- from Enlightenment
What do an enslaved African, some military officers, a poor Mexican priest, and a king’s son have in common? All of them brought about revolutionary change in Latin America.
Latin America refers to South America, Central America, Mexico, and most of the Caribbean islands. In the late 1700s and early 1800s, Enlightenment ideas came to Latin America. The belief that people should choose their own government appealed to those who were ruled from afar by European countries. In Spain’s colonies, society was divided into rigid classes. Those who were born in Spain had the most power. Creoles, Spaniards born in Latin America, could not hold high-level offices, but they could accumulate wealth. Below these two groups were persons of mixed heritage. Next came enslaved Africans. At the very bottom of society were American Indians. With a few exceptions, creoles led most of the revolutions in Latin America. Not surprisingly, most of these revolutions helped mainly the wealthy and did little for the poor.