Political map of North America & the Caribbean on 26 Jan 1840 (Successors of New Spain: Centralist Mexico), showing the following events: Costa Rican Independence; Pastry War; British claim Bay Islands; Guatemalan Independence; Independence of Los Altos; Amistad Rebellion; Tabasco Revolution; Republic of Rio Grande declared.

Centralist Mexico

Successors of New Spain

North America 1840.0126

Centralist Mexico

Texas Revolution, Latin American independence (26 January 1840)

Historical Map of North America & the Caribbean

Mexico was more stable than Central America, but only marginally so. Under the Centralist regime which had held sway since the time of the Texas revolution, the government attempted to consolidate power but faced frequent insurrections. Unrest led to foreign property damage and mounting debt, prompting France to launch the so-called Pastry War in 1838 to force Mexican reparations. Surviving this French intervention did little for the Mexican government, which soon had to deal with separatist revolts in the Rio Grande, Tabasco, and Yucatan.

Main Events

Costa Rican Independence

Costa Rica separated from the Federal Republic of Central America, becoming the third state to leave the union.

Pastry War

Following the failure of the Mexican Republic to repay damages to French property in Mexico - most notably to a French pastry shop in Mexico City - the French Kingdom declared a blockade of Mexican ports from the Rio Grande to Yucatan. French forces then proceeded to bombard and besiege the city of Veracruz, prompting Mexico to declare war. In the end, British diplomatic intervention encouraged Mexico to agree to pay 600,000 pesos for damages in return for French withdrawal.

British claim Bay Islands

Colonel Archibald MacDonald, superintendent of the British colony of Belize, visited the Bay Islands aboard the H.M.S. Rover in response to appeals from British settlers for support against the government of Honduras. He lowered the flag of Honduras, removeed local Honduran authorities, and claimed the islands for Great Britain.

Guatemalan Independence

The state of Guatemala separated from the Federal Republic of Central America.

Independence of Los Altos

The state of Los Altos separated from the Federal Republic of Central America.

Amistad Rebellion

African slaves held captive aboard La Amistad - a Spanish vessel traveling from Havana, in the Spanish colony of Cuba, to the Province of Puerto Principe, also in Cuba - rose up and took control of the ship. Deceived by the ship's navigators, they traveled north and landed at Long Island, in New York in the United States of America, where they were taken into custody by US officials.

Tabasco Revolution

Federalist revolutionaries rose up in Jonuta, in Tabasco in the Mexican Republic. The revolution soon spread across the state, gaining support from Yucatan in 1840. On February 13, 1841, the independent Republic of Tabasco was declared, however Tabasco declined to join a union with Yucatan. Later that year, Mexican President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna ended the embargo against Tabasco, encouraging it to rejoin Mexico on December 2, 1842.

Republic of Rio Grande declared

Notables from the Mexican states of Coahuila, Nuevo Leon, and Tamaulipas met near Laredo, Tamaulipas, and declared the secession of these states as the Republic of the Rio Grande. They were not supported by the local state governments, who quickly requested the help of the central government in Mexico City.

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