The French in Central America: Culture and Commerce, 1820-1930

Overview

Accounts of the international relations of Central America have been dominated by the role of the United States and Great Britain. The role of France in Central America has largely been overshadowed by the other great powers. In a well-written, tight, and masterful synthesis, Thomas Schoonover redresses this imbalance. Based on exhaustive multinational archival research, The French in Central America: Culture and Commerce, 1820-1930 details French attempts to establish a sphere of influence in Central America ...

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Overview

Accounts of the international relations of Central America have been dominated by the role of the United States and Great Britain. The role of France in Central America has largely been overshadowed by the other great powers. In a well-written, tight, and masterful synthesis, Thomas Schoonover redresses this imbalance. Based on exhaustive multinational archival research, The French in Central America: Culture and Commerce, 1820-1930 details French attempts to establish a sphere of influence in Central America amongst the machinations of the British, Germans, and U.S. who all sought to dominate trade in Central America, control transit routes between the oceans, advise the national militaries, and influence cultural developments. The book traces the involvement of the French in Central America from Independence to the unsteady economic years following World War I. Central America, in the nineteenth century was an area of vital importance to the French, who, along with a number of other powers, were interested in building a canal across the isthmus. The French in Central America demonstrates how the French used both economic and military means to further their desire for economic as well as colonial expansion. More importantly, the book examines how the French worked to develop strong cultural bonds with the nations of Central America through education, language schools, orders, and military missions. The French sought cultural advantage in considerable part because they hoped and expected commercial benefits to result. The French in Central America: Culture and Commerce, 1820-1930 is an important addition to the growing literature on the international relations of the Americas. This book will be of great interest to professors and students of French and Central American history as well as individuals interested in international relations and cultural studies.

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Editorial Reviews

Ralph Lee Woodward
Tom Schoonover has filled a vacuum in the literature on Central America's nineteenth-century foreign relations with this volume. Meticulously and heavily documented, this work has given us a much-needed account of not only French diplomatic interest in the isthmus, but also French economic and cultural involvement there. Schoonover’s presentation of this research within a framework of social imperialism also offers a provocative and meaningful interpretation of the period.
Booknews
Explores French attempts to establish a sphere of influence in Central America from Independence to the post-WWI years amidst the machinations of the British, Germans, and US, all of whom sought to dominate trade in Central America, control oceanic transit routes, advise national militaries, and influence cultural developments. Schoonover (liberal arts, U. of Louisiana-Lafayette) also discusses how the French worked to cultivate cultural bonds with the nations of Central America through education, language schools, and military missions with the aim of attaining associated commercial benefits. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780842027922
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
  • Publication date: 12/28/1999
  • Series: Latin American Silhouettes Series
  • Pages: 244
  • Product dimensions: 6.48 (w) x 9.26 (h) x 0.86 (d)

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Preface Chapter 2 Abbreviations Used in Notes Chapter 3 Introduction Chapter 4 Early French Interests in Central America, 1820-1848 Chapter 5 Napoleon III's New Empire: Colonies, Trade, and Military Bases, 1848-1871 Chapter 6 Ferdinand de Lesseps and the Panama Canal, 1871-1889 Chapter 7 The Aftermath fo the Universal Interoceanic Canal Company, 1889-1903 Chapter 8 Cooperation with the United States, 1903-1914 Chapter 9 The Great War in Central America, 1914-1920 Chapter 10 A Modest Revival: Trade and Investment in the 1920s Chapter 11 Conclusion and Epilogue Chapter 12 Appendix: French Economic Ties with Central America, 1827-1943 Chapter 13 Bibliography Chapter 14 Index

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