V. The Modern Period, 1789–1914 > I. Latin America, 1806–1914 > 3. Latin America, 1820–1914 > c. Central America
  The Encyclopedia of World History.  2001.
c. Central America
1. Overview
The United Provinces of Central America (1823–38) consisted of five autonomous states with their own state assemblies and executives. Guatemala City was the seat of the central government. The constitution outlawed slavery but denied full political rights to Indians and ladinos (mestizos). Principal exports were cochineal (a dye stuff), logwood, and indigo.  1
National elections held. The Conservative Party supported the church and the preeminence of the Guatemalan elite. The Liberal Party, seeking to end church influence and merchants' monopolies, imposed its candidate, Manuel José Arce, on the central government. Arce deposed the Liberals and named Conservative Mariano Aycinena as the new governor of Guatemala, winning Conservative support.  2
In El Salvador, Liberals revolted against the pro-Arce Conservative government, and a three-year civil war ensued, involving Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. Francisco Morazán (1792–1842) from Honduras emerged as the victorious Liberal leader.  3
Morazán became confederation president. He decreed confiscation of church lands and abolition of fueros. The federal capital was moved to El Salvador. The British consul wielded great influence.  4
Poll tax for ladino and Indian peasants caused such opposition that it was temporarily suspended (1833). Cochineal production increased demand for land and labor in Guatemala. Colonization projects, the new judicial system, and anticlerical measures outraged rural masses.  5
A peasant revolt, supported by rural priests, challenged Liberals. Rafael Carrera (1814–1865), a mestizo officer, led the revolt that defeated Morazán. Congress dissolved the Central American Confederation.  6
Morazán tried to reconstitute the confederation but was defeated and executed. Attempts at cooperation among the Central American states failed.  7
Clayton-Bulwer Treaty. U.S. fear of a British-controlled canal across the isthmus led to an accord by which both nations pledged not to occupy any part of Central America. Belize and the Bay Islands were excluded.  8
Central American states formed the United Army of Central America to expel William Walker's forces from Nicaragua.  9
After the war of Nicaragua against El Salvador and Honduras, a Central American court of justice was established to resolve regional conflicts. (See Overview)  10
The Encyclopedia of World History, Sixth edition. Peter N. Stearns, general editor. Copyright © 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Maps by Mary Reilly, copyright 2001 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.