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The land that now comprises the Republic of Mexico was until 1821 (at least legally speaking) part of the Viceroyalty of New Spain which consisted of a large part of the North American continent. Liberal army officers revolted in 1820 when organised an expedition to bring the colonies back under stronger Spanish control (during the Napoleonic Wars while Spain had been conquered by France, the colonies ran their own affairs). While Mexico gained full independence the regions to its immediate south remained loyal to King Ferdinand. Since then the nation has at various been times been run as a republic and empire although on one occasion the "republic" has in fact been controlled by a military dictatorship. During the 1840s several of the southern provinces seceded from the Republic and attempted to form their own nation known as the Republic of Central America but the constituent provinces soon ended up fighting amongst themselves and formed separate nations. Since that time there have been numerous wars between the various nations, between the nations and Mexico and between the nations and the Kingdom of New Grenada to the south