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Latin American Studies Latin American Independence
by
Karen Racine

Introduction

Latin American independence has spawned tens of thousands of books, articles, novels, plays, films, songs, statues, and public commemorations. Such a prodigious output is a testament to the romance and power of the era, but it is also indicative of the degree to which the meaning of independence remains contested. Was independence merely the substitution of a creole elite for a foreign one, a nonevent that left the essential power structure unchanged? Or was it a sincere attempt to reimagine the relationship between the governors and the governed, to invite previously excluded elements into the national body and create something new? Was it fundamentally liberal or conservative? Was it inspired by revolutionary ideas, or was it the result of internal social and economic tensions? Despite two centuries of serious research, and just as much political polemicizing, the events and personalities of Latin American independence remain the subject of passionate debate, with very little resolution. The earliest histories of independence were created by participants who wrote memoirs as an extension of their statecraft. The subsequent generation of 19th-century historians published massive, multivolume histories to legitimize their own political agendas. In the 20th century, the independence era was reinterpreted according to new political ideologies. Marxist historians characterized the creole elites as a collaborator class who served global capital. Underdevelopment theorists saw it as the era in which the cycle of systemic poverty began. Nationalists lauded great military heroes and stressed the patriotic actions of the armed forces and failures of the civilian politicians. By the 1970s, a new generation of social historians began to study the experiences of women, indigenous people, and slaves. The most significant recent directions in research have been fourfold. First, scholars now see it as a period of transition rather than a distinct break. It has become common to consider independence through the lens of a much longer time frame, typically something like 1750–1850. Second, there has been a shift away from the study of great heroes and military or diplomatic events toward an examination of the lived experience and contributions of real people. Third, the independence movements are now considered part of trends that characterized the broader Atlantic World. Finally, there is renewed emphasis on independence as an internal struggle within the Spanish Empire, pitting liberals against traditionalists on both sides of the Atlantic.

General Overviews

Not surprisingly, general overviews of Latin American independence have tended to take a bird’s-eye view of events. Because the major events spanned three continents over several decades, authors have found it easiest and most comprehensible to write their accounts from the perspective of a disintegrating empire that resulted in triumphantly emerging nation-states. It remains an almost insuperable challenge to write a general history that is able to depict the chronological sweep of public, political events while at the same time providing a sense of the tremendous variation in regional, class, ethnic, and gendered experiences. Since its appearance in 1973, the most widely cited general history remains Lynch 1986, which offers a clear, straightforward narrative account of the military and political events. Since that time, others have revisited the challenge of writing a comprehensive account in ways that reflect emerging interpretations. In the 1980s, as military regimes throughout Spanish America gave way to civilian governments and a vibrant democratic Spain reasserted itself in the wake of Franco’s demise, scholars started to emphasize the ancient roots of Spanish liberalism. In this vein, Costeloe 1986 and Rodríguez O. 1998 emphasize the many strong reformist agendas within the Spanish Empire, thus complicating the tendency to see colonists as liberal heroes and imperial administrators as reactionary villains. Kinsbruner 1994 adds a more overtly political slant by characterizing independence as a civil war with a significant element of class struggle. Langley 1996 is particularly concerned with the nature of leadership in the context of Atlantic revolutions. The more recent accounts by Voss 2002 and Chasteen 2008 have gone further than the rest by treating the daily experiences of common folk as a central concern rather than something merely added in for colorful human interest.

  • Chasteen, John Charles. Americanos: Latin America’s Struggle for Independence. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

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    Fast-paced, dramatic account of the events of Latin American independence by a historian adept at blending scholarship with storytelling. Chasteen focuses on the creation of a new sense of American-ness and emphasizes heroic personalities.

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  • Costeloe, Michael P. Response to Revolution: Imperial Spain and the Spanish American Revolutions, 1810–1840. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1986.

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    Finds that the Spanish public was more concerned with events closer to home than with the disintegration of the larger empire. Focused mainly on the period after 1814, the book treats the various plans for military counterattacks, the rollback of constitutional concessions previously made by the Regency, the state of the press and public opinion, and the financing of the imperial system in its final years.

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  • Kinsbruner, Jay. Independence in Spanish America: Civil Wars, Revolutions and Underdevelopment. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1994.

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    Brief, readable history of independence that casts it as an anticolonial struggle that descended into intensely partisan civil wars. Integration of the new states into a global capitalist economy has meant that Latin America is caught in a cycle of failed leadership, predatory elites, internal rebellions, and underdeveloped economies.

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  • Langley, Lester D. The Americas in the Age of Revolution, 1750–1850. New Haven, CT, and London: Yale University Press, 1996.

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    Historian of US foreign policy in Latin America draws connections among the American Revolution, the Haitian Revolution, and the Spanish American independence movements. Places emphasis on the colonial dynamic, race relations, counterrevolution, leadership styles, and the militarization of society to explain the different trajectories and outcomes of the three interrelated events.

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  • Lynch, John. The Spanish American Revolutions, 1808–1826. 2d rev. ed. New York: W. W. Norton, 1986.

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    The standard English-language account of independence since it first appeared in 1973, revised and updated. Offers a narrative overview of the continental process through a series of chapters organized chronologically, with a focus on various national theaters at the center of the broad sweep of events at a particular moment.

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  • Rodríguez O., Jaime E. The Independence of Spanish America. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

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    A vigorous interpretation of Spanish American independence that undercuts the traditional view of independence as a series of grand battles led by national heroes. Was at the forefront of the new historiographical trend toward viewing popular participation, representative government, and cultural continuity as the major characteristics of the era’s events. Emphasizes independence as a process fully grounded in the notion of liberty and freedom in which people of all races and classes participated.

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  • Voss, Stuart F. Latin America in the Middle Period: 1750–1929. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 2002.

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    Follows a historiographical trend that has become common in the writing of revolutionary history elsewhere to take a longue durée (long-term) approach to the study of a revolutionary event by emphasizing its continuity rather than the abruptness of a dramatic break. Highly readable overview balances the high politics of the era with a significant number of examples of slower shifts in the cultural, economic, and social life of the populace.

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Edited Collections

This publication genre has seen a tremendous surge in titles appearing over the past decade. Often arising out of more specialized conferences, or linked to the growth of sponsored research clusters in universities and institutes, edited collections provide the student with a handy way to access specialized research on a distinct component of the independence era. The best anthologies not only bring together articles that are consistent and address a clear theme, but also include a diversity of opinions and interpretations that give the readers a sense of the larger debate. Humphreys and Lynch 1965, Lynch 2001, and Bethell 1987 are collections edited by prominent British historians who have established themselves as effective authorities on the political history of independence. Palacios 2009 shows the influence of these historians and offers articles based on the experiences of the various emerging nation-states. More recently, French and Spanish scholars have concerned themselves with issues of cultural theory, citizenship, and language and published their work in anthologized form. Guerra 1995, Annino and Guerra 2003, and Chust and Marchena 2007 all fall into this historiographical school, although their work unfortunately remains mostly inaccessible to non-Spanish-language readers. Rodríguez O. 2005 is a US-based historian with strong research partnerships in Europe and Latin America, making this collection one of the few to try to bridge academic communities that rarely intersect. Archer 2000 has a broader view of military history that includes its social components.

  • Annino, Antonio, and François-Xavier Guerra, eds. Inventando la nación: Iberoamérica siglo XIX. Mexico City: Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2003.

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    Important international and interdisciplinary anthology of specialized studies by noted experts on creole patriotism, the Spanish monarchy, popular religion, international relations, language, and culture. Authors draw upon insights from postmodern theory to argue that the new nations were invented through the cultural space created by new uses of language, history, and identity.

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  • Archer, Christon I., ed. The Wars of Independence in Spanish America. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 2000.

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    Useful collection focused on the military history of the era. Brings together previously published articles, several translated primary sources, and a new, clear, and comprehensive introduction to the social, economic, and human context of battle. Also contains an extensive bibliographic essay that can direct interested readers to further sources for the military history of independence

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  • Bethell, Leslie, ed. The Independence of Latin America. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1987.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511626043Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Part of the Cambridge History of Latin America series, this volume includes five chapters written by well-respected historians. Topics are treated in a straightforward narrative manner and cover the origins of independence (John Lynch); events in Mexico and Central America (Timothy Anna), South America (David Bushnell), and Brazil (Bethell); the international dimension of the wars (D. A. G. Waddell); and a few concluding comments on the Catholic Church’s activities. Contains useful bibliographical essays for each topic.

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  • Chust, Manuel, and Juan Marchena, eds. Las armas de la nación: Independencia y ciudadanía en Hispanoamérica (1750–1850). Madrid: Iberoamericana, 2007.

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    Two of the most important Spanish historians of the Spanish American independence era have compiled this valuable anthology of essays on the militias in Spanish America from the Bourbon reforms through to the mid-19th century, generally arguing that the militias were key institutions in which race, class, and identity were contested in the changing political order.

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  • Guerra, François-Xavier, ed. Las revoluciones hispánicas: Independencias americanas y liberalismo español. Madrid: Editorial Complutense, 1995.

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    Significant collection of articles based around the idea that Spanish American independence resulted from a process of modernization and liberalization internal to the Spanish Empire as the relationship between citizens and government was reimagined and reinvented.

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  • Humphreys, R. A., and John Lynch, eds. The Origins of the Latin American Revolutions, 1808–1826. New York: Knopf, 1965.

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    An older, but still useful, collection of straightforward, information-driven articles treating the origin, progress, and aftermath of the independence movements. Topics discussed include the impact of Enlightenment ideas, the expulsion of the Jesuits, international context of the revolutions, the decline of the Spanish Empire, the economy, creole nationalism, and the uniqueness of the Brazilian case. Editors have included some translated articles from Latin American authors, and a few primary sources as well.

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  • Lynch, John. Latin America between Colony and Nation: Selected Essays. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave, 2001.

    DOI: 10.1057/9780230511729Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Brings together the ideas of a major British historian of Latin American independence into a new unified overview, with chapters that focus on armies and military supply, the breakdown of the colonial order, Indian rebellions, ethnic conflict, the Catholic Church, popular religion, and the iconic figure of Simón Bolívar and the problem of caudillo (strongman) politics. Emphasizes the transitional nature of the independence era.

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  • Palacios, Marco, ed. Las independencias hispanoamericanos: Interpretaciones 200 años después. Bogotá, Colombia: Grupo Editorial Norma, 2009.

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    Essays by fourteen scholars, most of them Latin Americans, setting out new topics and research in the independence era. Most essays take a national focus, but there are a few that are thematic and discuss slavery, the economy, and the monarchical order.

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  • Rodríguez O., Jaime E., ed. Revolución, independencia y las nuevas naciones de América. Madrid: Fundación MAPFRE Tavera, 2005.

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    Important anthology consisting of twenty articles written by excellent scholars based in Latin America, Europe, and North America. Its central organizing themes are civil society, citizenship, popular sovereignty, and the creation of new constitutional order.

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Historiographical Discussions

Historiographical discussions of the independence era are few and far between, and those that do exist tend to fall within a national context. It is rare to find a historiographical article that is transnational in scope or takes a thematic approach. Nevertheless, because of the sheer volume and uneven quality of writing on Latin American independence, those articles that help the reader identify serious scholars and works are enormously useful, if often woefully out of date. Humphreys 1956 is a straightforward account by an influential scholar that sets out the standard interpretive lines. Van Young 1985 and Vázquez 1997 are recent surveys of a specific national experience; Puente Candamo 1965 and Vial Correa 1965 are two older ones. Chust and Serrano 2007 is a collection of historiographical articles issued on the eve of the bicentennial of Napoleon’s 1808 seizure of the Spanish royal family and invasion of the Iberian Peninsula. While Safford 1992 is a valuable bibliographic starting point for students, Straka 1999 and Quintero Lugo 2006 represent a different tack altogether and show how changing political contexts can affect interpretation of past events. Straka analyzed Marxist interpretations of independence in Venezuela in the heady year following Hugo Chávez’s first election to power.

  • Chust, Manuel, and José Antonio Serrano, eds. Debates sobre las independencias iberoamericanas. Madrid: Iberoamericana, 2007.

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    Twelve articles, each devoted to the state of research and debates over the meaning and process of independence in each of the major Latin American countries.

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  • Humphreys, R. A. “The Historiography of the Spanish American Revolutions.” Hispanic American Historical Review 36.1 (1956): 81–93.

