Saturday February 17, 2018 - Es el 17 de febrero, 2018. Es sábado

WebQuest: Introduction

Independence movements of South America: How did the Enlightenment lead to the establishment of free nations?

Nations march towards their greatness at the same pace at which their education advances. Nations march towards greatness at the same pace at which their education advances.

Bernardo O'Higgins
José de San Martín
Simón Bolívar
Bernardo O'Higgins
José de San Martín
Simón Bolívar

As we learned in our last lesson:

The ideas of the Enlightenment, reason, science, government as a social contract, and the natural rights of men, such as freedom, and equality, gave rise, in 1776, to the American Revolution, which in turn gave rise to the French Revolution of 1789. While the 13 colonies removed a foreign king from his colonies, the French took it a step further and eventually beheaded their king, Louie XVI and queen, Marie Antoinette, in 1793.

After a messy post revolutionary period, a very lucky and charismatic young general by the name of Napoleon Bonaparte took power in France, and then crowned himself emperor. He waged war throughout Europe, the Middle East and even Russia. In 1807, Napoleon entered Spain, and instead of just crossing through, as he had promised the hapless king of Spain, Charles IV, Napoleon decided to stay and conquer the country. This provoked the Spanish war of independence in which Spain's people waged the first effective guerrilla war against a foreign army (and invented the term guerilla – little war, in Spanish), and also created a situation in which Spain was no longer governed by Spaniards.

The result of the Enlightenment on Latin America

This situation led educated Latinamericans to ask some obvious questions. Why were Spanish troops still in control of their countries when Spain was no longer in the power of the Spaniards? Shouldn't these Spanish troops leave to defend their homeland?

This was the beginning of the end of the colonies that Spain held in Latinamerica, and led to a series of independence movements from Venezuela to Argentina, in South America, and from Mexico to Costa Rica in North America. These movements would eventually lead to the formation of the independent nations of South America.

Among the great leaders of the South American wars of independence were Simón Bolívar, José de San Martín and Bernardo O'Higgins.

The project

Because these three men who are mysteries to many of the students in this class, it will be your job to learn all you can about one of these people, what he did to free his Latin American region and what the consequesce were for him and for his country or region. You will need to teach the rest of the class all about your chosen leader, and then test them to see how much they have learned! So, lets get started by clicking the Task button at the bottom of the page

Para el logro del triunfo siempre ha sido indispensable pasar por la senda de la derrota.
In order to triumph, it has always been indispensable to walk down the path of defeat.


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Antonio Santamaría
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