1874 Mitchell World Atlas – South America


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A beautiful hand colored map of South America and (inset) New Granada from the Mitchell World Atlas of 1874. Our reproductions of this map and all the maps on this site are carefully printed from very high resolution scans.

The Paraguayan War, a conflict fought between Paraguay and the Triple Alliance of Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay, ended with the defeat of Paraguay in 1870. The war had caused more deaths proportionally to the number of soldiers than any other war in modern history. Up to 200 thousand people are said to have died because of the war. Paraguay took decades to recover from the chaos and population imbalance, as their male population was left devastated, caused by this conflict. The event helped bring an end to slavery in Brazil, moved its military to a important role internationally, and caused a terrible increase in public debt, which led to a reduction in the country's growth. In Argentina, some say the war played a role in its consolidation as a nation-state.

The Spanish and Portuguese had forbidden the settlement of other European nations during their reign. The settlement thus began only after South American countries achieved independence. Uruguay, Chile, Brazil, and Argentina began actively recruiting colonists in the 1870s. Germans, Russians, Italians, and Portuguese began to immigrate to South America. Laws regarding health requirements were less stringent than they were in the United States. The German people were also attracted to the devotion to Catholicism in Brazil and Argentina. European settlers tended to settle in cities, localize their communities, and specialize in specific economic activities. Immigration to South America was much smaller than the masses that traveled to North America. This was mainly because of the less appealing tropical climate, limited free land, and political instability.

In 1875, Gabriel Garcia Moreno of Ecuador was assassinated, opening an age of anarchy. He is known for his conservatism, Catholic religious outlook, and contention with the liberals of Ecuador. Moreno had served two terms as president, and was elected for a third term. The Liberals considered this final election to be his death warrant. Had Moreno stopped with a few reforms, he might have had a different legacy. His unwavering religious fervor knew no boundaries. He ideally wished to create a near-theocratic state with indirect rule by the Vatican. Under his rule, only Roman Catholics were true citizens. He was ruled as a dictator, severely limited free speech and press and restricting Congress to the point that their only purpose were to approve his edicts. All in all, Moreno's accomplishments were overshadowed by this religious fervor. He stabilized Ecuador's economy, improved their international credit, encouraged foreign investment, made significant education reforms, and modernized agriculture.

By 1875, Brazil was providing about half of the world's coffee. Ideal conditions for the cultivation of coffee include high elevation and a tropical climate, both present in parts of Brazil. Today, it still remains the world's largest producer, making about a third of all coffee. The crop was first introduced during the 19th century. It was not native to the Americas and had to be planted. It reached its peak in 1920s, supplying 80 percent of the world's coffee.

Archival reproduction print form a high resolution scan. 24" x 15"


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