When war threatened along the gulf coast in 1746, the popular Jose de Escandon was able to raise 750 expeditionary forces and settle 2,500 families of Spaniards and converted Indians in the last part of the coast to be pacified. His judgment and skill attracted natives to the missions. Viceroy Juan Francisco de Güemes of Revillagigedo (1746-55) extended protection to Escandon. Commerce made Revilla rich, but he also increased the prosperity of Mexico and the royal revenue. In contrast, his successor Agustín de Ahumada y Villalón, the Marques de la Amarillas, (1755-60) was poor because of his honesty and generosity. In 1756 he stopped the priests in Puebla from manufacturing the alcoholic aguardiente, running gambling houses, and selling clerical offices. He helped Governor Miguel Sesma pacify Indians in Coahuila. He sent aid to the Philippines and to those in Florida fighting the British.
On November 12, 1761 the shaman Jacinto Uc de los Santos proclaimed himself in the village of Cisteil in Yucatan the savior to help the Mayans overcome the Spaniards. One week later he was crowned King Canek Moctezuma and was worshipped as a human god. When a Spanish merchant insulted him, he had his followers kill him. He set up a government over Yucatan and called for the death of Spaniards with reprieves for women who married Mayans. When twenty Spanish soldiers came to Cisteil, six soldiers and eight Mayans were killed in the skirmish. The next Spanish expedition with 500 soldiers attacked 1,500 Mayans on November 26 and burned the village, causing the death of about 500 Mayans including eight leaders. Canek escaped to Huntulchac with 300 men, but Canek and 125 men were captured at Sibac. On December 14 Canek and seven others were hanged, and 200 others were punished with 200 lashes and cutting off an ear.
Joaquin de Montserrat, the Marques de Cruillas was Viceroy of New Spain 1760-66. In 1761 a smallpox epidemic killed 80,000 people in Puebla and 14,000 in Mexico City. The government spent its funds taking care of the sick. Spain declared war on the British in 1762, and Viceroy Montserrat reorganized the colonial army, fortified Vera Cruz, and raised more troops accepting mestizos, Africans, and mulattoes but not Indians. In the treaty signed on February 10, 1763 Spain received Louisiana and regained Havana and Manila, gave Florida to England, and recognized Belize as English.
Viceroy Carlos Francisco de Croix (1766-71) supported the visitador Jose de Galvez who reformed the financial administration of Mexico 1765-71 to increase revenue. He reorganized the customs houses, taxed the popular alcoholic pulque, added supervision to the royal playing-card monopoly, put the gunpowder monopoly under salaried officials, and made the new tobacco monopoly more efficient and lucrative. Tax revenue nearly doubled from 1760 to 1780. He reformed the corrupt repartimiento system by which an alcalde (mayor) made a pact with a rich merchant and loaned livestock, seeds, tools, and other things with interest while also keeping much of the Indians’ tribute. Galvez cut the price of mercury from Spain in half in order to expand silver production, granted tax exemptions to those who improved mining facilities, exempted sales tax on supplies and raw materials, and reduced their price on gunpowder by 25%. Between 1761 and 1800 Mexico sent more than 90 million pesos to the royal coffers in Spain.
In February 1767 Spain’s Carlos III ordered all members of the Society of Jesus expelled from his dominions in Europe, America, and Asia; priests were granted an annual pension of 100 pesos and lay brothers 90 pesos. On June 24 Viceroy Croix ordered all the Jesuits arrested in Mexico; their papers and property were seized. At that time New Spain had 418 priests out of a total of 678 Jesuits; of these 464 were born in America, 153 were Spaniards, and 61 were foreigners. They had 23 colleges and 103 missions. They were accused of complicity with treasonous attempts, sedition, greed, fanaticism, disobedience, and pride. Yet many believed they served God, spread education, and helped natives earn a living. Galvez had the uprisings against this policy suppressed. The Jesuits were confined in their colleges and sent to Veracruz. From there they were shipped to Havana, Cadiz, Corsica, Genoa, and finally to the papal states. Francisco Javier Clavijero was one of the Jesuits expelled, and in 1780 in Italy he published his famous Historia antigua de Mexico which describes the history of the Aztecs and the Spanish conquest to 1525. He portrayed the indigenous people as peaceful while criticizing the cruelty of the conquistadors. Clavijero also published his history of Jesuit missionaries in Baja California in four volumes in 1789.
Viceroy Antonio Maria de Bucarelli (1771-79) attended to military defense, promoted settlements in California, increased revenue without extra taxes, and developed education and hospitals for the poor. In 1774 Carlos III allowed free trade between New Spain, Peru, and New Granada. Bucarelli died of pleurisy and was loved for the peace of his government. Martin Mayorga was also a liberal viceroy. He was recalled in 1783 when Matias de Galvez, brother of Jose de Galvez, became the last viceroy to enter Mexico City on horseback. He died of illness seven months later and was eventually succeeded by his son Bernardo de Galvez in 1785. He once encountered three prisoners on the way to the scaffold and pardoned them, but he died of illness too in 1786. That was when two years of drought and frost devastated the corn crop and caused a famine. In Bajio about 85,000 people died of starvation. A shortage of mercury also depressed mining. As the Indian population increased, the level of wages decreased, increasing robbery.
Viceroy Croix and Visitador Jose de Galvez had recommended in 1768 that the corrupt corregidores and alcaldes be replaced, and in 1786 New Spain and New Galicia were divided into the twelve intendencias of Mexico, Guadalajara, Zacatecas, Durango, Sonora, Puebla, Veracruz, Merida, Oaxaca, Valladolid, Guanajuato, and San Luis Potosi. Minors of Europeans had to get permission from their parents or guardians to marry. Dowries were increasingly used to get better marriages for Spanish women. Jacinto Martinez de la Concha and Manuel Antonio de Santa Maria (1782-1808) effectively presided over the tribunal of the Sacred Brotherhood which had existed for decades to suppress robbers.
New Spain had about six million people, of which about one-fifth were Europeans, two-fifths were native, and two-fifths were mixed. The number of African slaves in Mexico was less than ten thousand, and they were mostly in Veracruz and Acapulco. Laws regulated their treatment, protecting the sick and those under seventeen or over seventy from forced labor. They could purchase their freedom but still had to pay tribute. In 1778 the crown attempted to extend its decree against miscegenation to the colonies, and in 1784 branding was abolished.
When Juan Vicente de Güemes of Revillagigedo became viceroy in 1789, the year of another famine, the intendencia of Mexico had more than a million and a half people. He implemented many reforms including free trade in the empire, regulation of market-places, street lights, paved streets, better fire brigades, eliminating some feast days, reducing the militia, and making the police and justice systems more effective. He had a letter box placed in the palace so that he could receive direct criticism, which irritated some officials. Gardens were laid out; city drainage was improved; mills manufactured cotton, silk, hemp, and linen; bridges and roads were constructed and repaired; and mining and agriculture were promoted. The annual coinage went up more than twenty percent to 24 million pesos. As the poor crowded into cities, begging and vagrancy increased. To suppress the ideas of the French revolution Güemes prohibited books, pamphlets, and papers on religious or political freedom.
In 1794 the Marques de Branciforte arrived to be viceroy with goods exempt from customs duties so that he could enrich himself. He confiscated all the possessions of the French in New Spain and Louisiana. In October 1795 he signed a friendship treaty with the United States that prohibited North Americans from entering New Spain. Godoy had made peace with France in July 1795, but that drew Spain into the war against England in August 1796, causing taxes to be raised. English residents of New Spain suffered the same treatment as the French had. In May 1798 Branciforte left for Spain with nearly five million pesos in gold and silver. The English blockaded Cadiz, and that year they captured 186 Spanish ships. Spain allowed its American colonies to trade with each other, but the King still collected duties and sold licenses.
Viceroy Miguel Jose de Azanza began his administration in 1798 by working on the cases of 1,500 prisoners awaiting trial. He dismissed the military camps established by Branciforte that were costing more than 60,000 pesos per month. Many people resented how the Spanish officials exploited Mexico for Spain and for their own selfish interests. Less than ten percent of the Spaniards in Mexico were female. Juan Guerrero and others were arrested for treason in 1799, and after eight years of investigation they were exiled. Pedro Portilla and a dozen relatives and friends were imprisoned for the “machete conspiracy.” Some died in prison, and the others were released by Azanza’s successor.
Viceroy Felix Berenguer de Marquina arrived in 1800; but he had been captured by the English during his voyage from Spain and was suspected of having made them promises. He had the English prisoners at Veracruz released. He was kind-hearted and forbade bull fights during his reception, which made him unpopular. Marquina discovered a conspiracy of natives in New Galicia that was led by Mariano, the son of Tlaxcala’s governor, who claimed to be Aztec royalty. More than a hundred people were arrested; but none were convicted, and many died in the hospital. The English fleet blockaded Veracruz, but one effect of the European wars was that New Spain became more independent. A papal bull granting indulgence from fasting during lent raised gold for Spain. Creoles were being heavily taxed and were denied positions of authority that were reserved for Spaniards.
Jose de Iturrigaray became the 56th viceroy of Mexico in 1803. He too brought cargo to sell at a profit, and he developed a system of selling offices and employment. Despite his enormous wealth his extravagant expenses exceeded his salary of 60,000 pesos. The smallpox vaccine invented by Jenner began reducing that disease in Mexico in 1804. By then Mexico was producing 67% of all the silver in America. On December 12, 1804 Spain declared war on Britain, and a royal decree of the Law of Consolidation sequestered all real estate owned by benevolent institutions that were mostly operated by clergy. To meet the crisis Viceroy Iturrigaray raised eighteen million pesos from corporations, clergy, and private persons. His commission was 500,000 pesos, and the money was not sent to Spain until 1808 after the war. The Viceroy also sold offices and military ranks and participated in smuggling. Two-thirds of the capital circulating in Mexico was borrowed from the Church at 3% interest. Godoy gave five million pesos to Napoleon. In time of war unmarried men between the ages of 14 and 40 were the first to be conscripted, followed by the married men. Viceroy Iturrigaray had about 28,000 troops he could put in the field. By 1808 the annual military budget was $4,000,000.
Jose Antonio Alzate edited the monthly Gaceta de Literature from 1788 to 1795. The Creoles were better educated in America than the Spaniards were in Europe, and the writings of Rousseau and others were spread secretly. The Inquisition tried to suppress the libertinism of the romantic era, and Juan Antonio Olavarrieta was prosecuted and deported for having written Man and Beast that depicted a tyrant king, but he escaped during the voyage. In 1805 El Diario de Mexico edited by Carlos Maria de Bustamente became the first daily newspaper, but it was restricted by censorship. In 1807 Jose Roxas was imprisoned for several years by the holy office for having a volume of Rousseau. From 1690 through 1807 the coined gold and silver shipped to Spain amounted to $1,052,579,000, and of this $767,000,000 went into the royal treasury. Even as late as 1808 only one bishop in New Spain was not European. Melchor de Talamantes was a friar from Peru, and he wrote pamphlets advocating that the people should be sovereign. He proposed abolishing the Inquisition and removing special privileges of the clergy while promoting free trade, industry, and agriculture.
In March 1808 soldiers forced King Carlos IV to abdicate in favor of his son Fernando VII, and Mexicans rejoiced at the fall of the powerful and avaricious Godoy. Napoleon Bonaparte’s French army occupied Spain on the pretext of attacking Portugal, and on May 6 Napoleon forced Fernando to abdicate to Joseph Bonaparte who assumed the crown of Spain. The news arrived in July, and on August 9 Viceroy Iturrigaray called a meeting and urged unity. He declared that Mexicans would never accept Joseph Bonaparte as sovereign, and he suspended the sequestration decree. The Ayuntamiento (City Council) of Mexico City proposed transferring the sovereignty abdicated by Fernando to the viceroyalty of New Spain and the cabildos and the Audiencia. Francisco Primo de Verdad suggested a national junta elected by the cabildos, cathedral chapters, and Indian communities. Iturrigaray sent out circulars to the councils of Mexico’s main cities inviting them to send representatives to a provisional congress. Conservatives reacted by forming the Volunteers of Fernando VII, and Gabriel de Yermo, a wealthy sugar planter from Cuernavaca, led the revolt of the golpistas who seized Viceroy Iturrigaray on September 15, 1808 and sent him back to Spain where he faced trials for various charges until his death in 1815.
The Audiencia chose the 80-year-old Field Marshal Pedro Garibay to be viceroy, and he signed whatever the Audiencia proposed. Primo de Verdad and Fray Melchor de Talamantes were imprisoned. Verdad was found dead on October 4, 1808, and Talmantes died of yellow fever five days later. Spanish merchants seized power in Oaxaca backed by their militia. Garibay pleased the conservatives by sending the creole militias out of the city, shipping money to the Junta of Seville, cancelling the tax on meat, and requiring residents to wear badges for Fernando VII. The Inquisition sent out detectives to arrest dissidents, and hand-operated printing presses were banned. Garibay set up a tribunal to try cases of sedition.
The Law of Consolidation was not rescinded by the Supreme Junta in Seville until January 4, 1809. When the Junta of Aranjuez in Spain realized that Garibay was a puppet of the rich, they appointed Archbishop Francisco Javier de Lizana y Beaumont on July 19 to be the next viceroy of New Spain. He contributed his salary to help defend Spain and suppressed the conspiracy in Valladolid led by Jose Maria Obeso that was planning an uprising to begin on December 21. They were arrested by young Agustin de Iturbide and in their trial were defended by Carlos Maria de Bustamente who predicted that hanging the first insurgent would end Spain’s hope of keeping America. In October 1809 the Spanish Junta decreed that colonists should have equal representation in the national Cortes, that they should have free trade, and that Americans should be eligible for state and church offices. These and other reforms were presented to the Mexican people on September 23, 1810, but by then it was too little too late.
