Liverpool and South America, 1850–1930
in The empire in one city?
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In analysing Liverpool's business connections with South America in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, this chapter examines the two related themes. First, it contributes to the debate about Liverpool's relative commercial decline. Second, the chapter reviews the notion of 'gentlemanly capitalism'. During the half-century before 1914, Britain's invisible earnings from investment and business services were increasing even more rapidly, altering the balance of Britain's business interests. Liverpool's advantages in handling Britain's trade with South America were built on its role in the commodity trades of the mid nineteenth-century such as cotton, specialised wools, guano and nitrate. Later the port also became the major British importer of rubber. These interests were reflected in the intensifying regional specialisation of its merchant houses on the west coast and in the Amazon basin.

The empire in one city?

Liverpool’s inconvenient imperial past


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