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1811 Independence Movement

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Manuel José Arce, leader of the revolt in San Salvador
Manuel José Arce, leader of the revolt in San Salvador

The 1811 Independence Movement known in El Salvador as the Primer grito de independencia (First Shout of Independence) was the first of a series of revolts in Central America in El Salvador against Spanish colonialism and dependency on the Captaincy General of Guatemala.

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  • Latin American Revolutions: Crash Course World History #31
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Transcription

Hi, I’m John Green, this is Crash Course World History and today things are going to get a little bit confusing, because we’re going to talk about revolution and independence in Latin America. It’s a bit confusing because 1. Latin America is big, 2. It’s very diverse, 3. Napoleon makes everything complicated and 4. As we’ve seen in the past, sometimes revolutions turn out not to be not that revolutionary. [why a solid marketing dept. is key] Witness, for instance, the New England Revolution, who instead of, like, trying to form new and better governments are always just kicking balls around like all the other soccer [futbol] teams. [Intro music] [intro music] [intro music] [intro music] [intro music] [intro music] [intro music] Right, so before independence, Latin American society was characterized by three institutions that exercised control over the population. The first was the Spanish Crown, or if you are Brazilian, the Portuguese crown. So, as far as Spain was concerned, the job of the colonies was to produce revenue in the form of a 20% tax on everything that was called “the royal fifth.” So government administration was pervasive and relatively efficient— because it had to be in order to collect its royal fifth. I mean, the church even controlled time – the church bells tolled out the hours and they mandated a seven day work week so that people could go to church on Sunday. [so HobbyLobby store hours aren't super inconvenient, they're just old skool?] And finally, there was patriarchy. [yeuup, there's a shocker] In Latin America, like much of the world, husbands had complete control over their wives and any extra-or-pre-marital skoodilypooping was severely punished. I mean, when it was the women doing the illicit skoodilypooping. Men could basically get up to whatever. [RIP Helen Gurley Brown. much love] This was mainly about property rights because illegitimate children could inherit their father’s property, but it was constructed to be about, you know, purity. To get a sense of how patriarchy shaped Latin American lives, take a gander at Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, whose name I’m actually abbreviating. A child prodigy who spoke five languages by the age of 16, de la Cruz wanted to disguise herself as a boy so she could attend University, [plot of 80's flick Just One of the Guys] but she was forbidden to do so. Still, she wrote plays and poetry, she studied math and natural science, [Girls do Get Curves, Danica McKellar!] and for being one of the leading minds of the 17th century, she was widely attacked, and eventually forced to abandon her work and sell all 4,000 of her books. That’s a shame because she had a great mind, once writing that “Aristotle would have written more if he had done any cooking.” [oooh, snap!] Couple other things: First, Latin America led the world in transculturation or Cultural Blending. A new and distinct Latin American culture emerged mixing 1. Whites from Spain called Peninsulares, 2. Whites born in the Americas called creoles, 3. Native Americans, and 4. African slaves. This blending of cultures may be most obvious when looking at Native American and African influences upon Christianity. The Virgin of Guadalupe, for instance, was still called Tonantzin, the indigenous earth goddess, by Indians, and the profusion of blood in Mexican iconography recalls the Aztec use of blood in ritual. But transculturation pervaded Latin American life, from food to secular music to fashion. Somewhat related: Latin America had a great deal of racial diversity and a rigid social hierarchy to match. There were four basic racial categories: white, black, mestizo –a mix of white