South America

Unloading hides and skins from the Strathnaver (1931) at Tilbury Docks.
View full size imageUnloading hides and skins at Tilbury Docks. © NMM

South American countries exported agricultural produce and raw materials to Britain.
Most important were the frozen beef, animal hides, wool and wheat from the rich farmlands of Argentina, which were opened up by settlers from Europe in the second half of the 19th century.

Chile supplied wool, nitrates (used in the making of explosives), tin and copper. Brazil exported India rubber and coffee. Colombia was also a major coffee exporter. Peru's exports included guano - bird droppings used as a rich fertiliser - and copper. Peru, Chile and Bolivia exported Alpaca wool, obtained from a species of llama.