Age of Revolution – Glossary

Articles of Confederation: Document produced by the Continental Congress in 1777 as the charter setting out the relationship of the 13 colonies as parts of a new nation.

Ayacucho: Last major battle in the wars for independence in Spanish America, where José Antonio Sucre defeated the royalist forces in southern Peru.

Boston Massacre: Killing of American colonists when British troops opened fire on a crowd in Boston on March 5, 1770.
Boston Tea Party: On December 16, 1773, a group of colonists dressed as Indians toss tea from ships into Boston Harbor to protest British taxes.

Bourbon dynasty: Royal family in Spain, beginning with the War of Spanish Succession (1700–1714) and continuing to the present.

Braganza dynasty: Ruling family of Portugal, beginning in 1640, and in the Brazilian Empire (1822–1889).

cabildo: Town council in Spanish American cities.

Conservatives: Political party found in much of Latin America in the aftermath of independence whose members supported the authority of the Catholic Church, strong governments, a traditional social structure, and government intervention in the economy.

cortes: The name for the Portuguese and Spanish parliaments.

Creoles: Descendants of Spaniards born in the Americas.

Enlightenment: Cultural, intellectual, and philosophical movement in the 18th-century Atlantic world characterized by a strong belief in the power of reason and science and a mistrust of authority, hierarchy, monarchy, and the power of the Catholic Church.

French Revolution: Ten years of political upheaval in France (1789–1799) that ushered in the politics of the modern world, in particular, the beliefs in individual liberty, equality before the law, and the superiority of a republic over a monarchy.

gens de couleur: Literally, “people of color,” a term used in Saint Domingue in the 18th century to refer to those who were neither slaves nor whites.

grands blancs: Literally, “big whites,” a term used in Saint Domingue in the 18th century to refer to the upper crust of white society.

Grito de Dolores: Miguel Hidalgo’s call for independence in Mexico in 1810, considered to be the most important symbolic moment of rupture with Spain in the struggle for independence.

Grito de Ipiranga: Pedro I’s call for independence in Brazil on September 7, 1822, and the equivalent of the Fourth of July for Brazilians.

Hapsburg dynasty: Ruling family in Spain and the Spanish Empire (1516–1700).

Industrial Revolution: Social and economic transformation, beginning in England in the 1760s, that involved the technological shift from power produced by animal and vegetal matter to the use of minerals (especially coal), steam engines, and a factory system, resulting in sustained economic growth and continually rising income.

Jesuits: Extremely influential and powerful male religious order in the Catholic Church formed by Saint Ignatius of Loyola in the 1530s to educate Catholics, fight Protestant heresy, and spread the word of God to peoples around the world.

juntas: Council of notables formed in Spanish American cities in the early 19th century to rule in the name of Fernando VII during his imprisonment in France.

Liberals: Political party found in much of Latin America in the aftermath of independence whose members were inspired by France, England, and the United States and who attempted to restrict the authority of the Catholic 40 Church, support decentralized governments, promote laissez-faire economics, and (in theory) encourage individual liberties and equality before the law.

llaneros: Horsemen from the plains of Venezuela who first fought, then supported the cause of Simón Bolívar in northern South America.

mestizo: Generic term in Spanish America for someone with mixed ancestry that included Indians and Europeans.

mulatto: Generic term in Spanish and Portuguese America for someone with mixed ancestry that included blacks and whites.

Peace of Tilsit: Treaty between Napoleon and Tsar Alexander I of Russia in 1807 that allowed Napoleon to turn his attention toward Spain and Portugal in his final drive to dominate all of Europe from the Atlantic to Eastern Europe.

Peninsulars: Term in the Spanish Empire referring to Spaniards living in the Americas who were born in Spain.

petits blancs: Literally, “small whites,” a term used in Saint Domingue in the 18th century to refer to the segment of white society below the upper crust or grands blancs.
Plan de Iguala: Plan proclaimed by Agustín Iturbide declaring his vision of Mexican independence in 1821.

Revolution: A fundamental restructuring of the social, economic, or political system of a nation or region.

salutary neglect: Period in the first half of the 18th century in British North America when the colonies were relatively free of intervention by British authorities.

Scientific Revolution: Series of fundamental discoveries and publications from the mid-16th century to the mid-17th century that saw the emergence of what we now call modern science and the scientific method.

Seven Years’ War: War fought between France and England on several continents between 1756–1763, also known as the French and Indian War in North America.

Stamp Act: Unpopular law passed by British Parliament in 1765 to impose new taxes on American colonists.

Sugar Act: Unpopular law passed by British Parliament in 1764, imposing new taxes on sugar.

Townshend duties: Series of unpopular taxes imposed on American colonists by British Parliament in 1767.

Wars for independence: Rebellions against colonial rulers to establish independent nations.

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