A New World Wreathed in Freedom - An Argentine Revolution TL

I missed something? When and how the Paraguay joined and/or that would be joining to the UP?

Also the navy would be very important cause their active presence and involvement would be key for the supervivence of the new nation colonial/resettlement protects in the Patagonia (Atlantic islands?)...
 
I missed something? When and how the Paraguay joined and/or that would be joining to the UP?

Also the navy would be very important cause their active presence and involvement would be key for the supervivence of the new nation colonial/resettlement protects in the Patagonia (Atlantic islands?)...
They joined in 1811 and never really left; another casualty of the loss of subdivisions is that it's not as clear as in the previous map - Paraguay never severed ties with Buenos Aires, but the central government doesn't really have any way to get Paraguay to do anything Asunción doesn't want to do. Both times war with Brazil broke out, Paraguayuan troops stayed put defending the province and didn't contribute any significant forces to the Platine army. I was inspired by the fact that they actually sent delegates to the Junta Grande, they just weren't interested in participating anymore when they realized it wasn't going to be a loose confederation. ITTL, the capital/interior divide is less prominent - there hasn't been as much of a need to force the issue and the relationship with the local cabildos is better overall - and they stick around in part because of Saavedra and then because they felt politically secure at the sight of some like-minded delegates who share their views on confederation. I admit that it's a stretch, but not an impossible one given the behavior of their delegates OTL.

As for the navy's importance in controlling the Atlantic, absolutely: the United Provinces will push south over land, sure, but the big bases of operation are going to be on the coasts, in some cases in forts that already existed in colonial times. This will eventually include settlement of the Malvinas/Falklands, which weren't taken by the British until 1833, in a process like the Galapagos in the Pacific, which weren't taken by Ecuador until 1834 either.
 
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So Argentina became a Two Ocean Nation, cool. This makes some kind of Latin Federation a la EU in the future quite possible, which will be godsend to Central American Nations and Mexico too if it manages to join.
 
So Argentina became a Two Ocean Nation, cool. This makes some kind of Latin Federation a la EU in the future quite possible, which will be godsend to Central American Nations and Mexico too if it manages to join.
Indeed it did, and I agree, indeed it does! And only half of that is due to the fact that there are fewer countries to wrangle into it, heh.

As a bonus, I wanted to share with y'all a map I found that, I have to say, took me quite by surprise: a map from 1823 which shows shockingly similar borders to the map I posted, with the big exception that - since it's from 1823 - Ecuador has already been annexed by Gran Colombia in it. It's both a really pretty map and a weird piece of evidence about how close things were from turning out so differently IOTL.

I found it at this wonderful website: Old Maps Online.

 
Indeed it did, and I agree, indeed it does! And only half of that is due to the fact that there are fewer countries to wrangle into it, heh.

As a bonus, I wanted to share with y'all a map I found that, I have to say, took me quite by surprise: a map from 1823 which shows shockingly similar borders to the map I posted, with the big exception that - since it's from 1823 - Ecuador has already been annexed by Gran Colombia in it. It's both a really pretty map and a weird piece of evidence about how close things were from turning out so differently IOTL.

I found it at this wonderful website: Old Maps Online.

I'm in love with that map.
 
11 - A Decade of Revolution
Chapter 11 - A Decade of Revolution

482px-Manuel_Belgrano.JPG

A portrait of Manuel Belgrano, 2nd Secretary General of the United Provinces, during his time as Ambassador in London.

The United Provinces greeted the 10th anniversary of its Revolution with jubilant celebrations, holding that year’s elections in the middle of the high from the victory over Brazil and the expectation over the invasion of Perú. When the news that Lima had fallen to San Martin’s army on the 25th of May arrived in the middle of the elections, it brought a wave of delegates that sang the praises of the exploits of the Armies of the North and East in unison. For a brief moment, the divisions that had started splitting the delegates into Liberals and Federals seemed to disappear, and would send to the General Assembly both the most radical and liberal of their respective camps. Belgrano and Balcarce were reelected unanimously, and the whole country basked in the glow of the Revolution’s success.

But the regular business of government continued, and as Belgrano saw it, with the Royalist threat dealt with it was time to turn over a new leaf: among the slew of promotions and prizes for the Army of the North, there were instructions for San Martin to begin the process of demobilization of his forces. First San Martín then Balcarce protested: San Martin had been commissioned by Perú’s new government to support Guayaquil’s liberation of Quito, and they both considered the liberation of the continent incomplete as long as the Royalist army survived to threaten Perú.

