Act of Independence of Central America

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Act of Independence of Central America
ActaIndepElSalvador.JPG
Ratified 15 September 1821
Location Legislative Assembly of El Salvador
Author(s) José Cecilio del Valle
Signatories13 representatives of the provinces of the Captaincy General of Guatemala
PurposeTo announce separation from the Spanish Empire and provide for the establishment of a new Central American state

The Act of Independence of Central America (Spanish : Acta de Independencia Centroamericana), also known as the Act of Independence of Guatemala, is the legal document by which the Provincial Council of the Province of Guatemala proclaimed the independence of Central America from the Spanish Empire and invited the other provinces of the Captaincy General of Guatemala [lower-alpha 1] to send envoys to a congress to decide the form of the region's independence. It was enacted on 15 September 1821. [1]

Spanish language Romance language

Spanish or Castilian is a Romance language that originated in the Castile region of Spain and today has hundreds of millions of native speakers in the Americas and Spain. It is a global language and the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese.

Guatemala Republic in Central America

Guatemala, officially the Republic of Guatemala, is a country in Central America bordered by Mexico to the north and west, Belize and the Caribbean to the northeast, Honduras to the east, El Salvador to the southeast and the Pacific Ocean to the south. With an estimated population of around 16.6 million, it is the most populated country in Central America. Guatemala is a representative democracy; its capital and largest city is Nueva Guatemala de la Asunción, also known as Guatemala City.

Central America central geographic region of the Americas

Central America is located on the southern tip of North America, or is sometimes defined as a subcontinent of the Americas, bordered by Mexico to the north, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south. Central America consists of seven countries: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. The combined population of Central America has been estimated to be 41,739,000 and 42,688,190.

Contents

Independence movements

The events of the Peninsular War—in particular the removal of Ferdinand VII from the Spanish throne—inspired and facilitated a series of revolts in El Salvador and Nicaragua aimed at winning for Central America greater political autonomy. Though quickly suppressed, these uprisings formed part of the general political upheaval in the Spanish world that led to the Spanish Constitution of 1812. Between 1810 and 1814, the Captaincy General of Guatemala elected seven representatives to the new Cádiz Cortes, and formed locally elected provincial governing councils. [2]

Peninsular War War by Spain, Portugal and the United Kingdom against the French Empire (1807–1814)

The Peninsular War (1807–1814) was a military conflict between Napoleon's empire and Bourbon Spain, for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when the French and Spanish armies invaded and occupied Portugal in 1807, and escalated in 1808 when France turned on Spain, previously its ally. The war on the peninsula lasted until the Sixth Coalition defeated Napoleon in 1814, and is regarded as one of the first wars of national liberation, significant for the emergence of large-scale guerrilla warfare.

Ferdinand VII of Spain King of Spain

Ferdinand VII was twice King of Spain: in 1808 and again from 1813 to his death. He was known to his supporters as the Desired and to his detractors as the Felon King. After being overthrown by Napoleon in 1808 he linked his monarchy to counter-revolution and reactionary policies that produced a deep rift in Spain between his forces on the right and liberals on the left. Back in power in 1814, he reestablished the absolutist monarchy and rejected the liberal constitution of 1812. A revolt in 1820 led by Rafael de Riego forced him to restore the constitution thus beginning the Liberal Triennium: a three year period of liberal rule. In 1823 the Congress of Verona authorized a successful French intervention restoring him to absolute power for the second time. He suppressed the liberal press from 1814 to 1833 and jailed many of its editors and writers. Under his rule, Spain lost nearly all of its American possessions, and the country entered into civil war on his death.

1811 Independence Movement

The 1811 Independence Movement known in El Salvador as the Primer grito de independencia was the first of a series of revolts in Central America in El Salvador against Spanish colonialism and dependency on the Captaincy General of Guatemala.

However, shortly after his restoration to power in 1814, Ferdinand repudiated the 1812 constitution, dissolved the Cortes, and suppressed liberalism in peninsular Spain, [3] which provoked renewed unrest in the Spanish Americas. The brief restoration of the constitution during the Liberal Triennium beginning in 1820 allowed the Central American provinces to reestablish their elected councils, which then became focal points for constitutionalist and separatist sentiments. In 1821 the provincial council of Guatemala began to openly discuss a declaration of independence from Spain.[ citation needed ]

Peninsular Spain part of Spain in Iberia

Peninsular Spain refers to that part of Spanish territory located within the Iberian peninsula, thus excluding other parts of Spain: the Canary Islands, the Balearic Islands, Ceuta, Melilla, and a number of islets and crags off the coast of Morocco known collectively as plazas de soberanía. In Spain it is mostly known simply as "the Peninsula". It has land frontiers with France and Andorra to the north; Portugal to the west; and the British territory of Gibraltar to the south.

