The Haitian Rebellion and Latin American Wars of Independence

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The Haitian Rebellion and Latin American Wars of Independence. Toussaint LOverture and El Libertador . Background to A Rebellion. One of the key moments in the spread of the Atlantic revolutions to Latin America and the Caribbean was the Haitian Rebellion (1791-1804) - PowerPoint PPT Presentation


The Haitian Rebellion and Latin American Wars of Independence

The Haitian Rebellion and Latin American Wars of IndependenceToussaint LOverture and El Libertador

Background to A RebellionOne of the key moments in the spread of the Atlantic revolutions to Latin America and the Caribbean was the Haitian Rebellion (1791-1804)It was the only large-scale slave revolt to succeed in the New WorldThe Haitian Rebellion was inspired in large part by the American Revolution and caused directly by events related to the French Revolution

HaitiThe island of Haiti, known then as Santo Domingo, had been colonized by the Spanish and the FrenchEach ruled half of the island, whose economy was based mainly on sugar productionThe French half was populated by a mix of French colonists, Creoles (those of French descent, but born in the colonies), free blacks (known as gens de coleur), and over half a million black slaves

When the French Revolution began in 1789, it threw French Haiti into chaos, mainly because the white colonists and freed blacks, all of whom competed over Haitis sugar economy, quarreledIn 1791, the slaves of Haiti seized the opportunity to rebel

Toussaint LOuvertureBy 1793, the leader of the Haitian Rebellion was Franois-Dominique Toussaint L'Ouverture, often referred to as the Black WashingtonAlthough a slave, LOuverture was literate and well-readHe was also a talented military commander who won victory after victoryBy 1798, he had not only freed all the slaves in French Haiti, but he had crossed into Spanish-controlled Santo Domingo and liberated the blacks there as well

At this point, LOuverture hoped to make Haiti a country for free blacksIt would be friendly to France, but also independentUnfortunately for LOuverture, the French government had no intention of allowing Haiti to go freeOver the next four years, the French debated the Haitian questionThen, in 1802, Napoleon Bonaparte, who had, in 1799, become leader of France, decided to send troops to Haiti to retake it Ironically, while a young officer in Frances revolutionary army, Napoleon had been admirer of LOuverture, but now the two men were political enemies

The French managed to capture LOuverture, who was put in chains and sent back to France, where he died in prisonHowever, the French failed to conquer HaitiUnused to fighting in tropical conditions, the French could not quell the Haitian rebelsMoreover, yellow fever killed over 40,000 French troopsFinally, in 1804, Napoleon decided to give up the effort to reconquer HaitiThe French went home in disgrace, and the independent nation of Haiti was born

Effects of the RebellionThe Haitian Rebellion had the effect of helping to inspire rebellion elsewhere in Latin AmericaIt also had one other far-reaching geopolitical impactBecause of his frustration with fighting in Haiti, Napoleon chose to abandon the effort to maintain major French colonies in the New World

Until the failed French effort in Haiti, France had been the master of a vast part of central North America: the large territory known as Louisiana, stretching from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi DeltaIn 1803, Napoleon, seeking to rid himself of this territory, sold it at a bargain price to the United StatesPresident Thomas Jefferson accepted the offer eagerlyUnlike Napoleon, he recognized that the Louisiana Purchase would give the United States control of the North American continent, and with it the opportunity to become a truly powerful nation

By helping convince Napoleon to sell Louisiana, the Haitian Rebellion played a part in bringing about a major shift in global power

Also, by eliminating France as a major slaveholding power, Haitian independence cut the ground from under a prime argument in parliament against abolition - that if Britain abolished the slave trade, its rival, France, would take it overIn 1793, at war with France, Britain tried to capture the islandThe attempt ended in a costly and humiliating failureBy forcing British troops to withdraw in 1798, L'Ouverture showed British officers what determined military opponents enslaved people fighting for their freedom could be

Of the more than 20,000 British soldiers sent to the island during five years of fighting, over 60 percent died during the conflictSome of the surviving officers returned home as abolitionistsHaitian independence, in 1804, also showed enslaved people throughout the Caribbean that they could fight for freedom and win

But the idea of independence seemed less attractive when the first revolution in Latin American turned slaves against their mastersThis warned the creoles in the rest of Latin America that a political revolution might produce dire unforeseen consequences, making it a struggle of the poor versus the rich

