We are preparing a series of pages on national clothing styles. We now have over 70 countries listed in our country section. Most have a linked page with at least some basic information on clothing in that country. We have developed detailed information for several mostly European counties and the United States. Many of the country pages, however, are just being sketched out at this time. So don't expect too much yet. We have a lot of other pages to do, so it will be a while before we can focus on all the countries on our list. Of course here we need your assisatnce. HBC does not have the capability to visit or even reserach all of these countries. Do let us know if you have any text or images to contribute about your country. We are interested in adding information about every different countries around the world. The current Euro-centric focus of HBC is because European readers have been the most willing to contribute information. We have tried to create a page for each country, even if only limited information is available. This provides a location for collecting information. We hope that our readers will contribute insights into fashion trends in their own countries. HBC has collected information on more than individual countries. The information on most of these countries still sketchy. We have, however, succeeded in collecting quite detailed infornation on America and several European countries. Our information on Latin American and the Caribbean, however, is relatively limited. Hopefully our Latin American readers will provide us some information to expand this section of HBC.
South and Central America were the home of the great Native American civilizations. The isolation of the Americas probably explains the failure of Native American civilization to make the transition to the Bronze Age. Despite their impressive achievements, they were stone-age peolples and easily overcome by the Conqistadores. Many Native American tribes were wiped out by the Conquistadores. European diseases to which isolated Native Americans had no immunity played a key role in the fall of their principal civilizations. The region developed as Portuguese and Spanish colonies in which the surviving Native American peoples were Christinized and exploited economically. Modern South Americans are an ethnic mix of Europeans, Native Americans, and Africans imported as slaves to replace decimated Native American populations. The ethnic mix varies from country to country. None of the countries in the region have achieved the success of either Europe and North America. Argentina came the closest, but faltered. Today Brazil is making considerable progress. The key question in studying the history of the region is why have these countries have not developed economically and socially so that they can provide their people a decent standard of living. Many Latin Americans influenced by Marxist thought blame the United State and to a lesser extent European economic exploitation. Such conclusions are not based on any real economic analysis, but rather a muddled mix of ideologically-nationalist kant, often effectively used by populist politicans. There is a general reluctance among academics and politicans in the region to more deeply investigate the region's economic failure. Regional annalysts not only fail to assess the reason for the disparity between North and Soith America, but why many poor Asian countries in the post-World War II era are making the transition to modern economies while Latin America is not. Here are the national histories we have compiled on South American countries.
Latin America for much of its history has been a economic and backwater. Although colonized by Europeans over a century before North America, the region lagged far behind North America. Spanish conquistadores had very different motivations than the religious desidents that landed at Plymouth. Spanish and Portuguese authorities in fact banned religious desidents from the colonies. Even after independence, average incomes were far below North America. No important medical, technical, and scientific developments have come from the region. This was in large measure the heritage of the Inquisition as well as poor educational systems and a reluctance to invest in the region's human capital. The economies are largely based on resource extraction rather than manufacturing and processing. Very high import duties prevented the development of world class companies. Some countries (especially Argentina and Uruguay) in the early 20th century looked like they were preparing to make the transition to a modern developed ecomomies. Populist politicans making commitments to labor unions and other groups that the country's nascent developing economies could not support. The result was economic stagnation from which the countries have yet to emerge. Communist economic experiments in other countries (Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela) have proven even more damaging, but continued to be persued for ideological and political reasons. There is widespread sympathy in Latin America and a general failure to assess their ecoconomc history dispationately. Free market economics first attempted in Chile have proven remarakably successful and several countries (Brazil, Chile, and Colombia) have achieved notable ecomomic progress. A major problem in the area continues to be corruption and drug traficking, problem affecting several countries, including Mexico.
