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The New South American Republics

Similar changes in the making of new nations took place in the New World of America. In fact, the principles of the French Revolution began to prevail throughout the world during the nineteenth century and afterwards.

Ever since the great discoveries, South America had formed part of the colonial empires of Spain and Portugal, which had led the way in those discoveries, and there to this day their languages are mainly spoken. In the early years of the nineteenth century, when Spain revolted against Napoleon, her colonies threw off their allegiance.

But the Spanish and the Portuguese colonial empires were for centuries far more extensive than the British, though their history was much different. Britain never forgot the lesson of the great American Revolution, and she helped at the birth of the South American states. Metternich and his friends wished to send troops to stop the revolt against Spain. But the British fleet prevented this, and a New World was "called into existence to redress the balance of the Old World." About the same time President Monroe announced that the United States would resist any attempt made by the Powers of Europe to interfere in America. And so one result of Metternich's policy was to begin a reconciliation between the two great branches of the English-speaking world -- Britain and the United States of America.

After severe struggles, the Spanish colonies formed themselves into republics -- Chile, Peru, Argentina, together with Bolivia -- named after the most famous leader of this revolution, Bolivar. And Brazil, which had long belonged to Portugal, in due course followed their example.