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    Older account does a good job of delineating the first 150 years of writing about independence, identifying the major points of debate and issues of concern to 19th-century national historians and their 20th-century ideological heirs.

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  • Puente Candamo, José Agustín de la. “Historiografía de la independencia de Perú.” Revista de Historia de América 59 (1965): 280–293.

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    Though obviously outdated, the article makes it clear that Peruvian historians have felt defensive about the fact that their independence movement came relatively late, with the appearance of San Martín’s foreign army, and thus have tended to focus their writing on the glorification of early national figures like exiled Jesuit Juan Pablo Viscardo y Guzmán.

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  • Quintero Lugo, Gilberto. “La historiografía de la independencia hispanoamericana en las últimas décadas del siglo XX, 1980–2003: Temas y perspectivas.” Boletín de la Academia Nacional de la Historia [Caracas] 89.356 (2006): 101–128.

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    Unlike standard historiographies, focuses on themes instead of national divisions.

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  • Safford, Frank. “History, 1750–1850.” In Latin America and the Caribbean: A Critical Guide to Research Sources. Edited by Paula H. Covington, 343–362. New York: Greenwood, 1992.

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    Bibliographical survey of recent works, written on the quincentennial anniversary of Columbus’s arrival in the Americas.

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  • Straka, Tomás. “Los marxistas y la guerra de independencia: Política e historiografía en Venezuela, 1939–1989.” Tierra Firme 17.65 (1999): 73–90.

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    Shows how the independence era continues to be drafted into contemporary political debates. Marxist historians viewed independence as a time when predatory international capital penetrated Venezuela (and the rest of Latin America) and reduced it to a dependent status thanks to the collaboration of a treacherous elite class. Similar ideas can be found for Argentina in the work of Julio Irazusta.

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  • Van Young, Eric. “Recent Anglophone Scholarship on Mexico and Central America in the Age of Revolution, 1750–1850.” Hispanic American Historical Review 65.4 (1985): 725–743.

    DOI: 10.2307/2514893Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Author frets that historians of Latin American independence had, at that time, not been as theoretically sophisticated or analytically ambitious as historians of the Enlightenment and revolutionary ages in European and North American history. Conclusions have been overtaken by a subsequent generation of historians’ work, but nevertheless provide a useful snapshot of the state of the field in 1985 and direct readers to works that remain important foundational studies today.

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  • Vázquez, Josefina Zoraida, ed. Interpretaciones sobre la independencia de México. Mexico City: Nueva Imagen, 1997.

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    Anthology of articles with an introduction by a major Mexican scholar of independence and the mid-19th century.

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  • Vial Correa, Gonzalo. “Historiografía de la independencia de Chile.” Historia 4 (1965): 165–190.

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    Surveys the previous generations’ traditional views of independence. Makes an early and prescient note that because authors are beginning to investigate issues related to society, ethnic relations, and regionalism, a more nuanced view was starting to emerge that showed independence to be a process of slow transformation rather than a radical break.

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Multivolume Primary Source Collections

Massive and expensive collections such as these published archives tend to be the undertaking of national governments and can be both useful and frustrating. The best collections are carefully curated by historians and archivists, and are complete with explanatory essays and footnotes; less-helpful enterprises are disorganized and incomplete, and have little scholarly apparatus to help readers make sense of the material. Very often, these multivolume collections are issued as a form of public commemoration of national heroes, intended to cement their place in the political pantheon. The left-leaning military government in Peru, for example, used the occasion of the 150th anniversary of independence to sponsor an ambitiously patriotic publishing project (Colección documental de la independencia del Perú). Other national governments have made available the personal archives of their heroic founding fathers: Argentina (Documentos para la historia del Libertador General San Martin), Chile (Archivo de don Bernardo O’Higgins, Matto Vial 1900–1966), Colombia (Santander in Cortázar 1953–1956), Venezuela (Archivo del General Miranda, O’Leary 1879–1888). One should expect that many more collections will be printed over the course of the next decade as part of the many bicentennial celebrations. Some of the earlier multivolume collections (Biblioteca de Mayo, Hernández y Dávalos 1985) contain many hidden treasures, but are harder to use because they lack clear indices as guides.

  • Archivo de don Bernardo O’Higgins. 32 vols. Santiago, Chile: Editorial Nascimento, 1946–1981.

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    Personal papers of Chile’s famous liberator, with the two final volumes serving as an index. Material covered goes substantially beyond O’Higgins to include military operations and the periodical titled Gazeta Ministerial de Chile (1821–1822).

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  • Archivo del General Miranda. 24 vols. Caracas, Venezuela, and Havana, Cuba: Tipografía Americana, 1929–1950.

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    Drawn from the sixty-three volumes of the Venezuelan Precursor Francisco de Miranda’s personal archive in Caracas, these volumes are arranged in chronological order. They contain an exhaustive collection including calling cards, manifestoes, and correspondence.

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  • Biblioteca de Mayo. Colección de obras y documentos para la historia Argentina. 17 vols. in 19. Buenos Aires, Argentina: Senado de la Nación, 1960–1963.

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    Vast collection of memoirs, dispatches, bulletins, personal papers, periodicals, speeches, diplomatic records, and government documents related to the revolution in Buenos Aires and the Río de la Plata region. Issued by the Argentine Senate on the 150th anniversary of May 25th assumption of power by the creole cabildo in Buenos Aires.

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  • Colección documental de la independencia del Perú. 83 vols. Lima: Comisión Nacional del Sesquicentenario de la Independencia del Perú, 1971–1974.

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    Massive collection of documents issued to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the declaration of independence. Divided into smaller subseries on special themes, including ideologists, the Tupac Amaru rebellion, conspiracies in general, guerrillas, military affairs, the navy, diplomatic relations, the university, the church, José de San Martín’s correspondence, patriotic symbols, poetry, plays, memoirs, and travel accounts.

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  • Cortázar, Roberto, ed. Cartas y mensajes del General Francisco de Paula Santander. 10 vols. Bogotá, Columbia: Editorial de la Librería Voluntad, 1953–1956.

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    Letters and communiqués of the Colombian liberal patriot general.

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  • Documentos para la historia del Libertador General San Martín. 19 vols. Buenos Aires, Argentina: Ministerio de Educación de la Nación, Instituto Nacional Sanmartiniano, Museo Histórico Nacional, 1953–2007.

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    Makes available the public and personal documentation of Argentina’s national hero, organized in a strict chronological order with a descriptive index at the back of each volume.

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  • Hernández y Dávalos, Juan E, ed. Historia de la guerra de independencia de México. 6 vols. Mexico City: Instituto Nacional de Estudios Históricos de la Revolución Mexicana, 1985.

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    Printed edition of a huge collection amassed by the editor in the 19th century. Somewhat difficult to use because it lacks a clear index or logical order.

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  • Matto Vial, Enrique, ed. Colección de historiadores y de documentos relativos a la independencia de Chile. 43 vols. Santiago, Chile: 1900–1966.

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    Printed transcripts of documents including personal papers of major figures, government documents, periodicals, and other contemporary sources.

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  • O’Leary, Daniel F. Memorias del General O’Leary. 31 vols. Caracas, Venezuela: El Monitor, 1879–1888.

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    O’Leary was Simón Bolívar’s aide-de-camp and secretary and his most trusted advisor throughout the 1820s. This massive collection is invaluable for the history of his campaigns and the history of northern South America in general.

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Translated Primary Sources for English Readers

If there are hundreds of printed primary sources from the independence era available in Spanish and French, there are surprisingly few translations that make these works available to Anglophone readers. Bolívar’s writings are the most commonly found in English translation (Bolívar 1951, Bolívar 2003), a condition that has the effect of even further magnifying his centrality in North American minds. More information about Bolívar and his campaigns can be found in a single volume of extracts from the voluminous memoirs of his aide-de-camp Daniel Florencio O’Leary (O’Leary 1970). The Oxford Latin American in Translation series has begun to remedy the paucity of primary sources in English with the excellent translations Bello 1998 and Mier Noriega y Guerra 1998. The commercial academic press Hackett Publishing has started a similar enterprise, first with the publication of Fernández de Lizardi 2004, and now with the recent appearance of a valuable anthologized reader, Chambers and Chasteen 2010, which is notable for its attempt to move beyond great figures and political pronouncements. Viscardo y Guzmán 2002, his letter to Spanish Americans, was widely read by creole intellectuals in the years leading up to independence. Students should note that there are translated primary sources drawn from the independence era available in the various country-specific historical documentary readers published by Duke University Press (The Mexico Reader, The Argentina Reader, The Brazil Reader, etc.).

  • Bello, Andrés. Selected Writings of Andrés Bello. Edited by Iván Jaksic. Translated by Frances López Morillas. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.

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    First comprehensive collection available in English of the major poems, essays, and constitutional writings of the 19th-century intellectual and statesman Andrés Bello (1781–1865).

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  • Bolívar, Simón. Selected Writings of Bolívar. 2 vols. Edited by Vicente Lecuna and Harold A. Bierck. New York: Colonial Press, 1951.

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    Well-chosen summary of the Liberator’s major speeches and important correspondence.

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  • Bolívar, Simón. El Libertador: Writings of Simon Bolívar. Edited by David Bushnell. Translated by Fred Fornoff. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

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    Handy single-volume edition includes forty-one documents, including the Cartagena Manifesto of 1812, the Jamaica Letter of 1815, the Angostura Address of 1819, and the Bolivian Constitution of 1826, along with other items related to education, the environment, culture, politics, religion, and international affairs.

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

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    Collection of thirty-four primary source selections. Unique for its inclusion of the Brazilian experience along with that of Spanish America, and for including some sources that reveal the way in which subsequent 19th-century Latin Americans looked back at their independence moments. Types of documents include manifestoes, patriotic verse, personal correspondence, editorials, broadsides, diplomatic dispatches, bylaws, and constitutional proposals.

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  • Fernández de Lizardi, José Joaquín. The Mangy Parrot: The Life and Times of Periquillo Sarniento, Written by Himself for His Children. Edited by Nancy Vogeley. Translated by David Frye. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 2004.

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    Typically described as the first Latin American novel to be written after independence; Lizardi captured the full spectrum of Mexican society in the independence era, ranging from bawdy personal relationships to sharp political satire. This is the fullest and best English translation of the 1816 original.

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  • Mier Noriega y Guerra, Fray Servando. The Memoirs of Fray Servando Teresa de Mier. Edited by Susana Rotker. Translated by Helen Lane. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1998.

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    Racy, entertaining memoirs written by the iconoclastic Mexican priest, famous for his 1794 sermon on the Virgin of Guadalupe that led to his arrest by the Inquisition. Unfortunately, only covers one decade of his eventful life, from 1795–1805.

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  • O’Leary, Daniel Florencio. Bolívar and the War of Independence. Edited and translated by Robert F. McNerney. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1970.

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    A single-volume abridgement of insights from the Liberator’s aide-de-camp.

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  • Viscardo y Guzmán, Juan Pablo. Letter to the Spanish Americans. Edited by David Brading. Providence, RI: John Carter Brown Library, 2002.

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    A facsimile edition of the version that appeared in London in 1810, this letter was an early call to independence written by a young Peruvian Jesuit who had been exiled in 1767; it was later widely disseminated by Francisco de Miranda.

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Biographies of Major Figures in English

Not surprisingly, one of the most consistently popular ways to write about the independence movement has been through the biography of a great figure. Romantic and statist historiography both have used individuals to personify national characters, from Giuseppe Garibaldi in Italy to Tadeusz Kościuszko in Poland to George Washington in the United States. The selection here directs English-language readers to some of the best and most balanced recent academic biographies of major figures in the Latin American independence movements. Racine 2003 discusses the life of the great Precursor Francisco de Miranda, emphasizing his transatlantic connections, travels, and personal relationships. The famous Liberator Simón Bolívar has been the subject of hundreds of biographical treatments of varying degrees of quality and accuracy; a recent, fair, and succinct treatment of his life and the major points of historiographical contention can be found in Bushnell 2004. Murray 2010 provides the first English-language treatment of Bolívar’s female companion Manuela Sáenz. Lynch 2009 offers a straightforward biography of Argentina’s José de San Martín which makes it clear that the man was a better general than he was a politician. In contrast, Sobrevilla Perea 2011 is a clear biography of the less-well-known Andrés Santa Cruz of Bolivia that finds he had a more political outlook and ambition. Anna 1990 offers a revisionist interpretation of the Mexican general and emperor Iturbide, suggesting that he was less venal and dictatorial than generations of Mexican historians have depicted. Kinsbruner 1968, a biography of Chile’s Bernardo O’Higgins, reflects the left-leaning, social justice interests of US academics in that era but, ironically enough, does not reflect the way the Chilean left views that hero of independence. Macaulay 1986 provides a good overview of the life of first Brazilian emperor, Dom Pedro. Although the overwhelming majority of biographies treat military and political leaders, one welcome exception is Jaksic 2006, which explores the life of Andrés Bello, a poet-statesman-philologist who lived in Venezuela, England, and Chile over the course of his lifetime.

