WI A Spanish-speaking Superpower in Latin America

How could history have been different if, when the Spanish colonies in the New World revolted in the years after 1810, they had became a single united nation as did the 13 American colonies rather than splintering into some 20-odd countries of the present day?

Such a Spanish-speaking superpower would have conceivably, initially at least, ranged from the Strait of Magellan in southernmost Chile and Argentina up to present-day California and Texas.

The population of this superstate would have been roughly 14,500,000 in 1800 as opposed to the United States population of approximately 6 million at the same time. Mexico alone had an 1800 population of 5,800,000.

During this same time period, the United Kingdom's population was 12.5 million, France's was 30 million and Spain's was 10.5 million.

The populations of various cities at the time were: Mexico City (130,000), Havana (96,304), New York City (96,333), Buenos Aires (45,000), Philadelphia (53,000).

In 2009, the approximate populations are: United States (305 million) and a Latin American superstate (360 million).

Could Simon Bolivar have become this superstate's leader? He had personally observed (and was repelled by) Napoleon's 1804 coronation as Emperor in Paris. In OTL, Bolivar was hard-pressed to keep New Granada together as one republic.

Might this new superstate seek a European king of its own, like Brazil did from Portugal, one who is not necessarily from the Spanish royal family?

Trade with Spain's New World colonies was highly sought after by the British, especially during the Napoleonic wars which would have supposedly allowed the new Spanish-speaking superstate to play the European powers off against one another to perserve its independence.

It seems like a lot of possibilities could arise from this scenario.
 
It's far too large of an area to rule as a single state with 19th-century communication.

The best you could hope for is a loose confederation, which would lack the strength and unity necessary to be a superpower.

Gran Colombia failed as a unified state. Mexico wasn't able to stay intact. The Central American Federation disintegrated, as did the Peruvo-Bolivian Confederation.

I think the best chance is a surviving First Mexican Empire, from Oregon in the North to Costa Rica in the South.

But one occupying the whole of Latin America, no chance.
 
It's far too large of an area to rule as a single state with 19th-century communication.
Although I agree that all of Latin-America is simply too large with regions too vast and too many diverse interests to work as a united nation in the 19th century, something like the French semaphore network (optical telegraph) could have reduced to a significant degree the trouble with communications beyond the local level.

Of course, the creation of such a network would have been a costly endeavour (particularly if built in a continental scale), but with the proper PoDs I can see it happening.
 
It's far too large of an area to rule as a single state with 19th-century communication.

The best you could hope for is a loose confederation, which would lack the strength and unity necessary to be a superpower.

Gran Colombia failed as a unified state. Mexico wasn't able to stay intact. The Central American Federation disintegrated, as did the Peruvo-Bolivian Confederation.

I think the best chance is a surviving First Mexican Empire, from Oregon in the North to Costa Rica in the South.

But one occupying the whole of Latin America, no chance.
Big problem will be keeping the US from grabbing Texas: if the Empire does a better job of putting together a functional army (hire French trainers?), keeps US settlers _out_, and gives free land to any Catholic willing to settle in the area, they _might_ be able to keep land-hungry Southerners from provoking a US-Mexican war. Perhaps a politcal land swap? Mexico gets to keep Texas, but the US gets pretty much unpopulated (and also British-claimed) Oregon - hey, the Manifest Destiny crowd are going to insist on some sort of Pacific coast.

Greater Mexico could probably pick up Cuba and Puerto Rico during one of Spain's 19th century messy periods, and perhaps indulge in some filibustering in S. America in the late-19th or early 20th centuries. If there is a US civil war and the Mexicans support the north, there might be enough good will for the US not to object to this, although the British might. Adding Colombia or even Venezuela seems not beyond the bounds of probability: Peru and beyond, more dubious.

Bruce
 
How many times do we have to repeat this? :rolleyes:

To have all of Spanish America united, not to mention extremely impossible (what the needs are in Mexico City are different from the needs in Lima or Buenos Aires or Valparaíso or Potosí or Caracas), it almost borders entirely on ASB.

Oh, and don't expect Bolivar to be de facto "leader". The "heroes of independence" in each country are different - Argentina has José de San Martín and Chile has the Irishman Bernardo O'Higgins, for starters. Their respective countries would not want to be controlled from some far-away place as in Spanish colonial times.
 
I agree that you couldn't have one stretching from California to Chile, but I don't see why it's impossible to have, say, the Spanish parts of South America as a unified state. The Incas, the Wari, and the Tiwanaku managed to unite large regions of the Andes without the technology of the 19th Century, so the a local Spanish-speaking government could definitely achieve the same with a little tweaking of history. Just because Gran Colombia and Peru-Bolivia collapsed in OTL doesn't mean they inherently have to.
 