Balcarce threatened to resign if Belgrano did not extend the Army of the North’s mission, but the Secretary General persisted: funding the invasion of Perú had already sapped the treasury, and with the Oriental Provinces in desperate need of reconstruction, Belgrano could not support maintaining 8,000 soldiers in the northern Andes for an indefinite amount of time. When Balcarce followed through on his threat and resigned in November of 1820, the fate of the Army of the North hung in the balance as Belgrano suddenly found himself in the middle of a debate that placed him at odds with his own allies in the Liberal camp while earning him the support of Littoral federalists, by far the most radical members of their party.

His erstwhile liberal coreligionists spearheaded by Monteagudo, rode the wave of popular support for the war to make him reconsider and force him to compromise: San Martin’s commission was extended, but the Army of the North was split in half. San Martín was ordered to divide the armies as he liked: he would proceed to succor Guayaquil at the head of the Army of the Andes, while a subordinate would return to Alto Perú with the rest of the Army of the North. But Belgrano seized on the opportunity to repay Balcarce for the resignation that precipitated the crisis: to disqualify him from returning as Supreme Director, Belgrano proposed that he be named commander of the Army of the North with San Martín heading to Guayaquil.

With Artigas still under commission as General of the Army of the East, there were no obvious candidates to succeed Balcarce as Supreme Director. The liberal faction would turn once more to a relatively obscure figure, whose primary qualification for the role was his popularity among the majority of liberal delegates at the Assembly: Nicolás Rodríguez Peña was elected as Supreme Director on January 15, 1821, bringing 3 months of political uncertainty to a close but unwittingly opening a new fault line that would further split the parties.

Rodríguez Peña’s appointment was met with a shrug from the rest of the country, which prompted critics of the long-time morenist domination of the General Assembly to complain that the post was meaningless if, when push came to shove, the Secretary General could exploit a vacancy to appoint a lackey - as Moreno had in 1812 - or a minnow - as Belgrano had engineered in 1820 - thanks to their control over a majority of the Assembly by virtue of their position.

By virtue of his prestige and his near-brush with the post himself, Artigas’ criticisms gained the widest circulation; a firm believer in federalism and the radical egalitarian and democratic tenets of the revolution, he complained in letters that it seemed as if Moreno’s allies in Buenos Aires “had a chest from which they pull the next man in uniform to parade in front of the Assembly, noting that “the same men cannot elect both of the highest positions in the country from the same room in the capital”. His solution was relatively straightforward: the Cabildos should elect the Supreme Director, just as they elected the members of the General Assembly.

Indeed, as far as the Federalist delegates were concerned, this was already the case: what had originally been a quixotic decision in the republic’s infancy became a tradition that soon undergirded a core belief, as the Littoral cabildos adopted the custom of voting to “instruct” their delegates to vote for a specific candidate for Supreme Director. But there was no requirement for this, and was confined to the Cabildos from the Paraná to Montevideo, with little sign that the custom caught on in the cabildos of the interior even as they voted for delegates who belonged to the same parties before it became a partisan issue in 1822.

The morenist response was, simply, that if the Cabildos were sovereign, and the Assembly represented the Cabildos, then the discussion was moot: the representatives of the Cabildos were just as legitimate as the Cabildos themselves they said, and closed ranks around the supremacy of the General Assembly. But as their majority implemented more policies that they considered vital for national consolidation, it caused tensions with its most radical northern members as those policies incorporated the concerns of the merchants and beneficiaries of state contracts and the lack of funds slowed the pace of land grants and gave way to bank loans.

The north’s shift away from the Liberals would be the death knell for its monopoly on power: without the afterglow of triumph and revolutionary fervor in 1822, the partisan divide roared back to life and the Liberal majority cratered. Manuel Belgrano was reelected with the thinnest margin in the body’s history until that point, and it would mark the first time that a competing name was voted upon concurrently: Tomás Guido, a one-time ally and private secretary of Mariano Moreno who had drifted away from the firebrand into the arms of the previous leader of the Federalist bloc, Gregorio Funes, fell only a handful of votes short of beating Belgrano for the post of General Secretary.

But the biggest shock came with the vote for Supreme Director: with votes against from northern Liberals, some of whom would switch parties to the Federal before the term was done, Rodríguez Peña was not reelected as Supreme Director. When Paso had been passed over for reelection, his name had been withdrawn before a majority could vote against him; his rejection came as a shock, especially when the Northern delegates informed the assembly that they had also received instructions from their cabildos: reelect Balcarce, who had grown immensely popular in the provinces of the north for his associations with Castelli and his continuation of San Martin’s policy of employing the army for civic projects.

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Nicolás Rodriguez Peña, the short-lived 4th Supreme Director of the United Provinces. He would return to his private business as a merchant after his ignomious defeat.