Bourbon and Pombaline Reforms

Like scholars of the French and American Revolutions, researchers have begun to build a more complicated picture of the decades leading up to Latin American independence. The Enlightenment-inspired agenda that drove Spain’s 18th-century Bourbon monarchs and Portugal’s Marquis de Pombal shared many of the same goals that the patriot leaders eventually had: greater secular control over public life, a more open trade system, vigorous defense against external threats, more efficient and responsive government, etc. At the same time, there was significance resistance from American creoles as the Bourbon and Pombaline reforms disrupted the established balance of power. Many of the most effective studies of these enlightened reform projects have consisted of smaller, specialized studies of people and institutions published in article form. They have also tended to focus on frontier areas like the Provincias Internas of northern New Spain, Paraguay, Central America, and the newly created viceroyalty of Río de la Plata. Once again, Lynch 1969 led the way with a study of the newly introduced system of intendants. Burkholder 1990 and Burkholder and Chandler 1977 followed with important books on the audiencia, a surprisingly little-studied but crucial New World institution. Wortman 1975 and Barbier 1980 offer a more generalized assessment of the impact of the Bourbon Reforms in Central America and Chile, respectively; Barbier does not agree with Lynch’s view that the Bourbon Reforms represented a new sort of Spanish Reconquest. Campbell 1978 takes a similar view and emphasizes the creoles’ perspective. Very little research is available on the Pombaline Reforms in Brazil available to the non-Portuguese reader, but MacLachlan 1972 and Maxwell 1968 both emphasize the recentralization of decision making and are good places to start.

  • Barbier, Jacques A. Reform and Politics in Bourbon Chile, 1755–1796. Ottawa, Canada: University of Ottawa Press, 1980.

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    Detailed case study of the overall nature and impact of the Bourbon Reforms in a single frontier country. Discusses rise and influence of new groups associated with Santiago and the new government.

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  • Burkholder, Mark A. Politics of a Colonial Career: José Baquíjano and the Audiencia of Lima. 2d ed. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 1990.

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    Highly readable study of the career of a Peruvian lawyer-bureaucrat who was an enlightened reformist but remained loyal to the Crown.

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  • Burkholder, Mark A., and D. S. Chandler. From Impotence to Authority: The Spanish Crown and the American Audiencias, 1687–1808. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1977.

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    Major study of the career trajectories of 693 men appointed to positions on the various colonial audiencias (similar to supreme courts) between 1687 and 1821. Based on extensive and impressive archival research, this book remains an invaluable resource.

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  • Campbell, Leon G. “Recent Research on Bourbon Enlightened Despotism, 1750–1824.” New Scholar 7.1–2 (1978): 29–50.

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    Overview essay written by a scholar whose career has been devoted to the study of the Bourbon monarchs’ reform programs. Indicates that research to date had shown that American creoles were predisposed to view any imperial reforms as hostile to their own interests because they were attempts to strengthen the central authority.

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  • Lynch, John. Spanish Colonial Administration, 1782–1810: The Intendant System in the Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata. Rev. ed. New York: Greenwood, 1969.

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    Major pioneering work into the way the Bourbons’ aggressive administrative reforms contributed to the creation of new local resentments and growing creole confidence that ultimately contributed to the desire for independence. Originally published in 1958.

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  • MacLachlan, Colin. “The Indian Directorate: Forced Acculturation in Portuguese America (1757–1799).” The Americas 28.4 (1972): 357–387.

    DOI: 10.2307/980202Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Study of Pombal’s effort to centralize royal control over an institution known as the Diretorio dos Indios and thus take some power from the religious authorities who had previously controlled Indian labor.

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  • Maxwell, Kenneth R. “Pombal and the Nationalization of the Luso-Brazilian Economy.” Hispanic American Historical Review 48.4 (1968): 608–631.

    DOI: 10.2307/2510901Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Older article traces the Marquis de Pombal’s mostly successful efforts to reassert Portuguese control over maritime trade, which had been slowly usurped by the British navy.

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  • Wortman, Miles. “Bourbon Reforms in Central America, 1750–1786.” The Americas 32.2 (1975): 222–238.

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    Older, straightforward, and useful narrative account.

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Early Revolts

One of the most active and innovative subfields in the history of the independence movements at the moment, the study of racialized rebellions of the late 18th century is influenced by advances in the study of gender, indigenous languages, and colonial religion to recreate an entire world view (Ramos 1976, Stavig 1999). Scholars debate whether these revolts were forward or backward looking and whether they were motivated primarily by economic concerns (Thomson 2002) or by religious and cultural imperatives (Szeminski 1987). There is also debate over the causes of the revolts and the nature of their leadership (Marchant 1941, O’Phelan 1985). Stavig and Schmidt 2008 offers excerpts from primary sources. Campbell 1985 provides an overview of women’s experiences and contributions to revolt in Peru. Although the Great Andean Rebellion has attracted the most attention among English-language scholars, similar pressures led to the Inconfidência Mineira and the Conspiracy of the Tailors in Brazil and the Gual and España Revolt in Venezuela (López Bohórquez 1997). One might even consider these movements in connection to the Haitian Revolution as well.

  • Campbell, Leon G. “Women and the Great Rebellion in Peru, 1780–1783.” The Americas 42.2 (1985): 163–196.

    DOI: 10.2307/1007207Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Article shows that not all women who participated in the Tupac Amaru and Tupac Katari revolts did so because they were related to male rebels; many women joined forces of their own volition and were surprisingly effective as leaders and advocates.

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  • López Bohórquez, Alí Enrique, ed. Manuel Gual y José María España: Valoración múltiple de la conspiración de La Guaira de 1797. Caracas, Venezuela: Comisión Presidencial del Bicentenario de la Conspiración de Gual y España, 1997.

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    Collection of articles published as part of the bicentennial commemoration of the unsuccessful revolt led by Manuel Gual (1749–1800) and José María España (1761–1799) in Venezuela.

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  • Marchant, Alexander. “Tiradentes in the Conspiracy of Minas.” Hispanic American Historical Review 21.2 (1941): 239–257.

    DOI: 10.2307/2507395Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    One of the very few specialized accounts in English of the Inconfidência Mineira of 1789.

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  • O’Phelan, Scarlett. Rebellions and Revolts in Eighteenth Century Peru and Upper Peru. Vienna: Böhlau, 1985.

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    Peruvian historian argues that indigenous discontent did not result in outright revolt unless it was linked to other practical concerns, including increasing taxation, disruption of commercial patterns, and local governmental autonomy.

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  • Ramos, Donald. “Social Revolution Frustrated: The Conspiracy of the Tailors in Bahia, 1798.” Luso-Brazilian Review 13.1 (1976): 74–90.

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    Good overview of an early revolt among the working classes, related to similar pressures building elsewhere in the Atlantic World, notable for its emphasis on equality of classes and races.

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  • Stavig, Ward. The World of Tupac Amaru: Conflict, Community, and Identity in Colonial Peru. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1999.

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    Based on careful archival research, this book shows that demographic and regional pressures meant that the rebellion unfolded differently depending on a matrix of social, economic, and cultural conditions. Advances beyond previous studies to explore the lives of common folk, rather than simply focusing on politics or the military.

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

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    Valuable collection of translated primary sources allows students and general readers to access the ideas, complaints, voices, and agendas of all sorts of people during the Great Andean Rebellion. The context for each document, its original source location, and its total length could be clearer.

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  • Szeminski, Jan. “Why Kill the Spaniard? New Perspectives on Andean Insurrectionary Ideology in the 18th Century.” In Resistance, Rebellion, and Consciousness in the Andean Peasant World: 18th to 20th Centuries. Edited by Steve J. Stern, 166–192. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1987.

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    Underscores the power of a millenarian vision among peasants and indigenous people that overwhelmed the rebel leaders’ desire to maintain a cross-class, multiethnic resistance to Spanish authority. Findings echo those of Eric Van Young for Mexican independence and Terry Rugeley for the mid-19th-century Caste War of the Yucatán.

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  • Thomson, Sinclair. We Alone Will Rule: Native Andean Politics in the Age of Insurgency. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2002.

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    Excellent, influential study of the peasant leadership of the Great Andean Rebellion that argues against Szeminski and others’ notion that peasants were trying to return to an idealized pre-Spanish system. Finds that the rebellion was caused by specific political, financial, and cultural disruptions resulting from aggressive Bourbon policies that broke a previously accepted compact.

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National Histories

The vast majority of writing about Latin American independence has been written in a national context. Each country has hundreds or thousands of books written about its national heroes, their glorious accomplishments, and the various military campaigns, political intrigues, intellectual histories, and founding events of the new nations. The literature is so vast as to be overwhelming to the beginner. The recommendations in this section have been made primarily with the English-language reader in mind, as a way of directing students in the early stages of their research to some of the best standard works and most recent research approaches, on the assumption that their bibliographies and footnotes can serve as a guide to further reading.

Mexico

Historians of Mexico have been particularly active and energetic researchers of the independence period because of the ongoing celebrations of its bicentennial, which dovetail with the centennial commemorations of the Revolution as well. Ávila and Guedea 2010 brings together important recent work that reevaluates independence as part of the intellectual project associated with the celebration of those milestones. The turbulent political landscape continues to belie easy explanations. Landavazo 2001 is an innovative study of the persistence of the monarchical ideal, while Anna 1998 traces the transition from colony to empire to republic in a clear, comprehensible narrative. Rodríguez O. 1994 is a collection of articles that offers a good, comprehensive overview of Mexican politics, economics, and institutions in the broader context of revolutions in the Atlantic World. Social historians have also concerned themselves with the vastly different experiences of various classes, regions, and ethnic groups during the independence period. For example, Ladd 1976 outlines the close personal and business collections of elite families. Van Young 2001 studies popular rebellion in rural areas. Warren 2001 documents urban working-class rebellion, and Guardino 2005 discusses events in an important, mainly indigenous, southern province. Archer 2003 is a collection of scholarly articles and primary sources relating to the military aspects of Mexican independence.

  • Anna, Timothy E. Forging Mexico: 1821–1835. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1998.

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    Focuses on the powerful force of federalism in the early years of the Mexican republic, stressing the competition between various regions and their powerful leaders in the various constitutional arrangements that were attempted.

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  • Archer, Christon I., ed. The Birth of Modern Mexico, 1780–1824. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 2003.

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    Collection of essays and short primary sources by specialists in Mexican independence. Perhaps reflecting the editor’s own research, the anthology is particularly strong in military and political history topics.

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  • Ávila, Alfredo, and Virginia Guedea, eds. La independencia de México: Temas e interpretaciones recientes. Mexico City: Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 2010.

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    Compilation of articles that reconsider the meaning, process, and historiography of Mexican independence published as part of the major bicentennial commemorations. Editors are two of the most important Mexican historians working in the field today.

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  • Guardino, Peter F. The Time of Liberty: Popular Political Culture in Oaxaca, 1750–1850. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2005.

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    Important study of the revolutionary process in a mainly indigenous Mexican province shows that all classes, races, and regions were engaged with the new ideas of liberty, freedom, and independence, not just urban elites in the capital city.

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  • Ladd, Doris M. The Mexican Nobility at Independence: 1780–1826. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1976.

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    Study of the interconnectedness of the elite families and their privileges and grievances on the eve of independence. Explains their resistance to the Bourbon reforms (and later to the Spanish liberal constitutionalists) that confiscated their wealth and undermined their status.

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  • Landavazo, Marco Antonio. La máscara de Fernando VII: Discurso e imaginario monárquicos en una época de crisis: Nueva España, 1808–1822. Mexico City: Colegio de México, 2001.

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    Valuable study dispels the myth that loyalty to the captive king Ferdinand was just an empty rhetorical ploy used to give cover to genuinely seditious acts. Argues that loyalty to the monarchy persisted in various forms well into the 1820s.

