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Esta Compañia comercializa con el famoso Documento Gregor McGregor Grant de tierras costeñas de los Poyais invalido ahora por supuesto  del King Fredrerick (el Rey Borracho)Esta en venta, este documento a traves de internet 
 

The Years of British and American Presence

Background.
By the end of the sixteen century The San Juan River (as the Desaguadero was subsequently named) was frequently used as a Spanish trade route between Nombre de Dios, Panama, and the Nicaraguan lake plain. The latter, with its productive soils and Indian population, was a source of food and slaves, some of which were sent to Peru. Granada, with its lakeshore location, was a principal beneficiary of this trade, and during the first half of the seventeen century additional impetus developed for the city's commercial growth. It was to profit from the insecurity of seaports more accesible to pirate raids., and trade was diverted from all parts of Central América for shipment down the San Juan. Although the San Juan, and especially its lower course, continued to be threatened, the lake district and Granada were protected by their inland location and distance from the sea. The Granada - Cartagena link with Spanish ships proved to be the safest and most reliable route, and the lake port became the regional entrepot, particularly for the Guatemalan trade. Precious metals, major plantation products, and food staples were transported with regularity by mule train along rough roads and trails from Costa Rica, Honduras, El Salvador, and other parts of Nicaragua to Granada's warehouses.

Navigating the San Juan was not easy during this busy period. There were problems even for large, specially constructed flat-bottom vessels; and canoes (which carried only a third as much cargo as the bongo of the nineteenth century) handled much opf the commerce. Because od the rapids, it sometimes took two months top travel the full lenght of the river; and Indians, mules, and warehouses were necessary were goods had to be portaged. The rapids later known as Castillo, because of an unsually large drop of the riverbed over the short with hawser and towrope.

The difficulties were noted in letters to the Spanish government. Juan López de Velasco had written in 1574....
..."The navigation from Granada to the Mar del Norte is not very secure"   and Diego de Mercado wrote in 1620..
" these ships ascend and descend the river with great effort and difficulty."

Despite the difficulties, Granada's trade flourished into the mid-seventeenth century. Thomas Gage, writting his classic account of a decade of travels  in Central America, had this to say about his sojourn in Granada.

"The houses are fairer than those of Leon, and the town of more inhabitants, among whom there are some few merchants of great wealth....who trade with Cartagena, Guatemala, San Salvador, and Cartagena, and some by the South Sea to Peru and Panama. At the time of the sending away the frigates that town is one of the wealthiest in all the north tract of América...That year that I was there, before I betook myself to an indian town, there entered in one day six recuas ( at least three hundred mules from San Salvador and Comayagua only, laden with nothing else but indigo, cochineal, and hides, and two days after from Guatemala three more came in. One was laden with silver, which was the King's tribute from that country; the other with sugar, the third with indigo.

Gage hoped to gain passage on one of the frigates, despite the incoveniences of possibly a two month journey, with numerous physical handicaps at the mouth of The Desaguadero caused cancellation of the scheduled sailing from Granada, and he proceeded to the Caribbean via Costa Rica and Panama.

One of the first Brittish intrusions on the Central America mainland occurred when traders from Providence Island contacted the Indians at Cape Gracias a Dios in 1633 and laid the groundwork for a lengthy and useful liason. In the years inmediately following, small numbers of Englishmen settled at the cape and at the mouth of The Escondido River farther south, where a Dutch pirate, Abraham Blauvet, had estyablished a bucaneer haven. (Later, the settlement became known by the English as Bluefields.) They cut mahogamy and dyewood and grew sugar cane on scattered plantations , using imported blacks for both operations. This began a mixing of African and Indian races (Sumus in this region, ethnically related to the Mosquitos farther south), which continued for decades, the African component becoming more pronounced. An early derivation of significance occurred when a Portuguese ship, loaded with african slaves, was wrecked in 1641 on the offshore keys. The slaves had revolted, taken over the vessel and, without knowledge of navigation allowed themselves to drift with the trade winds until wrecked. Then, reaching the mainland, they were made slaves by the indians, but through intermarriage their descendents became  free members of the tribes. Members of mixed rece came to be called Sambos, while the Mosquito Indians south of the Cape remained of purer blood. There is no doubt that the Sambo mixture contained white blood as well, since these initial English settlements (and many of those to follow contained few white women).

The colonists established good relations with the Indians. Trade eventually turned from trinkets and beads to firearms, and the Brittish acquired faithful allies against the Spaniards. Spanish hating and with a craving.

The Revival of the British Influence 1800-1844

From the outset of the French Revolution in 1789 the Napoleonic Wars, Britain and Spain were embroiled in Europe for a quarter of century. Twice Spain was bound to France against Britain, twice she was allied with Britain in a coalition of European powers against France. Throughout much of this period she was unable to maintain contact with her colonies in Latin America and thus was forced to tolerate theior free trade relations. Her monopolistic trade arrangements were suspended for long periods, and establishment of commercial representations in the form of non official "consuls" by neutral powers, was permitted> In this United States was a beneficiary, Its trade with Latin America, very minor before 1796, increased notably in the following decade, during most of which Spain was at war with Britain. Much of this was in the form of re-exports in its Caribbean colonies, which permitted trade with the enemy.

