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Liberation from Colonial Rule- Latin America: Part I

Liberation from Colonial Rule- Latin America: Part I

Colonisation of Latin America

  • Extensive European colonization began in 1492, when a Spanish expedition headed by Genoese Christopher Columbus sailed west to find a new trade route to the Far East (India) but inadvertently found the Americas.
    • Columbus’s first two voyages (1492–93) reached the Bahamas and various Caribbean islands, including Puerto Rico and Cuba.
    • As the sponsor of Christopher Columbus’s voyages, Spain was the first European power to settle and colonize the largest areas, from North America and the Caribbean to the southern tip of South America.
    • Spanish cities were founded as early as 1496 with Santo Domingo in today’s Dominican Republic.
  • France founded colonies in the Americas: in eastern North America, a number of Caribbean islands, and small coastal parts of South America.
  • Portugal colonized Brazil, tried early (since 1499) colonizing of the coasts of present-day Canada.
  • Europe had been preoccupied with internal wars, and was only slowly recovering from the loss of population caused by the bubonic plague; thus the rapid rate at which it grew in wealth and power was unforeseeable in the early 1400s.
  • Eventually, the entire Western Hemisphere came under the ostensible control of European governments, leading to profound changes to its landscape, population, and plant and animal life. In the 19th century alone over 50 million people left Europe for the Americas.
  • The post-1492 era is known as the period of the Columbian Exchange, a dramatically widespread exchange of animals, plants, culture, human populations (including slaves), communicable disease, and ideas between the American and Afro-Eurasian hemispheres following Columbus’s voyages to the Americas.
  • Early European explorations and conquests:
    • Early explorations and conquests were made by the Spanish and the Portuguese immediately following their own final reconquest of Iberia in 1492.
    • In the 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas ratified by Pope following return of Columbus, Spain and Portugal divided the entire non-European world into two areas of exploration and colonization, with a north to south boundary that cut through the Atlantic Ocean along eastern part of Brazil.
      • Based on this treaty and on early claims by Spanish explorer Balboa, discoverer of the Pacific Ocean in 1513, the Spanish conquered large territories in North, Central and South America.
    • By the mid-16th century, the Spanish Crown had gained control of much of western South America, Central America and southern North America, in addition to its earlier Caribbean territories.
    • Over this same time frame, Portugal claimed lands in North America (Canada) and colonized much of eastern South America, naming it Santa Cruz and Brazil.
    • Other European nations soon disputed the terms of the Treaty of Tordesillas. England and France attempted to plant colonies in the Americas in the 16th century, but these failed.
      • England, France and Dutch Republic succeeded in establishing permanent colonies in the following century.
      • Some of these were on Caribbean islands, which had often already been conquered by the Spanish or depopulated by disease, while others were in eastern North America, which had not been colonized by Spain north of Florida.
    • As more nations gained an interest in the colonization of the Americas, competition for territory became increasingly fierce. Colonists often faced the threat of attacks from neighboring colonies, as well as from indigenous tribes and pirates.
  • Early state-sponsored colonists:
    • The first phase of well-financed European activity in the Americas began with the Atlantic Ocean crossings of Christopher Columbus (1492–1504), sponsored by Spain, whose original attempt was to find a new route to India and China, known as “the Indies”.
    • Cabral reached Brazil and claimed it for Portugal.
    • Amerigo Vespucci, working for Portugal in voyages from 1497 to 1513, established that Columbus had reached a new set of continents and Latinized version of his first name, America, was used for the two continents.
    • In 1513, Balboa crossed the Isthmus of Panama and led the first European expedition to see the Pacific Ocean from the west coast of the New World.
      • In an action with enduring historical import, Balboa claimed the Pacific Ocean and all the lands adjoining it for the Spanish Crown.
      • It was 1517 before another expedition, from Cuba, visited Central America in search of slaves.
    • These explorations were followed, notably in the case of Spain, by a phase of conquest:
      • The Spaniards, having just finished the Reconquering of Spain from Muslim rule, were the first to colonize the Americas.
    • Ten years after Columbus’s discovery, the administration of Hispaniola (located in the Caribbean island group) was given to Nicolas de Ovando (a Spanish soldier from a noble family).
      • Progressively the encomienda system, (a legal system that was used by the Spanish crown during the Spanish colonization of the Americas to regulate Native Americans and to reward individual Spaniards for services to the crown) which granted tribute (access to indigenous labor and taxation) to European settlers, was set in place.
    • Over the first century and a half after Columbus’s voyages, the native population of the Americas plummeted by an estimated 80% mostly by outbreaks of Old World diseases.
    • In 1532, Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor of Spanish Empire sent a vice-king to Mexico in order to prevent Hernan Cortes’ independentist drives. Cortes was part of the generation of Spanish colonizers who began the first phase of the Spanish colonization of the Americas.
      • Two years later, Charles V signed the New Laws prohibiting slavery and the forced labor system, but also claiming as his own all the American lands and all of the indigenous people as his own subjects.
    • When in May 1493, the Pope Alexander VI issued the papal bull granting the new lands to the Kingdom of Spain, he requested in exchange an evangelization of the people.
      • Thus, during Columbus’s second voyage, many priests accompanied him.
      • In 1537, the papal bull promulgated by Pope Paul III recognized that Native Americans possessed souls, thus prohibiting their enslavement. Some claimed that a native who had rebelled and then been captured could be enslaved nonetheless.
    • The process of Christianization was at first violent:
      • When the first Franciscans (religious order) arrived in Mexico in 1524, they burned the places dedicated to pagan cult, alienating much of the local population.
      • In the 1530s, they began to adapt Christian practices to local customs, including the building of new churches on the sites of ancient places of worship.

