Hacienda La Fortuna, 1885.

Franciso Oller (Puerto Rico, 1833–1917)

Collection of Carmen G. Correa.

New Yorkers began refining sugar in the 1720s, first importing it from British colonies like Barbados and then from the French colony of Saint Domingue. When a slave rebellion (1791-1804) created the free republic of Haiti and disrupted the island’s sugar production, merchants and refiners turned to the Spanish colonies of Puerto Rico and Cuba where slavery survived until 1873 and 1886 respectively. 

In the 1800s, as planters in the Caribbean installed steam-powered mills to process cane more efficiently, vast amounts of raw sugar reached the refineries of New York and Brooklyn, where it was turned into white sugar. By 1860, Brooklyn had become the world’s center of sugar refining. By 1900, its factories processed millions of pounds each day. Mass production made white sugar a household staple. 

Estates like La Fortuna, located in Ponce, Puerto Rico, grew and milled sugar cane, shipping most of their product to U.S. refineries. The owner, a Barcelonan émigré, commissioned distinguished Puerto Rican artist Francisco Oller to paint his house, warehouse, mill, and laborers. Oller applied the impressionist techniques he mastered in Europe to studies of his native landscape. (via Nueva York: 1613-1945 at the New-York Historical Society)

  1. thepoliticalengineer reblogged this from fylatinamericanhistory
  2. quartopiano reblogged this from fylatinamericanhistory
  3. remotelywriting reblogged this from fylatinamericanhistory
  4. prrb reblogged this from fylatinamericanhistory
  5. eyebrowscharisma reblogged this from fylatinamericanhistory
  6. tchovi reblogged this from fylatinamericanhistory
  7. kammartinez reblogged this from fylatinamericanhistory
  8. ipsey reblogged this from fylatinamericanhistory
  9. fireyfae reblogged this from fylatinamericanhistory
  10. jean-de-dieu-soult reblogged this from fylatinamericanhistory
  11. antakarana reblogged this from fylatinamericanhistory
  12. lookingfornoonat2pm reblogged this from fylatinamericanhistory
  13. cocola-chulisnaqui reblogged this from fylatinamericanhistory
  14. snackingnuts reblogged this from fylatinamericanhistory
  15. joylavionne reblogged this from fylatinamericanhistory
  16. tauro60 reblogged this from fylatinamericanhistory
  17. cacafueg0 reblogged this from fylatinamericanhistory
  18. solo-quiero-estornudar reblogged this from fylatinamericanhistory
  19. qwn68 reblogged this from fylatinamericanhistory
  20. hotmessdepot reblogged this from fylatinamericanhistory
  21. patternsofbehavior reblogged this from fylatinamericanhistory
  22. fylatinamericanhistory reblogged this from fylatinamericanhistory and added:
    A large sugarcane plantation in Ponce, Puerto Rico, painted in the late nineteenth century. Plantations like these ran...
  23. hectorskelter reblogged this from fylatinamericanhistory