Also between 1796 and 1808, Britain and Frace at different times, depending upon their alliances, instigated and supported early revolutionary activity in Latin America aginst Spain, Their contracts with such early revolutionary leaders as Francisco de Miranda and the influences that followed helped lay groundwork for the ensuing wars of independence.

The catalysts for rebellion in the Latin American colonies was events in Spain after 1808 Napoleon's invasion, the forced abdication and exile of Ferdinand VI, the placement of Napoleon's brother, Joseph Bonaparte, on the throne, the outbreak of the Peninsula War (of resistance against the French), and the domestic and colonial discord created by the interim provisonal Spanish governments. While the colonies were at one with the Spanish people in their rebellion against Bonapartist rule, many used the occasion of turmoil and political fkuctuations in the mother country tp launch revolutionary movements achieve their own independence. as the provisional government of Cadiz - first the central junta, then the regency, and fuinally the parliamenrtary Cortes irself, with its famed 1812 constitution - were weakened by persistent conservative opposition within Spain, they eventually lost support in the colonies also, despite liberal tendencies. With loyalty to a Spanish government of any sort faltering among Latin Americans, whatever encouragement had been offered by the 1812 Cadiz constitution dissapeared upon Ferdinand's return in 1814, and the revolutionary movement intensified.

Throughout the Peninsula War however. Latin American revolutionaries from Mexico to the Rio de la Plata could look to Britain for support no longer. Britain was now an ally of Spain's provisional government in the third coalition of European powers against Napoleon, and their armies were fighting invaders together on Spanish soil. Britain's position was nevertheless ambivalent. She needed Latin America's trade, and was fearful of the United States' gaining advantages in this rivalry, but at the same time could not give official support to the independence movements (although many British citizens fought with the revolutionaries) while she  was allied with Spain.ides her opposition to the formation of democratic republics in the New World - Britain pressed the Cadiz government for liberalization of these policies while insisting upon her rightg to trade freely with the rebellious colonies.

In the United States, there was no such lack of government support for the revolutionary movements. Expectations were that they would facilitate acquisition of adjacent Spanish territories in dispute after the Lousiana Purchase, curtail European influence in the Western Hemisphere, and bring about even more profitable trade relationships for the young Republic. Moreover, the recent experience of their own revolution made Americans sympathetic to the overthrow of monarchial and colonial institutions and the formation of independent states to the south. However, as the case with Britain, no material aid was forthcoming as a result of the entreties of Latin American agents in Washington.

The war ion 1812 temporarily diverted the United States from the matter of the revolting Latin American colonies while, at the same time, causing losses in trade with the region because of the Brittish navy. When the war ended ands Napoleon was overthrown (soon thereafter), both Britain and the United States continued a policy of neutrality (however violated) with respect to the wars of independence in Latin America and Spain's attempts to recover her empire. Both insisted upon free trade access to the Spanish colonies, and commited themselves to twarting any European assistance to Spain in the reconquest, but each continued to be aprehensive of the designs of the other with regard to politicalk influence, territorial gains, and commercial advantage.

Mediation attempts by Britain began early, and intensified after Napoleon's defeat in 1815. However, Ferdinand VII, who returned to Madrid after the war and reclaimed his throne, was not interested in compromise on the colonial problem. He was determined on a course of reconquest in the colonies and reinstitution of autocracy and repression at home . The gains of liberalism during the Cadiz years were wiped out. The single instance of succesful mediation by Britain was in the matter of East Florida, which Spain finally relinquished to the United States after she had grown fearful of the latter's threats to her elsewhere, possibly in Mexico and Cuba.

Meanwhile, the captaincy-general of Central America had been caught up in the independence movements after 1808. There , as elsewhere in Latin America, right of American born Spaniards against Iberian born administrators became an issue as the former group pressed for greater power in its local government and affairs. When Central America's delegates to the Cortes at Cadiz were elected from the six provinces, they were of liberal bent and encouraged by the provisions of the 1812 constitution, which they signed. However, the new captain general of Guatemala, Jose de Bustamante, who arrived in 1811, had different ideas. He represented the old regime and resolved to preserve the authoritariam Iberian hierarchy and to prevent reforms, poolitical or economic, in the colony. At first conciliatory as time went on he not only resisted the liberal colonial measures of the Cortes government in Cadiz but supressed a number of insurrections - which increased as repression increased - against his authority. He constrained Central America's independence movements until 1814, buy subsequently, with the restoration of Ferdinand VII and revocation of the constitution of 1812. he felt safe to pursue with even greater vigor his vindictive defense of authoritariam Spanish rule. Finally, however, Bustamante incurred the disfavor of the crown because of his excesses. He had alienated not only the merchant class of the colony, with which the royal government wished to maintain good relations, but some of his more progressive fellow Spaniards in the audiencia of Guatemala, because of his policies. By "reign of order" he was removed from office in 1817.

