A wide-ranging exploration of the diverse historical connections between Chile and California
This groundbreaking history explores the many unrecognized, enduring linkages between the state of California and the country of Chile. The book begins in 1786, when a French expedition brought the potato from Chile to California, and it concludes with Chilean president Michelle Bachelet’s diplomatic visit to the Golden State in 2008. During the intervening centuries, new crops, foods, fertilizers, mining technologies, laborers, and ideas from Chile radically altered California's development. In turn, Californian systems of servitude, exotic species, educational programs, and capitalist development strategies dramatically shaped Chilean history.
Edward Dallam Melillo develops a new set of historical perspectives—tracing eastward-moving trends in U.S. history, uncovering South American influences on North America’s development, and reframing the Western Hemisphere from a Pacific vantage point. His innovative approach yields transnational insights and recovers long-forgotten connections between the peoples and ecosystems of Chile and California.
Edward Dallam Melillo is associate professor of history and environmental studies, Amherst College. He lives in Northampton, MA.
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