Sensing an opportunity, the Federalists struck: throwing their votes in with the northern delegates, a stunned Manuel Belgrano noted the vote and had the order drafted and sent out for Balcarce to resign his commission and resume his position as Supreme Director. It would be a watershed moment in Platine politics, culminating in 1824 with the formalization of the process from cabildo to cabildo.

The General Assembly also continued to expand as its politics matured and developed: new delegates from northern cities like Atacama, Cobija, and La Laguna were joined by delegates from the newly recognized cabildos of San Borja, Fuerte Saavedra (renamed earlier in the year from Fort Borbón by the provincial assembly in Asunción) and Paysandú in the Littoral provinces and the creation of “frontier” cabildos in Formosa [1], Castellia[2], Carmen de Patagones and Bahia Blanca.

When the instructions from the Cabildos were tallied up in 1824, they returned a result that surprised even the winner: Artigas’ letters in defense of the proposal had earned him considerable fame across the country, and their circulation in conjunction with his earlier prescient warnings about the risk of Brazilian invasion - a drum he beat in frustrating solitude for two years before the federalist press took it up in the run up to the war in 1816 - turned him into a celebrity, especially among radicals who’d grown disillusioned with the more straightlaced style of Belgrano’s liberal governments. Like Balcarce in 1822, he was ordered to resign his commission and take the post of Supreme Director, although unlike Balcarce, Artigas only agreed after considerable cajoling from his own supporters to accept the job and step down as Commander of the Army of the East.

Fortunately for the restless war hero - who had criticized previous holders of the post as “sedentary” and “passive” - it would be a time of turbulence that suited his need for a more active role in day to day affairs perfectly. Chafing at his “confinement” in La Plata early into his term, 1825 would be a difficult year for the United Provinces: the continued strain of maintaining San Martin’s Army of the Andes, much reduced as it was, had significantly deteriorated the country’s financial outlook. A financial panic in London impacted La Plata especially hard, with the Natonal Bank of the United Provinces only spared from insolvency thanks to the silver from Potosí. But the crisis left the government with a shortage of hard cash, and by 1825, the amount of money it was paying in veterancy pensions had ballooned to uncontrollable levels.

To make matters worse, in many cases, the beneficiaries of the veterancy pensions remained active and were still paid as such: thousands of gauchos had joined the Revolutionary army throughout the years, and having fought as far afield as the outskirts of Quito for a decade and a half, many of them find the idea of returning to sustenance farming on someone else’s land thoroughly unappealing. When the General Assembly, short on cash, voted to pay them in promissory notes in 1825, hundreds rose up in open revolt.

Operating primarily in the interior of Uruguay, they weren’t a threat militarily, but for the same reason they’d been such valuable auxiliaries to Artigas, they were still an economic threat. Arguing that the national government was in arrears with them, they began to “collect” taxes themselves in the region, generally in the form of heads of cattle from the ranchers that had advanced into the territory in the Army of the East’s protective shadow. Artigas rode from La Plata to his old headquarters at Purificación del Hervidero, setting himself up temporarily in the old house he’d inhabited before in the middle of a small plateau overlooking the plains around him. Sending one rider to Montevideo to order the Army of the East to rally at his position and another to the rebels to parley, he waited and enjoyed the simple life he’d missed since being forced to relocate to the capital.

Campamento Artigas.jpg

Artigas had set up his base and maintained an encampent at Purificación del Hervidero throughout his campaigns against the Royalists and Brazilians

The leaders from the rebellion - all of them veterans of Artigas’ army - arrived as his nephew camped with the Army of the East’s vanguard a day’s ride away. They pleaded with their old commander to support their cause, but as sympathetic as he was with their requests, he could not allow their transgressions - which had included raids against towns under the protection of his government - to continue. No matter how little blood had been spilled as a result, it was still too much blood for former brothers in arms to lose to one another.

The rebels hesitated, but Manuel Artigas’ arrival with several hundred lancers compelled them to negotiate. The deal they struck would be transformative, especially in how it changed the country’s relationship with its territorial claims on Chaco’s interior and to the south of the Pampas; taking advantage of the grounds around his former homestead, which had been granted to him in thanks for his services by the provincial government, he exchanged lots of land from his property for the members of the rebellion to settle on as long as they waived their pension.

This settlement would set the precedent for years to come: as more veterans returned home from the expedition in the Andes or simply retired from active duty, they were offered land on the frontier instead of a costly cash pension, and the pace of colonization of the border areas accelerated accordingly. Their military experience made them better settlers in regions like the north of Uruguay or the eastern shores of the Paraná, since they could withstand native raids that would send traditional settlers running.

