that he would govern until a government was set up. The next day he convoked a popular assembly which gave him the title Liberator and appointed him Captain-general of the Armies on August 14 and eventually confirmed his supreme power on January 2, 1814.
Bolivar had restored patriotic governments in Trujillo and Mérida, but Spaniards still held Coro and Maracaibo. Monteverde was in Puerto Cabello with 6,000 supporters. Bolivar delayed reviving the federal constitution and assumed dictatorial power, appointing administrators of finance, war, and the interior. He demanded that the Archbishop of Caracas withdraw his advice to support the Spanish monarchy, and he ordered priests to explain republican principles at least once a week. The Venezuelan economy was paralyzed, and Bolivar organized a state monopoly on tobacco. To stop contraband trading he made tax evasion and secret dealings capital crimes with the state confiscating their property. He urged patriots to contribute, and state employees shared their salaries with soldiers. Every property owner had to support at least one soldier. He founded the Order of the Liberation of Venezuela to honor patriots such as Ribas, Girardot, and Rafael Urdaneta. Bolivar himself claimed only the title Liberator of Venezuela.
In eastern Venezuela the young General Santiago Mariño had started with 45 men and five guns in January 1813, but by August his forces had occupied Cumana and Barcelona. Mariño wanted to partition Venezuela, but Bolivar was determined to achieve unity. Because Mariño declined to cooperate, Bolivar’s army had to fight most of the Spaniards. He used spies to uncover conspiracies, and sixty Spaniards and Americans were executed on September 21. A naval attack on La Guaira was not fooled by the presence of Spanish officers released from prison by Ribas, and the convoy brought to Puerto Cabello 1,200 more troops. Monteverde led an attack from Puerto Cabello, forcing Bolivar to lift the siege. However, the Spaniards were defeated at Barbula on September 30, though Girardot was killed. At Las Trincheras on October 3 Bolivar decisively defeated Monteverde who retreated to Puerto Cabello again.
Although Mariño had pushed some of the Spanish forces east to Guayana, Jose Tomas Boves and Francisco Morales led predatory raids in the plains with llaneros (herders) seeking loot. Monteverde commissioned Boves a cavalry captain, and he and Morales gathered about 2,000 lancers. Boves and the chieftain Jose Yañez defeated the patriots in Santa Catalina on September 20, 1813 and then looted Villa del Cura. Bolivar sent Campo Elias with 1,000 infantry and 1,500 cavalry, and they defeated Boves near Mosquiteros. In the capital Calabozo the patriots killed a quarter of the population. The fighting in the plains was ruthless and cruel, and no pardons were given.
Ceballos took 350 men from Coro and gathered a force of 2,000 men, and on October 20 at Barquisimeto they defeated Bolivar and Urdaneta, killing 400 and capturing as many. Frustrated Bolivar stripped the first regiment that surrendered of their rank, and he ordered Ribas to shoot all Europeans and recruit all the men in Caracas. Ribas ignored the death orders but enlisted 700 men, mostly students. On November 1 Boves decreed at Guayabal that he would fight his creole enemies to the death and confiscate their property. That month about 2,500 men under Yañez entered abandoned Barinas. Ceballos led an army of 3,700 toward Araure, where Bolivar led his cavalry and defeated Ceballos and then Yañez. Urdaneta wrote that their enemy left more than a thousand dead on the battlefield. Bolivar sent a thousand men against Boves, but they were wiped out at San Marcos in December. For one month Bolivar offered amnesty to deserters.
After his defeats Napoleon recognized Fernando VII in Spain on December 11, 1813, and he withdrew French forces from the Iberian peninsula. King Fernando cancelled the Constitution of 1812 and all the acts of the Cortes including their abolition of the Inquisition, censorship, and torture; thirty leading liberals were arrested. Bolivar needed arms, but England prohibited the arms trade. The United States refused to sell arms to the revolutionaries because they were trying to purchase Florida from Spain. Venezuela could not produce sophisticated weapons, but Bolivar ordered the manufacture of gunpowder and bullets. He confiscated all precious metals, including silver vessels from churches that were melted down.
