The Age of Spanish American Revolutions:
Royalist response

Fernando VII was restored to the Spanish throne in 1814 and, despite assurances to the contrary, revoked the Constitution of 1812 and reinstated absolutist rule. This constituted a clear break with the provincial juntas that had ruled in his name but did not spark renewed political radicalization.


La Pepa revoked

Spain, D. Jose Fernando De Abascal y Sousa, caballero gran cruz de la real y distinguida orden Española de Cárlos III. y de la militar de Santiago teniente general de los reales exércitos, virey, gobernador y capitan general del Perú, superintendente subdelegado de la real hacienda, &c. (Lima: s.n, 1814).  

Fernando VII was restored to the throne in 1814, abolished the 1812 Constitution of Cádiz, and reinstituted absolutist rule. Governing juntas in the Americas had claimed to remain loyal to the king and to rule in his name, which historians have referred to as the “mask of Fernando VII.” This broadside announces the revocation of the Constitution of Cadiz, and for Republicans in South America this was sufficient reason to drop their masks. Read the entire item on Internet Archive.

Acquired with the assistance of the Special Purchase Fund


Reconquista of Chile

Chile, Visto este expediente formado sobre cumplimiento de la real cèdula (Santiago de Chile: s.n, 1816).  

The independence movements in the North and in the South were brought to a virtual standstill, with only La Plata remaining in Republican hands, although there were continuing skirmishes throughout the region. This broadside issued in Chile announces a royal pardon for all those who took part in the rebellion, save for those “most guilty.” Read the entire item on Internet Archive.


Temporary defeat

Pablo Morillo, Venesolanos que habeis seguido a Bolivar (s.l.: Fragata Diana Imprenta del Exèrcito expedicionario, 1815).  

In the north, Republican forces were also facing reversals. Simón Bolívar is recognized as one of the greatest figures of South American independence, both as a military leader and as a statesman. In 1815, Spain sent the largest expeditionary force up to that point to Venezuela and reestablished Royalist control. This broadside, printed aboard ship, announces the terms of surrender following Bolivar’s defeat.

Acquired with the assistance of the JCB Associates fund


Laurels to the viceroy

El Pensador del Perú (Lima: Por D. Bernardino Ruiz, 1815).  

Royalists celebrated their “reconquest,” and this pamphlet, attributed to Hipólito Unanue, a Peruvian physician, and addressed to Ferdinand VII, extols the achievements of Viceroy José Abascal and his Royalist defense of Peru.

Acquired with the assistance of the Harper fund


Reinforcing the troops

Provincias Unidas del Río de la Plata, El director provisional del estado: Por quanto es llegado el momento ciudadanos de probar la constancia en defensa de la libertad, de satisfacer los votos de los pueblos, y de sellar para siempre con nuevos sacrificios nuestro feliz destino (Buenos Aires: s.n, 1815).  

The weakened state of the Republican forces in 1815 is evident from this broadside, which outlines the criteria for citizenship, and also announces a forced levy to provide reinforcements for the military.

Acquired from the estate of Maury A. Bromsen


The Third Column

Provincias Unidas del Río de la Plata, El director supremo del estado a todos los habitantes de las Provincias Unidas. (Buenos-Ayres: Imprenta del Estado, 1815).  

Ignacio Nuñez, Noticias históricas, políticas, y estadísticas, de la Provincias Unidas del Rio De La Plata. (Londres: Publicado por R. Ackermann, 101, Strand y en su establecimiento en Megico, 1825).  

Republican forces faced not only Royalist aggression from Upper Peru (Bolivia), but also from the “Banda Oriental,” today’s Paraguay. This was the beginning of a civil war that would fully emerge only following the drafting of a constitution for La Plata in 1819.

Acquired with the assistance of the Harper and JCB Associates funds

To next section: Renewed push for independence