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This article examines the technological origins and changes of the Colombian fique henequen industry throughout the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

These individuals looked mainly at Mexico. This history challenges the traditional assumption that Latin American countries generally developed caretero technological dependence on the North Atlantic nations.

Mid-nineteenth-century Mexican inventions turned out to be particularly useful to Colombians seeking to foster small productive units in rural areas. Attempts to introduce sophisticated, expensive technologies cafeteo futile.

O33, N16, N56, N Fique, henequen, natural cafeteo, textile industry, technology, patents, Mexico, Latin American history. Some Colombian political and intellectual leaders came to conclude that, as in the case of government systems and institutions, the productive structure of a nation was grounded in specific geographical, political, social, and cultural traits. However, although the North Atlantic was actively producing innovative know-how and technologies to mechanize agricultural and industrial production, the process of technology transfer from the north was not straightforward.

Technological hardware was scarcely introduced and adopted in Colombia until the s when, aided by a few rail lines connecting major productive centers with the Magdalena River, which was the sole trade artery flowing into the Atlantic during the nineteenth and most of the twentieth centuries.

Local entrepreneurs began a gradual process of mechanization of production in regions like Antioquia. From a historical perspective, and by examining a variety of primary data like statistics, laws, oftcial reports, newspaper articles, and travelogues, this article examines the origins and technological changes of the Colombian fique industry through the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

CAFETERO – Definition and synonyms of cafetero in the Spanish dictionary

despeegue These individuals looked primarily at Mexico. This article challenges traditional assumptions that identify the North Atlantic as the quintessential provider of models for Colombia and Latin America in general. The Colombian fique industry comprised both the dsepegue and exploitation of fique, and the manufacture of goods out of its fiber.

Originally from tropical America, the Colombian fique furcraea and the Mexican henequen agave are essentially the same plants. Closely related, but taxonomically different, they yield a similar stiff fiber. Primarily known as fiquecabuyaand pita in Colombia, this thread was commonly used to handcraft a wide variety of items like rope, coarse clothes, shoes, baskets, shoulder bags, blankets, and hats.

During the second half of the nineteenth and first half of the twentieth centuries, some Latin American countries looked to develop a textile industry by exploiting this filament and focused on growing selected plant genera.

During the first half of the twentieth century, both growing fique and handcrafting cabuya goods became the primary economic activity of many smallholder and artisan cafeetro in rural Colombia.

In fact, this expansion responded to the successful adoption and local assimilation of affordable and suitable technologies that had been inspired primarily by Mexican models since the s.

Despeguw three despeguee of technologies were key to this industry defibering machines and steam pumps to prepare the fiber as raw material, and looms to manufacture fique productsthis article focuses on one specific technology transfer: However, older Mexican inventions turned out to be particularly useful to Colombians seeking to foster small productive units in rural areas.

colonizacion antioqeña y despegue cafetero by Maria Santos Saenz on Prezi

He examined and drew appropriate models to adapt dewpegue Colombian technologies and expertise from neighboring countries like Mexico, nations that the historiography on business and economic history have traditionally considered as consumers rather than producers of useful knowledge and technology.

The defibering machines developed in Mexico during the nineteenth century would revolutionize the fique industry in Colombia decades later. During the last two decades of the nineteenth century, the popularization of this and other similar machines contributed to the caftero and progress of the henequen industry in Mexico, cafetrro later to the adoption and development of industries alike in regions producing similar fibers within the Americas, like Colombia.

Based on the example of Mexico during the s, several Colombian intellectuals, entrepreneurs and politicians regarded henequen and fiber plants alike as an opportunity to develop an export commodity, rather than a product to supply national market needs in Colombia. During the s, oftcial documents, newspaper articles, private correspondence and personal writings hinted that producing natural fibers like henequen in Colombia would promote as much economic growth as this industry had developed in countries like Mexico.


The Colombian priest Federico Cornelio Aguilar, who dedicated several deepegue of study to despeguw comparative analysis of Colombia against the rest of the Latin American countries, stated in that Colombia had great potential to develop the fique industry and that the quality of its fiber was better than the Mexican henequen.

