Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata

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Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata

Virreinato del Río de la Plata
1776–1825
Flag of Spain (1785-1873 and 1875-1931).svg
Motto:  Plus Ultra
"Further Beyond"
Anthem:  Marcha Real
"Royal March"
Viceroyalty of the Rio de la Plata (orthographic projection).svg
Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata and disputed de jure extension (light green)
Status Viceroyalty of the Spanish Empire
Capital Buenos Aires
(1776–1810)
Montevideo
(1811–1814)
Common languages Spanish
Religion
Roman Catholicism
GovernmentMonarchy
King  
Viceroyalty 
History 
 Established
1 August 1776
1st – 2 January 1806
2nd – 3 February 1807
25 May 1810
14 May 1811
 Fall of Montevideo
20 June 1825
Currency Spanish colonial real
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Flag of Cross of Burgundy.svg Viceroyalty of Peru
United Provinces of the Río de la Plata Flag of Argentina (1818).svg
Paraguay Flag of Paraguay (1813).png
Bolivia Flag of Bolivia (state, 1825-1826).svg

The Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata (Spanish : Virreinato del Río de la Plata, also called Viceroyalty of the River Plate in some scholarly writings) was the last to be organized and also the shortest-lived of the Viceroyalties of the Spanish Empire in America.

Spanish language Romance language

Spanish or Castilian, is a Romance language that originated in the Iberian Peninsula and today has over 450 million native speakers in Spain and in the Americas. It is a global language and the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese.

Contents

The Viceroyalty was established in 1776 from several former Viceroyalty of Perú dependencies that mainly extended over the Río de la Plata Basin, roughly the present-day territories of Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay, extending inland from the Atlantic Coast. [1] The colony of Spanish Guinea (present day Equatorial Guinea) also depended administratively on the Viceroyalty of Rio de la Plata. [2] Buenos Aires, located on the western shore of the Río de la Plata estuary flowing into the Atlantic Ocean, opposite the Portuguese outpost of Colonia del Sacramento, was chosen as the capital. Usually considered one of the late Bourbon Reforms, the organization of this viceroyalty was motivated on both commercial grounds (Buenos Aires was by then a major spot for illegal trade), as well as on security concerns brought about by the growing interest of competing foreign powers in the area. The Spanish Crown wanted to protect its territory against Great Britain and the Kingdom of Portugal.

Río de la Plata Basin hydrographical area in South America

The Río de la Plata basin, more often called the River Plate basin in scholarly writings, sometimes called the Platine basin or Platine region, is the 3,170,000-square-kilometre (1,220,000 sq mi) hydrographical area in South America that drains to the Río de la Plata. It includes areas of southeastern Bolivia, southern and central Brazil, the entire country of Paraguay, most of Uruguay, and northern Argentina. Making up about one fourth of the continent's surface, it is the second largest drainage basin in South America and one of the largest in the world.

Argentina Federal republic in South America

Argentina, officially the Argentine Republic, is a country located mostly in the southern half of South America. Sharing the bulk of the Southern Cone with Chile to the west, the country is also bordered by Bolivia and Paraguay to the north, Brazil to the northeast, Uruguay and the South Atlantic Ocean to the east, and the Drake Passage to the south. With a mainland area of 2,780,400 km2 (1,073,500 sq mi), Argentina is the eighth-largest country in the world, the fourth largest in the Americas, and the largest Spanish-speaking nation. The sovereign state is subdivided into twenty-three provinces and one autonomous city, Buenos Aires, which is the federal capital of the nation as decided by Congress. The provinces and the capital have their own constitutions, but exist under a federal system. Argentina claims sovereignty over part of Antarctica, the Falkland Islands, and South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands.

Chile Republic in South America

Chile, officially the Republic of Chile, is a South American country occupying a long, narrow strip of land between the Andes to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. It borders Peru to the north, Bolivia to the northeast, Argentina to the east, and the Drake Passage in the far south. Chilean territory includes the Pacific islands of Juan Fernández, Salas y Gómez, Desventuradas, and Easter Island in Oceania. Chile also claims about 1,250,000 square kilometres (480,000 sq mi) of Antarctica, although all claims are suspended under the Antarctic Treaty.

