By: Anne van Besouw, Aubrey DeHart, Matt Marani, Siddarth Kulkarni

Spanish-American    Revolution

A map of the colonies in Latin America who rebelled against Spanish or Portuguese rule.  As countries started rebelling, the "fever" of revolution grew and more countries rebelled

Symptoms Establish

Countries involved:

Mexico, Santo Domingo, Puerto Rico, Venezuela, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, United Provinces of Central America

The Spanish American revolutions were shaped by previous revolutions, including the North American Revolution and the French Revolution. The Spanish colonies had been ruled strictly for a long time, and the creole (American born elites) elites were offended by the monarchy's excessive control. Elites had become familiar with Enlightenment ideas from Europe, and wanted to implement them in Latin America. Things such as popular sovereignty, a republican government, and personal liberty led to unorganized protests against Spain. They made declarations of independence and started wars, all beginning the Revolution. The Revolution took nearly 50 years to begin and took almost twice as long to be successful as the American colonies because of the fact that Spanish colonies has sharp class divisions and little unity. The Revolution began when Napoleon invaded Spain and Portugal in 1808, putting the monarchies into disarray and giving the colonies an opportunity to claim independence.

Fever rises

Miguel Hidalgo leads revolutionaries in Mexico.  Hidalgo sparked revolution by encouraging the oppressed people of this region to fight against their rulers.  In the fever model of revolution, revolution begins when oppressed people rise up

Revolution leaders: Miguel Hidalgo, José Morelos, Simón Bolívar

Unlike the North American Revolution that it was influenced by, the Spanish-American revolutions began with a violent peasant rebellion. The peasant rebellion was started in 1810 in Mexico and led by the priests Miguel Hidalgo and José Morelos. However, this rebellion was quickly crushed by creole elites with the support of the Church. Simón Bolívar sought to unite the South American countries in the revolution and became a major figure in the revolution. The elites still needed the support of the common people though, leading to the creation of the idea of "nativism". This idea pitted American born "Americanos" of all classes and ethnicities against Spain. Nationalists leaders promised the Americanos freedom, an end to legal restrictions, and social advancement. Many of these people were liberals, influenced by ideas from the Enlightenment.

Simón Bolívar, the most significant heroic figures in the Spanish American independence movement.

Simón Bolívar was a revolutionary leader who introduced nativism, uniting the divided and oppressed people and allowing revolution to occur

Terror Sweeps

The Revolution "took place under the shadow of great fear." Many Latin Americans had seen from different revolutions in other areas, such as French and Haitian revolutions. This had shown the Latin American elites that political change could easily go bad and could also cause danger to themselves.  


Native Americans and slaves benefited very little from the revolution. Although women contributed to the Revolution by raising money and providing safe havens for revolutionary women, they did not gain much from the revolution. Many women were even punished because of their disloyalty to the crown. Women continued to be left out of politics and remained under the legal control of men in their families. Although they had gained independence from Spain, Latin Americans struggled to unite as a nation. At first, the South American countries were seen the ones that were going to come out on top, compared to the United States. This was proved incorrect as Latin Americans became underdeveloped and poor.

Works Cited

"Father Hidalgo Hoped Insurrection Would Lead to Mexico’s Liberty." Historical Articles and Illustrations » Blog Archive ». N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Feb. 2015. 

Strayer, Robert W. Ways of the World: A Brief Global History with Sources. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martins, 2011. Print.

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