A Place with None and a number of Frontiers: Changes and Continuities in Interethnic and Power Relations in 19th Century South-Western Amazon
ABSTRACT: This study presents a range of research into interethnic and power relations in the upper Madeira area in the southwest Amazon over the course of the 19th century. After providing a preliminary evaluation of the impact of both international treaties and internal political changes at the end of the 18th century, I proceed with my main purpose: to point out changes and continuities in the dynamics of interethnic relations and highlight their subjection to shifts in the power balance between private and public “agencies.” At the same time, I propose a deeper analysis of the role of intermediaries, who emerged as key actors in the development of these relations and were often prescribed by socio-political alliances and also undoubtedly by economic ones. My ultimate objective is to provide not only voice but agency to these intermediaries, who expressed the relationships between external and (multiple) internal frontiers.
Keywords: borders, multiple frontiers, upper Madeira, interethnic relations, power relations, intermediaries