In January 1814 the Spanish commander Monteverde released all his prisoners. Bolivar called a congress on the first of February, and Caracas’s Governor Cristobal Mendoza suggested they recognize Bolivar as dictator. He declined and suggested Mariño, but Bolivar was confirmed by acclamation. Urdaneta’s forces defeated and killed Yañez near Ostino on February 2. The next day Boves and Morales defeated the patriots led by Vicente Campo Elias at La Puerta, but Boves was wounded. Four days later Ribas forced the llaneros to retreat. Rosete led African slaves shouting for Fernando VII and sacked Ocumare, killing 300; but Ribas drove them out and had all the prisoners shot. Bolivar laid siege again to Puerto Cabello. Leandro Palacios wrote Bolivar that his garrison in La Guaira was too small to guard so many prisoners, and on February 8 the Liberator ordered all the Spanish prisoners in the dungeons and hospitals shot. In three days more than 800 were executed by Palacios in La Guaira, by Juan Bautista Arismendi in Caracas, and by Bolivar in Valencia. A week later Bolivar issued his Manifesto to the Nations of the World on the War to the Death. On February 12 Ribas used students from Caracas to defeat Morales.
Boves attacked Bolivar on February 20 at San Mateo, and their armies skirmished for several days. The republicans were defended by their artillery, but Elias was over-run and mortally wounded. They fought again on March 24, but Mariño came from Aragua de Barcelona and defeated Boves at Bocachica on March 31. Monteverde returned to Spain and was replaced by Juan Manuel de Cajigal, and his royalist army grew to 5,000. Bolivar attacked them on May 28 on the plains of Carbobo and forced them to flee. However, on June 15 Boves with an army of 3,000, equal to Bolivar’s, trounced the patriots at La Puerta, taking no prisoners but reducing their force by a thousand men and capturing their artillery. Bolivar lost his Secretary of State Muñoz and four colonels but escaped. He left Caracas for eastern Venezuela on July 6. Valencia capitulated to Boves four days later, but Boves broke his oath and had the governor shot while letting his men kill 300 soldiers, 60 officers, and 90 civilians. Boves went to Caracas on July 16 and established a tyranny more severe than Monteverde’s. He ignored Spain’s appointment of Cajigal as captain-general. Boves freed slaves and promoted mulattos, mestizos, and pardos to high military ranks, and his soldiers supported his leadership.
Bolivar and 20,000 people traveled 400 kilometers to Barcelona province. He could only muster 2,500 soldiers, and they were defeated by Morales on August 17 at the battle of Aragua in which nearly 4,000 men were killed. Bolivar escaped again and sent 24 chests of church treasures to Cumana, where he and Mariño got most of it back from Mariño’s piratical captain Jose Bianchi. When Ribas and Mariño’s chief-of-staff Manuel Piar outlawed Bolivar and Mariño, they returned the treasure and were even arrested for two days. Ribas had fought on until he was defeated on December 5, 1814 at Urica, where Boves was killed by a spear. Ribas escaped but was betrayed by a slave and beheaded on January 31, 1815. Venezuela once again belonged to Spain.
On February 16, 1815 and expeditionary force led by General Pablo Morillo sailed from Cadiz with five warships and 42 transports carrying 10,642 soldiers. In April the Spanish fleet took the island of Margarita, and over the objection of Morales, Morillo pardoned Arismendi. The expeditionary force landed in Venezuela and took Barranquilla. The largest warship San Pedro was destroyed by sabotage, killing 900 men. On May 12 General Morillo entered Caracas with Spain’s largest army in America. His mission was to pacify America, and he proclaimed a general amnesty. Anyone guilty of killing a soldier who had surrendered would be shot. Governor Montalvo moved to Caracas and revived the Consulado on October 23, 1816.
Despite his second failure in Venezuela, in September 1814 Bolivar was welcomed at Cartagena as a hero for his valiant efforts, though he was criticized by Col. Castillo. Urdaneta managed to bring his division of the army west to Colombia. Bolivar went to Tunja in November and appealed to the Congress of the United Provinces and its President Camilo Torres. Bolivar was appointed captain-general of the Colombian Federation’s armies. He marched on Bogota, where the Archbishop had excommunicated him. Bolivar adopted a more conciliatory approach and promised to spare Spanish prisoners and release rebels. The state of Cundinamarca had rebelled. After two days of battle, Manuel de Bernardo Alvarez, who had succeeded Nariño as President of Cundinamarca, capitulated on December 12.