Towards the late s, other Colombian intellectuals and statesmen began to perceive the Mexican economy and particularly its henequen industry as a model for establishing the Colombian domestic fique production. They reported that the Desegue henequen industry could be a model for stimulating the cultivation of ccafetero plants like fique and its industrial exploitation cafetwro Colombia Zamosc, Restrepo Tirado,p. Within Colombia, interest in this economic sector also grew.

In Januarynom de plume A. It makes fabrics that have the shine and softness of silk, and that would probably be more valuable than fique. The increasing interest in fiber plants and the henequen industry in general was also disseminated through specialized periodicals in Colombia.

The renowned Colombian naturalist cadetero agronomist Juan de Dios Carrasquilla Lema had also looked at Mexico for appropriate models to Colombia. Founder of the Colombian periodical El AgricultorCarrasquilla dedicated a full issue in to promoting the henequen industry in Colombia, a crop he believed would bring to Colombia export prospects as wide as neighboring countries were enjoying Carrasquilla Lema, Aiming to promote this industry in Colombia, El Agricultor continued to publish articles examining the henequen industry in countries like Mexico, El Salvador, and Cuba throughout the s Zamosc, During the third quarter of the nineteenth century, the industrialization of fiber plants was capturing the attention of many Colombians, and the experience of Mexico became an essential reference due to its traditions and successful development.

Based on his analyses and on Professor D. Despite isolated efforts to foster it, drspegue sansevieria industry did not develop in Colombia.

Plantations for fique rather than any other similar plant would prevail. The circulation of printed materials detailing foreign and local crop experimentation was critical to this end. Colombian entrepreneurs ddspegue also begun to regard fique as a potential agent for encouraging modern, domestic manufactures rather than an export commodity, as was generally advised by Colombian travelers and experts during the s and s.

At the turn of the century, however, the production of xespegue twine and goods remained rudimentary in Colombia, with no significant technological change.

Meaning of “cafetero” in the Spanish dictionary

Pre-Columbian tools and devices would continue to be used in this industry during the early twentieth century, when innovative machinery would begin to displace traditional devices, boosting production and standards of living for many Colombian smallholding and artisan families.

Some of them sought to respond to specific objectives and industrial interests like the development of the textile industry in Colombia. Aiming to offer appropriate information to Colombians looking to establish textile plantations and factories, this book embodied an effort to synthesize knowledge produced in these fields during the last decades. These workshops and foundries would support the Colombian fique industry process of technology transfer.

However, his name epitomizes the multifaceted trajectory of distinctive self-made Colombians Mayor Mora, While conducting studies of the U. To him, the Colombian fique industry was an infant that needed to learn from mature industries-like that of Mexico-to grow well. Looking to providing appropriate machinery to generally poor fique growers in Colombia, some Colombian travelers and diplomats would report the benefits of similar industries in neighboring countries.

The carrizo was a sturdy wooden stick with a Y-shaped slot at the top through which fique leaves were forced to pass, removing the pulp and yielding the fiber Zamosc, Artisans also manufactured carrizos that were sold at local markets.

However, and despite minor modifications, the carrizo continued to resemble an archaic tool with modest productive margins. To establish a small or medium scale industry, however, the incorporation of a more eftcient device was deemed necessary. Since the late nineteenth century, many Colombians had devoted themselves to the study of the fundamental principles of defibering and the tools that could be adopted in Colombia.

Their primary purpose was to create a machine able to fulfill the particular needs of local fique producers. However, little is unknown about this pioneering machine, and no evidence suggests that it was adopted and marketed successfully Mayor Mora, By then, the Colombian coffee industry had depended heavily on jute sacks that were imported from England. For this and portability reasons, this machine was well received by Colombian farmers. The success of the Colombian fique industry depended mostly on an effective popularization of new technologies.

Later, for his dedication and contributions to the fique industry in Colombia, and especially for his study called El fique.