The Causes of Nationalist Uprisings in Latin AmericaNot long after the Haitian Rebellion, revolution spread to virtually all of Latin AmericaFrom 1810 to 1825, Mexico, Central America, and South America gained their independence from Spain and PortugalAs with the American Revolution, reasons for the Latin American uprisings included a growing sense of national identity and local resentment of Spanish and Portuguese economic policies

Also important was frustration that the European-descended, or criollo (creole), upper and middle classes felt toward the rigid social hierarchy of Latin American societies, which prevented them from realizing their goal of upward social and economic mobilityEven before the revolutions began, tensions were brewing

Then Came NapoleonThe spark that set off the Latin American revolutions was lit back in Europe, by NapoleonAs part of his campaign of European conquest, Napoleon invaded Portugal and Spain in 1807 and 1809He toppled the royal governments there and put his own representatives, including his brother, in chargeThe Spanish king was place under house arrest, while the Portuguese royal family fled to Brazil

These sudden blows to the Spanish and Portuguese monarchies had a swift and profound impact on Latin American politicsBrazils transition to independence was relatively smoothSpains Latin American possessions, however, rose up in rebellion

Simn Bolvar The most influential revolutionary was Simn Bolvar (1783-1830), known throughout Latin America as the LiberatorA member of the Creole upper class in Venezuela, Bolvar was inspired by the ideals of the Enlightenment, frustrated by the inefficiency and injustice of Spanish rule, and personally ambitiousIn 1810, Bolvar took control of the independence movement that was sweeping across the northern provinces of South America: his own Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia, and Ecuador

Unlike many members of the creole elite, who rebelled against Spain for the sake of their narrow class interests, Bolvar realized that no revolt could succeed unless it attracted all classesIn a bold stroke, he promised to fight for the rights of mixed-race Latin Americans, as well as for the emancipation of slavesThis pledge turned a small and largely unsuccessful upper- and middle-class rebellion into a mass war of independenceThe military turning point of Bolvars wars came from 1819 to 1821, when he managed to gain control over Venezuela and Colombia

At this juncture, Bolvar joined forces with another nationalist, Jos de San Martn, a general turned revolutionarySan Martn had begun his uprising in 1816By 1820, he had freed Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, and ParaguayHe then turned to the north, to Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru, at the same time that Bolvar was turning south, into the same areasDespite certain political differences San Martn was more conservative than Bolvar the two men decided to cooperateBolvar was made the overall leader of the movement

By 1824 to 1825, Bolvar had cleared all Spanish and loyalist forces out of Bolivia, Ecuador, and PeruSpanish South America was freeIn the meantime, Brazil had also become independentIn this case, the decision to free Brazil came from above, rather than belowIn 1820, the King of Portugal went back to Europe to reclaim his throneHe left his son, Prince Pedro, as regent

However, the king also gave his son the following advice: My son, if Brazil starts to demand independence, make sure you are the one to proclaim it. Then make sure to put the crown on your own headIndeed, in 1822, when Brazilians began to agitate for their freedom, Pedro declared independence, created a constitutional monarchy, and proclaimed himself Pedro I

The Mexican War of IndependenceMexico and Central America waged wars of independence from 1810 to 1823Mexicos revolution was complicated by the inability of various social classes to cooperateThe Mexican War of Independence was begun in September 1810 by the priest, Miguel Hidalgo, who, unfurling the flag of the Virgin of Guadalupe, called for revolution against SpainHidalgo was killed in 1811, but his fight was carried on by another priest, Jos Mara Morelos

But Hidalgo and Morelos fought not just for independence from Spain, but also social justiceThey wanted equal rights for Indians, mestizos, and slaves (whom they planned to set free)They wanted constitutional ruleHidalgos and Moreloss platform gained mass support from the lower classesUnfortunately, Hidalgos and Moreloss goals were opposed not just by the Spanish, but also many upper-class, even those who wanted independenceLike Hidalgo, Morelos was killed, by 1815, by conservative Mexicans, not the Spanish

This meant that Mexicos revolt had to be carried out by the elite, not the lower classesA conservative colonel, Agustn de Iturbide, overthrew Spanish rule in 1820 to 1821He then tried to establish a dictatorship, with himself as emperorIturbide was quickly overthrown, and a Mexican republic was proclaimed in 1823That same year, the nations of Central America, south of Mexico,