Bolivar urged all Colombians to fight Spanish tyranny, saying, “War is the epitome of all evil; but tyranny is the substance of all war.”3 He assigned Urdaneta to defend the border with Venezuela and headed for the coast to attack the Spaniards in Santa Marta. Bolivar liberated Ocaña and Mompox and drove the Spaniards toward the sea, but Governor Castillo of Cartagena disobeyed his orders and even arrested his friends. At Mompox a smallpox epidemic wiped out half his army, leaving him with only a thousand men. Bolivar faced civil war with Cartagena and resigned on May 8, 1815. He sailed for Jamaica the next day.
Morillo left Salvador Moxo to govern Venezuela in July and invaded New Granada, landing at Santa Marta. On August 22 Morillo and Morales besieged Cartagena, which suffered starvation and pestilence before surrendering on December 6. Morillo captured thirteen ships of food sent to Cartagena by patriots and demanded the city contribute 100,000 pesos to his war effort. Leaders of the resistance were given quick trials and were hanged. Morillo subjugated Cartagena and then moved his troops into Bogota, where he executed Torres and Torizes and one hundred others. Yet he released hundreds of prisoners, mostly Indians and Africans. In March 1816 Morillo reconquered Antioquia and Popayan, and Bogota was besieged and overcome in May. In the pogrom about five hundred patriots were executed. The lawyer, naturalist and engineer Francisco Jose de Caldas was captured, and Morillo ordered his death. When people asked him to spare the scientist, he replied that Spain does not need the wise. Caldas was executed on October 29. Other victims included Lozano, Torres, Gutierrez, and Baraya. Peasants were forced to abandon their fields and build roads.
Meanwhile Bolivar borrowed money in Jamaica from the Englishman Maxwell Hyslop. One night Bolivar slept in the house of a French woman, and a courier sleeping in his hammock was assassinated by the African slave Pio, who admitted Spaniards offered him 2,000 pesos. Whether the murder was ordered by Morillo is unclear, but he did have orders to put prices on the heads of all rebel leaders.
On September 6, 1815 Bolivar wrote a reply to a Jamaican, and he borrowed money to publish it as “The Jamaica Letter.” He referred to the history of Spanish atrocities and praised the humanitarian work of Bartolomé de Las Casas. Bolivar expressed that the hatred between the peninsula and the Americans had grown larger than the ocean between them. He wrote, “The chains have been broken; we have been freed, and now our enemies seek to enslave us anew. For this reason America fights desperately.”4 Bolivar described the independence efforts in La Plata, Chile, Peru, New Granada, Venezuela, and Mexico. He argued that 16,000,000 Americans must defend their rights or suffer repression from Spain, which was an empire but is now weak. He described Americans as a young people in a world apart. Americans under the Spanish system are treated like serfs who are forbidden to grow European crops and suffer from royal monopolies and trade restrictions. Montesquieu had observed that releasing a nation from servitude is harder than enslaving a free nation. South Americans were aspiring to liberal institutions for justice, liberty, and equality. Bolivar hoped to see America unified into the greatest nation in the world. Yet he explained why he did not favor monarchies in America.
The well understood interest of a republic is limited
to the matter of its preservation, prosperity, and glory.
Republicans, because they do not desire powers
which represent a directly contrary viewpoint,
have no reason for expanding the boundaries of their nation
to the detriment of their own resources,
solely for the purpose of
having their neighbor share a liberal constitution.
They would not acquire rights or secure any advantage
by conquering their neighbors,
unless they were to make them colonies,
conquered territory, or allies, after the example of Rome.
But such thought and action are directly contrary
to the principles of justice
which characterize republican systems;
and, what is more,
they are in direct opposition to the interests of their citizens,
because a state, too large of itself
or together with its dependencies,
ultimately falls into decay.
Its free government becomes a tyranny.
The principles that should preserve the government
are disregarded, and finally it degenerates into despotism.
The distinctive feature of small republics is permanence:
that of large republics varies,
but always with a tendency toward empire.