Despite the "reign of terror", Bustamante had kept Central America unlike other parts of the Spanish domain, relatively stable for Sapain, not allowing insurrections to grow into bloody conflicts. It was after the Bustamante regime, with a liberal - dominated colonial government installed in Guatemala City, that the independence movement gained headway, and the transition was peaceful. A great impetus was the establishment of the free trade with Britain, long a goal of liberal Central American merchants, which stimulated the economy.

While these events transpired, British influence on the Mosquito Shore quietly persisted. Although evacuations of British colonists was almost complete, the British were still in Belize and Jamaica, and when it became apparent, by 1800, that the entire Shore beyond Trujillo to Blueffields and to the San Juan River was not effectively controlled by the Spaniards and not succesfully settled by them, a slow regress began. As British renewed their links with the Sambo-Mosquitos and again profited from contraband activities, a gradual influx of colonial incurred, who this time settled mostly in the Bluefield-San Juan area.

Optimism over opportunities afforded by the disintegrating Spanish hold in Central America soon led British to reestablish the Mosquito "monarchy" " The Old King George", had died at this time of the bloody Sambo recapture of Balck River in 1800, and his son, George Frederick, was taken to Belize to be "crowned" by his British friends in 1816. (This was the first step toward proclamation of a new, official protectorate, to come later). Apparently, the proceedings were not lacking in pomp and ceremony, and probably, more than Belize had known before. However, the city had reached unprecedented levels in trading, population, and general properity. After the restoration of Ferdinand VII, the rights of British settlers, within circumscribed limits (which had been granted in previous treaties), were confirmed along this stretch of coast . Belize thrived as the center of contraband, serving the restive colonists of Spanish Guatemala who were eager to engage in illicit  trade. Thus established as Britain's remaining enclave of influence on the Central American mainland, the port became the base for regaining control farther south.

This account was given of the events in Belize on " coronation day " (though not by a firsthand witness). After cards of invitation were sent to the merchants, inviting them to the coronation of the new king of Mosquitia, the dignitaries and townspeople gathered for a parade on the appointed morning, then set out for the church. George Frederick, in the uniform of a British major, rode horseback between  two attendant British officers and his chiefs followed in double file, dressed in sailors trousers. At the church, the coronation service was read bu chaplain of the Belize colony in the name of the archbishop of Canterbury, amid the roar of cannon salutes by vessels in the harbor. The regalia were a silver-gilt crown, a sword, and a scepter of small value. The chiefs were not allowed to swear their allegiance to the new king until they were baptized (during the same ceremony ) , After retiring to a schoolroom for the coronation dinner, the new king and his subjects became intoxicated (King George Frederick II became a notorious drunkard and an ineffectual promoter of British interest during the eight years of his reign), then fell asleep on the floor. After this revelry was over, the British authorities put the king and his retinue aboard a British vessel, that took them back to Cape Gracias a Dios.

In 1820 Fernidand VII, under pressure of revolution at home, restored the liberal provisions of the 1812 constitution in Spain's Latin America colonies, but these conciliatory moves were too late. The offer in Central America, as elsewhere, was to encourage sentiment for independence through the open political discussions and free press that were now permitted. More encouragement came from Mexico, which, after a decade of struggle to free itself from Spanish rule, was succesful under Augustin de Iturbide, a defecting royalist general. Mexico's independence (1821) was followed the next year by the crowning of Iturbide as emperor, but meanwhile, on September 15, 1821, delegates from the provinces of the captaincy-general of Guatemala met in Guatemala City and declared independence for Central America. Unlike the response toward Mexico, a rich and important colony, this did not provide armed resistance by Spain. For a few months after independence, there was interprovincial strife, and none was greater that that of Nicaragua's Leon, a provincial capital in outright revolt against the central authorities in Guatemala. Finally, despairing of maintaining order and doubtful of Central America's ability to preserve itself as an independent republic, its authorities sought annexation to Iturbide's Mexico. This incorp[oration welcomed by Mexico but with far from unanimous support in Central America's provinces was proclaimed in January of 1822.

For fifteen months Central America was part of Mexico , but throughout this period interprovincial strife and antagonism toward Guatemala's hegemony (much of it economically based ) continued. Few benefits were derived from the union, and Mexico's military control and taxes were causes for discord. However, events in Mexico soon forced another change. Political rivals overthrew Iturbide's empire in March of 1823 and his representative in Central America concluded that, under the circumstances, these provinces need not adhere to the annexation agreement with the former government. A constituent assembly of all the provinces, afetr meeting for several months, declared Central America's absolute independence the following July. The republic was a federation of five states, including Nicaragua, and was called the United Provinces of Central America, with its capital in Guatemala City.

