Christopher Columbus convinced the King of Spain to sponsor his voyage to Asia by the Atlantic Ocean, and thus found the Americas. The Spanish took control of the Indians and began converting them to Catholicism. Soon, the Spanish slave trade started. Disease and malnutrition decimated the Indian population. In 1809, La Paz, Bolivia signed a declaration of independence from Spain. Revolutions fueled by this declaration as well as the French and American Revolutions spread across the American Spanish colonies. All colonies except Cuba and Puerto Rico freed themselves. in 1898 The United States won the Spanish-American war, ending all remaining Spanish rule in the Americas.