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In 1809 the first autonomous governments, known as juntas, were formed in the cities of La Plata (today Sucre) and La Paz in response to the political crisis in Spain. The abdication of King Carlos IV and then his son Fernando VII under pressure from Napoleon had allowed French forces to seize power on the Iberian Peninsula. In the colonies, the early bid for power by creoles and mestizos received the support of urban plebeian sectors, though it generated little rural Indian allegiance and was quickly repudiated by Spanish civil and military authorities. This anonymous document, titled the “Proclamation of...

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