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Timeline of the May Revolution

Summary of the May Revolution

The May Revolution took place in 1810 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. In the past, Spain had used Argentina for natural resources. Since Britian was envious of Argentina's money, they wanted to expand into our colony for our wealth. The Spanish did not help Argentina defend itself. This planted the first seeds of revolution.In 1808 France took over Spain. This caused the Spanish to become afraid of losing such a successful colony. With this in mind, they kept this information from the public for two years. Viceroy Cisneros, appointed by King Joseph of Spain, did not inform anyone. Rumors began circulating about the state of their mother country. On May 13, 1810, it was confirmed by a British ship that France had indeed taken over Spain. Argentineans were outraged. They now questioned the honesty of their rulers. When France took over Spain this left the Spanish with nothing, and most importantly they were left unprotected. A group of citizens demanded that Cisneros gather a town council. Argentineans wanted change. When the council met on May 20, they formed a temporary Junta, or oligarchy, including Cisneros. Later on, they voted on whether or not Viceroy Cisneros should keep his position.Considering that Viceroy wasn't a very strong leader 69 people voted for him while 155 voted against him. With Cisneros out of office, they created another Junta. Finally, a government independent from Spain was born. In 1814, Ferdinand VII returned to the Spanish throne. Spain made a desperate attempt at holding on to Argentina, but by then there was no chance at getting their colony back. In 1811, Paraguay had gained it's independence. Argentina was not ready to be out done by their neighbors. With the aid of military leader, Jose de San Martin, on July 9, 1816 Argentina was formally declared independent from Spain.

Brinton’s Anatomy of a Revolution Compared to the May Revolution

Conditions Which Seem to be Present as Causes of the May Revolution

1. People feel restless and held down by unacceptable restrictions in society, religion, the economy or the government.

The citizens of Buenos Aires were angered by their mother country in many ways. When the British made numerous attempts at capturing Buenos Aires, Spain did nothing to stop them. Argentineans felt they were paying taxes, but receiving no protection in return. They also felt that Spain had been lying to them by not informing them of French seizure of Spain. They could no longer trust Spain.

2. The government does not respond to the needs of its society.

When Argentina needed protection from the British, the Spanish did nothing. The Spanish government also did not provide Argentina with the honesty they expected.

3. The leaders of the government and the ruling class begin to doubt themselves. Some join with the opposition groups. Viceroy Cisneros wasn’t being honest with the people of Buenos Aires. Many citizens began to gather in attempts to overthrow him. This dismembered the previous status of Argentinean government.

The Course That the May Revolution Seems to Take

1. Unsuccessful government attempts to suppress revolutionaries.

The government tried to suppress revolutionaries by keeping them out of the loop. Not only did Viceroy Cisneros lie to the Argentineans about France taking over Spain, but also he suppressed knowledge of other revolutions such as the American Revolution.

2. Revolutionaries gain power and seem united

The revolutionaries in Buenos Aires gained power through meetings at town hall. They gathered large groups of citizens that were angered by Spain’s dishonesty.

3. Moderate groups regain power. The revolution is over.

The citizens of Buenos Aires formed a Junta including citizens from the middle and upper classes. This marked the end of the revolution because a new government that was independent from Spanish rule had been formed.

Results of the May Revolution

1. Did the ideals of the revolution change as its leadership changed?

No, throughout the revolution, the Argentineans wanted to be rid of a government that was deceiving and selfish.

2. Were the original goals of the revolution achieved? At what point? Were these achievements conserved?

The goal of the May Revolution was to overthrow Viceroy Cisneros. This goal was achieved when the second Junta was created on May 25, 1810. These achievements were conserved because Viceroy Cisneros never came back into power again.

3. How was the old political order of society changed
 as a result of the revolution?

The old political order of the society changed as a result of the May Revolution because a completely new government was put in charge, the old one was completely destroyed. An appointed ruler of a colony was no longer ruling Argentina. Argentineans were free to govern themselves the way they wanted.


1. “May Revolution.” Nation Master. 5 Nov. 2008 <‌encyclopedia/‌May-Revolution>.

2. Minster, Christopher. “Argentina: The May Revolution.” 5 Nov. 2008 <>.

3. Minster, Christopher. "Argentina: The May Revolution." Web. 15 Nov. 2009. <[1]>.

4. "May Revolution." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2009. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 01 Dec. 2009 <>.

5. Joshi, Mohit. "Argentine Goverment Breaks off Talks with Agricultural producers." Top News. 29 Nov 2009.


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