Trans-isthmus

To understand the American isthmus’ secondary record that gave way to its communal adaptation out of the Transatlantic phase of human civilization, one must first keep in mind the attempts, if not the documentative incentives to expand their hegemonic habitat overseas, that were made first by earlier European subjects. First, the Spanish made use of Panama’s rich waterways when they crossed the country by foot and by river just to get to Peru. Other pivotal oceanic straits such as the Strait of Magellan in the southernmost tip of South America were crucial to elite-status opinion in Europe over how to maintain prospective colonies beyond those sea routes. They were essential though dangerous for maritime European travel and transport of resources and immigrants long before the Panama Canal was constructed.

The geographical benefactor of the Panama Canal, which helped pave the way for both local and foreign migration settlement in the Central American isthmus, was a cite for pre-Columbian-age awe and wonder for some explorers prior to its urbanization. A couple centuries later, it became marked greatly as an advantage point for corporate modules across the Atlantic in the wake of the twentieth century. The goal of this topic is not to unravel how Euro-American expansionists sought law and order when connecting the two large bodies of water together in one urban hot spot, but rather how social order in the American isthmus maintained itself through whatever artificial changes erupted in one of the most economically crucial landmarks in world history.

The Strait of Magellan, as mentioned in the introduction of this project, was like the second phase of Europeans attempting to reach East Asia, following Columbus’ four voyages that happened only a decade ago when Magellan first embarked on his. Eventually, all other naval entities such as the English and the French had to risk sailing around the hazardous, storm-infested Cape Horn to reach Pacific destinations. One fervent figure who’s well-known for making this passage was the English privateer, Sir Francis Drake, who sailed up the northern Pacific as far as Alaska in search of the “Middle Passage” back to England. In the case of crossing the Panama Canal in comparison a century later, European and Anglo migrants and travelers alike often endured the worst case of yellow fever among the mosquitoes of the area that feasted upon their newly-discovered fresh skin as soon as they arrived. It was not until these non-maritime subjects acquired repellants and formulas such as quinine that made crossing the canal more welcoming, even livable, for white urban Americans in the early twentieth century.

Depictions of non-white Canal Zone locals as members of an illiterate, sub-human category were embedded within American politics and common opinion over who determines the law in the Panama Canal Zone. Although centered around the years 1912-1940, earlier trials of Anglo-American urbanization in the isthmus of the Americas were set in place at this time. Since Panama shares the neighboring tropical and port proximity of the Caribbean, it became a simple vacation and resort spot for many upper and middle class Americans, as well as residential areas under U.S. policy. The Canal Zone was drawn out and “sanitized” to suit the orderly, mainland comforts of white tidy, middle-class American migrants. This in turn caused them to segregate West Indian locals within the Canal Zone, who had already developed genetic flows in their traits to adapt to the filthiness of the jungle unlike their Anglo-American counterparts.

“Other” and “otherness” were the common profiling terms predicated by Canal Zone urbanites to describe West Indian inhabitants as unfit for the Western eugenics movement. Sometimes it becomes hardly ambiguous to understand how “Self” became the “self-satisfying” rhetoric implied by the Canal Zone’s foreign elite and middle-class society, as if “Other” is meant to reflect on someone or something without any intrinsic value whatsoever. Through perpetual yet substantial discourses between one ethnicity and all the rest back then, the issue with the social context of Atlantic history in this scenario is credibility. Most countries that fell under the hegemonic grasp of Western colonizing societies along the Atlantic did not centrally display as much constitutional character needed to assert how competent the nation can minister for itself, with citizens as modernly fluent and competent as a baseball glove per se. An ethnic divide is easily wrought in this case, as those who shared no Anglo or white European lineage in their blood were promptly ousted as inferior individuals that can be expensed out of their labors easily.

In his memoirs of his travels to Panama, Welsh explorer Lionel Wafer wrote about the cultivational features of the natives of the Darien countryside that he encountered in the late seventeenth century. Cultural factors featured here include the specialized grooming of their hair that women found to be a ritual sign of mating for them. Indian women are distilled to a harsh, domestic environment (i.e. planting, weaving, child rearing) by the men. Yet Wafer addresses further how the women upheld all their rigorous task for their husbands, with pure loyalty and cheerfulness and without any cognitive regards to women’s “drudgery” in a post-modern sense.

Wafer also noticed a seemingly odd ethnic minority among the Isthmian natives. A small percentage of “white” pale-skinned, bright-haired Indians resided in the community: they were apparently much shorter and less immune to the invigorating benefits of sunlight than their tanned peers. These brief elements alone began to fool Wafer and his companions as to how this small percentage of whom was presumed to be of Caucasian-descent ended up all the way in a tropical landscape that lies halfway across the world from Eurasia, prior to Columbus’ voyages.

