This book is about the development of the submarine cable network between South America and Europe and between North and South America. It also discusses the South American land lines, which worked in competition with the cables. From the early 1860s until the beginning of the 1880s British companies played a leading role in South Americas international cable business, but then their position was challenged by the arrival of rival companies, first from the United States and later from France and Germany. Before the First World War competition in the South American markets became an international political issue. This competition and the attitudes of various South American governments towards the companies attempts to obtain operating rights on their territories are central themes in the book.