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Mapping the Country of RegionsThe Chorographic Commission of Nineteenth-Century Colombia$
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Nancy P. Appelbaum

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781469627441

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469627441.001.0001

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A Grave for the White Race

A Grave for the White Race

The Pacific Lowlands

(p.81) 4 A Grave for the White Race
Mapping the Country of Regions

Nancy P. Appelbaum

University of North Carolina Press

The fourth chapter follows Agustín Codazzi and the Chorographic Commission on an arduous trip down to the province of Chocó and surrounding areas of the Pacific coastal lowlands in 1853, where commissioners took ill and two of the commission’s support workers died. Writer Santiago Pérez replaced Manuel Ancízar. Manuel María Paz and an anonymous illustrator replaced Henry Price. The commissioners described and painted the post-emancipation black population and steamy environment of the Pacific as obstacles to national progress. Gender and race, along with climate, were referenced to delineate regional differences between the highland Andean provinces and the lowlands. In the latter, the commission advanced a colonizing project. Unlike the Andean highlands, according to Codazzi and Pérez, the lowlands required coercive labor regimes to teach the black population to do menial labor. Blacks, who were ostensibly suited for the tropical environtment, were expected to cut down the forests and dry out the swamps in order to make the lowands safe for enterprising colonists from the highlands. Thus the commission essentialized regional and racial difference.

Keywords:   Chocó, Climate, Agustín Codazzi, Chorographic Commission, Gender, Pacific Coast, Manuel María Paz, Santiago Pérez, Race, Region

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