Colonisation by Spain

  • Colonial expansion was initiated by the Spanish conquistadores and developed by the Monarchy of Spain through its administrators and missionaries.
  • The motivations for colonial expansion were trade and the spread of the Catholic faith through indigenous conversions.
  • Beginning with the 1492 arrival of Christopher Columbus and continuing for over three centuries, the Spanish Empire would expand across half of South America, most of Central America and the Caribbean Islands, and much of North America.
  • In the early 19th century, the Spanish American wars of independence resulted in the emancipation of most Spanish colonies in the Americas, except for Cuba and Puerto Rico, which were finally given up in 1898, following the Spanish-American War, together with Guam and the Philippines in the Pacific. Spain’s loss of these last territories politically ended the Spanish colonization in the Americas.
  • Demographic impact:
    • It has been estimated that in the 16th century about 240,000 Spaniards emigrated to the Americas, and in the 17th century about 500,000, predominantly to Mexico and Ecuador.
    • In Hispaniola the indigenous population of several hundred thousand declined to sixty thousand by 1509.
    • The population of the Native Amerindian population in Mexico declined by an estimated 90% by the early 17th century.
    • In Peru the indigenous Amerindian population of around 6.5 million declined to 1 million by the early 17th century.
    • The indigenous Californian population at first contact, in 1769, was about 310,000 and had dropped to 25,000 by 1910. The vast majority of the decline happened after the Spanish period, in the Mexican and American periods of Californian history (1821–1910).
  • Cultural impact:
    • The Spaniards were committed, by Royal decree, to convert their New World indigenous subjects to Catholicism.
    • However, often initial efforts were questionably successful, as the indigenous people added Catholicism into their long standing traditional ceremonies and beliefs.
    • The many native expressions, forms, practices, and items of art could be considered idolatry and prohibited or destroyed by Spanish missionaries, military and civilians.
    • Though the Spanish did not force their language to the extent they did their religion, some indigenous languages of the Americas evolved into replacement with Spanish.

Liberation from Colonial Rule of Latin America

After three centuries of colonial rule, independence came rather suddenly to most of Spanish and Portuguese America.

