This chapter introduces the term 'republic of knowledge', which conceives of knowledge as having a reality and an organisation along the lines of a republic or series of republics. It highlights sovereign states created in Spanish America that were founded on promises of enlightenment for all the people. It also illustrates the image of knowledge as a republic that alludes to a transnational ideal based on principles of openness, free exchange, absence of privilege, and a sense of the common good. The chapter traces how the republics of knowledge in this first sense of open exchange converged and overlapped with the second sense of knowledge, which is foundational to a modern republic during the wars of independence in Spanish America. It emphasizes the embrace of modern knowledge that was a founding justification for the new political communities emerging in the Americas and a necessary condition of an inspirational future.
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