Bulletin of Hispanic Studies

'Sin azúcar no hay país': The Transnational Counterpoint of Sugar and Nation in Nineteenth-Century Cuba

Bulletin of Hispanic Studies (2007), 84, (1), 25–42.

Abstract

This paper explores four elements of the emergence of the Cuban nation in the nineteenth century, showing how these developed in counterpoint with different facets of the transnational history of Cuban sugar. First, the rise of sugar production enabled the emergence of a self-confident and innovative white creole elite. Second, sugar technology required foreign investment leading to the incursion of transnational commercial networks. Third, sugar stimulated a varied migration, free and enslaved, into the island, leading to an ethnically mixed Cuban nation, but also complicated the development of a unified national identity. Finally, geopolitical rivalries, not unrelated to sugar, defined the form in which the Cuban independence struggle developed. The paper concludes that though sugar and nation were intertwined, this very intertwining requires us to look beyond the nation to understand Cuba's identity.

Este artículo explora cuatro elementos del establecimiento de la nación cubana en el siglo XIX, mostrando cómo éstos desarrollaron en contrapunteo con diferentes facetas de la historia trasnacional del azúcar cubano. Primero, el aumento de la producción azucarera permitía la apariencia de un confiado e innovativo élite criollo blanco. Segundo, la tecnología azucarera exigía inversiones extranjeras, con el resultado de la incursión de las redes comerciales trasnacionales. Tercero, el azúcar estimuló una migración variada, libre y encadenada, hacia la isla, llevando a una nación cubana étnicamente mezclada, pero también complicaba el desarrollo de una identidad nacional unida. Finalmente, las rivalidades geopolíticas, en sí relacionadas con el azúcar, definieron la forma en que la lucha cubana independista desarrolló. El artículo concluye que aunque el azúcar y la nación estaban enlazados, este mismo enlace necesita que miremos más allá de la nación para entender la identidad cubana.

Access Token
£25.00

Allahar, Anton L., 1988. 'Slaves, Slave Merchants and Slave Owners in 19th Century Cuba', Caribbean Studies, 21. 1–2: 158–91. Slaves, Slave Merchants and Slave Owners in 19th Century Cuba Caribbean Studies 21 158 91 Google Scholar

Ballou, Maturin Murray, 1885. Due South; or, Cuba, Past and Present (Boston/New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Co.). Due South; or, Cuba, Past and Present Google Scholar

Barcia, María del Carmen, 1987. Burguesía esclavista y abolición (Havana: Editorial de Ciencias Sociales). Burguesía esclavista y abolición Google Scholar

Benítez, José A., 1977. Las Antillas: Colonización, Azúcar e Imperialismo (Havana: Casa de las Américas). Las Antillas: Colonización, Azúcar e Imperialismo Google Scholar

Bergad, Laird W., 1990. Cuban Rural Society in the Nineteenth Century: The Social and Economic History of Monoculture in Matanzas (Princeton: PUP). Cuban Rural Society in the Nineteenth Century: The Social and Economic History of Monoculture in Matanzas Google Scholar

Casanovas, Joan, 1998. Bread, or Bullets! Urban Labor and Spanish Colonialism in Cuba, 1850–1898 (Pittsburgh: U. of Pittsburgh P.). Bread, or Bullets! Urban Labor and Spanish Colonialism in Cuba, 1850–1898 Google Scholar

Corbitt, Duvon, 1971. Study of the Chinese in Cuba, 1847–1947 (Wilmore, Ky: Ashbury College). Study of the Chinese in Cuba, 1847–1947 Google Scholar

Curry-Machado, Jonathan, 2003. Indispensable Aliens: The Influence of Engineering Migrants in Mid-Nineteenth Century Cuba, PhD thesis, London Metropolitan University. Google Scholar

Curtin, Philip D., 1984. Cross-Cultural Trade in World History (Cambridge: CUP). Cross-Cultural Trade in World History Google Scholar

De la Fuente, Alejandro, 2001. A National for All: Race, Inequality, and Politics in Twentieth-Century Cuba (Chapel Hill: U. of North Carolina P.). A National for All: Race, Inequality, and Politics in Twentieth-Century Cuba Google Scholar

Dye, Alan, 1998. Cuban Sugar in the Age of Mass Production: Technology and the Economics of the Sugar Central, 1899–1929 (Stanford: Stanford U.P.). Cuban Sugar in the Age of Mass Production: Technology and the Economics of the Sugar Central, 1899–1929 Google Scholar

Eltis, David, 1997. 'The slave economies of the Caribbean: structure, performance, evolution and significance', in General History of the Caribbean. Volume III: The slave societies of the Caribbean (London: UNESCO/Macmillan), pp. 105–37. The slave economies of the Caribbean: structure, performance, evolution and significance General History of the Caribbean. Volume III: The slave societies of the Caribbean 105 37 Google Scholar

Eltis, David, 2001. 'Free and Coerced Migrations: The Atlantic in Global Perspective', in Making Sense of Global History, ed. Solvi Sogner (Oslo: Universitetsforlaget), pp. 189–206. Free and Coerced Migrations: The Atlantic in Global Perspective Making Sense of Global History 189 206 Google Scholar