Almost all small republics have had long lives.5
Bolivar concluded that Americans will fight for freedom and will ultimately succeed. He hoped for an assembly of representatives from republics to settle issues of peace and war, as Abbé St. Pierre had proposed for Europe. He predicted that New Granada would unite with Venezuela and would be called Colombia. He hinted that a liberal nation (England) could help Americans gain their independence from Spain.
Bolivar foresaw seventeen free republics arising in South America. They needed guns, munitions, warships, money, and a few volunteers, but Bolivar could not buy weapons in Jamaica. He was given enough support to sail for Cartagena in December; but on the way they learned that the city had fallen. So Bolivar went to independent Haiti, arriving at Port-au-Prince on the last day of 1815. The next day Bolivar met with republican Haiti’s President Alexander Pétion, who promised him support provided that Bolivar agreed to recognize Haiti and free all the slaves in the countries he liberated. Pétion secretly arranged for Bolivar to get arms and ammunition, and the Curaçao merchant Luis Brion chartered a small fleet.
Many politicians and soldiers fleeing from Cartagena also arrived in Haiti. Bolivar called a meeting that included Mariño, Francisco Bermudez, Piar, Palacios, Brion, Louis Aury, Gregor MacGregor, Ducoudray-Holstein, and Francisco Antonio Zea. Bolivar proposed having one strong leader. Brion said his fleet could be used if it was Bolivar, and they agreed. However, Bermudez objected, and Aury ordered the schooner La Constitucion to attack Mexico; but this was cancelled by President Pétion. Personal conflicts led to four challenges to duels. Brion was appointed the first admiral and Zea the chief administrator of the new republic. Brion’s fleet sailed on March 31, 1816 with 240 men but with arms for 6,000 and a printing press. Delays occurred while Bolivar waited for his mistress Josefina Machado to come aboard. On May 3 they overcame the Spanish ships blockading Margarita Island, where six months before, Arismendi had overthrown the Spaniards and freed the island of Margarita. On May 7 aristocrats there recognized Bolivar as supreme chief of the Republic. The next day Bolivar proclaimed this and summoned a National Congress. Next the patriots landed at Carupano, and Bolivar sent out troops under Carlos Soublette, Piar, and Mariño.
Many pardos (of mixed race) joined the army of liberation in 1815 and 1816. Decrees on June 2, 1816 and July 6 freed slaves; but men between the ages of 14 and 60 had to join their army within 24 hours, or their families remained slaves. A price of 10,000 pesos was put on Bolivar’s head. Spaniards expected him to attack them at the Orinoco River, but Bolivar headed for Caracas instead. Mariño and Piar went east to recruit support. The fleet landed at Ocumare in July. Morales attacked Soublette, and after a battle the patriots fled. The fleet left with tropical fruits they could sell at Curaçao. Bolivar received a report that Morales had taken Ocumare and took the last ship leaving. The report was false, and the officers remaining at Ocumare were soon captured by Morales along with 1,000 guns and 60,000 bullets that had been abandoned on the beach. At sea Bolivar persuaded a captain to take three ladies to St. Thomas. Mariño and Bermudez called Bolivar a deserter and traitor, and they claimed independent command of their army. Bolivar returned to Port-au-Prince and was again supported by Pétion, who had just been elected President of Haiti for life.
In September 1816 MacGregor led an army of 600 that doubled while marching to Barcelona, which he occupied after killing 600 Spanish troops. In October a war council organized by Piar appointed Bolivar commander-in-chief. Piar defended Barcelona from an attack by Morales, who suffered heavy losses and fled west. Bolivar sent Paez to liberate the Orinoco while he himself led a newly recruited army of only 700 that was defeated at Clarines and retreated to Barcelona. Piar had an army of 1,500 and went to the Orinoco to conquer Guayana. In November 1816 Arismendi offered refuge on Margarita to patriots. On December 31 a second expedition landed at Barcelona, and Bolivar inaugurated the third period of the republic. During these wars between 1810 and 1816 the annual exports of cacao fell from 120,000 fanegas to 30,000, and coffee went from 80,000 quintals to 20,000.