The Caribbean is a very diverse area. It is often described as part of Lastin America, but in fact many of the islands are former British colonies. European countries began colonizing the islands at a very early point of the European maritime outreach. The first colony was Santo Domingo followed by Cuba and Purto Rico. The Spanish attempted to enslave the Native American peoples, but mistreatment and disease essentially wiped out the Native Americans on most of the islands. The islands were of relatively minor importance until sugar emerged as a major crop. Slaves were brought in from Africa and Africans now constitute the bulk of the population on many islands. The Caribbean thus became an important cog in the Atlantic slave trade. Sugar made the islands so valuable that they becane prizes in the wars waged by the great maritime powers (Britain, France, the Netherlands, and Spain). The bulk of the islands are found on the perifery of the Caribbean. The major islands are the Greater Antilles (Cuba, Santo Domingo, Jamaica, and Puero Rico). The islands and their relatively small white populations proved easy targets for raiding naval forces. Even after the decline of Spanish naval power, Spain held on to Cuba, Dominican Republic, and Purto Rico becuse of the relative large populations. Some od the islands today are relatively prosepous, benefitting from industries like tourism and offshore banking. Other islands are very poor (Cuba, Haiti, and Jamaica).
We have very little information on Barbados at this time. Barbados is the most easterly of the Catibbean islands, ctually located outsude the Caribbean. Barbados was the first British colony in the Caribbean and is one of the more traditional former British colonies in the Caribbean. We have begun to work on Barbadian history, byt do not yet have a separate pagge. We do have a page on Barbadian schools.
We have developed a basic history of Cuba. We do not have much informstion on boys' clpthing until the 20th century. We note many Cuban boys in the late 19th century wearing the kind of white shirt and pants common throughout the Spanish speaking Caribbean and Mexico. More afflient boys in the cities wore Spanish styled clothing. After independence, the United states was more of a fashion influence, we even see boys wearing knickers. Under Spain, Cuba was an economic and social backwater. After independence, Cuba made a great deal of economic progress, fueled in part through American investment and trade. Cuba developed one of the most prosperous middle classes in Latin America. Percapita income was very high by Latin American standards--something Cuban authorities do not like to mention. While high, income was unevely distributed. Rural agricultural labors, often of African duscent, did not participate in Cuba's prosperity. As a result of the prosperity, we note images of quite well dressed Cuban childrem especially in the cities. This changed after Castro seized power (1959). The Revolution reduced the disparities in Cuban society, essentially by majing everyone poor. Percapita incomes today are among the lowest in Latin America. The poverty in Cuba since the Revolution has significantly affected fashion and clothing as a result of the very limited buying power of the average Cuban. Clothing is rationed. Cuba is the only contry in Latin America which rations clothing and food. Few Cuban parents can afford to dress themselves or their children well. The Government intoduced uniforms for Cuban schoolwear.
Dominica is a small island in the Lesser Atilles located between Guadelpe and Martinique. It is the most mountainous island in the Caribbean. Rather than inviting beaches, this volcanic island in many places virtually erupts straight out of the sea forming preciptous cliffs. This aided the natives in resisting the Europeans. It also provided refuges for runaway slaves. And it reuced the land area that could be converted to plantation sugar culture. This meant that fewer Europeans were attracted go the island. We do not yet have a Dominica page. We have begun to work on Dominican history and have a page on slavery.
The Dominican Republic is the eastern part of Santo Domingo. The history of Santo Domingo was the sanme until the colonia era. Santo Domingo was the first Spanisgh colony in the New Wiorld. Spanish brutality and disease rapidly desimated the Native American population. African slaves were introduced as labor. Gradually sugar emerged as the primary crop. The Spanish managed to retain control in the west of after the slave rebellions in the west and the establishment of Haiti (late-18th century). We do not yet have a page on the Dominican Republic. We do have a page on Dominican history. We also have, however, a page on Dominican schoolwear.
Guadeloupe is one of the two principal French Carbbean islands in the Caribbean. It is one of the Leeward islands. It was discovered by Columbus (1493). Given the number of islands, many Caribbean islands were no colonized by Spain or settld only minimally. Spain abandined the island as unprofitable (1604). The French settled the island (1635) and it became enebsely popular for plabtation sugar agricukture, although the regged erraine limited th arable land. Vritain contested possession od the island wuth France until the Congress of Vienna settked many issues after the final defeat of Napoleon (1815).
