The Spanish American wars of independence were the numerous wars against Spanish rule in Spanish America that took place during the early 19th century, after the French invasion of Spain during Europe's Napoleonic Wars. Although various regions of Spanish America objected to crown policies that restricted trade and privileged Spanish-born officials over American-born, "there was little interest in outright independence; indeed there was widespread support for the Spanish Central Junta formed to lead the resistance against the French".
These conflicts started in 1809 with short-lived governing juntas established in Chuquisaca and Quito opposing the composition of the Supreme Central Junta of Seville. When the Central Junta fell to the French invasion, in 1810, numerous new juntas appeared across the Spanish domains in the Americas. The conflicts among these colonies and with Spain eventually resulted in a chain of newly independent countries stretching from Argentina and Chile in the south to Mexico in the north in the first third of the 19th century. Cuba and Puerto Rico remained under Spanish rule until the Spanish–American War in 1898.
The new republics from the beginning abolished the formal system of racial classification and hierarchy, casta system, the Inquisition, and noble titles. Slavery was not abolished immediately, but ended in all of the new nations within a quarter century. Criollos (those of Spanish descent born in the New World) and mestizos (those of mixed Indian and Spanish blood or culture) replaced Spanish-born appointees in most political offices. Criollos remained at the top of a social structure which retained some of its traditional features culturally, if not legally. For almost a century thereafter, conservatives and liberals fought to reverse or to deepen the social and political changes unleashed by those rebellions.
List of wars and conflicts
- Argentine War of Independence
- Bolivian War of Independence
- Chilean War of Independence
- Cuban War of Independence
- Ecuadorian War of Independence
- Mexican War of Independence
- Peruvian War of Independence
- Venezuelan War of Independence