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The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume III: The Nineteenth Century$
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Andrew Porter

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780198205654

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205654.001.0001

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Britain and Latin America

Britain and Latin America

Chapter:
(p.122) 7 Britain and Latin America
Source:
The Oxford History of the British Empire: Volume III: The Nineteenth Century
Author(s):

Alan Knight

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198205654.003.0007

‘Informal empire’ was a two-way street, a construction of peripheral as well as metropolitan interests. There was also more to British imperialism than the official mind. Successful collaboration was vital for British interests to prosper; but collaboration did not require regimes or practices modelled on metropolitan lines, whether in Latin America, West Africa, or the Malay states. As British trade and investment grew, British interference and intervention declined. ‘Business imperialism’ or Latin American ‘dependency’ advanced, but the advance owed more to peripheral transformation than to metropolitan threats. The British economic presence in Latin America was important for Britain and crucial for Latin America. By 1914, Britain faced serious challenges to her established position in Latin America. In Latin America, as in her domestic industrialization, Britain enjoyed the temporary advantages of forwardness; but, having helped make Latin America stable, capitalist, and productive, Britain had no political monopoly on the fruits of those advances — which, by 1914, were increasingly being contested by both vigorous foreign competitors and nascent Latin American nationalists.

Keywords:   informal empire, Latin America, British imperialism, British trade, business imperialism, dependency, West Africa, domestic industrialization

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