Meanwhile, the Mosquito Shore had remained free of control, except that of King George Frederick and his chiefs. Brittish traders cultivated their contacts and encouraged cooperation in contraband traffic. Orlando W. Roberts, a scrupulous trader, who traveled widely on the Shore in th early 1820's and later wrote a book about his experiences, found that the young king's good resolutions' constantly vanished when they were putt in competition with the pleasures of the bottle. His subjects and opportunistic foreign traders applauded his lavish bestowal of favors during his frequent sprees.

Spring of 1823, on the eve of Central America's independence, saw the first attempt to replant Brittish colonists on the Mosquito Shore in significant numbers..The recolonization scheme was one of a number of escapades devised by a wide - ranging Scotish adventurer, Gregor MacGregor, who had been involved in the attempt to wrest East Florida from Spain and more lately, in the independence movements of Venezuela and New Granada. In 1819 British merchants, with the promise of reaping rich commercial advantages in that area, once independence came, had financed a force of mercenaries to aid in the struggle. The recruits of this British "foreign legion" were a mixed lot, with varying motives. Many were motivated only by selfinterest, particularly the pay (which was not forthcoming, once they were in the field, and thus did not reinforce loyalty), and had no scruples. MacGregor was one of these; and his record as commander of a mercenary regiment in the Panama campaign was not distinguish. Soon after its capture of Portobello, the Spanish stronghold that guarded the Panama isthmus, the Spaniards counterattacked and MacGregor had thereupon deserted the fort, leaving his men to carry on the battle while he sent directions for them not to surrender - from an offshore vessel. Recieving no aid, the British were powerless to hold out. The fort fell, its defenders became prisoners of the Spaniards, and the vessel, with MacGregor, put out to sea. In 1820 he had landed at Cape Gracias a Dios, where he stayed for a time with King George Frederick. While there, in return for rum and the items cherished by the Mosquitos, he obtained from the king a grant to a huge tract of land in the area of Black River, which included a tributary region called the Poyais, the homeland of a tribe of Indians called Poyers. 

. Lea la historia en ingles en el link en la parte de arriba de esta página
*Special*  Scarce. Dated  1834, signed by Gregor  Macgregor. Swindle to attract investors and  settlers to the Land of  Poyais in what is now  Nicaragua. The land sold was uninhabitable and many settlers returned to  the UK. 

Without funds but with the grant in his pocket. MacGregor set out for England, where he interested a group of merchants in forming a colonization company. Although a settlement of colonists was the objective, the directors of the company, admitted that their main purpose was "the supplying of British dry goods to the revolted provinces. Again the commercial motive.

Based on the information supplied by McGregor, the propaganda for recruiting colonists was ridiculous and fraudulent, but it aimed at explotating the hopes of unaware Englishmen and Irish. Calling himself "His Serene Highness Gregor, Prince of Poyais, Cazique of the Poyais Nation, Defender of the Indians, "MacGregor extolled the healthy climate, the rich soil, the abundant crops, woods, horses and cattle, the many gold mines, the variety of marine resources, the harbor unrivaled for shipping, and the Indians, who he said were affectionately attached to Britain, advanced in civilization, and more than willing to make down payments on land unseen and to migrate to this New World paradise.

The expectations of the more than 200 colonists who arrived during the late winter and spring of 1823 were cruelly dashed from the beggining. At the mouth of The Black River, where the first contingent of colonists landed (they never ventured beyond the coast, although the lands in The Poyais grant extended far to the interior), there were no houses or church, as they had been promised awaited them - only unbroken forest to the water's edge. A site was selected for settlement about two miles away, on the Brewer's Lagoon, which by coincidence was the site of the last Spanish settlement and , probably, the destroyed Fort Dalling. The land had to be cleared inmediately to make place to pitch tents, or as it turned out, makeshift wigwams of sheets and blankets or leaves of trees. Thus began many wekks of misery. Dissapointment was so intense that the colonists did little to make life as bearable as it might been, even in the tropics. The ill fated nature of the undertaking was foreshadowed very early by the fight, without notice, of the ship that had brought them, which sailed away with a large part of their dry and unspoiled provisions - arms, spirits, merchandise, and medicines. The captain sent word that, fearing another norther like the one that assailed them upon arrival, he would stay no longer and would land the goods at Cape Gracias a Dios. The deserted colonists never saw most of their provisions again.

In the absence of adequate housing and sanitation, subject to fierce northers that blew their tents away, and without proper food and water, disease took its toil. In addition, the colonists were victimized by the Indians who demanded payment for the land they thought they had purchased from MacGregor; to the natives, his grant was invalid. The Poyais currency was bogus and not acceptable, and there was no money to meet these payments nor to buy food from the indians. As illness set in almost inmediately, no great amount of farming ever took place, nor hunting, fishing, or gathering of forest products. For a while, to augment their food supply, they traded rum, powder, and shot with the Indians, who included helpful Africanized Caribs who had been banished by the British to the Bay Islands from St. Vincent. But this supply, was insecure, as the indians sometimes disappeared for long intervals. The rum and other articles of trade undoubtedly had been a factor in the indians' presence, but these did not last indefinitely.

