Documents of 20th-century Latin American and Latino Art

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  • ICAA Record ID
    1052451
    TITLE
    A sa Majesté l'empereur Napoléon III / Charles Calvo
    IN
    Recueil complet des traités, conventions, capitulations, armistices, et autres actes diplomatiques de tous les États de l’Amérique latine.... . -- Paris : A. Durand, 1862.
    LANGUAGES
    French
    TYPE AND GENRE
    Book/pamphlet article – Essays
    BIBLIOGRAPHIC CITATION
    Calvo, Charles. "A sa Majesté lempereur Napoléon III." In Recueil complet des traités, conventions, capitulations, armistices, et autres actes diplomatiques de tous les États de l’Amérique latine.... Paris: A. Durand, 1862.
    TOPIC DESCRIPTORS
    GEOGRAPHIC DESCRIPTORS
Editorial Categories [?]
Synopsis

This suite of documents includes Charles (Carlos) Calvo’s (1824–1906) letter to Napoleon III, the response from M. Thouvenel, Minister of the French Foreign Office, and the introduction to Calvo’s book, Recueil complet des traités, conventions, capitulations, armistices, et autres actes diplomatiques de tous les États d’Amérique latine compris entre le Golfe du Mexique et le cap d’Horn, depuis l’année 1493 jusqu’à nos jours, précédé d’un memoir sur l’état actuel de l’Amérique, des tableaux statistiques, d’un dictionnaire diplomatique, avec une notice historique sur chaque traité important (1862). In his introduction, Calvo makes it quite evident that Europe has blind ignorance about Latin America and that the continual beliefs that Latin America is still “wild” and “primitive” is fueled chiefly by three factors. The first factor is inadequate teaching provided by European schools; the second is the lack of competent, patriotic groups that could educate Europe; and the third factor is the “intolerable chattering of shallow writers who travel with their eyes closed,” who confine themselves to hotel rooms and writing novels in which Europeans are portrayed as heroes. Calvo then begins to describe how Brazil, Argentina, and Chile, among others, are far more advanced in their material and intellectual advancements, and that trade is livelier than it is in Europe (according to Calvo) and is the basis of their wealth, well-being, and civilization.

Annotations

Charles [Carlos] Calvo (1824–1906), an Argentinean jurist who served as Paraguayan envoy to the courts of London and Paris, published this diplomatic and commercial history of the Americas at the height of French interventions on the continent. With certain sectors of the French economy bleeding as a result of the United States’ Civil War (1861–65), the imperial government of Napoléon III grew increasingly interested in exploiting the rich mines of the Mexican northwest as well as planning for an interoceanic canal in Central America. In what would become known as the “Maximilian Affair,” that same year of Calvo’s publication of the first of twenty volumes of his work (1862), France invaded Republican Mexico with the intention of creating a new empire there. French troops under Marshal Achiles Bazaine were defeated in 1967, and the Habsburg Emperor, Maximilian, executed.

This selection from Calvo’s work—[Complete Summary of Treaties, Conventions, Capitulations, Armistices, and Other Diplomatic Deals of All the States of Latin America (Encompassed from the Gulf of Mexico to Cape Horn) From 1493 to Our Days, Introduced by a Memory on the Current Status of the Americas, Statistics, a Diplomatic Dictionnary, and a Historical Notice for Every Important Treaty Attached (1862)]—includes a letter to Napoléon III and another from French Foreign Minister Édouard Thouvenel (1818–1866), both signed three months after the French invasion of Mexico in January 1862. It also involves a passage of the beginning of Volume One, “Amérique latine,” in which the author highlights Latin America’s intellectual and commercial potential. Although the present translation is taken from the original edition of the compendium in 1862 (Paris, A. Durand Librairie), a more recent version of Calvo’s compilation was published in 1912 (also by A. Durand Librairie).

Researcher
María C. Gaztambide, ICAA; Esmeralda Salinas, collaborator.
Team
International Center for the Arts of the Americas, MFAH, Houston, USA
Credit
Charles Calvo, 1862