Ely, Roland T., 1961. Comerciantes cubanos del siglo XIX (Havana: Editorial Librería Martí). Comerciantes cubanos del siglo XIX Google Scholar

Ely, Roland T., 2001 [1963]. Cuando reinaba su majestad el azúcar (Havana: Imágen Contemporánea). Google Scholar

Emmer, P. C., 1992. 'Immigration into the Caribbean: the introduction of Chinese and East Indian Indentured Labourers between 1839 and 1917', in European Expansion and Migration: Essays on the Intercontinental Migration from Africa, Asia, and Europe, ed. P. C. Emmer and M. Mörner (New York/Oxford: Berg), pp. 245–76. Immigration into the Caribbean: the introduction of Chinese and East Indian Indentured Labourers between 1839 and 1917 European Expansion and Migration: Essays on the Intercontinental Migration from Africa, Asia, and Europe 245 76 Google Scholar

Engerman, Stanley L. and B. W. Higman, 1997. 'The demographic structure of the Caribbean slave societies in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries', in General History of the Caribbean. Volume III: The slave societies of the Caribbean, ed. Franklin W. Knight (London: UNESCO/Macmillan), pp. 48–60. The demographic structure of the Caribbean slave societies in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries General History of the Caribbean. Volume III: The slave societies of the Caribbean 48 60 Google Scholar

Fairrie, Geoffrey, 1925. Sugar (Liverpool: Fairrie and Co.). Sugar Google Scholar

García Gallo, Gaspar Jorge, 1937. 'La evolución económica — el contrabando y la ganadería — comienzos de la industria azucarera', Cuadernos de Historia Habanera, p. 10. La evolución económica — el contrabando y la ganadería — comienzos de la industria azucarera Cuadernos de Historia Habanera 10 Google Scholar

Green, William A., 1976. British Slave Emancipation: The Sugar Colonies and the Great Experiment, 1830–1865 (Oxford: Clarendon Press). British Slave Emancipation: The Sugar Colonies and the Great Experiment, 1830–1865 Google Scholar

Guerra y Sánchez, Ramiro et al., 1952. Historia de la nación cubana (Havana: Editorial Historia de la Nación Cubana). Google Scholar

Guerra y Sánchez, Ramiro, 1970 [1927], Azúcar y población en las Antillas (Havana: Editorial de Ciencias Sociales). Google Scholar

Harrison, Michelle, 2001. King Sugar: Jamaica, the Caribbean and the World Sugar Economy (London: Latin America Bureau). King Sugar: Jamaica, the Caribbean and the World Sugar Economy Google Scholar

Helg, Aline, 1995. Our Rightful Share: The Afro-Cuban Struggle for Equality, 1886–1912 (Chapel Hill: U. of North Carolina P.). Our Rightful Share: The Afro-Cuban Struggle for Equality, 1886–1912 Google Scholar

Hobsbawm, Eric, 1990. Nations and Nationalism since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality (Cambridge: CUP). Nations and Nationalism since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality Google Scholar

Johnson, Sherry, 2001. The Social Transformation of Eighteenth-Century Cuba (Gainsville: U.P. of Florida). The Social Transformation of Eighteenth-Century Cuba Google Scholar

Knight, Franklin W., 1970. Slave Society in Cuba during the Nineteenth Century (Madison: U. of Wisconsin P.). Slave Society in Cuba during the Nineteenth Century Google Scholar

Le Riverend, Julio, 1967. Historia económica de Cuba (Havana: Editorial de Ciencias Sociales). Historia económica de Cuba Google Scholar

Leon, J. A., 1848. On Sugar Cultivation in Louisiana, Cuba and the British Possessions by an European and Colonial Sugar Manufacturer (London: P. Oliver). On Sugar Cultivation in Louisiana, Cuba and the British Possessions by an European and Colonial Sugar Manufacturer Google Scholar

Liss, Peggy K., 1983. Atlantic Empires: The Network of Trade and Revolution, 1713–1826 (Baltimore/London: Johns Hopkins U.P.). Atlantic Empires: The Network of Trade and Revolution, 1713–1826 Google Scholar

Madden, Richard Robert, 1849. The Island of Cuba: its resources, progress, and prospects, considered in relation especially to the influence of its prosperity on the interests of the British West India Colonies (London: Charles Gilpin). The Island of Cuba: its resources, progress, and prospects, considered in relation especially to the influence of its prosperity on the interests of the British West India Colonies Google Scholar

Maingot, Anthony, 1996. 'Haiti and the Terrified Consciousness of the Caribbean', in Ethnicity in the Caribbean: Essays in Honor of Harry Hoetink, ed. Gert Oostindie (London/Basingstoke: Macmillan), pp. 53–80. Haiti and the Terrified Consciousness of the Caribbean Ethnicity in the Caribbean: Essays in Honor of Harry Hoetink 53 80 Google Scholar

Marrero, Levi, 1973–86. Cuba: economía y sociedad, 12 vols (Madrid: Editorial Playor). Cuba: economía y sociedad Google Scholar