  • Between 1808 and 1826 all of Latin America except the Spanish colonies of Cuba and Puerto Rico slipped out of the hands of the Iberian powers who had ruled the region since the conquest.
  • The rapidity and timing of that dramatic change were the result of a combination of long-building tensions in colonial rule and a series of external events.
  • The reforms imposed by the Spanish Bourbons in the 18th century provoked great instability in the relations between the rulers and their colonial subjects in the Americas.
    • In an effort to better control the administration and economy of the overseas possessions the Crown reintroduced the practice of appointing outsiders, to the various royal offices throughout the empire.
    • This meant that Spanish Americans lost the gains they had made in holding local offices as a result of the sale of offices during the previous century and a half.
    • In some areas—such as Cuba—the reforms had positive effects, improving the local economy and the efficiency of the government.
      • In other areas, the changes in crown’s economic and administrative policies led to tensions with locals, which at times erupted into open revolts, such as the Revolt in New Granada and the Rebellion in Peru.
    • Many Creoles (those of Spanish parentage but who were born in America) felt Bourbon policy to be an unfair attack on their wealth, political power, and social status.
    • Others did not suffer during the second half of the 18th century; indeed, the gradual loosening of trade restrictions actually benefited some Creoles in Venezuela and certain areas.
    • However, those profits merely whetted those Creoles’ appetites for greater free trade than the Bourbons were willing to grant.
    • More generally, Creoles reacted angrily against the crown’s preference for peninsulars in administrative positions and its declining support of the caste system and the Creoles’ privileged status within it.
    • After hundreds of years of proven service to Spain, the American-born elites felt that the Bourbons were now treating them like a recently conquered nation.
    • These factors were not the direct causes of the wars of independence, which took place decades later, but they were important elements of the political background in which the wars took place.
    • A more direct cause of the Spanish American wars of independence were the unique developments occurring within the Kingdom of Spain and its monarchy during this period.
  • In cities throughout the region, Creole frustrations increasingly found expression in ideas derived from the Enlightenment.
    • Imperial prohibitions proved unable to stop the flow of potentially subversive English, French, and North American works into the colonies of Latin America.
    • Creole participants in conspiracies against Portugal and Spain at the end of the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century showed familiarity with such European Enlightenment thinkers as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Montesquieu, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
    • The Enlightenment clearly informed the aims of dissident Creoles and inspired some of the later, great leaders of the independence movements across Latin America. They were influenced by the examples of the Atlantic Revolutions.
    • The Enlightenment spurred the desire for social and economic reform to spread throughout Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula.
    • Ideas about free trade and physiocratic economics were raised by the Enlightenment in Spain.
    • The political reforms implemented and the many constitutions written both in Spain and throughout the Spanish world during the wars of independence were influenced by these factors.
    • Still, these ideas were not, strictly speaking, causes of independence.
      • Creoles selectively adapted rather than simply embraced the thought that had informed revolutions in North America and France. Leaders in Latin America tended to shy away from the more socially radical European doctrines.
      • Moreover, the influence of those ideologies was sharply restricted; with few exceptions only small circles of educated, urban elites had access to Enlightenment thought.
      • At most, foreign ideas helped foster a more questioning attitude toward traditional institutions and authority.
  • European diplomatic and military events provided the final catalyst that turned Creole discontent into full-fledged movements for Latin American independence.
    • When the Spanish crown entered into an alliance with France in 1795, it set off a series of developments that opened up economic and political distance between the Iberian countries and their American colonies.
    • By siding with France, Spain pitted itself against England, the dominant sea power of the period, which used its naval forces to reduce and eventually cut communications between Spain and the Americas.
    • Unable to preserve any sort of monopoly on trade, the Spanish crown was forced to loosen the restrictions on its colonies’ commerce.
      • Spanish Americans now found themselves able to trade legally with other colonies, as well as with any neutral countries such as the United States.
      • Spain’s wartime liberalization of colonial trade sharpened Creoles’ desires for greater economic self-determination.
  • Occurrences in Europe in the early 19th century created a deep political divide between Spain and its American colonies.
    • In 1807 the Spanish king, Charles IV, granted passage through Spanish territory to Napoleon’s forces on their way to invade Portugal. The immediate effect of that concession was to send the Portuguese ruler, Prince Regent John, fleeing in British ships to Brazil.
      • Arriving in Rio de Janeiro with some 15,000 officials, nobles, and other members of his court, John transformed the Brazilian colony into the administrative centre of his empire.
    • When Napoleon turned on his Spanish allies in 1808, events took a disastrous turn for Spain and its dominion in the Americas. Shortly after Charles had abdicated in favour of his son Ferdinand, Napoleon had them both imprisoned. In the process he set off a political crisis that swept across both Spain and its possessions. The Spanish political tradition centred on the figure of the monarch, yet, with Charles and Ferdinand removed from the scene, the hub of all political authority was missing.
      • In 1810 a Cortes (Parliament) emerged in Cádiz to represent both Spain and Spanish America.
      • Two years later it produced a new, liberal constitution that proclaimed Spain’s American possessions to be full members of the kingdom and not mere colonies.
      • Yet the Creoles who participated in the new Cortes were denied equal representation.
      • Moreover, the Cortes would not concede permanent free trade to the Americans and obstinately refused to grant any degree of meaningful autonomy to the overseas dominions.
      • Having had a taste of freedom during their political and economic isolation from the mother country, Spanish Americans did not easily consent to a reduction of their power and autonomy.
    • Two other European developments further dashed the hopes of Creoles, pushing them more decisively toward independence.
      • The year 1814 saw the restoration of Ferdinand to the throne and with it the energetic attempt to reestablish Spanish imperial power in the Americas.
        • Rejecting compromise and reform, Ferdinand resorted to military force to bring wayward Spanish-American regions back into the empire as colonies.
        • The effort only served to harden the position of Creole rebels.
      • In 1820 troops waiting in Cádiz to be sent as part of the crown’s military campaigns revolted, forcing Ferdinand to agree to a series of liberal measures.
        • That concession divided and weakened loyalist opposition to independence in the Americas.
        • Many supporters of the crown now had doubts about the monarchy for which they were fighting.

