AHC: A Spanish "Canada" on an American continent

raharris1973

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How contingent was the struggle for independence in Spanish America, and the settlement that emerged, at least de facto, by 1830, the independence of Spanish colonies on the North American and South American mainland, and the retention of Cuba and Puerto Rico and Spain?

By a Spanish "Canada", I mean a block of territory that remains loyal to the Spanish Crown until the 20th century, and quite possibly remains in some form of commonwealth with Spain to the 21st century. In OTL, Cuba and Puerto Rico were the closest to a Spanish "Canada" in that Spain held them until 1898.

I do not know if in say, 1800 or 1805, the populations of Cuba and Puerto Rico were more loyal to Spain than the populations of Mexico or Peru. Possibly their prolonged loyalty was a consquence of them being the central bases of Spanish advance and retreat in the hemisphere, and perhaps loyal peninsulares and creoles moved their in large #s after the independence of the rest of Spanish America.

But a real Canada equivalent would need to be an extensive mainland territory. What region of Spanish America would make the most plausible redoubt of loyalists? Mexico? Central America? Colombia, Venezuela, the Andes or Rio de la Plata?

Alternatively, is there a plausible way that Cuba and/or Puerto Rico could have won independence at the same time as Mexico, Central and South America? Could a federation of of Cuba and Mexico, independent of Spain, have existed?

What about contemporaneous independence of the Philippines and/or Spanish East Indies? Could those territories plausibly have federated with Mexico (for a period of time, I believe they were administered from New Spain rather than Old Spain. And ironically, for a time, Tejas province was also called "New Philippines").

A Mexican federation with Spanish Caribbean and/or Pacific territories could be interesting, albeit unwieldy. Might it seek to make Hawaii a protectorate to secure its communications?

In a sense, it could create the opportunity for the United States to get the territorial expansion of two wars of aggression for the price of one, with the Mexican War winning not only the US southwest, but also Cuba, Puerto Rico and PAcific territories out to the Philippines by 1850.
 
Peru apparently was a royalist stronghold in the wars of independence, and IIRC was reconquered by the Spanish at least once. That's a start.
 
Spain reconquers Mexico would be a good start. Other then that, the obvious would be Cuba or Puerto Rico, which considered itself to be Spanish pretty much till the end.
 
Why not Argentina?

-was royalist in the beginning and could remain so
-large but sparsely populated and needed immigrants
-majority white in OTL
-has problems with native minority in OTL.

Spain keeping Argentina while the rest of the empire leaves would be pretty cool.
 
Peru is the best bet. It was conquered by Bolivar, unlike New Spain, New Grenada and La Plata, who all revolted successfully on their own.
 
Why not Argentina?

-was royalist in the beginning and could remain so
-large but sparsely populated and needed immigrants
-majority white in OTL
-has problems with native minority in OTL.

Spain keeping Argentina while the rest of the empire leaves would be pretty cool.
Argentina, if they could hold it, would indeed probably be the most analogous to Canada.
 
Peru was the royalist stronghold in OTL, however it was smack dab in between two rebellious viceroyalties, who's war strategy was basically advance towards the royalist stronghold and meet each other halfway, which ended up being Upper Peru. And because of that Bolivia, named after the most famed insurgent is located, off the country (now countries) Bolivar founded. Its equivalent would be to have Manitoba be called Washingtonia.

A good POD to get a Spanish Canada would be not to divide the Viceroyalty or Peru in two, thus Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay would remain part of The Viceroyalty of Peru. Since this division was one of the main reasons Rio de La Plata thought it could go at it alone; the Argentine identity could be butterflied away.

Bolivar would no march towards Peru as in OTL, but would likely still be victorious in Nueva Granada. Thus you have The United States of Colombia, encompassing the whole of Nueva Granada (Panama, Venezuela, Colombia, Equador, and a chuck of Peru) and the Viceroyalty of Peru, undivided.