Settlement increased faster than just this national-level decision could explain, however: travel from the Alto to Asunción along the Pilcomayo increased faster than could be explained by just the settlement of criollos and gauchos, while the frontier in the interior of Buenos Aires also outstripped what the trickle of veterans could provide. The explanation lies in the provincial militias: an important part of Platine political life in the early days of the revolution and a vital source of manpower as the fighting dragged on. Too large to dismiss in Buenos Aires, and too far removed from civilian life in the North or the Littoral, they proved instead to be fruitful sources of manpower as the provinces pushed the border into the hinterland.

Guaraní settlers spread from Misiones and Paraguay, Quechua settlers trickled south into the plains of Chaco, and to the south of Buenos Aires, the coastal forts built in colonial times grew and were supplemented in the interior by newer fortified colonies manned by veterans of the revolutionary wars. The Platine navy, which had grown at a remarkable pace with the end of the war with Brazil, fueled a migratory boom of its own: timber-harvesting colonies spread to feed the booming shipyards of Corrientes, Buenos Aires and Montevideo, which worked tirelessly to provide the navy with new ships to supply the increasingly far-flung outposts along the Atlantic coast.

Artigas’ resolution of the conflict was transformative politically as well: it gave the position of Supreme Director an authority of its own that it had lacked under previous holders of the office, most of them overshadowed by the Secretary Generals they served alongside with. While he had rallied the army and showed a willingness to use force to restore order, his personal prestige had also allowed him to bring the conflict to a peaceful resolution that simultaneously strengthened and extended the country’s borders.

While he remained stubbornly unaffiliated, openly and proudly fraternizing with liberal and federalist delegates alike, the Federal party benefited most from his popularity, upending the political landscape in 1826 when they finally scored a narrow majority of their own. Manuel Belgrano’s impossible balancing act had finally come crashing down around him as the tensions between the two different strains of radicals in his own supporters exploded: the Liberal delegates that supported him for his land reform policies abandoned him as he was forced to give ground to pressures from monied interests in the heartland, while the Federal delegates that had once sympathized with him blamed his (and Moreno’s) policies for the Panic of 1825 and the rebellion it had caused.

After coming close in 1822, Tomás Guido became the first Secretary General of a different party in 1826, although the country would still have to wait to break Buenos Aires’ monopoly on the post. The bloc of delegates that elected him was as heterogeneous as the one that had elected Moreno for the first time, slowly revealing the hidden fissures within the Federal coalition as they exercised power nationally. The party had formed primarily as a vehicle to oppose the Morenist agenda in all its radicalism and perceived centralism; radical egalitarians celebrated alongside dough faced conservatives from the interior, united first in their distrust of Mariano Moreno and his cadre of porteños and then in their shared desire to loosen the reins of national power over the provinces and their cabildos.

As he had in his first term, Artigas grew bored with life in the Capital, and secured from the newly formed Federal government a special dispensation that inaugurated a new period in Platine history: taking to the field as Commander in Chief as opposed to General, he “joined” an armed expedition led by his nephew to the south, leading the country’s first campaign to “tame the desert” of the Pampas[3].

Primer_Conquista_del_Desierto.jpg

Artigas would lead the largest Platine expedition into the southern Pampas since independence.[4]
--
[1] Same place as OTL’s Formosa, downstream from Asunción on the opposite shore of the Paraguay and halfway between the Pilcomayo and Bermejo rivers.
[2] Located at the location of OTL’s Resistencia, Chaco, opposite the city of Corrientes.
[3] Everything I’ve read so far about Artigas leads me to believe it would be very in character for him to seek new excuses to leave the capital and do literally anything else but sit around and wait for things to get done. It also seems characteristic of his beliefs IOTL to support a military expedition in support of frontier settlements, which were getting their start IOTL around this time as well.
[4] The upcoming campaign will generally be based on the Rosas expedition of the early 1830s, the one this painting represents.
 
The impacts of the Platinean system will be interesting to explore. Neatly removing military power from the Executive would solve a lot of problems for Nations like France in the era.
 
Southward, ho!!!!

The impacts of the Platinean system will be interesting to explore. Neatly removing military power from the Executive would solve a lot of problems for Nations like France in the era.
If it were so simple, this is still a period where absolutism is a thing, which means military power being part of the executive is still kind of a thing, because the King is the executive, legislative, and judicial body for all intents and purposes.
 
Bonus: 1826 Election infobox
The relationship between the Supreme Director position and the military is still evolving: both Saavedra and Balcarce had military experience prior to their designations, and were in fact selected for the role specifically because of it. Both Paso and Rodriguez Peña were civilians, but the nature of the revolution meant that pretty much all of the patriots enlisted at one point or another, either in the army or the militia. At the moment, the reason Balcarce first and Artigas later were required to resign their commissions was to prevent superposition of responsibilities, not so much to separate the civilian and military duties.

