Geographers, Volume 27


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At about meters altitude, a wide range of crops could be grown there.

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From there on out, it was literally and figuratively downhill. The return trip to Riohacha was arduous. It took Reclus a month to recuperate. The return trip with supplies to start the colony was even worse. The trip to Dibulla by bongo ended with a capsizing, but the cargo was saved.

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Waiting in Dibulla to arrange oxen for the inland trek, Reclus contracted malaria, something that plagued him for the rest of his time in Colombia. He proceeded on foot, but fever once again overcame him, and he thought he would die beside the road. He was found by Chastaing, his son Luisito, and two hired-helpers coming along behind with oxen and supplies.

Once installed in San Antonio, Reclus took another two months to recuperate.

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As he remarked :. Chastaing, his son, and the two mulatto boys had furiously launched multiple projects: clearing, burning, terracing, fencing, planting, and felling timber for buildings.


  • Elisée Reclus’ Latin Americanist Geography;
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Soon, however, the tempest turned to depression. Chastaing alienated the Indians, ran off one of the workers, and declared the whole enterprise hopeless. He dissolved the partnership and returned to his life of relative leisure in Riohacha. Reclus, still febrile, remained alone there for another month, before dissolving his own dreams of establishing a Colombian beachhead for Euro-egalitarian-colonization. San Antonio was later abandoned in the wake of the civil wars and upslope migration of coastal blacks, and reconstituted with the misnomer Pueblo Viejo. His Colombian fracaso did not dissuade him from advocacy of positive colonialization.

The epilogue to his Voyage volume is a paean to the boundless possibilities that await such colonists to Nueva Granada, and especially the Santa Marta region. He voices similar advice in his later writings on Latin American regions, but more selectively, depending on actual-conditions. He found the semi-nomadic Guajiro people, with their fierce independent ways, very admirable.

On the other hand, the Arhuacos, were largely a degraded people, economically exploited and alcohol dependent. Coastal blacks often lived in abject conditions.

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He does not dodge the negative portrayal, but also points to the objective conditions that produce immiseration and depravity. By the same token, his positive depictions of different social or cultural groups are linked to their degree of self-directed industry and social well-being. Like Peter Kropotkin, his anarchist-geographer collaborator, Reclus was a forceful and effective counter-voice to the Social Darwinist and racist doctrines of his times. Thus, after an opening chapter sketching the Middle American region in broad strokes, the reader marches with Reclus through Mexico, British Honduras, Central America with subchapters for the five nations , and Panama.

This dual quality together with the fact that Reclus had visited Panama en route to Colombia proper no doubt accounts for the extra attention. Mexico, however, is accorded an additional set of sections. Along with the standard physical-to-administrative arrangement, the individual Mexican states are covered. This standardization of presentation of facts and figures along with regional description offers the basis for comparative study of Latin American nations and regions.

The information that Reclus provided his readers for the various categories was up-to-date and in many cases has admirably passed the test of time. Of course, much of the reportage has become historical geography with the passing of more that a century, and as such offers a window on aspects of late 19 th century Latin America that merits study. For most contemporary readers, these way-stations of insight and outlook should be of particular interest.

He goes on to say that an attempt to secure a naval base in the Dominican Republic was frustrated by Northern opposition and to some extent European powers, but that the guano island of Navassa had been commandeered but would be abandoned once its deposits had been exhausted. He also dismisses as nonsense the notion that forces of Anglicization would overwhelm Latin America 12 :.

Jules Leclereq has even ventured to assert that in a short time all Mexico will be English. But this is a delusion, as shown, for instance, by the extreme slowness with which the process of assimilation is proceeding in New Mexico…. Whether this is simply a reflection of stereotypical Anglo-Gallic antagonism, or a principled anti-imperialist stance, is hard to say.

Most likely, it is a combination of the two. In Third World nations or regions where colonialism was strictly extractive and exploitative, then it was to be condemned. Throughout his writings on Latin America we see this bimodal if not bipolar perspective on colonialism. Reclus was categorically anti-racist. He was vehemently opposed to the slavery he witnessed in Louisiana and became like Humboldt, an outspoken opponent of slavery.

Throughout his writings he often spoke approvingly of the cultural and biological blending of races and ethnic groups. There are general survey chapters for each, in addition to a chapter for the Falklands and South Georgia Island. More than Mexico, which is covered in a single chapter, but with subchapters for groups of its states, Brazil is allotted almost half the volume, and has ten separate chapters. Individual or groups of states are featured in eight chapters. Much of the material on Brazil was subsequently compiled and published as a separate book As with the Middle American volume, Reclus gives a sympathetic eye to common folk and the indigenous populations.

All in all, Reclus sees much of Latin America as lands of great promise — once freed from the negative legacies of colonialism and the internal forms of domination. This regard, Reclus can be profitably read today as much as he was a century ago. Blunt, Alison and Jane Wills. London: Prentice Hall. Clark, John. In Geographers: Biobibliographical Studies, Vol. Freeman and Philippe Pinchemel eds. London: Mansell, pp.

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Dunbar, Gary. Hamden, CT: Archon Books. David Stoddart ed. He uses the techniques of political economy, looking for interconnections and processes at a variety of scales and over time. Peet believed that geography must do more than simply provide explanations and descriptions of problems studied, but rather attempt to propose alternatives. During the s and s Peet's focus shifted to the politics and ecology of international development, particularly the systematic underdevelopment of nations peripheral to the capitalist west.

His work is critical of neo-liberal development theory and global governance institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization. He was a supporter of the socialist revolution in Grenada , working there prior to the US invasion in Peet founded the radical journal of geography, Antipode , in and was an editor until Klimek S. Koter M. Podstawowe zagadnienia teor-etyczne morfologii miast From the physiognomy to the morphogenesis and the comparative morphology.

Essential theoretical issues of the urban morphology - in Polish. In: Koter M. Dotychczasowy dorobek. In: Kulesza M. Wybrane problemy geografii historycznej. Kulesza M.

Larkham P. Miszewska B. In: Prace Instytutu Geogra-ficznego. Where are streets from those years? In: Siedlungs-forschung.

Geographers, Volume 27 Geographers, Volume 27
Geographers, Volume 27 Geographers, Volume 27
Geographers, Volume 27 Geographers, Volume 27
Geographers, Volume 27 Geographers, Volume 27
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