Hispanic America c. 1800

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Map Code: Ax01786

The Bourbon dynasty in Spain tried, like the British Government of the time, to recoup some of the costs of its various military entanglements by rendering its colonies more profitable. The promotion of free trade made the colonies more self-sufficient, but the introduction of royal monopolies and increased taxes were much resented. Ironically, a sales tax introduced to support Spain’s funding of the American War of Independence provoked rebellions in the Viceroyalties of Peru and New Granada (1780–81). Similar reforms were attempted by Portugal in Brazil, during the ascendancy of the Marquis de Pombal (1750–77). Brazil’s economy was boosted by the discovery of gold, but also destabilized by the lawless bandeirante fortune-hunters (Portuguese settlers in Brazil). The Bourbons established new Viceroyalties: New Granada (1717), De La Plata (1776), and the Captaincy-General of Venezuela (1777). Spain’s alliance with France (1795) resulted in Britain’s navy interdicting contact with their colonies, allowing independence movements to breed and multiply.

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