Jeffrey Alan Erbig Jr., "Where Caciques and Mapmakers Met: Border Making in 18th-Century South America" (UNC Press, 2020)


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In his new book, Where Caciques and Mapmakers Met: Border Making in Eighteenth-Century South America (UNC Press, 2020), Dr. Jeffrey Erbig charts the interplay between imperial and indigenous spatial imaginaries and shows the critical role that indigenous actors played in imperial border-making between the Spanish and the Portuguese in the Río de la Plata region during the mid-to-late eighteenth century. Dr. Erbig demonstrates how this process does not fit neatly into concepts of resistance or accommodation, as Hispano-Portuguese border-drawing from 1750 to the end of the century was in-part necessitated by indigenous actions, shaped by indigenous actors, and even reinforced the authority and autonomy of certain native polities. Far from peripheral players on an inevitable path to destruction as they are mostly remembered today, native peoples were essential to determining the early-modern history of the Río de la Plata. Centering the actions of indigenous agents and incorporating archival material from seven countries along with digital mapping techniques, Where Caciques and Mapmakers Met will prove to be an enduring contribution to the historiography of indigenous studies, the Río de la Plata region, cartography, and borderlands topics.

Dr. Jeffrey Erbig is an Assistant Professor of Latin American and Latino studies at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Grant Kleiser is a Ph.D. candidate in the Columbia University History Department. His dissertation researches the development of the free-port system in the eighteenth-century Caribbean, investigating the rationale for such moves towards “free trade” and the impact these policies had on subsequent philosophers, policy-makers, and revolutionaries in the Atlantic world.

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