Historical Context

Frederick Douglass Opie

in Black Labor Migration in Caribbean Guatemala, 1882–1923

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print July 2009 | ISBN: 9780813033716
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813038735 | DOI:
Historical Context

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This chapter highlights the long history of the African presence in Guatemala and provides a context for understanding relations between black migrant laborers and Guatemalan nationals on the Caribbean coast. It begins with an overview of Spanish attitudes toward blacks and mulattoes in the colonial period, before moving on to discuss how Guatemalan politics and economic priorities in the national period created a need for foreign involvement in railroad development, as well as foreign laborers to build the railroads. Subsequent sections of the chapter discuss how black laborers from Jamaica and the United States were recruited, as well as the tradition of labor radicalism that some Southern black workers brought to Guatemala with them.

Keywords: black migrant laborers; African laborers; mulattoes; railroad development; labor radicalism; Guatemalan politics

Chapter.  8363 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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