Path to Revolution

       I.            Basic structure of colonial empires

A.    An archipelago of colonization

1.Europeans and creoles concentrated in capitals, key economic centers

2.Farther from these places, less and less direct control by imperial powers

B.     Governments of neglect

1. Broadly speaking, a relatively light-handed imperial government before 1750

2.Heavy dependence on local elites

a.       Creoles in major economic and government centers

b.      Amerindians and other non-whites in peripheral areas

C.     Economics

1.Official monopolies common

a.       Monopolies over international trade, precious metals, cash crops like sugar

b.      Results in significant smuggling, particularly in later colonial period

2.Significant use of coerced labor, both slavery and tribute labor

3.Outside of metal and sugar zones, largely subsistence, few ties to international trade

D.    Race and class

1.Official laws separate races, define separate roles for racial groups

a.       Creates tight relationship between race and class

b.      Often officially ignored existence of mixed-race people, particularly in early period

2.Enforcement of these laws depends on concentration of creoles and Europeans

a.       Much more strongly imposed in major cities, that have large white populations

b.      Less so in hinterlands, peripheral cities like Buenos Aires, and Brazil

    II.            Bourbon and Pombaline reforms of mid- 1700s trigger resistance

A.    Hapsburg royal family replaced by Bourbons in Spain in 1700 (major war involved)

B.     By mid-1700s, feel strong enough to pursue major reform; similar process from Portugal under the Marquis de Pombal

1.Sought to strengthen empires in face of growing power of British, French, Dutch, etc.

2.Sought to extract more wealth from empires

3.Weaken local, creole power in favor of royal and peninsulare power

4.Rationalize trade (in a manner that provided more revenue for imperial power)

C.     Colonial reaction

1.Greatly stimulated economy

2.Deeply upset local groups who saw power, traditional life threatened

3.Resistance by rural subsistence groups, notably Amerindians, to being forced into modern international economy

4.Growing interest among elites in Enlightenment, example of U.S. revolution

 III.            Revolts (pre-independence)

A.    Long history of rebellions in both empires, tended to be small and local

1.Amerindians tended to revolt when government was strong, slaves when it was weak

2.Elites frequently ignored royal orders that did not suit them

B.     Reforms, changing economy, advance of Enlightenment ideals all contribute to more and larger rebellions

1.Tupac Amaru rebellion (1780-81, Peru and Bolivia)

a.       Led by Jose Gabriel Condorcanqui Noguera

b.      Styled himself Tupac Amaru II, claimed descent from Inca royalty

c.       Initially tapped into broad resentment of tightening Spanish rule

d.      However, rebellion became a race war between highland Amerindians and costal creoles

e.       Although Amerindians defeated, Spain agreed to many of their demands

f.       Elites left shaken and fearful of revolution

2.Comuneros Revolt (1781, Columbia)

a.       Around 20,000 rebels - primarily a tax revolt again strengthening Bourbon rule

b.      Sought to shift power back to the creoles and return to pre-Boubon laws

 IV.            Beginnings of the end of empire

A.    Napoleon invades Spain and Portugal (1807)

1. Overthrows Carlos IV of Spain, buts own brother on throne

2.Portuguese royal family escapes to Brazil with help of British

B.     Most elites in Spanish empire declare loyalty to imprisoned son of Carols, Ferdinand VII

C.     Allegiance to Spain wavers

1.Cadiz Cortes (resistance government in Spain) becomes to liberal for many colonial elites

2.Conflicts break out between creoles and peninsulares; creoles oust peninsulares and form ruling juntas

3.Ferdinand VII returned to throne in 1814, seeks to impose absolutism triggering further revolts