Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


Through the Traveler s Eyes: E.G. Squier’s Narratives and The Construction of Race in Honduras


Modern Languages & Literatures


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



Travel writing is a well-known product of the exploration and colonization of many regions within Honduras. Since its first sighting in the early 16th century, Spanish conquistadors, priests, explorers and royal officials created written reports of the geographical places they located and provided pre-racial classifications of the people they encountered in an effort to possess these lands and establish their superiority. By the 19th century, some of the motivations and discourses of travel writers remained the same, but the wave of explorers beginning in the 1840s was comprised mainly of American men who were in search of potential economic ventures. Among those travelers was the diplomat, E.G. Squier who would publish his travel log, Notes on Central America: Particularly the States of Honduras and San Salvador, and under the pseudonym of Samuel Bard, the novel Waikna: Adventures on the Mosquito Shore. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the type of racial typologies and demographic assessments that Squier provides in these two texts and their relation to natural history and various racial scientific ideas prevalent in the Americas, Europe and the United States during the 19th century. In addition, through a set of examples, I argue that Squier s modes and discourses of representation laid the foundation for what would become a nationalistic race during and after the Liberal Reform Period in Honduras. Squier's narratives would result in renewed conquest and civilizing projects, a greater endorsement for foreign immigration and legislature that clearly demonstrated a consciousness of race among Hondurans.

Conference Name

The International Society for Travel Writing Seventh Biennial Conference

Conference Location

Washington, DC

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