There was no replenishment of supplies for the first contingent of colonists. When another group of settlers arrived, their ship brought no new provisions, only the surplus stores laid up for the passengers en route were obtained, and these did not last long. In all the annals of ill-fated tropical colonization schemes, it is difficult to match the horrors in the diary entries (April 25 through May 6, 1823) of the colony's surgeon:

25th. Of the 200 individuals all were sick, with the exception of nine. One family of seven persons - father, mother, and five sons - were all ill: they lay on the ground on cane leaves.

25th . To-day, three of new men, while crossing the lagoon in front of my house, in a pitpan, upset. One of the party, a good swimmer, struck out for the shore; he had only proceeded a few yards when he shricked out and suddenly sank. He had evidently been seized by one of the alliogators, which were numerous in the lagoons. Alligator was shot the next day. 

27th.  To-day a highly respectable and very worthy man commited suicide. He had been ill, but was recovering, though still unable to rise. He insisted that he was going to die, and wished me to take charge of his little property, and of a letter to his wife. Last evening, I had given him a little wine; this morning when on my way to visit him, I heard a shot fired, and on entering his hut, found that he had loaded a horse-pistol to the muzzle, and  had literally blown himself to pieces. Not being able to get anyone to dig a grave. I collected some brushwood, which I piled in his hut, and set fire to it. To-day, five men and a woman took a large dory, got safely through the surf, and off to the northward.

28th  The two young men who had been upset with me in the surf, and another, left the settlement with some Indians who were going to Belize.

May 1st.  Another man died. To-day, Col. Hall returned, bringing some of the medical and other stores with him. He had found the Honduras packet at the Cape, but could not induce the master to return to the settlement. He announced an intended visit to the King.

6th.  Everyone is sick and helpless, excepting Colonel Hall, myself and a rascal named McGregor. Colonel Hall and myself took some of the sick into our houses, and attended them as well as were able.

Once, toward the end of their ordeal, King George Frederick came to visit and was temporary assistance to the suffering colonists, as he made his people do some hunting and fishing for them. With great enjoyment, he described the colonists the destruction of the Spanish settlement in the raid on this site two decades previously, while thge inhabitants were asleep. In his words, no one escaped massacre and no buildings survived the fires. He showed the colonists the few remains, almost completely overgrown by vegetation. This convinced them that a good-size settlement had indeed existed here, as depicted by Thomas Strangeways in his Sketch of the Mosquito Shore (Edinbyrgh, 1822), one of the sources of company propaganda and very effective. But it did not alter the fact that they come to a place now completely desolate. After a week, the king departed suddenly, taking all the Indians with him, as perhaps he had become accustomed to in other dealings with the British.

With the Indians gone, the colonists' abandonment was final. For the colonization company, it was a clear case of desertion, of leaving the colonists to their fate, with none of the promises fulfilled and no succor from England., Fortunately for the colonists, notice of their plight had reached Belize and , soon after George Frederick's departure, ships came to pick them up. Even so, for many it was too late, and they were buried among the earlier and successful settlers who had lived out of their lives in the previous century. For the survivors, it was evacuation to Belize, where they settled under more favorable conditions. still they were not content, and many did not succeed in farming, and finally they dispersed, some to Belize City and others back to Britain.

It is interesting to contrast this experience with the two generations of British settlers who had made Black  River their home in the eighteenth century and made it productive and self-supporting in terms of agriculture. However, that colony had settled in healthier country, many miles up-river, where the soils were good. Being forced by the circumstances to remain at the coastal lagoon was unfortunate for the MacGregor colonists, for as the Spanish colonists had discovered before them, this site was disease riden and unproductive. But initial responsability for the wrtched project was Gregor MacGregor's . Much of the time, while the colonists were suffering He remained in England, living well off the proceeds of the invalid land sales, distributing "titles of nobility" in his "Poyais Kingdom," and printing propaganda tracts.

The financed backers of the colonization company, however, probably acted in good faith - at least this was the opinion of the colony's surgeon who wrote of his experience many decades later. Like the colonists, the backers appear to have been unsuspecting dupes. MacGregor served prison terms for his fraud, but news of the project's failure and the many attendant deaths dampened efforts in England to push Mosquito shore colonization for many years to come, besides encouraging prejudice against the area by West Indies partisans in the government.

Britain's foreign policy, as reflected particularly in Lord Castlereigh's tenure as foreign secretary after 1815, affected relationships with other Europeans powers, and especially Spain, with regard to Latin American affairs. Britain was less inclined to autocratic crushing of the liberal movements than the other European powers. It was particularly in her self interest to hace peace, in order to promote her prosperity as an industrial and trading nation. A Corollary was the free access to sources and markets that she assiduously pursued. She believed that peace could best be achieved by maintaining a balance of power, so that no one state became a threat to the rest. France, due to her record of belligerency, culminating in the Napoleonic wars, was still the principal menace for Britain in Europe and overseas. Thus containment of French ambitions was ever paramount.