Promulgation of the Act

A painting by Chilean painter Luis Vergara Ahumada, depicting the signing of the Act by Father Jose Matias Delgado Firma del Acta de Independencia de Centroamerica.jpg
A painting by Chilean painter Luis Vergara Ahumada, depicting the signing of the Act by Father José Matías Delgado

In September the discussion turned toward an outright declaration of independence from Spain, and a document announcing the act was drawn up and debated. The 15 September council meeting at which independence was finally declared was chaired by Gabino Gaínza, [4] and the text of the Act itself was written by Honduran intellectual and politician José Cecilio del Valle [5] and signed by representatives of the various Central American provinces, including José Matías Delgado, José Lorenzo de Romaña and José Domingo Diéguez. [1] The meeting was held at the National Palace in Guatemala City, the site of which is now Centennial Park.[ citation needed ]

Gabino Gaínza Spanish general and politician; 1st President of the Federal Republic of Central America

Gabino or Gavino Gaínza y Fernández de Medrano was a Spanish military officer and politician in Spain's American colonies. During the Latin American wars of independence, he initially fought on the royalist side, in Chile. Later, in Guatemala, he supported independence and became the first president of a united Central America extending from Soconusco through Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

Hondurans people from Honduras or of Honduran descent

Hondurans are people inhabiting in, originating from, or having significant heritage from Honduras. Most Hondurans live in Honduras, although there is also a significant Honduran diaspora, particularly in the United States, with smaller communities in other countries around the world. There are also people living in Honduras who are not Hondurans, because they were not born or raised in Honduras, nor have they yet gained citizenship.

José Cecilio del Valle Honduran politician-

José Cecilio Díaz Del Valle was a philosopher, politician, lawyer, and journalist and one of the most important figures in Central America during the transition from colonial government to independence, displaying a wide-ranging expertise in public administration management.

The Province of San Salvador (El Salvador) accepted the decision of the Guatemalan Council on 21 September, [6] and the Act was seconded by the provincial councils of Comayagua (Honduras) on 28 September and of Nicaragua and Costa Rica on 11 October. However, the other provinces were reluctant to accept the primacy of Guatemala in a new Central American state, and the form of the new polity that would succeed the Captaincy General was not at all clear.[ citation needed ]

San Salvador National capital in San Salvador Department, El Salvador

San Salvador is the capital and the most populous city of El Salvador and its eponymous department. It is the country's political, cultural, educational and financial center. The Metropolitan Area of San Salvador which comprises the capital itself and 13 of its municipalities has a population of 2,404,097.

El Salvador country in Central America

El Salvador, officially the Republic of El Salvador, is the smallest and the most densely populated country in Central America. It is bordered on the northeast by Honduras, on the northwest by Guatemala, and on the south by the Pacific Ocean. El Salvador's capital and largest city is San Salvador. As of 2016, the country had a population of approximately 6.34 million.

Comayagua City in Honduras

Comayagua is a city in Honduras, some 50 miles (80 km) northwest of Tegucigalpa on the highway to San Pedro Sula at an elevation of 1,949 feet above sea level.

Text of the Act

The Act consists of an introduction, eighteen articles, and a collection of thirteen signatures. [1]

Introduction

The introduction asserts that, after consultation with the municipal councils of other cities in the Captaincy General, the provincial council of Guatemala has agreed that there is a general public desire for independence from Spain. In response to this desire, the council has gathered together in the halls of the National Palace together with other public figures to seriously weigh the matter. Hearing the calls for independence from the streets outside the Palace, the council and the individuals gathered have determined the following articles:

Article 1

The general will of the people of Guatemala is for independence from the Spanish government and the formation of a congress, which is hereby proclaimed to the same Guatemalan people.

Article 2

Messages will be dispatched to the provinces so that they may elect deputies or representatives to come to the capital, where they will constitute a congress that will determine the form of the new state's independent government and the fundamental law by which it will be governed.

Article 3

To facilitate the appointment of deputies to the congress, they are to be chosen by the same electoral bodies that previously appointed deputies to the Spanish Cortes.

Article 4

Deputies to the Congress are to be allocated in proportion to the provinces' populations, with one deputy for every fifteen thousand citizens, including as citizens those residents of African origin.

Article 5

The provincial electoral bodies are to determine the proper number of deputies for their provinces on the basis of the latest census.

Article 6

The deputies thus elected should gather in Guatemala City to form a congress on 1 March 1822 (the following year).

Article 7

Until the meeting of the congress, the existing authorities should continue to enforce the laws under the Spanish Constitution of 1812.

