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Identity, enlightenment and political dissent in late colonial Spanish America

By Anthony McFarlane

Abstract

During the long crisis of the Spanish empire between 1810 and 1825, the Creole leaders of Spanish American independence asserted a new identity for the citizens of the states which they sought to establish, calling them 'Americanos'. This general title was paralleled and often\ud supplanted by other political neologisms, as movements for independence and new polities took shape in the various territories of Spanish America. In New Spain, the insurgents who fought against royalist government during the decade after 181 o tried to rally fellow 'Mexicans' to a common cause; at independence in 1821, die Creole political leadership created a 'Mexican empire', the title of which, with its reference to the Aztec empire which had preceded Spain's conquest, was designed to evoke a 'national' history shared by all members of Mexican society. In South America, die leaders of the new republics also sought to promote patriotic feelings for territories which had been converted from administrative units of Spanish government into independent states. Thus, San Martin and O'Higgins convoked\ud 'Chileans' to the cause of independence in the old Captaincy-General of Chile; shortly afterwards and with notably less success, San Martin called upon 'Peruvians' to throw off Spanish rule. Bolivar was, likewise, to call 'Colombians' to his banner in die erstwhile Viceroyalty of New Granada, before advancing south to liberate Peru in die name of 'Peruvians', and Upper Peru in die name of 'Bolivians', where die Republic which his military feats and political vision made possible was named after him

Topics: F1201
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Year: 1998
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:4343

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