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  • Hi, I’m John Green,

  • this is Crash Course World History

  • and today things are going to get a little bit confusing,

  • because were going to talk about revolution and independence

  • in Latin America.

  • It’s a bit confusing because

  • 1. Latin America is big,

  • 2. It’s very diverse,

  • 3. Napoleon makes everything complicated

  • and 4. As weve seen in the past, sometimes

  • revolutions turn out not to be

  • not that revolutionary. [why a solid marketing dept. is key]

  • Witness, for instance, the New England Revolution,

  • who instead of, like, trying to form new and better governments

  • are always just kicking balls around like all the other soccer [futbol] teams.

  • [Intro music]

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  • Right,

  • so before independence,

  • Latin American society was characterized by three institutions

  • that exercised control over the population.

  • The first was the Spanish Crown,

  • or if you are Brazilian,

  • the Portuguese crown.

  • So, as far as Spain was concerned,

  • the job of the colonies was to produce revenue

  • in the form of a 20% tax on everything that was calledthe royal fifth.”

  • So government administration was pervasive and relatively efficient

  • because it had to be in order to collect its royal fifth.

  • I mean, the church even controlled time

  • the church bells tolled out the hours

  • and they mandated a seven day work week so that people

  • could go to church on Sunday.

  • [so HobbyLobby store hours aren't super inconvenient, they're just old skool?]

  • And finally, there was patriarchy. [yeuup, there's a shocker]

  • In Latin America, like much of the world,

  • husbands had complete control over their wives and any

  • extra-or-pre-marital skoodilypooping was severely punished.

  • I mean,

  • when it was the women doing the illicit skoodilypooping.

  • Men could basically get up to whatever. [RIP Helen Gurley Brown. much love]

  • This was mainly about property rights

  • because illegitimate children could inherit their father’s property,

  • but it was constructed to be about, you know, purity.

  • To get a sense of how patriarchy shaped Latin American lives,

  • take a gander at Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz,

  • whose name I’m actually abbreviating.

  • A child prodigy who spoke five languages by the age of 16,

  • de la Cruz wanted to disguise herself as a boy so she could attend University,

  • [plot of 80's flick Just One of the Guys]

  • but she was forbidden to do so.

  • Still, she wrote plays and poetry,

  • she studied math and natural science, [Girls do Get Curves, Danica McKellar!]

  • and for being one of the leading minds of the 17th century,

  • she was widely attacked,

  • and eventually forced to abandon her work

  • and sell all 4,000 of her books.

  • That’s a shame because she had a great mind,

  • once writing that

  • Aristotle would have written more if he had done any cooking.”

  • [oooh, snap!]

  • Couple other things:

  • First,

  • Latin America led the world in transculturation or Cultural Blending.

  • A new and distinct Latin American culture emerged mixing

  • 1. Whites from Spain called Peninsulares,

  • 2. Whites born in the Americas called creoles,

  • 3. Native Americans,

  • and 4. African slaves.

  • This blending of cultures may be most obvious

  • when looking at Native American and African influences upon Christianity.

  • The Virgin of Guadalupe, for instance, was still called Tonantzin,

  • the indigenous earth goddess, by Indians,

  • and the profusion of blood in Mexican iconography

  • recalls the Aztec use of blood in ritual.

  • But transculturation pervaded Latin American life,

  • from food to secular music to fashion.

  • Somewhat related: Latin America had a great deal of racial diversity and

  • a rigid social hierarchy to match.

  • There were four basic racial categories:

  • white, black, mestizo –a mix of white and American Indian-

  • and mulatto, a mix of white and black.

  • We try not to use that word anymore because it’s offensive,

  • but that’s the word they used.

  • And from the 16th century on,

  • Latin America had a huge diversity of mixed race people,

  • and there were constant attempts to classify them

  • and divide them into castes.

  • You can see some of these in so called casta paintings,

  • which attempted to establish in a very weird and Enlightenment-y way

  • all the possible racial combinations.

  • But of course that’s not how race works, as evidenced by the fact that

  • successful people of lower racial castes could becomelegally white

  • by being granted gracias al sacar. [pretty jacked up, white? right, I mean..]

  • So by 1800,

  • on the eve of Latin America’s independence movements,

  • roughly a quarter of the population were mixed race.

  • So Brazil

  • he said as thousands of Argentinians booed him

  • is obviously different because it was ruled, not by Spain,

  • but by Portugal.

  • But like a lot of revolutions in Latin America,

  • it was fairly conservative.

  • The creoles wanted to maintain their privilege

  • while also achieving independence from the Peninsulares.

  • And also like a lot of Latin American revolutions,

  • it featured Napoleon. [forever makes me think of Bill &Ted]

  • Freaking Napoleon.

  • Youre everywhere. [except in line for certain roller coasters]

  • He’s behind me, isn’t he?

  • Gah.

  • So when Napoleon took over Portugal in 1807,

  • the entire Portuguese royal family and their royal court decamped to Brazil.

  • And it turned out, they loved Brazil.

  • King Joao loved Brazil so much.

  • Off topic,

  • but do you think that J-Woww named herself after King Joao?

  • I mean, does she have that kind of historical sensibility?

  • I think she does. [that whole bit really just happened, btw]

  • So King Joao’s life in Rio was so good

  • that even after Napoleon was defeated at the Battle of Waterloo,

  • he just kind of stayed in Brazil.

  • And then, by 1820, the Portuguese in Portugal were like,

  • Hey, maybe you should come back and, like, you know,

  • govern us, King of Portugal.”

