As Spanish royal authority weakened during the Napoleonic Wars, sentiment against colonial rule grew. Bolivian historiography dates the proclamation of independence to 1809, but 16 years of struggle followed before the establishment of a republic, named for Sim├│n Bol├var
The invasion of the Iberian Peninsula in 1807-08 by Napoleon's forces proved critical to the independence struggle in South America. The overthrow of the Bourbon Dynasty and the placement of Joseph Bonaparte on the Spanish throne tested the loyalty of the local elites in Upper Peru, who were suddenly confronted with several conflicting authorities. Most remained loyal to the Spanish Bourbons. Taking a wait-and-see attitude, they supported the Supreme Central Junta in Spain, a government which claimed to rule in the name of the abdicated Ferdinand VII. Some liberals eagerly welcomed the possible reforms to colonial rule promised by Joseph Bonaparte. A few officials supported the claims to a type of regency of the Spanish realms by Ferdinand's sister, Carlota, who at the moment governed from Brazil with her husband, Prince Regent John of Portugal. Finally, a small number of radical Criollos wanted independence for Upper Peru.
This conflict of authority resulted in a local power struggle in Upper Peru between 1808 and 1810, which constituted the first phase of the efforts to achieve independence. In 1808, the president of the Audiencia, Ramon Garcia Leon de Pizarro, leaned towards affiliation with Carlotta. But the oidores of the Audiencia favored the Supreme Central Junta. On 25 May 1809, the oidores deposed President Garcia Leon and established a junta to govern in the name of Ferdinand VII. On 16 July 1809, Pedro Domingo Murillo led another revolt by Criollos and Mestizos in La Paz and proclaimed an independent junta of Upper Peru, which would govern in the name of Ferdinand VII. By November 1809, Cochabamba, Oruro, and Potos├ had joined the La Paz junta. Both revolts were put down by forces sent to La Paz by the viceroys of Peru and the Rio de La Plata.
During the following seven years, Upper Peru became the battleground for forces of the United Provinces of the River Plate and royalist troops from Peru. Although the royalists repulsed three Argentine invasions, guerrillas controlled parts of the countryside, where they formed six major republiquetas, or zones of insurrection. In these zones, local patriotism would eventually develop into a full fight for independence. By 1817, Upper Peru was relatively quiet and under the control of the Viceroyalty of Peru.
After 1820, conservative Criollos supported General Pedro Antonio de Ola├▒eta, a Charcas native, who refused to accept the restoration of the liberal Spanish Constitution of 1812. Ola├▒eta, convinced that these measures threatened royal authority, refused to join either the liberal royalist forces or the rebel armies under the command of Bol├var and Antonio Jose de Sucre. Ola├▒eta did not relinquish his command even after the Peruvian royalists included him and his forces in their capitulation agreement following their defeat in the Battle of Ayacucho in 1824. Ola├▒eta continued a quixotic war during the following months until Sucre defeated him, and he was killed by his own men on 1 April 1825, in a battle that effectively ended Spanish rule in Upper Peru. A constitutional congress declared Bolivia an independent republic on 6 August and named the new republic in honor of Bol├var because it considered him its founder.
Also See :
Tourist Information in Peru
History of Panama
Early Historic Period in India