AHC: South American super power

From the middle of the twentieth century two powers emerged the United States and the Soviet Union. What impact would there been if a third super power emerging from a union of South American states becoming powerful enough to challenge the U.S. in the western hemisphere? What form would this new country take politically? What are the most likely borders or would there be a local version of manifest destiny? With a point of departure likely sometime around 1800 what impact would this have on Europe extending beyond the obvious effects in Spain? How would this change key events in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. What would be the ultimate impact? I am researching for a TL based on these ideas and will welcome input.
 
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Gran Colombia is probably your best option. The nation would have remained pretty powerful if Bolivar hadn't insisted on a dictatorial constitution.
 

archaeogeek

Banned
I'm not sure it creates South American superpowers, but my favourite option for South American great powers is one where Rio de la Plata and Gran Colombia somehow stick together. So you have one country in the south that's Argentina, Bolivia, bits of modern Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay, while you have one that's Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Venezuela and bits of Costa Rica and Ecuador.

Chile could end up in a Texas-alike situation for Rio de la Plata; the main problem is keeping them united; the problem is that a lot of the leaders during independence failed at leading once back in civilian life. And this is the part where I kind of get stumped: Santander leading a "parliamentary revolution" against Bolivar could probably solve Colombia's problem especially if he kicks it during his attempted conquest of Peru, but I have absolutely no idea how you can get the united provinces to stick together...

In this situation, though, Peru looks rather bad: Brazil will filibuster its Amazonian provinces as it did IOTL (if the Platinians don't do it first) and will probably end up stripped of its far north and south unless it either becomes stronger or remains as a Spanish Canada.

An alternative position I could envision for Peru is one where the two surviving republics agree to split it 50/50, so Chile to RdlP and Bajo Peru to Colombia, but I have trouble envisioning this alternative in a way that doesn't strengthen Bolivar as a leader.

Full unity of spanish South America, though, would lead to a lot of problems and I have difficulty seeing how it could be done :/
 
The question is how to keep Gran Columbia from falling apart. Bolivar died in 1830 from tuberculosis. Is it ASB for him to die from the disease a few years earlier? The death of a leader in office could help unite a county.

It would not have to be the whole of South America, no more than the U.S. is all of North America, just a good chunk of it.
 
I concur that Gran Columbia is your best bet. It would be the only south American country capable of pursuing traditional industrialization via the coal deposits of Columbia, and the iron ore of Venezuela.
 

archaeogeek

Banned
The question is how to keep Gran Colombia from falling apart. Bolivar died in 1830 from tuberculosis. Is it ASB for him to die from the disease a few years earlier? The death of a leader in office could help unite a county.
I feel better than his death would be his being deposed democratically/impeached*; there could have been parliamentary opposition to things but he had some of the major political figures of the time, including some of the regional vice-presidents.

Although it wouldn't be terribly ASB for him to die early, some parts of the country are malarial zones and he could easily have died in 26 while fighting in the Andes.

*EDIT: I haven't been through it completely, so I don't know if the Cucuta constitution had an impeachment procedure for the president of Colombia
 
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archaeogeek

Banned
What if Bolivar lost his bid for reelection 1826?
That's a really good question; Santander was the runner up with 46% of the electoral vote (286 votes). I wonder how Bolivar would react to that... But I think it was actually the vicepresidential election and not the presidential one. The thing I'm checking is extremely confused; also the Venezuelan states were the ones where Santander got the least votes from.
 
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An other possibility involves a failed assassination of Bolivar in 1828, I understand that there was implication that Santander was involved.
 
In addition to one of the larger historical South American states surviving, whichever it is, they need immigration. Doesn't have to be British, they just need more people.
 

archaeogeek

Banned
In addition to one of the larger historical South American states surviving, whichever it is, they need immigration. Doesn't have to be British, they just need more people.
To be fair, given the circumstances in which they broke up (unstable dictatorships and the like leading to liberal-conservative wars, with some exceptions allowed), the fact that one of the larger republics survives hopefully implies it hasn't turned into an unstable dictatorship...
 
Like in our time line immigration would largely come from Europe, a lot of the Irish wound up in South America due to the potato famine. Later Eastern Europe. If a surviving large republic was rapidly industrializing it could offer as good if not better choice than the U.S. by the 1850s. Also expect immigrants from Asia.

