From the Mediterranean to the Pacific Ocean: Ideas and Agents of Italian Colonization in S. America

General Programming

  • Italian and Mediterranean Colloquium
  • Free and open to the public
  • No registration necessary
  • First come, first seated

Full Title: From the Mediterranean to the Pacific Ocean: Ideas and Agents of Italian Colonization in South America, c.1840 to c.1880

Lucy Riall (EUI, Florence)

Respondent: Mark Mazower (Columbia University)

Moderator: Konstantina Zanou (Columbia University)

This paper will consider how the ‘turn’ to global history might alter our approach to modern Italy and its colonies. With its emphasis on transnational trends, and the themes of mobility and connectivity, the approach has much to offer scholars of Italian colonialism but so far has had relatively little impact in reshaping the field and introducing new themes of research. Focusing on Italians overseas in the age of nation and empire, this paper will seek to explain what the study of Italy might contribute to the burgeoning field of global history. Specifically, I take a number of well-known Italian migrants to Latin America and the Pacific (the journalist Giovan Battista Cuneo; the archaeologist Antonio Raimondi; the anthropologist Paolo Mantegazza; and the medical ‘charlatan’ Giulio Bennati), in order to retrace the political, commercial and scientific networks that brought them from the Mediterranean to the Andes and beyond. First, I argue that their lives can tell us much about the experience of empire in the nineteenth century and the extent to which a country without significant colonies could nevertheless participate in, and benefit considerably from, European imperial expansion. Second, I look at attempts to create national ‘colonies’ of settlement in the South American Republics and suggest that these colonies represent an important link between processes of global migration and those of European colonial expansion.


Cerro Mineral de San Francisco de Morococha
Antonio Raimondi watercolor
March, 1861 at Morococha, Central Andes of Peru
Altitude: 4,750 meters above sea level
Collection: Museo de Historia Nacional de la Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos, Lima.

  • Presenter Lucy Riall Professor of History of Europe in the World European University Institute
  • Respondent Mark Mazower Ira D. Wallach Professor of World Order Studies Department of History, Columbia University
  • Moderator Konstantina Zanou Assistant Professor of Italian Columbia University