Rico which the United States "liberated" in 1898. The United States asserted its claim to suzerainty over the Western Hemisphere when it proclaimed the Monroe Doctrine in 1823, in effect saying that the United States would stay out of European affairs and expected that Europe would not involve itself in those of the Americas. Throughout the Americas the newly independent nations were intent on isolating themselves from the rest of the world and committed themselves to creating their own national institutions and cultures.
After liberation, Latin American countries had little contact with Spain. Relations with Europe were strongest in the southern cone countries of Argentina, Uruguay and Chile, with French and British trade and investment being most significant. In the northern countries and Central America relations with the United States were dominant. The first war brought the liquidation of French and British economic positions and political instability made Spanish involvement minimal. As Riordan Roett notes: "By the turn of the century, there was a sense among the Europeans that a standoff with Washington in (the Americas) would be a losing battle and costly in other areas of interaction." U.S. tutelage in Latin America was recognized and: "From the European perspective, it was more reasonable to recognize the emergence of a new power on the world's stage and to try to integrate it into the existing structure of world power."i
In Africa, the 19th century was one of European appropriation of territory for the purposes of national aggrandizement and the promise of economic gain, especially after the so-called "scramble for colonies" of 1885. By 1900 France, Germany, England and Belgium had absorbed almost all of Africa into their formal empires. Independence for most nations was not to be achieved until the post-WWII years.
After the end of the triangular trade of slaves from Africa for sugar and rum from the Americas for manufactured goods from England Atlantic trade relationships were characterized by: 1) growing protectionism to support national industrial development in Europe, North America and some of the Latin American countries, and 2) resource development related trade and capital movements which dominated North-South relations, as well as that between Canada and England.
One of the few historians to see transatlantic interaction as an important concept was J. B. Brebner whose "Trans Atlantic Triangle" celebrated the culturally and historically based relations between England, Canada and the United States. In Brebner's approach, the North Atlantic Triangle is not a structure of relationships that was imposed by government or by policy. At the center of his book are Canada and the United States. They are drawn together by location, proximity, culture, and history. But, he continues, the interplay between the two countries can not adequately be explained by these shared values - "the United States and Canada could not eliminate Great Britain from their courses of action, whether in the realm of ideas, like democracy, or of institutions, or of economic and political processes."ii In fact, he argues, "while it is rank heresy to say so to interested Americans, Britons, or Canadians, the whole apparatus of tariffs, quotas, and preferential duties among these nations, plus exclusions, diversions, and enhanced prices of goods which it has produced, has been far less important than the irresistible floods of goods which have flowed 'through, by, or over' those nationalistic locks, dams, and weirs."iii This notion of closer transatlantic relations being pursued by traders and