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Planting Sugar Cane in Puerto Rico, c. 1940s

Planting Sugar Cane in Puerto Rico

Planting Sugar Cane in Puerto Rico

Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Hunter College, CUNY, CEN_POST_B2_244
 
Document Description
Postcard of workers planting sugar cane in a field in Puerto Rico, ca. 1940s
 
Questions
What was everyday life like for a Puerto Rican laborer, based on these photographs?
What would these houses be like during storms or bad weather?
How would you feel after working in a sugar cane field?
What would be some challenges you would face as a laborer in a sugar cane field?
How much do you think these laborers were paid? What would you consider a fair wage if you were working in that field today?
 
Historical Challenges
Sugar cane originated in the South Pacific. Who brought it to the Caribbean and why?
Many laborers like the ones shown immigrated to New York. What would motivate them to travel so far? What challenges would they face organizing their move and once in New York?
 
Interdisciplinary Connections
English Language Arts: Create an advertisement persuading Puerto Rican laborers on a sugar cane plantation to immigrate to New York. Be sure to include motivating reasons. Then, create a follow-up brochure that the immigrants would receive once they landed in New York. What would happen next?
Science: How is sugar cane made into sugar? Make a poster of the process from the field to the store.
 
Resources
Leyendas de Puerto Rico (Legends Series). Glencoe McGraw-Hill, 1999.
Dookhan, Isaac. 2000. History of the Virgin Islands. Kingston, Jamaica: University Press of the West Indies, 2000.
 

 

Historical Context
Sugar cane has been planted on Puerto Rico for almost five hundred years. The first sugar cane farm was built in 1523 in Hato Ray by Don Fernando “the Catholic.” By 1530, sugar cane was Puerto Rico’s most important agricultural crop. By 1598, however, ginger had replaced sugar cane as the leading crop. Sugar cane is still farmed in Puerto Rico today, with about 25,000 acres being dedicated to its cultivation.
 
Essential Question
How does human migration affect the economy of a region?
 
Check for Understanding
Describe the scene in the photograph and explain how human migration impacted the economy of Puerto Rico.