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The Spanish American republics

The territories depicted in this 17th-century map underwent many changes following the wars of independence. The civil wars between Creole factions and territorial disputes brought a long period of instability. On occasion Spanish royal authority was temporarily restored. Circumstances varied from region to region but most republics were free from Spanish rule by the mid 1820s.

Move the mouse around the maps to identify the present-day Spanish American nations and see how Spanish America was remapped as new nations were formed.

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Novissima et accuratissima totius Americae descriptio/Map of America, Amsterdam
Image: Novissima et accuratissima totius Americae descriptio/Map of America, Amsterdam, 1680? [BL Maps K.Top.118.9.]

Argentina
The independence process began in 1810 with the creation of a junta in Buenos Aires. National independence was declared in 1816.

Bolivia
Formerly known as Upper Peru. In 1809 a revolutionary uprising in Chuquisaca was put down. Fighting against Spanish forces lasted until 1825.

Chile
A junta was formed in Santiago in 1810 but Chile was retaken by the Spanish in 1814. Independence was sealed in 1818.

Colombia
The Comunero Revolt of 1781 was supressed. In 1810 a junta was formed in Bogotá and the struggle for independence continued. The Republic of Greater Colombia was formed in 1819 and included Colombia, Venezuela, Panama, and Ecuador. The union split in 1830.

Costa Rica
Independence from Spain in 1821. Part of the United States of Central America until full independence in 1838.

Cuba
In 1898 Spain relinquished Cuba to the United States. Cuba secured its independence in 1902.

Dominican Republic
Declared independence in 1821 but was invaded by Haiti only weeks later and occupied until 1844. Haitian attacks meant that the Dominican Republic returned to the Spanish Empire between 1861 and 1865.

Ecuador
A junta was formed in Quito in 1809 but the rebellion was crushed in 1812. Following independence from Spain in 1822, Ecuador became part of the Republic of Greater Colombia. It withdrew from the union in 1830.

El Salvador
Independence in 1821. Part of the United Provinces of Central America until the region broke away in 1838. Named El Salvador in 1844.        

Guatemala
Independence in 1821. Part of the United Provinces of Central America, a federation formed in 1821 that also included El Salvador, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua and dissolved in 1838.

Honduras
Independence in 1821. Honduras seceded from the United Provinces of Central America in 1838.
 
Mexico
War for independence began in 1810. Independence was won in 1821.

Nicaragua
Independence in 1821. Nicaragua seceded from the United Provinces of Central America in 1838.

Panama
Independence from Spain in 1821 and then became part of the Republic of Greater Colombia. Became an independent nation in 1903.

Paraguay
Independence from Spain in 1811.

Peru
The Túpac Amaru uprising in 1780 was suppressed. Independence declared in 1821.

Uruguay
Occupied by the Portuguese and then the newly independent Brazil from 1816. Becomes an independent nation in 1828.

Venezuela
In 1806 Francisco de Miranda launched an unsuccessful attempt to free Venezuela. Revolutionary struggle began again in 1810 but Spanish authority was restored until 1821. Venezuela seceded from the Republic of Greater Colombia in 1829.

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Discover more:
Introduction
The origins of the independence movement
in Spanish America
The Spanish American republics
Britain and Spanish American independence

British travelogues of independence-era
Spanish America

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