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  • Rodríguez O., Jaime E., ed. Mexico in the Age of Democratic Revolutions: 1750–1850. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 1994.

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    Collection of ten essays by Mexican and US-based scholars that considers politics, religion, constitutional order, leading personalities, economics, and institutions, with an emphasis on the democratic and popular nature of their ideals.

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  • Van Young, Eric. The Other Rebellion: Popular Violence, Ideology and the Struggle for Mexican Independence, 1810–1821. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001.

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    Extensive and detailed account of the tensions swirling around class and ethnic relations in the Mexican countryside. Provides clear evidence that rural indigenous communities resisted the encroachment of the state and urban elite authority through sustained violent rebellion. Mexican independence was not a single, unified movement with shared goals.

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  • Warren, Richard A. Vagrants and Citizens: Politics and the Masses in Mexico City from Colony to Republic. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 2001.

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    Discusses the role of the urban masses—workers, women, servants—and their interactions with elite politics and imperial administration during the independence and early national eras. Argues that the masses had a more important role than previously thought.

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Central America

Central American independence-era historiography is perhaps the least developed of all the Latin American regions. Until recently, its major interpretive lines were set out in the 19th century under the influence of the liberal historians and tended to emphasize the formation of the modern liberal nation-states. Marure 2000 is a recent edition of one of these early general works; Meléndez Chaverri 1993 updates the story with his modern general history, written as part of Spain’s MAPFRE project commemorating Columbus’s quincentenary. Two accounts written by Guatemalan historians aim to inject a greater awareness of the diversity of experiences during the independence era by treating nonelite social classes and ethnic groups: Pinto Soria 1986 emphasizes the rural and urban popular classes as a political force; Taracena Arriola 1997 uses Quetzaltenango as a case study for identity formation about ladinos, and discusses the fractious relations between the regions and the central authority. Dym 2006 follows this same general trend of research and offers an important study of the process by which rural towns and their residents variously accepted and rejected greater integration into a modern centralized state apparatus. There are few biographies available of major Central American figures, but two important exceptions are Bumgartner 1963 and Hawkins 2004.

  • Bumgartner, Louis E. José del Valle of Central America. Durham, NC: Duke University of Press, 1963.

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    Good, readable narrative account of the life of the famous Guatemalan journalist-statesman.

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

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    Important recent study of the process of resistance, reaction, and integration that occurred when rural towns (including indigenous pueblos) confronted the expanding and centralizing nation-state apparatus. Author considers the activities of the cabildos (local town councils), the new constitutional bodies that were set up in the independence era, the efforts of the municipalities to protect their autonomy, and the uneasy federative agreement into which they eventually entered.

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  • Hawkins, Timothy. José de Bustamante and Central American Independence: Colonial Administration in an Age of Imperial Crisis. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2004.

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    Revisionist history of the administration of Bustamante, president and captain-general of the Audiencia of Guatemala between 1811 and 1818, who has been reviled in liberal historiography as a repressive tyrant bent on eradicating all patriot activity throughout the isthmus. Hawkins’s careful research shows that Bustamante was actually quite concerned with calming the revolutionary fervor through a careful blend of negotiation, concessions, flattery, persuasion, and the restrained, targeted use of force.

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  • Marure, Alejandro. Bosquejo histórico de las revoluciones de Centro-América desde 1811 hasta 1834. 2 vols. San Salvador, El Salvador: Editorial Lis, 2000.

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    Major 19th-century official history of the wars for independence in Central America, written from a liberal perspective.

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  • Meléndez Chaverri, Carlos. La independencia de Centroamérica. Madrid: Editorial MAPFRE, 1993.

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    Clear, straightforward, modern history of Central American independence and the Federation up to 1840. Includes useful appendices such as a glossary of names and a chronological list of events.

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  • Pinto Soria, Julio César. Centroamérica: De la colonia al estado nacional, 1800–1840. Guatemala City: Editorial Universitaria de Guatemala, 1986.

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    Detailed history by a prominent, socially engaged Guatemalan historian that discusses liberal efforts to unite the territory and strike a balance among regions, classes, and ethnic groups, and the many conflicts that ultimately broke the federation into five separate states. Emphasizes the power of the popular classes in making their voices heard.

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  • Taracena Arriola, Arturo. Invención criolla, sueño ladino, pesadilla indígena: Los Altos de Guatemala, de región a estado, 1740–1850. San José, Costa Rica: Porvenir, 1997.

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    Major work by a Guatemalan historian studies the efforts of creole and ladino elites in Quetzaltenango to resist the expansion of the central administration’s efforts to tax and regulate their society. Reveals a rich matrix of overlapping concerns and conflicts among regional creole elites, middling sectors, and indigenous Mayan communities during a time of great strain.

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Colombia

Colombian independence was a complex, multifaceted process that was linked to those of its neighboring regions Venezuela and Peru. Bushnell 1970 is an early narrative account of the Colombian general and politician Santander, known colloquially as the Man of Laws. Uribe-Uran 2000 builds upon this theme and argues for the importance of the transformation of the legal profession and the role of lawyers in the independence movements. Two excellent general political histories can be found in Earle 2000, which emphasizes the failures of the Spanish imperial authorities, and Gómez Hoyos 1992, which adopts a more neutral stance befitting its inclusion in Spain’s Columbus quincentenary history project. McFarlane 1993 discusses the social and economic background to revolt by locating the source of imperial stressors in the 18th-century Bourbon Reforms. Díaz de Zuluaga 1983 continues this line of argument by focusing on the economic impact of the wars of independence on the rural economy and hacienda life. Colmenares 1986 collects research by a group of historians based in Cali who set out to challenge the prevailing liberal interpretation set out by José Manuel Restrepo in the 19th century by focusing on the experiences of women, lower classes, the rural peasantry, and urban workers.

  • Bushnell, David. The Santander Regime in Gran Colombia. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1970.

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    Straightforward narrative account of the administration of Francisco de Paula Santander, Colombia’s so-called Man of Laws, from 1819 to 1827, including his rivalry with Bolívar and the many issues and practical problems that beset the new government while still fighting a war. Originally published in 1954.

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  • Colmenares, Germán, ed. La Independencia: Ensayos de historia social. Bogotá, Colombia: Instituto Colombiano de Cultura, Subdirección de Comunicaciones Culturales, 1986.

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    Collection of essays by Colombians working at the Universidad de Valle in Cali. Their central goal was to challenge the liberal, triumphalist view of Colombian independence established in the 19th century by José Manuel Restrepo by examining socioeconomic changes (or lack thereof) among women, families, rural communities, and indigenous people.

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  • Díaz de Zuluaga, Zamira. Guerra y economía en las haciendas, Popayán, 1780–1830. Bogotá, Colombia: Banco Popular, 1983.

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    Excellent social history notes that rural economies suffered when both labor and elites abandoned the estates and agricultural pursuits to engage in the wars, and that the region had a hard time recovering from the devastation.

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  • Earle, Rebecca A. Spain and the Independence of Colombia, 1810–1825. Exeter, UK: University of Exeter Press, 2000.

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    Important reconsideration argues that the Spanish Crown and its representatives were as responsible for the loss of colonial New Granada as the patriots were responsible for winning it. Notes the political infighting, personal rivalries, chronic maladministration, frequent changes of personnel, and lack of consistent policy as reasons why Spain failed to regain control.

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  • Gómez Hoyos, Rafael. La independencia de Colombia. Madrid: MAPFRE, 1992.

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    Comprehensive history by a noted Colombian social historian written on the quincentennial of Columbus’s discovery of the Americas.

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  • McFarlane, Anthony. Colombia before Independence: Economy, Society, and Politics under Bourbon Rule. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511529122Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Standard history of background events and process that led to the revolts that erupted across the Viceroyalty of New Granada in the late 18th century. The author stresses fundamental shifts in the international and domestic economy, the rise of powerful regional interests, and the local resentments unleashed by a century of centralizing Bourbon reforms.

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  • Uribe-Uran, Victor. Honorable Lives: Lawyers, Families, and Politics in Colombia, 1780–1850. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2000.

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    Discusses the transformation of the role and status of lawyers in the late colonial and independence era and finds that a surprisingly large number were involved in the resistance to Spanish authority. Includes brief biographies of more than 150 lawyers and documents their overlapping family networks.

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Venezuela

Perhaps unavoidably, the study of Venezuelan independence has been dominated by the figure and campaigns of Simón Bolívar. Baralt and Díaz 1939 were near-contemporaneous historians who set out a powerful triumphant liberal interpretation of independence that emphasized the origins of the modern nation-state in that era. Their work has had an impact on all studies that have followed. Parra Pérez 1992 is a good example of their enduring influence. The background to Venezuelan independence has been discussed in McKinley 1985, which emphasizes the social history of the mercantile elite and the growth in size and power of the city of Caracas. Quintero Montiel 2002 is also concerned with the quarrelsome and status-conscious Caracas elite in the years leading up to the First Republic. This study complements Izard Llorens 1979, which makes it clear just how fearful the elite was of racialized revolt in the wake of several slave insurrections throughout the Caribbean region. Historians of Venezuelan independence typically have shown more interest in the history of ideas than have scholars working on events in other regions. Pino Iturrieta 1993 is one recent balanced treatment of the intellectual context and philosophical content of Venezuela’s independence. The infamous War to the Death and the great Bolivarian campaigns have continued to fascinate and maintain current political resonance. Thibaud 2003 discusses the role of the armed forces as a socializing and nation-building institution. Brown 2006 is a comprehensive treatment of the role and impact of the British and Irish Legions that fought alongside Bolívar.

  • Baralt, Rafael and Ramon Díaz. Resumen de la historia de Venezuela desde el año de 1797 hasta el de 1830. 2 vols. Paris: Desclée de Brower, 1939.

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    Classic, influential 19th-century semiofficial account of the independence era. Reprint of the 1841 original.

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

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    Intensively researched study of the approximately six thousand soldiers who made up the Irish and English Legions that fought alongside the patriots in the wars of independence. Excellent introduction treats the historiographical issues of the period, and the text includes many fascinating human details about the experience of fighting in such brutal conditions.

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  • Izard Llorens, Miguel. El miedo a la revolución: La lucha por la libertad de Venezuela, 1777–1830. Madrid: Tecnos, 1979.

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    Important discussion seeks to explain the strength of the counterrevolutionary forces that made the wars for independence so violent in northern South America. Elites clung to their status and resisted the notions of racial or class equality that gained legitimacy elsewhere.

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  • McKinley, P. Michael. Pre-revolutionary Caracas: Politics, Economy, and Society, 1777–1811. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1985.

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    Detailed social history outlines the cohesion of the Caracas elite on the eve of independence as a result of its compact size, the shared economic interests between planters and merchants, and its recent elevation in the Spanish imperial economy, which tended to fortify ties between creoles and peninsulares that were fraying elsewhere.

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  • Parra Pérez, Caracciolo. Historia de la primera República de Venezuela. Caracas, Venezuela: Biblioteca Ayacucho, 1992.

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    Foundational work by a major Venezuelan historian of the mid-20th-century generation.

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  • Pino Iturrieta, Elías. Las ideas de los primeros venezolanos. Caracas, Venezuela: Monte Ávila, 1993.

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    Good recent intellectual history of the First Venezuelan Republic.

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  • Quintero Montiel, Inés Mercedes. La conjura de los Mantuanos: Último acto de fidelidad a la monarquía española (Caracas, 1808). Caracas, Venezuela: Universidad Católica Andrés Bello, 2002.

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    Important work parallels the finding of Marco Antonio Landavazo for Mexico and argues that important elements of the local creole elite remained loyal to the Spanish monarchy for a longer time than is generally acknowledged.

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  • Thibaud, Clément. Repúblicas en armas: Los ejércitos bolivarianos en la guerra de independencia en Colombia y Venezuela. Bogotá, Colombia: Planeta, 2003.

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    Extremely detailed work of a French historian who sees new nations being born of the shared sacrifice, bloodshed, and patriotic imagery unleashed during the revolutionary wars.

