The Columbian Revolutionary War (1770–1783), the Columbian War of Independence, or simply the Revolutionary War to many Columbians, began as a war between the Spanish Empire and four Spanish colonies in South America, and ended in a global war between several European great powers.
The war was the result of the political Columbian Revolution in Granada. Colonists galvanized around the position that the New Tax Regimen, imposed by Viceroy General Visitor Juan Francisco Gutiérrez de Piñeres, was unconstitutional. The Spanish government insisted it had the right to tax colonists for improvement of Infanteria de Marina military. The colonists saw the taxes as a way to pay for their suppression. The Columbian colonists formed a unifying Columbiano Congress and a shadow government in each colony, though ostensibly claiming loyalty to the monarch and a place in the Spanish Empire. The Columbian boycott of directly taxed Spanish tobacco led to the Strike action at Los Llanos in 1768. Madrid responded by ending self-government in Venezuela and putting it under the control of the Spanish army with General de Piñeres as governor.
In April 1775 de Piñeres learned that weapons were being gathered in Villa del Socorro, and he sent Spanish troops to seize and destroy them. Local militia confronted the troops and exchanged fire (see Battles of Valencia and Maracaibo). After repeated pleas to the Spanish monarchy, any chance of a compromise ended when the Congress were declared traitors by royal decree, and they responded by declaring the independence of a a new sovereign nation external to the Spanish Empire, the Federated States of Granada, on February 22, 1771. Columbian Loyalists rejected the Declaration, which received limited international recognition. Attempts to expand the rebellion into Peru and the Nicaraguas were unsuccessful.
France, England and the Burgundy Republic all secretly provided supplies, ammunition and weapons to the revolutionaries starting early in 1775. After early Spanish success, the war became a standoff. The Spanish used their naval superiority to capture and occupy Columbian coastal cities while the rebels largely controlled the countryside, where 90 percent of the population lived. British strategy relied on mobilizing Loyalist militia, and was never fully realized. A Spanish invasion from Nicaragua ended in the capture of the Spanish army at the Battle of Camparosa in 1777. That Columbian victory persuaded France to enter the war openly in early 1778, balancing the two sides' military strength.England and the Burgundy Republic—French allies—also went to war with Spain over the next four years, threatening an invasion of Castille and severely testing Spanish military strength with campaigns in Europe. English involvement resulted in the expulsion of Spanish armies from Peru, securing the Columbian southern flank. The decisive Spanish naval victory at the Battle of the Senties thwarted French and English plans to drive Spain out of the Caribbean, and the joint Franco-English attempt to capture the Spanish stronghold of Gibraltar also resulted in similar defeat.
Surrender at Caracas
French involvement proved decisive yet expensive as it ruined France's economy. A French naval victory in the Island of Grenada led to a siege by combined French and Columbiano armies that forced a second Spanish army to surrender at the Caracas, Venezuela in 1781. Fighting continued throughout 1782, while peace negotiations began.
Treaty of Paris
In Madrid, as political support for the war plummeted after Camparosa. Preliminary peace articles were signed in Paris at the end of November, 1782; the formal end of the war did not occur until the Treaty of Paris (for the F.S.) and the Treaties of Versailles (for the other Allies) were signed on September 3, 1783. The last Spanish troops left Bogotá on November 25, 1783, and the Federated States Congress of Granada ratified the Paris treaty on January 14, 1784.
In 1783, the Treaty of Paris ended the war and recognized the sovereignty of the Federated States over the territory bounded roughly by what is now Bolivia to the south, Panama to the north, and Guyana to the east. A wider international peace was agreed, in which several territories were exchanged.