Americanos : Latin America's Struggle for Independence: Latin America's Struggle for Independence

Front Cover
Oxford University Press, USA, Jan 28, 2008 - 240 pages
15 Reviews
In 1808, world history took a decisive turn when Napoleon occupied Spain and Portugal, a European event that had lasting repercussions more than half the world away, sparking a series of revolutions throughout the Spanish and Portuguese empires of the New World. These wars for independence resulted eventually in the creation of nineteen independent Latin American republics. Here is an engagingly written, compact history of the Latin American wars of independence. Proceeding almost cinematically, scene by vivid scene, John Charles Chasteen introduces the reader to lead players, basic concepts, key events, and dominant trends, braided together in a single, taut narrative. He vividly depicts the individuals and events of those tumultuous years. Here are the famous leaders--Simon Bolivar, Jose de San Martin, and Bernardo O'Higgins, Father Hidalgo and Father Morelos, and many others. Here too are lesser known Americanos: patriot women such as Manuela Saenz, Leona Vicario, Mariquita Sanchez, Juana Azurduy, and Policarpa Salavarrieta, indigenous rebels such as Mateo Pumacahua, and African-descended generals such as Vicente Guerrero and Manuel Piar. Chasteen captures the gathering forces for independence, the clashes of troops and decisions of leaders, and the rich, elaborate tapestry of Latin American societies as they embraced nationhood. By the end of the period, the leaders of Latin American independence would embrace classical liberal principles--particularly popular sovereignty and self-determination--and permanently expanding the global reach of Western political values. Today, most of the world's oldest functioning republics are Latin American. And yet, Chasteen observes, many suffer from a troubled political legacy that dates back to their birth. In this book, he illuminates this legacy, even as he illustrates how the region's dramatic struggle for independence points unmistakably forward in world history.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

Review: Americanos: Latin America's Struggle for Independence (Pivotal Moments in World History)

User Review  - Goodreads

Quick tour d'force of Latin American independence movements. While there is a general narrative, it is broken substantially by geo-jumping throughout the hemisphere. The result of this for those unfamiliar with the pantheon of Latin American "founders" is confusion. Read full review

Review: Americanos: Latin America's Struggle for Independence (Pivotal Moments in World History)

User Review  - AskHistorians - Goodreads

This book gives an account of the Latin American wars of independence, focusing especially on the unique personalities who helped make independence a reality. It is accessible and is an excellent ... Read full review


Why Americanos?
1 Discovering América 17991805
2 Pillars of the Crown 18061810
3 NotSoCivil Wars 18101812
4 A Lost Cause? 18121815
5 Independence Won 18161824
6 Nation Building Begins 18251840
The Legacy Endures
Sources and Readings

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2008)

John Charles Chasteen is associate professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is the highly acclaimed translator of Tulio Halperin Donghi's The Contemporary History of Latin America.

Bibliographic information