|Federal Republic of Central America (1823 - 1838)|
|Federal Republic of Central America (1823 - 1838)from the Wikipedia||Read original article|
|Federal Republic of Central America|
|República Federal de Centroamérica|
"The Song of the Grenadier"
|Capital||Guatemala City (1821-1834)
San Salvador (1834-1838)
|-||Independence from Spanish Empire||September 15, 1821|
|-||Independence from First Mexican Empire||July 1, 1823|
|-||Disestablished||May 31, 1838|
|Currency||Central American Republic real|
|Today part of|| Costa Rica
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The Federal Republic of Central America (Spanish: República Federal de Centroamérica), also called United Provinces of Central America in its first year of creation, was a sovereign state in Central America, which consisted of the territories of the former Captaincy General of Guatemala of New Spain. It existed from September 1821 to 1841, and was a republican democracy. It is also sometimes incorrectly referred to in English as the United States of Central America.
The republic consisted of the present-day states of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. (Panama was part of Bolivar's Republica de Colombia in 1821, and Belize was a British colony.) In the 1830s, an additional sixth state was added – Los Altos, with its capital in Quetzaltenango – occupying parts of what are now the western highlands of Guatemala and Chiapas state in southern Mexico.
Shortly after Central America declared independence from the Spanish Empire, it was annexed by the First Mexican Empire in 1821. When the First Mexican Empire ended, Central America again became independent and formed the Federal Republic in 1823. From 1838 to 1840 the federation descended into civil war, with Conservatives fighting against Liberals and separatists fighting to secede. Without a sustained struggle for independence to cement a sense of national identity, the various political factions were unable to overcome their ideological differences and the federation dissolved after a series of bloody conflicts.
From the 16th century through 1821, Central America formed the Captaincy General of Guatemala within the Spanish Empire. In 1821 a congress of Central American Criollos in Guatemala City composed the Act of Independence of Central America to declare the region's independence from Spain, effective on 15 September of that year. That date is still marked as independence day by most Central American nations. Independence was short-lived, for the conservative leaders in Guatemala welcomed annexation by the First Mexican Empire of Agustín de Iturbide on 5 January 1822.
The annexation was controversial, with some seeing the Mexican constitution with its abolition of slavery and establishment of free trade as an improvement over the status quo. Central American liberals objected to this, but an army from Mexico under General Vicente Filisola occupied Guatemala City and quelled dissent. When Mexico became a republic the following year, it acknowledged Central America's right to determine its own destiny. On 1 July 1823, the congress of Central America declared absolute independence from Spain, Mexico, and any other foreign nation, and a Republican system of government was established.
In practice, the federation faced insurmountable problems, and the union slid into civil war between 1838 and 1840. Its disintegration began when Nicaragua separated from the federation on November 5, 1838, followed by Honduras and Costa Rica (other sources give Nicaragua's secession date as April 30). Because of the chaotic nature of this period an exact date of disestablishment does not exist, but on May 31, 1838, the congress met to declare that the provinces were free to create their own independent republics. In reality, this merely legally acknowledged the process of disintegration that had already begun. The union effectively ended in 1840, by which time four of its five states had declared independence. The official end came only upon El Salvador's self-proclamation of the establishment of an independent republic in February 1841.
The liberal democratic project was strongly opposed by conservative factions allied with the Roman Catholic clergy and the wealthy landowners. Transportation and communication routes between the states were extremely deficient. The bulk of the population lacked any sense of commitment towards the broader federation, perhaps owing to their continued loyalty to the Roman Catholic Church in Spain.
The federal bureaucracy in Guatemala City proved ineffectual, and fears of Guatemalan domination of the union led to protests that resulted in the relocation of the capital to San Salvador in 1831. Wars soon broke out between various factions both in the federation and within individual states. The poverty and extreme political instability of the region prevented the proposed construction of an inter-oceanic canal (see Nicaragua Canal and Panama Canal), from which Central America could have obtained considerable economic benefits.
Central American liberals had high hopes for the federal republic, which they believed would evolve into a modern, democratic nation, enriched by trade passing through it between the Atlantic and the Pacific oceans. These aspirations are reflected in the emblems of the federal republic: the flag shows a white band between two blue stripes, representing the land between two oceans. The coat of arms shows five mountains (one for each state) between two oceans, surmounted by a Phrygian cap, the emblem of the French Revolution.
The coat of arms on the nation's flag from 1823–1824 referred to the federation (in Spanish) as Provincias Unidas del Centro de América ("United Provinces of the Center of America"); however, its 1824 constitution, coat of arms, and flag called it República Federal de Centroamérica / Centro América ("Federal Republic of Central America").
The flag was introduced to the area by Commodore Louis-Michel Aury inspired by the Argentine flag. The term United Provinces was also used in Argentina's first title Provincias Unidas del Río de la Plata ("United Provinces of the River Plate"). Commodore Aury established the first independent republic in Old Providence Island (Isla de Providencia) in 1818, off the coast of Nicaragua.
Today, all five successor nations’ flags retain the old federal motif of two outer blue bands bounding an inner white stripe (Costa Rica modified its flag significantly in 1848 by darkening the blue and adding a double-wide inner red band, in honor of the French tricolor). The short-lived sixth state of Los Altos voted to be annexed by Mexico as the state of Chiapas.
|Guatemala||El Salvador||Honduras||Nicaragua||Costa Rica||Los Altos|
|Guatemala||El Salvador||Honduras||Nicaragua||Costa Rica||Chiapas|
Despite the failure of a lasting political union, the sense of shared history and the hope for eventual reunification persist in the nations formerly in the union. Various attempts were made to reunite Central America in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but none succeeded for any length of time: