Bernard Moses.

Spain's declining power in South America, 1730-1806 online

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The Beginnings of a New Society

I. Relation of the Spaniards to the Indians. II.
Spaniards, Creoles, and Mestizos. III. The new society.


State of the Spanish Dependencies in South America,

I. Peru in the beginning of the period. II. The after-
math of Antequera's rebellion. III. The controversy
concerning Colonia. IV. Montevideo and Tucuman. V.
Two dec^jdes of Chilean affairs. VI. The University of
Chile. Vlly New Granada under the last colonial presi-
dents. Vni. The state of Quito, ff^ The reestablished
viceroyalty of New Granada. X. Santo Thome and the
missions of the plains. XI. The little revolution of
Trinidad. 12-72


The Spanish-Portuguese Boundary Treaty of 1750
and the War of the Seven Reductions

I. Terms of the treaty of 1750. II. Protests of the
Indians against removal. III. The boundary commis-
sioners and the disposition of the Indians. IV. Active
hostilities of the Spanish and Portuguese against the
Indians of the seven reductions. V. ''Emperor" Nich-
olas Nanguiru, further hostilities, and preparations for
exile. VI. Failure of the campaign and the abrogation
of the treaty. 73-96




The Expulsion of the Jesuits

I. Viceroy Amat and the monopoly of alcohol. II.
Juan Diaz Herrera and the revolt in Quito. III. The
controversy respecting the Jesuits. IV. The decree of
expulsion. V. The removal of the Jesuits from the
towns of Rio de la Plata. VI. The missionaries of the
Chaco and the region about Sierra de la Cruz. VII. The
expulsion of the Jesuits from the reductions of Para-
^ay. VIII. The Jesuits of Peru. IX. The Jesuits of
Chile. X. Their removal. XI. The expulsion from
Ecuador. . XIL The Jesuits removed fropa Bogota and
the other towns of New Granada. (XIII; The Jesuits
of the llanos. XIV. The Jesuits in exile. 97-152


The Creation of the Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata

I. The need of a new viceroyalty, and the functions
of the viceroy. II. The audiencia of Charcas and the
creation of the viceroyatly of Rio de la Plata. III.
Viceroy Ceballos and his army. IV. The Spanish-
Portuguese treaty of 1777. V. The commercial code of
1778. VI. Viceroy Vertiz. VII. Fernandez general in-
tendant of the army and the royal treasury. 153-173


The Revolt of Tupac Amaru

I. Abuse of the Indians by the Corregidors. II.
Areche as visitador-general. III. Tupac Amaru. IV.
The beginning of hostilities. V. The events of Oruro
and Sangarara. VI. Hopes and aims of Tupac Amaru.
VII. The overthrow and execution of the Inca. VIII.
The sieges of Sorata and La Paz. IX. Results of the
war. 174-203



The Rebeluon of the Communeros in New Granada

I. Viceroy Florez and the visitador-regente Pineres.
II. The outbreak in Socorro. III. Organization of the
Comun under Berbeo, and the battle of Puente Real.

IV. The advance on Bogota, and the flight of the regent.

V. The negotiations and the agreement. VI. Galan and
the new revolt. VII. The Indians of Nemocon, and the
conclusion of the conflict. 204-226


The Conspiracy of Gramuset and Berne y
I. The revolt under Amat, governor and captain-
general of Chile. II. The conspiracy of Gramuset and
Berney. III. The arrest and imprisonment of the con-
spirators. 227-240


The Reorganization of the Viceroyalty of
Rio de la Plata

I. The OrdiTianza de Intendentes. II. Status and
functions of the intendants. III. The ordinance applied
in Peru and Chile. IV. The reformed ordinance of
1801. V. The state of Buenos Aires and the adjacent
country. 241-255


Awakening Interest in Science and Politics: Mutis
and Narino

I. Beginnings of literary cultivation. II. El Mer-
curio Peruano; Papel Periodico. III. Mutis' arrival
and early j-ears in New Granada. IV. Mutis turns to
Botany; correspondence with Linnaeus. V. Work of
Caballero y Gongora for progress. VI. The Botanical


