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Under the Flags of Freedom: Slave Soldiers and the Wars of Independence in Spanish South America (Pitt Latin American Series) 1st Edition

3.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
ISBN-13: 978-0822959922
ISBN-10: 0822959925
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Under the Flags of Freedom is essential reading for historians of Latin American slavery and independence movements. Peter Blanchard convincingly demonstrates that the Spanish American revolutions undermined slavery in South America; at the same time, war gave enslaved persons the openings to fight for their freedom. Yet despite the new opportunities to claim freedom, the dismantling of slavery was protracted, conflictive, and uncertain. Blanchard brings to light the numerous conflicts over slavery and freedom that shaped the era's broader struggle for emancipation and independence.”
—Christopher Schmidt-Nowara, Fordham University


“An outstanding study that sheds new light upon the wars of Independence in South America.”
—Military History



”Impressively researched. Blanchard certainly achieves his goal of ensuring that slaves are given their proper due for securing Spanish America’s independence; his book is a fine resource for both students of Spanish America’s independence struggle and scholars interested in the process of abolition in the Atlantic World.”
—American Historical Review


“The subject matter is fascinating, and the research impressive, giving grounds for optimism that we can still go deeper into the exploration of the black experience in nineteenth-century South America.”
—Bulletin of Spanish Studies

About the Author

Peter Blanchard is professor of history at the University of Toronto. He is the author of The Origins of the Peruvian Labor Movement, 1883-1919 and Slavery and Abolition in Early Republican Peru.
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Product Details

  • Series: Pitt Latin American Series
  • Paperback: 312 pages
  • Publisher: University of Pittsburgh Press; 1 edition (June 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0822959925
  • ISBN-13: 978-0822959922
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,952,647 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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As soon as I received this book I was eager to read it, however I was disappointed on the general tone of the book and how it misses very important chapters in the role of slaves, blacks and pardos in the fight for independence in Hispanic South America. The biggest example of this is failure to describe the events that took place in Venezuela during 1814 when there was an outright racial war as is described in books such as J. Uslar Pietri's Historia de la Rebelion Popular de 1814 or Cesarismo Democratico (Vallenilla-Lanz) which don't even appear in the Bibliography. That means that he tells a story where the black and pardo "proceres" are barely mentioned. Effectively he sticks to the traditional story where Bolivar and the other "mantuano" proceres are front and center of the story as opposed to the idea that the independence struggle was a collective achievement. That is painfully obvious in page 120 when deals with former slaves who became officers and he only mentions Pedro Camejo, forgetting people like Juan Jose Rondon, Leonardo Infante to name just two and on the King's side people like Alejo Mirabal who caused terror among Patriots.
That doesn't mean everything is bad. The author makes a valuable contribution by illustrating multiple examples of the life of regular slaves/soldiers and not only males, but also the life of enslaved women during the war of Independence. In other words there is legitimate research in the book, it's an important first look at a very complex and forgotten subject.
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