Volume 2, Number 2 (2011)
The United Fruit Company and the St. Lucia Banana Industry (1923-1942)
The United Fruit Company (UFC), an American corporation, monopolized the banana trade in the British colony of Jamaica for most of the 20th century, despite efforts by the British to establish a foothold (see Clegg 2002). While the British colonial government focused its efforts on challenging the UFC's domination in Jamaica; in 1923, a UFC subsidiary called Swift Banana Company began undertaking the commercial export of bananas in the then British colony of St. Lucia. Research on the St. Lucia banana industry, during the period 1923 to 1942, was very limited, and has largely dismissed the decline of the banana industry as the result of its inability to survive the Panama disease epidemic. This paper challenges this explanation; arguing that UFC subsidiaries contributed significantly to both the rise and decline of St. Lucia's banana industry from 1923 to 1942.