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Scripta Nova.
 Revista Electrónica de Geografía y Ciencias Sociales.
Universidad de Barcelona [ISSN 1138-9788] 
Nº 69 (84), 1 de agosto de 2000


Número extraordinario dedicado al II Coloquio Internacional de Geocrítica (Actas del Coloquio)


Stephen Bell
University of California, Los Angeles

Social Networks and innovation in the South American industry during the pre-refrigeration era: Southern Brazil and Uruguay in comparison (Abstract)

The present paper will focus on the geographical patterns of innovation from around mid-century until the successful development of a South American refrigerated-meat industry. Although frozen meat would eventually eclipse all other experiments at meat preservation and contribute massively to northwest Europe's food supply, around mid-century this still lay decades away. In the Río de la Plata considerable work was undertaken with other methods of preserving meat. The most celebrated of these experiments was Liebig's Extract of Meat at Fray Bentos, which took that Uruguayan toponym from relative obscurity to world renown. The paper addresses the significance of these South American initiatives, offering an explanation for their location pattern.

Key words: refrigeration industry/ South-America/ location patterns

Estructuras sociales e innovación en la industria sudamericana durante la época de la pre-refrigeración: una perspectiva comparativa entre el Brasil meridional y Uruguay (Resumen)

Este artículo se interesa por los modelos geográficos aplicados al desarrollo de la industria de la refrigeración de alimentos introducida desde mediados de siglo en Sudamérica.  Dicho proceso eclipsaría otros experimentos para la conservación de alimentos en Europa que ya se habían llevado a cabo.  En el Río de la Plata  se había llevado a cabo otros métodos.  El que presentó un mayor grado de éxio fue el extracto de carne de Liebig, en Fray Bentos que tomó el nombre del topónimo uruguayo prácticamente desconocido.  Este artículo muestra el significado de estas iniciativas sudamericanas y ofrece una explicación de sus modelos de localización.

Palabras clave: industria de la refrigeración/ Sudamérica/ modelos de localización

Ranch exports in southern South America served as significant stimuli to factory production. As the satellite points of contact between metropolis and periphery, the sites of slaughter of ranch products merit close attention in efforts to understand the geography of development in southern South America. This paper builds on earlier work comparing the saladerosof the Río de la Plata with the charqueadas of Rio Grande do Sul before 1860, which argued that internal social structures are of paramount importance in understanding what conditions development. In the Río de la Plata, a minority of northwest European merchants was important from the 1820s onwards. This group emerged from a very different cultural context than, for example, the charqueadores of Pelotas. As outsiders seeking wealth, their loyalties rarely exclusively to specific places, their lines of communication with Europe always present, European merchants manoeuvred around political obstacles and sometimes over great geographical expanses, in search of what has been called "privilege and preference."

The present paper will focus on the geographical patterns of innovation from around mid-century until the successful development of a South American refrigerated-meat industry. Peace around mid-century provided an impetus for improvement throughout the region, but in the 1850s there is clear evidence that the technological and organizational gap between Rio Grande do Sul and the Río de la Plata widened significantly. Although frozen meat would eventually eclipse all other experiments at meat preservation and contribute massively to northwest Europe's food supply, around mid-century this still lay decades away. In the Río de la Plata considerable work was undertaken with other methods of preserving meat. The most celebrated of these experiments was Liebig's Extract of Meat at Fray Bentos, which took that Uruguayan toponym from relative obscurity to world renown. The paper addresses the significance of these South American initiatives, offering an explanation for their location pattern.

The historical geography of the international meat trade is an important theme connecting South America with Europe, but especially with Britain. Imports provided a solution to the problem of feeding a rapidly rising population and improving the amount of food available per head.(1) Rising incomes and the free trade budget of 1842 brought a rise in the consumption of meat in the world's first industrial nation, from around 36 kilogrammes per head in the 1840s to a peak of 60 in the early part of the twentieth century. (2)This is an important indication of general improvement in national diets, the taking in of more protein-rich food. Along with grains and sugar, meat played an important role in stoking the industrial revolution.

