The revolutions of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries changed the world in several ways. First, some of them led to the creation of new nations after liberation from foreign control. Second, the institution of the monarchy was put under great pressure as revolutionaries rebelled against royal rule. Also, the institution of slavery was threatened by Haiti's successful revolt.
The American Revolution (1775–1783) was the first of these important uprisings. Britain's North American colonies rebelled against London. With French help, the Americans prevailed after a long war, and they established a democratic form of government.
France's contribution to American victory exacerbated its financial problems. The French king called the Estates General into session. The Third Estate broke away and formed the National Assembly. The French Revolution (1789–1799) badly weakened the clergy and aristocracy. Moreover, France's king and queen were guillotined.
Haiti, a French colony, erupted into revolt in 1791. The war in Haiti was a complex event, but the revolt was primarily caused by slavery. After more than a dozen years of fighting, slavery was abolished, and independence from France was granted. Although Haiti became the second free country in the Western Hemisphere, it has had severe political and economic problems throughout its history.
The rest of Latin America became independent between 1808 and 1826. Almost all of Spain's American colonies were lost, after many years of fighting. Brazil's revolt against Portugal was a peaceful one.
After the defeat of Napoleon in 1815, the victorious powers of Europe had sought to stamp out revolution. But there were additional revolutions in 1820 and 1830.