Title

REFORM AND REBELLION IN WESTERN VENEZUELA: A HISTORY OF THE PROVINCE OF MERIDA DE MARACAIBO, 1739-1784 (NEW GRANADA, COLOMBIA)

Date of Completion

January 1985

Keywords

History, Latin American

Degree

Ph.D.

Abstract

In this study I seek to describe political, social and economic developments in the Province of Merida de Maracaibo from 1739 to 1784. Located in what is today western Venezuela, the province in the eighteenth century joined together the two halves of the expansive Viceroyalty of New Granada, and was a key point in the defense of the Spanish Main. Its colonial history is therefore relevant to that of both Colombia and Venezuela.^ The years spanning the chronological limits of 1739 and 1784 were of particular significance to the province, for it was during that time that its most rapid and noteworthy development were registered. More important, over those years changes in imperial policy carried out by the Spanish Bourbons were in great part responsible for its development.^ To understand better the consequences of those changes in the province, I endeavor to examine their interaction with its geographic circumstances, social and political structure and forms of production. In consequence I shall show that, as much as any other reason, the province's geography bore heavily on the success or failure of Bourbon policy. ^