The Wars of Independence, 1808–26

  • The final victory of Latin American patriots over Spain and the fading loyalist factions began in 1808 with the political crisis in Spain.
  • With the Spanish king and his son Ferdinand taken hostage by Napoleon, Creoles and peninsulars began to jockey for power across Spanish America.
    • During 1808–10 juntas emerged to rule in the name of Ferdinand VII.
    • In Mexico City and Montevideo caretaker governments were the work of loyal peninsular Spaniards eager to head off Creole threats.
    • In Santiago, Caracas, Bogota, and other cities, by contrast, it was Creoles who controlled the provisional juntas.
    • Not all of these governments lasted very long; loyalist troops quickly put down Creole-dominated juntas in La Paz and Quito.
  • By 1810, however, the trend was clear. Without denouncing Ferdinand, Creoles throughout most of the region were moving toward the establishment of their own autonomous governments.
  • Transforming these early initiatives into a break with Spanish control required tremendous sacrifice. Over the next decade and a half, Spanish Americans had to defend with arms their movement toward independence.

Spanish America

The southern movement in South America

  • From the north came the movement led most famously by Simon Bolivar, a dynamic figure known as the Liberator. From the south proceeded another powerful force, this one directed by the more circumspect Jose de San Martin.
  • After difficult conquests of their home regions, the two movements spread the cause of independence through other territories, finally meeting on the central Pacific coast. From there, troops under northern generals finally stamped out the last vestiges of loyalist resistance in Peru and Bolivia by 1826.
  • The struggles that produced independence in the south began even before Napoleon’s invasion of Portugal and Spain.
    • In 1806 a British expeditionary force captured Buenos Aires.
    • When the Spanish colonial officials proved ineffective against the invasion, a volunteer militia of Creoles and peninsulars organized resistance and pushed the British out.
    • In May 1810 prominent Creoles in Buenos Aires, having vied with peninsulars for power in the intervening years, forced the last Spanish viceroy there to consent to a cabildo abierto, an extraordinary open meeting of the municipal council and local notables.
    • Although shielding itself with a pretense of loyalty to Ferdinand, the junta produced by that session marked the end of Spanish rule in Buenos Aires and its hinterland.
    • After its revolution of May 1810, the region was the only one to resist reconquest by loyalist troops throughout the period of the independence wars.
  • Independence in the former Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata, however, encountered grave difficulties in the years after 1810.
    • Central authority proved unstable in the capital city of Buenos Aires.
    • An early radical liberal government dominated by Mariano Moreno gave way to a series of triumvirates and supreme directors.
    • More troubling still were the bitter rivalries emerging between Buenos Aires and other provinces.
    • From the start Buenos Aires’ intention of bringing all the former viceregal territories under its control set off waves of discord in the outlying provinces.
    • At stake was not only political autonomy but also economic interest; the Creole merchants of Buenos Aires, who initially sought the liberalization of colonial restraints on commerce in the region, subsequently tried to maintain their economic dominance over the interior.
    • A constituent assembly meeting in 1813 adopted a flag, anthem, and other symbols of national identity, but the apparent unity disintegrated soon afterward. This was evident in the assembly that finally proclaimed independence in 1816; that body received no delegates from several provinces, even though it was held outside Buenos Aires.
    • Distinct interests and long-standing resentment of the capital led different regions in the south to pursue separate destinies.
    • Across the Rio de la Plata from Buenos Aires, Montevideo and its surroundings became the separate “Eastern State,” (later Uruguay).
  • Caught between the loyalism of Spanish officers and the imperialist intentions of Buenos Aires and Portuguese Brazil, the regional leader Jose Gervasio Artigas formed an army of thousands of gauchos.
    • By 1815 Artigas and this force dominated Uruguay and had allied with other provinces to oppose Buenos Aires.
  • Buenos Aires achieved similarly mixed results in other neighbouring regions, losing control of many while spreading independence from Spain.
    • Paraguay resisted Buenos Aires’ military and set out on a path of relative isolation from the outside world.
    • Other expeditions took the cause to Upper Peru, the region that would become Bolivia. After initial victories there, the forces from Buenos Aires retreated.
    • By the time Bolívar’s armies finally completed the liberation of Upper Peru, the region had long since separated itself from Buenos Aires.
  • The main thrust of the southern independence forces met much greater success on the Pacific coast.
    • In 1817 San Martín, a Latin American-born former officer in the Spanish military, directed 5,000 men in a dramatic crossing of the Andes and struck at a point in Chile where loyalist forces had not expected an invasion.
    • In alliance with Chilean patriots under the command of Bernardo O’Higgins, San Martín’s army restored independence to a region whose highly factionalized junta had been defeated by royalists in 1814.
    • With Chile as his base, San Martín then faced the task of freeing the Spanish stronghold of Peru.
      • After establishing naval dominance in the region, the southern movement made its way northward.
      • Its task, however, was formidable. Having benefited from colonial monopolies and fearful of the kind of social violence that the late 18th-century revolt had threatened, many Peruvian Creoles were not anxious to break with Spain.
      • Consequently, the forces under San Martín managed only a shaky hold on Lima and the coast.
      • Final destruction of loyalist resistance in the highlands required the entrance of northern armies.

