This is a study of the relations between Britain and Chile during the Spanish American independence era (1806–1831). These relations were characterised by a dynamic, unpredictable, and changing nature, imperialism being only one and not the exclusive way to define them. The book explores how Britons and Chileans perceived each other from the perspective of cultural history, considering the consequences of these ‘cultural encounters’ for the subsequent nation–state building process in Chile. From 1806 to 1831 both British and Chilean ‘state’ and ‘non–state’ actors interacted across several different ‘contact zones’, and thereby configured this relationship in multiple ways. Although the extensive presence of ‘non–state’ actors (missionaries, seamen, educators and merchants) was a manifestation of the ‘expansion’ of British interests to Chile, they were not necessarily an expression of any British imperial policy. There were multiple attitudes, perceptions, representations and discourses by Chileans on the role played by Britain in the world, which changed depending on the circumstances. Likewise, for Britons, Chile was represented in multiple ways, the image of Chile acting as a pathway to other markets and destinations being the most remarkable. All these had repercussions in the early nation–building process in Chile.
'Contacts, Collisions and Relationships is an original and necessary contribution to the understanding of the passage from a colonial regime to a Republican system from the perspective of cultural and political history.'
Juan Luis Ossa, Universidad Adolfo Ibáñez
‘In this period, British strategic planners sought ties between South America and the British East India Company, an avid purchaser of the American silver used in trade with China. Chile was thus seen as a potential component of the global mercantile empire linking Britain and India.'
David Rock, Hispanic American Historical Review