Expedition. VII. The viceroy ordered to protect the
Isthmus against invasion. VIII. The viceroy's commer-
cial views. IX. Botanical Bureau's headquarters trans-
ferred to Bogota. X. The Spanish Botanical Expedition
to Peru. XI. Narino and the young reformers and their
trial. XII. Narino in Europe; his return to New Gra-
nada and imprisonment. 256-291


Lima and Santiago at the End of the Century

I. The position and external form of Lima. II. The
earthquake of 1746. III. The court of the viceroy and
the institutions of Lima. IV. Social characteristics. V.
Santiago de Chile. VI. The classes. 292-309


The State of Venezuela and Miranda's Expedition

I. External attempts to overthrow Spanish rule. II.
The captaincy-general of Venezuela. III. The revolt led
by Espaiia and Gaul in 1797. IV. Manners and senti-
ments of the inhabitants of Venezuela. V. The unem-
ployed and the remedy. VI. The economic confusion in
the province. VII. Miranda's project. VIII. Plans of
Great Britain and the United States. IX. The expedi-
tion from the United States. 311-336


The British Capture and Loss of Buenos Aires

I. The trade of Buenos Aires. II. Plans of Great
Britain respecting South America. III. The British
advance and capture of the city. IV. Liniers and the
overthrow of Bercsford. V. The cabildo and Liniers in
power. VI. British reinforcements and the recall of
Popham. VII. The final British attack. 337-370



Peru and Chile at the Beginning of the Nineteenth

I. The viceroys. II. El Mercurio Peruano. 3. Am-
brosio O'Higgins. IV. The Araucanian question. V.
Agriculture and the system of encomiendas. VI. Fear
of foreign trade and foreign ideas. VII. The last vice-
roy of the eighteenth century. VIII. The population.
IX. Commerce and industry. X. Titles of nobility
and entailed estates. XI. Life in the country. XII.
Hindrances to production. XIII. Royal drafts on the
resources. 372-426




Spanish South America in the last decades of
its dependence on Spain gave evidence of a de-
cline in Spain's governmental authority and
efficiency. The practice of the crown in confer-
ring important offices in America only upon
persons sent from Spain moved the Creoles and
mestizos gradually to constitute themselves a
society apart from the Spaniards. This society
drifted inevitably into opposition to the estab-
lished administration, and led revolts against the
government. These revolts, in many instances,
were immediately occasioned by the imposition of
specific fiscal burdens, and they indicate that the
colonies were slipping from the grasp of Spain
even before the creole-mestizo element in the
population had clearly formed a design for eman-
cipation. The expulsion of the Jesuits deprived
the dependencies of their ablest and most effective
teachers, and took from the industrial and com-
mercial life some of the most energetic and far-
sighted entrepreneurs. By this act, moreover,
the government removed the only body of resi-


dents who manifested any clear conception of the
proper relations to be maintained between the
Spaniards and the Indians. The manner in which
the development of interest in science and politics
contributed to the spirit of patriotic independence
is illustrated by the careers of Mutis and Narino.
The outlook towards independence is further pre-,
sented in the negotiations and expedition of
Miranda and the heroic defense and recapture* of
Buenos Aires by the citizens after Viceroy Sobre-
monte had ignominiously abandoned the field'.

The stage on which these scenes were enacted
was the part of the territory of South America
then held by Spain and now claimed by Venezuela,
Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argen-
tina, Uruguay, and Paraguay. It embraces three
of the four great river systems of the southern
continent; those of the Orinoco, the Magdalena,
and the Rio de la Plata. The principal geograph-
ical features of Venezuela are the mountains and
the hilly country, occupying the northern and
western parts of the territory, and the llanos, or
plains, comprising the basin of the Orinoco, and
extending from the western mountains to the
delta of that river, an area of two hundred thou-
sand square miles. In some parts of the plains
there are low mesas, the remnants of an ancient
plateau that has been gradually worn away by
erosion. Other parts of this region are as level
as the undisturbed ocean. Here nature, by the
vigorous growth that follows the abundant rains,