The other members of the Grand Alliance (Russia, Prussia, and Austria), which had, with Britain, defeated Napoleon. wre autocratic and dedicated to the restoration of "legitimate" regimes, abhorring any forms of liberalism or nationalism. British policy was opposed to this, and the alliance began to crumble. The British were aprehensive that Spain would returrn to the other Continental powers for aid in regaining the Latin America colonies. Meanwhile, the United States had recognized the first Latin America republics in 1822, and the British realized that this would adversely affect their commercial interests. The final shove in Britain's drift from their alliance and toward reorientation of her policy regarding Latin America occurred when France invaded Spain in 1823 to suppress a liberal uprising (one of several in European interventions (in this case, possibly, French) to force Spain's colonies back into their former allegiance.

George Canning Castlereigh's succesor as British foreign secretary, turned to the United States and proposed a joint Anglo-American declaration against intervention in Latin America by any European power. Suspicious of Britain's intentions in the area and jealosy guarding its own prerogatives, the US government rejected the proposal. Instead, the unilateral Monroe Doctrine was proclaimed in December of 1823. Although the perceived French danger might have seemed to make the U.S.  declaration urgent, there was no proof that France (and certainly not the other Continental powers) ever seriously considered in Washington. Canning approached the French government directly, clearly, voicing Britain's intentions to oppose any intervention in Latin America, and was sufficiently reassured that he abandoned his original proposal.

Nevertheless, the United States went on record in the Monroe doctrine, stating that the American continents would not henceforth be considered subject to future colonization by any European power to suppress the independence obtained by the emerging Latin America states, or to control them, would be seen by the U.S. government as unfriendly acts. For the next two decades, though the doctrine may not prevent them. Britain and France violated it, and there were no protests from the United States. During those years the country had little inclination or the necessary power to enter conflicts not related to its own territorial ambitions, which now had shifted westward to the Spanish borderloands and the Pacific.
 

By 1824 the cosntitution of the Central American Federation was completed, with a strong liberal cast, having modeled upon both the U.S. Constitution and the Spanish (Cadiz) Constitution of 1812. There was a congress, with representation by states proportional, with two members from each state elected by the people; and a supreme court, also chosen by popular vote. Special rights of mobility and clergy were eliminated, slavery was abolished, freedom of trade and several types of civil rights were guaranteed. On paper, it appeared to offer a firm basis for union.

However, almost from the outset there were problems in the operation of Federation. some were economic, as the treasury became exhausted, revenues dwindled, and debts for the new government mounted. Some were political; and their seeds had long been germinating in reghional and provincial antagonisms. Besides the interrregional jealosy toward Guatemala and Guatemala City (always controversial as the choice of the capital), there was strife between opposing ideologies, which largely prevented the provision of the constitution (reflecting mainly liberal philosophy ) from being carried out. Conservative, composed of landowners chuchmen, and merchants (particularly of Guatemala), had not wanted a constitution modeled along U.S. lines, giving much autonomy to the states. They had desired, rather, a unitary, highly centralized government. Liberals represented more the provinces and naturally adhered to the home rule concept, while harboring deep suspicions toward Guatemala. Some of the traditional pro-independence Spanish system, and these were now threatened. Free Trade, for example, was not of benefit to all. Some of the merchant- entrepreuners were inevitably hurt as their closed systems of providing domestic markets dissapeared with the rapid introduction of British goods.

The priuod between 1826 and 1838 was one of almost constant friction between liberals and Conservatives for control of the Federation government, and much of it was consumed in outright civil war and chaos. The Liberals were initially on control, with a constitution largely of their making. Then, after three years of Conservative rule, from 1826 to 1829, Francisco Morazan led the Liberals in a return to power, which brought sweeping reforms, along with harsh treatment for leaders of the opposition. There was hope for greater harmony and for preservation of the union when the more moderate Liberal, José del Valle, was elected president in 1834, but he died before assuming office, and Morazan was reelected.

Although the Federation capital had been moved to San Salvador because of its receptive political sentiments, Guatemala became an arena of violent opposition to Liberal policies as its governor attempted radical reforms of the economy, society and culture. Anticlericalism geater foereign influences, burdensome head taxes, forced labor, land-tenure problems, secularization of education and marriage, and revision of the judicial system were hallmarks of the alleged reforms.  Besides the alienation of certain conservative middle  and upperclass groups, wide spread disstifaction developed among the peasents whose traditional, Church oriented, and paternalistic pre-independence way of life was being overturn. They found a leader in Rafael Carrera, of peasent stock himself, who rallied them in guerrilla warfare against the government for several years in the late 1830s. In this struggle, the Church proved a powerful ally, and the insurrection in Guatemala sparked similar uprising against Liberal reforms all over Central America.

