Geography

History of America (continued)


From the seventeenth century, the Netherlands, France and England began to enter America, attacking the silver-loaded Spanish fleets and founding colonies in the territories occupied by the Spanish and Portuguese.

The Dutch were content with the possession of some enclaves of great economic and strategic value in Guyana and the Lesser Antilles, while France and England began a period of confrontation to gain control of the American territories. Finally, military superiority and the largest number of settlers determined British hegemony over North America.

Colonization, carried out for the most part by radical Calvinists and Protestants, was characterized by systematic violence against the Indians, who were expelled from their lands and exterminated in large areas as the settlers advanced westward.

The interests of the inhabitants of the 13 American colonies came into open conflict with those of the metropolis from 1765, when the British government imposed a heavy tax on legal documents, periodicals, and business transactions.

In 1773 the tea riot in Boston meant the beginning of the war, formally declared two years later. On July 4, 1776, the Philadelphia Congress proclaimed the United States Declaration of Independence, inspired by the liberal ideas of John Locke and Montesquieu; human rights were formulated for the first time.

The war ended in 1783 with the recognition by the British government of the independence of the new country; four years later the American Constitution was enacted, which established the division of powers and ensured the functioning of a political system based on citizen participation.

In the Spanish viceroyalty, the ruling elite consisted of peninsulars, that is, people born in Spain. Creoles (descendants of the conquerors and early settlers), imbued with liberal ideas, were dissatisfied with the limited character of the reforms carried out by Charles III in the Spanish colonies and glimpsed on American independence and, shortly thereafter, on the French revolution. an example to be imitated in the viceroyalty. The French invasion of the Iberian Peninsula precipitated events.

The viceroyalty joints, created to administer the American territory until the restoration of the Spanish crown, became revolutionary and independentist focuses. The civil war between "patriots" (independentists) and "loyalists" (supporters of unity with Spain) intensified after the return of Fernando VII to the throne, but eventually the patriots, led by generals like Simon Bolivar and Jose de San Martín, succeeded. achieve the goal of separating from Spain, while not maintaining the unity of Hispanic America.


Simon Bolivar

Brazil also gained independence in 1822, but unlike the other American countries, the form of government adopted was the monarchy, which remained until 1889.

Throughout the nineteenth century the United States embarked on the conquest of the west, incorporating new states, either by purchase or assignment (French and Spanish territories of central and southeastern North America), or by conquest (Texas, New Mexico and California), or by actual occupation (the far west).

The American political regime, the result of the compromise between the great protectionist merchants of the north and the free-trade landlords of the south, went through a period of crisis between 1861 and 1865, when the southern states, unhappy with President Abraham Lincoln's anti-slavery policy. , tried to separate themselves from the union. Following the defeat of the Southerners, the United States experienced intense industrial development.

After World War I, in which American intervention played a decisive role, the United States became the world's largest economic power. The end of World War II marked the beginning of a new period in international relations, the so-called "cold war". Marked by rivalry with the socialist bloc and the political and economic influence of the United States in most of the western world and developing countries, this situation lasted until the disintegration of the socialist bloc and the end of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. .

Contrary to what happened in the United States, the historical evolution of Latin America during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries was characterized by fragmentation and rivalry between the various countries, by a little evolution and political instability, embodied in a succession of coups d'état, dictatorships and revolutions.

After a first phase of commercial and financial domination, the United States sought to impose greater presence in the region (the Big Stick Policy, between 1895 and 1918), which would later expand with the control of the Pan American Cooperation Organizations (Organization of United States). Americans, Organization of Central American States, Alliance for Progress, etc.). In the second half of the twentieth century, however, there has been a growing effort by the Latin American nations to assume independent attitudes towards the United States.