Revolt of the Comuneros (New Granada)

The Revolt of the Comuneros was a popular uprising in the Viceroyalty of New Granada (now Colombia and parts of Venezuela) against the Spanish authorities from March through October 1781.[1] The revolt was in reaction to the increase in taxation to raise funds for defense of the region against the British, a rise in the price of tobacco and brandy, which were part of the late eighteenth-century Bourbon reforms.[2] The initial revolt was local and not well known outside the region of Socorro, but in the late nineteenth century, historian Manuel Briceño saw the massive revolt as a precursor to independence.[3] Prior to the 1781 revolt, residents in New Granada had protested, at times violently, crown policy implementation there between 1740 and 1779.

The revolt

On March 16, 1781, in Socorro in northeastern Colombia, grocer Manuela Beltrán tore down posted edicts about new tax increases and other changes that would have reduced the profits of the colonists and enlarged the benefits of Spain. Many other towns in New Granada began to have the same occurrences with colonists livid about the conditions of the ruling government. Local residents began to assemble and elect a body of officials known as el común, or a central committee "to lead the movement."[4] The rebels unified under the leadership of Juan Francisco Berbeo, a Criollo elite. Despite coming from the upper classes of society, the rebels introduced the idea of unifying and organising the diverse social classes comprising common people; the endorsement of the elites improved the rebels' efforts to unify, where Berbeo consolidated 10,000 to 20,000 rebel troops to march on Bogotá, the capital. Once the rebels defeated the rival soldiers sent from Bogotá, they reached a town slightly north of it, where Spanish officials agreed to meet with the Comuneros and sign an agreement stating the conditions and complaints of the rebels.[5] However, once the rebels disbanded, the Spanish government officials signed a document that discarded the agreement on the basis that it was forced upon them. Once reinforcements for the Spanish government arrived, they were sent to rebellious cities and towns to enforce the implementation of the increased taxes. José Antonio Galán, one of the leaders of the revolt, continued on with a small number of rebels, including Jose Manuel Ortiz Manosalvas, but they were quickly defeated and executed, while other leaders of the rebellion were sentenced for life in prison for treason.

The influence of the revolt led to similar uprisings, with a similar outcome, as far north as Mérida and Timotes, now in Venezuela but at the time under jurisdiction of the Viceroyalty of New Granada.[6]

Interpretations of its causes

Many causes contributed to the revolt of 1781. Some were long-standing, related to the viceroyalty in New Granada in 1717. There is a debate among historians over what the main factor was, but what is clear is that the need for economic and political reform and the idea of self-government were contributors.

A series of reforms to the economy and government of the colonies, now called the Bourbon Reforms, are believed to be a factor. As the growth of the population and economy of the New World began to outgrow that of Spain, Spain began to look for ways to make the colonies more profitable. The Spanish government sought to eliminate tax evasion to reduce benefits of the colonies and created new laws and taxes to establish greater support and a larger revenue for the home country. Spain also created trading companies, allowed for agricultural and industrial "royal monopolies" and encouraged a greater amount of imports to the colonies to decrease the manufacturing capability of the colonies. These economic and social reforms increased the limitations for colonists to produce crops and changed their economy.[7] Another factor considered by scholars is the major political reforms that the Spanish government forced on the colonies. In order for Spain to benefit economically from the colonies, it needed stricter control over their government. These political changes were also part of the Bourbon Reforms. Some historians such as Brian Hamnett believe that it was the age-long battle between "absolutism versus the unwritten constitution" of New Granada that spurred on the colonists. He believes that the imperialism of the Spanish home country and its dependence upon the colonies contributed for the need of the colonies' "decentralization." In a review of John Leddy Phelan's book on the Comunero revolt,[8] Hamnett states that the revolt was started, not with the goal of an independence movement, political freedom and self-government, but only with the hope of reversing the reforms.[9]

