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Hidden in Plain View: Catalans and the Making of Modern Uruguay

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Chapter Summary

Though the real-life linguistic and cultural interpenetration between mainland people in the Principality of Catalonia region and natives of Valencia, Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera has always been enormous and constant, institutional relations between these realms have often been less than fluid. Like Catalonia, Uruguay's destiny has been fundamentally shaped by its location between competing powers. During the chaotic first decades of the nineteenth century, the nucleus of Catalan merchants-demonstrating a characteristic if somewhat ungainly mix of recalcitrance, opportunism, and liberal attitudes-would occupy key roles in the political life of the colony. A close examination of important Uruguayan social and educational institutions founded in the latter half of the nineteenth century along with documents and studies cataloguing the contributions of 'Spaniards' to the nation's development, confirms that Catalans played also played an outsized role in the creation and maintenance of key cultural institutions in the period between 1850 and 1925.

Keywords: Catalan merchants; Catalonia region; pre-nineteenth century Uruguay; transatlantic cultural commerce; Uruguayan educational institution; Uruguayan social institution



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