Banana Republics: Yankee Fruit Companies and the Tropical American Lowlands

Richard P. Tucker

in Insatiable Appetite

Published by University of California Press

Published in print January 2000 | ISBN: 9780520220874
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520923812 | DOI:
Banana Republics: Yankee Fruit Companies and the Tropical American Lowlands

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This chapter talks about the banana industry and the major fruit companies established during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It examines the impact of the increasing appetites of North Americans and Europeans for tropical fruit, most especially bananas, which was similar to the impact that resulted from the consumer demand for cane sugar. It then introduces the United Fruit Company, which became a major force in the economies and politics of countries throughout Central and South America. The next section focuses on the major contribution of the United Fruit Company to the transformation of the Jamaican landscape and the involvement of the Americans in the agricultural economy of Jamaica. The discussion reveals that the Boston Fruit Company was reincorporated as the United Fruit Company in 1899, and that they incessantly pursued to gain monopoly of Jamaican banana exports. The development of a second and larger phase of the banana industry on the Central American mainland, the expansion of the United Fruit Company to Panama and Costa Rica, and the fruit companies in Honduras are examined. The chapter also introduces the various monocrop diseases and the efforts to remove or control these diseases. A discussion on the politics surrounding banana production is included.

Keywords: banana industry; United Fruit Company; agricultural economy; Jamaica; Boston Fruit Company; banana export; monocrop disease; banana production

Chapter.  24149 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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