I agree that you couldn't have one stretching from California to Chile, but I don't see why it's impossible to have, say, the Spanish parts of South America as a unified state. The Incas, the Wari, and the Tiwanaku managed to unite large regions of the Andes without the technology of the 19th Century, so the a local Spanish-speaking government could definitely achieve the same with a little tweaking of history. Just because Gran Colombia and Peru-Bolivia collapsed in OTL doesn't mean they inherently have to.
I would agree that the idea is possible, but it is hard to see how to make it happen. Perhaps the problem is that you have several different struggles for independence in different regions with different agendas all at the same time. Put them all together in one nation and it isnt going to be long before you start to see conflict as various regions attempt to exert supremacy over their neighbors. And there just arent enough common bonds across the continent to make a pan-south American movement successful.
 
I would agree that the idea is possible, but it is hard to see how to make it happen. Perhaps the problem is that you have several different struggles for independence in different regions with different agendas all at the same time. Put them all together in one nation and it isnt going to be long before you start to see conflict as various regions attempt to exert supremacy over their neighbors. And there just arent enough common bonds across the continent to make a pan-south American movement successful.
You could have American intervention in Latin America happen earlier and more frequently, then they would have a common enemy and even if they lost they could regroup and actually form a state.
 
The different countries in South America seem to have been determined by colonial borders between different Spanish-era administrative units. So the Vice-Royalty of New Granada (Colombia) had little practical control over the Audience of Quito (which became Ecuador) or the Captaincy-General in Caracas (which became Venezuela). The problem was that the region was too rugged to be effectively ruled from the Viceregal capital at Bogota, and thus the other units were necessary to exert effective control.

Mexico was the largest country to emerge from the independence struggle, but its lack of stable government for most of the 19th century and its proximity to the United States both count against it. There have been TL's and threads dealing with the possibility of a Bourbon ruling in Mexico, and I think that is probably the best way to go. Even if you have a very conservative ruler like Carlos on the Mexican throne (he would say he was the "King of Spain" after losing the Carlist War but he would only rule Mexico- with the Bourbons having fled to Mexico ahead of the French and Carlos staying on as Viceroy of New Spain) then he would maintain the status quo. That means keeping the secular and religious elite firmly in control, but with independence from Spain the state has the opportunity to build up its own institutions. With the Bourbon monarchy I think the country would be able to undergo centralization that the elite wouldn't oppose. Later liberalization under other monarchs, or through force (as per Brazil's example) is possible, but I think that the period of stable state-building that the Bourbon monarchy provides would be allow Mexico to avoid what was basically a lost 19th century.
 
You could have American intervention in Latin America happen earlier and more frequently, then they would have a common enemy and even if they lost they could regroup and actually form a state.
the most obvious problem is you need a reason and a means for the United States to do this. And the timing is difficult. The US doesnt have the ability or the reason to turn to latin america before the late 19th century, but if you start then national identities are very firmly entrenched and there arent exactly any South American countries which can stand alone against the United States.
 
One single Spanish State from Mexico to Patagonia would be difficult.

But we could have the Mexican Empire or Republic. See Map:
http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/atlas_mexico/new_spain_viceroyalty.jpg

Then a Central American Republic.: See Map:
http://www.zum.de/whkmla/histatlas/centramerica/centram182140.gif

Could have Yucatan has part of the Central American Federation as well as Chiapas. Parts of modern Chiapas and Guatemala use to be called Los Altos which was once a separate nation. Could also have the Spanish Caribbean has part of this Central American Federation but then it would be called the Central American and Antillian Federation.

Could also have a separate Spanish Caribbean. Some did have an idea to start an Antillian Confederation of the Spanish islands.
Something like this map. Its a map of the native tribes that use to be found in the area
Map: http://jmarcano.netfirms.com/graficos/mapas/arawaktravel.jpg

Then we would have Gran Colombia.
See Map: http://html.rincondelvago.com/000544540.jpg

Could include the Caribbean and Central America into Gran Colombia not Mexico.

Peru and Bolivia would be there own nation. They did once have a confederation. Peru was divided into North and South. And Bolivia was added. Another Map:
http://blog.pucp.edu.pe/media/1309/20071030-confederacinqb8.png

Chile, Argentina and some Peruvians fought against the Confederation. With time the Confederation was defeated.

Chile and Argentina could form a Confederation which could include Paraguay.
 
Some of the stuff here makes me want to gag. A single South American country, for example, is pretty much ASB.
 
