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PLACA Presents: William Werner

341 Eggers Hall

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Reconstructing a nineteenth-century German colony in Veracruz: Historical and archaeological approaches When Mexico achieved independence from Spain in 1821, its leaders eagerly opened its borders to North American and European emigrants and entrepreneurs in an effort to jump-start its national economy and "whiten" its populace. Among these early arrivals was Carl Christian Sartorius, a young German radical who had been exiled from his native Hesse and who sought to realize his political ideals in a German agricultural colony among the fertile hills and valleys of central Veracruz. His enterprise ultimately became known as the Hacienda El Mirador, one of the most capital-intensive sugar cane and coffee estates in nineteenth-century Mexico.   This dissertation project employs archaeological methods to reconstruct the socioeconomic relationships between the German settlers and neighboring indigenous villages, on whose knowledge and labor the settlers depended for success. It is explained how the artifacts commonly recovered by archaeologists reveals the agency of peoples often omitted from the historical record, and how implementing these methods elucidates El Mirador as a case study in the local effects of the expansion of global capital in post-colonial situations.


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