South America 1837 CE

The countries of South America have won their independence from Spain and Portugal.

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What is happening in South America in 1837CE

Rebellion

In the late 18th century, several factors – economic rigidities in the Spanish colonial system, lack of political freedom, and the example, first of the American Revolution and then of the French Revolution – created a restive climate amongst the educated classes in South America. Growing calls for independence led to armed revolts breaking out in various regions from 1810. Over the next fifteen years the Spanish colonial presence was driven from all parts of South America, in a process which in some places was marked by no more than a declaration of independence, but in others involved long, hard fighting under charismatic leaders such as Simon Bolivar and Jose de San Martin.

Independence

With independence won, the challenges facing the new states only just began. Most countries find it hard to develop a stable government, and descend into chaos, out of which emerge strongmen – caudillos – who take over the government. Their power is seldom secure, however, and they have a tendency to fall victim to new strong men who rise to challenge them.

The independence of Brazil has come in a dramatically different way to that of the rest of the continent – not through armed struggle but through a separation of one branch of the Portuguese royal family from the other.

Next map, South America in 1871

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Latin America in the Colonial Age

European World Empires

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