The north and the culmination of independence

  • Independence movements in the northern regions of Spanish South America had an beginning in 1806.
  • The small group of foreign volunteers that the Venezuelan revolutionary Francisco de Miranda brought to his homeland failed to incite the populace to rise against Spanish rule.
  • Creoles in the region wanted an expansion of the free trade that was benefiting their plantation economy. At the same time, however, they feared that the removal of Spanish control might bring about a revolution that would destroy their own power.
    • Creole elites in Venezuela had good reason to fear such a possibility, for a massive revolution had recently exploded in the French Caribbean colony of Saint-Domingue.
      • Beginning in 1791, a massive slave revolt sparked a general insurrection against the plantation system and French colonial power.
      • The rebellion developed into both a civil war, pitting blacks against whites, and an international conflict, as England and Spain supported the white plantation owners and rebels, respectively.
      • By the first years of the 19th century, the rebels had shattered what had been a model colony and forged the independent nation of Haiti.
  • Partly inspired by those Caribbean events, slaves in Venezuela carried out their own uprisings in the 1790s. Just as it served as a beacon of hope for the enslaved, Haiti was a warning of everything that might go wrong for elites in the cacao-growing areas of Venezuela and throughout slave societies in the Americas.
  • Creole anxieties contributed to the persistence of strong loyalist factions in the Viceroyalty of New Granada, but they did not prevent the rise of an independence struggle there.
    • Creoles organized revolutionary governments that proclaimed some social and economic reforms in 1810, and in Venezuela they openly declared a break with Spain the following year.
    • Forces loyal to Spain fought the Venezuelan patriots from the start, leading to a pattern in which patriot rebels held the capital city and its surroundings but could not dominate large areas of the countryside.
    • Some saw the earthquake that wreaked particular destruction in patriot-held areas in 1812 as a sign of divine displeasure with the revolution.
    • 1812 was the onset of a difficult period for the independence cause. Loyalist forces crushed the rebels’ military, driving Bolívar and others to seek refuge in New Granada proper (the heart of the viceroyalty).
    • Bolívar soon returned to Venezuela with a new army in 1813 and waged a campaign with a ferocity with the army’s motto, “War to the death”.
    • With loyalists displaying the same passion and violence, as well as obtaining significant support from the common people of mixed ethnicity, the revolutionists achieved only short-lived victories.
      • The army led by loyalist Jose Tomas Boves demonstrated the key military role that the llaneros (cowboys) came to play in the region’s struggle.
      • Turning the tide against independence, these highly mobile, ferocious fighters made up a formidable military force that pushed Bolivar out of his home country once more.
  • By 1815 the independence movements in Venezuela and almost all across Spanish South America seemed moribund.
    • A large military expedition sent by Ferdinand VII in that year reconquered Venezuela and most of New Granada.
    • Yet another invasion led by Bolivar in 1816 failed miserably.
  • In 1817, a larger and revitalized independence movement emerged, winning the struggle in the north and taking it into the Andean highlands. The mercurial Bolivar galvanized this initiative.
    • Hero and symbol of South American independence, Bolívar did not produce victory by himself, of course; still, he was of fundamental importance to the movement as an ideologue, military leader, and political catalyst.
    • In his most famous writing, the “Jamaica Letter” (composed during one of his periods of exile, in 1815), Bolivar affirmed his undying faith in the cause of independence, even in the face of the patriots’ repeated defeats.