Haiti shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic, one of the major Caribbean islands. Haiti is the western one-third of the island and is French speaking rather than Spanish like the Dominican Republic. It was in the 18th century the most valuable colony in the Caribbean because of the sugar profuction based on plantations and slave labor. The Soanish had descimated the Native American population so both Spanish and French officials imported African slaves. The apauling conditions combined with the French revolution resulted in a slave revolt and eventual independendence. We have developed some historical background. The world comminity, however, for many years refused to recognize Haiti. This isolation and incompetent rule has left Haiti the poorest country in the America. Economic failure has led to a range of ecological problems, including deforestation and overfishing. We have not yet developed much information on Haitian boys clothing. Trends seem similar to the Dominican Republic. We see boys in the early-20th century wearing the kind of common compesino clothing--white or light-colored shirts and long pants. Both the climate and poverty have affected boys clothing. Boys now wear the same basic styles of casual clothes worn in the United States, although many children can not aford shoes. HNC has a page on Haitian education.
Martinique in the Lesser Antilles is located located in the Leeward (Windward) Islands, north of St. Lucia and south of Dominica. There are beautiful white sand beaches in the south. Rain forests and black sand beaches are found in the north. The interior of the island is rugged mountainous terraine. Martinique. It is one of the two principal French Caribbean islands. Martinique like many Caribbean islands is of volcanic origins. Yje island is dominated by Mount Pelée. Martinique's first inhabitants foe which much was known were the Arawaks island hoping north from South America. Most were killed by an eruption of Mount Pelee (295 AD). Gradually the Arawaks returned followed by the more war-like Caribs, although scholars debate the origins and nature of the of the Caribs. Columbus discovered Martinque (1502). The Spanish were, hoever, unable to settle all the many Caribbean islands, And before the development of plantation sugar agriculture, the settlmt of many small islands was not economic. Esnanbuc oversaw French settlement (1635). Guadeloupe and Martinie were settled at the same time. Possessions was contested by the British. British possesion of Dominica separated Martinique frpm the other French island, Guadeloupe. The sugar culture developed by the Dutch in Brazil was introduced in Martinique (1654). Sugar made Martiniue a very valuable possession for France. It soon became the principal crop with exports of both sugar and rum. Captive Africans had to be brought into work as slaves on the plantations. Colonists living on the island have been subject to earthquakes, hurricanes, tidal waves, and volano eruptions. Virtually the entire population of Fort de France was killed by the eruption pf Pelée--30,000 people were killed (1902). Martinique is today an overseas department of France. It has an intriguing mix of Creole, African, French and Indian cultures. The deep roots of the Creole culture come directly from many Africans imported to work the sugar plantations. Tourism flourishes on Martinique and hs become the major industry. The beaches climte and Crole culture attract hundreds of thousands of tourists and a popular stop for cruise ships.
The Netherlands was too small to generate the naval power to gain and maintain possession of the more valuable Caribbean islands that supported sugar plantations. It was able to retain control of several islands, pruimarily the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonine, and Curaçao) off the cost of western Venezuela. Unlike the image of lush tropical foliage. These islands are rather arid. The Dutch colonised the islands (17th century). The poor agricuture is probably why the larger colonial islands did not suze the islands from the Dutch. The islands became the center of the Caribbean slave trade, Curaçao in particulasr was hard hit by the abolition of slavery (1863). Curaçao became prosperous in the early-20th century when refieries were built there to service the oil discovered in Venezuela. Oil companies were creluctant to build the refineries in Venezuela. Since World II, new tourist and banking industries have developed. The islands were earlier known as the Dutch West Indies (until 1954). Some of the individuals islands have seceded from the frderation and have moved toward independence. The population speak Dutch, Papiamento, and English.
