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Title: Telecommunications and Colonial Rivalry: European Telegraph Cables to the Canary Islands and Northwest Africa, 1883-1914
Authors: Márquez Quevedo, Javier Octavio 
UNESCO Clasification: 55 Historia
Keywords: Telegraph
Submarine Cables
Atlantic Ocean
Canary Islands, et al
Issue Date: 2010
Journal: Historical Social Research/Historische Sozialforschung 
Abstract: "Telekommunikation und kolonialer Wettstreit: Europaische Tele-graphenkabel zu den Kanarischen Inseln und nach Nordwestafrika, 1883-1914" The first submarine telegraphic cable which linked the Canary Islands with the Spanish mainland was inaugurated in 1883. After only one year, the cable reached Senegal, and a decade later, the islands were already connected to Brazil. At a first stage the network was exploited by prestigious English and French companies which had been in charge of its construction and its technological aspects.Beyond the local socioeconomic significance this first telegraph cable had for the local society, the Canary Islands, given their geostrategical situation, became a stage for the rivalry between the European countries as regards the colonisation of Africa. Part of the communications with Northwest Africa, and with South America, had a necessary intermediate landing site on the islands. Issues regarding the ownership of the network, the control of its functioning or the possibility of its interruption were vital for the imperialist projects of Western powers in their open competition with each other. Telegraph cables are a good example of the degree of intervention to which this geographical area was subjected by industrial capitalist countries.This article analyses the way in which this telecommunications system influenced the geopolitical situation of the Canary Islands and their African hinter-land. Also, it deals with the hidden fights between the European powers in their quest to hold control of this system, as well as the resulting pressure the Spanish government experienced in the pre-First World War years.
ISSN: 0172-6404
Source: Historical Social Research-Historische Sozialforschung [ISSN 0172-6404], v. 35 (1), p. 108-124, (2010)
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