In the late eighteenth century, new ideas of freedom spread throughout the Americas, raised by the Declaration of Independence in the former British American colonies in 1776 and by the French Revolution of 1789. These principles, combined with poor conditions for a majority of people in French, Spanish, and Portuguese America and a growing distrust of monarchy, soon led to revolutions against colonial authorities. In the first three decades of the nineteenth century, most European American colonies gained their independence. While each revolution was unique, all were connected to the broader trend of using nationalism to oppose unequal power dynamics. During these rebellions, the majestic horse, a vital part of the history and mythology of power (consider Pegasus and centaurs, for example), was associated with liberators, who were admiringly depicted on their mounts to convey independence, courage, triumph, and heroism (Figure 8.1).