Article 8

Until the meeting of the congress, the Lord Political Chief Gabino Gaínza will continue to lead the political and military government, together with a provisional advisory council.

Article 9

The advisory council will consult with the Lord Political Chief in all matters of economics and government.

Article 10

The Catholic Church will continue to be the state religion of Guatemala, with the personal safety and property of its ministers guaranteed.

Article 11

Messages will be dispatched to the leaders of religious communities to enjoin their cooperation in urging the public to preserve peace and concord during the political transition.

Article 12

The municipal council of Guatemala City will take active steps to ensure order and tranquility in the capital region.

Article 13

The Lord Political Chief will publish a manifesto announcing the decisions of the ruling council and requesting an oath of loyalty from the people to the new American government that is being established.

Article 14

The same oath will recognize the leaders of the new government in their respective roles and authorities.

Article 15

The Lord Political Chief, together with the municipal council, will solemnly mark the day upon which the people will proclaim their independence and loyalty to the new state.

Article 16

The municipal council has authorized the minting of a medal to commemorate 15 September 1821, on which they declared their independence.

Article 17

Being printed, this Act will be circulated among the various provincial councils, deputies and authorities for the harmonization of their sentiments with those of the people and this council.

Article 18

On a day to be chosen by the Lord Political Chief, there will be a solemn Mass of Thanksgiving to be followed by three days of celebrations.

Signatures

Aftermath and union with Mexico

Article 2 of the Act of Independence provided for the formation of a congress to "decide the point of absolute general independence and fix, in case of agreement, the form of government and the fundamental law of governance" for the new state. [1] This constituent assembly was meant to meet the following March, but the opportunity never came. Instead, on 29 October 1821 the president of the provisional governing council of newly independent Mexico, Agustín de Iturbide, sent a letter to Gabino Gaínza (now the president of the interim government of Central America) and the council of delegates representing the provinces of Chiapas, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica with a proposal that Central America join the Mexican Empire under the terms of the Three Guarantees of the Treaty of Córdoba. [7]

The various provincial and municipal governments of Guatemala were consulted and votes taken, with the five provinces excepting El Salvador voting in favor and with El Salvador opposing. [6] [7] [8] On 5 January 1822, [1] Gaínza sent a letter to Iturbide accepting Central America's annexation, and all the territories of Central America were incorporated into the Mexican Empire. They would remain united with Mexico for less than two years before seceding to form the Federal Republic of Central America as the Mexican Empire fell. [9]

See also

Notes

  1. As part of the adoption of the Spanish Constitution of 1812, the Cádiz Cortes consolidated the seven historic provinces of the Captaincy General of Guatemala into only two: the Province of Guatemala (consisting of the former provinces of Guatemala, Belize, Chiapas, Honduras and El Salvador) and the Province of Nicaragua y Costa Rica. These newly combined provinces officially existed from 1812 to 1814 and from 1820 until their independence. In the Act of Independence of Central America and contemporary correspondence, Central American writers generally continued to refer to the seven historic divisions of the region as "provinces," despite the recent administrative reorganization.

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 "Documentos de la Union Centroamericana" (pdf). Organization of American States – Foreign Trade Information System (in Spanish). Retrieved 12 October 2014.
  2. Rieu-Millan, Marie Laure (1990). Los diputados americanos en las Cortes de Cádiz: Igualdad o independencia (in Spanish). Madrid: Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas. ISBN   978-84-00-07091-5.
  3. Alfonso Bullon de Mendoza y Gomez de Valugera (1991). Javier Parades Alonso (ed.). Revolución y contrarrevolución en España y América (1808–1840). España Siglo XIX (in Spanish). ACTAS. pp. 81–82. ISBN   84-87863-03-5.
  4. Rodolfo Pérez Pimentel. "Gabino De Gaínza y Fernández- Medrano". Diccionario Biografico Ecuador (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
  5. Rosa, Ramón (1882). Biografía de Don José Cecilio del Valle (in Spanish). Tegucigalpa: Tipografía Nacional. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
  6. 1 2 "Independencia Nacional de El Salvador". elsalvador.com (in Spanish). Retrieved 12 October 2014.
  7. 1 2 Quirarte, Martín (1978). Visión Panorámica de la Historia de México (in Spanish) (11th ed.). Mexico: Librería Porrúa Hnos.
  8. "Las Provincias de Centro América se unen al Imperio Mexicano". Memoria Política de México (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 10 July 2014. Retrieved 12 October 2014.
  9. Sandoval, Victor Hugo. "Federal Republic of Central America". Monedas de Guatemala. Retrieved 14 October 2014.