In 1808, Spain ruled a global empire that stretched from the Atlantic to the Pacific, from Manila to Buenos Aires, from what is today Vancouver Island, Canada, to Patagonia. By 1826, the only colonies Spain retained in the Americas were Cuba and Puerto Rico. The revolutions for Spanish American Independence were part of a wave of revolutions in the Atlantic world, revolutions that included the U.S. war for Independence, the French Revolution, and the Haitian Revolution. The roots of these movements stretch back to the mid-eighteenth century, if not before. This exhibition explores some of the large forces that produced the Spanish American wars for Independence, and is the first of a two-part series celebrating the bicentennials of the Independence of Spanish America.
Prepared by Kenneth Ward, Maury A. Bromsen Curator of Latin American Books, John Carter Brown Library.