Perspectives on International Relations

By definition, a history of Latin America is international. After all, since the mid-19th century, diplomats from Spanish-speaking North, Central, and South America were most active in creating Latin America as a region comprised of distinct independent democratic republics. Latin America and the Caribbean in the 19th century faced international conflicts that included regional and transatlantic issues and actors, evident through journals, manuscripts, political cartoons, and calendars. It is important to know that the Caribbean is not always included due to historical differences. One of the problems that arose in the Caribbean was the narrative of society from the perspective of international powers, as demonstrated by a journal entry. Contrastingly, Mexico provided a different gender-based point of view in comparison to its American neighbor, reflected through a cartoonist lens. Through calendars, the different outlooks towards women reflected the social and political ideas of how gender impacted the civic and governmental spheres of Latin America. Additionally, the consequences of European involvement in Latin American politics caused conflicts of interest, such as territorial, political, and economic strife that lead to war in some countries, as portrayed in manuscripts by political figures.

"In full farce"

En plena farsa depicts a tragic opera that represents the tragedy of Henry Lane Wilson's attempts at influencing Mexican politics in the early 20th century. The object links with others in the class because there are two others who are focusing on gender norms within Latin America within the long 19th to early 20th centuries. The significance of the object helps solidify Donna Guy's argument in her article that discusses gender and sexuality within the region, because she believes that even though the issue wasn't addressed until the 60s, it can be traced to the 1830s.

Letters from Governor Juan Manuel de Rosas to the Paraguayan government on border and ideological conflicts, page 274

This historical manuscript by Manuel E. Gondra dating back to 1845, addresses territorial conflicts between the government of the province of Buenos Aires under Juan Manuel de Rosas against Paraguay and its ally, the province of Corrientes (now a province of Argentina but at that time was not unified as one nation). This conflict culminated in “La Batalla de la Vuelta de Obligado,” illustrating the kind of territorial disputes occurring during 19th-century processes of nation-state formation. This dispute primarily was over trade route access. Buenos Aires rejected shipments coming from Corrientes or Paraguay, and it barred any products from Buenos Aires to either Paraguay or Corrientes. The English and French, affected by the trade restrictions, attempted to invade Argentinian rivers, which they did not achieve due to the strong resistance shown by Rosas. This power and determination Rosas displayed positioned him as a respected caudillo, gaining national and international support for the consolidation of the Argentine confederation.

"Historical Calendar of Empress Carlota Amalia for 1871," title page

An illustration of Emperatriz Carlota, dressed in a regal attire portraying her position as imperial monarch ruling over Mexico, opens a printed calendar. From 1861-1867, the European intervention in Mexico by Napoleon III allowed him to place members of the Austrian Hapsburg royal family, Maximiliano and Carlota, on the Mexican throne. However, this calendar lists the political, religious, and social events to take place in 1871 Mexico. Therefore, the calendar indicates the continued relationship between Mexico and France and the consequences of European- imperial on Mexico. As republicanism popularity in 1870s Mexico grew, it signaled advancement for modernity by fighting against the imposition of European monarchy.

"Life in Santo Domingo by a Settler," book cover

This Magazine, published in the United States in the 1820s, includes a cover artistic brown / reddish color and is full of maps and designs of Santo Domingo de before and after its independence in 1804. The unnamed American settler in the magazine chronicles his life on the island, a root of the Haitian revolution and a positive perspective of society in Haiti. Despite common misconceptions that claim that Haiti was a chaotic society, with people of color supposedly wild and free, the American settler argues that life in Haiti is not very different from that of the United States. Haiti has significant economic potential, because it is rich in natural resources and has very fertile soil.

"The Right of Venezuela in the Matter with England," title page

On broken and discolored pages, former Venezuelan Foreign Minister, Eduardo Calcaño, typed: “Great Britain claims: war! Venezuela claims: arbitration! England screams: blood! Venezuela screams: justice!” Territorial disputes, reflecting one of the political dimensions of international conflicts in Latin America, can polarize countries to perpetual divisions and struggles. In his pamphlet, Calcaño expresses his position and frustration, as well as that of the Venezuelan nation, against Great Britain, regarding a territorial claim on Guyana, made by Venezuela. In 1890, 60 years after the independence of Venezuela, when “El Derecho de Venezuela en la Cuestión con Inglaterra” was published, the territorial “issue” was in its apex and negotiations stalled for a peaceful settlement between the two countries. Calcaño depicts his annoyance with the European nation because of its intransigence to solve the issue through an international court, and their intentions to maintain its dominance over Guyana at all costs.

"Letter of a soldier to the prefect of Mazapil, about the events of the [Battle] of Angostura," title page

Printed letter with artistic title composed of fonts of different sizes and styles, following eight pages of a soldier accounts about the Battle of Buena Vista. The soldier narrates the brave actions of the Mexican army and also denounces the misconceptions of the battle. The printed letter not only provides a Mexican perspective on the battle but also provides context of Mexico’s 1950s social discourse and the difficulties of publishing this type of news.