Revolt of the Comuneros (New Granada)

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The Revolt of the Comuneros was a popular uprising in the Viceroyalty of New Granada (now Colombia and parts of Venezuela) against the Spanish authorities from March through October 1781. [1] The revolt was in reaction to the increase in taxation to raise funds for defense of the region against the British, a rise in the price of tobacco and brandy, which were part of the late eighteenth-century Bourbon reforms. [2] The initial revolt was local and not well known outside the region of Socorro, but in the late nineteenth century, historian Manuel Briceño saw the massive revolt as a precursor to independence. [3] Prior to the 1781 revolt, residents in New Granada had protested, at times violently, crown policy implementation there between 1740 and 1779.

Viceroyalty of New Granada Viceroyalty of the Spanish Empire

The Viceroyalty of New Granada was the name given on 27 May 1717, to the jurisdiction of the Spanish Empire in northern South America, corresponding to modern Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Venezuela. The territory corresponding to Panama was incorporated later in 1739, and the provinces of Venezuela were separated from the Viceroyalty and assigned to the Captaincy General of Venezuela in 1777. In addition to these core areas, the territory of the Viceroyalty of New Granada included Guyana, southwestern Suriname, parts of northwestern Brazil, and northern Peru.

Colombia Country in South America

Colombia, officially the Republic of Colombia, is a sovereign state largely situated in the northwest of South America, with territories in Central America. Colombia shares a border to the northwest with Panama, to the east with Venezuela and Brazil and to the south with Ecuador and Peru. It shares its maritime limits with Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, Jamaica, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic. Colombia is a unitary, constitutional republic comprising thirty-two departments, with the capital in Bogotá.

Venezuela Republic in northern South America

Venezuela, officially the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, is a country on the northern coast of South America, consisting of a continental landmass and a large number of small islands and islets in the Caribbean Sea. The capital and largest urban agglomeration is the city of Caracas. It has a territorial extension of 916,445 km2. The continental territory is bordered on the north by the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, on the west by Colombia, Brazil on the south, Trinidad and Tobago to the north-east and on the east by Guyana. With this last country, the Venezuelan government maintains a claim for Guayana Esequiba over an area of 159,542 km2. For its maritime areas, it exercises sovereignty over 71,295 km2 of territorial waters, 22,224 km2 in its contiguous zone, 471,507 km2 of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean under the concept of exclusive economic zone, and 99,889 km2 of continental shelf. This marine area borders those of 13 states. The country has extremely high biodiversity and is ranked seventh in the world's list of nations with the most number of species. There are habitats ranging from the Andes Mountains in the west to the Amazon basin rain-forest in the south via extensive llanos plains, the Caribbean coast and the Orinoco River Delta in the east.

Contents

The revolt

On March 16, 1781, in Socorro in northeastern Colombia, grocer Manuela Beltrán tore down posted edicts about new tax increases and other changes that would have reduced the profits of the colonists and enlarged the benefits of Spain. Many other towns in New Granada began to have the same occurrences with colonists livid about the conditions of the ruling government. Local residents began to assemble and elect a body of officials known as el común, or a central committee "to lead the movement." [4] The rebels unified under the leadership of Juan Francisco Berbeo, a Criollo elite. Despite coming from the upper classes of society, the rebels introduced the idea of unifying and organising the diverse social classes comprising common people; the endorsement of the elites improved the rebels' efforts to unify, where Berbeo consolidated 10,000 to 20,000 rebel troops to march on Bogotá, the capital. Once the rebels defeated the rival soldiers sent from Bogotá, they reached a town slightly north of it, where Spanish officials agreed to meet with the Comuneros and sign an agreement stating the conditions and complaints of the rebels. [5] However, once the rebels disbanded, the Spanish government officials signed a document that discarded the agreement on the basis that it was forced upon them. Once reinforcements for the Spanish government arrived, they were sent to rebellious cities and towns to enforce the implementation of the increased taxes. José Antonio Galán, one of the leaders of the revolt, continued on with a small number of rebels, but they were quickly defeated and he was executed, while other leaders of the rebellion were sentenced for life in prison for treason.

Socorro, Santander Municipality and town in Santander Department, Colombia

Socorro is a town and municipality in the Santander Department in northeastern Colombia. It was founded in 1681 by José de Archila and José Díaz Sarmiento.The town was very influential in the history of Colombia. There began the revolt of the Comuneros of 1781 against the oppression of Spanish rule.