In 1810 the population of Mexico reached 6,122,354, and the number of Europeans was 1,097,928. In 1800 Mexico had only 15,000 Spaniards, and about half were soldiers. In a century the annual revenue of Mexico had increased from 3 million pesos to 24 million pesos. Local administration and defense spent 4 million; 4 million subsidized other American colonies while the other 6 million pesos went into the Royal Treasury in Madrid and accounted for two-thirds of the imperial revenue. Indians and mestizos were multiplying even though they had to pay tribute and were prohibited from wearing Spanish clothes, owning a horse, or having weapons. Bishop Antonio de San Miguel of Michoacan advocated abolishing the hated tribute and urged the distribution of communal lands and letting Indians and mestizos live in the towns with the Europeans. The droughts of 1808-09 led to another famine in 1810-11.
Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla was a creole who studied the classics and earned a bachelor of arts degree in 1770 at the College of San Nicolas Obispo in Valladolid and a degree in theology in 1773. He learned Latin, Greek, Hebrew, French, German, Nahuatl, Mixtec, Otomi, and Tarascan, and he studied Cervantes, Bacon, Descartes, and Leibnitz. Hidalgo was ordained a priest in 1778 and taught at that college for fourteen years and was treasurer before being made rector. He reformed the curriculum away from scholasticism and toward pedagogy, earning enough to buy three haciendas. In 1792 he resigned to be a lowly parish priest at Colima and then in Guanajuato where he directed a theater where his translations of plays by Racine and Moliere were performed. He lived with the leading actress and had two daughters. He led free-thinking discussions and was brought before the Inquisition which cleared him in 1801. When his brother Joaquin died in 1803, he replaced him as the parish priest in the town of Dolores where he organized industries such as pottery, silk, tanning, weaving, and wine culture to help native manufacturing in the Bajio.
Captain Ignacio Allende headed the Literary and Social Club of Querétaro, and he advocated a national junta in Mexico City. In the writings of the Renaissance philosopher and theologian Francisco Suarez they found his arguments why citizens had the right to overthrow despots. Hidalgo joined the revolutionaries in Querétaro. He appealed to Indians, and in 1810 they began making primitive weapons. They were associated with Miguel Dominguez, the creole corregidor of Querétaro who led an investigation of the deplorable working conditions in the woolen textile shops (obrajes). In 1805 Dominguez had sent a written protest of the Law of Consolidation, and Viceroy Iturrigaray tried to remove him. After Fernando VII abdicated, Dominguez proposed that the Querétaro City Council convoke a Mexican congress. His wife Doña Maria Josefa Ortiz was more revolutionary than he was.
Francisco de Venegas arrived in Veracruz on August 28, 1810 to be the new viceroy. On September 13 Hidalgo’s friend, Intendant Juan Antonio Riaño of Guanajuato, learned of the Querétaro conspiracy from the ecclesiastical judge Rafael Gil de Leon who heard of the plans in a friar’s dying confession. Allende and Juan de Aldama went to tell Hidalgo. On September 16 a crowd of six hundred gathered in the morning for Hidalgo’s Sunday mass, and he made his famous grito de Dolores which is still celebrated as the beginning of Mexico’s independence movement. He sent emissaries to Guanajuato, Querétaro, Guadalajara, and Mexico City to announce the revolt.
Hidalgo led 800 men, and at Atotonilco he chose an image of the Virgin of Guadalupe as the symbol of their revolution as he led his following to Allende’s native city San Miguel el Grande where Allende tried to restrain the mob violence of the revolutionaries. He told Hidalgo they needed military discipline, but Hidalgo argued that plundering was a right of war especially for the oppressed poor. Allende was put in charge of the army, and Hidalgo agreed to urge moderation. They went to Celaya on September 19 and threatened to execute their Spanish prisoners; the town surrendered but was pillaged two days later. They elected Hidalgo Captain-general of America, Allende lieutenant general, and Juan de Aldama mariscal de campo. They left Celaya on the 23rd with 25,000 rebels.
The next day the elected Bishop Manuel Abad y Queipo of Michoacan excommunicated Hidalgo, Allende, and Aldama, and the Archbishop of Mexico confirmed that on October 11. Abad believed they could win their independence from Spain without violence and that economic opportunity could be created by educating people. The Viceroy sent General Cadena with 3,000 troops to defend Querétaro. Hidalgo sent Jose Antonio Torres to lead the revolution in Jalisco.
Intendant Juan Antonio Riaño decided to defend the wealthy mining city of Guanajuato which had 66,000 people in 1800. Their occupying the granary fortress with 500 Spaniards and wealthy creoles turned the common people against them. On September 28, 1810 the attackers killed 300 Spaniards including Riaño as about 2,000 of the rebels died. Hidalgo advocated seizing Europeans and their property, though he ordered the houses of married Spaniards not to be sacked. On the 30th he prohibited pillaging on pain of death, but he did not enforce it, fearing he would lose his followers. Yet when looters would not stop tearing down wrought iron from balconies and windows, Hidalgo ordered soldiers to fire on them.
On October 5 Viceroy Venegas offered a reward of 10,000 pesos for the capture or death of Hidalgo, Allende, or Aldama. He also announced the end of Indian tribute which the Spanish regency had decreed in May. Hidalgo’s army gained arms and recruits growing to about sixty thousand as they took Valladolid unopposed on October 15, then Zacatecas and San Luis Potosi. However, they did not get the support they expected from the Valley of Anahuac and the central regions.
While General Félix Maria Calleja’s Spanish army was reconquering San Luis Potosi, on October 30 Allende led Hidalgo’s army of 80,000 revolutionaries toward Mexico City that was defended by 7,000 soldiers led by Col. Torcuato Trujillo at the Monte de las Cruces. Trujillo’s army was surrounded, but he managed to escape with a few followers to Mexico City to tell the Viceroy they were victorious. Mexico City had about 150,000 people, but about 20,000 were homeless. Hidalgo was concerned that his men would plunder in the capital, and he marched his army back toward Guanajuato. He avoided a battle against Calleja’s forces at Aculco on November 7 and lost their baggage, livestock, and artillery, and the defeat caused thousands of Indians to desert.
Hidalgo and Allende quarreled and separated. Hidalgo went to Valladolid while Allende at Guanajuato was attacked by Calleja’s army on November 24. The Spaniards had only four men killed while the rebels lost about 1,500 men and 20 cannons. Allende fled to San Luis Potosi, and the inhabitants murdered 138 Spanish prisoners (gachupines). Calleja entered Guanajuato, erected gallows, and had several groups of citizens put to death. About 500 Spaniards had died and nearly 2,000 of Hidalgo’s followers. The Viceroy ordered all rebels captured with weapons to be shot within fifteen minutes. Calleja promised to kill four citizens for every Spaniard killed. Hidalgo secretly ordered sixty Spaniards executed in Valladolid.
Torres led a force of creole rebels that had taken Guadalajara on November 11 without plundering, and Hidalgo’s army of 7,000 was warmly welcomed in Guadalajara on the 27th. In Mexico City about twenty creole professionals organized to provide arms and propaganda. In Guadalajara they captured one of the viceroyalty’s four printing presses and began publishing the newspaper El Despertador Americano. On November 29 in his first printed decree Hidalgo abolished the Indian tribute and slavery on pain of death, though in Mexico peon labor had become preferred by most landowners.
On December 5, 1810 Hidalgo ordered that lands taken illegally from Indian communities were to be returned so that they would not have to pay rent. He also tolerated pillaging, and the creole officer Ignacio de Aldama warned him that the Indians were out of control. Bishop Abad y Queipo and other Church authorities condemned the plundering. Hidalgo made the criminal Agustin Marroquin a captain, and on December 12 he began killing Spanish prisoners at night, executing about 350 in the next month. Hidalgo threatened to kill anyone who spoke against or opposed the rebellion. Doña Maria Josefa Ortiz Dominguez sent Hidalgo a letter warning him that terror would only cause more terror. Hidalgo appointed Jose Maria Chico president of the Audiencia as “Minister of Grace and Justice.” At the Audiencia’s second meeting on December 13 they sent Pascasio Ortiz de Letona to the United States as ambassador, but the US Government prohibited aiding the rebels and only sold munitions at very high prices.
Hidalgo gained many recruits in December and had a horde of 80,000 followers at the bridge of Calderon, but Calleja’s army of 6,000 men was supported by 2,000 infantry under General Jose de la Cruz and landowners in the north, and they routed Hidalgo’s revolutionaries on January 17, 1811. The royalists lost less than fifty men while the rebels had at least 1,200 killed. Hidalgo and others fled to the north while Calleja occupied Zacatecas.
Allende took command and had Hidalgo secretly put under arrest. Allende sent Ignacio Aldama and Friar Juan de Salazar with a hundred bars of silver to Washington, but they were captured in San Antonio, Texas on March 2. They were executed with the captured rebel governor Juan Bautista de las Casas. After Allende refused to make Captain Ignacio Elizondo a general, the latter left the revolution after being in it for six weeks, and by deceiving the rebel chief Mariano Jimenez he captured sixty rebel leaders and other men straggling along a road to get water, killing 40 and taking 893 prisoners. Hidalgo and Allende were captured on March 21. Allende, Hidalgo’s brother Mariano, Juan Aldama, and several others were executed on June 26. Hidalgo’s trial in Chihuahua took longer because the Inquisition first defrocked him for heresy; he was executed on July 31.
Hidalgo’s Secretary of State Ignacio Rayon had salvaged 300,000 pesos from the Calderon battle and led what was left of his army toward Zacatecas and then to Saltillo on February 24, 1811. From there they went south to Michoacan. Guerrilla bands were led by military caudillos. Rayon wrote to General Calleja in April proposing that they end the civil war by establishing a national junta to govern Mexico in the name of Fernando VII, but Calleja demanded surrender. After notifying Viceroy Venegas, Rayon in August formed a junta in Zitacuaro west of Mexico City. By the end of 1811 several rebel chiefs were operating as independent war lords, and Rayon considered some of them bandits.
The mestizo priest Jose Maria Morelos y Pavon was born in 1765 in Valladolid (which was later renamed Morelos in his honor). He studied at the College of San Nicolas Obispo while Hidalgo was rector, and he was ordained a priest in 1797. As a parish priest at Caracuaro he earned only 120 pesos a year, and his salary came from taxes on poor villagers. When Bishop Abad ordered him to publish the excommunication of Hidalgo, Allende, and Aldama, Morelos went to talk with Hidalgo on October 20, 1810. He persuaded Morelos that the Spaniards wanted to turn Mexico over to the French, and this motivated him to take up arms. He became a lieutenant under Hidalgo who sent him to conquer Acapulco with only 25 men. Morelos led a more disciplined force that grew as they captured Petatlan and Tecpan on the Pacific coast by November. Morelos also decreed the end of Indian tribute and slavery, but he advocated social equality by abolishing race and caste distinctions, declaring that all the inhabitants except for the Spaniards were to be called “Americans.” Morelos promoted the Medidas Politicas which proposed the redistribution of property. His first goal was to destroy the colonial government and its greed by removing its funds.
Morelos captured Acapulco except for its fortress in December 1810, Spanish troops forced him to raise the siege in January 1811. He captured Chilpancingo on May 24 and Tixtla two days later. Morelos won nine victories in his first nine months and had four battalions controlling the southern coast. The future governor Vicente Guerrero was his second in command. By the end of 1811 they had an army of 9,000 trained and equipped men. Morelos appointed officials who collected taxes, and he had soldiers convicted of theft shot. He appreciated the Indian support but sent them back to the fields to feed the troops. His rival Rayon fought in the name of King Fernando VII, but Morelos justified the revolution because the Spaniards had enslaved people for three centuries and squandered Mexico’s wealth. He argued that the nation, not the king, was sovereign. They fought for religion and country in their holy revolution.
From December to February 1812 the 3,000 men in the army of Morelos captured Taxco, Izucar, and Cuautla near Mexico City, but in January the destruction of Zitacuaro disrupted Rayon’s national junta. Rayon remained president while Morelos was recognized as Captain-general of the American armies. Morelos had more than 4,000 men in Cuautla when they were attacked by Calleja’s royalist forces on February 19. The next week the royalists were reinforced by General Ciriaco de Llano’s troops from Puebla. The royalists began bombarding Cuautla on March 10, and in April corn supplies ran out. On May 2 Morelos led his starving soldiers out of the town; the royalists slaughtered about 3,000 rebels, but Morelos escaped.
A new Spanish constitution went into effect on March 12, 1812, and Viceroy Venegas learned he was to enforce it on May 10. It allowed the election of city councils that enabled people to replace the elite families that had dominated. Morelos had enough men to take Chilapa, and they besieged Huajapan for 111 days. In September the Guadalupes formed in Mexico City and kept Morelos informed on royalist plans. Limited press freedom was declared in Mexico on October 5, and four days later Fernández de Lizardi published The Mexican Thinker (El Pensador Mexicano). The army of Morelos entered the city of Oaxaca on November 25. Four days later the Guadalupes elected creoles to the Ayuntamiento of Mexico City. Viceroy Venegas charged voting irregularities and suspended elections. He revoked freedom of the press and arrested Lizardi and other writers.
