Independence in Central America and Chiapas, 1770–1823
Published by: University of Oklahoma Press
Imprint: University of Oklahoma Press
282 Pages | 6 x 9 | 8 maps
Central America was the only part of the far-reaching Spanish Empire in continental America not to experience destructive independence wars in the period between 1810 and 1824. The essays in this volume draw on new historical research to explain why, and to delve into what did happen during the independence period in Central America and Chiapas. The contributors, distinguished scholars from Central America, North America, and Europe, consider themes of power, rebellion, sovereignty, and resistance throughout the Kingdom of Guatemala beginning in the late eighteenth century and ending with independence from Spain and the debate surrounding the decision to join the Mexican Empire. Their work reveals that a “conflict-free” separation from Spain was more complex than is usually understood, and shows how such a separation was crucial to late-nineteenth-century developments.
These essays tell us how different groups seized on the political instabilities of Spain to maximize their interests; how Latin American elites prepared elaborate rituals to legitimize power dynamics; why the Spanish military governor Bustamante’s role in Central America should be reconsidered; how Indian and popular uprisings had more to do with tax burdens than with independence rhetoric; how the scholastic thought of Thomas Aquinas played a role in political thinking during the independence period; and why Mexico’s Plan de Iguala, the independence program promoted by Agustín de Iturbide, finally broke Central American elites’ ties to Spain. Focusing on regional and small-town dynamics as well as urban elites, these essays combine to offer an unusually broad and varied perspective on and a new understanding of Central America in the period of independence.
“Independence in Central America and Chiapas is an excellent, incisive, and critically perceptive collection of essays. An indispensable volume for all students of Mesoamerica.” —Greg Grandin, author of The Blood of Guatemala: A History of Race and Nation and The Last Colonial Massacre: Latin America in the Cold War
“This distinguished volume brings together some of the best recent, multinational work on the independence period in Central America.” —Laura E. Matthew, author of Memories of Conquest: Becoming Mexicano in Colonial Guatemala
“The range of scholars represented, and of regions considered, makes this a landmark collection.” —Catherine Komisaruk, author of Labor and Love in Guatemala: The Eve of Independence
“This fine collection of essays by internationally recognized specialists represents the best work now being done on a heretofore neglected topic.” —Stephen Webre, coeditor of La época colonial en Guatemala: estudios de historia cultural y social