With the freeing of trade, there was a considerable stimulus to import foods. More than 40 percent of Britain's meat supplies were imported by 1914. (3) Most of this came from the southern hemisphere, from countries with small populations in relation to their food-producing resources. Argentina alone was shipping over 350,000 tonnes of frozen and chilled beef annually to Britain during World War I, meeting no less than 83 percent of the country's imports in this food sector.(4) The history of the frozen meat trade is well known in its general outline, as a striking example of how new demands for food sent economic signals into the peripheries, with the power to transform them. Frozen meat has attracted the interest of geographers especially in the study of the emergence of large corporations, integrated both horizontally and vertically, which controlled every stage of the meat trade from production to consumption. (5)

If frozen meat was contributing massively to northwest Europe's food supply by World War I, around the middle of the nineteenth century, this still lay decades away. The focus of the present paper is the experimentation, today little remembered, which preceded refrigeration in South America. This had a distinctive spatial expression, one calling for explanation. When globalization is a theme much in vogue, it is worthwhile reflecting on the various stages in its development, particularly in the context of European links with South America. Between metropolis and periphery stood the networks of the merchant entrepreneurs who stimulated experiment. Although these networks had barely any impact on southern Brazil, their significance for limited zones of the Rio de la Plata was major.

In Britain, the issue of whether the domestic meat-producing base would suffice was first raised during the 1850s. Imported meat accounted for 4 percent of the total supply in the 1850s; by the decade 1861-70, it constituted 10 percent of the supply. (6) These imports were still meeting only a small part of the total demand, but imported meat was already important in certain specialised markets, such as with the Navy Commissioners. As early as the 1840s, they bought canned meat from a factory established on the Danube (1,227 tonnes).(7) In addition, canning experiments were already taking place in New South Wales. Specialised markets could already have very important local effects on parts of the world peripheries, specifically parts of the world where there were significant cattle resources with only weak commercial outlets.

If the 1850s brought a new set of concerns in the increasingly urban and industrial Britain, the same can be said for the great pampa grassland system. The conclusion in 1852 of a lengthy series of wars in southern South America was followed by recovery of the cattle herds. The recovery of these herds and the expansion of the slaughtering facilities (saladerosand charqueadas) led inexorably to temporary oversupply of the traditional markets in the plantation complex (Brazil and Cuba). In the broad pampa region, the number of cattle slaughtered annually doubled in the period 1857-62 (from 736,400 to 1,350,000). The problem of oversupply of raw material was concentrated in Rio Grande do Sul and especially in Uruguay, where the slaughter tally tripled. The "crash" came in the early 1860s when commercial depression, linked in large part to the American Civil War, made merchants think hard about how to conquer new markets for salt-beef. As the prices for salt-beef fell, the scope for experimentation with more distant markets increased. (8)

South American interests first worked at finding new markets for the best of their salt-beef. In Uruguay, the directors of the Club Nacional, an entity devoted to material progress, made a report in August 1862 on the need to open new markets for salted meats. This was in part a reaction to perceived monopolies in the buying of salt-beef at Havana. In their extended analysis, several problems with salt-beef were seen as key. First, this commodity was not strictly one involving free trade, given that it was consumed mostly by slaves, people who had little control over their diets. Nor were slaves likely to see improvement in the quality of their food, "siendo siempre igualmente pobres." It was difficult for salt-beef to compete with cod when the latter had longstanding broader consumption patterns. Products in general use were easier to promote. In their efforts to break beyond the plantation complex, the directors of the Club Nacional showed specific geographical objectives; they wanted to focus on northern Europe, a region with strong historical patterns of meat consumption. More specifically, they targeted England for experiment, particularly the depressed cotton towns, where they planned to team up with such eminent political figures as Richard Cobden and John Bright, putting "en sus manos los medios de salvar de la miseria a las clases pobres." (9)

In these Uruguayan efforts to market salt-beef in Europe, the social networks of the British merchants working out of Montevideo were seen as vital. The Club Nacional report made explicit reference to their value. In fact, one of the signatories to the report was Richard Bannister Hughes (1810-75), a British merchant. He was to play a major role in Uruguayan development by fostering important experiments with meat preservation at his new saladero in the western part of the country. Another important Anglo-Uruguayan rancher, John D. Jackson, had plans to supply Britain, continental Europe and China with salt-beef, using his family connections with Rathbones of Liverpool (a mercantile firm with worldwide connections) to market the product. (10)Following rather than leading, the Uruguayan project was picked up very quickly in Rio Grande do Sul, where similar ideas were aired. Here also, outsiders appear to have played an important role; there is evidence that the stimulus for change diffused through the British mercantile network. John Gardner, a British merchant at the port of Rio Grande, asked a deputy in the provincial assembly of Rio Grande do Sul whether he could interest the Pelotas charqueadoresin the idea of sending some charque to England. This would be by way of a trial, in order to see if the processors could establish a new market niche for their product among the London poor.

Even with the low salt-beef prices of the early 1860s, Brazil's fiscal structure limited the feasibility of exporting charque to new, longer-distance markets. The subject was much debated, with the local politicians very divided on whether Rio Grande do Sul could profit from the urban poor of Europe's large cities. There was much speculation about just how bad the living conditions were in Europe. One of the more optimistic deputies described a large candle and soap factory in Pelotas that boiled up the shins of cattle for their oils. This factory canned the residue, "whose odour neither the noble deputy's sense of smell nor mine would be able to tolerate." Two spoons of this jelly in a bowl with a cracker made an English worker's lunch. Such was the hunger in the first industrial nation that even this product was used as food. The result of the lengthy debate was that the province decided to pay an award of eight contos(around 880 pounds sterling) to whoever managed to introduce "in whatever part of Europe, a load of salted meat of whatever kind, in perfect state, never less than 8,000 arrobas[120 tonnes] and manufactured in this province."(11)

All of these schemes, whether in the Plata or in southern Brazil, brought very limited results. Most of Britain's imported meat around this time came from the geographically closer United States, in the form of fatty and heavily-salted pork, which sold cheaply to the poorest consumers. Whether coming from the United States, Australia or South America, salt-beef proved a considerable drag on the market.(12) The provincial president of Rio Grande do Sul claimed in 1864 that the customary local production process for it furnished "an article repugnant to the habits of the peoples."(13) Writing from the British legation at Buenos Aires in 1866, Francis Clare Ford was also unkeen on the appearance of salt-beef, but he did concede its nutritive value, albeit in an observation redolent of the racism of the time and place: "It must be admitted that the human frame will thrive on this aliment, as the stalwart figures of the males and the rounded forms of the female portion of the coloured population of the Brazils can testify." (14)These contemporary comments show that the problem of opening European markets for salt-beef was bound up not just with its appearance but also its association with slavery. Richard Seymour, an Englishman who tried his hand at ranching in Entre Rios, Argentina, arrived at the conclusion in the 1860s that the black people working on the plantations were the only group able to eat salt-beef. (15)

The growing shortage of food in the face of a swelling population in Europe provided an impetus for the development and use of new technology. In the North Atlantic, refrigeration was the leading focus for experiment. In Britain, the number of patents taken out for meat refrigeration by mechanical means showed a sharp increase: 1850s (11), 1860s (30), and 1870-74 (56). (16)Nineteenth-century science also turned to the chemistry of meat, with the emphasis on preservation for nutrition. A wide variety of schemes was attempted, including the injection of preserving agents and the packing of meat under vacuum. (17)The most distinguished work in this respect was conducted by Justus von Liebig (1803-73), whose research contained explicitly humanitarian elements. Liebig was convinced of the nutritional importance of muscle juices, leading to the conclusion that it was important to eat meat along with its gravy or soup. Building on the findings of French chemists earlier in the nineteenth century, in 1847 he developed "extractum carnis" (extract of meat).(18) By the 1850s, Liebig's extract was much in demand at Munich, but it was in use there mainly as a remedy, something only the affluent could afford. The main obstacle to large-scale production of extract in Europe was the high cost of beef, the raw material. Although Liebig encouraged entrepreneurs to produce extract of meat at Buenos Aires and in Australia, the lapse between his theoretical findings and successful large-scale production was relatively long.

The scope for science in the periphery changed quite abruptly in the first half of the 1860s. In Europe, cattle diseases raised the price of meat "almost beyond the reach of any but the rich," according to the author of a British government report.(19) With saturated traditional markets, the low price of salt-beef also provided an impetus for the development and use of new technology. Under these circumstances, a rash of experimentation was undertaken in South America. Some of this occurred around the established main places of slaughter, especially Buenos Aires and Montevideo, but much of it took place in the new saladeros opened by northwest European entrepreneurs along the Uruguayan bank of the River Uruguay. (20)These new plants formed one of the practical results of the Anglo-French blockade, which opened these rivers to international commerce. The reasons why new saladeros appeared in this specific region were several. Issues of navigability were important, as was the wish of the entrepreneurs to avoid embroilment as much as feasible in Argentina's continuing metropolis-periphery struggle between Buenos Aires and the interior. These new plants were emphatically operations of the enclave type, only loosely related to the earlier economic geography of slaughter. In the western periphery of Uruguay, they showed only limited competition with the long-established Montevideo saladeros, and thus were able to pay very low prices for their raw material. Northwest European entrepreneurs showed barely any interest in the charqueadas of southern Brazil, still wedded to working with a system of slave labor.

We glean a sense of the contemporary importance of these Uruguayan establishments, mostly short lived, in the travel account literature. Thomas J. Hutchinson, the British consul at Rosário, Argentina, left a detailed account of some of these major efforts based on personal observations. (21)At Paysandú, Dr. John Morgan's "New Process for the Preservation of Meat for Food" was tried in the saladero belonging to Daniel and Richard Williams (British) beginning in May 1865, with the product shipped to Liverpool. Morgan was Professor of Anatomy in the Royal College of Surgeons at Dublin. Calling for surgery on the animal, the essence of his technique, "forced infiltration," reflected his background. After cattle had been bled, their circulatory systems were pumped full of brine. Although contemporary observers argued that very little equipment was needed, and that an ox could be preserved in ten minutes, the process sounds very complicated indeed. Boards were used to indicate timing. (22)The main appeal of this system over the traditional salting methods was that the meat retained its natural juices. In addition, "elements of vegetables, as anti-scorbutics, [could] be artificially added to the flesh in the form of phosphoric acid mixed in the fluid to be injected."(23) While the plant at Paysandú exported 227 tonnes of preserved beef in its first year of operation, it seems to have encountered major difficulties with transport costs. Hard evidence on subsequent levels of production is difficult to find. When Consul Hutchinson visited the plant at Paysandú in March 1867, he "could ascertain no detail of the commercial success of the undertaking," yet he held no doubts over its theoretical viability.(24)

Around 160 kilometres south of Paysandú, the Prange (German) estancia and saladero were located at the river's edge.(25) During a visit to this property, Hutchinson noted that it was about to try the preservation of beef using bisulphite of lime, the formula of Henry Medlock and William Bailey. He later tried beef prepared by this method when passing through Montevideo, assessing it favourably "save for the slightest shadow of chalkiness in its flavour." (26)Prange turned his concern into a public company, the Prange Estancia Company Limited, formed in London in 1867/68. (27)

But of all the efforts to relay European science along the River Uruguay, it was the Liebig Company at Fray Bentos that stood in relief. While around 1850, the economy here was still extremely narrow, based on little more than the exploitation of its timber resources to supply steamboats with fuel, this place was soon to become a household name, recognized around much of the globe well before the century's end.(28) Of all the potential sites in the world for experiment, the historical and geographical contingencies in the selection of Fray Bentos are considerable. They involve a distinctive social network of ideas, linking Europe, South America and Australia. What was to become a large-scale industrial enterprise, described by the Uruguayan historians José Pedro Barrán and Benjamín Nahum as "la primera experiencia del gran capitalismo mundial" in their country, had its roots in a saladero established by the British merchant Richard Hughes. (29)

Hughes is probably remembered today mainly for his efforts in 1841 to open Paraguay to British commerce.(30) His involvement in South American development ran deep and he constitutes a good illustration of a pattern identifiable in the Río de la Plata in the decades following independence, one of British merchants resident in South America prepared by background to scour a wide geographical area in search of wealth, what could be termed locational analysis by merchant adventure. (31)As a young man, Hughes worked in mercantile houses in Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic) and in Rio de Janeiro. By the 1830s he was in business for himself, trading hides from Montevideo. (32 In 1855, Hughes opened a saladero at Corrientes in the Upper Plata, but this was advertised for sale by April 1858. The existing interpretation in the literature is that it failed. (33)It seems more probable that Hughes made a conscious choice to invest capital in another location. Keen by the late 1850s to follow a familiar pattern of merchants investing in land, he seems to have weighed his options carefully. He rejected an offer of land in Buenos Aires province still exposed to Indian resistance, buying instead a large ranch in western Uruguay around Fray Bentos, the best river port on the whole of the River Uruguay.(34) The saladero at Fray Bentos was constructed between 1859 and 1861 under Hughes's direction.(35)

The above developments fitted a pattern, one where northwest Europeans with capital sought out resource peripheries to develop. Perhaps the most distinctive aspects about Hughes were his energy and his degree of involvement with Uruguay's affairs. For example, he was part of the founding membership of Uruguay's Club Nacional in 1860, the only leader of that organization not bearing an Hispanic name.(36)

The next figure of key importance for the development of Fray Bentos was also a northwest European. Georg Christian Giebert, a German railway engineer resident in Uruguay and conversant with Liebig's writings on the chemistry of meat, thought that Fray Bentos could work as a site for testing Liebig's formula. Since it took about thirty kilogrammes of lean meat to produce one of extract, his formula was very exacting in its economic geography. It demanded inexpensive raw material. Giebert wrote to Liebig, subsequently visiting him at Munich in 1862. A small factory, the Société de Fray Bentos Giebert & Cie., was set up alongside the saladero to manufacture extract, through a sophisticated process of chopping, steaming and evaporating. It is noteworthy that some of the technology involved, vacuum pan evaporation, borrowed from developments in the refining of sugar, another commodity of vast importance in the Americas.(37)

Giebert's enterprise was a commercial success. The project was rapidly expanded through the 1865 flotation in London of the Liebig Extract of Meat Company, a landmark in the search for new markets for cattle. This company was soon selling large quantities of extract of meat to the armies and the institutional poor of Europe. The product also played an important role in supporting colonial warfare and was extensively used by explorers, including Henry Morton Stanley on his journeys through Africa. Building its network on the knowledge base of the Antwerp hide merchants, the Liebig company paid very serious attention to marketing. Within a few years, agencies for the sale of extract had been established in the United States, Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, Chile and the Dutch Asian colonies (Java), in addition to nearly every European country. (38)A sense of the scale of activity at Fray Bentos can be gained from the statistics on its waste and its coal consumption. By the end of the 1860s, the plant was using around six thousand tonnes of coal per annum and dumping around twenty thousand tonnes of animal waste into the River Uruguay annually.

From the basis of extract of meat, the Liebig company saw further technical developments along the remainder of the nineteenth century, widening its product base to include the famous corned beef. As the South American refrigerated meat industry spread beyond the major cities in the early twentieth century, the Fray Bentos plant became increasingly marginal within Liebig's operations. The company sold its Fray Bentos plant in 1924, but the market recognition of the name "Fray Bentos" was so strong that the company wisely reserved the legal rights to market its corned beef under that label. The number of people in the English-speaking world today who imagine the words Fray Bentos convey the idea of corned beef in Spanish rather than a toponym is probably not low. At least one author has recorded the experience of how the label "Fray Bentos" in London around 1950 conveyed images of a part of the world seemingly "unscarred by the rigours of post-war austerity."(39) Any trip around the kitchen shelves will reveal other food products with strongly local place-based associations, from Dr. Siegert's Angostura aromatic bitters, patented in 1824, through the remainder of much of the alphabet.

The seeds of modernization in the South American meat industry came at a very specific historical juncture. When the recovery of a vast resource base accompanied depression in the broad Atlantic trading system, there was scope for experimentation. Even so, most of the experiments described in this short paper fell aside in the face of the successful development of refrigeration. A first shipment of chilled beef from Buenos Aires to Rouen in 1876 heralded the new era. Refrigeration soon eclipsed all other efforts at meat preservation and would contribute massively to northwest Europe's food supply. Although prices were very depressed in the early 1860s, the salt-beef trade did not disappear. It remained the leading engine of development for the pastoral economy of peripheral regions, such as Rio Grande do Sul, for the remainder of the nineteenth century.

The meat industry was but a fragment, albeit an important one, in a larger economic relationship between Britain and the Plata. This is of historiographical interest mainly over the question of whether Britain held an "informal empire" in the region. While Andrew Thompson argues this was "in essence a myth," his conclusion appears premature when much in the conduct of the actors central to British economic expansion in this region remains to be studied. (40)Northwest European mercantile pioneers in the decades around mid-century, especially British, paved the way for the expansion of British commercial influence in the second half of the nineteenth century. In a highly polemical study, Emilio Manuel Fernández-Gómez argues that the full significance of many of the early figures in the Rioplatense British community has been forgotten, a phenomenon perhaps linked to the rise of nationalism in Argentina. He is on surer ground in claiming that these people had an influence far greater than their numbers. (41)The point is repeated, and made with greater force, in Peter Winn's detailed study of British links with Uruguay. The most prominent British entrepreneurs in that country during the second half of the nineteenth century arrived before 1850. (42)We need to push research on the European contributions to South American meat-processing technology farther back. An in-depth sectoral study of meat-processing in the century 1780-1880, examining links between mercantile networks in southern South America and European science and technology, could well have significant historiographical implications.


1. On the long struggle to feed the world's population, see CLIVE PONTING, A.:  Green History of the World: The Environment and the Collapse of Great Civilizations. London:, 1993. especially p. 115 in the present context.

2. PERREN, Richard. The Meat Trade in Britain, 1840-1914. London, 1978.  p. 216.

3. Ibid.

4. PLATT, D.C.M. Latin America and British Trade, 1806-1914. London, 1973. p. 260, 263-64.

5. For a range of research approaches, see among other studies, COLIN CROSSLEY, J. The Location of Beef Processing. Annals of the Association of American Geographers. nº 66, 1976, p. 60-75; ROCHE, Michael M. International Food Regimes: New Zealand's Place in the International Frozen Meat Trade, 1870-1935. Historical Geography nº 27, 1999, p. 129-51.

6. PERREN, R. Meat Trade in Britain, p. 69.

7.Ibid., p. 70.

8.See BELL, Stephen. Campanha Gaúcha: A Brazilian Ranching System, 1850-1920. Stanford, Calif:, 1998, p. 79-81.

9. Exposición de la Comisión Directiva del Club Nacional sobre la necesidad de abrir nuevos mercados a las carnes saladas. Montevideo, 20 August 1862, reprinted in BARRAN, José Pedro and NAHUM. Benjamín. Historia rural del Uruguay moderno. Montevideo,  1967-78, 7 vols. vol. 1, p. 31-38.

10. MARRINER, Sheila. Rathbones of Liverpool, 1845-73. Liverpool,  1961, p. 44-46.

11. See my Campanha Gaúcha, especially p. 138-40.

12. PERREN, R.Meat Trade in Britain, p. 71-72.

13. PROVINCE OF RIO GRANDE DO SUL. Relatório apresentada à Assembléia Legislativa, em 10-03-1864 pelo presidente Esperidião Barros Pimentel, na 1a. sessão da 11a. legislatura, p. 63.

14. CLARE FORD, Francis. Report on the Methods Employed in the River Plate for Curing Meat for European Markets. House of Commons (London) sessional papers (Parliamentary Papers) 1866, LXXI, p. 622.

15. SEYMOUR, Richard Arthur.  Pioneering in the Pampas: or, the First Four Years of a Settler's Experience in the La Plata Camps.  London, 1869, p. 119.

16. PERREN, R.Meat Trade in Britain p. 82.

17. There is an interesting review of methods in HUTCHINSON, Thomas J.  The Paraná; with Incidents of the Paraguayan War, and South American Recollections, from 1861 to 1868 . London, 1868, p. 222-32.

18. BROCK, William H.  Justus von Liebig: the Chemical Gatekeeper. (ambridge, 1997, especially p. 224-33.

19. FORD, Methods Employed in the River Plate, p. 621.

20. See BELL, Stephen.Early Industrialization in the South Atlantic: Political Influences on the Charqueadas of Rio Grande do Sul Before 1860, Journal of Historical Geography nº 19, 1993, especially p. 406-7.

21. Hutchinson wrote extensively on both South America and West Africa. A fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, he provides a good example of the close links between government enterprise and nineteenth-century geography.

22. There are details of the plant at Paysandú and of the Morgan process in HUTCHINSON, The Paraná, p. 223-27, 394-95.

23. FORD, Methods Employed in the River Plate, p. 622.

24. HUTCHINSON, The Paraná, p. 395.

25. The Prange estancia was located near the port of present-day Nueva Palmira. That port is the terminus for the projected Hidrovia project, designed to improve fluvial access to the heart of South America. If meat was a leading engine of development in this region 150 years ago, today another is the transportation of soybeans from Mato Grosso and Bolivia. For background on the Hidrovia see

26. HUTCHINSON, The Paraná, p. 232.

27. BARRAN and NAHUM, Historia rural del Uruguay moderno, 1(1), p. 329.

28. See the entry describing the rapid growth of the "new" town of Fray Bentos in Orestes Araújo, Diccionario Geográfico del Uruguay 2d ed. (Montevideo, 1912) p. 202-4.

29. BARRÁN and NAHUM, Historia rural del Uruguay moderno, 1(1), p. 626.

30. See WHIGHAM, Thomas Whigham. Some Reflections on Early Anglo-Paraguayan Commerce, The Americas, vol. 44 (1987-88), p. 282-83.

31. BELL, Early Industrialization in the South Atlantic, especially pp. 405, 408. I made this point earlier with Samuel Fisher Lafone in mind, the geographic span of whose career in South America marked the region's economic development from the Falkland Islands as far as the mines of Catamarca, Argentina.

32. There are biographical details for this important figure in the Revista de la Asociación Rural del Uruguay (31 December 1893), p. 565. At Rio de Janeiro, Hughes worked for Carruthers and Company, the same firm as Mauá, the great Brazilian entrepreneur. This may be the root of their subsequent business links in Uruguay. See also SCHULKIN, Augusto I.  Historia de Paysandú: diccionario biográfico.  3 vols. Buenos Aires, 1958, vol.  2, p. 201-11.

33. WHIGHAM, Thomas. The Politics of River Trade: Tradition and Development in the Upper Plata, 1780-1870. Albuquerque, N. Mex., 1991, p. 169-70.

34. For details of the land offer in Buenos Aires, see Schulkin, 2, p. 203.

35. See the entry describing the rapid growth of the "new" town of Fray Bentos in ARAÚJO, Orestes.  Diccionario Geográfico del Uruguay 2d ed. Montevideo, 1912, p. 202-4.

36. BARRÁN and NAHUM, Historia rural del Uruguay moderno, 1(1), p.130.

37. See BROCK. Justus von Liebig, especially p. 226.

38. CROSSLEY, J. Colin  and GREENHILL, Robert.The River Plate Beef Trade. in PLATT, D.C.M. (ed.). Business Imperialism, 1840-1930: An Inquiry Based on British Experience in Latin America. Oxford, 1977, p. 325-26.

39. WANGFORD, Hank. Lost Cowboys.  London, 1995, p. 184. Wangford devotes a whole chapter of his book to Fray Bentos, a place described today as an "industrial ghost town."

40. THOMPSON, Andrew. Informal Empire? An Exploration in the History of Anglo-Argentine Relations, 1810-1914.  Journal of Latin American Studies nº 24, 1992, especially p. 436.

41. FERNÁNDEZ-GÓMEZ, Emilio Manuel.Argentina: gesta británica: revaloración de dos siglos de convivencia.  2 vols. Buenos Aires, 1993, 1995, vol. 1, p. 11, 13-14.

42. WINN, Peter. Inglaterra y la tierra purpúrea: a la búsqueda del imperio económico (1806-1880). Montevideo, 1997, especially p. 49 and 66.

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