On March 4, 1813 Calleja replaced Viceroy Venegas, and he tried to implement Spain’s Constitution of 1812 without freedom of the press. He raised money by taxing incomes over 300 pesos a year at 12.5% and taxed urban real estate at 10%. He started a lottery that was voluntary for six months, and then people were forced to buy tickets. The debt of the viceroyalty was 49 million pesos in 1813 and rose to 80 million by 1816. In 1813 only one of six school-age children was in school in Mexico City. That summer a plague took 20,385 lives there. Morelos besieged Acapulco on April 6, but its strong fortress did not fall until August 19. Meanwhile the royalists were destroying resistance in the north. On June 28 Morelos called for a congress, and the Congress of Anahuac began at Chilpancingo on September 14. They endorsed the abolition of slavery on October 5 and formally declared independence as written by Carlos Maria de Bustamente on November 6. Only the Catholic religion was to be tolerated, and anyone refusing to support the war for independence was considered guilty of treason. Morelos wrote Sentimientos de la Nacion to declare Mexican independence and argued that the land belonged to those who tilled it.
Morelos appealed to the creoles and tried to limit the confiscation of property, but the civil war was bloody. He took his army of 6,000 men to conquer Valladolid which was defended by only 800 royalists, but they were reinforced by Llano’s army of 3,000 and defeated the rebels on December 23, 1813 and killed their prisoners. Morelos also ordered that military prisoners were to be shot., and he approved the destruction of collaborating villages and haciendas. The Congress of Anahuac was on the run, and Rayon persuaded them to remove executive authority from Morelos who retained only an escort of 150 men. Rayon shared military power with Jose Maria Cos and Juan Nepomuceno Rosains. On February 24, 1814 royalists attacked the Congress at Tlacotepec and seized the archives and correspondence with the Guadalupes. Morelos went to Acapulco in March and ordered it evacuated and burned to the ground. In April the rebels were driven out of Oaxaca as the royalists regained control of southern Mexico.
Fernando VII was restored in March 1814, and in May he cancelled the Constitution of 1812 and all legislation of the Cortes. Viceroy Calleja learned of Fernando’s return on August 5 and dismissed all elected officials and their laws. He had hundreds of Mexicans found with arms shot by firing squads. The rebels had called another constitutional convention for June at Apatzingan in Michoacan. On October 22 they created the liberal Constitution of Apatzingan with a plural executive, a strong legislature, and a judiciary protecting individual rights, though Morelos considered it impractical. The royalist government ordered all copies burned, and the Inquisition threatened to excommunicate anyone caught with a copy of this constitution.
In the summer of 1815 the insurgents in Veracruz broke away from the authority of Rosains and defeated him. In October the Congress dismissed Cos, and he was subsequently imprisoned. The Congress fled east to Tehuacan guarded by an army of 1,000 led by Morelos. While they were fighting a rearguard action, Congress escaped; but Morelos was captured on November 5 and was taken to the capital. He was convicted of heresy and treason and was shot on December 22. The Congress made it to Tehuacan, but they quarreled with the commander Manuel de Mier y Teran who on December 15 arrested the leaders and dissolved the Congress.
Juan Ruiz de Apodaca replaced Calleja as viceroy on September 16, 1816 after surviving an insurgent attack on his way from Veracruz to the capital. He changed Calleja’s policy of terror to reconciliation and reduced the war taxes. Thousands of rebels accepted his offer of amnesty though Vicente Guerrero continued to resist in the south. Most creoles had sided with the royalists and gained positions in the army and the administration. Also in 1816 Fernández de Lizardi published his novel El Periquillo Sarniento (The Mangy Parrot) in chapters as weekly installments. The fictional narrative of the current political and social problems evaded censorship until the fourth volume directly attacked slavery.
In 1744 padres Carlos Delgado and Irigoyen visited the Navahos, and the next year they went to Moqui towns and counted more than ten thousand, bringing back 441 converts. Their report persuaded King Felipe V to tell Viceroy Pedro Cebrian to support the Franciscans. In 1746 the Viceroy authorized four missions in Navaho country, but by 1750 this attempted conversion was considered a failure. Meanwhile in 1747 Governor Joaquin Codallos with a force of 500 that included Ute allies attacked raiding Comanches and killed 107, capturing 206. The next year 600 Comanches, who had not participated in the war but had purchased rifles from French traders, were received at Taos. In 1751 Governor Tomas Velez Cachupin marched against Comanches and killed 101. Another revolt in the Upper Pimas was led by the ambitious Luis Oacpicagigua in 1751. In 1755 missionaries went to convert Moquis, but they were countered by arguments against being enslaved to the alcaldes. Governor Manuel Portillo Urrisola led an attack that killed 400 Comanches at Taos in 1761.
The missions declined after the Jesuits were expelled in 1767. Francisco Joaquin Valdez worked through the church at Torim for 23 years and promoted crafts, manufacturing, technical assistance, sheep raising, and cotton and indigo farming. He secured loans in 1774 and established a stocking factory at Potam. Only thirty of the fifty Jesuits expelled from Sonora reached Spain alive in 1769. Most of the missions in Sinaloa and Ostimuri were secularized, and those in Sonora were turned over to Franciscan friars. The Querétaro college provided fourteen friars to the missions in the Pimerias. In 1781 a royal decree made Sonora a bishopric that included Sinaloa and the Californias.
New Mexico’s Governor Pedro Fermin de Mendinueta (1767-78) made a treaty with the Comanches in 1771. Although the goal was to bring peace to the frontier by converting the tribes, the new Regulation of 1772 called for constant warfare against hostile natives. Indians who made peace were given provisions worth fifteen to twenty pesos. Between 1775 and 1777 General Don Hugo O’Conor led the military campaigns to control the Apaches.
After Juan Bautista de Anza became governor on August 24, 1777, he led 645 men north in 1778 and killed the Comanche chief Cuerno Verde and other prominent leaders. Comanches and other tribes had an annual summer fair on the plains of Taos, and hundreds of New Mexicans bartered for deer and buffalo skins that they could trade in the January fair at Chihuahua. Most of the pueblo Indians suffered under debt peonage to the settlers, who in turn were usually in debt to the merchants in Chihuahua. In 1779 Commandant General Teodoro de Croix ratified a peace treaty with four bands of Apache Mescaleros, but he still intended to destroy hostile Apaches. In the winter of 1781-82 eight Mescalero chiefs led raids that killed eighty people. Governor Anza with a display of soldiers persuaded the Navahos to make peace, and in 1785 the Navahos agreed to be allies in the campaign against the Gileños. That year Jacobo Ugarte y Loyola was appointed comandante general.
In November 1785 the three top chiefs of the Comanches attended a council by the Arkansas River and decided to negotiate peace with Governor Anza. Chief Ecueracapa traveled to Santa Fe, and in February 1786 he made a peace pact with Anza that included reconciliation with the Utes. The Comanches agreed to restore all the captives from tribes friendly to the Spaniards. Anza made a preliminary peace alliance with the Navaho chiefs in March, and they agreed to submit to one elected chief. Later that year the Comanche nation elected Ecueracapa. General Ugarte authorized Anza to make peace with the Comanches, Utes, Navahos, and Jicarilla Apaches but not with any other Apaches.
Before he died in November 1786, Viceroy Bernardo de Galvez instructed General Jacobo Ugarte to implement a new policy toward the Indians. In March 1787 Captain Domingo Diaz reported that eight Mescalero chiefs had brought their bands to El Norte, and they accepted eleven conditions for peace; but the next month Governor Juan de Ugalde of Coahuila attacked these Mescalero bands. After Governor Anza met with the Jupe, Yamparica, and Chuchantica chiefs, the final agreement with the Comanche nations was made in April 1787. Already the Comanches had been fighting the enemy Apaches for a year. Ugarte urged Governor Fernando de la Concha of New Mexico to provide the cooperating Comanches with conveniences. The next month hundreds of Mimbreños revolted from the settlements at San Buenaventura, and in June most of the Chiricahuas deserted Bacoachi.
In April 1788 Mescaleros abandoned their reservation, killed soldiers, and raided ranches. The same month Viceroy Manuel Antonio Flores ordered General Ugarte to nullify the Mescalero peace and expel them from New Vizcaya. While governing Rio de la Plata and New Granada, Flores had become convinced that he could not trust peace pacts with savages, and he urged Ugarte to wage war against all the Apaches. When the Compa and others surrendered, Ugarte told Anza to make an exception to the Viceroy’s policy so as not to alienate the Chiricahuas. Flores put Governor Ugalde in charge of the eastern provinces in October, leaving Ugarte only the western half. Later that month Ugalde accepted the capitulation of eight Mescalero chiefs by the Sabine River. Ugarte disagreed with the policies of Flores and wrote a memorial to King Carlos IV in May 1789. He hoped to gain the Mescalero Apaches in the east as allies to help fight the Gila Apaches and the Mimbreños. Flores became ill and retired in October. Viceroy Revilla Gigedo II ordered Ugalde to return from his offensive campaign and surrender his command of the eastern provinces to Ugarte. General Ugarte sent Captain Diaz to negotiate with the Mescaleros, and they agreed to fight with the Spaniards against the hostile Gila Apaches. Ugarte renewed the Mescalero peace in June 1790, and peace was nearly concluded with the alienated Lipanes by the time Ugarte had turned over his command to Pedro de Nava at the end of the year. Ugarte also maintained the alliance with the Comanches, improved relations with the Chiricahuas, and accepted the surrender of several hundred Mimbreños.
On February 14, 1810 the Spanish Central Junta decreed elections for the Cortes, and the province of New Mexico was entitled to one deputy. The mayors and other leaders met at Santa Fé on August 11, and they chose Pedro Bautista Pino and gave him instructions. He left in October and was the first native-born New Mexican to visit Spain. During his years there Pino completed a report on New Mexico for the Cortes in November 1812. He considered the system of treaties and gifts a successful new Indian policy. He requested more military support and a reorganization so that citizen soldiers would be paid. He asked for New Mexico to have its own bishop with a college and a school system supported by tithes. He complained that the Guadalajara Audiencia was too far away for legal cases and asked for one at Chihuahua.
When the revolt began in 1810, Jose Antonio Torres led the uprising in New Galicia and took over the province. Gomez Portugal planned an expedition into the northwest province of Sinaloa. The Dominican Francisco de la Parra helped organized this, and Jose Maria Gonzalez Hermosillo was put in command. On December 1 the expedition left Guadalajara with 1,600 infantry and 200 cavalry. On the 17th the revolutionaries arrived at the mining town of Rosario where Col. Villaescusa had 1,000 men. The next morning they drove the royalists from their entrenchments into their houses, and they surrendered before sunset. Hermosillo took over San Sebastian and Mazatlan and seized property from the Spaniards in order to move on to Cosala.
Villaescusa had been released on parole, but he fortified San Ignacio de Piastla and waited for reinforcements from the Intendant of Sonora. Hermosillo went there with an army grown to 4,125 infantry and 476 cavalry, and they camped on the hill overlooking Piastla on January 29, 1811. While looking for a ford the friar Parra was captured and taken to Durango, but he had destroyed his documents and later escaped. Hermosillo found a ford, and they attacked on February 8; but the royalists had been reinforced and used their batteries to defeat the revolutionaries and captured the baggage and provisions at their camp before regaining the province including Mazatlan and Rosario. News of Hidalgo’s defeat in New Galicia caused the rest to disperse. In 1813 and 1814 Captain Narvona led a campaign against the Apaches.
Zunis had refused to revolt against the missionaries in 1702, and four years later Moquis (Hopis) attacked Christian Zunis. Franciscans continued their efforts to convert Moquis, but Carlos Delgado’s claim that he baptized 5,000 by 1744 turned out to be Navahos. The Navahos remained at peace with the Spaniards until 1796 when they joined the Gileños in some raids. Some hostile Navahos tried to survive in the canyon of Chelly in 1803, but Governor Jose Chacon’s expeditions persuaded them to submit in 1805.
Texas had many wild cattle, and the early settlers had more influence than the missionaries with the government. France ceded Louisiana to Spain in 1763 to keep it from the British, but in 1800 they ceded it back to France in exchange for Tuscany. After Napoleon sold Louisiana to the United States in 1803, its western border was in dispute. Viceroy Iturrigaray fortified San Antonio and Nacogdoches with 1,500 soldiers, and he planned to defend the Arroyo Hondo as the border. By 1800 San Antonio de Béjar was the largest town in Texas with about 2,000 people, and the first port at Bahia de San Bernardo opened in 1805. The next year Governor Juan Bautista Guazabal was succeeded by Antonio Cordero.
One of the first settlers from the northeast was the Irishman Philip Nolan who had been trying to engage in illegal trade between San Antonio and Natchez since 1785. He and twenty others in 1800 left Natchez to capture wild horses and built an enclosure by the Brazos River. In March 1801 they were attacked by 150 Spanish soldiers, and Nolan was killed. The Americans signed a treaty, but they were put in irons and taken to San Luis Potosi. Nine men were tried, and after five years one was hanged. In 1806 Simon Herrera led 1,300 troops across the Sabine River. The United States considered this the temporary border, and Governor Claiborne called out the Louisiana militia. General James Wilkinson negotiated, and the agreement recognized the territory between the Sabine and the Arroyo Hondo as neutral ground. Both governments agreed, but as a result this territory was used by outlaws and marauders.