What Artigas has done is something of a medley between what Rosas did prior to leading his campaigns to the south and what Mitre did during the war with Paraguay: leaving the capital to take personal command of the army, and placing himself above the military hierarchy by virtue of his political post. All of this is naturally still developing, not just ITTL but also in my head, but one of the big precedents I think will stem from this is that it'll continue the process of distinguishing the Supreme Director and his duties from those of the General Assembly (ironically, even as the Federalists and Artigas specifically view their goal as "weakening" the Assembly and the Secretary General, both would be greatly empowered by an Executive which is less involved in the day-to-day duties of government, as Artigas is eschewing with this move).

Sadly, I can't envision European liberals drawing from American experiences just yet, especially as republicanism is still associated with jacobin radicalism at this point. I like that the political developments are prompting conversation though, as I'm quite pleased with it and feel that it has developed rather organically. As a bonus, I'd like to share with y'all the infobox for Guido's election, and would be happy to field any questions about how I imagine the system works.

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Map with Subdivisions
United Provinces Subdivisions.png

I hope it's legible and relatively clear; in what is a teaser but, sadly given what we know of history, not really a spoiler, here's a map of the United Provinces, now with improved provincial borders! Included as well in the map is a subtle hint at the composition of the General Assembly: the cities marked in yellow, the "capitals of the nation", each get 4, although Buenos Aires was granted 2 more - in recognition for its role in the revolution and in compensation for the loss of the capital. The cities marked in white correspond to provincial capitals, and get 2 each. And finally, the cities marked in grey are "recognized cabildos", either cities that have reached the population threshold or have delegates from the revolutionary era or for other political reasons (this is especially the case of the frontier cabildos). The dark blue in the south is territory which is under the effective control of the United Provinces but which haven't been organized into a province or had a frontier cabildo established.
 
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Maybe it's just me, but I can barely tell the yellow and the white.
No, this is the first time I'm seeing the map without being zoomed in to work on it and it's true; it's hard to tell the yellow from the white, and the white from the grey, so it's all a bit of a mess. I'm going to make the colors a bit more distinct.

EDIT: Made them more distinct, but still not entirely satisfied with the result. I may have to accept that I won't be able to show all the cities with their corresponding label, and should pare down the number of provincial capitals with a full label as well to make everything clearer.
 
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The more I look at it and the more I try to work on it, the more I realize that I won't be able to do all the things I wanted to do with it at the size I have; what would y'all like to see me represent on the map, instead of just listing the different cities?
 
12 - The End of Iberian America
I just hope Charly García still exists in this timeline.
A more successful independence, and a more stable country as a result, has some tragic casualties.

Chapter 12 - The End of Iberian America
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José de la Serna e Hinojosa, last Viceroy of Perú
The fall of Lima and the subsequent independence of Perú, along with the revolution in Guayaquil and the proclamation of the Free State, reduced the once-mighty Spanish Empire in South America to Quito and its hinterlands. An important city and formidable fortress in its own right, the 10,000 remaining soldiers of the Royal Army of Perú made it impossible for the Free State’s forces to attack it, and most importantly for José de la Serna, meant he could attack the port city once his army had had time to recuperate from its harrowing march north.

Larger than any single revolutionary army on its own, it dwarfed the paltry 3,000 soldiers that Guayaquil had at its disposal, forcing the local army to remain garrisoned to keep from getting overwhelmed by the Spanish army. It was also much more concentrated than it had been at any other point in the war, allowing de la Serna to leave behind a garrison every bit as large as the one in Guayaquil while marching on the port with an army that still outnumbered them by 2 to 1.

But de la Serna’s attempts to assault the city were rebuffed, with naval support from the combined Colombian, Peruvian, Chilean and Platine fleets giving the patriots a strong advantage in cannons. Their accompanying armies aren’t far behind, and soon an allied contingent of nearly 6,000 is gathering in the seat of the Free State. The Royalist army is forced to lift its siege and retreat hastily to Quito, outpacing the recently arrived allies at the cost of a sizable number of its own artillery.

The first patriot army to push into Quitan territory was Sucre, leading a contingent of 2,000 Colombian veterans and meeting the royalists at Camino Real. Still on the retreat, the Spanish were unable to bring their full strength to bear, and the revolutionaries routed the royalist covering force and cleared the pass into the highlands. Advancing quickly, hoping to secure the interior for the revolutionary army and - for Sucre - for Colombia, he was intercepted by a royalist counterattack at Huachi and forced to withdraw until the reset of the revolutionary army could catch up.

