Race and Tropicality in United Fruit’s Central America
This chapter reviews Frederick Upham Adams' Conquest of the Tropics, a triumphalist account of the United Fruit Company (UFC), where he commended the pioneers of the company for bringing order and progress to Central America. Embedded in this imperial narrative was recognition of the company's black labor force. Although UFC boasted of wages higher than “ever before offered” in the region, it had proven “almost impossible to tempt the average native of Central America to work, and many of them are physically incapable of sustained manual labor.” As a result, UFC, like the U.S. government's canal construction in Panama, had come to rely on British West Indians.
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