In 1746 the Dutch opened the Demerara River area in their Guiana colony to British immigrants. Laurens Storm van Gravesande governed the colony of Essequibo from 1742 to 1750 when he went home to Zeeland on leave. He returned in 1752 as Director-General of Essequibo and Demerara. In 1754 Spain and Portugal made a secret agreement to push the Dutch and French colonies out of South America by taking hinterland and sending agents to incite slave rebellions. Gravesande organized defense, and his son Jonathan Gravesande arrived to be Commander of Demerara in 1755. He wanted to make Borsselen the capital of Demerara, but Gedney Clarke, who was a wealthy planter from Barbados, led many English settlers, making them the majority in Demerara by 1760. Sugar was the main crop in Guiana by 1750, and its high price during the Seven Years War (1756-63) stimulated cultivation. Coffee was first shipped from Demerara in 1759, and coffee plantations increased in the 1760s.
In 1762 Berbice in Guiana had 3,833 African slaves, 346 Europeans, 244 Indian slaves, and uncounted free Indians. In July of that year Governor Wolfert Simon van Hoogenheim managed to capture and punish 36 slaves who had burned the master’s house and run into the bush. The major slave rebellion in Berbice began on February 23, 1763 when the Canje River slaves revolted and began plundering and killing Europeans. A thousand rebels organized under chiefs. Europeans went into Fort Nassau and then fled from Berbice. Appeals for help brought a ship with a hundred English soldiers from Surinam. On March 3 about 600 Africans attacked the Peerboom plantation and made the house a fortress. They set up a government with Coffy as governor of Berbice with Akara as his general. When Gravesande learned of the uprising, he instructed the Commander of Demerara to send a militia officer to the chiefs of the Caribs, Arawaks, and Akawois promising them gifts if they would attack the Africans from the rear. Gravesande’s pleas for help also brought two armed ships with 158 soldiers to Berbice. They were joined by several hundred Africans who did not like the rebel chief Coffy.
On May 13 Coffy approved an attack on Dageraad with 2,000 Africans against 150 Europeans who used heavy guns from ships in the river. After five hours of fighting 8 Europeans and 58 Africans had been killed. Coffy lost a power struggle to Atta and shot himself. Ships arrived from Holland during the summer, and on December 19 the Europeans sent a flotilla up the river while attacking from Upper Demerara. The Africans were caught in between and fled or surrendered. Loyal slaves were used to hunt down the rebels. By March 1764 a reported 2,600 had been captured or returned. In early April a court sentenced 40 Africans to be hanged, 24 to be broken on a wheel, and 24 to be burned. In July leaders of the Dutch mutineers were tortured and executed. A third of the Europeans had left, and only half the Africans remained in the ruined colony.
In 1769 Capuchin Fathers led Spanish soldiers and Indians and overcame the Moruka post and removed some Indian slaves who had taken refuge there with the excuse that they were Christians. Gravesande sent a report to the Prince of Orange and appealed to the Ten, and in August the States General sent a Remonstrance to the Spanish government. Capuchin missionaries attacked Moruka again in 1774, and the States General confirmed Dutch claims the next year. The Dutch controlled the warlike Caribs, but the Spanish Capuchins were associated with weaker tribes. The Caribs were hostile to Spaniards and burned their missions.
Essequibo and Demerara did not yet have many slaves, and from 1745 to 1765 only four ships brought slaves to the Two Rivers; but from 1766 to 1786 slaves from 47 ships improved the colonists’ economic prosperity. The capable Pieter Hendrik Koppiers became governor in 1777. Holland tried to remain neutral during the American Revolution, but they went to war against England in 1780. The next year four English privateers captured Demerara, Essequibo, and Berbice, but the English occupation lasted less than a year. Lt. Col. Kingston ordered Dutch construction completed, and he resided in Demerara which by then had become more prosperous than Essequibo. In February 1782 Demerara, Essequibo, and Berbice surrendered to Comte de Kerssaint and his eight French ships and nearly 2,000 men. The French arrived as allies of the Dutch, but their governing made them unpopular. In March 1784 France gave Demerara and Essequibo back to the Dutch who moved the capital to Longchamps which they renamed Stabroek. Koppiers became governor again.
