American Sugar Kingdom: The Plantation Economy of the Spanish Caribbean, 1898-1934 / Edition 1

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Engaging conventional arguments that the persistence of plantations is the cause of economic underdevelopment in the Caribbean, this book focuses on the discontinuities in the development of plantation economies in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic in the early twentieth century. Cesar Ayala analyzes and compares the explosive growth of sugar production in the three nations following the War of 1898—when the U.S. acquired Cuba and Puerto Rico—to show how closely the development of the Spanish Caribbean's modern economic and social class systems is linked to the history of the U.S. sugar industry during its greatest period of expansion and consolidation.

Ayala examines patterns of investment and principal groups of investors, interactions between U.S. capitalists and native planters, contrasts between new and old regions of sugar monoculture, the historical formation of the working class on sugar plantations, and patterns of labor migration. In contrast to most studies of the Spanish Caribbean, which focus on only one country, his account places the history of U.S. colonialism in the region, and the history of plantation agriculture across the region, in comparative perspective.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
An original work of tremendous interest to scholars concerned with Caribbean history, economic geography, corporate agriculture, and the political economy.

Cuban Studies

As meticulous in its research as it is evocative in its approach, Ayala's book is, without doubt, a significant contribution.

Journal of American History

Both a contribution to the study of the sugar industry in the Caribbean and an examination of the processes of American imperialism.

American Historical Review

A very welcome addition to the historiography of the Caribbean and to development-underdevelopment theory.

Business History Review

[This book] excels in providing a coherent comparative analysis of capitalist underdevelopment in Cuba, Puerto Rico, and the Dominican Republic.

Latin American Research Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780807847886
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 11/24/1999
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 931,411
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 6.10 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Cesar J. Ayala is associate professor of sociology at the University of California, Los Angeles.

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Table of Contents

1. A Caribbean Plantation System
2. The Horizontal Consolidation of the U.S. Sugar Refining Industry
3. The Sugar Tariff and Vertical Integration
4. Vertical Integration in the Colonies
5. The Colonos
6. Labor and Migration
7. The Twentieth-Century Plantation
8. Economic Collapse and Revolution

2.1. Sugar Consumption in the United States, 1830-1930
3.1. Typical Duties on Raw Sugar
3.2. Tariff Advantage of Territorial Sugars (Hawaii, Philippines, Puerto Rico) over Cuban Sugar in the U.S. Market (cents per pound)
3.3. Crop Sources of Sugar Marketed for Consumption in the United States (in thousands of short tons)
3.4. Crop Sources of Sugar Marketed for Consumption in the United States (percentage)
3.5. Sugar Production in the American Sugar Kingdom, 1898-1934 (thousands of short tons, 2,000 pounds)
4.1. Transfer of Mill Ownership in Cuba before 1913
4.2. Interlocking Officers and Directors of the National Sugar Refining Company and Related Enterprises in Cuba (numbers)
4.3. Interlocking Officers and Directors of the National Sugar Refining Company and Related Enterprises in Cuba (names)
4.4. Cuban Centrales Controlled by the National Sugar Refining Company, 1924
4.5. Production and Value of Cuban Sugar, 1913-1920
4.6. Mills Controlled by E. Atkins & Company and the Punta Alegre Sugar Company
4.7. Important Interlocks among the Cuban Dominican, Fajardo, and Cuban American Companies:
4.8. Ownership Groups in the Sugar Industry of the Dominican Republic, 1930
4.9. Directorships of National Sugar Refining Company Officers in the Caribbean Sugar Industry, 1921
4.10. Interlocking Directors and Officers of the Aguirre, Cuban American, and Fajardo Sugar Companies, 1921
5.1. Lands in Cuba Planted by Mills and Independent Colonos, 1913
5.2. Farm Sizes of 305 Colonias of Centrales Algodones, Baragua, Ciego de Avila, Jagüeyal, Jatibonico, Pilar, Santo Tomçs, and Stewart in Cuba, 1919
5.3. Land Use by the Francisco Sugar Company, by Type of Farm, 1917
5.4. Area and Production of Farms Growing Sugarcane, by Size of Farm, Puerto Rico, 1934-1935
6.1. Haitian Emigration to Cuba, 1915-1921
6.2. "Colored" Braceros in the Dominican Republic, 1921
6.3. Population Densities in the Spanish Caribbean
7.1. Value of Coffee and Sugar Exports from Puerto Rico as Percentage of Total Value of Exports, 1876-1925
7.2. State of the Sugar Mills of Cuba, 1900
7.3. Land Areas (acres) and Sugar Production of the Centrales of Cuba, 1900
7.4. Mills and Sugar Production in Cuba, 1900 and 1913
7.5. Land Use in Cuban Sugar Mills, by Date of Foundation of Mill, 1913
7.6. Land Use in Cuban Sugar Mills, by Nationality of Mill Owner, 1913
7.7. Sugar Production in Cuba, by Province, 1914 and 1918
7.8. U.S. Corporate Mills Built in Cuba during World War I
7.9. Number and Production of Sugar Mills in Cuba, by Province
7.10. Sugar Producing Enterprises of Puerto Rico, 1910
7.11. Centrales of Puerto Rico, 1910
8.1. Index of Sugar Production, in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico, 1925-1934 (1925 = 100)

3.1. Sugar Production in the U.S. Customs Area, 1897-1932
3.2. Crop Sources of Sugar Marketed for U.S. Consumption, 1897-1932
4.1. Directorates of James Howell Post, 1921

7.1. Production of Cuban Sugar Centrales, 1928
7.2. Centrales of Puerto Rico, 1927
7.3. Centrales of the Dominican Republic, 1930

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2000

    Publisher's Mistake

    The verb 'acquired' in reference to 1898 and Cuba is simply not appropriate. It CAN help in the case of Puerto Rico to understand a political and economic neocolonial relationship there. But the case of Cuba is significantly different, in spite of similarities that are impossible to deny.

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