Latin america: Independence and the Spread of Democracy Chapt 10, Sect 3

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LATIN AMERICA: Independence and the Spread of Democracy Chapt 10, Sect 3

  1. How did Latin American nations win independence from their European rulers?

Most fought battles with Spanish government soldiers and were led by Latin American revolutionary leaders. Brazil was peacefully granted independence by the royal family of Portugal. Haiti’s slaves fought against French colonial rule for ten years.

  1. How did the American and French revolutions influence events in Latin America?

Revolutions in North America (colonies fighting against the British government) and in France (farmers/peasants seeking to overturn rule by a king) inspired people across Latin America. ‘If they can do, so can we!’

  1. What are some of the challenges Latin America faced as a result of gaining independence?

Caudillos, or military leaders, were very strict and often more interested in personal gain than in helping their newly independent countries. Also, the countries were poor after years of fighting.

revolution a political movement in which people overthrow a government and set-up another
criollo person of Spanish parents born in Latin America
caudillo military officer who ruled very strictly
invest spend money to earn money
economy the ways goods and services are produced and made available to people
Toussaint L’Ouverture ex-slave who led Haiti to independence
Miguel Hidalgo led struggle for Mexican independence
Agustin de Iturbide declared southern Mexico’s independence from Spain in 1821
Simon Bolivar led independence fight for Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Panama
Jose de San Martin led fight for independence for Chile and Peru

  • The first colony in Latin America to start a revolution was Saint-Domingue (Haiti). Tired of French colonial rule and mistreatment by white slave owners, a former slave (Toussaint L’ouverture) led a 10-year battle for independence.

  • By 1825, most of Latin America was independent of its European rulers. Only Cuba and Puerto Rico would remain as colonies of Spain in the Western Hemisphere.

  • Latin America leaders drew inspiration from the revolutions in North America and France.

  • Criollos paid particular attention to the revolutions elsewhere. Even though they were often the wealthiest and best-educated people in the Spanish colonies, they had little political power and could not hold government office.

LATIN AMERICA: Short- and Long-Term Effects of European Exploration Chapt 10, Sect 2

Late 1770s: British colonies in North America revolt for freedom from British rule.

Late 1780s: French citizen revolt again royal rulers.

Criollos in Latin America become interested in revolutions.

Western South America

Simon Bolivar joined the fight for Venezuelan independence in 1804, and soon became a leader in the revolution. By 1822 his troops had freed much of Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, and Panama. .Jose de San Martin led the revolutionary forces in Argentina and Chile.


The first colony in Latin America to start a revolution; won their independence from France in 1804.


In the early 1800s, French forces invade Spain and Portual. Portugal’s royal family fled to Brazil for safety. For their support of the King’s family, Brazil was given independence in 1822.


Began its struggle for self-government in 1810; begun by Catholic priest Miguel Hildalgo, but won by former Spanish soldier Agustin de Iturbide.

Nuggets (continued):

  • Miguel Hildalgo, a Catholic priest from Dolores, planned the revolution to free Mexico from Spanish rule. When the Spanish government discovered his plans, he wildly rang the church bells, challenging the locals to ‘recover the land stolen from your forefathers by the Spanish.’ His cry for revolution became known as the CRY OF DOLORES. Hildago tried to flee the country when the revolution failed, but he was captured and put to death by the Spanish military.

  • Small rebel groups in Mexico kept fighting, led by a former Spanish soldier, Agustin de Iturbide. In 1821 Iturbide defeated the Spanish and declared Mexico independent.

  • Simon Bolivar, like George Washington, became the first president of his country after leading troops to win their independence.

  • Jose de San Martin was a cunning warrior, surprising the Spanish forces in Chile by crossing the Andes Mountains from behind them, and attacking Spanish forces in Peru from the sea.

  • After winning independence, Latin American leaders were faced with the challenges of leading a new nation – something they were unprepared to do.

  • In the 1900s many foreign companies invested in Latin America. As a result, foreign investors became powerful forces in Latin American countries. Investors wanted profits, which didn’t always mean good news for the people living in Latin America.

  • Latin American countries are expanding their economies by diversifying and adding more manufacturing jobs.


SUMMARY: Inspired by revolutions in other countries, Latin American countried fought for and gained their independence from European rule.

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