South American Wars of Independence
The Latin American Wars of Independence were the various revolutions that took place during the late 18th and early 19th centuries that resulted in the creation of a number of independent countries in the Latin American region. These revolutions followed the American and French Revolutions, which had profound effects on the Spanish, Portuguese and French colonies in the Americas. Haiti, a French slave colony, was the first to follow the United States to independence during the Haitian Revolution, which lasted from 1791 to 1804. Thwarted in his attempt to rebuild a French empire in North America, Napoleon Bonaparte turned his armies to Europe, invading and occupying many countries, including Spain and Portugal in 1808. The Peninsular War, which resulted from this occupation, caused Spanish Creoles to question their allegiance to the metropole, stoking independence movements that culminated in bloody wars of independence, which lasted almost two decades. At the same time, the Portuguese monarchy relocated to Brazil during Portugal's French occupation. After the royal court returned to Lisbon, the prince regent, Pedro, remained in Brazil and in 1822 successfully declared himself emperor of a newly independent Brazil.