Monday, 20 August 2012

The Monarchist Alternative in Spanish American Independence

Anthony McFarlane's paper focuses on the curious episode in Iberian American history when Princess Carlota Joaquina, daughter of King Carlos IV, brother of King Fernando VII of Spain, and wife of Dom João, Prince Regent of Portugal and later King João VI of Portugal, tried to assert sovereignty over the Spanish monarchy, in whole or in part, during 1808-10. Although Carlota's pretensions were unsuccessful, they are nonetheless worthy of discussion for a number of reasons.
"Royalism seems to have reached across the social spectrum from the richest to the poorest elements of society. Evidence from both Mexico and South America suggests, for example, that Indian communities tended to remain loyal to the Spanish monarchy. Their reasons no doubt include both genuine commitment to a system into which they had been firmly incorporated as Christians subjects of the crown, alongside a preference for a paternalist system in which the „republica de indios‟ enjoyed the protection of the king and, through its direct relationship to the crown, some degree of autonomy.

"Examples of Indian fidelity abound. In southern Peru, most Indian communities remained faithful to the royal cause. The Indian nobles of Cuzco was a particularly firm bastion. Despite loss of wealth and status after the Túpac Amaru rebellion, they remained committed to the Spanish monarchy on which they depended and did not rebel against Spanish government until 1814. In New Granada, the Indians of Pasto and Santa Marta played important roles in defending enclaves of royalist government, while Indian communities in coastal Caracas and Cartagena also favoured the royalist side against its republican enemies. This loyalty usually reflected the importance of traditional leadership and its ability to sustain a following, as well as political calculations arising from local disputes over resources."
McFarlane, Anthony (2012) Princess Carlota Joaquina and the Monarchist Alternative in Spanish American Independence. In: Liberalism, Monarchy and Empire: Ambiguous Relationships, 10 February 2012, Senate House, London.

1 comment:

Nuno Castelo-Branco said...

The Monarchy allowed the birth of a unified Brazil. We know what happened in the Spanish colonies...