Puerto Rico was one of the first Spanish colonies in the New World. The Spanish enslaved the Native American population they found on the island abnd through midstreatment they quickly died out. The Spanish than began importing Black Africans to work as slaves. Puerto Rico and Cuba were the last two Spanosh colonies. The United States liberated both islands in the Spanish American War (1898). Puerto Rico became an American Commonwealth. As a result Puerto Rican has been influenced by both Spain And the United States which combined with the Caribbean climate are the principal fashion influences. We have at this time very limited information on Puerto Rico. These Puerto Rican brothers and their sister look to have been photographed during World war II. The clothes look rather American to HBC. Three of the children were reportedly named Josefina, Poldo, and Frank. Note that the boys wear long pants rather than knickers. Even though America was an important fashion influence, we believe that because of climate, knickers were not commonly worn in Puerto Rico. This looks to be an affluent family photographed in the garden of their home. The boys have rather modern looking suits while the gir has a rather 1930s looking dress. Our information on Puerto Rico is very limited.
We do not yet have a St. Lucia page. We do have a St. Lucia history page.
We have begun to build some basic information about Trinidad-Tabago. The larger island, Trinidad, is the largest island of the Lesser Antiles. It is located just off the eastern coast of Venezuela. We have a page on Tridadian history. Unfortunaterly Trnindad readers have not yet provided us information on their country. As part of the British Empire, slaves were emancipated (1830s). The did not prosper and most of the liberated slaves lived in poverty. The native American population perished in the early colonial period. Much of the population is decended from Aftican slaves. There is also a small populstion of Asians imported as indentured laborers. The discovery of oil has provided funds for economic development. An English reader provides us some information during the 1960s. He writes, "... my little brother had a friend from Trinadad at his school. He was born there and had a brother. I normally only saw the Trinadian brothers in school uniform or playclothes like ours but in the Summer holidays they'd be playing cricket in the park with their Dad and then they's be wearing! really brightly coloured shirts with exotic patterns on them (the Dad too!) which were probably from Trinadad as you rarely saw such bright and exotic shirts for sale in England back then. We visited Trinidad in 2000 and saw the children mostly wearing school uniforms. After school, however, we did not see a lot of exotic pattern shirts. As far as we could tell, Trnidadian children had for the most part adopted standard American casual wear.
The Virgin Islands are small islands located in the north of the Lesser Antilles, at the northeastern corner of the Caribbean island arc. They are some of the eastern or Leeward Islands. The Islands are an unincorporated territory of the United States. The major islands are St. Croix, St. John, and St. Thomas. The Virgin Passage separates the U.S. Virgin Islands from the "Passage Islands" or sometimes called the Spanish Virgin Islands (Vieques and Culebra). They are also U.S. territory but part of Puerto Rico. The location along the Anegada Passage means that they border a key shipping lane leadig to and from the Panama Canal. Charlotte Amalie on Saint Thomas is one of the best natural deepwater harbors in the Caribbean. Native American residents of the Virgin Islands included the Ciboney, Arawaks, and Caribs. Columbus sighted the Islands and was impressed with their beauty (1493). He named them the Virgins in honor of St. Ursula and her 11,000 virgins. The Native Americans cntibued to inhabit the Islands through much of the 16th century. Europeans reported the presene of Native Americans as late as 1585, but the islands were eventually abanonded. It is unclear just why, Slave raiders from nearby Puerto Rico may have been the reason. The French next acquired the Islands, but the Danish West Indian Company purchased St. Croix from the French (1733). The three islands became known as the Danish West Indies. The Virgin Islands archipelago were divided into two territorial units, one English and the other Danish (17th century). Sugarcane becane the main crop produced by slave labor The United States purchased the Danish Virgin Islands during World War I (1917). The primary interest was the defense of the Panama Canal and the possibility that Germny might invade Denmark or otherwise acquire the islands. The Danes insisted on payment in gold. The Danish West Indies thus became the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Islands have developed an economy based primarily on tourism. The Islands are seen as vacation paradises with beautuful white sand beaches and crystal clear water. Deep-sea fishing is a popular attraction.