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The Andean Region (Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador)

Peru gained its independence quite late in the hemispheric context, and only as a result of external invasions led by foreign generals. As a result, any effort to locate a heroic moment has been complicated and compromised. Historians of Peruvian independence have tended to lavish their attention on the 18th-century Great Andean Rebellion instead of the final years of the Viceroyalty. Peralta Ruiz 2002, a study of Viceroy Abascal, is one notable departure from this general trend. Anna 1979 is another good, straightforward account of political events that does not shy away from the ambiguities of the 1820s. Walker 1999 and Serulnikov 2003 both emphasize indigenous agency in the independence process, which was central to subverting Spanish authority and creating a contentious, multiethnic Peruvian republic. Bonilla 2001 is an updated version of an important, left-leaning social historian’s interpretation that emphasizes imperial implosion. Two edited collections, Flores Galindo 1987 and O’Phelan Godoy 2001, span a half-century of Peruvian history and provide readers with a good cross-section of topics and authors related to all aspects of independence. Other studies of Andean countries trace the complicated process by which Ecuador and Bolivia achieved their own independence out of the imperial breakdown in Peru. Hamerly 1973 and Minchom 1994 discuss the Ecuadorean case, while Roca 2007 argues that Bolivia wished to make its way separate from both the authorities in both Lima and Buenos Aires.

  • Anna, Timothy E. The Fall of the Royal Government in Peru. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1979.

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    Clear, articulate account of the last two decades of colonial rule in Peru, with an emphasis on the 1820s.

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  • Bonilla, Heraclio. Metáfora y realidad de la independencia en el Perú. Lima, Peru: Instituto de Estudios Peruanos, 2001.

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    Revised, expanded, and updated edition of a seminal work by a Peruvian social historian who emphasized the internal collapse of Spanish power in Peru and the contribution made by indigenous people on both sides of the conflict.

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  • Flores Galindo, Alberto, ed. Independencia y revolución, 1780–1840. 2 vols. Lima, Peru: Instituto Nacional de Cultura, 1987.

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    Edited collection of articles related to all aspects of the drawn-out process of Peruvian independence, from the Tupac Amaru rebellion through to the establishment of a liberal state order in the mid-19th century. Authors are concerned with the anomalies of Peru’s independence movement compared to elsewhere in the Spanish Empire, the degree of its true revolutionary quality, and other questions related to the politics, economy, society, and intellectual history of the era.

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  • Hamerly, Michael T. Historia social y económica de la antigua provincia de Guayaquil, 1763–1842. Guayaquil, Ecuador: Archivo Histórico de Guayas, 1973.

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    Social history of Guayaquil province notes changes in demography, family structure, land-use patterns, and labor relations during the independence era.

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  • Minchom, Martin. The People of Quito, 1690–1810: Change and Unrest in the Underclass. Boulder, CO: Westview, 1994.

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    Important account of an understudied area. Notes the striking number of popular uprisings, most of which had both racial and class motivations.

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  • O’Phelan Godoy, Scarlett, ed. La independencia en el Perú: De los Borbones a Bolívar. Lima: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Instituto Riva-Agüero, 2001.

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    Eighteen articles of inconsistent quality cover a wide range of topics, including early rebellions, the cabildo’s response, Viceroy Abascal, the clergy, theater, education, painting, emigration, the 1823 constitution, mining, and fiscal policies.

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  • Peralta Ruiz, Víctor. En defensa de la autoridad: Política y cultura bajo el gobierno del virrey Abascal, 1806–1816. Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, Instituto de Historia, 2002.

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    Excellent study of the conservative counterreaction to the threat of revolt in the viceroyalty of Peru. Author is a careful, well-respected historian whose work stresses the complexity and logic of Abascal’s approach to a severe threat while being constrained by imperial collapse and a lack of resources.

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  • Roca, José Luis. Ni con Lima ni con Buenos Aires: La formación de un estado nacional en Charcas. Lima, Peru: IFEA, 2007.

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    Bolivian historian challenges traditional historiography and argues that an autonomist tradition had a long history in the Charcas (now Bolivia) region that predated independence and gave strength to that area’s efforts to obtain self-government.

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  • Serulnikov, Sergio. Subverting Colonial Authority: Challenges to Spanish Rule in Eighteenth-Century Southern Andes. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2003.

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    Emphasizes the active role of indigenous leadership in the Tupac Katari revolt, focusing mainly on Chayanta province but gesturing toward other regions as well. The author’s innovative approach has sparked much debate and a new interest in indigenous agency.

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  • Walker, Charles. Smoldering Ashes: Cuzco and the Creation of Republican Peru, 1780–1840. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1999.

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    Influential book discusses the lingering impact of the Tupac Amaru rebellion and explains why the powerful Inca nobility and the indigenous peasant masses that played such a tremendous role in defeating the colonial order failed to advance in the post-independence era.

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Chile

The study of independence in Chile continues to carry with it clear political overtones. The figure of Bernardo O’Higgins has become iconic, and is now quite closely identified with elite politics and the central state; in contrast, opposition movements and those on the left tend to scorn O’Higgins and his legacy and exalt the memory of the Carrera family, who they claim championed a more democratic and inclusive vision of an independent Chile. The history of ideas in Chile has always been a popular topic. Eyzaguirre 1984 and Collier 1967 both trace the development of patriotic sentiment and justifications for independence. Krebs and Gazmuri 1990 is a collection of articles that focus on the impact of French revolutionary ideals as part of the bicentennial commemorations of that major world event. Guerrero Lira 2002 examines the less-glamorous counterrevolutionary years of 1814–1817. Contador Valenzuela 1998 is one of the few studies to locate its focus outside the central Santiago-Valparaiso region, and offers a valuable study of social banditry. Jocelyn-Holt Letelier 1999 emphasizes the link between independence and modernity and tries to cut through some of the hero-myths entrenched by 19th-century liberal historians. Salazar 2007 also tries to move discussions of Chilean independence beyond heroes and the nation-state by focusing both on the popular classes and the rise of a disturbingly authoritarian ethos among the ruling elite during the Portalian years.

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

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    Influential study of the two phases of Chilean independence, the Patria Vieja (1810–1814), which was dominated by strong figures and the revolutionary ideas of equality and liberty, and the second phase (after 1820) when more conservative, state-centered leaders came to the fore and began to create independent institutions which ultimately culminated in the Portalian state.

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  • Contador Valenzuela, Ana María. Los Pincheira: Un caso de bandidaje social: Chile 1817–1832. Santiago, Chile: Bravo y Allende Editores, 1998.

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    Innovative study of banditry and popular violence that is reminiscent of the work of Eric Van Young for Mexico.

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  • Eyzaguirre, Jaime. Ideario y ruta de la emancipación chilena. 13th ed. Santiago, Chile: Editorial Universitaria, 1984.

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    Classic study of the ideas and politics of Chilean independence. First edition 1957.

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  • Guerrero Lira, Cristián. La contrarrevolución de la independencia en Chile. Santiago, Chile: Editorial Universitaria; Centro de Investigaciones Diego Barros Arana, 2002.

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    Focuses mainly on the period of the Spanish Reconquest (1814–1817), when the more moderate policies of governors Osorio and Marcó del Pont were swept away by the edicts of the reactionary Viceroy Abascal. Many patriot sympathizers were sent into exile. Includes detailed lists and biographical details of their names and destinations.

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  • Jocelyn-Holt Letelier, Alfredo. La independencia de Chile: Tradición, modernización y mito. 2d ed. Santiago, Chile: Planeta, 1999.

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    New expanded edition stresses the relationship between modernity and liberalism as it was constructed by the independence-era architects of state and society, and debunks many of the myths that arose to support it. Includes a useful historiographical discussion in its preface, a chronology of events, and a short biographical list of the major players.

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  • Krebs, Ricardo, and Cristián Gazmuri, eds. La Revolución francesa y Chile. Santiago, Chile: Editorial Universitaria, 1990.

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    Collection of academic articles that discuss the impact of French revolutionary ideas and Napoleonic ambitions in Chile during the independence era.

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  • Salazar, Gabriel. Construcción de Estado en Chile (1800–1837): Democracia de los “pueblos,” militarismo ciudadano, golpismo oligárquico. 2d ed. Santiago, Chile: Editorial Sudamericana, 2007.

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    Argues that the inherently democratic nature of the Chilean independence movement at its beginning was overtaken and distorted by a conservative, centralizing counterrevolution headed by Portales and Prieto in 1830. Aims to get away from hero worship and restore the contributions of the masses to Chilean history.

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Río De La Plata (Argentina, Paraguay, and Montevideo)

The independence era in the Río de la Plata region proceeded quite differently from other parts of Latin America, and its historiography reflects these unique conditions. It was the one region that did not return to Spanish control after the initial junta’s declaration of autonomy in 1810; it did, however, experience several years of regional warfare between provincial secessionists that was every bit as violent as the anticolonial battles being fought elsewhere. Another marked difference is the centrality of Buenos Aires and the Río de la Plata zone in rapidly expanding global trade networks after the advent of steam travel. Bushnell 1983 and Halperín Donghi 2009 are two excellent, straightforward introductions to the complex interprovincial politics of the independence era. Gallo 2001 discusses the transformation of the Argentine economy from a macroeconomic perspective relating to the influx of British capital, while Johnson 2011 explores the effect of those changes on the lives of actual lower-class working people. Halperín Donghi 2005 and Goldman 1992, works by Argentine historians, reflect the recent trend toward studies of national identity that focus on language, print culture, and educational projects among elites that started to diffuse outward as part of the broader independence project. For two of the provinces that eventually became independent countries in their own right, see Narancio 1992 on Uruguay and White 1978 for Paraguay.

  • Bushnell, D. Reform and Reaction in the Platine Provinces, 1810–1852. Gainesville: University Presses of Florida, 1983.

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    Considers the independence era and the subsequent Rosas dictatorship as part of the same extended process of nation-state formation characterized by deep regional, class, and ethnic divisions.

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  • Chiaramonte, José Carlos. Ciudades, provincias, estados: Orígenes de la nación argentina, 1800–1846. 2d ed. Buenos Aires, Argentina: Emecé, 2007.

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    Important book by a major Argentine historian untangles the complicated history of the relationship among Buenos Aires, its home province, and the outlying regions to argue that national identity formation was a protracted, contested, and incomplete process. This second edition has put its documentary appendices on a CD-ROM instead of including them in the print edition.

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  • Gallo, Klaus. Great Britain and Argentina: From Invasion to Recognition, 1806–1826. New York: Palgrave, 2001.

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    Treats the complicated relationship between Great Britain and the patriots in Argentina, beginning with the enmity arising from the ill-fated British invasion in 1806 and quickly mutating into a close relationship based on mutual interests in commerce, defense, political alliances, and cultural sympathies.

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  • Goldman, Noemí. Historia y lenguaje: Los discursos de la Revolución de Mayo. Tucumán, Argentina: Centro Editor de América Latina, 1992.

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    Short but highly suggestive discussion of the way in which intellectuals framed revolutionary concepts like liberty, emancipation, patriotism, and free trade, both in print and in their speeches.

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  • Halperín Donghi, Tulio. Revolución y guerra: Formación de una élite dirigente en la Argentina criollo. Buenos Aires, Argentina: Siglo XXI de España Editores, 2005.

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    Major Argentine historian discusses the formation of a sense of creole identity among the elite in Buenos Aires that contributed to its self-confident actions in 1810. First published 1972.

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  • Halperín Donghi, Tulio. Politics, Economics and Society in Argentina during the Revolutionary Period. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2009.

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    Translation of Revolución y guerra (Halperín Donghi 2005). Excellent history of complex events by a skilled social historian.

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  • Johnson, Lyman. Workshop of Revolution: Plebeian Buenos Aires and the Atlantic World, 1776–1810. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2011.

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    Groundbreaking new study of the interconnectedness of working-class attitudes and revolts throughout the Atlantic in the Age of Revolution, based on careful archival research. Author discusses elements of working-class life that were transformed over the course of the late 18th century, including masculinity, wages, personal household finance, racial identity, and other daily choices made by real people.

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  • Narancio, Edmundo M. La independencia de Uruguay. Madrid: MAPFRE, 1992.

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    Clear introduction to the people and events associated with Montevideo’s efforts to create and maintain an existence independent from both Argentina and Brazil. Particularly useful for its historiographical discussion and a short appendix of representative primary source documents.

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  • White, Richard Alan. Paraguay’s Autonomous Revolution, 1810–1840. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1978.

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    Reflecting theories of economic dependency that were common in the 1970s, the author characterizes the Franciata as a period in which Paraguayan popular classes tried to create an autonomous state, but faced extreme pressure from transnational capital.

