South America 1837 CE

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

Read on

Subscribe for more great content – and remove ads

4300BCE 3900BCE 3500BCE 3100BCE 2700BCE 2300BCE 1900BCE 1500BCE 1100BCE 700BCE 300BCE 100CE 500CE 900CE 1300CE 1700CE 2022CE

What is happening in South America in 1837CE


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.


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

Dig Deeper

Latin America in the Colonial Age

European World Empires

Subscribe for more great content – and remove ads

Subscribe for more great content – and remove ads