It is likely this TL would also result in a British Patagonia. The British incursions would also give the Viceroyalty a reason to stick with Spain for security and for Spain to give them greater autonomy so matters are dealt more efficiently. However Spain must also reform in the 19th century for this to work out correctly.
 
If you prevent the American Revolution, you lose their example of independence, and quite likely butterfly Napoleon's invasion of Spain and the British sinking of the Spanish fleet. That would make independence of the Spanish colonies a lot less likely.
 

raharris1973

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Jycee wins the gold for this challenge -

The Viceroyalty of Peru, AKA, Nueva Castillia, Spanish South America, AKA Espana Antipodal is the challenge-winning idea.

Regarding your scenario, Jycee, is the thinking that Patagonia will go British because Lima won't have the impetus to order its colonization?

Also, will the British still invade and be defeated in the Rio de la Plata area during the Napoleonic Wars, but the viceregal government and Spain will get credit for resisting?

Assuming we have a loyal Spanish bloc from Peru to Argentina and Uruguay, I see several consequences - Galapagos and Easter Island are under Spanish sovereignty, Spain may take hold the Marquesas and maybe even other parts of French Polynesia, slavery may last longer in South America.

Nothing in the PoD seems to make it likely for Spain to lose Cuba, so Colombia will probably be quite paranoid about potential Spanish efforts to establish control of Panama for territorial contiguity.

If a war breaks out over Cuba with the US, what is the likely role of Spanish South America, and might the knock-ons lead to an American held Galapagos, Ester Island, and possibly Malvinas?
 
Hey, im hispanic, from Venezuela and i am from a region that during the wars used to be royalist, one of the royalist strongholds in my country and in fact im from an old royalist family, several of my ancestors and relatives died for god, country and king.

The most important stronghold in all South America was Peru, there were other regions in all the continent, mine for example, Maracaibo, Coro, in my country too, Pasto in Nueva Granada, Chiloe and Valdivia in Chile, Argentina i don't think would be a real option, Argentina was pretty much a rebel zone from the beggining, if we are talking about a bloc, i think it would start with Peru, if Peru remain strong, my country will be part of the bloc too because there were a lot, really a lot of royalist and here the war was very hard, my country lost maybe more than half of its population because royalist didn't give up and when the war was over a lot of people was expelled, so with enough help from Cuba and Puerto Rico, Venezuela would definitely remain loyal.

With Peru strong and my country holding, and the royalist strongholds in Pasto, Santa Marta, retaking the rest of Nueva Granada would be easy, and then Ecuador, if the chileans royalist hold enough, the would be retaken too, and with Bolivia in the middle, i think that would be the right bloc.

Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay would be hard, with time they could be taken, but it would be hard.

The race factor is not that important, most rebels were white, and a lot of the royalist troops were indian, black or mixed, whites were a minority, in fact, there were more europeans in the rebel side than americans, and the royal side was the one with more americans to the point that the rebels had to hire mercenaries from England, Ireland, Germany to be effective.

Now, there is a very important factor nobody has considered and that was maybe the one that really gave the victory to the rebels in the war, is not Napoleon, is that Fernando VII was an idiot, there are two key factors, the abolition of the 1812 constitution in 1814, and the revolution of 1820 commanded by Rafael del Riego that restore the constitution, lol, he is the one who should have statues and be called "Libertador", no San Martin, Bolivar or Itubirde.

If you stopped only one of those, the royalist would had win the war because the abolition of the constitution divided the royalist armies into liberals and conservatives, and that was very bad because a lot of the liberals change sides, and the other because the revolution later stop reinforcements from Spain.

If you stop the first, united and strong army and no revolution later, so reinforcements arrive, if you don't stop the first but stop the second, still reinforcements arrive and that would be more than enough to defeat the rebels, i say this because after the revolution well, now a lot of people change sides again to the rebels and others give up because they were tired of the problems in Spain that make difficult to win the war here, Itubirde in Mexico for example was one, a conservative, when the constitution was restore, he changed.
 
