Greece, Uruguay and the British Informal Empire: From National Narratives to Global History

Published: Ιουλ 6, 2021
Greece Uruguay British colonialism Informal Empire history of globalization
Sakis Gekas
Camila Acosta

This article adopts a comparative global history approach to reflect on the histories of Greece and Uruguay through the prism of British informal imperial rule. It compares and contrasts the role and impact of the British informal empire on Greece and Uruguay’s economic integration into the globalising economy of the late nineteenth century. The aim of this article is twofold: to reflect on each country’s past to gain a better understanding of them, and to integrate the histories of Greece and Uruguay into the history of globalisation. To achieve this, we examine the place of each country in the globalising economy and the reasons why each country “performed” differently; Uruguay experienced some of the highest living standards in the region and the world while Greece was mired in wars and aggressive nationalist policies that lead to significant territorial (and therefore market) expansion at significant cost to state finances – a history that was marked by economic failures such as the default of 1893. Even that crisis, however, produced different outcomes depending on each country’s place in the globalising British informal empire. This article shows two different paths of integration into a globalising economy shaped by the British financial and commercial order – an order often imposed with consent and occasionally through coercion.

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Author Biographies
Sakis Gekas, York University
Sakis Gekas is Associate Professor at the Hellenic Heritage Foundation Chair in Modern Greek History at York University, Toronto. He has written on the Ionian Islands under British rule, on merchants and ports in the Mediterranean, and the economic history of nineteenth-century Greece.
Camila Acosta, Freie Universität Berlin

Camila Acosta obtained her honours BA at York University in Toronto, Canada, with a double-major in History and International Development Studies. During her undergraduate degree, she studied on exchange at the Universidad de la República in Montevideo, Uruguay, and worked toward integrating her two disciplines to arrive at a more interdisciplinary perspective. In 2018, she began Global History MA programme at the Free University in Berlin. 

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