Spain & the Loss of America

Spain & the Loss of America

Spain & the Loss of America

Spain & the Loss of America

Excerpt

Between 1810 and 1825 the crown of Spain lost control of one of the largest and richest empires in world history. Thirteen immense territories were lost--Argentina, Chile, Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Venezuela, Colombia, Mexico, Central America, Paraguay, Uruguay, Santo Domingo, and Florida. Four gigantic viceroyalties (New Spain, Peru, New Granada, and Río de la Plata) ceased to exist, along with nine great kingdoms or so-called presidencies and captaincies general (Chile, Charcas, Quito, Venezuela, Santo Domingo, Guatemala, Yucatán, New Galicia, and the Provincias Internas). Over sixteen million people, more than half the total population of the empire, wrested political control of their homelands from the European metropolis and launched themselves upon the great adventure of national self-determination. Sixteen individual republics would eventually come into existence in those Spanish lands, joining the two independent republics--the one English, the other French--that already existed in the hemisphere and adding massive weight to one of the most significant shifts that occurred in history--the development of liberal republics and the erection in the New World of a counterweight to the power of the Old. By 1825 the map of the world was radically changed, and the crown of Spain possessed but three of its former overseas colonies--the Philippines, Cuba, and Puerto Rico.

One is inclined to imagine, in view of this massive debacle, that every waking moment of every Spaniard of the day, from the king down to the commonest subject, must have been absorbed in thought, worry, and hard work in an effort to resist the destruction of their nation's great heritage. As a matter of fact, the entire Spanish . . .

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