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The easiest bet is the Treaty of Córdoba and the Plan de Iguala being applied. That way there is odds to have that commonwealth you are looking for between Spain and New Spain/México. If the Treaty of Córdoba becomes a reality, it would have indeed political impact in the rest of the spanish America. Bolívar himself showed his fears to this in a letter to San Martín. As others have said, Perú was a royalist stronghold, as was Alto Perú/Charcas (or the latter at least was an scenario with little independentist activity until Ayacucho followed by Sucre's army entering in the territory, but this case is probably not totally representative due to its position as peripherial holding inside the empire, specially in a moment when Potosí had decayed greatly) In that sense, the Treaty of Córdoba could have been seen as a good compromise solution in Perú. On one hand we have a politically ambigous local elite, where internal economical rivalries mix with political rivalries but which, in general terms, is rather royalist and, most important has as main fear the risk of social explosion due to the rigors of war. We have also large indigenous communities which also tend to fall in the royalist side due to (simplifying a lot, I know) their mistrust towards the criollos. On the other hand, this new relationship with the metropoli could have been enough to many of those in the vicerroyalty which otherwise felt on the independentist side. The problem here is that it doesn't depend only on the internal peruvian dynamics but also we have militar pressure from Río de la Plata and Gran Colombia, and there is no reason to think on a different development on that aspect ITTL.

The problems faced by the Treaty of Córdoba were mainly on the spanish side. First, O'Donojú died short after arriving in México due to an epidemy. Latter, those opposed to grant more autonomy to the colonies impossed their possitions in the Spanish Cortes, despite several mexican (and some peninsular) MP's lobbying for this solution even before O'Donojú was sent to Mexico. And finally, related to the latter, the active opposition of Ferdinand VII was probably capital. Finally, another poblem, even if the treaty is accepted in both sides without much trouble, in 1823 the Holy Alliance is going to invade Spain to supress the liberal regime and the Cortes, with their legality, will be disolved. What happens then?

Also, in general terms, there is a possibility for an empire-wide solution if different political paths are taken much early. If the initial autonomist movements are satisfied with a new relationship with the metropoli, probably independentism would had lost support. I'm guessing that the deathline here is 1812-13. Still, things are complicated, because the political scenario in this moment is very dynamic both in Spain and in the Americas. We have a lot of lines of fracture allowing for caleydoscopic alliegances. From the early problems between the Junta Suprema and the juntas created in several american cities, to the latter divisions and expectatives created by the constituonal proccess in Cádiz till the absolutist restoration once Ferdinand VII came back plus the social and cultural diversity inherent to the spanish Americas. Thus, we have a hell of possible butterflies if we choose amongst the different options.

Say, a Constitution granting large autonomy to the colonies could be contested both in the metropoli and the colonies by reactionnary elements with common or different objetives, not to mention the polemics around representativity of the colonies at the moment, or around the right of vote for the indigenous communities etc, where everyone played with marked cards (for example, counting the indigenous population to claim for more representation in the Cortes but refusing their right to vote, and vice-versa) On the other hand, if larger autonomy is granted, for example, under an Ancien Regime form (less probable?) we have the opposition of liberals also in both sides of the Atlantic, though in this case very probably not with a common aim, and so and so. And, don't forget, all this considering that things were more complex than it's usally told in the old-school historiography. For example, liberalism, republicanism and indepentism were three separate concepts that sometimes were found in a sole individual/group and sometimes not, so you can find reactionnary independentists, liberal loyalists etc.

And finally, the biggest problem here, how to change the political will of the main actors to make them behave in a different way than in OTL?

Cheers.
 

raharris1973

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Excellent, educational responses from thouros & niko

From thouros I am getting the idea that every south American country save argentina had it's loyalist pockets. Niko seemed to underline how much instability in Spain alienated everyone in Spain sooner or later.