and American Indian- and mulatto, a mix of white and black. We try not to use that word anymore because it’s offensive, but that’s the word they used. And from the 16th century on, Latin America had a huge diversity of mixed race people, and there were constant attempts to classify them and divide them into castes. You can see some of these in so called casta paintings, which attempted to establish in a very weird and Enlightenment-y way all the possible racial combinations. But of course that’s not how race works, as evidenced by the fact that successful people of lower racial castes could become “legally white” by being granted gracias al sacar. [pretty jacked up, white? right, I mean..] So by 1800, on the eve of Latin America’s independence movements, roughly a quarter of the population were mixed race. So Brazil… he said as thousands of Argentinians booed him— is obviously different because it was ruled, not by Spain, but by Portugal. But like a lot of revolutions in Latin America, it was fairly conservative. The creoles wanted to maintain their privilege while also achieving independence from the Peninsulares. And also like a lot of Latin American revolutions, it featured Napoleon. [forever makes me think of Bill &Ted] Freaking Napoleon. You’re everywhere. [except in line for certain roller coasters] He’s behind me, isn’t he? Gah. So when Napoleon took over Portugal in 1807, the entire Portuguese royal family and their royal court decamped to Brazil. And it turned out, they loved Brazil. King Joao loved Brazil so much. Off topic, but do you think that J-Woww named herself after King Joao? I mean, does she have that kind of historical sensibility? I think she does. [that whole bit really just happened, btw] So King Joao’s life in Rio was so good that even after Napoleon was defeated at the Battle of Waterloo, he just kind of stayed in Brazil. And then, by 1820, the Portuguese in Portugal were like, “Hey, maybe you should come back and, like, you know, govern us, King of Portugal.” So in 1821, he reluctantly returned to Lisbon, leaving his son Prince Pedro behind. Meanwhile, Brazilian creoles were organizing themselves around the idea that they were culturally different from Portugal, and they eventually f ormed a Brazilian Party— no, Stan not that kind of party, come on— yes. That kind. A Brazilian party to lobby for independence. Then in 1822, they convinced Prince Pedro of boring, old Portugal that he should just become King Pedro of sexy, big Brazil. So Pedro declared Brazil an independent constitutional monarchy with himself as king. [as one does, naturally] As a result, Brazil achieved independence without much bloodshed and managed to hold on to that social hierarchy with the plantation owners on top. And that explains why Brazil was the last new world country to abolish slavery, not fully abandoning it until 1888. Right, so even when Napoleon wasn’t forcing Portuguese royals into an awesome exile, he was still messing with Latin America. Let’s go to the Thought Bubble. So Latin America’s independence movements began not with Brazil, but in Mexico when Napoleon put his brother on the Spanish throne in 1808. [nepotism; always a classy move] Napoleon wanted to institute the liberal principles of the French Revolution, which angered the ruling elite of the Peninsulares in what was then called New Spain. They were aristocrats and they just wanted to go back to some good old-fashioned divine right monarchy with a strong church. So the Mexican Creoles, seeking to expand their own power at the expense of the Peninsular elite saw an opportunity here. They affirmed their loyalty to the new king, who was French even though he was the king of Spain. I told you this was complicated. Then, a massive peasant uprising began, led by a renegade priest Padre Hidalgo, and supported by the Creoles because it was aimed at the Peninsulares, even though they weren’t actually the ones who supported Spain. This was further complicated by the fact that to the mestizo peasants led by Hidalgo, Creoles and Peninsulares looked and acted basically identical— they were both white and imperious— [preferable to avada kedavrious?] so the peasants often attacked the Creoles, who were, technically on their side in trying to overthrow the ruling peninsulares. Even though it had tens of thousands of supporters, this first peasant