1st Edition

War and Independence In Spanish America

By Anthony McFarlane Copyright 2014
    464 Pages
    by Routledge

    464 Pages
    by Routledge

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    During the period from 1808 to 1826, the Spanish empire was convulsed by wars throughout its dominions in Iberia and the Americas. The conflicts began in Spain, where Napoleon’s invasion triggered a war of national resistance. The collapse of the Spanish monarchy provoked challenges to the colonial regime in virtually all of Spain's American provinces, and colonial demands for autonomy and independence led to political turbulence and violent confrontation on a transcontinental scale. During the two decades after 1808, Spanish America witnessed warfare on a scale not seen since the conquests three centuries earlier.

    War and Independence in Spanish America provides a unified account of war in Spanish America during the period after the collapse of the Spanish government in 1808. McFarlane traces the courses and consequences of war, combining a broad narrative of the development and distribution of armed conflict with analysis of its characteristics and patterns. He maps the main arenas of war, traces the major campaigns by and crucial battles between rebels and royalists, and places the military conflicts in the context of international political change. Readers will come away with a fully realized understanding of how war and military mobilization affected Spanish American societies and shaped the emerging independent states.

    Introduction  Part I: War and the Crisis of the Spanish Monarchy 1. War in the Spanish Empire 2. Kingdoms in Crisis 3. Paths to War  Part II: Theatres of War in Spanish America, 1810-15 4. Civic Wars and First Republics: New Granada and Venezuela, 1810-12 5. 'War to the Death' in Venezuela and the Dissolution of Independent New Granada, 1813-15 6. Revolution on the Offensive: The Campaigns of Buenos Aires, 1810-11 7. Counter-Revolution against the United Provinces, 1811-15 8. Insurrection in Mexico, 1810-11 9. Insurgency and Counter-Insurgency in Mexico  Part III: Reconquest and Liberation, 1815-1825 10. Restoration and Reconquest 11. Republic Rearmed: The Birth of Colombia 12. War in the Southern Cone 13. Bolivar and the Fall of Royalist Peru  Afterword Bibliography


    Anthony McFarlane is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Warwick, UK.

    Drawing upon archival and printed primary sources as well as a broad array of secondary literature, McFarlane's thoughtful, detailed, and clearly written work will appeal to both specialists and general readers.  A valuable complement to Jaime E. Rodrl}guez's stress on political revolution in The Independence of Spanish America (CH, Dec'98, 36-2319), McFarlane's book belongs in all academic and major public libraries.  Summing Up: Essential.


    Anthony McFarlane has written a distinguished modern history of the revolutions for independence in Spanish America, adding a new factor, war and armed conflict, to the traditional themes of political and social change. He takes the study of war beyond campaigns, battles and armies into a wider terrain and shows that war and military mobilization profoundly affected society and conditioned the process of state building in the aftermath of empire. The book takes a leading place among the histories of Spain’s loss of empire and the formation of a new Spanish America.

    – John Lynch, author of Simón Bolívar and the Age of Revolution

    McFarlane has produced a stirring narrative of insurgency, counter-insurgency, and grand campaigns that never loses sight of its political context and implications. The result is an impressively controlled description and analysis of a prolonged conflict with profound consequences for global history.

    – Sir John Elliott, author of Empires of the Atlantic World: Britain and Spain in America, 1492-1830

    An important study of wars that had more long-term significance than those of Napoleon. A deft approach, skilfully linking war, politics and society. Deserves wide attention.

    – Jeremy Black, author of An Introduction to Global Military History

    This magnificent narrative of the processes of independence between 1808 and 1826 across Spanish America fills a hole that has gaped in the English-language historiography ever since the end of the armed conflicts that brought formal Spanish colonialism to an end in the republics that today are Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, and Venezuela, as well as large swathes of the present territory of the United States of America.

    -Matthew Brown, Univeristy of Bristol in War in History