While Brazil was able to maintain its state unity through a national monarchy (1822–89, under Peter I and Peter II), Spanish America split up into a large number of independent states; Bolívar sought in vainat the Congress of Panama (1826) their union into a confederation. The Republic of Greater Colombia broke up in 1830 into the republics of Venezuela, New Granada (Colombia) and Ecuador. In the center and south the “United Provinces of the Río de la Plata” (1816) emerged, from which Argentina (through preliminary stages only completed as a unitary state in 1880), Bolivia (1825) and Uruguay (1828) emerged; Paraguay gained independence in 1810/11. The Central American Confederation, founded in 1823, disintegrated in 1839 due to regional and economic rivalries between the individual members in the states of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Costa Rica. In 1889 Brazil also became a republic. Check CountryAAH to see a full list of nations in Latin America.
The independent states of Latin America were faced with an economy disrupted by the chaos of war and high debts, and there was also no consensus on the internal structure. Caudillos determined politics and enforced domestic political calm by authoritarian means. The subject of conflict in all countries was the question of the position of the Catholic Church. While the conservatives wanted to maintain the power of the clergy, the liberals pleaded for a secular state. Numerous domestic political struggles sparked off this question. Only Chile was spared this inner turmoil. Around the middle of the 19th century, measures to liberalize the economy can be observed in almost every country in Latin America. The land ownership of the churches and parishes was transferred to private ownership.
A certain stabilization and modernization occurred in the last third of the 19th century, as the ideas of positivism (“order and progress”) gained influence. The reforms in the military system (including regulated training), carried out with the substantial participation of Prussian and French officers, pushed back the power of the caudillos and created modern army structures. Through capital and technology imports, through the immigration of many Europeans, v. a. from Spain and Italy, and through the construction of the railways, the modernization of Latin America’s economy was advanced and national developments promoted.
First practiced v. a. Great Britain (especially Argentina) assumed a dominant position, towards the end of the 19th century the influence of the USA grew, which, on the basis of the Monroe Doctrine (1823), opposed attempts by European powers to intervene in Latin America. The Pan-American conferences were intended to serve economic and political cooperation between the American states. In 1898 Spain had to cede its last Latin American colonies, Puerto Rico and Cuba, to the USA (Peace of Paris). As part of North American hegemonic politics, 1904 in the Roosevelt Corollary (Monroe Doctrine), until 1933 the USA intervened (several times) in various Central American states (e.g. in Cuba, Nicaragua, Panama, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Haiti) and in some cases enforced a temporary “protectorate”. They also intervened several times in the struggles of the Mexican Revolution. In order to gain control of the Panama Canal, which was opened in 1914, the USA pursued the separation of Panama from Colombia (1903).
In parallel with the politico-military influence of the USA, North American companies (e.g. United Fruit Company) gained positions of economic power in the Caribbean and Central America. The integration of the Latin American countries into the world economy led to considerable growth and modernization processes from the end of the 19th century, but also resulted in the control of the economy by the influx of foreign capital. This externally induced growth led to the first disruption of the oligarchic social structure. The world economic crisis of 1929 plunged most of the countries that were oriented towards the export of raw materials and therefore monostructured into a deep crisis (mass unemployment, rural exodus). Overturns and the establishment of authoritarian regimes were often the result. The military became a factor of political power again in almost every country. To the extent that the armed forces were increasingly recruiting from the middle classes, military regimes were able to take over power in the 1930s and 1940s, which in exceptional cases (e.g. Chile, Paraguay, Bolivia) were oriented towards social reforms. The countries of Central America in particular were ruled by corrupt cliques supported by the USA (such as the Trujillo regime in the Dominican Republic, the Somoza regime in Nicaragua, the Batista regime in Cuba). Bolivia) were oriented towards social reform. The countries of Central America in particular were ruled by corrupt cliques supported by the USA (such as the Trujillo regime in the Dominican Republic, the Somoza regime in Nicaragua, the Batista regime in Cuba). Bolivia) were oriented towards social reform. The countries of Central America in particular were ruled by corrupt cliques supported by the USA (such as the Trujillo regime in the Dominican Republic, the Somoza regime in Nicaragua, the Batista regime in Cuba).
From the end of the 1920s, new parties emerged that addressed national (mostly directed against the USA) and social goals, as well as smaller communist and socialist groups. In Argentina and Brazil came with J. D. Perón (1946-55) and G. Vargas, respectively(1930–45, 1950–54) personalities to power who based their dictatorial regimes on the middle and lower classes (through populist measures such as the nationalization of important industries, land reform, social laws, combined with nationalist tendencies). The agrarian reforms urgently needed throughout Latin America were also pushed ahead in Mexico, Bolivia and Peru. Yet agriculture remained divided into two parts: on the one hand, a large number of (less productive) small farms with a small total area under cultivation; on the other, extensive latifundia ownership in the hands of a few.