resists the encroachments of man's cultivation,
and hitherto has tolerated only the pastoral life
of semi-nomads. In agreeable and fertile valleys,
between the mountain ridges and the plains, lie
a number of the principal centers of population
that were slowly developed during the colonial
period. Caracas, the most important of these, is
about six miles from the port of La Guayra, at an
elevation of three thousand feet above the level
of the sea. Although within the tropics, this eleva-
tion ensures it a mild climate; the temperature
ranges annually from 66° to 75°. In the colonial
period, a road over the miountain was practically
the only line of connection between the city and
its port, but traffic by this route was greatly
diminished by the opening of a railroad between
the two places in 1883. Valencia and Barquisi-
meto are two other towns that lie within this
zone of eternal spring. The former, near Lake
Valencia, at an elevation of sixteen hundred and
twenty-five feet, is a little warmer than Caracas,
having a range of temperature from 66° to 87°,
with an annual mean of 76°. Barquisimeto lies
about two thousand feet above the sea. These
interior towns have outrun in prosperity the
earlier settlements of Coro and Cumana, near the

The part of the viceroyalty of New Granada
that became the territory of Colombia extended
along the Atlantic between fifteen hundred and
sixteen hundred miles, and had a Pacific coast of


nearly the same extent. But in spite of the king-
dom's more than three thousand miles of ocean
coast, the real entrance to the country was, and
has continued to be, the Magdalena River. It was
by this water route that Quesada advanced to the
land of the Chibchas, and founded Bogota on the
plateau of Cundinamarca. Santa Marta and Car-
tagena on the coast, the former east of the river
and the latter west of it, were founded before
any interior settlements, and remained important,
particularly Cartagena, throughout the colonial
period. Cartagena, with its excellent harbor,
became the halting place for vessels engaged in
trade with Peru, bound from Spain to the Isthmus.
It was regarded as the bulwark of the country,
and vast sums were expended on its walls and
other defences. But Bogota, established far from
the coast and at an elevation of eight thousand
six hundred and eighty feet above the level of
the sea, became the political and ecclesiastical
capital, and was reached from the northern coast
only by a long journey on the Magdalena River to
Honda, and by a difficult mountain trail from
Honda to the plateau on which the city stands.
Of the valleys of the tributaries of the Magdalena,
that of the Cauca River was destined to become
especially important by reason of its fertility and
agreeable climate. The independent river Atrato,
running through the low lands near the western
coast and flowing into the gulf of Uraba, was some-
times regarded as furnishing, with the river San


Juan, a possible water-way from the Atlantic to
the Pacific, but its low and marshy valley never
acquired great significance in the life of the vice-
royalty. It was at the elevated and isolated cap-
ital that the real struggle for civilization in this
part of South America was carried on.

During the later decades of the colonial period,
the territory of Ecuador was subject to the vice-
roy of New Granada, but in some part of the
period Quito was the seat of an audiencia. This
city derived some of its significance from the fact
that it was the capital of a Quichua kingdom be-
fore the Spanish invasion. Its position in the
Andean region that extends southward from
Bogota, at an elevation of 9350 feet above the
level of the sea, gives it a temperate climate,
although it lies directly on the equator. It is one
hundred and fourteen miles from the coast and
one hundred and sixty-five miles northeast of the
port of Guayaquil. Through this port Quito had
its connection with the traffic of the sea. Over
this long and difficult route it sent out its prod-
ucts, particularly its textile fabrics, and imported
much that it consumed of European wares. The
road begun by Maldonado and designed to reach
the port near the mouth of the river Esmeraldas
was never completed, and in consequence of the
difficulty of communication with the other depen-
dencies and with Spain, the city and the region
about it remained of only secondary importance
in the colonial empire. The positions of both