Niko - a question for you. Were different regions of new spain notably different on attitudes towards independence versus loyalism and monarchism versus republicanism? For instance were chihuahua an Nuevo Leon any more or less loyal than yucatan, Guadalajara or Oaxaca in the south? What about attitudes in Nuevo Mexico and tejas and alta California in the far north? What about down in Nicaragua and Honduras? Heck for that matter what about the Spanish subjects living in St Augustine and Pensacola Florida?
 
From thouros I am getting the idea that every south American country save argentina had it's loyalist pockets. Niko seemed to underline how much instability in Spain alienated everyone in Spain sooner or later.
In Argentina Córdoba was sort of a royalist pocket, but the counterrevolution that was being set up there as aborted in 1810, before it even started, by an armed force led by Buenos Aires. It's leaders were condemned to death (among them was Liniers, a former Vicerroy who had defended Buenos Aires against the english in 1806 and 1807). Since that moment, Cordoba remain loyal to the cause of the revolution. Montevideo remained in Spanish hands til 1814, but that was only because it was easily defendable: the rest of the uruguayan country was in the hands of the rebels.

So yes, there weren't strong loyalist pockets in argentina. But we must remember "Argentina" didn't exist in 1810. Argentina was carved out from the union of 3 or 4 provinces of the Vicerroyalty of the River Plate, which also encompassed *Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay. In a way, one might say that modern Bolivia is the "loyalist pocket" of Argentina * (Uruguay and Paraguay are another matter).

*It wouldn't be fair, though, since, in the provinces that would later join to form modern bolivia, there were manny supporters of the revolutioners during the sough American wars of Independence. There was a failed revolution in 1809, and the region passed to rebel hands at several points between 1810 and 1815. But, being so close to Perú and so far from buenos aires, loyalist forces usually prevailed. Paradoxically, the region, which was were the first revolution started (1809) ended up being the last to be liberated (1824) in South America.
 
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From thouros I am getting the idea that every south American country save argentina had it's loyalist pockets. Niko seemed to underline how much instability in Spain alienated everyone in Spain sooner or later.


Niko - a question for you. Were different regions of new spain notably different on attitudes towards independence versus loyalism and monarchism versus republicanism? For instance were chihuahua an Nuevo Leon any more or less loyal than yucatan, Guadalajara or Oaxaca in the south? What about attitudes in Nuevo Mexico and tejas and alta California in the far north? What about down in Nicaragua and Honduras? Heck for that matter what about the Spanish subjects living in St Augustine and Pensacola Florida?
Well, yes, like Admiral Brown says, Cordoba was the place to be the royalist stronghold, but the leaders were captured before they started, Liniers was the obvious leader but he had a big problem, he was french and Spain was invaded by the french, so i think a lot of royalist didn't move because of this and then he was killed.

Montevideo was a royalist stronghold too, but well, they were under siege and fell soon enough, my region, Guayana, hold 7 years until the rebels manage to take most of the region, a region too big for its population, when the rebels had the farms well, we were doomed, nobody can hold without food.

Now, the question is not for me, i now a lot about South America, not much about New Spain (Mexico), but the thing is that the royalist pretty much won the war there, it were the mistakes of Fernando VII the ones who make Mexico free in the end, if not for that i really think Mexico would remaing part of Spain and with that, most of the south american territories would had remain in line.
 
Yup. To sum it up, Peru and Bolivia were royalist strongholds and Mexico was a royalist victory until 1821.

So Peru would be most like a Spanish Canada if you mean "the loyal one" but Argentina would be most like Canada in demographic and climate aspects.
 
The Spanish and Portugese divide the world on a latitude and not longitude.
The OP's point was to create a Spanish "Canada" (notice the quotation marks) not necessarily making Canada Spanish.
Interesting thought though. Spain still colonizes Central America and the energy it spent in South America is now spent colonizing the rest of North America...
 
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