The U.S. came close to falling apart in the way described, it was only the commanding General of Continental Army that kept it from rebelling just after the ARW. It wasn't happenstance that he was later the first President of the U.S. South America needed a George Washington, but who could fill that role?
 
I'm not sure it creates South American superpowers, but my favourite option for South American great powers is one where Rio de la Plata and Gran Colombia somehow stick together. So you have one country in the south that's Argentina, Bolivia, bits of modern Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay, while you have one that's Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, Venezuela and bits of Costa Rica and Ecuador.

Chile could end up in a Texas-alike situation for Rio de la Plata; the main problem is keeping them united; the problem is that a lot of the leaders during independence failed at leading once back in civilian life. And this is the part where I kind of get stumped: Santander leading a "parliamentary revolution" against Bolivar could probably solve Colombia's problem especially if he kicks it during his attempted conquest of Peru, but I have absolutely no idea how you can get the united provinces to stick together...

In this situation, though, Peru looks rather bad: Brazil will filibuster its Amazonian provinces as it did IOTL (if the Platinians don't do it first) and will probably end up stripped of its far north and south unless it either becomes stronger or remains as a Spanish Canada.

An alternative position I could envision for Peru is one where the two surviving republics agree to split it 50/50, so Chile to RdlP and Bajo Peru to Colombia, but I have trouble envisioning this alternative in a way that doesn't strengthen Bolivar as a leader.

Full unity of spanish South America, though, would lead to a lot of problems and I have difficulty seeing how it could be done :/
Keeping Uruguay is easy. Keeping Paraguay is harder, as Paraguayans had a sort of regional identity that preceded their independence in 1811, and Buenos Aires hadn't the resources to submitt them by force. But they might have joined a Platiniean Confederacy (I think they even proposed it around 1811).

So, you only need leades in Buenos Aires to accept that granting autonomy to the provinces is the only way to go, and that the new country cannot be run as the Vicerroyalty was run (that is, with provincial governors appointed directly from the siege of the central power). The question is how to achieve this. Maybe if the American political model was more widely known in the region prior to independence???

Keeping Upper Peru (otl Bolivia) is harder, and might require force.

And then there is the question of how to rule such a country: if you only have Paraguay and Uruguay, you'd basically have a bigger OTL Argentina: once that looks towards Europe for trade, capital and immigrants, and who exports mainly agricultural goods. It'd be less centralised than OTL, but its key sectors would be the same. And socially, it would be rather liberal (by comparison to other Latin American countries), as it was IOTL. It would be a country that won't rely on force labour (Indian or African).

If you have Bolivia, that means you are adding a lot of mineral resources, but also a sociopolitical time-bomb. You're incorporating a populated region that relies on open or covered forms of Indian servitude. This region (plus one or two of Argentinian northern provinces) might stick toghether as a block, and vote for conservative politicians that support status quo. The might side with the Church, so you might not get the reforms in education and other areas that Rivadavia or Sarmiento implemented IOTL. And, if this is not solved, you might get a revolutionary movement.

On the other hnd, huge countries like USA or Brazil did well dispite having this kind of blocks in their South or their North (respectively), and so might do Argentina...
 
I think if the whole Rio de la Plata Viceroyalty, plus Chile, became a country(making Chile feel more vulnerable and preventing Buenos Aires from acting estupid), they have excellent chances. Argentina have soils for agriculture and husbandry that only the US can compete with in the continent. Chile have loads and loads of copper(and we may also have, but we never really searched). Also, Chile is a good country for husbandry and agriculture. Bolivia has many minerals, including a lot of iron ore. They would also have coal, as Patagonia which is were Argentina and Chile take their coal, isn't fully explored(Chile found coal in one island and Argentina in Southern Buenos Aires).
And in contrast with Colombia, the country would have a better climate for immigrants.

Another one would be if Brazil conquered the central plains of Argentina, including Buenos Aires in our first war. The country was really depopulated and with some Brazilian immigrants, the situation would be fixed. If after that, Brazil also takes Patagonia or some of it, then there would be room for many immigrants. This country would have the potential to become really powerful.
 

archaeogeek

Banned
Like in our time line immigration would largely come from Europe, a lot of the Irish wound up in South America due to the potato famine. Later Eastern Europe. If a surviving large republic was rapidly industrializing it could offer as good if not better choice than the U.S. by the 1850s. Also expect immigrants from Asia.

