Hispanic American Relations with the United States

By William Spence Robertson; David Kinley | Go to book overview

CHAPTER I
THE AGE OF TRANSITION IN HISPANIC AMERICA

The racial elements in Hispanic America--The organs of colonial administration in the Spanish Indies--Commercial and immigratory policy--The Church--The Inquisition--Philosophy of Revolution--The administration of Brazil--Portuguese colonial policy--The Portuguese-Spenish boundary in South America--Napoleon's usurpations in Portugal and Spain--The Spanish juntas--The Separatist movements--The Mexican Revolution--The independence of Venezuela--Bolívar at Boyack and Carabobo-- Pichincha--The independence of Paraguay and Uruguay--San Martin at San Lorenzo --Chacabuco--Maipú--Peruvian independence proclaimed--Ayacucho--The Spanish- American nations--The separation of Brazil from Portugal--Boundaries of the Hispanic- American states.

After the discovery of the New World there flowed to America two distinct currents of emigration from the Iberian Peninsula. A current from Portugal went to the eastern portion of South America--that vast domain which was eventually designated Brazil--while a current from Spain proceeded to the extensive territories in America which stretched from Cape Horn to California. The Portuguese settled along the coast of Brazil, where conditions favored the development of colonies of the plantation type. The conquering Spaniards planted colonies upon the ruins of the most advanced aboriginal civilizations: in Mexico, which had been under the sway of the Aztecs; in New Granada where the Chibchas had flourished; and in Peru, the seat of the extensive empire of the Incas.

In some parts of America the Portuguese and the Spaniards soon began to use the aborigines as slaves upon the plantations or in the silver mines. Against the enslavement of the Indians some humane colonists raised their voices in protest. Responding to the anti-slavery propaganda of Antonio Vieira, the Portuguese Jesuit, and of Bartolomé de las Casas, the Franciscan monk, the governments of Spain and Portugal tried by protective laws to check or to prohibit the enslavement of the Indians.

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