Bogota and Quito were determined by previous
establishments of the Indians. The position of
Lima, on the other hand, was fixed solely by con-
siderations of convenience and advantage as they
appeared to the Spaniards. Its founders, after
due deliberation, decided in 1535 to plant it where
it now stands, six miles from its port, five hundred
feet above the sea, and on the banks of the river
Rimac. In this they broke with the tradition of
the Indians, who preferred the high lands, the
slopes of the Andes, to the sandy coast of the
Pacific, and who had already in Cuzco a consider-
able city. But the Indians had no need of com-
merce by the ocean, while this commerce was
necessary to make useful for the Spaniards the
wealth of the country. The ocean to the Indians
was a limit of their lands, not a highway to a mar-
ket. Under the Spaniards Lima became a market
and a governmental residence. The wealth of the
country was drawn from the mines in the moun-
tains of Upper Peru, now Bolivia, and exchanged at
Lima for imported European wares. This process
gave character to two centers of civilization in
Peru : Lima, the seat of the exchange, and cities,
such as Chuquisaca, Oruro, and Potosi, that came
into existence and flourished near the mines.
They flourished while the mines continued to pour
out their treasures, but, as the regions where they
were established were unfavorable for agricul-
ture, they declined when the mines ceased to yield
in abundance. With the failure of the mines in


any given part of the high lands of Upper Peru
there was no other form of production to provide
an economic basis for society in the region in
question. In Chile a different state of things pre-
vailed. There was much profitable mining in the
early decades, and the fertile soil offered abun-
dant rewards for cultivation. When, therefore,
the mines failed, the colony was able to rely on
agriculture. The population in the mining regions
of Peru increased with the prosperity of the
mines, and diminished with their decline ; in Chile
it suffered no such fate ; it had a slower but con-
tinuous growth; the wheat fields furnished a
product for exportation hardly less valuable than
that of the mines. The Pacific coast of Chile
extends a distance of some three thousand miles
from north to south, and the narrow land that
lies along the foot of the Andes, between the
mountains and the sea, forms, in the middle part
of the country, one of the world's most favored
fields for civilization. The desert lands of the
rainless region of the north are in striking con-
trast with those settled in the period of Spanish
colonization. In the vast nitrate deposits they
have a source of great wealth, but none of the
natural conditions that promote the establish-
ment and growth of progressive society. In that
part of the long vallej^ where the city of Santiago
lies at an elevation of two thousand feet, the fer-
tile soil and the mild climate make this part of
Chile an especially attractive seat of human cul-


ture. The lower levels of the southern districts
of Chile present a rare and fruitful combination
of field, forest, lake, and river, but the stout
resistance of the Araucanians prevented the full
exploitation of this region in the period here
under consideration.

In the southeastern part of the continent, as
well as in Chile, agricultural resources induced
only a late social development. The barren moun-
tains of the northern part of the viceroyalty of
Rio de la Plata supported flourishing and popu-
lous cities, while the rich lands drained by the
La Plata River system showed few signs of prog-
ress. But the later state of the low-land cities,
compared with the mining cities of the high lands,
furnishes a further confirmation of the fact that
the race is not always to the swift. Decade had
followed decade throughout the greater part of
the eighteenth century, with little change except
what might be observed in the increasing herds
of the plains and the growth of contraband trade
through Colonia. The pampas, or plains, of
Argentina, extending six or seven hundred miles
from the foothills of the Andes to the Rio de la
Plata and the Atlantic, with a regular incline in
that distance of somewhat more than two thou-
sand feet, and stretching fourteen hundred or
fifteen hundred miles from north to south, has no
equally extensive rivals in fertility and possible
productiveness except the valley of the Missis-
sippi and the plains of Russia. The rich pastures


of Argentina and Uruguay, in the course of
decades became covered with vast herds, the natu-
ral increase of the horses and cattle that had been
abandoned by the early settlers of Buenos Aires.
In these herds the inhabitants had for the taking
an abundance of flesh for food and hides for the
limited foreign commerce. Supplied with this
form of food without great effort, and with the
danger of extreme want removed, the bulk of
the inhabitants became preeminently flesh-eaters.
For many years there was lacking an effective
incentive to the production of articles that would
adequately furnish a more varied diet. But
through the stimulus of a freer commerce and an
enlarged market, agriculture was gradually devel-
oped, and became a rival of pastoral cultivation.
Under the larger freedom of commerce accorded
by the code of 1778, Buenos Aires distanced all
other ports of this southeastern part of Spain's
possessions. Asuncion in Paraguay, that had
flourished in the earlier decades, became a stag-
nant capital of an earthly paradise. With its herds
and fruits, its tobacco and mate, Paraguay pre-
sented physical conditions that seemed to favor
prosperity and progress. Its impediments were
its isolation in the interior of the continent, about
a thousand miles up the river from the more
favored ports of Buenos Aires and Montevideo,
its preponderance of Indian blood in the popula-
tion, and the unreasonable internal conflict be-
tween secular and ecclesiastical factions.


