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Title: The British role in Argentine ranching modernisation and livestock biotechnology, 1830-1950
Author: Butler, M. E. S.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2011
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Argentina’s export-led growth from the mid-nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century required the expansion and diversification of the rural economy. Task-specific breeds of sheep, cattle, and horses were introduced from Western Europe, most especially Britain, to upgrade native herds in order to realize the productivity gains and quality standards necessary to compete in the Atlantic Economy. Argentina’s competitors did the same. Scholars have noted the initial role of British ‘pioneers’ in modernizing Argentine ranching, but have done little to trace and explicate the sustained role of Britons in this nearly century-long process of biotechnology transfer. The prolonged search, acquisition, and experimentation with breeds suited to Argentina’s productive contexts and overseas markets involved Argentine-British collaboration. Most Argentine estancieros saw Britain’s husbandry and livestock breeds as the pinnacle of modern, scientific practice. Argentines remained front and centre, yet British agency was critical to pathways and outcomes. British-owned estancias and land companies only grew apace through WWI and were biotechnologically influential. British managers also became commonplace in elite Argentine-owned establishments. Livestock agents and breeders in Britain (and Australasia) adroitly promoted and sold animals in Argentina. British breeds such as Lincoln Longwool sheep and Shorthorn cattle were dominant by 1900. These biotechnologies were crucial to export performance. The contribution of Britons and Anglo-Argentines in organizational innovations is analyzed. With their participation, agricultural societies, competitive livestock shows, pedigree registries, and trade periodicals matured in Argentina. In this regard, the activities of Wilfrid Latham, Sir Herbert Gibson and Miguel Alfredo Martínez de Hoz, amongst others, serve as case studies. Breeder organizations interacted constructively with their overseas analogues. Cultural interchange was commensurate with economic activity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available