Central America is a political contruct. Geographically it is part of North America. Culturally, Central America and Mexico are destinct from the rest of North America. Central America and Mexico are former Spanish colonies, with the exception of Belize. Thus the culture is predominately Hispanic, but because of the large Native American populations in most of the counties, it is a hybrid Hispanic-Native American culture. North America on the other evolved from former English colonies. And with the exception of Quebec, the culture is predominately English with the admixture of mostly other European countries and cultures. There area a range of cultural differences, but among them is a Hispanic legal structure that has not yet demonstrated the capability of providing the legal structure for a modern, productive capitalist economy. There are many similarities througout the region, because of climate and similasr cultural elements. Each country, however, has its own decinct character because of largely political differences. Panama is dominated by the Canal. Costa Rica has the most European population. Nicaragua has a political culture that has been truncated by the Sandinistas and Communist revolutionary ideology. El Salvador is the most populace country in the region and was ebgulfed in a bitter civil war. Guatemala has a very large Native American population. Mexico is the largest and dominant country in the region. In the early colonial period, Mexico attempted to gain control of Central America. The country's developent has been significantly impacted by the Revolution which its socialist ideology. As a result, Mexico like much of Central America has been unable to construct a modern economy creating well paying jobs for its people. All the countries are predominately Catholic culturally, but observence is in many cases minimally. Mexicio in particulasr has placed significant limits on the Church.
South America is the continent with the nost extrme climatic variations, from tropical rain forests in the north to winswept, cold Tierra del Fuego in the south. And in between is the vast Amazonian basin, the towering Andes, the Chaco, Pampas and Atacama desert. Such diversity of course affects clothing. The culture of the region is dominated by Native Americans and the Portugese-Spanish colonial era. The cultural mix and more modern influences varied from country to country. The Catholic Churech was a common cultural minfluence. A major factor has been the ecomomic failure of most of the South American countries resulting in poverty which meant that South Americans did not have the disposal income permitting large expendictures for clothing. Here the cause was the colonial system was based on explotation of Native Americans. This basic dymamic was compounded by the chaotic politics after independemce through much of the 19th century and early-and mid-19th century. Desptinctive styles were observable in the various countries through the mid-20th century, although the urban elites dressed basically alike, following European fashiion trends. The infatuation of elites with socialism as the romance of communist Revolution caused further problems. A major problem has been a very weak public education system. Some countries had school uniforms. By the end of the 20th century, democracy combined with free-market capitalist reforms had significantly increased personal income in several countries, most importantly Brazil. The dominant styles throughout the region are American-style casual fashions, the same fashions that have become standard throughout Europe.
Latin America is one of the several world regions and while there are many similarities with the countries south of the Rio Grande, there are enormous difference from country to country. There has been less diversity in social thought. From the beginning of my study of the region as a young man, I was struck by the dichotomy betweem Nort America and Latin America. Both regions have enormous natural resources and came to be dominated by Europen powers at about the same time (actually Latin America) a century earlier. I wondered why North America developed so much more rapidly and successfully than South America. The differences were not as apparent in the 19th century. For a time it seemed like revolutionary movements with suceeded in achieving independence would create democratic republics that could achieve the same successes reported in America and Canada to the north. The Mexican-American War showed that the two republics were faroly evenly matched. The American victory was largely due to superior military leadership. The hopes of the liberal democrats who led the Latin American revolutions were dashed as military coups led to insability and a landed aristocracy resisted social reforms. More recently we see Argentina and Uruguay, two coutries on the cusp of achieving economic development fail. And than after World War II we note the Asian Tigers achieve impresive development while Latin Anmerica languashed and large numbers of its peoplke attemp to migrate to North America. Today the implementation of free market ideas has become to make a difference in the regions lsrgest country--Brazil. Most countries, however, report little social progress. And many countrie (Bolivia, Cuba, Edcuador, Nicaraga, and Venezuela) seem intent on pursuing economic and political models that have failed whereever they have been tried. Amnd one has to ask whu so many Latin Amnericans look so fondly on Cuba, a disaterous economic failure where people are no allowed basic democratic freedoms. It is thus useful to look at some of the major individuals who have influence social thought in the region.
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