In 1805 General Wilkinson ordered Lieutenant Zebulon M. Pike to find the source of the Mississippi River. In the summer of 1806 Pike’s expedition entered Spanish territory and was followed by Spaniards led by Melgares. Pike went up the Arkansas River and in November discovered the peak named after him in Colorado. After wandering into New Mexico and building a blockhouse near the mouth of the Rio Conejos on the Rio Grande, Pike and his men were arrested by Spanish authorities on February 26, 1807. They were taken to Governor Manuel Maria de Salcedo in Santa Fe and were eventually escorted to the Louisiana border and released on July 1, 1807. Pike’s account of his journey was published and translated into several languages, influencing American explorers.
News of the rebellion in Mexico came to Texas, and in early January 1811 Governor Manuel de Salcedo told the people of Bexar to pledge their loyalty. Lt. Antonio Saenz had been arrested as a revolutionary emissary from the blacksmith Jose Bernardo Gutierrez de Lara, and on January 15 Saenz escaped from his cell in the Alamo to join men conspiring to seize Governor Salcedo and Commandant Herrera in order to form a provisional government for the rebels. The plot was discovered, and Salcedo cancelled his expedition with 500 men to the Rio Grande. Captain Juan Bautista Casas was sympathetic to the revolution and had Salcedo and Herrera arrested on January 22. Casas released the revolutionary prisoners in the Alamo and arrested gachupines (Spaniards). He dissolved the Cabildo and formed a council to govern. He sent emissaries to La Bahia and Nacogdoches. Mariano Jiménez appointed Casas a brigadier general and Governor of Texas, and Casas received this news on February 9.
On March 1, 1811 deacon Juan Manuel Zambrano and nine men persuaded the officer of the night watch to turn over the garrison, and before morning they had organized a new government in support of Fernando VII. When Aldama arrived as Hidalgo’s envoy, he wore a uniform similar to the French. Zambrano used this to persuade people he was from Napoleon, and Aldama was arrested along with Casas. A junta of eleven men was elected by people in San Antonio with Zambrano as president. Aldama was sent to Monclova in Coahuila and was convicted and executed. In late March another plot at Bexar was discovered, and several friends of Casas were sent to Mexico.
Gutierrez was appointed revolutionary envoy to Washington, and he went with the rebel Jose Menchaca to Natchitoches in September 1812. Lt. Augustus Magee was a protégé of General Wilkinson, but he was not promoted in three years and resigned on June 22, 1812 to lead a filibustering force that would join Gutierrez to conquer Texas. They crossed the Sabine River on August 8, and 300 retreating Spaniards fled to Trinidad. The rebels captured Nacogdoches and increased their force to 700 men. Magee and other Americans maintained discipline while Gutierrez ate and drank and made wild proclamations. Their republican army captured La Bahia without a fight on November 7, but six days later Salcedo arrived with his army of 1,500 men. That winter Magee became ill, and he died on February 6, 1813. Salcedo’s forces attacked the fortress twice but were repulsed, and they retreated to San Antonio on the 19th.
Genera Joaquin de Arredondo led a royalist army from Nuevo Santander. Reuben Kemper commanded the republican army of 800, and on March 29 in the battle of Rosillo they routed 1,200 royalists led by General Simon de Herrera. Salcedo camped in the Alamo; but on April 2 he surrendered with 14 officers while 800 men from the royalist army defected to the republicans. About 300 men with some officers escaped from the city of San Antonio. Salcedo and Herrera were charged with bribing Col. Ignacio Elizondo to betray Hidalgo’s army and of executing Jose Menchaca in San Antonio while spreading a rumor he had been bought off. Salcedo and Herrera and twelve officers were convicted, and soldiers cut their throats on April 5. The next day Gutierrez in San Antonio proclaimed himself President Protector of Texas as part of the republic of Mexico and declared a new constitution. People elected thirteen members to a provisional government. Some Americans at Natchitoches helped Toledo publish the Gaceta de Texas, the first newspaper distributed in Texas.
On June 20, 1813 Captain Perry led 900 republicans against an equal force under Elizondo by Alizan Creek. After two hours Elizondo and the Spaniards fled. William Shaler urged Jose Alvarez de Toledo to challenge Gutierrez by taking over the republican army of 400 Americans and 800 Mexicans led by Menchaca. Toledo took command of the army in early August as Gutierrez retired to Natchitoches with three companions and a mule. On August 18 Arredondo and Elizondo with 1,800 men defeated the republican army of 1,400 by the Medina River. More than a thousand men were killed, and only 93 Americans escaped to Natchitoches. Arredondo reported that only 55 royalists were killed. Elizondo let the captured Americans go home to the United States with passports, horses, and one rifle for every five men; but within a week 327 Mexican prisoners were executed. Elizondo searched for rebels in Texas and captured a hundred men and as many women with hundreds of horses, mules, and cattle. The republican revolt in Texas had failed, and on October 10 amnesty was offered to remaining rebels with a few exceptions that included Toledo and Gutierrez for whom $500 was offered. Col. Cayetano Quintero was sent to Nacogdoches and attacked a village of Lipans and seized their household goods. Excursions also attacked other tribes. In 1814 Arredondo appointed Cristobal Dominguez to govern the province for Spain.
Morelos had sent Jose Manuel de Herrera as minister from the republic of Mexico to the United States, and on September 12, 1816 he and Luis Aury, a former revolutionary from New Granada who had obtained 14 privateer commissions from the fading revolutionary republic in Mexico, set up a local government on the island of Galveston. General Francisco Javier Mina continued guerrilla attacks in Mexico and went to Galveston. Commodore Aury was made military governor of Texas, and on April 7, 1817 Mina and Aury sailed down the coast to invade Mexico. The next day Jean Lafitte set up his own government in Galveston to betray the revolutionaries. Aury took Mina’s army of 250 men under Perry to the Santander River, and they occupied the village of Soto la Marina. Lafitte arrived with his privateers, and they set up a government on April 15 in support of the Mexican republic. Louis Derieux was made governor. Perry disagreed with Mina and left with his 50 men to attack the presidio of La Bahia in Texas, arriving on June 18. They were joined by Texas rebels led by Vicente Travieso but were defeated by Governor Antonio Martinez. Perry shot himself in the head. Aury went to Matagorda Bay. Mina went inland; but in October he was captured, and he was executed on November 11.
When the sixteen Jesuits were expelled from Baja California in 1768, some Spaniards expected to find great wealth in their missions; but they were disappointed. Junipero Serra planned the distribution of Franciscans to the abandoned missions. Concerned about Russians coming from the northwest, King Carlos III ordered Viceroy Croix to occupy and fortify Alta California from San Diego to Monterey. Visitador General Jose de Galvez came to the northwest to settle the Indian problems in Sonora. He organized the occupation of California from San Diego to Monterey, and he decreed that Crown lands could be separated from the missions and offered to Spaniards of good character. He also prohibited trade with the Manila ships. Galvez sent four expeditions to meet at San Diego in 1769 under the command of Governor Gaspar de Portola. In 1772 the Franciscan Rafael Verger and the Dominican Juan Pedro Iriarte signed an agreement that gave the Dominicans the California peninsula south of San Diego. In 1804 a royal decree made Baja California and Alta California separate provinces.
Junipero Serra was president of the missions in Alta California and founded the first mission at San Diego in 1769. Serra had a lame foot from his walk from Veracruz to Mexico City in 1749. While going from Loreto to San Diego in 1769 he had a muleteer treat an abscess on his leg. He stayed behind in San Diego to collect church utensils while Portola and Padre Juan Crespi marched north to Monterey. They did not recognize Monterey Bay but saw Point Reyes and the San Francisco Bay before returning. In August the Spaniards in San Diego were attacked by the natives, and one Spaniard was killed; but after the assault the surgeon Pedro Prat healed several of the wounded natives, and this improved relations. Serra’s gifts induced a young Indian to live with the Spaniards and learn the language, but Serra was deeply disappointed that no natives would be baptized for some time. In 1770 Serra founded a mission at San Carlos in Monterey, and a presidio for the soldiers was built. Later the mission was moved to Carmel because Serra believed the soldiers were a bad influence. Portola retired and was replaced by Lt. Pedro Fages.
In 1771 the San Antonio and San Gabriel missions were established. Serra criticized the soldiers for refusing to work, alienating natives with their insolence, and abusing their women. The raping of native women caused some Indians to attack two soldiers at San Gabriel, and a chief was killed with a musket. Serra went to Mexico City and gained a military force of eighty men under Captain Fernando de Rivera y Moncada, who was selected because Serra was at odds with Lt. Fages. Only transport ships from San Blas in Mexico and from the Philippines were allowed in California ports, and no trade was permitted. In 1772 Serra founded the mission at San Luis Obispo. By 1773 the Franciscans reported that they had baptized 491 natives; the number was small because they provided the neophytes with food and had little. In 1774 San Diego became a presidio. That year they baptized 342 natives, and the number of marriages doubled. In November 1775 nearly a thousand natives burned the San Diego mission, and Padre Jaume and a blacksmith were killed. They relocated the mission six miles from the bay.
In the next two years missions were founded at San Francisco, San Juan Capistrano, and Santa Clara. They also built a presidio at San Francisco. Monterey became the capital, and San Jose was the first pueblo for a few colonists. Jose Ortega became concerned that some Indians in the San Diego area were making arrows to use against Spaniards. Chief Aaran replied to a warning that the soldiers could come and be slain. Ortega sent Sergeant Cabrillo, whose forces had killed two, burned others who refused to come out of a hut, flogged those who surrendered, and took four chiefs to San Diego. Ortega had no right to inflict capital punishment, but nonetheless the four chiefs died in the first public execution in California on April 11, 1778. That year Serra received the authority to confirm Christians, and he confirmed 5,309 before he died in 1784. The Manila galleon stopped at Monterey in 1779. That year Spain declared war on England, and Commandant-general Teodoro de Croix passed on the royal order for Governor Neve to collect a war tax of two pesos from every Spaniard and one peso from Indians and other adults. Serra objected to the missionaries having to collect the money from the sale of produce, alms, and soldiers’ debts without even telling the converts.
Padre Francisco Garces traveled much in the region of the Colorado River in the late 1770s, visiting all the natives except the Moquis (Hopis). Yuma chief Ignacio Palma was friendly to Spaniards, was baptized Salvador, and requested missionary services in 1777. Garces and Juan Diaz were sent in 1779; but they brought only a few trinkets, and the Yumas were disappointed. New instructions were issued in March 1780 which allowed converts to live in pueblos with the Spaniards. The pueblos founded were called La Purisima Concepcion and San Pedro y San Pablo, and they were both west of the mouth of the Colorado River. The land was distributed with little regard for the rights of the natives, whose crops were often ruined by the Spaniards’ livestock. Hatred grew among the Yumas and the other tribes, and Palma helped organize the resistance. Commander Alferez Santiago de Islas appointed Ignacio Palma governor of the Yumas territory around San Pedro y San Pablo; but later he arrested Palma and put him in the stocks. Captain Fernando Rivera arrived with a dozen soldiers; but he distributed few gifts, and their livestock destroyed the mesquite plants. On July 17, 1781 the Yumas attacked both pueblos, killed four priests and a total of 46 men, including Garces, Diaz, and Rivera. The women and children were captured and made to work but were not violated. Lt. Col. Pedro Fages led a hundred soldiers and native allies to the Colorado and ransomed the captives, but the Yumas had left the area.
In 1781 Governor Felipe de Neve increased the military force to two hundred men, and Los Angeles became a pueblo. In the new regulations the Spanish government gave up its 150% profit, and supplies were provided at their cost in San Blas, Mexico. The soldiers’ pay was reduced by forty percent. Settlers were required to sell their surplus produce to the presidios at fair prices fixed by the government. Each colonist had to be ready with horses and a musket for military service in emergencies. They were not allowed to kill their livestock, and one person could not own more than fifty animals.
In 1782 Santa Barbara gained a presidio and San Buenaventura a mission. Serra was expecting the arrival of six friars and went with Pedro Benito Cambon to serve the two new missions. The soldiers were forbidden to visit the natives and were not allowed to own cattle. The priests were not allowed to engage in temporal management but were to focus on instructing the Indians. However, without the agricultural and mechanical implements the priests had little control over the natives. The six new friars refused to be missionaries under these new conditions. If the priests were not supported by the civil and military authorities, they believed the natives would lose respect for them with disastrous results. In 1782 the nine missions had only eighteen padres and Serra.
Pedro Fages was governor 1782-90. He toured the missions in October 1782, urging neophytes to behave well and promising to pardon returning runaways while threatening to punish others severely. The number of converts living in missionary communities grew from 4,000 in 1783 to 7,500 in 1790 while the livestock quadrupled. After Serra’s death in 1784 his friend Francisco Palou wrote a biography of him and served as interim president until Fermin Francisco de Lasuen was installed in 1785. He was given episcopal authority to confirm in 1790, and in the next five years Lasuen confirmed 10,139 Christians. He founded missions at Santa Barbara in 1786, La Purisima Concepcion in 1787, and Santa Cruz and Soledad in 1791.
