Venezuelan Declaration of Independence
Independence of Venezuela: Political process started in 1810 that culminated in the emancipation of current Venezuelan territory from Spanish domination.
What was the Independence of Venezuela?
The Independence of Venezuela was a political process that took place between 1810 and 1830, through which the Captaincy General of Venezuela achieved its emancipation from the Spanish Crown.
The independence process began in 1810 with conspiracies headed by Creole merchants and landowners, who wanted to put an end to the commercial monopoly and the abuses of colonial officials.
The power vacuum that occurred in Spain as a result of the Napoleonic wars and the capture of the royal family by Napoleon Bonaparte offered the Creoles a favorable circumstance to try to emancipate themselves from Spanish domination.
In 1810, the Venezuelan patriots formed their first government of their own and the following year they signed the Act of Independence. Thus began a long period of wars against the royalists and political instability that only came to an end in 1830. That year, after the dissolution of Gran Colombia, Venezuela became a sovereign and independent state.
Stages of the Independence of Venezuela
The process of Independence of Venezuela can be divided into four stages.
Venezuelan First Republic (1810 – 1812)
The First Republic began on April 19, 1810, when the Cabildo de Caracas was held, which forced the Spanish governor and captain general Vicente Emparan to resign.
A provisional government board was then established, called the Supreme Board of Caracas, which swore allegiance to the captive king Fernando VII.
Soon the most radicalized creoles prevailed over the most conservative. So on July 5, 1811, the Venezuelan patriots signed the Act of Independence.
The leader of the First Republic was Francisco de Miranda, who was greatly influenced by the ideas of the Enlightenment. The new government was short-lived, since on July 25, 1812, a royalist army defeated the patriots and regained power.
Venezuelan Second Republic (1813 – 1814)
This phase began in mid-1813, when Simón Bolívar, during the Admirable Campaign, defeated the royalists stationed in western Venezuela. At the same time, the East Campaign, commanded by Santiago Mariño, made it possible to liberate the eastern provinces of Cumaná and Barcelona.
On August 6, Bolívar entered Caracas and the Second Republic began, during which the Liberator proclaimed war to the death against the royalists.
These were reorganized and, under the command of leaders such as José Tomás Boves, advanced towards Caracas. Despite the fact that the patriots triumphed in the battle of La Victoria, they did not manage to stop the advance of the royalists, who on December 11, 1814 won the battle of Maturín and regained total control of the Venezuelan territory.
Venezuelan Third Republic (1817 – 1819)
After the fall of the Second Republic, the patriots took refuge in various islands in the Caribbean. There they reorganized to resume the struggles for independence.
Bolívar and Mariño led an army that during 1817 managed to liberate a large part of the Venezuelan territory and create the Third Republic.
On December 17, 1819, deputies from the liberated provinces, meeting in the Congress of Angostura, voted the Fundamental Law, which established the union of Venezuela and Nueva Granada, which became Gran Colombia.
Venezuelan Gran Colombia (1819 – 1830)
In November 1820, the Trujillo Armistice was signed, by which patriots and royalists agreed to a cessation of hostilities.
But peace did not last and in 1821 the battle of Carabobo took place, which marked the final defeat of the royalists. Thus the independence of Venezuela and Colombia was assured, which remained united under the leadership of Bolívar.
Gran Colombia was shaken by the conflicts between the centralist project of the Liberator and the federalists, who defended the autonomy of the different regions.
These conflicts led to the dissolution of Gran Colombia, which in 1830 was fragmented into three independent states: Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador.
After the separation, the Fourth Republic of Venezuela began, whose first president was José Antonio Páez.
Causes and Consequences of the Independence of Venezuela
Causes of the Venezuelan War of Independence
The main causes of the Independence of Venezuela were the following:
- The discontent of the inhabitants of the Captaincy General of Venezuela for the validity of the commercial monopoly, tax increases and abuses by Spanish officials.
- The influence of the ideals of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution on the leaders of the independence process.
- The Independence of the United States, which served as a model and inspiration for the rest of the American peoples in the struggle for the emancipation of their respective metropolises.
- The weakening and political instability suffered by Spain from 1808, due to the Napoleonic invasion, the capture of the Spanish royal family and the imposition of the French José Bonaparte as the new monarch.
Consequences of the Venezuelan War of Independence
Among the main consequences of the Independence of Venezuela, the following stand out:
- The political emancipation of the territories of the former Captaincy General of Venezuela.
- The beginning of a long period of internal struggles and political instability, which ended with the dissolution of Gran Colombia and the constitution of a sovereign and independent Venezuela.
- The establishment of commercial relations with other American countries and European powers, previously made impossible by the validity of the Spanish monopoly.
- The replacement of the monarchical model by the republican, representative and federal, inspired by the US Constitution of 1787.
- The breaking of relations with the kingdom of Spain, which was only reestablished in 1845 with the signing of a treaty of peace and friendship and the definitive recognition of the Independence of Venezuela.
Key Personnel of the Independence of Venezuela
The main protagonists of the process that culminated in the Independence of Venezuela were:
- Francisco de Miranda (1750-1816): Venezuelan soldier, politician and writer, considered the precursor of the independence of his country. He participated in the Independence of the United States and the French Revolution. Captured by the royalists in 1812, he died in a Spanish prison in 1816.
- Simón Bolívar (1783-1830): Venezuelan politician and military man. He freed Venezuela from royalist domination and founded the Republic of Gran Colombia. His dream was to unite all the Hispanic American peoples under a single government.
- Santiago Mariño (1788-1854): Venezuelan military and patriot who actively participated in the struggle for independence. He led the East Campaign in 1813 and participated in the Battle of Carabobo in 1821.
- José Antonio Páez (1790-1873): Venezuelan military man who had a great participation both in the fight for the independence of his country, and in the separation of Venezuela from Gran Colombia. In 1830, he founded the Fourth Republic and was elected its first president.
- Antonio José de Sucre (1795-1830): Venezuelan military and politician who participated in the emancipation processes of Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. He was general in chief of the army of Gran Colombia and the first president of the Republic of Bolivia.