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In 1808, Napoleon Bonaparte treacherously outmaneuvered the corrupt Spanish Bourbons and installed his brother Joseph as King of Spain, igniting the flames of war across the Iberian Peninsula. Far across the Atlantic, this event lit the fuse for a war that raged for the better part of two decades as Spain’s colonies grasped the opportunity to seize their own independence.
Simon Bolivar and Jose de San Martin independently led the South American revolutionary armies that freed much of Latin America of Spanish rule. Among the general struggle between the Patriot and Royalist factions lurked regional and personal loyalties, politics and positioning that occasionally broke into open conflict and presaged the century of near-constant warfare that subsequently engulfed the continent. The South American revolutions heralded Spain’s downfall as a world power and marked the first expression of an expansionist foreign policy by the United States of America.
Featuring specially commissioned full-color maps and drawing upon the latest research, this volume traces the military events of the colorful Independence period and sheds new light on the leaders, men, and battles that reshaped the hemisphere. The myriad campaigns, often uncoordinated and occurring thousands of miles apart, are brought together and related to the wider context, in this engaging introduction to a crucial period in the history of the Americas.