News of Captain Cook’s voyage to the northwest coast in 1778-79 stimulated the Spaniards to try fur trading in California. Vicente Basadre y Vega was sent as a commissioner and purchased skins collected from the natives by the missionaries at set prices for the government monopoly. He collected 1,600 otter-skins in 1786 and nearly 10,000 by 1790, when they decided to leave the trade to private enterprise because the monopoly could not compete with the northwest coast.
The French explorer Jean François Galaup de La Pérouse visited Monterey for ten days in September 1786. Spanish authorities ordered a welcome for the French, and they were provided with cattle, vegetables, and milk. La Pérouse introduced potatoes from Chile and a hand-mill for grinding barley. He studied the mission system and commented that the neophytes seemed like children or slaves more than men and that ignorance was not much dispelled because the emphasis was more on the next life than on this one.
To prevent the British from occupying Nootka, the Spanish sent Martinez in 1789, and he captured several English ships. This nearly provoked a war, but in a 1790 treaty both nations were given the rights of navigation, fishing, and settlement on the northwest coast. In November 1792 Captain George Vancouver visited San Francisco and went on horseback to the Santa Clara mission. Governor Jose Joaquin de Arrillaga (1792-94) was alarmed by the visit and urged the strengthening of defenses. Vancouver visited Monterey at the end of 1794 and obtained supplies; he was surprised the Spaniards had so few soldiers to protect the colony from natives and foreign invasion.
Governor Diego de Borica (1794-1800) issued orders in 1796 to keep out foreign vessels. However, that year Spain and the United States made a friendship treaty, and the first ship from the United States was allowed to anchor at Monterey. The Otter from Boston commanded by Ebenezer Dorr had a passport from President Washington signed by the Spanish consul in Charleston. Dorr’s request to land some convicts who had escaped from Botany Bay was denied, but he secretly forced the ten men and a woman to land at night. Governor Borica had the carpenters and blacksmiths put to work for nineteen cents a day building a launch, a mill, and better wagons until they were deported to Spain.
Problems with local tribes occurred when the missionaries sent converts after neophytes who had run away. In 1795 eight or ten neophytes were killed north of San Francisco Bay. When thirty neophytes were sent after fugitives across the bay from San Francisco in June 1797, Viceroy Branciforte prohibited the practice. The next month Sergeant Amador captured 83 fugitives and nine of the Cuchillones and the Sacalanes, the tribes involved in the 1795 killings. The natives dug pits to prevent the use of horses, and in the battle Amador had seven or eight men killed. Commandant Jose Dario Arguello then forbade such expeditions by the missionaries.
The laws required each mission to elect annually an alcalde and regidores, but these elections were not held after 1792. When Governor Borica and Viceroy Branciforte insisted in 1796, President Lasuen obeyed but told the friars that the elections were only formalities to instruct the natives. In 1796 Padre Martin de Landaeta wrote a letter to Governor Borica protesting abusive treatment of the natives. Borica then wrote to Lasuen complaining about their treatment, work, and food. In 1795 two hundred neophytes had fled from San Francisco. In 1797 Padre Antonio de la Concepcion Horra came to California and was so critical of how the friars treated the natives that Lasuen deemed him insane and sent him back to Mexico the same year. Such offenses as neglecting work, not attending mass, returning late from a leave of absence, sexual improprieties, theft, and quarrelling were punished by up to 25 lashes (per day) or confinement in stocks or shackles.
Also in 1797 Lasuen founded missions at San Jose, San Juan Bautista, San Miguel, and San Fernando. The mission started at San Luis Rey in 1798 made eighteen, each with two padres. President Lasuen and three other supernumeraries were not paid. Lasuen died in 1803. The historian Hubert Bancroft judged Lasuen more capable than the great Junipero Serra, and he was considered more diplomatic. Santa Ines mission was founded in 1804, fulfilling Serra’s goal of missions separated by only one day’s walking distance. That year Nueva California became a separate province from Antigua (Baja) California that was run by the Dominicans. Arrillaga became governor again 1804-14 in Monterey and was paid $4,000 a year.
In 1803 Captain William Shaler came to San Diego to purchase skins; but the comandante seized them, and they fired upon Shaler’s ship. The next year Shaler returned from China, visited Santa Catalina island, and got supplies at San Pedro. In 1808 he published the first account of California in the United States and predicted that with good government it would become affluent. He suggested that the conquest of California would not require much effort. Shaler wrote in his journal,
The plan of civilization in the missions
is to instruct the Indians in the Catholic religion,
the Spanish language, the necessary arts, agriculture, etc.;
but the notion of private property
is not admitted among them;
so that each mission forms an indivisible society,
of which the fathers are the kings and pontiffs.1
In 1805 a group led by Padre Pedro Cuevas was attacked by natives near San Jose, and several were killed. Sergeant Luis Peralta with eighteen soldiers and as many volunteers went out and killed a dozen Indians while capturing twice as many. Yet under the mission system during these years hostile confrontations with the natives were very few, and those who chose to become Christians and live in the mission communities found new opportunities for improving their way of life by farming and learning other skills as well as the new religion.
In 1806 Russians led by Nikolay Petrovich Rezanov were graciously received by Governor Arrillaga at Monterey. Rezanov fell in love with Concepcion, the daughter of Commandant Arguello, and they agreed to marry. Rezanov went to get permission in Russia and Madrid for this and for trading; but he died in Siberia, and his treaty was never ratified. Concepcion waited and then chose a religious life.
In 1808 the San Carlos brought supplies to San Francisco and Monterey in May, to San Diego in October, and to San Blas on November 1. News of Fernando VII’s abdication, and the war against France arrived at the end of the year. Governor Arrillaga was instructed to capture any French ship if he could; but if not, he was not to let them know they were at war so that it might be seized at Acapulco. Troops at the presidios continued to support King Fernando and by March 5, 1809 had sent notice of their allegiance.
In 1810 some mission Indians were killed by an unconverted tribe in Suisun, and Gabriel Moraga with 17 men in May attacked 120 natives. They captured eighteen wounded but let them go because they were dying. The others took refuge in three huts and were killed. Moraga was promoted to lieutenant, and in other expeditions his reputation made violence less necessary. On October 19 he left the San Jose mission and went east to look for mission Indians who had run away. He captured 81 natives but released the 51 women. In November 1811 the San Gabriel mission reported that 800 Yumas were planning to destroy the mission. Reinforcements were sent, and no attack occurred. No supply ship came to California in 1811.
On May 22, 1812 Governor Arrillaga wrote several letters complaining that troops were suffering because no supplies had come for two years. No Spanish supply ship came in 1813 either, and commandants wrote to the Governor that the troops were destitute. He passed on their complaints to the Viceroy. The Flora and Tagle from Lima brought goods to barter. During the revolution in Mexico defenses were strengthened; but no new missions were added except at San Rafael as a branch of San Francisco. The Tagle brought another cargo of merchandise in 1814, and the Santa Eulalia sold goods to the presidios. Governor Arrillaga died of illness at Soledad Mission on July 24. Captain Jose Arguello at Santa Barbara was the senior officer and acted as governor. He forwarded orders to Kuskof at Ross that the Russian settlement was to be abandoned.
Viceroy Calleja appointed Lt. Col. Pablo Vicente de Sola to be governor of California on the last day of 1814, and he took the oath at Guadalajara on March 31; but he did not arrive at Monterey until August 30. The ship Paz y Religion did not bring supplies, and he found the soldiers destitute. The British ship Columbia arrived; though he had no permission to trade, soldiers persuaded Governor Sola to barter for $7,000 worth of supplies. No ships came from Lima in 1816. In early 1817 Sola sent a report on California stating that they could not expel the Russian intruders without large reinforcements.
In 1745 Panama’s Governor Dionisio de Alcedo had Fort San Rafael de Terable built by the river and bay of Darien, and natives attacked it six years later, killing all but two or three men in the garrison. In 1756 the Chucunaques massacred the Yavisa, who were friendly with the Europeans. The Chucunaques also slaughtered and plundered the garrison at Port Ypelisa in 1768. Andrés de Ariza became governor in 1774, and he made special efforts to control the Indians.
The Panama Isthmus was under the Spanish viceroyalty of Bogota while the rest of Central America was under Mexico’s viceroy. The provinces in Panama were Portobello, Veragua, and Darien. In 1803 not one ship came from Spain, and the merchants of Panama smuggled with those of Jamaica. In 1809 Panama was allowed to trade with Jamaica, and newspapers from there brought news.
Because of the independence movement in Bogota, in 1812 the new Viceroy Benito Perez established his residence on the Isthmus with the Audiencia and other offices, making Panama the capital of New Granada for four years. Perez requested three men-of-war from Cuba and a battalion of soldiers from Spain. He sent reinforcements to Santa Marta to fight Cartagena which was under blockade. The rebels sent two commissioners to negotiate with Viceroy Perez, and Vice Admiral Charles Sterling of Jamaica guaranteed their safe return. The commissioners arrived in Panama in October and stalled for time. Perez was informed and had the commissioners arrested and tried, but Sterling persuaded him to send them back to Cartagena. The commissioners told them people wanted independence and that Governor Carlos Meyner could not prevent it. The rebels besieged and captured Santa Marta, and the Spanish government recalled Perez and appointed Francisco Montalvo who brought reinforcements from Havana, Cuba in May 1813.
The people of Panama were glad that the viceregal seat was moved to Santa Marta, and the independence party agreed to join the proposed confederation with New Granada, Quito, and Venezuela. The Panama Cabildo demanded that Cadiz remove the bishop and transfer the officials of the Audiencia, but the senior Oidor Joaquin Carrion understood the patriotic party and opposed the majority of the Audiencia that continued until 1816. During the reconquista or counter-revolution Spain sent forces to Panama under Governor Alejandro de Hore, though some of his forces were captured by the rebels as he barely escaped to establish a royal force at the Isthmus.
In the middle of the 18th century the governor of Guatemala ruled over the provinces of Costa Rica, Honduras, Nicaragua, Soconusco, San Antonio, San Salvador, Chiapas, Sonsonate, and Vera Paz. The first archbishop of Guatemala arrived in 1745. Coins from the Guatemala mint helped trade with Peru and Mexico, and indigo grown on the Pacific slopes replaced cocoa in the mid-18th century. The indigo trade increased and reached the height of its prosperity in 1790. The mercantile economy decreased the tribute collected from 73% of state income in the late 17th century to 18% in the early 19th century. The secularization of Guatemala’s missions began in 1754. Prohibiting the sale of some liquors in 1756 provoked a riot, which was suppressed. The state imposed monopolies on liquor in 1758 and tobacco in 1765, but protests got the price of tobacco lowered. The monopolies on gunpowder and playing cards moved from Mexico to Guatemala. Much revenue was also collected from sales and port taxes.
The 1763 Treaty of Paris obliged the English to withdraw their military forces from Guatemala, but the settlers remained. Hodgson was replaced by Col. Lawrie in 1776. In the first half of the 18th century the Bourbon kings of Spain had taxed the economy and built defense infrastructure in order to drive the English from the Atlantic coast. In 1774 the diocese of Guatemala that included El Salvador had 122 curates and a patrimony of about 300,000 pesos with 50,000 cattle. Two years after an earthquake devastated Santiago in 1773, a new Guatemala City was built; the old Santiago came to be called Antigua. The Spaniards built Fort Imaculada Concepcion at the outlet of Lake Nicaragua. After the commander Jose de Herrera died in 1769, his daughter Rafaela led the defense that defeated an English siege. The Free Trade Act of 1778 established new merchant guilds with their own commercial court. In 1779 the English twice attacked Fort San Fernando de Omoa in Honduras and took four hundred prisoners and booty worth three million pesos. In 1780 vaccinations were used against a smallpox epidemic for the first time in Guatemala. Also that year an English expedition from Jamaica came back for revenge and captured Fort Imaculada Concepcion. Guatemala’s Captain General Matias de Galvez led a flotilla in 1782 that caused the British to retreat to Cape Gracias a Dios. In the 1783 peace treaty England agreed to evacuate the Miskito Coast, but in the 1786 revision they were allowed to cut dyewood and mahogany in Belize on the Yucatan coast.
In 1785 the Ordenanza de Intendente decentralized government by authorizing local intendants in San Salvador, Chiapas, Honduras, and Nicaragua. The captain-general of Guatemala ruled over the thirteen provinces of Soconusco, Chiapas, Suchitepec, Vera Paz, Honduras, Izalcos, San Salvador, San Miguel, Nicaragua, Jerez de la Choluteca, Tegucigalpa, Costa Rica, and Guatemala. Also Guatemala City asserted its power in 1793 with a commercial consulate. In the last two decades of the 18th century and the first in the 19th century military expenditures caused major deficits in Guatemala’s fiscal situation. Trade with neutral countries was allowed in 1797, and smuggling was tolerated.
In 1795 the Economic Society of Guatemala was founded by a group of reformers. The Costa Rican friar, Jose Antonio Liendo y Goicoechea, wanted to improve the curriculum of the University of San Carlos de Guatemala. The Honduran lawyer, Jose Cecilio del Valle, urged the study of political economy. Alejandro Ramirez and Simon Bergaños y Villegas edited the liberal Gazeta de Guatemala that was published by Ignacio Beteta. The Salvadoran planter and merchant, Juan Bautista Irisarri, favored free trade and construction of a port on the Pacific Coast. The cleric Antonio Garcia advocated giving Ladinos more economic opportunity in agriculture. The Gazeta sponsored classes not in the university such as economics, bookkeeping, mathematics, languages, and drafting, but the government suppressed them in 1800. Commercial indigo and cattle caused a labor shortage and increased the price of food, and locusts devastated crops in 1769, 1773, 1800, and 1805. Competition from Venezuela, India, and the Dutch Antilles caused the price of indigo to collapse at the turn of the century.