uprising petered out. But, a second peasant revolt, led by another priest, Father Morelos, was much more revolutionary. In 1813, he declared independence and the revolt lasted until his death in 1815. But since he was a mestizo, he didn’t gain much Creole support, so revolutionary fervor in Mexico began to fade until … 1820, when Spain, which was now under the rule of a Spanish, rather than a French king, had a REAL liberal revolution with a new constitution that limited the power of the church. Thanks, Thought Bubble. So, in the wake of Spain’s liberalizing movements, the Mexican elites, who had previously supported Spain, switched sides and made common cause with the creoles in the hopes that they could somehow hold onto their privileges. And pushing for independence together, things went very well. [stay together to stay alive, just like L4D!] The Creole general Iturbide and the rebel mestizo commander Guerrero joined forces and won independence with most of the Peninsulares returning to Spain. Iturbide –the whiter of the two generals – became king of Mexico in 1822 (remember, this was a revolution essentially AGAINST representative government). But that didn’t work out and within a year he was overthrown by the military and a republic was declared. Popular sovereignty was sort of victorious, but without much benefit to the peasants who actually made independence possible. This alliance between conservative landowning elites and the army - especially in the face of calls for land reform or economic justice— would happen over and over again in Latin America for the next century and a half. But before we come to any conclusions, let’s discuss one last revolution. But, the interior of Venezuela was home to mixed-race cowboys called llaneros who supported the king. They kept the Caracas revolutionaries from extending their power inland. And that, is where Simon Bolivar, “el Libertador,” [young portrait w foppish 'stache is fave] enters the picture. Bolivar realized that the only way to overcome the various class divisions (like the one between the Caracas creoles and llaneros) was to appeal to a common sense of South American-ness. I mean, after all, the one thing that almost all South Americans had in common: they were born in South America, NOT SPAIN. So then, partly through shows of toughness that included, like, crossing flooded plains and going without sleep, Bolivar convinced the llaneros to give up fighting for Spain and start fighting against them. He quickly captured the viceregal capital at Bogota and by 1822 his forces had taken Caracas and Quito. Hold on, hold on. Lest I be attacked by Argentinians [to get back the plutonium you stole?] who are already upset about what I said about their really good soccer team, I want to make one thing clear. Argentina’s general Jose de San Martin was also vital to the defeat of the Spanish. He led an expeditions against the Spanish in Chile and also a really important one in Lima. [helping McKinley advance to Nationals over dreaded rivals, Vocal Adrenaline] And then, in December of 1824, at the battle of Ayacucho, the last Spanish viceroy was finally captured and all of Latin America was free from Spain. Oh, it’s time for the open letter? That’s A chair, Stan, but it’s not THE chair. [damp spirit kicks internal pebble] [rolls with broken heart to unimpressive leather-not-puce-velvet club chair sub] An Open Letter to Simon Bolivar. [part-time purple pieman impersonator] But first, let’s see what’s in the secret compartment today. Oh, llanero. I wonder if his hips swivel when I wind him up. [sorry, Meatwad, night-vision goggles & action bills not included.] Context is everything. They do! Hey there, cowboy. Dear Simon Bolivar, First, you had fantastic [legit] muttonchops. It’s as if you’re some kind of handsome Martin Van Buren. [surely an original sentence there] You were a man of immense accomplishments, but those accomplishments have been richly rewarded. I mean, you have a country named after you. Not to mention, two different currencies. [Canadian loonie pwns, regardless] But for my purposes, the most important thing you ever did was die. You may not know this, Simon Bolivar, but when I'm not a world history teacher sitting next to a fake fireplace, I am a novelist. [young adult + Dawson's Creek FanFic] [tell you his pen names for a price] And your last