You keep saying that, but you're not doing all that much to refute or convince anyone of your opinion.
The terrain alone makes ruling the whole area difficult. Plus the competing desires of local elite, none of whom would be willing to cede control to a central government. The presence of a Bourbon monarch, who would lend legitimacy to the whole enterprise and, could maintain the colonial system of Viceroys and Captaincy-Generals as long as some concessions are given to the elite to provide some kind of more local control.

The Viceroys and Captain-Generals continue to be appointed by the Bourbon monarch, but are now assisted by local Cortes who are elected based on a VERY limited sufferage. The Cortes includes members of the clergy, perhaps? The monarchy cedes significant (or formalizes the de facto) independence of action to the constiuent parts of the Empire, while maintaining control of foreign affairs and the Army. The Empire has no internal barriers to trade, and has been open to free trade since the Bourbons were forced to open their colonial possessions when they fled the French. King Carlos continues to rule as the "King of Spain", and after his failure in the Carlist War returns to Mexico City with many conservative nobles. Under the exiled monarchy and then Carlos' viceroyal rule, there was a drive to create new noble titles in the Americas, raising many native-born into the nobility.
 
Structural problems within the colonial system are a legitimate concern...

As for terrain though, again, considering the Incas ruled from southern Colombia all the way to the Argentina Pampas from Cuzco with mostly stone age technology, I can't understand how terrain is such an issue. If anything, given the right conditions the Andes would foster such a large state, not hurt it. It might be too bulky if you add in Colombia, Venezuela, Uruguay, and Buenos Aires, but they aren't too cumbersome of additions given that the Latin Americans by this time had guns, horses, and plenty of other things that the Pre-Columbian peoples didn't.
 
bring in the sea

POD: early-mid 16th century. Somewhere in Madrid: "All our colonies with ports must be ruled from the sea, for faster communication and support. Capitals must be not more 10 miles from the sea, and colonies on two or more seas or must have good ports on each, and good roads running between all ports."

In Bolivar's day, things look different. He's visited a few other colonies already, as have all the other revolutionary leaders, and so they can see more of their similarities than OTL, and agree to hang together rather than separately like the US did. Also, he's less of a stranger, and thus has more success bringing people onboard than OTL. As a last measure, to keep interior states from joining the other side with real force, when he has little chance of winning them aboard, Bolivar tells interior states that he has no interest in them, and will allow non-military expeditions to the coasts for shipping if they keep their attacks to tokens.

Those changed factors bring him success.

You'd still get little participation in the interior until rail came along, but just the outside, sailable bits of South America are already nothing to sneeze at, and includes alot of influence over who goes through Cape Horn.
If it survived with good gummint, it would be a superpower.
 
ASB to have all of Latin America as one nation, while they speak Spanish and come from the Spanish Empire there is a big difference between a Mexican and a Colombian and a Argentinian...

Your best bets are a unified and strengthened Mexican Empire followed by a more industrialized Brazil (Portuguese in Latinish btw), followed by Gran Colombia (but even then keeping that together is very difficult).

The key is access to land for large portions of the population, earlier industralization, and political stability.

Mexico arguably did the best job with land redistribution and keeping it politically stable is not that hard with the right POD's (looking at you Santa Ana). They also did a good job of industrializing, with some better changes (and holding onto the northern parts of their empire really helps) they can be a major global player.
 
How many times do we have to repeat this? :rolleyes:

To have all of Spanish America united, not to mention extremely impossible (what the needs are in Mexico City are different from the needs in Lima or Buenos Aires or Valparaíso or Potosí or Caracas), it almost borders entirely on ASB.

Oh, and don't expect Bolivar to be de facto "leader". The "heroes of independence" in each country are different - Argentina has José de San Martín and Chile has the Irishman Bernardo O'Higgins, for starters. Their respective countries would not want to be controlled from some far-away place as in Spanish colonial times.
And don't forget Antonio Jose de Sucre, who was a friend of Bolivar and a president of both Peru and than Bolivia as well as having influence in Venezuela and Ecuador.
 
The terrain alone makes ruling the whole area difficult. Plus the competing desires of local elite, none of whom would be willing to cede control to a central government. The presence of a Bourbon monarch, who would lend legitimacy to the whole enterprise and, could maintain the colonial system of Viceroys and Captaincy-Generals as long as some concessions are given to the elite to provide some kind of more local control.