On July 28, 1801 Gonzalez Mollinedo y Saravia became governor, captain-general, and president of the Audiencia of Guatemala. An ordinance tried to equalize tributes in 1806, and the Cortes of Cadiz abolished them in 1811. After Napoleon’s French army overthrew the Spanish monarchy, the Council of the Indies on November 21, 1808 recommended granting the American dominions representation. On January 22, 1809 the Supreme Central Junta notified President Saravia of Guatemala to let the people in the provinces elect deputies to reside at court as part of the Junta. On March 3, 1810 the electors in Guatemala chose as deputy Col. Manuel Jose Pavon y Muñoz. The deputies from Central America did not arrive in time and were represented by the proxies, Andrés del Llano and Col. Manuel del Llano. The Cortes began by confirming the principle that all Spanish dominions had the same rights.
Saravia was promoted from being Governor of Guatemala to be Commander-in-chief of the Spanish army in Mexico. Captain-general Jose de Bustamante y Guerra was transferred from Montevideo and began governing Guatemala on March 14, 1811. On August 1 the American representatives at Cadiz presented a memorial to the Cortes on behalf of the friends of independence in America. The independence struggle in Central America began on November 5 when several leaders led an attack on the royal treasury in San Salvador and took 3,000 new muskets and $200,000. They were supported by people from the city as well as from Metapan, Zacatecoluca, Usulutan, and Chalatenango while San Miguel, Santa Ana, San Vicente, and Sonsonate pledged their fealty to the government. The rebels soon gave up, and the dismissal of Intendente Antonio Gutierrez Ulloa and other officials restored the peace. Bustamante sent Col. Jose de Aycinena to take over the Intendencia and restore order. His forces arrived at San Salvador on December 3, and he offered a general amnesty.
A second rebellion broke out on December 13 in Leon, Nicaragua when people deposed Intendente Jose Salvador. On December 22 in the municipal hall of Granada people demanded that all Spanish officials retire. On January 8, 1812 the rebels captured Fort San Carlos, and the officials fled to Masaya. Other towns in Nicaragua did the same. A board of government was organized in Leon, and the towns recognized Bishop Fray Nicolas Garcia Jerez as Intendente as long as he did not favor deposed officials. Royal officials at Masaya asked for help, and Bustamante sent at least a thousand men under Sargento Mayor Pedro Gutierrez. People in Granada set up defenses around the plaza, and royalists led by Jose M. Palomar approached on April 21. Several hours of gunfire ensued, but the next day people accepted the pledge of Gutierrez and surrendered. However, after royal troops entered the city on the 28th, Bustamante ignored the guarantees and ordered the leaders arrested. After two years of prosecutions 16 leaders were sentenced to be shot, 9 were given life on the chain gang, and 133 were condemned to terms of hard labor. The death penalties were not carried out, and most were shipped to Spain. Those who survived were finally released on June 25, 1817.
The liberal Spanish Cortes that lasted from 1810 to 1814 restored the Guatemalan Economic Society and created legislatures for Guatemala, Leon (Nicaragua), and Ciudad Real (Chiapas). They allowed the election of ayuntamientos, founded a university at Leon, and liberalized trade. Representatives from all six provinces in Central America, including Antonio Larrazabal from Guatemala, signed the liberal Constitution of 1812. On March 12, 1812 the Cortez passed the organic code for constitutional monarchy and with a new plan for administering the Indies. Only descendants of Africans were denied citizenship. On May 23 the Cortes ordered elections for members to the ordinary Cortes of 1813. Guatemala received Spain’s new Constitution on September 10 and proclaimed it on the 24th. The government and the people swore to it on November 3.
Governor Bustamante was loyal to the Crown, censored the press, and blocked creole ayuntamientos and legislative councils. To stop smuggling he limited foreign trade. To increase productivity Bustamante distributed land to Indians and ladinos, further irritating the creole aristocrats. He demanded back taxes from the Aycinenas and took away their previous protection. Some engaged in contraband trading. After the fall of Oaxaca during Mexico’s revolution for independence, Bustamante sent 700 men under Lt. Col. Dambrini who took along merchandise for trading. They captured a few insurgents on February 25 in Niltepec, and Dambrini had thirty men shot the next day including the commander and a Dominican priest. On April 20 the rebels led by Matamoros defeated the Guatemalans who fled, leaving behind their arms, ammunition, and Dambrini’s goods.
In December 1813 a few men led by Fray Ramon de la Concepcion and the Indian Tomas Ruiz plotted against Bustamante at the Belen Monastery. They and some who were innocent were imprisoned. King Fernando VII ordered them freed on July 28, 1817, but they were not released until 1819. Jose Francisco Barrundia escaped by hiding for six years and later became a prominent statesman. In January 1814 a conspiracy in San Salvador also failed, and Manuel Jose Arce was imprisoned for several years. After Fernando VII regained the throne and decreed an end to the Constitution and the liberal reforms on May 4, 1814, Bustamante published it in Guatemala on August 19. Larrazabal was imprisoned in Spain, and the liberal Aycinena clan was suppressed. In 1816 Spain imposed higher taxes on overseas trade to pay for expeditions against Bolivar’s revolution.
The English settlers by the Belize River were harassed by Spaniards in 1745, 1747, and 1754. Logwood imports to Britain increased from 3,471 tons in 1717 to 18,000 tons in 1756, but in the second half of the 18th century mahogany became more popular than logwood. In 1765 William Burnaby called a meeting of the European settlers at Belize, and they agreed on twelve regulations that included penalties for cursing, theft, harboring a deserter, hiring a servant without a written agreement, and kidnapping anyone to act as a servant. They also established a court of seven elected magistrates, and all future legislation and taxes were to be approved by a majority of the inhabitants. However, when Burnaby returned at the end of the year, he found such “anarchy and confusion” that he suggested the English government appoint a superintendent with a salary of £1,000 a year. Two years later Admiral Pavey in Jamaica reported that the Spaniards were still destroying log-cutters’ houses, taking their Africans, and imprisoning settlers.
In 1773 an African slave revolt broke out on the upper reaches of the Belize River that killed six Europeans. In 1779 Yucatan’s Governor Roberto Rivas Vetancur led 800 Spanish forces and captured about 140 prisoners and 250 slaves at St. George’s Cay, and they were not released until 1782. The treaty of 1783 fixed the British territory between the Belize and Hondo rivers, and this was qualified three years later in the Treaty of London. In 1796 a superintendent was established at the Bay of Honduras, and two years later the British fought off an attack led by Yucatan’s Governor-general Arturo O’Neil without one defender being killed.
In March 1744 France and England declared war on each other. In 1745 Admiral Isaac Townsend captured thirty French ships on their way to Martinique, and two years later Captain George Pocock captured forty such prizes. In the 1748 Treaty of Aix-la Chapelle the Windward Islands of Dominica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, and Tobago were declared neutral. At the conclusion of the Seven Years War in 1763 the British annexed Dominica, St. Vincent, Grenada, and Tobago while restoring Guadalupe, Martinique, and St. Lucia to the French. The Sugar Duties Act of 1764 enforced heavy duties on trade to help pay for the Seven Years War. In 1777 Grenada had 27 slaves per European.
The British West Indies suffered economically during the American war of independence. The duty on sugar practically doubled between 1776 and 1782. In 1778 three hundred Europeans fled from St. Kitts to escape prosecution for debts. Governor Marquis de Bouillé of Martinique led a force in September that captured Dominica. Also in December 1778 a British fleet led by John Byron took St. Lucia; but they could not stop France from taking St. Vincent and Grenada the next year. On November 26, 1781 Bouillé captured St. Eustatius. The French also took Tobago and then St. Kitts the next year. In September 1783 by the Versailles Treaty the English recovered Grenada, St. Vincent, St. Kitts, Montserrat, Nevis, and Dominica; France regained St. Lucia and was ceded Tobago; and Spain’s possession of Florida was recognized. The French established a naval base at Martinique the next year. During the 1780s several hundred slaves died of famine in Nevis and Antigua. In 1783 British Navigation Laws regulated commerce with the United States.
The Maroons on Dominica had been armed by the French during their occupation, and in 1785 they killed many Europeans. A Legion was recruited and suppressed them in 1786, executing the ringleaders. In 1797 Andrew James Cochrane Johnstone became governor of Dominica, but he used extortion, traded slaves, and kept a harem. He commanded the 8th West India Regiment which captured St. Martin in 1801 but mutinied on April 9, 1802 at Prince Rupert’s Bay. The British Navy put down the mutiny by killing or wounding a hundred men, and Johnstone was suspended in 1803.
In the 18th century the British West Indies imported goods worth more than twice as much as they exported. The population of the British West Indies in 1787 was 461,864 African slaves, 58,353 Europeans, and 7,706 free Africans. The population of the French West Indies in 1780 was 437,738 African slaves, 63,682 Europeans, and 13,429 free Africans.
In 1792 a General Congress of representatives from Guadeloupe, Martinique, St. Lucia, and Tobago met in Martinique and limited the rights of mulattoes, and the next year the Martinique Assembly considered itself independent of the revolutionary French administration. Monarchists in Guadaloupe refused to accept a new governor sent from Paris in 1792. When slaves revolted in 1793, the French colonists appealed to the British for help. The British captured Tobago, and in 1794 they took over Martinique, Guadeloupe, and St. Lucia. In 1795 Fedon led a rebellion in Grenada that lasted two years while a French squadron of seven ships led by the mulatto Victor Hugues invaded Guadaloupe in the Second Black Carib (Maroon) War or Brigand’s War. He raised African troops and moved on to St. Lucia, St. Vincent, and Grenada. After these raids, the British regained control while seizing Guiana in 1796 and Trinidad the next year. In the Peace of Amiens in 1802 the British gave their conquests back to France, but Napoleon Bonaparte’s law of May 20 restored slavery in the French colonies. When hostilities broke out again, the British reoccupied them in 1803.
In February 1809 British forces led by General George Beckwith captured Martinique, and a year later he led troops that took over Guadaloupe, St. Martin, Saba, and St. Eustatius. Beckwith governed Barbados 1810-15. On May 30, 1814 the Treaty of Paris was signed, and the British restored to France all the colonies they had captured except Tobago and St. Lucia, paying Sweden £1,000,000 because they had promised them Guadeloupe during the war. A slave revolt began in Barbados on April 14, 1816. Only one European was killed; but several hundred slaves died in the fighting, and even more were executed after a trial. More than a hundred were deported to Belize; but the people there refused to let them stay, and they were sent to Sierra Leone.
The Jamaica Assembly asserted in 1766 that it had all the rights and privileges of the House of Commons and that neither the king nor his representatives could overrule these. Because Jamaica had so many slaves, they were punished severely for even trivial offenses. There were slave conspiracies or revolts in 1765, 1769, and 1776. In 1774 Jamaica reported a population of 192,787 slaves, 12,737 Europeans, and 4,093 free colored people. To prevent famine, the ackee tree was introduced in 1778 and the mango in 1782, but between 1780 and 1787 about 15,000 slaves died of famine in Jamaica. In 1788 a law was passed so that anyone mutilating a slave could be fined £100 and imprisoned for one year, and three years later a European, who had killed a slave, committed suicide to avoid being hanged; but in 1792 the Consolidated Slave Act freed a slave from a master only for the most atrocious mutilation. Jamaica’s Second Maroon War started in July 1795. On December 14 about a hundred dogs were brought from Cuba to Montego Bay by forty Cuban hunters. The Maroons negotiated, and on the 21st an agreement was made that they would not deported if they surrendered by the 31st; bit only 21 did so by the deadline. General Walpole gave them more time, and about 400 Maroons surrendered in January 1796. Because they missed the deadline the Legislature decided they could be deported, and in June 556 Trelawney Maroons were sent to Nova Scotia. On October 31, 1815 Jamaica’s House of Assembly passed resolutions protesting British suppression of the illegal slave trade, and they proclaimed that they should not be bound by laws imposed without their consent.
The Bahamas prospered in the mid-18th century. In 1776 Commodore Hopkins of the new American navy abducted the governor of the Bahamas from Nassau. Many loyalists fled from the United States to the Bahamas, which tripled its population between 1783 and 1788 while the portion of slaves increased from half to three-quarters. John Murray, Earl of Dunmore, was a land speculator and became governor in 1787. He wasted money building massive forts, but the Assembly finally gained control over the budget in 1793. The Act of 1799 limited voting to free white men, but in 1807 the franchise was extended to free African men. That year the British government abolished the slave trade and made it illegal as of the first day of 1808.
In 1740 the Royal Commerce Company was formed in Cuba to control all imports and exports. In the next twenty years they imported about 5,000 slaves, mostly from Jamaica. A general post office was established in 1755. The garrison at Pensacola in Spanish Florida was increased to 180 men in 1757. In February 1761 Alibama Indians attacked the village of Punta Rasa on Garçon Point, killing a few soldiers and Indians who lived there. Cuba sent Captain Vizente Manuel de Zéspedes with two companies of mulatto soldiers to Pensacola in May; but Louisiana’s Governor Chevalier de Kerlerrec dispatched Baudin, who made peace and signed a treaty in Pensacola on September 14, exchanging prisoners. In 1762 Spain became an ally of France in its war against Britain, and France ceded Louisiana west of the Mississippi to Spain.
