Readers may obtain from this book an overview of German–Central American relations, the main points of which can be summarized briefly. Germany had a significant presence in the Central American republics since the second quarter of the nineteenth century. Well before Germany's unification, they figured in German public discourse as potential areas for colonization, trade, investment, and performance of the rituals of great-power politics. First the Prussian state and then the Reich displayed a restrained concern for Central America, and engaged in competition with Britain, France, and the United States to advance the interests of German businesses and settlers. German commerce with the region rose at times to not-insignificant levels, especially when measured in terms of the total trade of individual Central American countries. Landowners, businesspeople, and professionals of German extraction have had a significant effect on the cultural and social histories of Guatemala and Costa Rica. However, at no time has Central America been of vital economic importance to Germany or at the forefront of German policy. In general, at least between the 1870s and 1929, German governments were unwilling to challenge U.S. hegemony in the area.