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Brazil

Historians of Brazil have a complicated task when seeking to understand the process of independence in that country. Because its transition from colony to empire to republic took place over seven decades, in contrast to the shorter, more intense break experienced in Spanish America, there is a greater emphasis placed on institutions and evolutionary processes in its historiography. For example, Flory 1981 traces the changing balance of power between the judiciary and the military generals, while Millington 1996 discusses the military. Kraay 2001 also discusses the social and demographic changes in the armed forces, while Harris 2010 provides a case study of the suppression of popular rebellion. Andrade, et al. 2000 is a good example of the collaborative, team-based approach that characterizes Brazil’s academic community, and its articles cover a broad spectrum of topics. Barman 1988 provides a good account of the era’s political events. The relocation of the Portuguese monarchy was a momentous episode that has been treated effectively in Schultz 2001 and Barbosa 2009. A meaningful intellectual history of Brazilian independence remains to be written, but Lustosa 2000 provides a comprehensive overview of the growth of print culture during the era.

  • Andrade, Manuel Correia de Oliveira, Eliane Moury Fernandes, and Sandra Melo Cavalcanti, eds. Brasil 1701–1824: Formação histórica da nacionalidade brasileira; seminário internacional em comemoração aos 500 anos do descobrimento: Passagem para o Século XXI, realizado de 20–22 de outubro de 1999 na Fundação Joaquim Nabuco. Brasilia, Brazil: Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico, 2000.

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    Collection of good recent essays by Brazilian historians that ranges over a wide variety of topics related to the formation of an independent nation, including the Pombaline Reforms, the Jesuit missions and indigenous labor, the late-18th-century revolts, slavery, monarchy, the monarchy’s residence at Rio de Janeiro, and the military revolts in Bahia and Pernambuco.

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  • Barbosa, Rosana. Immigration and Xenophobia: Portuguese Immigrants in Early 19th Century Rio de Janeiro. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2009.

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    Study complements the work of Kristen Schultz by focusing on the nonelite immigrants who accompanied the Portuguese court to Rio de Janeiro in 1808 and the resentment they faced from both locals and the enslaved population.

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  • Barman, Roderick. Brazil: The Forging of a Nation, 1798–1852. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1988.

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    Straightforward narrative account of the late colonial and early imperial years in Brazilian history by a prominent historian. A standard resource for readers who want a single-volume general history in English.

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  • Flory, Thomas. Judge and Jury in Imperial Brazil 1808–1871: Social Control and Political Stability in the New State. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1981.

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    Important study of the changing juridical conditions associated with the transition from colony to independent state. Emphasizes the importance of courts in navigating the demands for more liberty while maintaining slavery.

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  • Harris, Mark. Rebellion on the Amazon: The Cabanagem, Race, and Popular Culture in the North of Brazil, 1789–1840. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2010.

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    Award-winning study of one of Brazil’s largest rebellions. The Cabanagem was a broad-based insurrection against royal authority that took place among the peasants and urban lower classes in the Amazon region. The author finds continuity with modern-day unrest.

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  • Kraay, Hendrik. Race, State, and Armed Forces in Independence-Era Brazil: Bahia, 1790s–1840s. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001.

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    Discusses the complicated situation in which the multiracial armed forces attempted to uphold order and create a new role for itself in the context of the transition away from slavery in the Bahia region.

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  • Lustosa, Isabel. Insultos impressos: A guerra dos jornalistas na Independência, 1821–1823. São Paulo, Brazil: Companhia das Letras, 2000.

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    Brazilian historian outlines the explosive growth in newspapers and printed material during the independence era. Contains a useful list of titles.

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  • Millington, Thomas. Colombia’s Military and Brazil’s Monarchy: Undermining the Republican Foundations of South American Independence. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1996.

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    Compares two countries not normally paired together to argue that conservative nationalist forces in newly independent nations struggling to establish a new order amid a slave-based society shared similar agendas.

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  • Schultz, Kirsten. Tropical Versailles: Empire, Monarchy, and the Portuguese Royal Court in Rio de Janeiro, 1808–1821. New York: Routledge, 2001.

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    Intensively researched study of the period in which the Portuguese court resided in the New World. Includes a discussion of the era’s diplomacy, life at court and among the elite, the physical transformation of Rio de Janeiro from a sleepy village to an imperial metropolis, the constitutional wrangling that accompanied the relocation of the monarchy and attempts to keep it unified, and the role of slaves and slavery as an institution in the modern age.

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Haiti

The number and quality of academic studies of the Haitian Revolution have grown dramatically in the past decade as a result of the bicentennial of its independence in 1804 and the maturation of Atlantic studies as a distinct field. James 1989 is the most recent edition of a classic work written by a Caribbean Marxist to depict the slave rebellion as the beginning of a race- and class-based social movement. Although it remains powerful and magisterial in scope, it has been replaced as the standard academic account by the careful, archivally based work of Dubois 2004. Fick 1990 blends history and anthropology by treating the slave rebellion from below, while Fischer 2004 draws on philosophy, theology, politics, and history to make an argument about the significance of the Haitian revolution in the formation of modern notions of race. Readers now have access to primary source documents in two anthologies, Dubois and Garrigus 2006 and Popkin 2007, translated and compiled by three of the most prominent researchers working in the field today. Two valuable anthologies of expert academic articles arising out of special conferences devoted to the Haitian Revolution are Geggus 2001 and Geggus 2009. Madison Smartt Bell’s Haitian trilogy (Bell 2004) is a compelling literary treatment of events that is grounded in historical research; it provides an elegant companion to the more traditional works of scholarship and captures the human element in a moving way.

  • Bell, Madison Smartt. All Souls’ Rising. New York: Vintage, 2004.

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    Continued in Master of the Crossroads (2004) and The Stone That the Builder Refused (2006). Magisterial fictionalized account, known as the Haitian Trilogy, by a major historian, novelist, musician, and Haitian specialist.

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  • Dubois, Laurent. Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2004.

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    Award-winning reinterpretation of the Haitian Revolution is now the standard account.

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  • Dubois, Laurent, and John D. Garrigus. Slave Revolution in the Caribbean, 1789–1804: A Brief History with Documents. Boston: Bedford-St. Martin’s, 2006.

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    Brief, readable account intended for the college textbook market. Valuable for the translations of French and Kreyol primary source documents it makes available to anglophone readers.

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  • Fick, Carolyn E. The Making of Haiti: The Saint-Domingue Revolution from Below. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1990.

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    One of the first to utilize a sociological and anthropological approach to study the contribution of enslaved people.

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  • Fischer, Sibylle. Modernity Disavowed: Haiti and the Cultures of Slavery in the Age of Revolution. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2004.

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    Author emphasizes the radical antislavery rhetoric and politics that accompanied events in Haiti and argues that it was a turning point in the advent of modern scientific racism.

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  • Geggus, David Patrick, ed. The Impact of the Haitian Revolution in the Atlantic World. Columbia: University of South Carolina University Press, 2001.

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    Articles trace the spread of revolutionary ideals throughout the region, the emigration of both French settlers and mulatto refugees, and the collaboration between the new Haitian leaders and Spanish American revolutionaries.

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  • Geggus, David Patrick, and Norman Fiering, eds. The World of the Haitian Revolution. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2009.

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    Collection of eighteen articles on topics including architecture and public space, literary depictions of the revolution, the major personalities, the violent insurgency, marriage and gender, racial categories, and the impact of Haitian events in Cuba, Louisiana, and France. Highly recommended.

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  • James, C. L. R. The Black Jacobins: Toussaint L’Ouverture and the San Domingo Revolution. New York: Vintage, 1989.

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    Classic, if polemical, account of the Haitian Revolution written by a mid-20th-century Trinidadian intellectual and activist who was involved in communist and black power movements throughout the Atlantic world.

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  • Popkin, Jeremy D., ed. Facing Racial Revolution: Eyewitness Accounts of the Haitian Insurrection. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007.

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    Collection of nineteen first-person narratives of events in Haiti from the perspective of prisoners of war, women, soldiers, poets, government officials, and many others, drawn from all sides of the complicated struggle. Many are made available in English translation for the first time.

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Cuba

Cuban independence was a long, drawn-out affair that extended over the entire 19th century. In the early decades, the island experienced the same pressures caused by the Bourbon Reforms as the rest of Spanish America. Kuethe 1986 focuses on military reforms and shows how the militia reforms promoted similar calls for emancipation in Cuba as they had elsewhere in the Spanish Empire. The fear of slave revolt meant that Cuban elites were perhaps less quick to embrace the notion of independence than their continental peers. Goncalvès 2008 discusses the counterrevolutionary positions adopted by the Cuban elite during the age of revolution. González-Ripoll, et al. 2004 is a collection of articles that explores the effect of the slave insurrection in Haiti on Cuban politics and society. Childs 2006 is a groundbreaking study of a major slave rebellion in Cuba in the context of broader Atlantic trends. Johnson 2011 is an innovative study that stresses the impact environmental conditions had on Cuban events. After nearly a century of low-grade turmoil, including a decade of civil war, Cuba finally separated from Spain in 1898. Two of the best studies of the final years of Cuban independence are found in Ferrer 1999, which emphasizes the link among race, gender, and nationhood, and Pérez 1983, in which a prolific scholar eloquently frames events in a complicated international context. Both books have valuable bibliographies to direct readers to additional sources for the later period.

  • Childs, Matt D. The 1812 Aponte Rebellion in Cuba and the Struggle against Atlantic Slavery. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2006.

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    Places a significant slave rebellion in Cuba in the context of other major uprisings in St. Domingue (Haiti), the US South, Colombia, and Venezuela.

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  • Ferrer, Ada. Insurgent Cuba: Race, Nation, and Revolution, 1868–1898. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999.

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    Excellent and engaging summary of the ways in which patriotic Cubans tried to excise the complicated issue of race as they recast their national identity during the thirty years leading up to independence by framing their movement as inclusive and against racialized designations.

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  • Goncalvès, Dominique. Le planteur et le roi: L’aristocratie havanaise et la couronne d’Espagne, 1763–1838. Madrid: Casa de Velázquez, 2008.

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    Careful study of the complicated relationship among the Havana planter elite, the merchants, and the Spanish Crown in the context of revolutionary ferment in a slave-based society. Explains their conservatism and counterrevolutionary strategies used retain power. Includes a valuable historiographical introduction to a little-studied area.

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  • González-Ripoll, María Dolores, Consuelo Naranjo, Ada Ferrer, Gloria García, and Josef Opatrný. El rumor de Haití en Cuba: Temor, raza y rebeldía, 1789–1844. Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, 2004.

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    Five authors discuss the ways in which the events of the Haitian Revolution affected Cuban politics and society, particularly among the elite, who feared a similar slave rebellion on their own island, and among the enslaved people themselves.

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  • Johnson, Sherry. Climate & Catastrophe in Cuba and the Atlantic World in the Age of Revolution. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011.

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    Innovative study argues that much of the political change of the independence era was conditioned by human conditions arising out of catastrophic climate or geological events like hurricanes and earthquakes.

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  • Kuethe, Allan J. Cuba 1763–1815: Crown, Military, and Society. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1986.

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    Excellent study by a major scholar of colonial militias and the effects of the Bourbon Reforms on military readiness, morale, patriotic sentiment, and the financing of defense. Treats the complicated question of the shifting and ambiguous loyalties of the Cuban creoles at a time when their peers were declaring independence elsewhere.

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  • Pérez, Louis A. Cuba between Empires, 1878–1902. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1983.

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    Stresses the complicated scenario in which Cuban independence was triangulated among the United States, Cuba, and Spain, including considerations of exile politics, the economy, a protracted guerrilla war, slavery as a dying institution, and the issues of monarchy, sovereignty, and constitutional government.

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Economic Aspects

The independence era has long been a popular topic for economic historians and political scientists who try to pinpoint the origins of modern-day problems. In the middle decades of the 20th century, it was common to view independence as a period in which foreign capital penetrated Latin America and established the conditions for chronic instability and underdevelopment. Bulmer-Thomas, et al. 2006 provides a good overview of topics related to economic activity in the colonial and early national periods. Many of the newly independent countries solicited foreign loans that saddled them with burdensome payments and negative reputations, a topic that continues to attract serious researchers and angry ranters in equal measure; Dawson 1990 provides an evenhanded summary of these early contacts with foreign capital. Marichal 2007 also explores the international dimension of the independence-era economy and the enduring demand for Latin American metals and other resources. More recently, the turn to microhistory has allowed scholars to test this hypothesis, and the results have revealed that a far more complicated, multilayered economy was evolving out of the colonial heritage; see, for example, Amaral 1998 and Van Young 2006. Andrien and Johnson 1994 is an excellent collection of articles that similarly stress the transitional nature of this period from an economic perspective.