The Guatemala government was increasingly harassed by Carrera's growing forces and, increasingly, repression was employed to force compliance with the reform measures, thus intensifying the discontent. By 1838, when President Morazan led a Salvadoran army in an unsuccessful campaign to crush the rebellion, the Federation was falling  apart., and Nicaragua was the first state to secede. With its strong, uncomprimising Conservative (Granada) and Liberal (Leon) antagonisms, it had never committed to the Federation idea, and Carrera's revolt and the Federation's ineffectiveness encouraged the break. By 1840, all states except El Salvador had secceded, and Morazan was decisively defeated by Carrera, who then became caudillo of independent Guatemala. Inthe vanguard of separate Conservative governments throughout Central America. The Federation was never again to rise successfully.

Self interest (meaning trade) had certainly been involved in Brittain's desire to see the Spanish colonies become independent and to keep the other European powers from interfering in the process. Her trade with the colonies had not only prevailed but multiplied after 1808. especially after Napoleon's defeat at Waterloo. All through these years, British manufacturing became more interested in Latin America, as the NapoleonicWars disrupted their European markets and then both Europe and the United States turned toward protectionism. The significance of commecial factor had been manifested in Canning's decision finally to give formal recognition to the major Latin American Republics in 1824. Prior American recognition and fear of resulting lost trade had made him realize that Britain could no longer delay recognition while entertaining hopes for monarchies to emerge. After 1824 it became Britain's objective to capitalize upon the beckoning commercial opportunities in a number of new countries that now were able to make their own trade policies.

In the years following Latin American independence there was considerable rivalry between Britain and the United States in some of the new republics that seemed to offer the greatest trade advantages. On of these was Mexico, were British agents attempted to capitalize on that Country's suspicion of U.S. intention regarding Texas. Here and elsewehere in Latin America. Britain was able to gain the upper hand in trade. She was, after all, advanced in her industrial revolution and the foremost world producer of manufactured products; because of this, she offered the greatest market for Latin American raw materials. The United, at the time, was no match.

During the 1830s, Britain expanded her commercial influence in Central America significantly
Free trade was one of the important reforms instituted by her government during that decade; so the British market for raw material imports, not only from her colonies but from other parts of the world, was steadly growing. As Britain was the world'seading maritime power with established international contacts, foreign countries were encouraged to use the kingdom as an intermediary in trade realations with each other. A rapidly industrializing Britain now perceived a system of nonprotectionist trade, as esential in a bid for worldwide markets for her manufactured products, and Central America was but one of many areas to which she directed her policy of expanding trade. At first there was littele competition. Britain was the natural heir to the vacuun of dependency left by Spain, and she had control of Belize, well situated on the Caribbean to serve Central America trade with Brittain and Europe. Because it had been the principal contraband port, its facilities were already established and it was familiar with isthmian trade interests, particularly those of Guatemala and El Salvador. Since controversy continued over British territorial rights in Belize, it is ironic that the Central American found little alternative but to channel their trade (mainly exports of cochineal and indigo for British textile factories) through this port and to rely upon a virtual monopoly of British mertcantile houses there for import-export services. However, they were unable to develop any other arrangement as convenient, and during the 1830s Belize became the outsatnding entrepot. (Although the British attempted to form a slave-based agricultural colony there as well, these efforts were largely unsuccessful.)

Aside from Belize, resident British commercial interests operated within the Central American states. These merchants were particularly active in Guatemala City, but also in other areas where most of the people power and administrative functions resided, as in and around the lake plains of Nicaragua and in El  Salvador. Although encouraged by the British government, these private interests initially opertated without its direct assistance. In fact, their government  informed them that, in these times of extreme political unrest and civil war, they could expect no protection from London. Nevertheless, the eagerness of Central Americans to establish trade contacts apparently was considered worth the risk.

British influence through capital investment in Central America during the 1830s was not so auspicious, but nevertheless present. Despite default on a sizable loan of a British bank inmediately after independence, which discouraged many potential investors, Britain was still the source of most foreign capital. The need was great, and the bond of indebtness mounted.

The commercial significance of Central America in British eyes had become so great by 1834 that a very active and controversial consul, Frederick Chatfield, was dispatched to negotiate a comercial treaty with the Federation. Before his long tenure was over (1852), He proved that his intentions went well beyond a trade agreement and that he was singularly effective in promoting British interests generally, whatever they might be and whatever the political situation.

Throughout this postindependence period of British commercial ascendancy in Central America, attention was diverted from the Mosquito shore. Not surprisingly the handful of British residents who had established themselves on the Shore during the first three decades of the century wished for a revival of the old British influence. This began to manifest itself significantly by the late of 1830s, when descendants of the Hodgson family (and others) started a campaign to attrack more inmigrants. The time was appropriate, for during this decade there was a notable movement in Britain to promote emigration to the colonies, with the double objective of lessening population pressure in the burgeoning cities at home and stimulating colonial development. This fell in line with the enlightened imperial policies of the government that were being formulated at the time, and also awakened considerable public interest. Agricultural colonization projects had involved Britishers and other Europeans in Central America earlier in the 1830s and been encouraged by the Federation government (though not opposition). Such projects as that around Lake Izabal in eastern Guatemala had attracted very few, it is true, and had not proved promising, but they were evidence of official interest in emigration-inmigration.

