LAC History Seminar Series: Seeing Berlin from the Periphery: Latin American Reactions to European Imperial Expansion in the late Nineteenth Century

Convener: Eduardo Posada-Carbó, University of Oxford

Speakers: Tom Long, Warwick University and Carsten-Andreas Schulz, University of Cambridge


To join online, please register in advance: 


tt24 week

“The world’s plunderers”, Harper’s Weekly, 20 June 1885


The 1884-85 Berlin Conference was a watershed for the expansion of European colonialism and the growth of inter-imperialism as a practice of international ordering. Although its ramifications for African and European politics have been studied, there has been scant attention to how the conference reverberated elsewhere in the world. Because of its own colonial past and prolonged exposure to great power interventions, Latin America has often been seen as a wellspring of early anti-imperialism. But as European diplomats divided African lands without African consultation, reactions from Latin America included both alarm and ambivalence. Concerns about defending territoriality norms like uti possidetis were tempered by short-term interests in maintaining relations with imperial powers. Anti-imperial sympathies were, in some cases, curtailed by civilizational thinking that echoed racialized Eurocentric hierarchies. Drawing on multi-national archival research, this paper seeks better understand Latin American responses to imperialism elsewhere. In doing so, it opens a discussion of the broader global echoes of the Berlin Conference and “scramble for Africa,” while also probing the sources, extent, and limitations of anti-imperial sentiment in Latin America during the late nineteenth century.



Tom Long is Reader in International Relations at the University of Warwick. He is author of Latin America Confronts the United States: Asymmetry and Influence(Cambridge University Press, 2015) and A Small State’s Guide to Influence in World Politics (Oxford University Press, 2022). 


Carsten-Andreas Schulz is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Politics and International Studies and Fellow at Gonville and Caius College, University of Cambridge.