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Enlightenment in Latin America

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Enlightenment in Latin America

How Did The Enlightenment Effect Latin America?

Enlightenment ideas in Latin America took place during the 1700's to the early 1800's. These ideas were appealed to the people because they taught that man was free and that all were equal. These ideas were important especially in countries were slavery existed and countries under the control of foreign powers. The Spark that ignited wide spread revolt was napoleon's invasion of Spain. He ousted the Spanish king and placed his brother Joseph on the Spanish throne. Latin American leaders saw Spain's opportunity to reject foreign domination and demand independence from colonial rule. Two places that were influenced by the enlightenment were Haiti and South America. Toussaint L'Ouverture was also influenced by the enlightenment.

Haiti had over a half million enslaved Africans working on sugar plantations owned by the French. The sugar was hugely profitable, but conditions for enslaved worker were horrendous. Many were cruelly over worked and under fed. Haiti also had a population of both free and enslaved mulattoes. Free mulattoes, however, had few right and were badly treated by the French. In 1791, a slave revolt exploded in northern Haiti. Under the able leadership of Toussaint L'Ouverture, Haitians would fight for freedom and pave the way for throwing off French rule.

In South America, Native Americans had rebelled against Spanish rule as early as the 1700s. These rebellions had limited results, however it was not until 1800s that discontent among the Creoles sparked a widespread drive for independence. Educated Creoles like Simo¢n Bolivar applauded the French and American Revolutions. He dreamed of winning independence for his country. When Napoleon occupied Spain, Simo¢n returned to his South America and led an uprising that established a republic in his native Venezuela. But his newly found republic quickly toppled by conservative forces. Bolivar then got a daring idea; he would march his forces across the Andes and attack the Spanish at Bogotá. He managed to free Caracas then moved into Ecuador, Bolivia and Peru to do the same.

The man responsible for setting these uprising into action was Toussaint L'Ouverture. As a child he was born into slavery. His father thought him at an early age to take pride in his African heritage. Toussaint learned to speak both French and his native African language. Thanks to a kind master he also learned to read. When slave revolts broke out in 1791 he was almost 50 years old, his intelligence and military skills earned him a place as a leader.
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