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From the Grounds UpBuilding an Export Economy in Southern Mexico$
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Casey Marina Lurtz

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781503603899

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: September 2019

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9781503603899.001.0001

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An Uncultivated Eden

An Uncultivated Eden

(p.17) 1 An Uncultivated Eden
From the Grounds Up

Casey Marina Lurtz

Stanford University Press

Borrowing the language and rhetoric of correspondence between individuals living in the Soconusco and the Mexican Minister of Finance, Matías Romero, this chapter elucidates the hurdles that stood in the way of the region’s integration into global markets. After an overview of the region’s precolonial and colonial history, the chapter establishes how little the Soconusco had to recommend it in the 1860s. Without a fixed border, a reliable political leader, institutions to secure property and commerce, or a population adequate to meet the labor demands of plantation agriculture, the Soconusco did not present an ideal site for development. Yet precisely because of these absences, Romero and others posited the region as an exemplary site for experimentation. With this in mind, the chapter illustrates how the region can stand in for other parts of rural Latin America undergoing a shift to export agriculture in the same era.

Keywords:   Matías Romero, development, institutions, Soconusco, cacao, coffee, export boom

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