Colombian Independence: How it was Influenced by Previous Revolutions and the Impressive Leadership of Simon Bolivar
Dr. Judkin Browning
December 4th, 2013
Through analyzing important turning points in history, great historians can draw comparisons from one event to another event and how they shaped the world we live in today. When studying the many different revolutions that happened in the late 18th century and early 19th century, one can observe the similarities between them and trace the roots all the way back to the Enlightenment Revolution. I will discuss how Colombia was able to achieve its independence from the declining Spanish Empire using ideas and tactics of previous revolutions.
The Spanish Empire was the leading empire at conquering new territories in the new world because Spanish explorers, also known as conquistadors, were masters at the art of colonizing new lands. They were motivated by their obsession with making it rich in the new world. They would hear the success stories of other conquistadors, such as Francisco Pizarro, and would try to do the same. Rumors spread among the conquistadors of the mythical city known as El Dorado, the city made of gold. Spanish explorers believed that the native tribe of northern Colombia, called the Taironas, kept this city hidden from them. The Taironas, known for their enormous cities made of stone and the massive amounts of gold they had, resisted the Spanish for over 100 years. They had seen the devastating effects of what happened to their neighboring tribes when they interacted with the Spaniards. This led the Conquistadors to believe that they must be protecting something very valuable to them, thus the Spanish were now very eager to conquer Colombia. Once the Taironas tribe finally perished due to “rum, rifles, and diseases”, they left the protection of the city to their successors the Kagabo and Guajiro Indians.
Explorers spent their whole lives searching for the riches and valuables they believed the natives were protecting throughout Colombia. Rumors like these were the driving force behind the obsession among conquistadors on trying to make it rich quick. This initiated the slow downfall of the Spanish Empire because explorers were now more worried about there own financial interests rather than the financial interests of the Spanish Empire. Furthermore, the conquistadors, who later became viceroys, created space between them and the crown back in Spain. Spanish colonies were now controlled through the viceroy like a partnership system rather than a hierarchal system where the Spanish monarchy is on top. This was the first sign of Spanish colonists building their own identity, separate from the native Spaniards. As a result, Spain began to have conflicts within their colonies, such as Colombia, which tried to isolate them from the Spanish Empire.
In addition to all of the internal conflicts there were some external...