But these Enlightenment reforms proved counterproductive, or perhaps too late, to quell the colonies' demands. The entire history of this Viceroyalty was marked by growing domestic unrest and political instability. Between 1780 and 1782, the Rebellion of Túpac Amaru II inspired a violent Aymara-led revolt across the Upper Peru highlands, demonstrating the great resentment against colonial authorities by both the mestizo and indigenous populations. Twenty-five years later, the Criollos, native-born people of the colony, successfully defended against two successive British attempts to conquer Buenos Aires and Montevideo. This enhanced their sense of autonomy and power at a time when Spanish troops were unable to help.

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.

Aymara people ethnic group

The Aymara or Aimara people are an indigenous nation in the Andes and Altiplano regions of South America; about 1 million live in Bolivia, Peru and Chile. Their ancestors lived in the region for many centuries before becoming a subject people of the Inca in the late 15th or early 16th century, and later of the Spanish in the 16th century. With the Spanish American Wars of Independence (1810–25), the Aymaras became subjects of the new nations of Bolivia and Peru. After the War of the Pacific (1879–83), Chile annexed territory occupied by the Aymaras.

Upper Peru former region in South America that in 1825 became Bolivia

Upper Peru is a name for the land that was governed by the Real Audiencia of Charcas. The name originated in Buenos Aires towards the end of the 18th century after the Audiencia of Charcas was transferred from the Viceroyalty of Peru to the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata in 1776. It comprised the governorships of Potosí, La Paz, Cochabamba, Chiquitos, Moxos and Charcas.

In 1809, the Criollo elite revolted against colonial authorities at La Paz and Chuquisaca, establishing revolutionary governments, juntas . Although short-lived, these provided a theoretical basis for the legitimacy of the locally based governments, which proved decisive at the 1810 May Revolution events deposing Viceroy Cisneros at Buenos Aires.

La Paz revolution 1809 revolt in La Paz, Rio de la Plata

The city of La Paz experienced a revolution in 1809 that deposed Spanish authorities and declared independence. It is considered one of the early steps of the Spanish American wars of independence, and an antecedent of the independence of Bolivia. However, such revolution was defeated shortly afterwards, and the city returned to Spanish rule.

The Chuquisaca Revolution was a popular uprising on 25 May 1809 against the governor and intendant of Chuquisaca, Ramón García León de Pizarro. The Real Audiencia of Charcas, with support from the faculty of University of Saint Francis Xavier, deposed the governor and formed a junta. The revolution is known in Bolivia as the "First libertarian scream", meaning, the first step in the Spanish American wars of independence; but historians dispute whether such a description is accurate or not.

In the Napoleonic era, junta was the name chosen by several local administrations formed in Spain during the Peninsular War as a patriotic alternative to the official administration toppled by the French invaders. The juntas were usually formed by adding prominent members of society, such as prelates, to the already-existing ayuntamientos. The juntas of the capitals of the traditional peninsular kingdoms of Spain styled themselves "Supreme Juntas", to differentiate themselves from, and claim authority over, provincial juntas. Juntas were also formed in Spanish America during this period in reaction to the developments in Spain.

The revolution spread across the Viceroyalty, except for Paraguay (which declared itself an independent nation in 1811) and Upper Peru (which remained controlled by royalist troops from Lima, and was eventually re-incorporated into the Viceroyalty of Peru). Meanwhile, the Governor of Montevideo Francisco Javier de Elío, appointed as a new Viceroy by the Cortes of Cádiz in 1811, declared the Buenos Aires Junta seditious. However, after being defeated at Las Piedras, he retained control only of Colonia del Sacramento and Montevideo. He departed by ship to Spain on 18 November and resigned as Viceroy in January 1812. By 1814, as the revolutionary patriots entered Montevideo, following a two-year-long siege, the Viceroyalty was finished as government of the region.

Paraguay Republic in South America

Paraguay, officially the Republic of Paraguay, is a country in South America. It is bordered by Argentina to the south and southwest, Brazil to the east and northeast, and Bolivia to the northwest. Although it is one of only two landlocked countries in South America, the country has coasts, beaches and ports on the Paraguay and Paraná rivers that give exit to the Atlantic Ocean through the Paraná-Paraguay Waterway. Due to its central location in South America, it is sometimes referred to as Corazón de Sudamérica.