Manuela Beltrán Colombian revolutionary

Manuela Beltrán was a Neogranadine woman who organized a peasant revolt against excess taxation in 1780.

The Criollo are Latin Americans who are of full or near full Spanish descent, distinguishing them from both multi-racial Latin Americans and Latin Americans of post-colonial European immigrant origin. Historically, they were a social class in the hierarchy of the overseas colonies established by Spain beginning in the 16th century, especially in Hispanic America, comprising the locally born people of Spanish ancestry. Although Criollos were legally Spaniards, in practice, they ranked below the Iberian-born Peninsulares. Nevertheless, they had preeminence over all the other populations: Amerindians, enslaved Africans and peoples of mixed descent.

The influence of the revolt led to similar uprisings, with a similar outcome, as far north as Mérida and Timotes, now in Venezuela but at the time under jurisdiction of the Viceroyalty of New Granada. [6]

Mérida, Mérida Place in Mérida, Venezuela

Mérida, officially known as Santiago de los Caballeros de Mérida, is the capital of the municipality of Libertador and the state of Mérida, and is one of the principal cities of the Venezuelan Andes. It was founded in 1558 by Captain Juan Rodríguez Suárez, forming part of Nueva Granada, but later became part of the Captaincy General of Venezuela and played an active role in the War of Independence.

Interpretations of its causes

Many causes contributed to the revolt of 1781. Some were long-standing, related to the viceroyalty in New Granada in 1717. There is a debate among historians over what the main factor was, but what is clear is that the need for economic and political reform and the idea of self-government were contributors.

A series of reforms to the economy and government of the colonies, now called the Bourbon Reforms, are believed to be a factor. As the growth of the population and economy of the New World began to outgrow that of Spain, Spain began to look for ways to make the colonies more profitable. The Spanish government sought to eliminate tax evasion to reduce benefits of the colonies and created new laws and taxes to establish greater support and a larger revenue for the home country. Spain also created trading companies, allowed for agricultural and industrial "royal monopolies" and encouraged a greater amount of imports to the colonies to decrease the manufacturing capability of the colonies. These economic and social reforms increased the limitations for colonists to produce crops and changed their economy. [7] Another factor considered by scholars is the major political reforms that the Spanish government forced on the colonies. In order for Spain to benefit economically from the colonies, it needed stricter control over their government. These political changes were also part of the Bourbon Reforms. Some historians such as Brian Hamnett believe that it was the age-long battle between "absolutism versus the unwritten constitution" of New Granada that spurred on the colonists. He believes that the imperialism of the Spanish home country and its dependence upon the colonies contributed for the need of the colonies' "decentralization." In a review of John Leddy Phelan's book on the Comunero revolt, [8] Hamnett states that the revolt was started, not with the goal of an independence movement, political freedom and self-government, but only with the hope of reversing the reforms. [9]

Bourbon Reforms set of economic and political legislation promulgated by the Spanish Crown under various kings of the House of Bourbon, mainly in the 18th century

The Bourbon Reforms were a set of economic and political legislation promulgated by the Spanish Crown under various kings of the House of Bourbon, mainly in the 18th century. The strengthening of the crown's power with clear lines of authority to officials contrasted to the complex system of government that evolved under the Habsburg monarchs. In particular, the crown pursued state supremacy over the Catholic Church, resulting in the suppression of the Society of Jesus in 1767 as well as an attempt to abolish ecclesiastical privilege.

Monopoly Market structure with a single firm dominating the market

A monopoly exists when a specific person or enterprise is the only supplier of a particular commodity. This contrasts with a monopsony which relates to a single entity's control of a market to purchase a good or service, and with oligopoly which consists of a few sellers dominating a market. Monopolies are thus characterized by a lack of economic competition to produce the good or service, a lack of viable substitute goods, and the possibility of a high monopoly price well above the seller's marginal cost that leads to a high monopoly profit. The verb monopolise or monopolize refers to the process by which a company gains the ability to raise prices or exclude competitors. In economics, a monopoly is a single seller. In law, a monopoly is a business entity that has significant market power, that is, the power to charge overly high prices. Although monopolies may be big businesses, size is not a characteristic of a monopoly. A small business may still have the power to raise prices in a small industry.

