Flag of the Federal Republic of Central America The Union of Central America Continues Flag of the Federal Republic of Central America
Nations and Geopolitics
Peoples and Cultures
Conflicts and Wars

Central America: Formation and Consolidation

The Federal Republic of Central America came to being from the already collapsing First Mexican Empire of Augustin I de Iturbide. Mexico, under Vicente Fillisola, moved to try to regain Central America for the newly established Mexican Republic, even briefly occupying El Salvador. However Fillisola was unable to maintain a presence in the region and was forced to back down, the peoples of Guatemala City paying for their transportation out.

There was also the matter of crisis between the liberal and conservative factions within the Central American state, and these factions threatened to tear the union apart. In the 1825 Presidential elections, José Cecilio del Valle, a Conservative from Honduras was pitted against the liberal Manuel José Arce of El Salvador. It was a heated election, and was only won with barely enough votes by del Valle. At first, it seemed that the country would explode into Civil War, but del Valle moved to try to let cooler heads prevail, working with both sides to produce the Central American Constitution.

While the Constitution was based upon that of the United States, and called for a federal state, it also detailed Roman Catholicism as the nation's official religion, and the states, while having control over infrastructure, education and a small militia, were not to act independently of the federal republic. Many of the Spanish colonial institutions were destroyed while others were retained. Many liberal governors did take their control of the education away from the church, providing Arce with his first major political crisis.

The Roman Catholic Church in Spain served as a major nation-builder during the early years of the Federation, despite the opposition to the institution by the liberals. This was due to the people's continued support for the group. As a result of this, the Catholic Church had helped play a hand in the two term rule of of del Valle (1826-1836). Freedom of Speech was allowed, as was freedom of worship, despite no government support for the other religious practices, especially those of the Mayan majority in Northern Guatemala State.

del Valle decided not to seek a third term citing health concerns. His successor, elected in 1835 was Centroamerican general and Liberal Party leader Francisco Morazán. His election caused an early scare in Central America, but his assurances to continue the moderate policies of del Valle seemed to calm their fears. During his Presidency, Morazán combated banditry, and tried to build up the national bureaucracy, as well as support state funding to improve and create a road system, a program that was to take some many years to achieve.

Liberalism in Europe

As Central America sought to develop its own identity, Europe fared little better in containing the ideals of Nationalism. Coming off the Napoleonic Wars, Europe was caught in conflict between the Liberalist movements, spurred on by the style of governments used by the Napoleonic puppet states, and the Reactionary and Absolutist monarchs of the pre-Revolutionary era. Various nations in Italy and Germany, as well as France, Austria, the Danubian Principalities and Russia all sought to curtail the rise of ideas that would threaten the status quo originally agreed upon by the Congress of Vienna in 1815.

Nations such as Sardinia-Piedmont and Greece passed acts that either put their nations on the path to a Constitutional Monarchy, or introduced Democratic styled governments overnight. While others such as Russia, Austria and the Two Sicilies fought tooth and nail against Revolutionaries seeking reform and change over the established status quo.

German Nationalism

Asia: A Tale of Two Regions

Asia was seen as a region untapped by many of the global powers, only the United Kingdom through India, Russia through Siberia and the Netherlands through the East Indies had a significant presence in the continent, although both France and Portugal also had possessions. The local rulers were regarded as uncivilized savages and was to be civilized by the Christian nations of Europe. But there were some nations that not only resisted the call of domination, some sought to rival the West.

The Rise of Bukhara and the Success of the Qajars

In Central Asia, two such powers moved to challenge their neighboring rivals for control of Central Asia. Those powers were the Qajar Shahs of Persia, who came to power in 1795, and the Manghit Emirs of Bukhara, who rose in 1747. Despite Persia's disastrous wars with the Russian Empire under Alexander in 1813 and Nicholas in 1826, Persia managed to maintain its hold in Southern Azerbaijan. However, Persia's focus turned, with Russian support, towards the Emirate of Afghanistan, while Bukhara began turning their focus to its fellow Uzbek neighbor Khiva as well as the Kyrgyz Khanate of Kokand. This led to a series of conflicts starting with the Central Asian War which pitted Persia and Bukhara, such unlikely bedfellows, alongside against Afghanistan, Khiva and Kokand. The result was heavily lopsided, with Persia annexing large swaths of Khivan and Afghan land, while Bukhara took their first step, annexing the holy city of Samarkand.

While Persia was content with its territorial gains, Bukhara continued its conquests, humiliating the Afghans in 1852 and acquiring more concessions from Kokand in 1854 and 1859. While Persia sought to increase Prestige and Military Power as a detterant, Bukhara sought glory through battle.

The Conflicts of East Asia

Manifest Destiny and Pan-Andeanism

The America's were seen as a hotbed for two movements. Manifest Destiny, which took hold in the United States, saw that they should rule the land from sea to shining sea. The Americans already held control over the Northwest Pacific Coast (which later became Oregon and Washington State). This of course brought unease to Mexico, who lost Texas to independence and eventual annexation to the United States.

In South America on the other hand, was the budding of a movement originally started in the Peru-Bolivian Commonwealth. Pan-Andeanism, the union of the peoples of the Andean Mountains, was taking root. This movement was opposed by the Republic of Chile and the Argentine Confederation.

The Mexican-American Conflict

The Start of Colonization

Since the 16th century, European nations have been launching efforts at colonizing the African Continent. By 1836, much had changed, but the only colonial powers in Africa were Britain, France, Spain and the Netherlands. The British were winning the war against the Xhosa Confederacy, (completed in August 17, 1836). Progress was slow, due to the Liberal revolution in Europe, but several events of note were Portugal's annexation of Natal and the destruction of the Zulu Kingdom in 1850, and the collapse of the Ashanti Empire due to war with France.

But the most blatant case of early Imperialism was Morocco. For years, Morocco was suffering from weakness and instability. The Alouite Dynasty of Morocco did manage to maintain their rule over Morocco however, even trying to play the Europeans off in the strategically important region along the African side of the Straits of Gibraltar. However, the Great Powers of France and the Netherlands began to compete for Sphere's of Influence in the region. The plan began to fall through in the 1850's when the British manipulated the King against the Dutch, leading to the murder of the Dutch Ambassador. The event triggered a war between the Netherlands, and their ally France against Morocco. The Moroccan War saw the French and Dutch engage in 5 years of conflict against the Moroccans, ending with the Treaty of Tangiers and the Treaty of Lalla Maghni, which forced the Kingdom to surrender roughly 2/3rds of their country, divided between France and the Netherlands. A second war followed shortly thereafter against the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.that led to them holding control of their North African coastline. It wasn't until 1864 that Moroccan independence ended in the Second Franco-Moroccan War, and France controlled the rest of the Alouite state, and installing a puppet King in Morocco.

Africa was not the only target for colonization. In 1853, Spanish ships moved down, with protests from the Duitch and moved to conquer the independent Kingdom of Bali. The conquest and subjugation was short, lasting roughly four months. But the annexation of Bali made it clear. To the nations of Africa and Asia. No one was safe from imperialism.

Great Chinese War

First American Civil War

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