In March 1762 George Albemarle commanded 63 English ships that left Portsmouth with 4,000 troops. At Barbados they picked up a thousand gallons of rum, 900 casks of wine, and beef. After being joined by 700 Africans from Jamaica with nine of Rodney’s ships under Commodore Douglas, they landed troops fifteen miles east of Havana in June. The Spaniards had 3,000 soldiers but only 2,000 muskets for about 3,000 militia. Many of Albemarle’s men came down with malaria and dysentery, and they did not storm El Morro until the end of July. Soon after the English began using their batteries surrounding Havana on August 11, the captain-general surrendered Havana and western Cuba. Albemarle declared himself governor and captain-general. The English commanders and soldiers divided up about £440,000 plus about £310,000 in goods with Albemarle and Admiral George Pocock getting £122,697 each. Santiago’s Governor Lorenzo de Madariaga acted as captain-general and held out for Spain in the east, and on September 1 Albemarle announced that the British would not attack eastern Cuba. By October 8 the English had 746 men killed in battle but lost 6,000 to sickness. Albemarle had purchased 1,200 slaves for $60,000 on his way to Havana and sold them to Cubans. During their eleven months of occupation the British imported nearly 4,000 slaves. Albemarle announced in November that large contributions to the Governor would no longer win lawsuits. Albemarle departed with colonial troops on January 1, 1763 and left behind General William Keppel as military governor. To make peace in February the French persuaded Spain’s King Carlos III to give up Florida, and the English left Havana in July.
Cuba’s new governor, Conde de Ricla, imposed new taxes and tripled government revenue so that they could build new fortifications. The sugar industry increased dramatically. In 1762 they had only 10,000 acres in cane, but by 1792 they had more than 160,000. By 1768 Cuba had more Europeans than Africans, and 22,740 of the Africans were free. Cuba took a census in 1774 and 1775, finding 96,440 Europeans, 44,928 African and mulatto slaves, 19,027 free colored persons, and 11,588 free Africans. Less than 35% of the slaves were female. Between 1763 and 1789 about 65,000 slaves were sold in Cuba, and many of these were resold in Spanish America. El Teatro Principal began performing at Havana in 1776. That year the Spanish crown allowed American rebels to purchase supplies for cash, bills of exchange, or slaves. However, in 1784 Spain banned legal trade with other nations again. In 1789 the asiento (license) system of slave trading was abolished so that Spaniards and others could bring slaves to the West Indies. That year Spain developed a liberal Code Noir, but it was not even promulgated in Cuba. Because of the revolution in St. Domingue the price of sugar doubled between 1788 and 1795.
The Creole planter Francisco de Arango wanted to make Cuba a sugar colony, and he persuaded Captain-general Luis de las Casas (1790-96) to support La Sociedad Economica de Amigos del Pais and an agricultural development board. The first newspaper Papel Periodico was a weekly in 1791 but became semi-weekly two years later. The Economical Society’s library was the first to be opened to the public. The Society began promoting education in 1794, and two free schools were founded. Arango bought the first steam-powered mill in London that was tried in 1797. Water mills were improved, and Arango began using lime. Near Havana 179 new mills were installed between 1792 and 1806. The average sugar mill in 1782 produced 55 tons a year, but by 1804 this had gone up to 130. Under Las Casas they built schools, roads, bridges, an aqueduct, hospitals, and asylums. Arango and his friends also imported more slaves, and by 1792 Africans and mulattoes outnumbered Europeans and natives. In 1795 Nicolas Morales, a free African, led a slave revolt that started in Bayamo, spread to eastern Cuba, and was joined by liberal Europeans. They demanded equality, abolition of taxes, and giving plantations to the slaves, but the Spanish army suppressed the revolt.
Many Cuban planters went into debt to buy slaves and plant their crops, and most of the mills stopped paying tithes to the Church. Increasing the slave trade made merchants rich. Between 1791 and 1805 Havana received 91,211 slaves. Cuba’s imports rose from 2,285,798 pesos in 1774 to 12,319,997 pesos in 1803, and their exports increased from 1,197,979 pesos in 1774 to 8,165,735 pesos in 1804. About thirty percent of the import trade and almost twenty percent of the export trade were in foreign ships. In 1799 Spain reimposed the prohibition against foreign trade, but Cuba’s Captain-general Juan Bassecourt and the Intendant Pablo Jose Valiente disobeyed the ban. The Spanish as well as the French and British were giving up their mercantile monopolies.
The Peace of Amiens in 1802 facilitated the importation of nearly 14,000 slaves in one year, but war broke out again in 1803. The Embargo Act of the United States in 1807 caused Cuba’s trade with the US to be half, and two-thirds of their sugar harvest in 1808 went unsold, ruining fifty sugar mills. England’s abolition of the slave trade in 1807 made slaves much less available. Cubans learned the trade by hiring English crews, and by 1810 they had about thirty successful expeditions annually.
After the French removed King Fernando VII in 1808, creoles in Cuba rebelled. Joaquin Infante drafted Cuba’s first constitution that declared Cuba a sovereign state that maintained slavery, the Catholic religion, and discrimination based on skin color. In February 1812 the free African Jose Antonio Aponte organized an abolitionist conspiracy, but he was executed on April 9. Other conspirators were also executed and had their heads displayed. Cuba elected delegates to the Cadiz Cortes from 1810 to 1814 when Fernando VII was restored and cancelled the Constitution. In 1817 Cuba imported a record 25,000 slaves and had about 125,000 slaves, but less than 25,000 were female. Alejandro Ramirez became Supervisor of Finances for Cuba in 1815, and he abolished the monopoly on tobacco and growing trees. Landowners were permitted to cut down trees and were not required to supply beef to a city.
Spain’s King Fernando VI (r. 1746-59) chartered the Royal Company of Barcelona in 1755 to regulate commerce in Santo Domingo, Puerto Rico, and Margarita. In 1765 the Aguirre & Aristegui Company was authorized to supply slaves for Cuba, Puerto Rico, and Margarita. In 1797 sixty British frigates with 7,000 men led by Ralph Abercromby and Henry Harvey besieged San Juan, but they withdrew after two weeks.
After Napoleon Bonaparte took over Spain in 1808, Puerto Rico’s Governor Toribio Montes threw the French envoys in the dungeons of El Morro; but those sent by the rebel Junta were sent back to Spain with promises that Puerto Rico would remain Spanish. The military presence in Puerto Rico deterred creoles from seeking independence, and they were more interested in developing their economy. In 1809 the Junta invited the colonies to send delegates to the Cortes in Seville. In May the five cabildos of San Juan, German, Aguada, Arecibo, and Coamo each selected one candidate, and the governor, the bishop, and the San Juan Cabildo selected three of them and determined the winner by lot. In July the governor announced that the wealthy and well educated Ramon Power y Giralt was the deputy for Puerto Rico at the Cortes. Before he left, the Regency took over Spain and annulled the Junta’s elections and called its own. Power was elected again and left for Cadiz in April 1810 with petitions from the cabildos. They objected to San Juan being the only port open and wanted to add five more. They wanted producers exempted from the alcabala sales tax, the rum tax, and tithing. On September 24 the Cortes began meeting at Cadiz, the next day they elected Ramon Power as vice president. He worked with other deputies to revoke the Regency’s decree that gave colonial governors extraordinary powers, and they got the decree abolished in February 1811.
In January 1812 Power chose Alejandro Ramirez to be intendant to Puerto Rico, and that year Power persuaded the Cortes to approve most of the reforms requested by the cabildos. Spain’s new constitution of 1812 made Puerto Rico a province of the Spanish realm. For the next two years people had the right to speak, write, and publish freely, and violations of their persons or property were punishable by law. Spain only recognized as citizens those born in Spain or having both parents descended from Spaniards. Others were considered Spanish subjects. Voting in Puerto Rico was restricted to men over the age of 25. Because of a fiscal crisis Governor Salvador Meléndez issued paper money in August. Ramirez arrived in San Juan in February 1813 and found that inflation was rampant, and he authorized circulation of the macuqina, a silver coin from Venezuela. He also reformed taxes and abolished customs barriers and indirect taxes, relying instead on a tax on rental property and a lottery.
The Sociedad Economica Amigos del Pais was established in Puerto Rico in 1814. The island got its first printing press in 1806, and La Gaceta became the first newspaper. Ramirez founded the Diario Economico de Puerto Rico. After the restoration of Fernando VII on the throne in 1814 elections were stopped, and the governor regained lost powers. In October the San Juan Cabildo petitioned for economic and social reforms, and in August 1815 the Cédula de Gracias was decreed. This increased immigration and provided free plots of land with tax exemptions. Puerto Rico was still not allowed to trade with other territories in the Caribbean except in case of an emergency. The Governor declared an emergency, and Intendant Ramirez adjusted tariffs to benefit Spanish merchants.
Port-au-Prince became the capital of St. Domingue in 1749. François Macandal led a major slave revolt during the 1750s that caused the death of about 6,000 people before he was captured and burned at the stake in 1758. After that, hommes de couleur were prohibited from carrying side-arms. Many Jesuits were sympathetic to the slaves, and in 1763 they were expelled from the colony. The conflicts continued in the St. Domingue colony until they signed a treaty in 1764 for the free trade of cattle. Trade was further facilitated by the treaty of 1777. The Spanish also agreed to return runaway slaves to St. Domingue. In 1764 the Gazette de St. Domingue became the first newspaper on the island. In 1766 people of color were forbidden from many professions, and they were subject to the corvée labor on highways from which Europeans were exempt. In 1779 curfew regulations were imposed on them. Escaped slaves fled into the mountains, and in the 18th century the numbers of these marrons increased. In 1782 the French officer Saint-Larry initiated a political settlement with the French and Spanish authorities that gave the marrons their own territory under royal authority; there they kept alive African traditions.
St. Domingue imported 800,000 African slaves between 1680 and 1776. Most of the plantation owners lived in France. By 1783 St. Domingue accounted for more than one third of France’s foreign trade. Their sugar plantations had profits from eight to twelve percent compared to four to six percent for most other islands; according to Jamaicans, St. Domingue had better soil. In 1789 St. Domingue imported 40,000 slaves. In 1791 it had 7,466 plantations—3,097 in indigo, 2,180 in coffee, 792 in sugar, 705 in cotton, 632 in subsistence crops, and 69 in cocoa. About 40,000 Europeans discriminated against 28,000 free Africans (affranchis) while controlling 452,000 slaves. The census of 1774 recorded that 5,000 of the 7,000 female affranchis were the mistresses of Europeans.
On July 4, 1789 the French National Assembly seated six delegates from St. Domingue; but Mirabeau wanted to know why only white settlers were speaking for the mostly black population, and in October the Assembly seated a mulatre (mulatto) delegation. Vincent Ogé went to London and asked for money from the abolitionist Thomas Clarkson and bought arms. Ogé landed on the north coast of St. Domingue in October 1790 and petitioned Governor Comte de Peynier for the right to vote for all taxpayers as passed by the French National Assembly in March. When this was denied, Ogé gathered 300 mulatres and disarmed all the Europeans in the parish. He refused to arm slaves and marched with Jean-Baptiste Chavanne to the Cap Haitien. They were defeated by 1,500 white militia and fled east but were returned by the Spaniards. Ogé and Chavannes were broken on a rack, and 22 others were hanged. After news of this reached France, in May 1791 the National Assembly decreed that people of color born to free parents could be elected to colonial assemblies. The colonial delegates stalked out, and in August colonists elected only whites to the colonial assembly at Léogane. Meanwhile French revolutionaries took control at Port-au-Prince.
In the summer of 1791 the slave Boukman held meetings at night, and some slaves burned houses. After Boukman prayed for vengeance, slaves began killing men, drinking rum, raping women, and burning estates. About 2,000 French and an estimated 10,000 slaves were killed in the fighting. In September the National Assembly revoked their May decree that had granted rights to the mulatres. In reaction mulatre troops attacked the Europeans at Port-au-Prince in November. In 1792 Spaniards on the frontier began promising fugitive slaves their freedom. Santo Domingo gained some territory, but they soon lost it to former slaves led by Toussaint of Bréda. Toussaint was born about 1743, the son of an educated slave, and he was legally freed in 1777.
In April 1792 Louis XVI approved the Jacobin decree that granted equal rights to all people of color and free Africans, and three commissioners were sent with 6,000 soldiers to enforce it. Commissioner Léger-Félicité Sonthonax was an abolitionist, and with gens de couleur as allies he and Etienne Polverel subdued resistance in the north and west. General Etienne-Maynard Laveaux asked for reinforcements, and the National Assembly sent Thomas-François Galbaud to govern; but Sonthonax and Polverel canceled his efforts on behalf of the colonists and arrested him. On a ship Galbaud joined with the navy and 800 loyalist deportees to attack the government house. The Jacobins promised Africans that those taking up arms for the republic would be freed. Thousands of Africans swarmed into the Cap Français in June 1793, and Galbaud had to flee with 10,000 émigrés. The newly freed slaves were organized into three battalions called Liberté, Egalité, and Convention Nationale. In August 1793 Sonthonax proclaimed the Declaration of the Rights of Man for the north, and the next month Polverel liberated the slaves in the south and west.
