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American Sugar KingdomThe Plantation Economy of the Spanish Caribbean, 1898-1934$
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Cesar J. Ayala

Print publication date: 1999

Print ISBN-13: 9780807847886

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: July 2014

DOI: 10.5149/9780807867976_ayala

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The Colonos

The Colonos

(p.121) 5 The Colonos
American Sugar Kingdom

César J. Ayala

University of North Carolina Press

This chapter discusses how the penetration of U.S. capital into the economies of Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico transformed the technological base of sugar production. The new mills featured increased grinding capacities, internal railroad networks, the introduction of internal combustion engines, and electrification in the plantation zones. But in contrast to the technological revolution of cane grinding, the planting and harvesting of cane continued to use the same immemorial technologies and displayed resistance both to transformation and to the penetration of metropolitan capital. Cane farmers known as colonos produced most of the cane ground in the mills of Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. In contrast to the industrial end of producing sugar, which was uniformly dominated by big capital, mostly metropolitan but also local, the production of cane was carried out by a great diversity of rural producers, ranging from large corporations employing workers in the thousands to small farmers who produced cane with family labor.

Keywords:   U.S. capital, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, sugar production

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