  • Amaral, Samuel. The Rise of Capitalism on the Pampas: The Estancias of Buenos Aires, 1785–1870. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511665202Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Influential study of the internal dynamics of the rural estate as the cornerstone of 19th-century Argentine society. Detailed and impressive analyst finds that the rural elites were skilled at seeking foreign investments and manipulating politics to benefit their own class interests.

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  • Andrien, Kenneth J., and Lyman L. Johnson, eds. The Political Economy of Spanish America in the Age of Revolution, 1750–1850. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1994.

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    Collection of ten essays by prominent historians that focuses on merchants, the state, international trade, specific commodity markets, commercial policy, and labor patterns. Notes continuities and innovations across the hundred years before, during, and after independence. Follows other works in viewing independence as a transitional era in which the state’s role in economic activity underwent significant change.

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  • Bulmer-Thomas, Victor, John H. Coatsworth, and Roberto Cortés Conde, eds. The Cambridge Economic History of Latin America. Vol. 1, The Colonial Era and the Short Nineteenth Century. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2006.

    DOI: 10.1017/CHOL9780521812894Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A collection of thirteen articles by experts focusing on such topics as the mining industry, premodern manufacturing, land use and the transformation of the environment, labor systems, money, commerce, trade, and the impact of the independence wars. Includes helpful bibliographic essays at the end.

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  • Dawson, Frank Griffith. The First Latin American Debt Crisis: The City of London and the 1822–1825 Loan Bubble. New Haven, CT, and London: Yale University Press, 1990.

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    Outlines the disastrous history of the first loans contracted by independent Latin American nations. British investors loaned more than £20 million to representatives of Colombia, Chile, Peru, Mexico, Buenos Aires Province, the Central American Federation, and Brazil, nearly all of which quickly failed to meet their repayment schedules. Suggests that destructive borrowing patterns set early have persisted to the present day.

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  • Marichal, Carlos. Bankruptcy of Empire: Mexican Silver and the Wars between Spain, Britain and France, 1760–1810. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511551024Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Translated version of the 1999 original in which a major Mexican historian details the desperation with which the Spanish monarchy extracted wealth from New Spain to finance its European wars, including a highly efficient tax regime, forced loans, and assaults on Church wealth.

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  • Van Young, Eric. Hacienda and Market in Eighteenth-Century Mexico: The Rural Economy of the Guadalajara Region, 1675–1820. 2d ed. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006.

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    Detailed, careful study of the north-central region of Mexico in which the author notes that a true market economy developed over the colonial period, although elements of an older communal exchange persisted alongside a growing capitalist ethos.

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Science, Culture, and Education

Because of the overwhelming attention paid to military, political, and diplomatic events in the wars for independence by previous generations of writers, there are relatively few studies of science, culture, and the environment during that tumultuous era. Recently, however, thanks to the tremendous growth in history of science and medicine programs and the emergence of the history of education, reading, and the book as a distinct field, we are starting to approach a fuller awareness of the myriad ways in which an entire mentality was transformed by the Enlightenment. There has been much attention paid to the creole’s interest in public education, particularly in Mexico, with the work of scholars like Dorothy Tanck de Estrada (Tanck de Estrada 2000) and Anne Staples, and in Chile by Domingo Amunátegui and Sol Serrano. Yépez Castillo 1985 treats education in Venezuela. Guerra and Lempérière 1998 emphasizes the importance of language in defining revolutionary possibilities. Rosas Lauro 2006 discusses the impact of French revolutionary ideas in the Peruvian context. Cañizares-Esguerra 2001 emphasizes the shift in historical understanding and the uses of history that accompanied the 18th-century Enlightenment and had a profound impact on the mentality of the independence project. Glick 1991 and McFarlane 2006 were early voices pointing out the connection between the many late-18th-century scientific expeditions to the New World and the political ideas adopted by American creole patriots. This phenomenon has been studied in careful detail by Warren 2010 using the growth of a secular medical profession in Peru as its case study. These sorts of intellectual and cultural history topics are inherently transnational, echoing trends for the study of independence in general that find it is part of a broader Atlantic phenomenon. Roldán Vera 2003, a careful discussion of the international textbook market, is one of the best and most convincing studies of its kind.

  • Cañizares-Esguerra, Jorge. How to Write the History of the New World: Histories, Epistemiologies, and Identities in the Eighteenth-Century Atlantic World. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2001.

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    An extremely influential book that argues that the various intellectual disputes over New World nature and ways of knowing was also a debate over historical authority. American creoles recast their past as part of a new claim to autonomy, identity, and eventually independence.

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  • Glick, Thomas F. “Science and Independence in Latin America (with Special Reference to New Granada).” Hispanic American Historical Review 71.2 (1991): 307–334.

    DOI: 10.2307/2515643Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    One of the earliest writers to draw attention to the phenomenon of scientific, botanical, and vaccine expeditions to Latin America and their connection to the diffusion of revolutionary sentiments.

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  • Guerra, François-Xavier, and Annick Lempérière, eds. Los espacios públicos en Iberoamérica: Ambigüedades y problemas, siglos XVIII y XIX. Mexico City: Centro Francés de Estudios Mexicanos y Centroamericanos; Fondo de Cultura Económica, 1998.

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    Collection of articles that utilize the ideas of Jürgen Habermas (public space) and Benedict Anderson (print culture and identity) to discuss the ways in which shifts in language, newspaper content, oratory, theater, and the use of shared public space underwent a dramatic transformation in the independence era.

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  • McFarlane, Anthony. “Science and Sedition in Spanish America: New Granada in the Age of Revolution, 1776–1810.” In Enlightenment and Emancipation. Edited by Susan Manning and Peter France, 97–117. Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 2006.

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    Part of the new interest in the connection among science, travel, and enlightened ideologies in the age of revolution, this article points out the ways that an evolving understand of the natural world had significant ramifications for political claims to legitimacy as well.

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  • Roldán Vera, Eugenia. The British Book Trade and Spanish American Independence: Education and Knowledge Transmission in Transcontinental Perspective. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2003.

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    Emphasizes the growth in the influence of the printed word during the independence era by tracing the expansion of the publishing industry. By using the London-based Ackermann publishing house to delineate the production, distribution, and content of textbook and periodical genres, this book traces the way new notions of nation, state, citizenship, science, and reading commingled in the early national era.

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  • Rosas Lauro, Claudia. Del trono a la guillotina: El impacto de la Revolución Francesa en el Perú, 1789–1808. Lima: Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, 2006.

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    Important recent examination of the power of French revolutionary ideas in the intensely conservative political culture of late colonial Peru. Author traces the diffusion of ideals like liberty, fraternity, equality, and justice in a multiclass, multiracial, multiethnic society. Includes an extensive and useful historiographical discussion.

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  • Tanck de Estrada, Dorothy. Pueblos de indios y educación en el México colonial, 1750–1821. Mexico City: El Colegio de México, 2000.

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    Study of the financing of Indian education in the independence era, along with its relationship to the church, elite politics, charitable associations, and efforts to integrate the new nation by the foremost historian of Mexican education.

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  • Warren, Adam. Medicine and Politics in Colonial Peru: Population Growth and the Bourbon Reforms. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2010.

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    Discusses the conflict between various types of medical professionals and finds significant struggle over racial identity and social status. Also includes valuable discussions of vaccination campaigns, church-state relations, and the administration of hospitals.

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  • Yépez Castillo, Aureo. La educación primaria en Caracas en la época de Bolívar. Caracas, Venezuela: Academia Nacional de la Historia, 1985.

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    Ambitious five-hundred-page history of the early years of primary school education in Venezuela, including the Lancasterian system of mutual education. Includes printed transcripts of documentation from the era.

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Constitutions, Legal, and Institutional History

One of the most striking recent trends in the study of Latin American independence has been the inclination to emphasize the connection between reformist movements in Europe and the New World. Breña 2006 and Chust 2006 are part of a broader school that revisits the concept of constitutional liberalism and traces the evolution of that idea as part of making a case for an endogenous Spanish liberal tradition. Rodríguez O. 2005 discusses the impact of the Spanish liberal constitution in Mexico specifically. Along with studies of an emerging transatlantic liberalism, scholars are also increasingly turning to studies of institutions and public space. Adelman 1999 is an excellent study of the transformation of commerce and its legal framework in a new liberal regime. Adelman 2006 and González Echeñique 1967 are both concerned with sovereignty and the redefinition of citizenship in a broader imperial context. Uribe-Uran 2006 is a discussion of public space that follows the general arguments that he has developed elsewhere about the importance of lawyers and changing legal culture in the independence period. Uribe-Uran 2001 gathers articles on civil society written by major scholars; its suggested reading list and bibliographies will point interested readers to additional sources in this fast-growing research field.

  • Adelman, Jeremy. Republic of Capital: Buenos Aires and the Legal Transformation of the Atlantic World. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 1999.

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    Important examination of the legal, intellectual, and political changes that arose from the spread of liberal ideals like free trade, popular sovereignty, constitutional monarchy, popular representation, and equality before the law.

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

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    Examines the changing notions of sovereignty and popular participation in government in a transatlantic context. The author argues that the imperial centers responded creatively to new pressures within the context of an imperial crisis and identifies the colonists’ loss of faith in traditional models of sovereignty as the major underlying cause for the rupture that led to separation and independence.

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  • Breña, Roberto. El primer liberalismo español y los procesos de emancipación de América, 1808–1824: Una revisión historiográfica del liberalismo hispánico. Mexico City: El Colegio de México, 2006.

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    Important discussion emphasizes the importance of the impact of the Spanish liberal experiment emanating from the Cortes of Cádiz on the Spanish American independence movements. Critiques previous generations who have overemphasized armed conflict and diplomatic or financial motivations and stresses the close connection between Spanish liberalism and American reformism.

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  • Chust, Manuel, ed. Doceañismos, constituciones e independencias: La constitución de 1812 y América. Madrid: Fundación MAPFRE, 2006.

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    Collection of seven articles by Spanish and Latin American scholars that all emphasize the impact of the liberal constitution promulgated at Cádiz on various aspects of Spanish American independence, including popular sovereignty, national identity, jurisdictional status, and political representation.

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  • González Echeñique, Javier. “Un estudio de influencias doctrinarias en la independencia: El concepto de diputado o representante popular, 1810–1828.” Historia 6 (1967): 127–152.

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    Pioneering study of the shift in juridical approaches to political representation from its early modern variant to a more democratic form inspired by the Enlightenment and the French Revolution.

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  • Rodríguez O., Jaime E. The Divine Charter: Constitutionalism and Liberalism in Nineteenth-Century Mexico. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005.

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    Collection of articles brought together by one of the leading proponents of the argument that Latin American independence was conditioned by an endogenous Spanish liberal tradition as set out in the Constitution of Cádiz (1812) and its many subsequent iterations.

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  • Uribe-Uran, Victor, ed. State and Society in Spanish America during the Age of Revolution. Wilmington, DE: Scholarly Resources, 2001.

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    Collection of eight articles by prominent North American scholars organized around the concept of the continuity of civil society in the period 1750–1850. By treating topics such as business relationships, marriage patterns, and social status, the various authors pick apart the continuities and discontinuities that operated on the ground as the political revolution raged overhead. An epilogue by Eric Van Young poses the question “was there an Age of Revolution in Spanish America?”

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  • Uribe-Uran, Victor M. “The Great Transformation of Law and Legal Culture: ‘The Public’ and ‘The Private’ in the Transition from Empire to Nation in Mexico, Colombia, and Brazil, 1750–1850.” In Empire to Nation: Historical Perspectives on the Making of the Modern World. Edited by Joseph W. Esherick, Hasan Kayalı, and Eric Van Young, 68–105. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2006.

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    Clearly sets out the major shift in the role of law, lawyers, and legal culture that followed the Enlightenment ideals of constitutional representation, trial by jury, equality before the law, and increased status for legal professionals.

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Race, Slavery, and Ethnic Relations

Many of the best work on Latin American independence that has been done over the past decade has emerged at the nexus of three trends: the growth of ethnohistory using indigenous language sources and insights from anthropology, a new interest in the experience of Afro-Latin Americans, and a pronounced interest in local and regional experiences. Ganson 2003 is an excellent example of the insights gained from using native documentation, in a case written in Guaraní. Earle 2001, Langfur 2006, and Garrett 2005 note that indigenous people, just like their creole counterparts, were not a homogeneous group but rather were divided by class, ethnic, and regional interests. Blanchard 2008, Helg 2004, and Lasso 2007 are concerned with the complicated issues of slavery, abolition, and liberty during a time of revolutionary transformation and find similarly complicated responses.