  • So in 1821,

  • he reluctantly returned to Lisbon, leaving his son Prince Pedro behind.

  • Meanwhile,

  • Brazilian creoles were organizing themselves around the idea

  • that they were culturally different from Portugal,

  • and they eventually f ormed a Brazilian Party

  • no, Stan

  • not that kind of party, come on

  • yes. That kind.

  • A Brazilian party to lobby for independence.

  • Then in 1822,

  • they convinced Prince Pedro of boring, old Portugal that

  • he should just become King Pedro of sexy, big Brazil.

  • So Pedro declared Brazil an independent constitutional monarchy

  • with himself as king. [as one does, naturally]

  • As a result,

  • Brazil achieved independence without much bloodshed

  • and managed to hold on to that social hierarchy

  • with the plantation owners on top.

  • And that

  • explains why Brazil was the last new world country to abolish slavery,

  • not fully abandoning it until 1888.

  • Right, so even when Napoleon wasn’t forcing Portuguese royals

  • into an awesome exile, he was still messing with Latin America.

  • Let’s go to the Thought Bubble.

  • So Latin America’s independence movements began

  • not with Brazil, but in Mexico when Napoleon put his brother

  • on the Spanish throne in 1808. [nepotism; always a classy move]

  • Napoleon wanted to institute the liberal principles of the French Revolution,

  • which angered the ruling elite of the Peninsulares

  • in what was then called New Spain.

  • They were aristocrats and they just wanted to go back to some good old-fashioned divine

  • right monarchy with a strong church.

  • So the Mexican Creoles,

  • seeking to expand their own power at the expense of the Peninsular elite

  • saw an opportunity here.

  • They affirmed their loyalty to the new king,

  • who was French even though he was the king of Spain.

  • I told you this was complicated.

  • Then,

  • a massive peasant uprising began, led by a renegade priest Padre Hidalgo,

  • and supported by the Creoles because it was aimed at the Peninsulares,

  • even though they weren’t actually the ones who supported Spain.

  • This was further complicated by the fact that

  • to the mestizo peasants led by Hidalgo,

  • Creoles and Peninsulares looked and acted basically identical

  • they were both white and imperious— [preferable to avada kedavrious?]

  • so the peasants often attacked the Creoles, who were,

  • technically on their side in trying to overthrow the ruling peninsulares.

  • Even though it had tens of thousands of supporters,

  • this first peasant uprising petered out.

  • But,

  • a second peasant revolt, led by another priest, Father Morelos,

  • was much more revolutionary.

  • In 1813,

  • he declared independence and the revolt lasted until his death in 1815.

  • But since he was a mestizo, he didn’t gain much Creole support,

  • so revolutionary fervor in Mexico began to fade until

  • 1820, when Spain, which was

  • now under the rule of a Spanish, rather than a French king,

  • had a REAL liberal revolution

  • with a new constitution that limited the power of the church.

  • Thanks, Thought Bubble.

  • So, in the wake of Spain’s liberalizing movements,

  • the Mexican elites, who had previously supported Spain,

  • switched sides and made common cause with the creoles

  • in the hopes that they could somehow hold onto their privileges.

  • And pushing for independence together,

  • things went very well. [stay together to stay alive, just like L4D!]

  • The Creole general Iturbide and the rebel mestizo commander

  • Guerrero

  • joined forces and won independence

  • with most of the Peninsulares returning to Spain.

  • Iturbide

  • the whiter of the two generals

  • became king of Mexico in 1822

  • (remember, this was a revolution essentially AGAINST

  • representative government).

  • But that didn’t work out

  • and within a year he was overthrown by the military and a republic was declared.

  • Popular sovereignty was sort of victorious,

  • but without much benefit to the peasants

  • who actually made independence possible.

  • This alliance between conservative landowning elites and the army -

  • especially in the face of calls for land reform or economic justice

  • would happen over and over again in Latin America

  • for the next century and a half.

  • But before we come to any conclusions,

  • let’s discuss one last revolution.

  • But,

  • the interior of Venezuela was home to mixed-race cowboys called llaneros

  • who supported the king.

  • They kept the Caracas revolutionaries from extending their power inland.

  • And that, is where Simon Bolivar,

  • el Libertador,” [young portrait w foppish 'stache is fave]

  • enters the picture.

  • Bolivar realized that the only way to overcome the various class divisions

  • (like the one between the Caracas creoles and llaneros)

  • was to appeal to a common sense of South American-ness.

  • I mean, after all,

  • the one thing that almost all South Americans had in common:

  • they were born in South America,

  • NOT SPAIN.

  • So then,

  • partly through shows of toughness that included, like,

  • crossing flooded plains and going without sleep,

  • Bolivar convinced the llaneros to give up fighting for Spain

  • and start fighting against them.

  • He quickly captured the viceregal capital at Bogota

  • and by 1822 his forces had taken Caracas and Quito.

  • Hold on, hold on.

  • Lest I be attacked by Argentinians [to get back the plutonium you stole?]

  • who are already upset about what I said about their really good soccer team,

  • I want to make one thing clear.

  • Argentina’s general Jose de San Martin

  • was also vital to the defeat of the Spanish.

  • He led an expeditions against the Spanish in Chile

  • and also a really important one in Lima.

  • [helping McKinley advance to Nationals over dreaded rivals, Vocal Adrenaline]

  • And then,

  • in December of 1824, at the battle of Ayacucho,

  • the last Spanish viceroy was finally captured and

  • all of Latin America was free from Spain.

  • Oh, it’s time for the open letter?

  • That’s A chair, Stan,