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Picking up the Pieces: the Republican Era (1825-1870)

Spain's former colonies, newly liberated but penniless, began to form into nations and pick up the pieces after the devastating wars of liberation. The first years of these new republics are marked by optimism for the future, but also by brutal dictatorships, such as the ones of Dr. Francia (Paraguay 1814-1849) and Juan Manuel de Rosas (Argentina 1829-1852).

Bernardo O'Higgins
Bernardo O’Higgins (1778-1842) was a Chilean landowner and one of the leaders of its struggle for Independence. Although he had no formal military training, O’Higgins took charge of the ragged rebel army and fought the Spanish from 1810 to 1818 when Chile finally achieved its Independence. Today, he is revered as the liberator of Chile and the father of the nation

Biography of Simon Bolivar
Venezuelan Simon Bolivar was the most important leader of South America's Independence movement, which lasted from 1806 to 1825. A brilliant general and visionary politician, he led the liberation of Venezuela, Colombia, Panama, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. His dream of a strong, united Latin America is still unfulfilled.

National History Museum (Museo Histórico Nacional) Santiago, Chile
Chile's National History museum is well worth a visit, as it contains a wealth of information and many priceless historical relics.

The Federal Republic of Central America (1823-1840)
For a brief time after gaining independence first from Spain and then from Mexico, the original five Central American nations (Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica) were united as one nation. The Republic of Central America lasted less than twenty years, torn apart by small-minded politicians and civil wars over the influence of the church in politics.

Biography of Francisco Morazan
Francisco Morazan (1792-1842) was a Central American general, patriot and political leader. He served as President of the Republic of Central America in the 1830's and did his best to keep the nation united, although his efforts were doomed to failure.

Biography of Juan Bautista Alberdi
Juan Bautista Alberdi was a writer, diplomat and intellectual who was critical during the formation of the modern Republic of Argentina after the 1852 downfall of dictator Juan Manuel de Rosas. Foremost among his many accomplishments is the authorship of Argentina's first constitution.

The Biography of William Walker
William Walker was the greatest of the American "filibusters:" men who attacked sovereign nations as a private enterprise, generally with the eventual aim of joining them to the United States. His greatest triumph happened in 1855-1857, when he took control of Nicaragua and named himself president.

The Thousand Days' War
The Thousand Days' War, a Civil War fought in Colombia from 1899-1902, devastated the nation and brought about the secession of Panama as an independent nation.

Benito Juarez: Mexico's Liberal Reformer
Benito Juarez, one of Mexico's most important statesmen and reformers, was the most powerful Mexican politician of his era and a driving force in Mexican politics for several years.

Antonio López de Santa Anna
A detailed biography of Antonio López de Santa Anna, President of Mexico during the secession of Texas and the Mexican-American War.

The Battle of the Alamo
A good description of the Battle of the Alamo, San Antonio, Texas, February-March 1836.

Domingo Faustino Sarmiento
A detailed biography of Domingo Faustino Sarmiento, writer and president of Argentina.

Empress Carlota of Mexico
A biography of Carlota, Empress of Mexico and wife of Maximilian of Austria.

The Saint Patrick’s Battalion
As the Mexican-American war raged from 1846 to 1848, a handful of deserters - primarily Irish Catholics - switched sides and joined the Mexican army. These men formed the core of the St. Patrick's Battalion, Mexico's most elite unit.

The Sucre House Museum of Quito
Antonio Jose de Sucre was a hero of Ecuador's independence movement. His home in Quito has been restored and is now a museum.

Dom Pedro I, First Emperor of Brazil
Dom Pedro I was Emperor of Brazil for about nine years and even served briefly as King of Portugal. He is mostly remembered for declaring Brazil independent from Portugal and serving as its first ruler.

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