In The Mediterranean and the World of the Mediterranean in the Age of Philip II (University of California Press, 1996), Fernand Braudel showed that the sea connected, rather than separated, the lands and peoples that surrounded it. Braudel’s powerful image could easily be applied to the Andean cordillera between Argentina and Chile; according to the contributors to this book, this imposing mountain range united, rather than divided, the two nations. Indeed, the artificial border delineated in the nineteenth century had little meaning for the peoples living on either side. Only in the middle of the twentieth century did these states implement policies that first curtailed, then severed, a long-lasting relationship based upon a common precolumbian past, trade, investment, migration, and a sense of local identity that was more Chilean than Argentine.

The book’s main thesis is that Argentina’s control of the border areas...

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