This book begins with a discussion of the Spanish–American War of 1898, in which the United States seized Cuba and Puerto Rico. In 1905, the United States seized the customs of the Dominican Republic, and occupied that country from 1916 to 1924. Cuba became an independent state in 1901, under the tutelage of the United States and under the shadow of the Platt Amendment. Puerto Rico became a formal colony The Dominican Republic saw its independence progressively curtailed, and U.S. influence remained paramount even after the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 1924. Thus the United States became an imperial power controlling the economic life of the three nations, and the Spanish Caribbean as a whole became a sphere for U.S. direct investment, a colonial region dominated by the decisions of U.S. capitalists. Although U.S. capital flowed into all economic sectors, sugar production became the primary locus of investment, the premier economic activity of the islands.
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