After plundering the Cap Français in July 1793 Macaya joined the Spaniards to fight for their King Fernando VII, France’s Louis XVII, and King Joaquim I of the Kongo. More than a thousand French deserted to the Spaniards also. In September a British force from Jamaica occupied Jérémie, and they moved from the south to the northwest. In the north Toussaint took the name L’Ouverture and announced that he was fighting for liberty and equality; but he also fought for Spain against the French until he learned that the French National Convention had freed all slaves. Then in May 1794 he raised the French flag and murdered the Spanish officers who opposed him. While he reconquered the central Artibonite, the English took Port-au-Prince in June. Sonthonax and Polverel were recalled and yielded to the mulatre general André Rigaud and the noir (black) Toussaint. Rigaud expelled the royalist French from Léogane in September. In 1795 Spain made a treaty with France and agreed to evacuate the island of Española within a year. This stimulated the British to send troops there, but Toussaint defeated them too. Some Spanish families emigrated to Cuba, but they did not like the land they were given. Many in the religious communities did not want to leave Española because of their financial holdings.
Rigaud supported the mulatre Villatte and Pierre Pinchinat, and they arrested Laveaux. Col. Pierre Michel sent Henry Christophe to release Laveaux. Toussaint marched into the Cap, and the grateful Laveaux appointed him lieutenant governor of St. Domingue. Toussaint used military discipline to make ex-slaves work; but they were legally free and equal and shared in the profits. He sought reconciliation and urged Africans to learn from European civilization.
Three more commissioners arrived in May 1796, and Philippe Roume was sent to govern Santo Domingo. The slaves in the Spanish colony of Española were to be freed, and 200 slaves of the Boca de Nigua ingenio burned the cane fields and the buildings and killed the livestock in October 1796. Laveaux and Sonthonax were elected delegates to Paris, but Sonthonax stayed and sent General Kerverseau to curb Rigaud, who was re-enslaving noirs in the south. However, the noirs supported Rigaud and put Kerverseau and his emissaries in jail.
Toussaint had 20,000 troops and Rigaud 12,000 to fight the English, who attacked and occupied some Spanish towns in March 1797; but the next month Toussaint defeated them. In August 1797 Toussaint marched on the Cap and deported Sonthonax to Paris. The Directory sent the Comte d’Hédouville as commissioner with only 200 men to establish republican laws, and he arrived in March 1798. General Thomas Maitland offered to evacuate the west, and Toussaint agreed to a truce. On August 31 Maitland got a secret promise from Toussaint that he would not invade Jamaica. By the time they withdrew from the island in October the British had lost about 25,000 men, mostly to yellow fever and malaria.
Hédouville sent some black regiments to work in the fields, and fear that he would restore slavery provoked a rebellion. He appealed to Toussaint, who marched toward the Cap killing whites. On October 22 Hédouville sailed for France with 1,800 refugees. Before he left, Hédouville promoted Rigaud to equal rank with Toussaint; but Roume realized that Toussaint was supported by 90% of the people. Rigaud quarreled with Toussaint, and Roume declared Rigaud a traitor in July 1799. Toussaint had 30,000 troops to Rigaud’s 2,500. Toussaint promised President John Adams of the United States that he would stop French privateering, and he received 2,680 muskets and ammunition.
The Directorate named Toussaint governor-general in 1799. By threatening to kill the Europeans, Toussaint persuaded French commissioner Roume to sign a decree for the occupation of Española in April 1800; but Governor Joaquin Garcia was being pressured to fight by the people in the interior towns, and Roume annulled his decree on June 26. In July 1800 Rigaud fled to Guadaloupe and France while 700 of his mulatre troops went to Cuba. Toussaint preached forgiveness in the cathedral and then had 300 prisoners and 50 of Rigaud’s officers executed. At St. Marc 600 rebels were slaughtered. Toussaint made Jean-Jacques Dessalines governor in the south, and he is said to have slaughtered thousands of people of color.
Toussaint triumphantly entered the Cap in November 1800 and arrested Roume. Toussaint marched into Santo Domingo with his troops in December 1800, terminating the Spanish colony of Española. In the next month 2,000 residents fled to Venezuela and neighboring islands. Toussaint proclaimed that slavery was abolished on January 3, 1801. He opened the ports to free trade and began rehabilitating highways and plantations.
In 1801 St. Domingue became a self-governing colony with a Central Assembly and Toussaint as governor. Slavery was abolished forever, and color discrimination was banned in the civil service. Toussaint convened the Central Assembly in March with seven whites and three men of color to write a constitution, which was completed in May and centralized authority. Rumors that Toussaint was going to restore slavery provoked another rebellion, but forces led by Henri Christophe crushed the insurgency. The Constitution of Haiti was promulgated at Santo Domingo in August 1801.
Napoleon Bonaparte was offended by the Constitution, restored the slave trade in 1802, and sent his brother-in-law Victor-Emmanuel Leclerc to end the slave rebellion. He landed with 11,900 troops, and Christophe’s army retreated to the mountains. In the east the Spaniards and creoles joined the French and expelled Toussaint’s troops. French generals occupied Santo Domingo in February 1802 and re-instituted slavery as Leclerc proclaimed Toussaint an outlaw. Christophe released 2,000 white hostages in April, and Leclerc confirmed his rank. Leclerc got the French general Brunet to invite Toussaint to a conference in June and arrested him. The French shipped him to France, where Toussaint was found dead in prison on April 27, 1803.
In June and July 1802 Leclerc was losing a hundred men a day to disease, and the Africans still had 140,000 muskets. Hearing that the French had killed 1,200 disarmed black soldiers, Christophe rebelled. Leclerc wrote to Napoleon that of the 28,000 troops sent to him, only 10,500 remained alive. As Christophe, Clervaux, and other generals besieged the Cap in October, Leclerc died of yellow fever. He was succeeded by the Comte de Rochambeau, who had 500 prisoners shot and buried in a pit they dug. Jean-Jacques Dessalines organized forces in the north and northwest while Alexandre Sabes Pétion commanded in the west. In May 1803 British cruisers blockaded Rochambeau off Cap Français. The French at St. Marc capitulated to the British navy in October and went to Santo Domingo. Rochambeau surrendered in November, and Dessalines had 800 of the sick and wounded drowned at sea. The French army lost 50,000 men to the war, mostly because of yellow fever and malaria; about 100,000 Africans also died. On the first day of 1804 the generals (23 mulatres and 11 noirs) met and proclaimed the independent republic of Haiti, the original name of the island that means “mountains” in Taino. They had accomplished the most successful slave revolt in history since Moses took the Hebrews out of Egypt.
Dessalines canceled all French titles to property issued during the recent occupation. At Jérémie in March 1804 Dessalines selected five doctors and a few merchants. Then 400 men of property were ransomed before being beheaded. All the rest of the 1,436 French were also killed, though a Polish legion was incorporated into the brigades. At Port-au-Prince 800 more were murdered. At the Cap nearly two thousand French were killed, but Christophe got the English, Americans, doctors, and priests spared. At Cayes the merchant Duncan MacIntosh from Baltimore managed to bribe officials and smuggle out families and was credited by French refugees with saving 2,400 people. Finally Dessalines offered safe conduct to the remaining French survivors, but those who came forward were killed. The army of 52,000 was put to work building fortifications. Dessalines divided Haiti into four districts commanded by the generals Christophe in the North, Gabart in the Artibonite, Pétion in the West, and Geffrard in the South. On October 8, 1804 Dessalines was crowned Emperor Jacques I.
When the French capitulated to the British naval commanders in November 1803, General Jean Louis Ferrand refused to surrender and gathered a force of 1,800 at Santo Domingo. In January 1804 he confiscated the property of Spaniards who had fled without passports. To encourage some to return he canceled all debts to the government. In May his troops captured Santiago, but the inhabitants feared retaliation by Dessalines and evacuated. In January 1805 Ferrand announced that armed incursions into Haiti would hunt African children and sell them as slaves. Christophe commanded 2,000 men who sacked Santiago and beheaded prisoners. Then his forces joined Dessalines’ army of 21,000 that besieged Ferrand’s 2,000 troops at Santo Domingo in March, but they did not have artillery. A French naval squadron under Admiral Comte de Missiessy appeared to be moving west, and the Haitians decided to return to defend their own country. On the way home they attacked and burned several towns; at Santiago they burned the cathedral and four churches while killing all the clergy. Ferrand tried to reconstruct the colony while prohibiting trade with Haiti.
In May 1805 Dessalines ratified Haiti’s constitution that barred whites from owning property and defined all Haitians as noirs. Dessalines retained dictatorial power and had mistresses of all colors. President Jefferson’s embargo by the United States 1807-09 hurt Haiti’s economy. In October 1806 rebellion broke out in the South and spread to Port-au-Prince, where Pétion joined the revolt. Dessalines marched his army south. His advance guard changed sides, and Dessalines was trapped and killed on October 17. Pétion proclaimed Christophe until a new constitution could be written; but his draft gave himself as leader of the Senate more power than the President Christophe. When Christophe marched on Port-au-Prince, the Senate outlawed him. Christophe had 10,000 troops to Pétion’s 3,000. Pétion escaped during the battle as a captain wearing his hat was killed. Christophe did not have artillery with him to besiege Port-au-Prince and returned to the Cap in the north. His advisors drew up a new constitution giving the President the most power. Pétion in the Senate got the 25 percent share of every crop repealed, but Etienne-Elie Gérin organized an opposition in the Senate. Finally in 1808 Pétion adjourned the Senate, and it stayed adjourned for three years. In 1809 he began distributing land in small holdings to his soldiers with large grants for officers.
Juan Sanchez Ramirez in Santo Domingo traded with Puerto Rico and gathered an army of 2,000 men. They annihilated most of Ferrand’s 600 troops at El Seibo in November 1808, and Ferrand committed suicide. Santa Domingo returned to the Spanish empire on December 13, and this began the Dominican War of Reconquest. The British Royal Navy helped them besiege the French at Santo Domingo. The blockade lasted until the end of the war when the French surrendered to the British commanders in July 1809. In twenty years the Spanish population of Santo Domingo had been reduced in half from 180,000 by a slave revolt, two Haitian invasions, emigration, British occupation, and the destruction of almost all the cattle and sugar mills. The university and most schools had been closed for several years, and of all the clergy only about a dozen priests remained.
Meanwhile a civil war broke out. In February 1807 Jean-Baptiste Perrier, known as “Goman,” rebelled against Pétion by declaring himself the avenger of Dessalines. In May as the former troops of François Capois in Port-de-Pais revolted and were led by the private Rebecca. She was captured and beheaded, but Pétion’s general Lamarre fought for two years in the northwest against Christophe who used large battalions to push Lamarre out of Port-de-Paix by October 1808. Lamarre was besieged in the Mole and finally was killed in a battle on July 16, 1810. The Mole fell on September 28, and the survivors died working in a corvée for Christophe at La Ferriere. The forces of Christophe from St. Marc fought those of Pétion who used British and American merchant ships and had armies in the northwest.
André Rigaud returned to Haiti on April 7, 1810, and Pétion sent him south with 5,000 soldiers to pacify the Grand-Anse. However, Rigaud gathered electors at Cayes and on November 3 proclaimed the State of the South. Pétion met with Rigaud’s mulatre brother on the bridge of Miragoane on December 2, and they remained allies against Christophe. Rigaud began moving east toward Port-au-Prince, but he died on his plantation on September 18, 1811.
On March 26, 1811 a Council of State proclaimed the North a kingdom and General Christophe as King Henri. On April 5 Henri created 4 princes, 8 dukes, 22 counts, 37 barons, and 14 knights. Goman was made Count of Jérémie, and Henri provided him with arms. The Capuchin Corneille Brelle was promoted to archbishop. Henri was crowned on June 2. He imported 4,000 young Africans from Dahomey and had them trained and deployed in companies of 70 men to 56 arrondissements under officers who acted as judges. Henri promoted industry, and his regime brought in an annual revenue of $3.5 million. While building palaces and monuments he developed education. Pétion was re-elected President in 1811 and regained the South on March 7, 1812. He and Henri struggled for power, and in 1812 Pétion captured Port-au-Prince. Henri marched south and besieged Port-au-Prince. Pétion persuaded some of Henri’s officers to assassinate the King, but Henri learned of the plot and on June 2 had the conspirators shot. Pétion sent Bazelais into the Grande-Anse to suppress the insurrection led by Goman while distributing land to the peasants.
When King Louis XVIII sent commissioners to both in 1814, they united in solidarity against the French. Pétion’s land reform reduced the production of the export crops of sugar, coffee, indigo, and cotton as people planted truck gardens and subsistence crops with the result that the larger economy stagnated. In March 1815 Pétion was re-elected President by only five Senators; but they revised the Constitution and made him President for life within a year. In January 1816 Pétion welcomed Simon Bolivar and provided him with 4,000 muskets and 15,000 pounds of ammunition, asking him only to liberate slaves. That year the abolitionists Clarkson and Wilberforce sent English school-teachers to Henri’s kingdom, and by 1817 they had schools at Cap, Milot, Port-de-Paix, Gonaives, and St. Marc. Pétion also founded the Lycée of Port-au-Prince to educate the elite. Pétion’s health declined after he contracted malaria in 1807, and he finally died on March 29, 1817. Jean-Pierre Boyer was his secretary and commander of the Presidential Guard, and General Gédéon proclaimed him President for life which the Senate confirmed unanimously.
1. “Journal of a Voyage from China to the Northwestern Coast of America Made in 1804” by William Shaler quoted in California Heritage, p. 106.