See also

References

  1. ^ Richard Stoller, "Comunero Revolt (New Granada)" in Encyclopedia of Latin American History and Culture vol. 2, p. 240. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons 1996.
  2. ^ Mark A. Burkholder and Lyman L. Johnson, Colonial Latin America 7th edition. New York: Oxford University Press 2010, p. 351.
  3. ^ Stoller, "Comunero Revolt", p. 240.
  4. ^ Young, Ronald. "Comuneros' Revolt in New Granada.” Modern World History Online. Facts on File , 2008. Accessed 29 January 2010.
  5. ^ Phillip, Charles, and Alan Axelrold. “Comunero's Revolt in New Granada.” Modern World History Online. Facts on File, 2005. Accessed 29 January 2010.
  6. ^ See Muñoz Oraá, Los comuneros de Venezuela.
  7. ^ “Bourdon Reforms.” World History: The Modern Era. ABC-CLIO, n.d. Accessed 29 January 2010.
  8. ^ John Leddy Phelan, The people and the King : the Comunero Revolution in Colombia, 1781. Madison : University of Wisconsin Press, 1978.
  9. ^ Brian R. Hamnett, (1980). "Review of The People and the King: The Comunero Revolt in Colombia, 1781 by John Leddy Phelen". The Americas. 36 (3): 415–416. JSTOR 981304

Further reading

  • Aguilera Peña, Mario. Los comuneros: guerra social y lucha anticolonial. Bogotá: Universidad Nacional de Colombia 1983.
  • Briceño, Manuel. Los comuneros: historia de la insurección de 1781 (1880) Bogotá : C. Valencia Editores, 1977.
  • Hamnett, Brian R. (1980). "Review of The People and the King: The Comunero Revolt in Colombia, 1781 by John Leddy Phelan". The Americas. 36 (3): 415–416. JSTOR 981304.
  • Loy, Jane M. (1981). "Forgotten Comuneros: The 1781 Revolt in the Llanos of Casanare". The Hispanic American Historical Review. 61 (2): 235–257. doi:10.2307/2513830.
  • McFarlane, Anthony. "Review of Los comuneros: Guerra social y luch anticolonial by Mario Aguilera Peña." Hispanic American Historical Review vol. 66, No. 4 (Nov. 1986), pp. 791–93.
  • Muñoz Oraá, Carlos E. (1971). Los comuneros de Venezuela. Mérida, Venezuela: Universidad de Los Andes.
  • Phelan, John Leddy, The people and the King: the Comunero Revolution in Colombia, 1781. Madison : University of Wisconsin Press, 1978.

External sources

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Comunero

Comunero may refer to:

Comunera Province, a province in Santander Department of Colombia

Villalar de los Comuneros, a town in Castile and León, Spain

Comuneros (TransMilenio), a bus station in Bogotá

History of South America

The history of South America is the study of the past, particularly the written record, oral histories, and traditions, passed down from generation to generation on the continent of South America. South America has a history that has a wide range of human cultures and forms of civilization. The Norte Chico civilization in Peru is the oldest civilization in the Americas and one of the first six independent civilizations in the world; it was contemporaneous with the Egyptian pyramids. It predated the Mesoamerican Olmec by nearly two millennia.

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A great deal of work has addressed the factors that lead to violent mobilization, but less attention has been paid to understanding why disputes become violent or nonviolent, comparing these two as strategic choices relative to conventional politics.

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It is perhaps no exaggeration to say that the movement founded by Surontiko Samin, a Javanese peasant, is one of the longest-living social phenomena in modern Javanese history. It antedated by about two decades the general awakening of organizational activity which Indonesians have come to call their Kebangkitan Nasional despite an early eclipse, it managed to survive in its original locale (though barely ever spreading to adjacent areas for longer periods of time) throughout the colonial period. At its peak, when it probably counted some three thousand households, it disturbed the colonial bureaucracy with forebodings of massive peasant resistance, producing a flurry of attention out of all proportion (as some few contemporaries realized) to the occasion ; subsequently it dropped from view, provoking no more than a few lines in the annual surveys published by the Dutch authorities, yet already capturing the imagination of some Indonesian intellectuals who came to view it as a manifestation of indigenous socialism, peasant virtue, and patriotic resistance to colonialism. Saminism, in fact, has survived into the era of Indonesian independence. The sheer stubbornness, with which some Javanese in a rather remote part of the island have clung to the ideas of their long-dead founder, deserves careful attention. And the fact that it did not cease when colonial rule ended, the fact that civil servants serving the Indonesian Republic appear to be almost as perplexed by Saminism as were their Dutch predecessors also indicates that it cannot be simply subsumed under the broader heading of nationalism. Recent political developments of a far more radical-political form in the heartland of Saminism appear to us to have been distinctive and by no means directly related to Saminism.

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Timeline of Colombian history

This is a timeline of Colombian history, comprising important legal and territorial changes and political events in Colombia and its predecessor states. To read about the background to these events, see History of Colombia. See also the list of Presidents of Colombia.

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