words, “Damn it, how will I ever get out of this labyrinth,” feature prominently in my first novel, Looking for Alaska. [ sup, Nerdfighteria? xoxo, dj ] Except it turns out, those weren’t your last words. [d'oh?] Your last words were probably, “Jose, bring the luggage.” [alt: "Hey, watch this!"] But I decided to use your fancy, romantic, inaccurate last words. It’s called artistic license. Put that in your luggage. [my, Johnny Bookwriter is saucy today] Anyway, fantastic life. I just wish you’d nailed it a little bit better with your last words. Best wishes, John Green So by 1825, almost the entire western hemisphere – with a few exceptions in the Caribbean —was free from European rule. Oh, right. And Canada. [Oh, Canada!] I’m just kidding, Canadians. It’s so easy to make fun of you because you’re so nice. So I tease you and then you’re like, “Aw, thanks for noticing that we exist.” My pleasure. Anyway, this is pretty remarkable, especially when you consider that most of this territory had been under Spanish or Portuguese control for almost 300 years. The most revolutionary thing about these independence movements were that they enshrined the idea of so called popular sovereignty in the New World. Never again would Latin America be under the permanent control of a European power, and the relatively quick division of Latin America into individual states, despite Bolivar’s pan South American dream, showed how quickly the people in these regions developed a sense of themselves as nations distinct from Europe, and from each other. This division into nation states prefigures what would happen to Europe in the mid-19th century, and in that sense, Latin America is the leader of 19th century world history. And Latin American history presages another key theme in modern life— multiculturalism. And all of that makes Latin America sound very modern, but in a number of ways, Latin American independence wasn’t terribly revolutionary. First, while the Peninsulares were gone, the rigid social hierarchy, with the wealthy creoles at the top, remained. Second, whereas revolutions in both France and America weakened the power of the established church, in Latin America, the Catholic Church remained very powerful in people’s everyday lives. And then, there is the patriarchy. Although there were many women who took up arms in the struggle for independence, including Juana Azurduy who led a cavalry charge against Spanish forces in Bolivia, patriarchy remained strong in Latin America. Feminist ideas like those of Mary Wollstonecraft would have to wait. Women weren’t allowed to vote in national elections in Mexico until 1953. And Peru didn’t extend voting rights to women until 1955. Also, Latin America’s revolutionary wars were long and bloody: 425,000 people died in Mexico’s war for independence. And they didn’t always lead to stability: Venezuela, for instance, experienced war for much of the 19th century, leading to as many as a million deaths. And it’s important to note that fighting for freedom doesn’t always lead to freedom, the past two centuries in Latin America have seen many military dictatorships that protect private property at the expense of egalitarian governance. “Freedom,” “independence,” and “autonomy” are complicated terms that mean different things to different people at different times. So too with the word “revolutionary.” Thanks for watching. I’ll see you next week. Location change because I forgot to record the credits, and my shirt matches the wall. Probably should have thought about that one a little bit harder. [DFT record the credits, next time then?] Crash Course is produced and directed by Stan Muller. Our script supervisor is Danica Johnson, [!] the show is ably interned by Agent Meredith Danko, TVCS and it’s written by my high school history teacher Raoul Meyer and myself. Our graphics team is Thought Bubble. Last week’s phrase of the week was "giant squid of anger." If you want to suggest a future phrase of the week or guess at this week’s, you can do so in comments, where you can also ask questions that will be answered by our team of historians. Look at the beautiful Crash Course poster! [nice job, ThoughtBubblers!] Available now at DFTBA.com link in the video description. Thanks for watching, and as we say in my home town, Don’t Forget they can’t get your goat if they don’t know where you keep it.