Striving to establish large-scale fique plantations and to mechanize fique extraction during the late s, some Colombians sought to adapt North Atlantic technologies like steam and hydraulic machines that were used to exploit fiber crops in East Africa, the Philippines, and Mexico M. However, although these machines were highly productive, they would exceed both the cost and dimensions suitable in Colombia, where fique production provided a livelihood to low-income, rural families.

Moreover, transportation costs were often prohibitive in Colombia due to its inadequate internal transport system Safford, ; Zamosc, Thus, to expand the fique industry in Colombia, growers required equally revolutionary and highly productive machinery, but affordable and lightweight Zamosc, He also fafetero his invention as follows: Some of them were Antonio J. Contrastes, New York, Appleton,pp.

Since the late nineteenth century, the fique industry had drawn the attention of several Colombian politicians, intellectuals, and businesspeople who assumed that despfgue higher the production and exports of coffee, the higher the demand for sacks for its packaging. The Colombian fique industry was particularly responsive to domestic demand, mainly from coffee producers and traders.

Hence procuring them in a predominantly rural country such as Colombia would stimulate smallholding and domestic manufacturing.

By the early s, the Colombian coffee industry had expanded dramatically, creating an unprecedented demand for sacks Figure 3. Cabuya sacks were also demanded by several different agricultural and mining industries to pack articles despegie panela brown sugar loafgrains, tubers, coal, and salt Secretaria de Agricultura y Fomento de Antioquia, To supply the growing demand for cabuya goods in Colombia, expanding the fique cultivated area and introducing new technologies for processing it dsepegue paramount.

Some trade associations and individual efforts were critical to these ends. Along with coffee exports, fique plantations and manufactures of cabuya goods grew during the first decades of the twentieth century.

The National Federation of Coffee Growers of Colombia, which was established inplayed a crucial role in the expansion of the Colombian fique industry. Since then, fique and coffee production interlocked as never before-so much so that traditional coffee producing regions also became the leading producers of fique and cabuya sacks in Colombia.

Seeking to foster the industrial exploitation of fique and its derivatives, some influential Colombians had encouraged practical adaptations and assimilation of foreign technology since the s. Campuzano- Hoyos, This interest led to a process of technological change through which devices like mechanical scrapers and modern defibering machines displaced indigenous tools like the carrizo. Colombia had low levels of invention and patent registration during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries Mayor Mora, At least five defibering machines, as well as three spinning devices and processes, were patented in Colombia during the s Mayor Mora, Mexican technologies and know-how mostly inspired his developments after years of fieldwork in depegue Colombian and foreign fique and henequen plantations.

This change unfolded as a process of technology transfer during the early decades of the twentieth century. While some Colombian and caretero inventors successfully adopted, created and commercialized new technologies, cafwtero engineers assimilated the necessary expertise to build, repair and improve technical hardware in regional workshops beginning in the s.

This process, then, stimulated local creativity, invention, and innovation towards the expansion of the Colombian fique industry. In eespegue, by modern national technology was available to expand the fique industry in Colombia.

Although the expansion of technological change was slow in Colombia during the first decades of the twentieth century, a growing pattern of inventions despevue improvements of specialized hardware unfolded during the s.

Santander, however, was by far the most despsgue department.

Página 34 – Econoìmica Cafetera No. 29

Most of this production was used to provide fique sacks to the Colombian coffee industry. During the s and s cabuya sacks displaced jute packaging, which was usually imported to Colombia from South Asia via the U. In fact, long before the famous Juan Valdez emblem was created infique sacks had become an exclusive trademark of Colombian coffee Campuzano-Hoyos, Displacing artisanal livelihoods with mechanization mostly the cabuya-sack making processesthe foundation of this and similar companies throughout the country would change the Colombian fique industry dramatically Campuzano-Hoyos, Directly linked to the expansion of the Colombian coffee industry because of its demand for sacks, the Colombian fique industry boomed during the first decades of the twentieth century.

They sought to develop the Colombian textile industry-in which fique had become an essential raw material-by analyzing and attempting to adapt know-how from Latin American countries chiefly.