Historians often portray the Central American process toward independence as uneventful in comparison to the widely known independence movements in Mexico and South America, as if its population had not participated. Christophe Belaubre's very rich book attempts to show the vivid and active participation of the people of the Kingdom of Guatemala, not in independence per se, but in the diffusion of the Enlightenment and the ideas that would later lead to the creation of modern nations. His main objective is “to enter the minds and imagination of Central Americans” during the three decades preceding Napoleon's entrance into Spain (p. 13). His methodology consists of rebuilding vast social networks within the kingdom and, as the title suggests, in the Atlantic world. Doing so allows the author to bring the discussion beyond ideas and “heroes” of the Enlightenment and to delineate the wide...

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