Due to the terrain and the small theater of war, it was difficult for the two armies to maneuver against each other, and the fighting between Guayaquil and Quito soon devolved into a rolling stalemate between two equally-sized armies. The allied made a bold attempt to breach the Spanish line with a daring attack into the mountains themselves, climbing the volcano of Pichincha and forcing the royalists into a pitched battle. Eventually bringing nearly 5,000 soldiers to battle each, it would become one of the biggest and longest battles in the Latin American Wars of Independence, lasting for two weeks of intense fighting at high altitudes.

After heavy casualties on both sides, the revolutionaries managed to dislodge the Spanish from the high ground and pushed them down the slope of the mountain towards their rear[1]. Managing to escape thanks to a courageous and desperate last stand by its rearguard, 4,000 surviving royalists managed to make it back into the city of Quito, and soon the last bastion of Spanish rule in South America was placed under siege by Bolivar, who had invaded from the north after defeating a royalist uprising in nearby Pasto.

De la Serna, commander of his soldiers first and viceroy second, decided he’d had enough: the royalist army was exhausted, and the latest news that had trickled in during the grueling fighting that dominated 1821 broke its morale. The Spanish crown had lost control of both Mexico and Central America by the end of 1821, and de la Serna sought to negotiate an armistice with the revolutionaries, surrendering by May 25 and saving at least the lives of the 7,000 remaining Spanish soldiers.

The Grancolombian president was greeted as a hero by the city when it opened its gates, and its cabildo voted rapturously to join Gran Colombia along with the majority of the interior’s cities and towns. Guayaquil’s cabildo voted to join as well a month later, although it did so by a slimmer margin than the province’s capital, with supporters of Guayaquil’s independence still in leading positions of the local government.

Entrevista_de_Guayaquil.jpg

Artist's rendition of the Conference of Guayaquil, marking the first meeting of the two most significant military leaders of the last phase of the Latin American Independence Wars. Despite their portrayal in this painting, they met in private and rumors swirled from the beginning around the reasons behind their mutual animosity.

Bolivar would enter the city soon after, bringing the war to liberate South America from Spain to a close. The meeting between Bolivar and San Martin marked the moment that the last campaign against a royalist army had finished, and both headed a parade through the city in celebration of the culmination of a fight for freedom that had lasted over a decade. The historic moment was undercut somewhat by the animosity between the two great liberators, with San Martin and the Platine and Peruvian contingents departing the city abruptly a day later.

The Spanish Empire in the Americas was dead, or as dead as could be: an empire that once stretched from California to the River Plate had been completely pushed off the continent and reduced to just the islands of Puerto Rico and Cuba, with even Santo Domingo lost to the revolutionary wave that had swept the hemisphere when it voted to join Gran Colombia in 1821. In its place stood a string of republics, in some ways the successors of the viceroyalties they’d toppled, but in significant ways a radical break with what had come before.

But even in Brazil, revolutionary change was on the agenda: the cortes that had forced the royal court to relocate to Lisbon scoffed at Brazilian expectations of equal representation in the body, and the controversy resulted in an irreparable schism. Brazil refused to countenance any loss of status, and they understood that anything less than full and equal representation in the Kingdom’s institutions was tantamount to a return to colonial domination, and formally declared independence on September 7, 1822. Dom Pedro, regent of Brazil with his father’s return to Portugal as king, joined Emperor Agustin I of Mexico among Latin American monarchs and was acclaimed Emperor Pedro I on October 12, and so fell the last vestiges of colonial rule in South America.

While both Portugal and Spain refused to recognize the loss of their empires, other nations greeted the newly independent nations: the Kingdom of Hawai’i would be the first, having recognized Platine independence in 1818, extending the same recognition to Chile and Gran Colombia in 1820 and Perú, Mexico and Brazil in 1822. The United States of America and the United Kingdom of Great Britain would follow, recognizing the string of republics starting in 1822 as well. Then there were of course the mutual recognition of independence, with Brazil establishing its own embassies in countries that Portugal had recognized the year before and receiving their embassies (or more frequently, with new ambassadors being sent to Lisbon) that same year.

For the first time since 1810 - or 1809 in some cases, especially in the Andes - the guns fell silent in South America: a decade of war had exacted a staggering toll on the continent, with tens of thousands killed and hundreds of thousands displaced or exiled. Recovery would be slow for many of the nascent republics, especially as the end of the royalist threat brought domestic divisions to the forefront.

In the United Provinces, this would manifest as the progressive loss of popularity for the Liberals that had dominated the revolution since its earliest days, with the reaction from the provinces against their perceived centralism finally breaking the dam once the Spanish were finally defeated, sweeping in the Federalists in 1826. The debate between centralists and federalists would likewise dominate the early years of peace in Gran Colombia and Mexico, with the former convening a constitutional convention following Bolivar’s reelection to prevent tensions in Guayaquil and Venezuela from boiling over into open rebellion. The latter however would ultimately lose control over the former captaincy of Guatemala, which would split off into its own federal republic with the proclamation of the Federal Republic of Central America in 1823.