But an economic awakening, after two hun-
dred years of stagnation, appeared in this region,
with the failure of Spain's policy of restriction
and the adoption of the code of 1778. Prior to
this change, the government in Spain had been
illustrating throughout these vast dominions, how
human cultivation and progress may be throttled
and suppressed in the presence of material re-
sources greater than any that had previously
appeared in the history of the world.

Within this territory there were developed
different political groups whose varying social
characteristics were due in a large measure to the
natural environment of the several groups and to
the different qualities of the Indians who became
amalgamated with the Spanish invaders. The
history of these groups, or political entities de-
pendent on Spain is a part of Spanish history;
at least some changes effected in the course of
their growth were ordered by the supreme politi-
cal authority, and may be observed from the view-
point of Spain. But there were other changes or
events in this development that proceeded from
the conscious designs of the colonists, from the
efforts of settlers in a strange country to adjust
themselves to their new circumstances, and from
the unconscious influences of the widely varying
nature in the different provinces. These latter
events and forces seldom rose above the Madrid
horizon, and this fact makes it necessary to
assume a position outside of that horizon in order


to obtain a complete view of the life that went
on in the colonies. From the viewpoint of the
king and the Council of the Indies, an account of
the history of the dependencies may very well
have a larger measure of unity than when pre-
sented from the viewpoint of colonial life that
varied greatly in the different dependencies. But
by emphasizing the events or movements affecting
all the colonies, such as the growth of a creole-
mestizo society, an awakening intellectual interest
in nature and politics, the overthrow of a religious
order established in all of the colonies, and the
rebellions and conspiracies of the last decades of
the century, as features common to many political
divisions, the history of Spanish South America,
even when considered from the viewpoint of
colonial conditions, may seem to have a certain
unity, in spite of the wide geographical separa-
tion, and the differing qualities of the inhabitants,
of the several dependencies.

Spain's power in America gave evidence of
declining before the colonies showed any signs
of an effective organization designed to supplant
legitimate authority. For decades the principal
indication of change was the indisposition of
officials in the colonies to carry out, or force the
strict execution of, the laws. In very many
instances there was apparently no thought of
creating a new power, only a protest against the
conduct of the existing government. In the period
here examined, from 1730 to 1806, the decline


was hardly stayed even by the energy of Charles
III. In fact, that king's most positive show of
administrative strength, the expulsion of the
Jesuits, did not hinder but rather hastened the
decline of Spanish power in the colonies. The
king and the Council of the Indies continued to
issue decrees in the spirit of Spain's govern-
mental traditions, but the officials in America dis-
played increasing reluctance to execute them
exactly. The colonists frequently supported this
attitude of the officials, because it was often
materially advantageous to them that the royal
decrees should not be carried out. The history
of these last decades of Spanish rule in South
America shows the affairs of the colonies drifting
towards the crisis reached in the war of indepen-


The Relation of the Spaniards to the Indians. II.
Spaniards, Creoles, and Mestizos. III. The new

A crviLizED nation of this century, attempting to
adjust itself to a less developed people, has for its
instruction a number of experiments by other
modern nations, but when the Spaniards under-
took the control of Indians in America, they were
pioneers; they had for their guidance only the
experience of Spain in her internal affairs. They
had known a society where classes were widely
separated, and such a society they fostered in the
New World. They undertook to transfer to
America the social distinctions that were the
legitimate product of a long differentiating social
growth. They exerted powerful influences to
make life in the colonies grow into conformity
with the European type. They put forth distinct
efforts to counteract any democratic influence, or
any non-European social forms, that might issue
from the conditions of a new country. They
created a titled nobility, and, where titles were
not formally granted, the relation of the encom-


endero to his dependents offered a distinctly
recognized superior and inferior. And whatever
influence the church exerted was clearly in favor

Online LibraryBernard MosesSpain's declining power in South America, 1730-1806 → online text (page 1 of 29)