Francisco Javier de Elío Spanish viceroy

Francisco Javier de Elío, was a Spanish soldier, governor of Montevideo and the last Viceroy of the Río de la Plata. He was also instrumental in the Absolutist repression after the restoration of Ferdinand VII as King of Spain. For this, he was executed during the Trienio Liberal.

Primera Junta First independent government of Argentina

The Primera Junta or First Assembly is the most common name given to the first independent government of Argentina. It was created on 25 May 1810, as a result of the events of the May Revolution. The Junta initially had representatives from only Buenos Aires. When it was expanded, as expected, with the addition of the representatives from the other cities of the Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata, it became popularly known instead as the Junta Grande. The Junta operated at El Fuerte, which had been used since 1776 as a residence by the Viceroys.

History

Origin and creation

In 1680, Manuel Lobo, Portuguese governor of Rio de Janeiro, created the Department of Colonia and founded Colónia do Sacramento. The fort was located on the coast of present-day Uruguay and developed as the department's capital. Lobo's chief objective was to secure the Portuguese expansion of Brazil beyond the 1494 Treaty of Tordesillas, which had defined areas of influence in the Americas between the Iberian nations. From 1580 to 1640, Spain had controlled Portugal and thus all of its territories in America. In 1681 José de Garro quickly attacked and seized the new fort for Spain. On 7 May 1681, under the Provisional Treaty of Lisbon, it was ceded to Portugal.

Manuel Lobo was a Spanish field hockey player. He competed in the men's tournament at the 1928 Summer Olympics.

Kingdom of Portugal kingdom in Southwestern Europe between 1139 and 1910

The Kingdom of Portugal was a monarchy on the Iberian Peninsula and the predecessor of modern Portugal. It was in existence from 1139 until 1910. After 1415, it was also known as the Kingdom of Portugal and the Algarves, and between 1815 and 1822, it was known as the United Kingdom of Portugal, Brazil and the Algarves. The name is also often applied to the Portuguese Empire, the realm's extensive overseas colonies.

A governor is, in most cases, a public official with the power to govern the executive branch of a non-sovereign or sub-national level of government, ranking under the head of state. In federations, governor may be the title of a politician who governs a constituent state and may be either appointed or elected. The power of the individual governor can vary dramatically between political systems, with some governors having only nominal or largely ceremonial power, while others having a complete control over the entire government.

The Viceroyalty of Peru was requiring all commerce to go through the port of Lima, on the Pacific Ocean. This policy failed to develop the potential of Buenos Aires as an Atlantic port, adding months to the transport of goods and commodities in each direction. It resulted in encouraging widespread contraband activities in the eastern region, especially in Asunción, Buenos Aires and Montevideo.

Under these conditions, Viceroy Manuel de Amat y Junyent issued a decree for the former Governor of the Río de la Plata Pedro Antonio de Cevallos to found the new viceroyalty in August 1776. The ruling was resisted by the elite of Lima, but it was enforced. The Cabildo of the Captaincy General of Chile requested the King be excluded from the new viceroyalty, which was accepted. [3] The Cuyo region, with its main city Mendoza, was split from the Captaincy General of Chile. Leaders in Santiago resented this action as the Cuyo region had been originally settled by Spanish colonists from Chile.

The Portuguese prime minister Marquis of Pombal encouraged the occupation of territory which had already been awarded to the Spanish in the Treaty of Paris (1763), following the British defeat of France in the Seven Years' War. King Charles III quickly reacted to the advantageous conditions: France was bound to be an ally as a guarantor of the treaty, and Great Britain, due to its own colonial problems with revolution in the Thirteen Colonies in North America, maintained neutrality on the issues between Portugal and Spain.