“Mostese,” a cross between white European and American Indian, was obviously one viable presumption among Wafer’s crew as to how a pale-skinned group of island dwellers could exist, in contrast to those same groups found in habitats of higher altitudes. Very few …read more

750 word draft

In the Land of Cotton

In the Land of Cotton, Where Cotton is King

The tobacco company would have you believe that the United States was built on tobacco, and while it is true that tobacco production in the Chesapeake Bay was extremely influential in the colonization of the British Americas it did not build the United States. No, the United States was built on the backs of slaves who would plant harvest and weigh cotton. That’s right, cotton is king, by eighteen-sixteen the United States was producing up to 50% of the world’s cotton supply which would run the textile companies in both the Norther States of the United States and Europe.

Cotton was produce along the Cotton Belt of the United States which resided in the Southern States, here the weather was humid enough for allow the plant to prosper and land was in large supply. Massive plantation farms were created to plant and harvest the prosperous plant, plantations ranged from 500-1000 acres where each acre would hold up to 5,000 plants. A rough estimate concludes that the total is 2,500,000 plants on a small plantation and up to 5,000,000 on a large plantation. In order cultivate such a large amount of product it would require an abundant amount of manpower, they found such manpower in the form of African chattel slavery. Chattel slavery was the practice of holding a man against his will forcing another human against their will forcing them to do your bidding for his entire life, and any offspring he might produce in his lifetime will be yours as well. It was the idea that African slaves were nothing more than animals that could be used as pleased by their master, while slavery is a very old practice chattel slavery was a fairly new concept that gradually evolved from previous forms of slavery and the desensitization of their masters. So how many slaves were required to cultivate a plantation? Some plantations held up to 150 slaves working from sun up to sundown with very little breaks in between, under harsh working conditions with very poor management. Some plantation owners own multiple plantations owning multiple slaves, Dr. Stephen Duncan of Issaquena owned 858 slaves at one point and stated that he owned over 2,000 slaves over his entire lifetime.

So where did such a man force come from? As stated before they came from the Coastal regions of Africa, prior to the slave trade in the Atlantic agricultural goods were transported on the very same routes. Agricultural goods in the sense of staple foods we so highly depend on today, two of which are maize (corn) and potatoes. These staples increased the population all over the world, in Europe, Asia and of course Africa. A population boom in Africa led to conflicts between tribes and several wars were fought between them, when you conquered a people they would be able to take them as slaves for a period of time and would eventually free them after a period of time. As stated before slavery was an old institution but what happened next was Europeans noticed the African slaves and begun to think that they could be useful in the newly discovered Americas. The Portuguese were the first to be involved in a transatlantic voyage on 1526 transporting several slaves to the Americas where they would be set to work in the sugar, tobacco, rice and cotton plantations. Soon the rest of the European powers would follow suit and partake in the transatlantic slave. Between 1524-1866 12.5 million African human beings would be taken from their homes and shipped to a new land to work the soil under harsh conditions, of the 12.5 million roughly 2,500,000 would lose their lives in the middle passage by either harsh conditions, poor food, or suicide. Of the 10million that reached the new shore roughly 450,000 ended up in the United States. A relatively small number however the main amount of slaves in the United States were the decedents of those 450,000 reaching up to 3,949,947 by the time the American civil war ended.

Now that the United States had both the manpower and land they needed an economy for their rich product. This economy would be available after the first Industrial revolution, the industrial revolution radically changed the way products were produced throughout the world. Originally products were created by an artisan with years of experience, but with the use of machinery, factories were now able to mass produce textiles at an exponential rate. This meant they required a large amount of raw material to feed their machines increasing the demand of cotton worldwide. The South was only happy to deliver and with the invention of the cotton gin by Eli Whitney’s in 1830 they were able to separate cotton from the seed more effectively with less workers, allowing more slaves to plant and harvest cotton. Production of cotton went up from 750,000 bales in 1830 to 2.85 million bales in 1850 all being transported by Northern merchants who would make sizable profits off of the southern slave labor.

Now, many have argued that black slaves did not build this country it was the manufacturing North that built this wonderful nation. They use the civil war as an example by stating that the civil war was a conflict between manufacturing and agricultural. While the South did lose the war of Northern Aggression it is a huge discredit to the participation and effort of the South in the construction of this nation. And while no man should own another man the facts remain that cotton was institutional in making the United States the economic powerhouse it is today.

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