The persistent political disorder in Spanish America in the post-independence period greatly affected the region’s foreign affairs. In the 1850s, private U.S. citizens known as filibusters intervened militarily in Latin American affairs. Always encouraged by instability and sometimes invited by rival national political factions, U.S. citizens joined filibuster expeditions by the thousands in search of private wealth. Yet filibustering is mostly associated with the U.S. South seeking to extend slavery in the face of the North’s efforts to halt its expansion in the contiguous United States. William Walker, who succeeded in ruling Nicaragua for a short time in the mid-1850s, is the most famous filibuster. Although unsuccessful, the filibustering expeditions further contributed to anti-U.S. sentiment throughout Latin America. Many Latin Americans identified filibustering as a manifestation of U.S. imperialism and attempted territorial expansion inspired by ideas of manifest destiny.
Several failed ...read more