What Were the Effects of the Latin American Wars for Independence?

The biggest impact of the Latin American Wars for Independence was freedom from Spanish rule and national sovereignty for former Spanish colonies in Latin America, including the countries now known as Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina, Paraguay, Chile, Uruguay and Peru. These wars for independence were mostly independent efforts fought through separate revolutionary movements in each individual Latin American Spanish territory, though they were part of a global spirit of revolution that had taken hold in the United States and in European nations such as France in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. These revolutionary efforts were successful in part due to the weakening of Spanish central authority in the wake of France invading Spain in 1808.

When France invaded Spain in 1808, Napoleon Bonaparte dethroned King Ferdinand, leading to the weakening of Spanish power and laying the foundation for successful revolutions in Latin America. However, Mexico was the first territory to revolt against the Spanish in 1811, and those initial efforts were unsuccessful. This kicked off several unsuccessful revolutionary attempts in Latin America; the first successful fight for independence against Spain took place in 1817, when Chilean revolutionaries successfully gained independence. This victory kicked off a domino effect, with Spanish rule next falling in a territory known as Grande Colombia, which eventually separated into Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador.