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Volume 52 / Humanities


19th and 20th Centuries: Colombia and Ecuador

JANE M. RAUSCH, Professor of History, University of Massachusetts-Amherst


THE BOOM IN COLOMBIAN HISTORIOGRAPHY noted in the last two reporting periods has flourished unabated, producing many superb documentary collections and general interpretations. For the independence and early national eras, attention has focused on Francisco de Paula Santander; in 1986 the Fundación Francisco de Paula Santander was established to prepare for the celebration of the 150th anniversary of his death in 1990 and the 200th anniversary of his birth in 1992. Charged with locating, organizing, and editing studies of the events in which the "Man of Laws" was a major actor, the Fundación has begun to publish modern, critical editions of Santander's correspondence, diaries, and other documents. Nine volumes in this multi-volume collection are listed below under the heading "Santandereana." All contain scholarly introductions that place the documents in historical context and are supplemented with indexes, maps, and bibliographies. Because of these features, they supersede older collections such as the Archivo Santander (Bogotá, 1913-32) and make available new materials formerly buried in obscure archives. The Fundación has also published Lozano Esquivel's biography of Santander (item bi 89007475), but both in scope and analytic depth it is surpassed by the massive study written by the former director of the Archivo Nacional, Pilar Moreno de Angel (item bi 90003691).

For Colombian history since 1840, a welcome development is a trend toward historical synthesis. Two multi-volume general histories that cover events from conquest to the 1980s have taken their places beside the Academia Historia de Colombia's Historia extensa. The eight-volume Historia de Colombia (item bi 90006987) edited by the late Guillermo Hernández de Alba features appealing texts composed by scholars for a popular audience, while the eight-volume Nueva historia de Colombia under the editorship of Jaime Jaramillo Uribe is directed more toward researchers: vols. 1-2 reprint the Manual de historia de Colombia published by Colcultura between 1978-80 and vols. I-VI (items bi 91024270 - bi 91024279), contain especially prepared essays by two dozen "new historians" who, besides summarizing political events from 1886 to 1986, cover topics ranging from international relations and social movements to the history of Colombian science and urban social life. Both sets can be supplemented by Orlando Melo's unique two-volume anthology of eyewitness accounts of key events from colonial times to the present (item bi 90006989) and the more pedestrian Forjadores de Colombia contemporánea - biographical sketches of 81 individuals whom Carlos Perozzo regards as influential in the formation of Colombian culture and history (item bi 89004865). Also worthy of mention is Alfredo Iriarte's Breve historia de Bogotá, an engrossing abridgement of a three-volume social and cultural history published in 1988 to mark the 450th anniversary of the city's founding (item bi 90012875).

Synthesis is taking place on a regional level as well: Historia de Antioquia (item bi 90003683) is encyclopedic in breadth with 49 essays on all aspects of Antioqueñan life up to 1950; Ortiz Mesa discusses political strife in the province between 1850-80 (item bi 89004876); Valencia Llanos (item bi 90003700) and Colmenares (item bi 89014715) analyze Cauca during the 19th century; Pasto is represented by a magnificent album of photographs taken 1880-1945 (item bi 90003684); El Caribe colombiano (item bi 90006990) brings together eight important but previously hard-to-find journal articles on the Caribbean region; two works are on the history and culture of El Quindío (items bi 90006991 and bi 89010519); and Mosquera Mosquera's exposé of discrimination against Chocó's population reveals the awakening of black consciousness (item bi 90012882), a phenomenon underscored by the proceedings of the Primer Simposio sobre Bibliografía del Negro en Colombia (item bi 89004881) and of the Congreso de Historia del Negro en el Ecuador y Sur de Colombia (item bi 89004880).

A portrait of Colombian society in the late 19th century can be gleaned from the 32 sketches on topics covering sports to politics assembled by Londoño Vélez to mark the centennial of the Constitution of 1886 (item bi 89004827). It is complemented by a facsimile edition of a volume commemorating the centennial of Bolívar's birth published by the Colombian Senate in 1883 (item bi 89010484). Outstanding among other 19th-century entries are two studies of the Catholic Church: Fernán González examines Church-State relations between 1820-60 to understand why Colombian developments differ from those in other Latin American countries (item bi 89004875), and Pinilla Cote investigates the activities of the first papal representative to New Granada, Monseñor Cayetano Baluffi (item bi 89004866).

Turning to the 20th century, the publication of the papers of political leaders reported in HLAS 50 continues with a new edition of the speeches and letters of Alfonso López Pumarejo (item bi 89004870). James D. Henderson has written a stimulating analysis of the ideas of the controversial Conservative caudillo, Laureano Gómez (item bi 90012876). Don Manuel: Mister Coffee is a two-volume collection of testimonials to and reports by Manuel Mejía, one of the architects of Colombia's coffee economy (item bi 90003690). Other contributions on economic themes include Michael Jiménez's essay on Cundinamarcan coffee haciendas (item bi 89013965), two studies of labor relations in Antioquia (items bi 90003704 and bi 89004877), and Povedo Ramos' concise survey of the rise and decline of Colombian railroads (item bi 91020592).

Finally, the Violencia retains its fascination as a research topic. Quintero Ospina reviews the Gaitán assassination and concludes that Juan Róa Sierra acted alone (item bi 89010512); two journalists have written biographies of guerrilla fighters (items bi 90006992 and bi 89004892), and Olga Behar has compiled testimonies from more than 50 protagonists in the civil strife that dragged on between 1948-85 (item bi 89004886). It is evident from these new works that Ilse Cohnen's list of 257 books and articles published before July 1987 on the Violencia (item bi 90007818) will soon have to be updated.


A yearning for synthesis is also apparent in Ecuadorian historiography. Enrique Ayala Mora has edited two essay collections that systematically review national history (items bi 89004878 and bi 89010521). The Banco Central is reissuing the works of Gabriel Cevallos García, one of Ecuador's most distinguished 20th-century historians. Among them are his Historia del Ecuador, a university textbook written in 1967, and his more philosophical Reflexiones sobre la historia del Ecuador first published in 1960 (items bi 90003699 and bi 89004868). There is also a new edition of Pedro Fermín Cevallos' six-volume history published originally in Lima in 1870 (item bi 89004884).

Noteworthy among 19th-century entries are Linda Alexander Rodríguez's analysis of political developments between 1830-1925 that stresses the interplay between regionalism, authoritarianism, militarism and personalism (item bi 90009258) and Tamara Estupiñán-Freile's family history of latifundista Nicolás Martínez (item bi 90006988). For the 20th century, Canadian anthropologist Blanca Muratorio breaks new ground with her social and economic history of the Alto Napo (item bi 89004882). By juxtaposing the oral testimony of Rucuyaya Alonso, a Quechua rubber collector, with data drawn from written sources, Muratorio presents the history of this upper Amazon region from an Indian point of view and demonstrates how historians can utilize anthropological methodologies to expand their understanding of the past.

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