An uncodified constitution is a type of constitution where the fundamental rules often take the form of customs, usage, precedent and a variety of statutes and legal instruments. An understanding of the constitution is obtained through reading commentary by the judiciary, government committees or legal experts. In such a constitutional system, all these elements may be recognized by courts, legislators and the bureaucracy as binding upon government and limiting its powers. Such a framework is sometimes imprecisely called an "unwritten constitution"; however, all the elements of an uncodified constitution are typically written down in a variety of official documents, though not codified in a single document.

See also

Rebellion of Túpac Amaru II Uprising of native and mestizo peasants against the Bourbon reforms in the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru

The Rebellion of Túpac Amaru II was an uprising of native and mestizo peasants against the Bourbon reforms in the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru. While Túpac Amaru II, an early leader of the rebellion, was captured and executed in 1781, the rebellion continued for at least another year under other leaders.

Antonio Caballero y Góngora Catholic bishop

Antonio Caballero y Góngora was a Spanish Roman Catholic prelate in the colonial Viceroyalty of New Granada, and from 1782 to 1789 the viceroy of New Granada.

José Antonio Galán Colombian insurrection leader

José Antonio Galán was a Colombian historical figure of the 18th century. He was the leader of the Comuneros insurrection in 1781, who was then sentenced and executed by the Spanish.

Related Research Articles

The history of Colombia includes the settlements and society by indigenous peoples, most notably, the Muisca Confederation, Quimbaya Civilization, and Tairona Chiefdoms; the Spanish arrived in 1499 and initiated a period of conquest and colonization, most noteworthy being Spanish conquest of the Muisca; ultimately creating the Viceroyalty of New Granada, with its capital at Bogotá. Independence from Spain was won in 1819, but by 1830 the "Gran Colombia" Federation was dissolved. What is now Colombia and Panama emerged as the Republic of New Granada. The new nation experimented with federalism as the Granadine Confederation (1858), and then the United States of Colombia (1863), before the Republic of Colombia was finally declared in 1886. Panama seceded in 1903. Since the 1960s, the country has suffered from an asymmetric low-intensity armed conflict, which escalated in the 1990s, but then decreased from 2005 onward. The legacy of Colombia's history has resulted in one of the most ethnically and linguistically diverse countries in the world giving rise to a rich cultural heritage; while varied geography, and the imposing landscape of the country has resulted in the development of very strong regional identities.

Viceroyalty of Peru Spanish Imperial colony

The Viceroyalty of Peru was a Spanish imperial provincial administrative district, created in 1542, that originally contained modern-day Peru and most of Spanish-ruled South America, governed from the capital of Lima. The Viceroyalty of Peru was one of the two Spanish Viceroyalties in the Americas from the sixteenth to the eighteenth centuries.

Comunero may refer to:

Foolish Fatherland

The period between 1810 and 1816 in the Viceroyalty of New Granada was marked by such intense conflicts over the nature of the new government or governments that it became known as la Patria Boba. Constant fighting between federalists and centralists gave rise to a prolonged period of instability. Similar developments can be seen at the same time in the United Provinces of the Río de la Plata. Each province, and even some cities, set up its own autonomous junta, which declared themselves sovereign from each other.

Captaincy General of Venezuela Spanish 1777-1823 possession in South America

The Captaincy General of Venezuela also known as the Kingdom of Venezuela was an administrative district of colonial Spain, created on September 8, 1777, through the Royal Decree of Graces of 1777, to provide more autonomy for the provinces of Venezuela, previously under the jurisdiction of the Audiencia of Santo Domingo and then the Viceroyalty of New Granada. It established a unified government in political (governorship), military, fiscal (intendancy) and judicial (audiencia) affairs. Its creation was part of the Bourbon Reforms and laid the groundwork for the future nation of Venezuela, in particular by orienting the province of Maracaibo towards the province of Caracas.

Juan de Torrezar Díaz Pimienta Spanish general

Juan de Torrezar Díaz Pimienta was a Spanish military officer and colonial official. He was twice governor of Cartagena de Indias, after which he was promoted to viceroy of New Granada.

