new book Soberanías Fronterizas. Estados y capital en la colonización de Patagonia (Argentina y Chile, 1840s-1920s)
(Universidad Austral de Chile, 2019) examines the explosion of foreign-owned sheep farming, the fitful expansion of Argentine and Chilean sovereignty, and the violence of primitive accumulation and genocide in southern Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego. Soberanías Fronterizas
wrestles with the multiple and competing sovereignties articulated during the Age of Empire, Latin America’s export boom, and the dispossession of autonomous indigenous peoples through settler colonialism. It asks how, over the course of less than a century, this vast territory described by Europeans and outsiders as inhospitable, unknowable, and uninhabited, came to be a wildly profitable export enclave.
Harambous uncovers how foreign (predominantly British) capital came into possession of millions of hectares of land for sheep raising, effectively establishing sovereign control at the expense of the indigenous inhabitants, Chile, and Argentina. To do this, he reconstructs how foreign investors, merchants, and elites and politicians in Santiago and Buenos Aires built networks of corruption to facilitate land acquisitions, infrastructural improvements, and immigration of labourers. This process, however, was anything but smooth. It came through violence (extermination of Fueginos such as the Selknam, extreme military repression of labour movements, and sheep latifundista resistance to customs).
Jesse Zarley is assistant professor of history at Saint Joseph’s College on Long Island, where he teaches Latin American, Caribbean, and Global History. His research interests include the Mapuche, borderlands, ethnohistory, race, and transnationalism during Latin America’s Age of revolution, particularly in Chile and Río de la Plata. Heis the author of a recent article on Mapuche leaders and Chile’s independence wars. You can follow him on Twitter.