Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (November 12,1651- April 17, 1695): A child prodigy who spoke five languages by the age of 16, de la Cruz wanted to disguise herself as a boy so she could attend University, but she was forbidden to do so.One of the leading minds of the 17th century, she was widely attacked, and eventually forced to abandon her work and sell all 4,000 of her books. (Note: Sor means Sister, she became a nun, maybe in part because in a patriarchal and Catholic nation the best way to continue her studies would be to become a nun.)
A new and distinct Latin American culture emerged mixing:
1. Whites from Spain called Peninsulares, 2. Whites born in the Americas called creoles, 3. Native Americans, and 4. African slaves. Latin American independence movements begin in Mexicowhen Napoleon put his brother on the Spanish throne in 1808. Mexican Creoles, seeking to expand their own power at the expense of the Peninsular elite saw an opportunity here. They affirmed their loyalty to the new king (Joseph Bonaparte), who was French even though he was the king of Spain. So there was a massive peasant uprising led by Padre Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla (Padre= Father, Miguel Hidalgo was a priest). It was supported by the creoles against the peninsulares, but to the peasants both groups acted white and imperious - so the peasants often attacked the creoles, even though they were on the same side. Then there was a second peasant revolt, led by another priest, PadreJosé María Morelos from 1813, until his death in 1815. Since he was a mestizo (both Spanish and native American) he did not gain much creole support, so revolutionary fervor began to fade. In 1820, when Spain was back under Spanish rule, the Mexican elites switched sides from supporting Spain to supporting creoles in order to hold on to their privileges. In 1822 a republic is declared. A republic is a form of government in which the country is considered "a public matter," not the private concern or property of rulers. In other words, a republic is a government where the head of the state is not a monarch. (Wikipedia) Popular sovereignty was victorious, but without much benefit to the actual peasants who made independence possible. Venezuela, 1811- revolutionary junta seizes power in Caracas (capital of Venezuela) and forms a republic. However, the rest of Venezuela has mixed-race cowboys called llaneros who support the king of Spain. Simon Bolivar, "el libertador," realizes that the way to overcome class divisions (between llaneros and creoles) is to appeal to South American-ness. (Hey! We were all born here in South America, not Spain!) Bolivar thus convinces llaneros to stop fighting for Spain and start fighting against them. By 1822 he had captured the capital cities of Bogota (Colombia), Caracas (Venezuela), and Quito (Ecuador). Another very prominent figure in Latin American revolution is Argentinean Jose de San Martin, who led expeditions against the Spanish in Chile and Lima (Peru).
By 1825 almost the entire western hemisphere (with some Caribbean territories and Canada as exceptions) was free from European rule. Although Latin America is a leader in multiculturalism, independence, and revolution-- the three powers which governed Latin America remained: social hierarchy, Catholic Church, and patriarchy.