The Federal Republic of Central America was a short lived democracy founded in 1821. The Republic consisted of the present-day states of Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. It was reabsorbed by Mexico in 1822 for year until gaining its independence again.

In practice, the federation faced insurmountable problems, and the union slid into civil war between 1838 and 1840. In a relatively quick amount of time, the republic balkanized into the nations that would become Central America.

How do I stop this? What is the smallest change that can be made to the Federal Republic of Central America (1821-1840) that would allow it to remain an independent nation?


closed as too broad by L.Dutch, sphennings, Separatrix, Joe Bloggs, Azuaron Sep 1 '17 at 13:22

Please edit the question to limit it to a specific problem with enough detail to identify an adequate answer. Avoid asking multiple distinct questions at once. See the How to Ask page for help clarifying this question. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ Reminder to close-voters: The problem cannot be fixed if the OP is not made aware of it. $\endgroup$ – Frostfyre Aug 25 '17 at 19:54
  • $\begingroup$ I'd imagine that the close vote on this one is POB and/or too broad? Seems like this question has the same flaw as a ton of alternate history questions - "smallest change" is completely arbitrary, and a million different possibilities could have changed history, and that it's likely that there would be more than one change in combination with each other in order to achieve the desired effect? $\endgroup$ – Aify Aug 25 '17 at 20:37
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    $\begingroup$ Too broad/unclear. "How do I stop this"? The question only say that it faced problems, not stating what they were. If this question takes one angle on how to stop it, it will be narrow enough to answer. I imagine the problems are political, financial, socio-culture, etc. Pick one major problem, then ask us how to solve that problem with smallest change. $\endgroup$ – Vylix Aug 25 '17 at 20:46
  • $\begingroup$ I'd recommend editing this question to include some of the 'insurmountable problems' faced, most notably the one that you think contributed most to the civil war, and asking about that, otherwise this runs into both broadness and personal opinion. $\endgroup$ – Joe Bloggs Sep 1 '17 at 12:23

AFAIK root reason for civil war was the various parties were never united in anything, so couldn't find a (pacific) way to compose divergences.

It is arguable this happened because they got their independence due to collapse of Spanish Empire more than to anything they did.

An uprising against Spain could have given to them the sense of being a People, and not just people happening to live there.

So minimal change necessary (IMHO!) would be a successful uprising (possibly shortly) before being given their freedom.

As @JeffZeitlin correctly pointed out in a comment, in order to have such a successful uprising, it is not enough the "good will" of the People, but a united, capable and charismatic leadership is sorely needed.

This leadership, forged in battle, can work "for the best of the Nation" afterwards... or not, history of revolutions has very varied follow-ups.

History teaches if you don't fight for your freedom often you have no idea about how to use it once you have it (this is sadly true for peoples and for individuals).

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    $\begingroup$ I don't think a revolt against foreign overlords is necessarily enough; you'd also need something afterward to lead to a sense of national unity, and/or a national purpose. The pattern has historically been that a strong (but not tyrannical), charismatic, and wise leader can do the trick - an example of one who almost succeeded might be Simon Bolivar. $\endgroup$ – Jeff Zeitlin Aug 25 '17 at 19:23
  • $\begingroup$ @JeffZeitlin: Agreed. I wanted to stress some kind of "let's work together" effort should take place to gain freedom. It is true that, for such an effort to have a positive result, there must be a united, capable and charismatic leadership, which, forged in battle, can work "for the best of the Nation" afterwards. I might update my Answer to make this explicit. $\endgroup$ – ZioByte Aug 25 '17 at 19:44

The core problem is they had more economic and political ties to foreign countries than to each other and never had any unity. War is the common way to solve that, but another major one is:

A natural disaster.

Say a big hurricane or earthquake that makes most harbors inoperable for the foreseeable future.

The agricultural export economy of most of the region becomes potentially non-viable overnight. The government has to work together on a large scale to avoid chaos.

New infrastructure like roads to allow the whole republic to use the few surviving ports are built just as quickly as humanly possible. Mass migration from no damaged towns to cities aids the development of manufacturing and a welfare state due to fears of revolt.

With the practice of building tunnels in the mountains a canal becomes a real possibility. With a canal decades before Panama the republic can become rich.


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