Martí, José, 1963–65. Obras completas (Havana: Editorial Nacional de Cuba). Obras completas Google Scholar

Martínez-Fernández, Luis, 1994. Torn Between Empires: Economy, Society and Patterns of Political Thought in the Hispanic Caribbean, 1840–1878 (Athens/London: U. of Georgia P.). Torn Between Empires: Economy, Society and Patterns of Political Thought in the Hispanic Caribbean, 1840–1878 Google Scholar

Miller, Rory, 1993. Britain and Latin America in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (London: Longman, 1993). Britain and Latin America in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries Google Scholar

Mintz, Sydney, 1971. Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History (New York: Penguin, 1985). Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History Google Scholar

Moreno Fraginals, Manuel, 1978. El Ingenio, 3 vols (Havana: Editorial de Ciencias Sociales). El Ingenio 3 Google Scholar

Moyano Bozzani, Eduardo L., 1991. La nueva frontera del azúcar: el ferrocarril y la economía cubana del siglo XIX (Madrid: CSIC). La nueva frontera del azúcar: el ferrocarril y la economía cubana del siglo XIX Google Scholar

Murray, David R., 1980. Odious Commerce: Britain, Spain and the abolition of the Cuban slave trade (Cambridge: CUP). Odious Commerce: Britain, Spain and the abolition of the Cuban slave trade Google Scholar

Ortiz, Fernando, 1995 [1947]. Cuban Counterpoint: Tobacco and Sugar (Durham: Duke U.P.). Google Scholar

Paquette, Robert L., 1988. Sugar is Made with Blood: The Conspiracy of La Escalera and the Conflict Between Empires over Slavery in Cuba (Middletown: Wesleyan UP). Sugar is Made with Blood: The Conspiracy of La Escalera and the Conflict Between Empires over Slavery in Cuba Google Scholar

Pérez, Jr., Louis A., 1991. 'Cuba and the United States: Origins and Antecedents of Relations, 1760s–1860s', Cuban Studies 21: 57–82. Cuba and the United States: Origins and Antecedents of Relations, 1760s–1860s Cuban Studies 21 57 82 Google Scholar

Pérez, Jr., Louis A., 1995. Cuba: Before Reform and Revolution (New York/Oxford: OUP). Cuba: Before Reform and Revolution Google Scholar

Pérez, Jr., Louis A., 2001. Winds of Change: Hurricanes and the Transformation of Nineteenth-Century Cuba (Chapel Hill/London: U. of North Carolina P.). Winds of Change: Hurricanes and the Transformation of Nineteenth-Century Cuba Google Scholar

Pérez de la Riva, Juan, 1979. Los demógrafos de la dependencia (Havana: Editorial de Ciencias Sociales). Los demógrafos de la dependencia Google Scholar

Pérez Sarduy, Pedro and Jean Stubbs, 1993. Afro Cuba: An Anthology of Cuban Writing on Race, Politics and Culture (Melbourne: Latin American Bureau). Afro Cuba: An Anthology of Cuban Writing on Race, Politics and Culture Google Scholar

Pérez Sarduy, Pedro and Jean Stubbs, 2000. Afro-Cuban Voices (Gainesville: U.P. of Florida). Afro-Cuban Voices Google Scholar

Petras, Elizabeth McLean, 1988. Jamaican Labor Migration: White Capital and Black Labor, 1850–1930 (Boulder: Westview Press). Jamaican Labor Migration: White Capital and Black Labor, 1850–1930 Google Scholar

Portell Vilá, Herminio, 1938–41. Historia de Cuba en sus relaciones con los Estados Unidos y España, 4 vols (Havana: Jesús Montero). Historia de Cuba en sus relaciones con los Estados Unidos y España Google Scholar

Scarpaci, Joseph L., Roberto Segre and Mario Coyula, 2002. Havana: Two Faces of the Antillean Metropolis (Chapel Hill: U. of North Carolina P.). Havana: Two Faces of the Antillean Metropolis Google Scholar

Scott, Julius A., 1996. 'Crisscrossing Empires: ships, sailors and resistance in the Lesser Antilles in the Eighteenth Century', in The Lesser Antilles in the Age of European Expansion, ed. Robert L. Paquette and Stanley L. Engerman (Gainesville: U.P. of Florida), pp. 123–43. Crisscrossing Empires: ships, sailors and resistance in the Lesser Antilles in the Eighteenth Century The Lesser Antilles in the Age of European Expansion 123 43 Google Scholar

Villa Urrutia, Wenceslao de, 1843. Informe presentado a la Real Junta de Fomento, de Agricultura y Comercio de esta Isla […] sobre los resultados de la zafra que este año ha hecho su ingenio en un tren de Derosne (Havana: Oficina del Faro Industrial). Google Scholar

Wurdemann, J. G. F., 1844. Notes on Cuba (Boston: Physician Travelers). Notes on Cuba Google Scholar

Zanetti, Oscar and Alejandro García, 1998. Sugar and Railroads: A Cuban History, 1837–1959 (Chapel Hill/London: U. of North Carolina P.). Sugar and Railroads: A Cuban History, 1837–1959 Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Curry-Machado, Jonathan