Most historical and sociological studies of association football in South America assume that the game was first played, and became popular, as a result of British informal empire in the region between 1830 and 1914. This article shows that historians of British informal empire in South America, in contrast, have never found evidence of such a link. It demonstrates that the conventional belief in a link between football and informal empire rests on assertion rather than evidence, and on a very narrow source base of English-language newspapers and case studies drawn from only two countries, Brazil and Argentina. It reviews some of the recent South American historiography on the origins of football, and offers some conclusions for future research directions.
- South America
- Charles Miller