Spanish American Wars of Independence - Creation of New Governments

Creation of New Governments

This impasse was resolved through negotiations between the juntas and the Council of Castile, which led to the creation of a "Supreme Central and Governmental Junta of Spain and the Indies" on September 25, 1808. It was agreed that the traditional kingdoms of the peninsula would send two representatives to this Central Junta, and that the overseas kingdoms would send one representative each. These "kingdoms" were defined as "the viceroyalties of New Spain, Peru, New Granada, and Buenos Aires, and the independent captaincies general of the island of Cuba, Puerto Rico, Guatemala, Chile, Province of Venezuela, and the Philippines."

This scheme was criticized for providing unequal representation to the overseas territories; nevertheless, throughout the end of 1808 and early 1809, the provincial capitals elected candidates, whose names were forwarded to the capitals of the viceroyalties or captaincies general. Several important and large cities were left without direct representation in the Supreme Junta. In particular Quito and Chuquisaca, which saw themselves as the capitals of kingdoms, resented being subsumed in the larger "kingdom" of Peru. This unrest led to the establishment of juntas in these cities in 1809, which were eventually quashed by the authorities within the year. An unsuccessful attempt at establishing a junta in New Spain was also stopped. In order to establish a more legitimate government, the Supreme Junta called for the convening of an "extraordinary and general Cortes of the Spanish Nation." The election scheme for the Cortes, based on provinces and not kingdoms, was more equitable and provided more time to determine what would be considered an overseas province.

The dissolution of the Supreme Junta on January 29, 1810, because of the reverses suffered after the Battle of Ocaña by the Spanish forces paid with Spanish American money, set off another wave of juntas being established in the Americas. French forces had taken over southern Spain and forced the Supreme Junta to seek refuge in the island-city of Cadiz. The Junta replaced itself with a smaller, five-man council, the Council of Regency of Spain and the Indies. Most Spanish Americans saw no reason to recognize a rump government that was under the threat of being captured by the French at any moment, and began to work for the creation of local juntas to preserve the region's independence from the French. Junta movements were successful in New Granada (Colombia), Venezuela, Chile and Río de la Plata (Argentina). Less successful, though serious movements, also occurred in Central America. Ultimately, Central America, along with most of New Spain, Quito (Ecuador), Peru, Upper Peru (Bolivia), the Caribbean and the Philippine Islands remained in control of royalists for the next decade and participated in the Spanish Cortes effort to establish a liberal government for the Spanish Monarchy.

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