The Viceroys and Captain-Generals continue to be appointed by the Bourbon monarch, but are now assisted by local Cortes who are elected based on a VERY limited sufferage. The Cortes includes members of the clergy, perhaps? The monarchy cedes significant (or formalizes the de facto) independence of action to the constiuent parts of the Empire, while maintaining control of foreign affairs and the Army. The Empire has no internal barriers to trade, and has been open to free trade since the Bourbons were forced to open their colonial possessions when they fled the French. King Carlos continues to rule as the "King of Spain", and after his failure in the Carlist War returns to Mexico City with many conservative nobles. Under the exiled monarchy and then Carlos' viceroyal rule, there was a drive to create new noble titles in the Americas, raising many native-born into the nobility.
Matthais has correctly identified the problem. A unified Latin American state created out of the rebellions of the independence movements post 1808 probably borders on ASB because it will have the same problem that plagued OTL Latin America: no real basis for legitimacy. (Plus a lack of development and the woes of 15-20 yrs of civil war and internecine conflict).

Much of the Latin American creoles eltes benefited greatly from the Monarchy; indeed, many of them supported the King and/or a continuation of the Spanish Empire until the 1820s. They simply supported the notion that their viceroyalties/captaincies-general/provinces were kingdoms in personal union with the King of Spain and hence that the "nation of Spain" (i.e. the Regency and later Cortes in Cadiz had little to no authority over them). Monarchy perpetuated the aristocratic power systems whose persistence made the establishment of liberal democratic state quite problematic OTL. Take Brazil: before 1822-4, there were some secessionist impulses (particularly in the north); afterwards, there were even more, but the presence of first the Portuguese Royal court and later the Braganza ruling dynasty did a lot to keep the entire territory unified.

Hence, a much better alternative than a Bolivarian Superstate to plausibly arrive at a largish entity ruling Spanish America is to have the royals flee to the New World. Now there are still going to be problems: one is that the royals are probably going to try to re-conquer Spain. Another is that there will at some point come a conflict between the Imperialists of this new state and various local groups. Schism could easily come here. Yet another is that Britian may be much less willing to support the existence of this entity than they were the proliferation of lots of small republics, who could not 1) affect their ability to freely trade with the contitent or 2) stand up to British power. This is less likely to become an immediate issue, though, because the New World kingdoms are going to insist on some form of much freer trade with the rest of the world than Spain under the Bourbons had permitted.

Another option, though, may be to avoid the attempted installation of Joseph Bonaparte. Say Carlos III dies early and Ferdinand VII assumes the throne relatively peacefully without giving Napoleon the ability to grab the throne itself. Napoleon then attempts to invade, but Ferdinand remains in power throughout. No Juntas spring up in Spain, there's no struggle over submitting to the Supreme Junta or creating autonomous regecny councils in the Americas, there's no Constitution of 1812. The issue here is just what the dissolution of the Spanish Empire looks like. While New Spain is the most populous region, it's also one of the most conservative and most tied to the Monarchy. While Peru is on the other side of the contitnent, Spain had ably ruled it for 300 years and transportation is only going to improve. And it's even more conservative than New Spain is. Argentina and Venezuela may be problematic, but their underpopulated and will be easy to control. The real issue is that Britain and the US will probably try to cleave off various bits of the Empire for themselves if Spain keeps on trying to keep it.

Note that an excellent source on the topic is Jaime Rodriguez's The Independence of Spanish America. There's a limited preview available on Google Books.
 
One single Spanish State from Mexico to Patagonia would be difficult.

But we could have the Mexican Empire or Republic. See Map:
http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/atlas_mexico/new_spain_viceroyalty.jpg

Then a Central American Republic.: See Map:
http://www.zum.de/whkmla/histatlas/centramerica/centram182140.gif

Could have Yucatan has part of the Central American Federation as well as Chiapas. Parts of modern Chiapas and Guatemala use to be called Los Altos which was once a separate nation. Could also have the Spanish Caribbean has part of this Central American Federation but then it would be called the Central American and Antillian Federation.

Could also have a separate Spanish Caribbean. Some did have an idea to start an Antillian Confederation of the Spanish islands.
Something like this map. Its a map of the native tribes that use to be found in the area
Map: http://jmarcano.netfirms.com/graficos/mapas/arawaktravel.jpg

Then we would have Gran Colombia.
See Map: http://html.rincondelvago.com/000544540.jpg

Could include the Caribbean and Central America into Gran Colombia not Mexico.

Peru and Bolivia would be there own nation. They did once have a confederation. Peru was divided into North and South. And Bolivia was added. Another Map:
http://blog.pucp.edu.pe/media/1309/20071030-confederacinqb8.png

Chile, Argentina and some Peruvians fought against the Confederation. With time the Confederation was defeated.

Chile and Argentina could form a Confederation which could include Paraguay.
The Central American Federation was a part of the First Mexican Empire and was always much closer culturally to Mexico than South America.
 
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