Southern Affairs is a digital history site offering essays, news, and book reviews about Latin America and the environment. It is published by N. H. Gill and serves as a database for research projects, drafts, and other lines of flight.

N. H. Gill is a teaching fellow and doctoral candidate in history at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill writing a dissertation about environmental ideologies and forced labor in the colonial Andes. He was a 2020-2021 Fulbright-Hays scholar in Ecuador and visiting associate research professor at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito. Gill previously worked as the bureau chief for Bloomberg News in Ecuador and as a news reporter in Chile, covering governments, economies, and daily life across Latin America for eleven years.

N. H. Gill



My current project, “Before There Were Roses: Guachalá and the Experimental Environment of the Ecuadorian Andes,” explores relationships between environmental change and evolving systems of free and forced labor at one of the oldest plantation complexes in the Americas.



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Qhapac Ñan

The Qhapac Ñan – Incan Road project is a long-term effort to research and map historical sites along the Incan road system, known as the Qhapac Ñan, a network of indigenous roads and paths stretching over 30,000 km through the Andes mountains.

Qhapac Ñan


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Selected Publications

Eight Defaults and 180 Years Later, Ecuador to Repay Bondholders

This project in 2015 sent me into Ecuador’s Central Bank archives, where I researched 180 years of Ecuadorian debt deals ahead of the country’s first-ever repayment of a sovereign bond since its independence in the early nineteenth century.

Inside South America’s Oil-Fueled Currency Battle

I traveled to Colombia’s southern border with Ecuador in 2015 to interview black-market money changers, merchants, and consumers about the triangle trade of dollars, pesos, and bolívares between Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela amid a global oil crisis. Written with reporters Andrea Jaramillo and Andrew Rosati.

Wikileaks Founder Assange Seeks Asylum at Ecuador’s U.K. Embassy

Our team was the first to break news in 2012 that Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, had sought asylum in Ecuador’s embassy in London. I helped lead global news coverage of the standoff for Bloomberg News in the following years.

Organ Gangs Force Poor to Sell Kidneys

For this project, published by Bloomberg Markets Magazine in 2011, I worked with reporters Michael Smith, Daryna Krasnolutska and David Glovin to help expose an international organ-trafficking ring. The story was awareded Best in Business, International Investigative Award, and Explanatory Award by the Society of American Business Editors and Writers in 2011. It also won the Investigative/Reporting Award from the Society of the Silurians.

Ecuador’s Protesting Police Lay Siege to President

I was the bureau chief in Ecuador for Bloomberg News on Sept. 30, 2010, when a police mutiny briefly trapped President Rafael Correa in a hospital, leading to a nighttime military assault to free him. The events left eight dead and almost 300 wounded and would become a rallying cry for the president and his supporters over the next decade.

Honduran President Zelaya Ousted in Coup by Military

I led coverage of the 2009 Honduran coup d’état against President Manuel Zelaya for Bloomberg News, an intense period of conflicts and negotiation as the local and international community grappled with regional tensions surrounding Zelaya’s push to more closely ally the Central American nation with the Bolivarian movement led by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Dr. Death Appearance in Chile Has Nazi Hunters Dangling Reward

For my first feature article for Bloomberg News in 2008, I joined the hunt for Aribert Heim, a Nazi SS officer accused of performing experiments on inmates at the Mauthausen concentration camp. A man thought to be Heim had been sighted in southern Chile near where his daughter lived at the time. I interviewed Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Israel, residents of the Chilean town of Puerto Montt, and the Chilean police as they tried to crack this unsolved mystery. In 2012, a German court found Heim died in Egypt in 1992 under an assumed name.

Unasur: Integración Regional de América del Sur en el Siglo XXI

My master’s thesis at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Valparaíso, Chile explored the history of political and economic integration in South America and the challenges facing the new and short-lived Union of South American Nations in the early 21st Century. The research took me to Chile, Peru, and Ecuador in 2006-2007, where I interviewed Ecuadorian President Rodrigo Borja, the first head of the institution, as well as ministers of state, local officials, and scholars involved in the design of the new union.