Pedro de Cevallos conquered Colonia del Sacramento and the Santa Catarina islands after a siege of three days, gaining the First Treaty of San Ildefonso. With it, the Portuguese retired from the Río de la Plata and left the Banda Oriental for Spain. In exchange Spain ceded them the area of Rio Grande do Sul, which they developed as Brazil. Cevallos ended his military actions at this point and started working with government, but he was soon replaced by Juan José Vertiz y Salcedo. The viceroyalty was tasked with promoting local production of linen and hemp as export commodity crops, to supply the Spanish cloth industries that the Bourbons sought to favor. [3]

The early viceroyalty

The conditions imposed by Spain on local commerce were high, but Charles III sought to lighten the burden. He allowed commerce through Buenos Aires on Spanish flag ships that were manned with Spanish naval officers. The ports of Buenos Aires and Montevideo were included in a list of Spanish ports allowed to trade with each other, certain Spanish American products were imported tax-free to Spain, and all the cities with ports were to be assigned Consulates or Tribunals of Commerce. This was not free trade, but a predecessor to what would develop. [4]

In the decade of 1778–1788, the commerce between Spain and Spanish America increased by nearly 700%. [4] Buenos Aires was given a customs office in 1778, and Montevideo in 1789. Spanish policy still was directed at restricting Argentina commerce; the Empire banned the export of silver from Buenos Aires and tried to direct exports out of Potosí.

The system of corregimientos to mark the subdivisions of the territory was ended in 1782, and replaced with Intendencias by Charles III. The new system was intended to re-enforce the royal authority and promote centralization. Buenos Aires had the main intendencia, and the other cities provincial ones. In 1778 Cevallos reinstated the Real Audiencia of Buenos Aires, by creating a new one; he maintained the Real Audiencia at Cochabamba. The Consulate of Commerce of Buenos Aires was authorized that year, but legal difficulties prevented its being established until 1794.

In 1766, Spain acquired the French colony on the Falkland Islands, called Port St. Louis; after assuming effective control in 1767, it placed the islands under a governor subordinate to the Buenos Aires colonial administration. The expulsion of the British settlement in 1770 brought the two countries to the brink of war but a peace treaty allowed the British to return from 1771 until 1776, with neither side relinquishing sovereignty. [5]

Decline

By the nineteenth century, Buenos Aires was becoming more self-sufficient, producing about 600,000 head of cattle annually (of which about one quarter was consumed locally). The area was rapidly developing. But wars with Great Britain meant a great setback for the region's economy, as maritime communications were practically paralyzed. The Alto Peru region started to show resistance to continued support of the administration and defense of the Río de la Plata estuary; it provided the main support but its silver production at Potosí was declining. In the first years of the viceroyalty, around 75% of the expenses were covered with revenues from the north. The Alto Plata (mostly present-day Paraguay) also had problems with the Buenos Aires administration, particularly because of its keeping a monopoly on exports.

The Napoleonic Wars on the Continent preoccupied the Spanish government and, after its defeat, Napoleon placed his brother Joseph on the Spanish throne. By 1805, Spain had to help France because of their 1795 alliance, and lost its navy to the British in the Battle of Trafalgar. The Spanish prime minister had warned the viceroyalty of the likelihood of a British invasion, saying it could not provide support to the city of Buenos Aires.

On 27 June 1806, a small British force of around 1,500 men under Col. William Carr Beresford successfully invaded Buenos Aires. Viceroy Rafael de Sobremonte had escaped to Córdoba. The British forces were thrown back by the criollos on December 1806, a militia force from Montevideo under the leadership of Santiago de Liniers. In February 1807, British reinforcements of about 8,000 men under Gen. Sir Samuel Auchmuty captured Montevideo after a fierce fight. In May Lt. Gen. John Whitelock arrived to take overall command and attacked Buenos Aires on 5 July 1807. After losing more than half his force, who were killed or captured, Whitelock signed a cease-fire and departed for Great Britain.

The local criollos achievements in the face of lack of support from Spain and defeating the forces of a world power added to their confidence and fueled their movement toward independence. As of 1814, Argentina had been self-governed for about four years, and Paraguay had already declared its independence. The viceroyalty was effectively dissolved when the rebel troops entered Montevideo after a two-year-long siege.

Government

Viceroyalty of the Rio de La Plata administrative divisions Nuevo mapa del virreinato del rio de la plata.PNG
Viceroyalty of the Río de La Plata administrative divisions

The Viceroyalty of the Río de la Plata was created in 1776 by the Spanish king Charles III of Spain. Although it functioned as a Spanish colony, Río de la Plata was technically a personal possession of the King of Spain. This allowed both European Spain and its overseas territories to have their own laws and regulations.