New Kingdom of Granada Venezuela and Colombia in the Spanish Empire

The New Kingdom of Granada, or Kingdom of the New Granada, was the name given to a group of 16th-century Spanish colonial provinces in northern South America governed by the president of the Audiencia of Santa Fe, an area corresponding mainly to modern-day Colombia, Panama and Venezuela. The conquistadors originally organized it as a captaincy general within the Viceroyalty of Peru. The crown established the audiencia in 1549. Ultimately the kingdom became part of the Viceroyalty of New Granada first in 1717 and permanently in 1739. After several attempts to set up independent states in the 1810s, the kingdom and the viceroyalty ceased to exist altogether in 1819 with the establishment of Gran Colombia.

United Provinces of New Granada

The United Provinces of New Granada was a country in South America from 1811 to 1816, a period known in Colombian history as the Patria Boba. It was formed from areas of the New Kingdom of Granada, roughly corresponding to the territory of modern-day Colombia. The government was a federation with a parliamentary system, consisting of a weak executive and strong congress. The country was reconquered by Spain in 1816.

Antonio Ricaurte Colombian revolutionary

Antonio Ricaurte was a patriot of the Independence of Colombia and Venezuela and captain of Bolívar's army. He is remembered as the martyr of the Battle of San Mateo, where, in a heroic action, he blasted an enemy stronghold by immolating himself.

Real Audiencia of Quito

The Real Audiencia of Quito was an administrative unit in the Spanish Empire which had political, military, and religious jurisdiction over territories that today include Ecuador, parts of northern Peru, parts of southern Colombia and parts of northern Brazil. It was created by Royal Decree on 29 August 1563 by Philip II of Spain in the city of Guadalajara. It ended in 1822 with the incorporation of the area into the Republic of Gran Colombia.

Antonio Villavicencio President of Colombia

Antonio Villavicencio y Verástegui was a statesman and soldier of New Granada, born in Quito, and educated in Spain. He served in the Battle of Trafalgar as an officer in the Spanish Navy with the rank of Second Lieutenant. He was sent as a representative of the Spanish Crown to New Granada, where his arrival was used as an excuse in Santafé de Bogotá to start a revolt; this was known as the Florero de Llorente, which culminated in the proclamation of independence from Spain. After this incident he resigned his office and joined the cause of independence. He was later captured and became the first martyr executed during the reign of terror of Pablo Morillo.

Luis Castellanos Tapias was a Colombian attorney, historian, politician, publisher and writer.

Colombian Declaration of Independence

The Colombian Declaration of Independence refers to the events of July 20, 1810, in Santa Fe de Bogota, in the Spanish colonial Viceroyalty of New Granada. They resulted in the establishment of a Junta de Santa Fe that day. The experience in self-government eventually led to the creation of the Republic of Gran Colombia.

John Leddy Phelan was a scholar of colonial Spanish America and the Philippines. He spent the bulk of his scholarly career at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Following his death, his notable former graduate student, James Lockhart, wrote a candid obituary of his mentor.

Juan de Galavís y Mendez, OPraem was a Spanish Premonstratensian canon regular and a prelate of the Catholic Church in what is now the Dominican Republic and Colombia. He served as Archbishop of Santo Domingo from 1731 to 1737 and as Archbishop of Bogotá from 1737 to 1739. His is the brother and uncle of two mayors of Bogotá, Pedro Galavís y Mendez and Eustaquio Galavís y Hurtado, respectively.

References

  1. Richard Stoller, "Comunero Revolt (New Granada)" in Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture vol. 2, p. 240. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons 1996.
  2. Mark A. Burkholder and Lyman L. Johnson, Colonial Latin America 7th edition. New York: Oxford University Press 2010, p. 351.
  3. Stoller, "Comunero Revolt", p. 240.
  4. Young, Ronald. "Comuneros' Revolt in New Granada.” Modern World History Online. Facts on File , 2008. Accessed 29 January 2010.
  5. Phillip, Charles, and Alan Axelrold. “Comunero's Revolt in New Granada.” Modern World History Online. Facts on File, 2005. Accessed 29 January 2010.
  6. See Muñoz Oraá, Los comuneros de Venezuela.
  7. “Bourdon Reforms.” World History: The Modern Era. ABC-CLIO, n.d. Accessed 29 January 2010.
  8. John Leddy Phelan, The people and the King : the Comunero Revolution in Colombia, 1781. Madison : University of Wisconsin Press, 1978.
  9. Brian R. Hamnett, (1980). "Review of The People and the King: The Comunero Revolt in Colombia, 1781 by John Leddy Phelen". The Americas. 36 (3): 415–416. JSTOR   981304

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