[Barranquilla, San Miguel, and other locations in Colombia: ca. 1940s].  leaves, illustrated with 577 black-and-white photographs in mounting corners, with a handful loose. Some photographs captioned in pencil on the verso. Large oblong folio. Contemporary patterned black cloth, string tied. Extremities worn, corners a bit chipped, minor soiling to covers. Photographs largely bright with good contrast, with a handful of examples with portions of the glassine guards adhered to the images. Very good. Item #3663
A large and important collection of photographs documenting a massive pipeline project in Colombia in the first half of the 20th century. Some of the trucks in the photographs are painted on the doors, "SAGOC," indicating the project was owned and operated by the South American Gulf Oil Company (ca. 1918-1974), a subsidiary of Gulf Oil with a particular focus on extracting oil from Colombia. Vast numbers of the photographs capture the process of installing a pipeline, including the clearing and scoring of land the digging of trenches by tractors and bulldozers, the pipe being laid into the mountainous countryside, supply trucks driving down dirt roads, and more. There are also numerous pictures also capture the makeshift structures of the work camps constructed along the way, images of the employees of SAGOC at work and play, shots of the landscapes, and much more. A few of the images are captioned in pencil on the verso, identifying locations such as San Miguel, the "Cototuma River" [i.e., Catatumbo], and Reiper (or perhaps Reiker) Pass. Many of the photographs are stamped on the verso with the studio mark of FotoHeumann in Barranquilla. Other locations include the Bayer Pharmaceuticals building, the Union Church, aircraft at a rural, and likely riverside airport, and numerous other businesses lining the downtown streets of Barranquilla or San Miguel or other cities in Colombia.
Woven amongst the hundreds of photographs are numerous scenes of indigenous Colombians, indigenous farms and thatched-roof living spaces, market and street scenes, images capturing locals near the river or leading teams of pack animals down dirt roads (presumably as hired help for SAGOC), and others. SAGOC and other energy producers had a particularly harsh impact on indigenous life in Colombia in the 20th century, as well as a negative impact on the environment in the area. This fight for indigenous and environmental justice, which is still ongoing in the region, is well summed up in the following passage from EjAtlas: "Catacumbo is considered the ancestral territory of 23 Motilno Bari indigenous communities. They live in the forests on the border with Venezuela, an area rich in biodiversity and characterized by the presence of minerals, oil, wood and water resources. Their population, after suffering dramatic drops, started to increase again and attained up to 3,000 peoples, living in the two reserves demarcated in 1981 and 1988. The repeated attempts to exploit their resources continually exposed the Motilon Bari people to incursions by multinational corporations, especially in the municipalities of Tibu and Tarra, rendering vulnerable their territory and livelihoods. Local residents opposed these incursions, demanding respect for their individual and collective rights and the conservation of their land. In the 1900s, oil companies such as COLPET (Colombia Petroleum Company) and SAGOC (South American Gulf Oil Company) entered the region, followed by Ecopetrol in recent times. In 2014, the area delineated by the three rivers Catatumbo, Oro and Martillo have been granted seven concessions for the exploitation of coal mines. 270 million barrels of crude are also planned to be extracted. The Bari peoples have been mobilizing nationally denouncing the powerful invaders of their territory, oil and carbon transnational companies. They frequently testified for the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunals, as for the one in Norte de Santander, in June 2008. However the thirst for oil drilling and coal is not the only threat upon the indigenous Bari’s Peoples. The Bari People’s health and cultivations also endured for decades the consequences from the glyphosate aerial fumigation by the National Government."
"The South American Gulf Oil Company formed as a subsidiary of the Gulf Oil Company circa 1918. SAGOC, with its Colombian oil concessions, was sold to and equally divided between the Texas Company (Texaco) and Socony-Vacuum Oil Company, Inc., in 1936. In 1974, the company's assets were nationalized by the Colombian government and became part of ECOPETROL" - National Archives Organization Authority Record.