The planters in Guiana were in conflict with the Dutch West India Company and were concerned about an increased slave tax and less representation in two councils. Led by Joseph Bourda, they petitioned the Dutch government which appointed a committee that recommended the Concept Plan of Redress. The Ten accepted this and appointed two commissioners to implement the plan, and they arrived in Guiana on May 26, 1789. The first Court met three days later, and the settlers were satisfied. Willem van Sirtima was one of the commissioners. The Company’s charter had expired in 1791 and was not renewed, and the States General took control and appointed Sirtima as the new Governor of the Two Rivers in 1793. The next year shipping from Demerara doubled over what it had been under the Company’s rule even though Europe was at war.
In April 1795 they learned that the French had invaded Holland and changed the country to the Batavian Republic. As an ally of France they were at war against England, but the Court of Policy decided that Demerara-Essequibo could not defend itself and would not do so against a superior enemy. The Prince of Orange had fled to England, and he ordered the Dutch colonies to accept British protection sent to them. On May 3, 1795 the British frigate Zebra came to Demerara with this directive and to reinforce British troops. Governor van Sirtima could not persuade the Court of Policy to give up the Batavian Republic. So he resigned and left on the Zebra and was eventually succeeded by Antony Beaujon. The republicans outnumbered the royalists. When three British frigates and six brigantines arrived, the Court of Policy rejected their protection, and the British commander had them withdraw. However, news that the African Victor Hugues had been appointed Commissioner for the West Indies, made colonists fear a slave rebellion, and in the summer of 1795 an expedition suppressed the Bush Negroes with the help of Indians. The debts to British merchants were so high that in 1795 Guiana sent ten million pounds of cotton, fifteen million pounds of coffee, and fifteen million pounds of sugar to England.
In April 1796 a British naval force with 1,200 men arrived, and Guiana surrendered with the guarantee that their persons and property would be secure, and they would have freedom of religion. Governor Beaujon changed his allegiance to the British and stayed in office. The Royal Essequibo and Demerary Gazette became the first newspaper in the colony. Capital came to Guiana from England, and land values rose. By 1802 the number of slaves in Guiana had more than doubled in the previous six years. British property was estimated at £15,000,000, and seven-eighths of the estates in Demerara-Essequibo were held by the English.
When the Treaty of Amiens was signed in March 1802, the British gave Guiana back to the Batavian Republic. They appointed Antony Meertens governor, and he arrived on December 2. He ordered the English planters to sell their property and leave Guiana, and he prohibited shipping goods to British possessions. Meertens had been on the side of the Dutch West India Company and was disliked. After the war between France and England resumed, the British invaded Guiana on September 17, 1803. Most of the colonists welcomed them. In 1805 an Order in Council ended the slave trade to Guiana and Trinidad, and in 1807 the slave trade was abolished in the British Empire.
The Dutch Governor Bentinck in March 1807 told the Court of Police that the British Government wanted that Court and the College of Kiezers to have persons favorable to the British and that the Governor could replace members. This began the policy of Anglicisation. In April 1808 the Court of Policy resolved that no petitions in Dutch would be accepted without English translations, and in 1812 English became the language of legal proceedings. That year Major-General Hugh Carmichael became acting Governor. He changed the name of Stabroek to Georgetown, and in 1813 the English lawyer Jabez Henry was appointed President of the Court of Justice. Carmichael diluted the influence of the Dutch in the College of Kiezers by combining it with the Financial Representatives. Major-General John Murray became governor in 1813. Finally in August 1814 Britain and Holland signed the London Convention that ceded Demerara-Essequibo and Berbice to Britain. This encouraged more immigration, and slaves could still be traded from other British colonies. In 1816 Demerara-Essequibo had 77,163 slaves and Berbice 24,549 while the free population was only about 8,000.
1. Quoted in Ideas and Politics of Chilean Independence 1808-1833 by Simon Collier, p. 69.
2. Memories of General Daniel Florencio O’Leary quoted in Bolivar by Salvador de Madariaga, p. 65.
3. O’Leary, Vol. 13, p. 589 quoted in Simon Bolivar by Gerhard Masur, p. 237.
4. Selected Writings of Bolivar tr. Lewis Bertrand, Volume 1, p. 105.
5. Ibid., p. 116.