This tome contains 37 papers presented at the Fifth Congress of Colombian History, which took place in Armenia (Department of Quindío) from July 15 to July 19, 1985. Four of the papers were by foreign Colombianists: Roland Anrup on a Tolima coffee plantation; David Bushnell on Colombia’s twentieth century; James Henderson on Laureano Gómez’s view of history; and Joanne Rappaport on the chiefdoms of the Páez. The remaining 33 were by Colombian scholars.
This is, in fact, a pithy collection of essays which survey various aspects of Colombian history from prehistory to the immediate past. Space does not permit a detailed examination of each, but, even after making allowance for an unevenness of quality, inevitable in such a collection, the majority are rewarding to the reader, and a baker’s dozen, noteworthy.
Of particular interest are Jorge Valderrama V. (Universidad de Antioquia) on Cartagena de Indias and European economic expansion, 1535-1741; Jorge O. Melo (Universidad del Valle) on the career of the creole Francisco Antonio Moreno y Escandón; David Moreno C. (Universidad Nacional de Colombia) on Gaitanismo and the agrarian problem in the 1930s; Carlos M. Ortiz S. (Universidad del Quindío) on the Quindío from settlement to the Violencia; Javier Guerrero B. (Universidad Pedagógica y Tecnológica de Colombia) on the economy of emerald mining and the Violencia; Guido Barona B. (Universidad del Cauca) treating analyses of colonial Colombian mining; Humberto Vélez R. (Universidad del Valle) on the Quinquenio, politics and capitalism, 1904-1909; Darío Betancourt on the “pájaros” of the 1950s and the guerrillas of the northern Cauca Valley; Mylene Sauloy’s history of narcotraffic and its relationship to political power; Magdala María Velásquez T. (Universidad Nacional, Medellín) on historic aspects of women’s status in Colombia; Raúl Alberto Domínguez on the language of fashion in 1916; and finally, Armando Espinosa B. (Ingeominas, Cali) on the discovery and metallurgy of platinum.
What becomes clear, after reading these and the other essays—if this is a viable sample—is that Colombia is more and more developing a cadre of professional historians. Such a development can only be welcomed, and the Universidad del Quindío, led by Carlos Miguel Ortiz S., praised, for making these papers available.