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A History of the Nineteenth Century, Year by Year

Together with Nicaragua and Costa Rica


American letters]

American letters were enriched in this year by Irving's "Tales of a Traveller," Paulding's "John Bull," Bancroft's "Politics in Ancient Greece," and Verplanck's "Revealed Religion."

[Sidenote: South American republics recognized]

During the first session of Congress a special message from President Monroe recommended the establishment of intercourse with the new independent States of South America--Venezuela, New Granada, Buenos Ayres, Chile and Peru. Congress voted for recognition by an overwhelming majority, and the President signed the bill. The United States was the first among the civilized powers to welcome the new republics.

The struggle for independence in South America was furthered more than ever by the unsatisfactory state of affairs on the Peninsula. In Spain the return of absolute rule was still followed by a reign of terror. The people there relapsed into medieval barbarism.

[Sidenote: Portuguese Constitution triumphant]

[Sidenote: Growth of republican sentiment]

[Sidenote: Iturbide shot]

[Sidenote: Santa Anna in power]

In Portugal, the revolution stirred up by Dom Miguel ended with the expulsion of that prince from Lisbon. His father,

Dom Pedro, in Brazil, thought it wise to recognize the liberal constitution imposed upon him by his people. In the other Latin-American countries the people rebelled against one-man rule. In Chile, General O'Higgins was forced to resign his dictatorship and a provisional Triumvirate assumed the government. At Lima, Bolivar found his powers curtailed. Mariano Prado was elected president. The feeling against imperialism was so strong in Central America that all the smaller States joined in confederation to ward off this danger threatening them from Mexico. The Junta of San Salvador went so far as to pass a resolution favoring annexation by the United States of North America in case the Mexican imperialists crossed its borders. Eventually San Salvador, together with Nicaragua and Costa Rica, joined the Central American Union. The first Congress in Costa Rica elected Juan Mora president. In Mexico, in the meantime, a strong provisional government was established by Santa Anna. Ex-Emperor Iturbide, who in defiance of his exile returned to Mexico, was arrested as he landed at Sota la Marina in July. He was taken to the capital, tried, condemned, and shot. As he faced death he said: "Mexicans, I die because I came to help you. I die gladly, because I die among you. I die not as a traitor, but with honor." With Iturbide out of the way, Santa Anna established a government strong enough to accomplish the annexation of California. Henceforth there was no danger of a return to Spanish rule. In England, Canning followed Monroe with an absolute recognition of the independent governments in America.

[Sidenote: Death of Byron]

[Sidenote: Rhegas' hymn]

By this time public opinion in England had been aroused in behalf of the Greeks still struggling for their independence from the yoke of Turkey. A powerful impetus was given to this feeling by the tragic death of Lord Byron in Greece. A few months before the poet had sailed from Genoa for Greece to take active part in the war for freedom. He died of fever at Missolonghi on April 19, at the age of thirty-six. One of his last poems was a spirited translation of Rhegas' famous Greek national hymn:

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