From Colonies to Countries in the North Caribbean: Military Engineers in the Development of Cities and Territories
This volume brings together eight essays that address the result of a research project involving a group of international scholars. It explores a little-discussed, yet interesting phenomenon in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico region – how military engineers reshaped the physical landscape for imperial reasons and, in doing so, laid the foundations for broader colonial development. Moreover, this transnational scenario reveals how military construction reached beyond cross-borders themes and histories from the age of imperialism. As such, this book provides valuable insights into the role of military engineers in the process of articulating new American countries from the late 18th to 19th century. While this time period is full of international and local conflicts, it remains essential for understanding the region’s history – from the Gulf of Mexico to the Caribbean Sea – and even its current situation. Due to independence movements and Spain’s Decree of Free Trade (1778), the region’s connection with Europe changed dramatically. This affected the entire American continent, but had a particularly peculiar in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. For this reason, this volume underlines the key role of military engineers on other fields, from railroad design to environmental intervention, through cartographical works, and in diplomacy, all the while overcoming the traditional perspective of military engineers as being only builders of structures for war.
Pedro Luengo-Gutiérrez is a member of the History of Art Department at the Universidad de Sevilla, as well as a Visiting Researcher in the War Studies Department at King’s College London and an Investigador Correspondente at the CHAM Institute in Universidad Nova de Lisboa. He received his PhD in History of Art from the University of Seville, with his work “Intramuros: arquitectura en Manila, 1739–1788”. From this research, two monographs were published by the Fundación Universitaria Española (2012) and CSIC (2013). He is currently Principal Investigator of the Spanish National Research Project “Identidad Europea y Arquitectura Globalizada en el Pekín de Qianlong” (HAR2014-61714-EXP), and has published numerous papers and chapters on Southeast Asian cities and architecture in both national and international journals.
Gene Allen Smith is a Professor of History and the Director of the Center for Texas Studies at Texas Christian University (TCU). The author of numerous books, including most recently The Slaves’ Gamble: Choosing Sides in the War of 1812, Smith has received research awards from TCU and Montana State University-Billings, as well as fellowships from the Henry E. Huntington Library, the Virginia Historical Society, the US Department of the Navy, the US Military Academy at West Point, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
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