Cuban American Sugar Company

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Cuban American Sugar Company

Following the United States war with Spain, which ended in 1898, Cuban property owners reeled from debt. American businessmen, interested in investment possibilities, flocked to the island. American occupation enhanced business opportunities, and in 1899, R. B. Hawley organized the Cuban American Sugar Company and acquired both extensive tracts of land (77,000 acres) and important sugar mills in the Matanzas, Pinar del Río, and Puerto Padre regions.

Along with other American-owned companies, the Cuban American Sugar Company not only generated tremendous wealth for its investors but promoted the development of American enclaves, usually in towns surrounding the sugar mills. These areas grew into privileged neighborhoods inhabited by American technicians, chemists, agronomists, administrators, and their families. The area surrounding the company's mill in Puerto Padre consisted of six hundred homes, racially differentiated social clubs, and schools. The infrastructure was also well established. While creating exclusive neighborhoods for Americans living in the region, the company's enclaves also came to dominate the local political and economic life.

See alsoSpanish-American Warxml .


Louis A. Pérez, Jr., Cuba and the United States: Ties of Singular Intimacy (1990).

Additional Bibliography

Ayala, César J. American Sugar Kingdom: The Plantation Economy of the Spanish Caribbean, 1898–1934. Sevilla: Secretariado de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Sevilla, 2001.

Santamaría García, Antonio, and Carlos Malamud. Sin azucar no hay país: La industria azucarera y la economía cubana (1919–1939). Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1999.

                                      Allan S. R. Sumnall