Dependencies

List of viceroys

The King of Spain appointed viceroys to govern the Spanish viceroyalties in his name. In the beginning their terms had no fixed duration and could last for life. Later he established fixed terms of 3 to 5 years. [6] Because of the distances between Spain and South America, and with sailing as the chief means of transport, there were long delays between the designation of a viceroy and the viceroy's effectively taking power. In addition, regular communication between the Crown and the viceroyalty was equally delayed. The viceroyalties had to operate with considerable independence and self-reliance.

#PictureNameTermDesignationNotes
1 Pedro de Cevallos.jpg Pedro Antonio de Cevallos 15 October 1777 26 June 17781 August 1776Appointed by Charles III of Spain
2 Juan Jose de Vertiz y Salcedo.jpg Juan José de Vértiz y Salcedo 26 June 1778 7 March 178427 October 1777Appointed by Charles III of Spain; resigned
3 Virrey Loreto.jpg Nicolás del Campo 7 March 1784 4 December 178913 August 1783Appointed by Charles III of Spain
4 Nicolas Antonio de Arredondo.png Nicolás Antonio de Arredondo 4 December 1789 16 March 179521 March 1789Appointed by Charles IV of Spain, resigned
5 Pedro Melo de Portugal.jpg Pedro Melo de Portugal 16 March 1795 15 April 17975 February 1794Appointed by Charles IV of Spain, died in office
- Real Audiencia of Buenos Aires 15 April 1797 2 May 1797Interim government until the arrival of a new viceroy
6 Antonio Olaguer Feliu.png Antonio Olaguer Feliú 2 May 1797 14 May 1799During his mandate, he had to contend with the presence of British and Portuguese forces in the Río de la Plata region, as well as nascent revolutionary sentiment inspired by the recent French Revolution. He opened the port of Buenos Aires to foreign traffic in a bid to stimulate the commercial activities of the Viceroyalty.
7 Aviles1.jpg Gabriel de Avilés,
2nd Marquis of Avilés
14 March 1799 20 May 180125 October 1797
8 Joaquin del Pino.jpg Joaquín del Pino y Rozas 20 May 1801 11 April 180414 July 1800Appointed by Charles IV of Spain, died in office
9 Rafael de Sobremonte.jpg Rafael de Sobremonte 24 April 1804 10 February 180710 November 1804During the British invasions of the Río de la Plata Buenos Aires and Montevideo fell under British authority for brief periods of time. Sobremonte was forced on 14 August 1806 by an open cabildo to move to Montevideo, delegating in Santiago de Liniers the military authority and in the Audience the other areas of government. He was removed completely as viceroy by a martial court, with Liniers elected as interim viceroy. [7]
10 Santiago de Liniers.jpg Santiago de Liniers 10 February 1807 30 June 1809Interim viceroy, confirmed in office by Charles IV of Spain, replaced by the Junta of Seville.
11 Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros.jpg Baltasar Hidalgo de Cisneros 15 July 1809 25 May 181011 February 1809Appointed by the Junta of Seville, ousted from office by the May Revolution, replaced by the Primera Junta.
12 General Francisco Javier de Elio (Museo del Prado).jpg Francisco Javier de Elío 19 January 1811 January 181231 August 1810Self-proclaimed viceroy after the May Revolution, confirmed as such by the Junta of Cadiz, which also declared Montevideo the new capital and Buenos Aires a rebel city. [7]

See also

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References

  1. "Map of the Eastern Republic of Uruguay, 1893". World Digital Library . 1893. Retrieved 2013-10-24.
  2. History of Equatorial Guinea
  3. 1 2 Abad de Santillán, p. 195.
  4. 1 2 Abad de Santillán, p. 197.
  5. Lewis, Jason and Alison Inglis. "A Brief History of the Falkland Islands: Part 2—Fort St. Louis and Port Egmont" Archived 2007-10-06 at the Wayback Machine , Falklands Islands Information. Accessed 2007-09-08.
  6. El Virreinato del Río de la Plata
  7. 1 2 Virreyes del Río de la Plata (in Spanish)

Bibliography

Coordinates: 34°40′00″S58°24′00″W / 34.6667°S 58.4000°W / -34.6667; -58.4000