Effective settlement was seen necessary to reinforce what had lately become a very marginal British presence on the Mosquito Shore. Proponents of revived colonization resorted to all kinds of exaggerated propaganda, praising the "enormous possibilities" of this tropical cornucopiua, as in the following:

No serious doubt, then, can be entertained of the intention of the British Government to open in The Mosquito Territory a new field for emigration of our countrymen. Numerous and valuable as are the Colonies which are owned by England, it may be confidently asserted, that not one of them can compete with this territory in the fertility of its soil; the abundance and variety of its productions (for which every town in the eastern and western hemispheres offers lucrative markets), the salubrity of its climate; the extent of its water communication, and its proximity to England. The Australasian Colonies supply us with the wools; Canada, with its timber; the West India Islands with sugar, rum, and coffee; and India exports its indigo, sugar, spices, and specie, but the land embraced by the Mosquito Shore can, with the solitary exception of wood, pour the whole of these articles, with many othar peculiar to itself, into the lap of England.

Despite this and many other encouraging reports concerning the Shore's physical environment throughout the period of contact by foreigners, the fact is that its excessively wet tropical conditions and poor soils (sand close to the sea and highly leached clays in the interior) were seriously limiting. There were all the problems of cultivation common to such climatic conditions, plus a profusion of crop-damaging insects and quick-growing weeds and shrubs. The usual response of the natives, over time , was the same in a similar climatic environments with fragile soils; extensive shifting cultivation of the slash- and burn type. The food-crop staples were usually the same: Cassava (manioc), unrrigated rice, yams, bananas, and plantains. with much higher rainfall than most other parts of the tropics, almost incessant rain (for weeks on end), and almost complete absence of a dry season, many food crops grown elsewhere in the wet tropics did not so well here. The Mosquitos grew very little maize or beans, for example, and apparently for good reasons. The limitations of the environment on varied food production induced the Mosquitos  natives to use the seas as a source of much of their sustenance. (The green turtle was paramount). Despite these clues presented by the natives inhabitants, outsiders who came to this Shore were usually slow in perceiving the environmental limitation on food production and, instead, simply blamed the natives for their laziness.

The above account goes on to say that abundant labor could always be relied upon because of the Mosquito Indians and other groups of natives would flock to the area from all over Central America, once assured of  British protection and employment. In actuaity, obtained adequate labor became a very serious problem in later years.

Such propaganda was apparently effective, but many of the colonists it attracted were not able to make successful adjustment on the Shore. Such was the case with another problem-plagued, though in this case well intentioned, colonization venture in the Black River area. The colonists sailed from England to Cape Gracias a Dios in 1839, then established a settlement, which they named Fort Wellington, on the Black River. Difficulties, steaming mainly from mismanagement and inexperience, beset the colony from the beggining. Much of the cargo brought from England turned out to be ill adapted to the uncultivated country and needs of the settlers. There were delays, lasting months, in the arrival of new supplies, while the colony depended upon provisions from the surrounding countryside, for which it had to pay with some of its nonedibles goods. Of course the colony attempted to cultivate as much land as possible, concentrating upon cassava as the staple food. But when the crop came in, it turned out to be the bitter variety and thus was not usable (withpout techniques with which they were unfamiliar). Finally, when the bnatives found the colonists without further goods to exchange for their labor, they quit work altogether.
The superintendent of the colony was incompetent and neglected to order supplies from Trujillo and Belize, where they might have been obtained. According to one odf the discontent colonists, "Instead of Fort Wellington being a settlement, and a hostelry for new comers, it was completely disorganized, and with barely the necessaries of life.



continue look for next days November 26 , and 27th.
 
 

 Version internet: Eduardo Manfut  P. November 2001.

By Craig L. Dozier  The Years of British and American Presence, The Mosquito Shore. Library of Congress
Cap.II
Regresa al siglo XIX

comienzo de esta hoja
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

DISCLAIMER
Todos los documentos públicados a mi entender son del dominio público, Al hablar del pasado, es mi intención presentar nuestras edades en la historia local por orden cronológico,  Siglos con todas aquellas épocas de guerra y paz, siglos expresados en documentos y pocas escenas narradas por historiadores reconocidos,  Busco los detalles de los grandes eventos, procuro ordenar por meses , o días..Mi intención es  formar una pieza..   espero que todos los documentos disponibles en ésta colección tengan su fuente citada correctamente,  y si no lo és así, favor citarla por e-mail y la corregiré adecuadamente, se trata de poner las piezas de nuestra historia en su lugar .
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Diseño y recopilación de datos por Eduardo Manfut P. (mayo - 2001).