Contents

Antecedents

At the beginning of the 19th century, agitation grew in the American territories dominated by the Spanish crown. The previous century was dominated by the growing support of ideas of individual freedom, which characterized the Enlightenment that took place in Europe and the Americas. Most influential was the American Revolution, with the resulting liberation of the British North American colonies, and the French Revolution, which seeded the restlessness and search for freedom in the Spanish American territories under dominion of the Spaniards.

In the Intendancy of San Salvador (covering roughly the same territory as today's El Salvador), many Creoles and other settlers wanted to separate control of the colony from the Guatemalan Captaincy General. This was largely due to economic and political reasons. Greater administrative autonomy or outright independence for San Salvador would reduce the high level of taxes paid to Spain and Guatemala and would raise finances for the colony. Napoleón Bonaparte's invasion of Spain in 1808 and the removal of Ferdinand VII from the Spanish throne created an atmosphere of unrest in San Salvador.

Revolt in San Salvador

Part of a series on the
History of El Salvador
Coat of Arms of El Salvador

The insurrectionists organized themselves along with prominent middle-class supporters of the cause of independence such as doctors and priests who took part in the event. These included doctors such as Santiago José Celis, the brothers (Nicholas, Vicente and Manuel Aguilar) and the priest José Matías Delgado. Others included Manuel José Arce, Juan Manuel Rodríguez and Pedro Pablo Castillo.

The rebels assembled in this town square by the then St. Dominic Church.
The rebels assembled in this town square by the then St. Dominic Church.

On November 5 the revolt began in San Salvador. According to tradition, the rebels waited for a signal from the bell tower of the Church of La Merced, but this did not occur on the scheduled time. The rebels later assembled on the town square outside the church where Manuel José Arce proclaimed in front of the public: "There is no King, nor Intendant, nor Captain General. We only must obey our alcaldes," meaning that since Ferdinand VII had been deposed, all other officials appointed by him no longer legitimately held power. A tumult in the square grew to the point that the intendant, Antonio Gutierrez y Ulloa, asked that the gathered name somebody to formally receive their demands. Manuel José Arce himself was chosen and selected as the leader by the crowd. Despite this, the insurrectionists took arms and proclaimed the total independence of San Salvador from the Spanish crown, but were later subdued.

In the following days, the independence movement extended to the cities of Santiago Nonualco, Usulután, Chalatenango, Santa Ana, Tejutla and Cojutepeque. The two other notable revolts occurred on November 24 in the city of Metapán and on December 20 in Sensuntepeque.

Suppression and aftermath

Despite the efforts of the insurrectionists, the cause of independence was not shared by the city councils of the Intendancy . Neither San Miguel, nor San Vicente nor Santa Ana joined them. Unable to amass support, the rebels decided to negotiate with a delegation sent in from the Guatemalan capital to take control. The new Intendant Colonel Jose de Aycinena, arrived on December 8 with Guatemalan troops and priests to force them to swear obedience to the crown and reclaimed the city. The new government was well received by the majority of the population due to Aycinena's policy of understanding and nonconfrontation. However, several days later, unrest broke out in the neighboring Intendancy of Nicaragua, where uprisings broke out in León on December 13 and later in Granada on December 22. Nevertheless, both were soon suppressed.

Many of those involved in the events in El Salvador and Nicaragua were incarcerated, but José Matías Delgado was taken back with the delegation to Guatemala City. Despite his past activities, or perhaps because of them, Delgado was elected in 1813 as a representative on the Provincial Deputation of Guatemala created by the Spanish Constitution of 1812. He also became director of the Tridentino Seminary in the capital city, therefore, he was not in El Salvador at the time of the second insurrection in 1814, and so did not take part in it.

He was once again elected provincial deputy in 1820 when the Spanish Constitution was restored, and on September 15, 1821, he was among those who signed the Act of Independence of Central America in Guatemala City. On November 28, 1821, he became political chief (jefe pólitico civil) of the Province of San Salvador, and as its executive officer, he led its separation from Guatemala to prevent the former intendancy from becoming part of First Mexican Empire. Arce later became president of the Federal Republic of Central America from 1825 to 1829, once full independence from both Spain and Mexico became a reality.

In El Salvador the independence movement and 1811 Revolt is officially commemorated every year on November 5 and recognized as the "First Shout for the Independence of Central America".

See also

  • 1814 Independence Movement

Bibliography of references

  • Dym, Jordana. 2006. From Sovereign Villages to National States: City, State, and Federation in Central America, 1759-1839. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. ISBN 978-0-8263-3909-6
  • Ministerio de Educación. (1994). Historia de El Salvador Tomo I. Mexico City, Comisión Nacional de los Libros de Texto Gratuitos.
  • Monterrrey, Francisco J. (1977). Historia de El Salvador anotaciones cronológicas 1810-1842. San Salvador: Editorial Universitaria.
  • Vidal, Manuel. (1961). Nociones de historia de Centro América. San Salvador: Editorial Universitaria.
This page was last edited on 23 June 2017, at 11:52
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