April 30, 2020
Hacienda owners implemented punitive economic systems where workers became deeply indebted to their bosses, only to see their freedoms curtailed as a result. At the same time, the authors note, these men and women enjoyed a certain level of autonomy as an indispensable source of labor come harvest time.
‘What this history shows,’ according to the book’s introduction, ‘is that sugarcane and rum are produced on a massive scale to satisfy the consumptive needs of the colonizers, which only compounds its exploitative nature as the products became available to the middle and working class.’Meilan Solly for Smithsonian magazine
Read the full list of book recommendations here.