Mexico’s empire would survive, but Emperor Agustin I’s power would be severely curtailed by the Congress after a failed attempt to shutter the assembly provoked a mass mutiny among the liberals in his army[1]. The survival of Mexico’s monarchy, and the establishment of Brazil’s own Empire the same year, heightened tensions around a debate that had long been set aside, first by the need to obscure the intention to break away from the Spanish crown, and then by the need to win the war: vocal and prominent minorities within the revolutionary camp still feared that further recognition would not come without monarchs of their own. Many of them had been supporters of independence first and only accepted republicanism hesitantly as a necessity of war, but now felt emboldened to agitate for more coronations.

This belief became especially popular in the south of Perú and the border provinces of the Alto, especially as the idea of naming an Incan monarch gained traction among this faction. Many of the revolutionaries who had first risen up in Chuquisaca and later in Cuzco recognized Tupac Amaru II rebellion in 1781 as a direct inspiration for their own uprising, and the remains of the Incan nobility - including members who had supported Spanish efforts to suppress Tupac Amaru, like the venerable Mateo Pumahuaca, the most prestigious supporter of the Cuzco rebellion[2] - supported a constitutional monarchy headed by one of their own as an alternative to a criollo-led republic.

But even as these debates bubbled under the surface, the whole continent greeted 1823 with a renewed sense of optimism and expectation, with 12 long years of war giving way to peace at last. Sons and husbands returned home, the cities sprang back to life and slowly a new sense of normalcy set in; trade and industry could finally recover after years of disruption and war, and fallow fields were plowed once again as soldiers traded their muskets for farm tools. From Washington to Buenos Aires, colonial tyranny had been defeated, and the new year dawned upon a New World wreathed in freedom.

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South America in 1823, upon the end of the Latin American Wars for Independence (1809-1822)
--
[1] IOTL, the Empire of Mexico ended in March 1823, after Agustin I attempted to subvert the Congress of the new nation and ended up provoking a republican counter-revolution. ITTL, his initial efforts to stamp down on parliamentary opposition is less successful and he becomes a neutered monarch instead.
[2] A casualty of OTL’s Cuzco rebellion, he lives long enough (but barely) to see his country become independent. The success of the Cuzco rebellion, which drew more directly from Tupac Amaru II abortive Incan revolution of the 1780s, has strengthened the position of the supporters of an Inca restoration, although to just what extent this is the case remains to be seen.
 
I have to admit, the realization that a longer-lasting Cuzco rebellion might mean more support for an Incan coronation has put the idea in my head and I'm sorely tempted to have it happen.
 
13 - Supreme Director and General Secretary (UP in 1830, Part 1)
This will be the first update in a series meant to take a deep dive into how the United Provinces are developing, with the relatively arbitrary cut off date of 1830 to make things a bit easier and to avoid the swarm of butterflies that is circling the country. Next up is going to be a look at how the relationship between the General Assembly, the Cabildos and the Provinces has developed, and it'll lead in to the 1830 census. Finding population figures has been difficult, as the date is based on when Bolivia had its first census (1831), but the other constituent countries had their first ones later (considerably later in Argentina's case, with the first census taking place in the 1860s).

EDIT: Also, hopefully I'll settle on General Secretary once and for all instead of this constant switching from one to the other. It's not a huge issue (it's Secretario General in Spanish either way), but I can imagine it's a bit annoying to read.

The United Provinces in 1830
Supreme Director and General Secretary

Since Independence, Platine institutions have developed slowly, adapting the vestiges of colonial institutions to the needs of a revolutionary government: the cabildo, the lowest rung of the former imperial system, was suddenly thrust into the forefront of national politics, combining in the humble local meeting place both the smallest building block of the revolution’s legitimacy and its most fundamental piece of popular self-rule. The leaders of the May Revolution latched onto the figure of the cabildo as the truest expression of sovereignty, as it allowed them to simultaneously justify the sweeping powers taken by the Cabildo of Buenos Aires and to put on the mask of self-rule in response to anarchy with the argument of retrocession of sovereignty to the cabildos (as opposed to the precursor to independence that it ultimately was).

When the delegates from cabildos up and down the former Viceroyalty gathered in Buenos Aires as the General Assembly, they could claim a legitimacy in their decisions that the exclusively-porteño Junta could not: it turned the interior into stakeholders of the revolutionary government, and drew upon the Westminster model that many of the revolutionaries admired to further consolidate the system, granting the position of Secretary General of the Assembly powers akin to those of the Prime Minister to better differentiate the Assembly from the governments that were ultimately responsible to it.