      • While laying out sharp criticisms of Spanish colonialism, the document also looked toward the future. For Bolívar, the only path for the former colonies was the establishment of autonomous, centralized republican government.
    • Although liberal in some respects, in the Jamaica Letter and elsewhere, he expressed strong doubts about the capacity of his fellow Latin Americans for self-government, revealing his socially conservative and politically authoritarian side.
      • He wrote: “Do not adopt the best system of government, but the one most likely to succeed.”
      • Thus, the type of republic that he eventually espoused was very much an oligarchic one, with socioeconomic and literacy qualifications for suffrage and with power centred in the hands of a strong executive.
      • And though he favoured the granting of civil liberties to all male citizens and the abolition of slavery, Bolívar also worried that the death of so many peninsular soldiers during the wars would condemn Latin America to a system of “pardocracy,” or rule by pardos (people of mixed ethnicity), an outcome he deemed threatening.
      • He believed that a virtuous governing system would not be possible if the nation was divided by ethnicity.
  • Bolivar, The Liberator, emerged as a strong military and political force in the struggles that began in 1817.
    • At this point he expanded the focus of the movement, shifting his attention to New Granada and courting supporters among the casta majority.
    • A group of llaneros of mixed ethnicity led by Jose Antonio Paez proved crucial to the patriots’ military victories in 1818–19.
      • A major step in that success came in the subduing of the loyalist defenders of Bogota in 1819.
    • After leading his army up the face of the eastern Andes, Bolivar dealt a crushing defeat to his enemies in the Battle of Boyaca.
    • Consolidating victory in the north proved difficult.
      • A congress that Bolivar had convened in Angostura in 1819 named the Liberator president of Gran Colombia, a union of what are today Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, and Ecuador.
      • In reality, sharp divisions permeated the region even before Angostura; these ultimately dashed Bolivar’s hopes of uniting the former Spanish colonies into a single new nation.
        • The Bogota area, for example, had previously refused to join in a confederation with the rest of revolutionary New Granada.
        • Furthermore, loyalist supporters still held much of Venezuela, parts of the Colombian Andes, and all of Ecuador.
      • Still, the tide had turned in favour of independence, and further energetic military campaigns liberated New Granada and Venezuela by 1821.
      • A constituent congress held in 1821 chose Bolivar president of a now much more centralized Gran Colombia.
      • Leaving his trusted right-hand man, Francisco Santander, in Bogota to rule the new government, Bolivar then pushed on into Ecuador and the central Andes.
        • There the southern and northern armies came together in a pincer movement to quash the remaining loyalist strength.
        • In 1822 San Martin and Bolivar came face-to-face in a celebrated encounter in Ecuador.
        • San Martín made the realistic evaluation that only Bolivar and his supporters could complete the liberation of the Andes.
      • From that point on, the northerners took charge of the struggle in Peru and Bolivia.
        • After standing by while Spanish forces threatened to recapture the lands that San Martin’s armies had emancipated, Bolivar responded to the calls of Peruvian Creoles and guided his soldiers to victory in Lima.
        • While he organized the government there, his lieutenants set out to win the highlands of Peru and Upper Peru. One of them, the Venezuelan Antonio Sucre, directed the patriots’ triumph at Ayacucho in 1824, which turned out to be the last major battle of the war.
      • Within two years independence fighters mopped up the last of loyalist resistance, and South America was free of Spanish control.

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