REVOLUTIONS IN THE WESTERN HEMISPHERE The Emergence of Latin America Background Information The discovery of massive precious metal wealth in the New World by the conquistadors had a dramatic impact on the peoples of the Spanish Empire. The New World was a subject of a huge “Silver Race”. The 16th Century saw the world develop several significant trade networks. th 16 Century Trade Networks Asia became the focus for Europeans seeking spice. Central and South America became coveted prizes for their mineral wealth. The Importance of Silver “Silver went around the world and made the world go round”. Spanish America produced 85% of the silver. The Mines “New people arrive by the hour, attracted by the smell of silver,” commented a Spanish observer in the 1570s. With 160,000 people, Potosí became the largest city in the Americas and equivalent in size to London, Amsterdam, or Seville. Its wealthy European elite lived in luxury, with all the goods of Europe and Asia at their disposal. Meanwhile, the city’s Native American miners worked in conditions so horrendous that some families held funeral services for men drafted to work the mines. One Spanish priest referred to Potosí as a “portrait of hell.”9 Spanish Pieces of Eight Became the standard for the worlds currency Broad Significance The trade in silver led to an age of Spanish dominance until the silver market collapsed in the 17th century. Prior to that Spain took great care to build a great empire of exploitation in the New World. The Spanish called the mountain Cerro Rico, or Rich Mountain, for the silver they extracted from the mountain. Some 3 million Quechua Indians were put to work here over the years. Hundreds of thousands died, casualties of cave-ins, or killed by overwork, hunger and disease. (NPR Report: Man Eating Mines of Potosi) Revolutions in Spanish America Enlightenment ideas from France and America began to filter into the Spanish controlled realm during the 19th century. The upper class intellectuals (Creoles) had grown weary of Spanish rule. These areas had little or experience with self government. The areas unique social situation made it a strong candidate to revolt. “An Imported Revolution” The early 19th century experience of Europe made it impossible to maintain colonial rule over the Americas. By 1826 most of the continent had gained independence. It wasn’t one independence movement—rather it was many. Contrasts with America and France The presence of slavery and a remarkably diverse economy made this revolution unique. In many cases such as Mexico and Colombia it was a peasant uprising. Unique case of Simon Bolivar The George Washington of Latin America Bolivar had a vision that the ideal shouldn’t be a number of Latin American countries—rather one. Bolivar pushed across the northern rim of South America for the continent to develop along American lines—a United States of Latin America. Unfortunately he concluded that Latin America is “ungovernable” and those who serve the rebellion “plough the sea”. Gran Colombia Future of Latin America The United States who didn’t have the same cultural, economic, and social barriers as the Latin American revolutions. The result was the transformation of the United States to a world power, whereas the Latin American states remained riddled with economic and social division and politically fragmented. Atlantic Slave Trade: Background Information The most painful link for this hemisphere to the European world was the transatlantic slave trade. Between 1500 and 1866 an estimated 15 million Africans were taken from African societies. Approximately 1.8 died on the infamous middle passage to the New World. Triangle of Trade What Fueled Slavery? As we have discussed with Guns Germs and Steel, the Native Population of the New World could not sustain the direct contact with the disease bearing Europeans. Europeans needed an alternative labor source to work in the sugar fields of the New World. This later transformed to other labor intensive crops such as indigo, rice, and cotton. The Haitian Revolution: 1791-1804 Saint Domingue was a wealthy colony of France with over 8,000 slave bearing plantations. Slave population of over 500,000 on a small Caribbean island about the same size as Massachusetts. In contrast to the 500,000 slaves, there were only 40,000 white plantation owners and other slavery supporters. This led to a startling social class crisis. A Place of Exploitation and Inequality Haiti was vastly different than the societies we have discussed based on the slave based economy. Several revolutions in one: Slaves-Freedom Freed blacks-greater social freedom White/slave owners-independence from financial restrictions in France. The Only Successful Slave Revolution in World History Led by Touissant L’Overture a former slave, the slave class was able to navigate trough the turbulent 1790’s. A strange mix of social revolution and foreign interference amidst the fall of Napoleon makes Touissant’s achievement so impressive. Haiti’s future prospects?