The U.S. came close to falling apart in the way described, it was only the commanding General of Continental Army that kept it from rebelling just after the ARW. It wasn't happenstance that he was later the first President of the U.S. South America needed a George Washington, but who could fill that role?
For Rio de la Plata, no idea, probably someone other than San Martin. The main problem is that the United Provinces started breaking apart during the war of independence.
For Colombia... Francisco de Miranda might well be it, if he could have had more success. He probably had the needed principles and would later end up as a sitting member of the french national assembly. He left his seat in disgust after the king's execution, was shortly arrested but he was exiled because the French didn't want to risk the political fallout of executing a man who was still, at the time, a spanish general.

So, you only need leades in Buenos Aires to accept that granting autonomy to the provinces is the only way to go, and that the new country cannot be run as the Vicerroyalty was run (that is, with provincial governors appointed directly from the siege of the central power). The question is how to achieve this. Maybe if the American political model was more widely known in the region prior to independence???
I'd say this applies to both RdlP and Colombia; the colombian government did have a better grip of federalism, though, with Ecuador, Venezuela and Cundinamarca having each their own chief executive (only, there was never a VP of Ecuador), but I feel it would need to be cut up a lot more: maybe even down to the provinces with the interior parts of Popayan (and maybe Guayana) province(s) set up as "unorganized territory" until it can be divided up in states. But ultimately the conflict between Bolivar trying to centralize everything and the federalists kind of did the republic in. It wouldn't take that much more to have the provinces of Rio de la Plata become effective United States of Rio de la Plata - the Alto Peru is something like 5 provinces, plus the contested territories (i.e. the Chaco) with Paraguay, so it's about a third of the provinces and the population IIRC,

And with Miranda in charge, you have a man who has friends in the US and fought for the spanish during the war of Independence, and is generally a fan of the enlightment. Basically he had the qualifications but ultimatly failed.
 
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Maybe Spain inherits Portugal, or loses Portugal earlier. Spain never creates New Granada or Rio de la Plata, and when the Brazil borders are readjusted, they are only slightly larger than the Tordesillas boundary. Then, this could eventually become a single independent, united empire.
 
If a large republic can be held together in a loose confederation with a relatively weak central government, much like the U.S. in the first half of the nineteenth century, until the tech base catches up with the distances involved.(telegraph and locomotive) Then a modern country can emerge.

Also revolutionary movements are not always a bad thing. In the U.S. the whiskey rebellion resulted in the bill of rights. Such a movement after 1861 could result in proportional representation or a few decades later be all in for Marxism. It just depends what the means and the goal are.
 

archaeogeek

Banned
Maybe Spain inherits Portugal, or loses Portugal earlier. Spain never creates New Granada or Rio de la Plata, and when the Brazil borders are readjusted, they are only slightly larger than the Tordesillas boundary. Then, this could eventually become a single independent, united empire.
That's really horrible geography; Brazil in this situation commands the mouth of the Amazon and a large part of its basin but Colombia/Peru ends up claiming the Amazon basin, which are barely surveyed and probably have only seen barely over a thousand white people, ever. It would be extremely hard to administer that much of the Amazon without Para and you'd have Brazil-Colombia wars over it. (EDIT: My mistake, Para lies outside of the Treaty of Madrid zone, reducing Brazil down to the states of Sao Vicente and Maranhao)

The US, by comparison, didn't really have it bad, it was large but like Brazil its population was concentrated on the coasts, while this South America has population concentrations all over the place.
 

Maur

Banned
I concur that Gran Columbia is your best bet. It would be the only south American country capable of pursuing traditional industrialization via the coal deposits of Columbia, and the iron ore of Venezuela.
It still doesn't have enough population and its coal deposits are sort of meh (which is the main obstacle to any industrialisation in whole SA)
 

archaeogeek

Banned
It still doesn't have enough population and its coal deposits are sort of meh (which is the main obstacle to any industrialisation in whole SA)
It starts out with the same population as the US. So do Rio de la Plata and Brazil; both are also quite large countries - immigration is the only problem for population (mass immigration in south america only kicked in later). The problem of the coal deposits, though is noted, I figure they'd have to make do with a lot more charcoal than europe if they tried which might not be terribly efficient.
 
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