  • Blanchard, Peter. Under the Flags of Freedom: Slave Soldiers and the Wars of Independence in Spanish South America. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2008.

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    Groundbreaking study of the participation of slaves, manumitted slaves, and runaways in the armed forces of independence. Enslaved people were not blindly loyal to one side or the other, but rather alternated their support based on a rational calculation of whose promises to grant and uphold their freedom could be believed at any given point in the struggle.

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  • Earle, Rebecca. “Creole Patriotism and the Myth of the ‘Loyal Indian.’” Past and Present 172.1 (2001): 125–145.

    DOI: 10.1093/past/172.1.125Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Significant article argues that indigenous people were able to make their own sophisticated judgments about which side, patriot or royalist, was offering them the best conditions at any given point, and often changed sides as their interests demanded. Neither of the contending parties could rely on unwavering indigenous support.

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  • Ganson, Barbara. The Guaraní under Spanish Rule in the Río de la Plata. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2003.

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    Careful archival study of the efforts of the Guaraní Indians to adapt to life in Jesuit missions in the late 18th century, and their selective retention of Spanish practices and norms once the order was expelled. One of the few studies dealing with this remote area, greatly enhanced by use of documents in Guaraní.

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  • Garrett, David T. Shadows of Empire: The Indian Nobility of Cusco, 1750–1825. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2005.

    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511529085Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Detailed research indicates that the Inca nobles were able to triangulate among the imperial order that recognized their privileged status, the demands of their own indigenous constituencies, and their own self-interest to create an economic and cultural space that allowed a resurgence of Inca identity to emerge.

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  • Helg, Aline. Liberty & Equality in Caribbean Colombia, 1770–1835. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2004.

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    Important study of the many ways enslaved people, freed blacks, mulattos, pardos, and other mixed-race people responded to the independence movements in northern South America. Some remained royalist, while others joined the patriots; still others favored independence but also resisted the liberal projects of Bolívar and Santander.

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  • Langfur, Hal. The Forbidden Lands: Colonial Identity, Frontier Violence, and the Persistence of Brazil’s Eastern Indians, 1750–1830. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2006.

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    Counters the misconception that there were no organized indigenous groups in Brazil, and effectively proves that the increasing violence was evidence of intensifying racial and ethnic divisions during the late colonial and early independence eras.

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  • Lasso, Marixa. Myths of Harmony: Race and Republicanism during the Age of Revolution: Colombia, 1795–1831. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2007.

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    Excellent account of the experiences of Afro-Colombians during the wars of independence. Author argues that the patriots and republicans created a myth of racial harmony to rally support for their side, but their policies, practices, and attitudes actually hinted at something more akin to a race war. Unique for the inclusion of the individual stories of many Afro-Colombians, which humanizes the broader events in a meaningful way.

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Women and Gender

Women appear in the standard historical accounts of independence only infrequently, and usually as adjuncts to the activities of their male relatives. Cherpak 1978 was among the first articles to focus specifically on the activities of women, although most of her subjects are also elite women or other extraordinary individuals. Campbell 1985 followed with a study of women’s experience in the Tupac Amaru revolts. Chambers 1999 and Díaz 2004 both study specific case studies of women and institutional order through court cases and other sources for social history and find that the grand ideals of enlightened liberalism often ended up worsening women’s status. Rodríguez S. 2000 focuses on the violent nature of marriages and domestic life and dispels the notion that women were always victims; the author’s work parallels the findings of Guiomar Dueñas for Colombia. Kanter 2008 emphasizes the connection among race, class, and gender in rural Mexico. Salazar Garcés and Sevilla Naranjo 2009 praise Ecuadorean women’s contribution to independence as part of that country’s bicentennial commemorations. A multiyear, interdisciplinary research cluster sited at the University of Nottingham resulted in the anthology of articles in Davies, et al. 2006; the project website also includes an extensive database of images of women and gender drawn from independence-era sources (Gendering Latin American Independence: Women’s Political Culture and the Textual Construction of Gender, 1790–1850).

  • Campbell, Leon G. “Women and the Great Rebellion in Peru, 1780–1783.” The Americas 42.2 (1985): 163–196.

    DOI: 10.2307/1007207Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Shows that not all women who participated in the Tupac Amaru and Tupac Katari revolts did so because they were related to male rebels; many women joined forces of their own volition and were surprisingly effective as leaders and advocates.

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

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    Innovative study of the way in which ideas of honor and citizens’ rights evolved during the turbulent independence era in a provincial capital. Lower-class men asserted new rights to citizenship based on new notions derived from the European Enlightenment and buttressed by older codes of honor and status. In contrast, women remained trapped by those same codes and were unable to refashion their roles as citizens of an independent state.

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  • Cherpak, Evelyn. “The Participation of Women in the Independence Movement in Gran Colombia: 1780–1830.” In Latin American Women: Historical Perspectives. Edited by Asunción Lavrin, 219–234. Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1978.

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    A useful starting point for the study of women’s activities in the independence movements of this region. It is mainly narrative and recounts anecdotes and episodes of famous women soldiers, conspirators, salon hostesses, and revolutionaries’ wives.

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  • Davies, Catherine, Claire Brewster, and Hilary Owen, eds. South American Independence: Gender, Politics, Text. Liverpool, UK: Liverpool University Press, 2006.

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    Interdisciplinary collection of articles takes a mainly literary, text-based approach to issues of the representation of women and gender in the independence era. Topics include the image of women in the writings of Simón Bolívar, Andrés Bello, Esteban Echeverría, and Juana Manso; women and the epistolary genre; masculinity; gendered satire; patriotism; revolution; and warfare.

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  • Díaz, Arlene J. Female Citizens, Patriarchs, and the Law in Venezuela, 1786–1904. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2004.

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    Like Sarah Chambers for Peru, Díaz examined legal documents and found that the new liberal ideals of the independent Venezuelan state did not improve the status of women but in fact effectively reduced it.

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  • Kanter, Deborah E. Hijos del Pueblo: Gender, Family, and Community in Rural Mexico, 1730–1850. Austin: University of Texas, 2008.

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    Discusses the racial, social, and economic matrix in Toluca, proving convincingly that patriarchal attitudes and policies not only persisted through the independence era, but also they actually intensified despite the liberals’ rhetorical devotion to liberty, equality, and emancipation.

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  • Rodríguez S., Eugenia. “Civilizing Domestic Life in the Central Valley of Costa Rica, 1750–1850.” In Hidden Histories of Gender and the State in Latin America. Edited by Elizabeth Dore and Maxine Molyneux, 85–107. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000.

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    Pioneering Central American historian of gender argues that marriage was a violent social institution, and one in which women also battered their husbands.

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  • Salazar Garcés, Sonia, and Alexandra Sevilla Naranjo. Mujeres de la revolución de Quito. Quito, Ecuador: Fondo de Salvamento del Patrimonio Cultural, 2009.

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    Nationalistic but serious reexamination of the role of women in the Quito uprising, written to coincide with its bicentennial.

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Diplomatic and International Context

Diplomatic history has long fallen out of favor. Somehow its reputation retains a patina of dry dustiness that has tended to discourage contemporary writers from engaging seriously with issues of diplomacy and international relations. Earlier studies tended to be focused very heavily on documents drawn from governmental repositories that gave narrative accounts of negotiations for recognition and preferential status. Not surprisingly, then, these works tended to be bilateral in nature, focusing on a single metropolis’s relationship to the Latin American independence movements or the efforts of a creole junta to secure recognition abroad. This traditional approach is clear in Kaufman 1967, Whitaker 1964, Rippy 1972, Griffin 1968, and Robertson 1967; it might seem old-fashioned to modern readers, but their narrative accounts remain valuable resources for the same reason. Manning 1925 provides valuable primary source documentation of the early years of US–Latin American relations, while Sherbutt 1991 offers a historian’s synthesis of those same events. Bartley 1978 reminds readers that Russia played a surprisingly large role in the international negotiations, not just as part of the conservative monarchist Triple Alliance but occasionally as a reformist ally as well. The recent generation, exemplified by Blaufarb 2007, is steeped in the Atlantic history school, which tends to be more cosmopolitan in its analytic sweep of events and considers a much broader political and social matrix in which the diplomats operated.

  • Bartley, Russell H. Imperial Russia and the Struggle for Latin American Independence, 1808–1828. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1978.

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    Important pioneering study points out the surprisingly strong and active interest that Czar Alexander I took in the Latin American independence movements. The absolutist Russian monarch adopted a paradoxical approach, wanting to support liberal, reformist experiments in education and the well-being of the citizenry, but at the same time being hostile to the forces of republicanism and political innovation.

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  • Blaufarb, Rafe. “The Western Question: The Geopolitics of Latin American Independence.” American Historical Review 112.3 (2007): 742–763.

    DOI: 10.1086/ahr.112.3.742Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Using competition for the Spanish Caribbean as a central feature of international tensions during the early 19th century, this article emphasizes the international context of the Latin American independence era.

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  • Griffin, Charles Carroll. The United States and the Disruption of the Spanish Empire, 1810–1822. New York: Octagon, 1968.

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    Based on extensive archival research and published documentary collections, this book discusses the attitudes and policies of the United States, Spain, and the Spanish American representatives, particularly as they were expressed in treaties and agreements such as the famous Adams-Onís treaty of 1819 that negotiated the sale and transfer of Spanish Florida.

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  • Kaufman, William W. British Policy and the Independence of Latin America, 1804–1828. Hamden, CT: Archon, 1967.

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    A classic diplomatic history that emphasizes the role Great Britain played in mediating between Spain and its colonies and the importance of George Canning’s support for Latin American independence as a counterweight to the growing power of the United States. Not surprisingly, Castlereagh and Canning are the central figures in this account.

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  • Manning, William R. The Diplomatic Correspondence of the United States Concerning the Independence of the Latin American Nations. 3 vols. New York: Oxford University Press, 1925.

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    Massive three-volume collection of printed primary source documents, mainly drawn from the US Department of State archives. Volume 1 covers communications from the United States and Argentina; Volume 2 those from Brazil, Central America, Chile, Gran Colombia (today Colombia, Venezuela, and parts of Ecuador), and France; and Volume 3 those from Great Britain, Mexico, the Netherlands, Peru, Russia, Spain, and Uruguay.

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  • Rippy, J. Fred. Rivalry of the United States and Great Britain over Latin America, 1808–1830. New York: Octagon, 1972.

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    Standard diplomatic history that treats Spanish American independence as a component of a greater struggle between the United States and Great Britain in the era of the Monroe Doctrine. Useful particularly for readers interested in the international wrangling over Cuba, Florida, Louisiana, and the Spanish borderlands, but lacks any meaningful voice from Latin Americans. Originally published in 1929 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press).

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  • Robertson, William Spence. France and Latin American Independence. New York: Octagon, 1967.

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    Early study of French engagement with Latin America in the independence era, ranging from Napoleon’s early efforts to penetrate and influence the Spanish colonies to pry them away from his imperial rival to the restored monarch’s later, equally energetic diplomatic efforts to persuade other European courts not to recognize the new republics. Originally published in 1939 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press).

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  • Sherbutt, T. Ray, ed. United States–Latin American Relations, 1800–1850: The Formative Generations. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1991.

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    Eight historians of US foreign policy discuss early diplomatic and consular relations with Central America, Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Colombia, and Chile. Taken together, they make it clear that the US government did not invest significant resources in the region and did not have a clear, coherent policy toward the hemisphere as a whole; instead, diplomatic affairs were conducted by intemperate, inexperienced individuals who often were not well suited to their difficult tasks.

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  • Whitaker, Arthur P. The United States and the Independence of Latin America, 1800–1830. New York: W. W. Norton, 1964.

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    American diplomatic historian stresses the influence and actions of Thomas Jefferson, Henry Clay, James Monroe, Daniel Webster, John Quincy Adams, and others upon Spanish American events. The author wishes to stress hemispheric solidarity based on democratic impulses, freedom, and opposition to foreign intervention in Pan-American affairs. Originally published in 1941 (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press).

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LAST MODIFIED: 11/21/2012

DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780199766581-0011

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