But the morenist majority in the Assembly was more preoccupied with defining and expanding the powers of the Secretary General - a position Moreno tailored personally to keep as many of his powers as Secretary of Government of the Junta - than ideology: the powers of the position had been designed with the alleged purpose of providing the viceroyalty with a government in charge of day-to-day business and general legislation, under the premise that the revolution did not seek to break with, but rather to loyally defend, their relationship with the deposed king Ferdinand VII. To the extent that they conceived of a head of state separate from the Secretary General, they labored initially under the guise of reserving the position for their true king, and in that context assumed that the Supreme Representative would, first of all, eventually be replaced with a Viceroy and, crucially, would be more ambassador to the court than president of the country.

This naturally meant that when rapidly changing circumstances forced them to quickly come up with a new purpose for the post, now renamed Supreme Director, they left much of it vague and essentially allowed Saavedra to carry on in the same role as he had in the Junta, even as the structure of the revolutionary government shifted dramatically around him. An awkward mix between washingtonian president and british figurehead, it worked more due to the pre-existing relationship between Saavedra and Moreno in similar roles and Saavedra’s personal prestige than any coherent delineation of powers and duties.

Saavedra’s removal changed that: first, it placed the position of Supreme Director in an uncomfortably subservient position, a move that would attract considerable criticism until the power to remove and elect the Supreme Director was ultimately stripped from the General Assembly and conferred to the cabildos in a quixotic cross between direct election of the post and an electoral college distinct from the General Assembly (depending on how you interpret the fact that the instruction to vote for a certain candidate typically manifested in the election of a separate delegation with that specific mandate). But prior to that, Moreno was able to rein in the post, reducing it to a mere appendage of the Secretary General and provoking a backlash that would begin to better define the separate powers of the Assembly and the Director.

Seeking to counteract the concentration of powers in the figure of the General Secretary, the Assembly reasserted itself in 1814: publicly by electing a Supreme Director untethered to Moreno personally and politically by better defining the powers of the Supreme Director. Things that Saavedra had done as a matter of course due to his status - and which Paso had foregone, due to his close ties - was to exercise some control on the Secretary’s powers of appointment by virtue of his ability to withhold his signature. Developing first into an explicit veto power - requiring the Director’s signature for any legislation to go into force - it soon expanded into powers of advice and consent, especially in matters related to military appointments and diplomatic missions.

By the time Manuel Belgrano became Secretary General in 1818 alongside Antonio Balcarce as Supreme Director, the two posts had settled into a working equilibrium: the General Secretary headed the day-to-day government of the country, coordinating the work of the different secretaries while answering to the General Assembly at large. The Supreme Director for his part oversaw and coordinated the day-to-day operations of the war in conjunction with the general staff of the Armed Forces as well as represented the nation with foreign delegations, and was likewise responsible for the selection of ambassadors and secretaries from a shortlist prepared by the General Secretary.

But in many ways, the ultimate subservience of the Supreme Director to the General Assembly meant that these powers, even explicitly defined in 1818, paled in comparison to those of the General Secretary: the position required a majority in the Assembly, and a majority in the Assembly was sufficient to appoint a new Supreme Director in the event of a vacancy and - as had happened in 1812 - remove one. The appointment of Rodriguez Peña after Balcarce’s resignation in 1820 is a testament to this: although far from the appendage Paso had been to Moreno in 1812, Rodriguez Peña was a minnow in comparison to Belgrano and his options to stake a path of his own were limited by his position’s dependence on Belgrano’s majority.

1822 is the watershed moment when the Supreme Director finally secures a legitimacy all his own, with Balcarce becoming the first Supreme Director elected directly by the cabildos instead of indirectly by the Assembly. This decoupled his majority from the Secretary General’s, as evidenced by the cross-party support that Balcarce got in 1822, and culminated in Artigas’ virtually unanimous election in 1824 even as the General Assembly trended towards parity between the Liberals and the Federalists. But in an ironic twist, while Artigas’ election represents the first time that the post stakes out a prominent public role in government, it also consolidated the Secretary General’s primacy: Artigas’ frequent absences from the capital meant that during Belgrano’s last two years, he’d wield considerably more real power than he had with Balcarce, as would his Federalist successor Tomás Guido.

By the time Artigas resigned from the position, signing his own reappointment as General of the Army of the East in the run up to the 1830 election specifically to rule himself out of the running, the Supreme Director’s institutional role was intertwined with Artigas’ mold-breaking treatment of the post. Its hands-off dynamic with the formation and oversight of the cabinet was further consolidated, as was its vital symbolic role as a unifying figure separate from the increasingly partisan identity of the General Assembly.

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