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Cash Crops The Devastation of Latin America When Columbus first set foot on the new land his inspiring forces were gold and silver On his second voyage he planted sugar cane in what is now known as the Dominican Republic The crop would later become know as white gold which suites the crop perfectly considering the quantity of wealth it would produce For three centuries after the discovery of America sugar was the most important agricultural product for European trade Although countries pro-ducing sugar have seen some prosperous times it has been at a great cost Originally metals such as gold and silver were what the Spaniards were original after and therefore sugar cane was only grown within the colonies This was not the case however in Brazil Brazil became the largest producer of sugar until the mid 17th century Sugar is a more profitable crop when grown on large plantations For this reason came was the spread of plantations over the Northeast With the expansion of this cash crop came concentration of lands and wealth in the hands of a few powerful people They became Brazils first big land-lords These plantations were a chief market for slaves Thousands of hands were needed to prepare the ground for the production harvest transportation and the processing of the cane What better than a wage less labor force When plantation owners bought slaves they would buy two thirds male and one third female The purpose of buy a shipment of slaves one third female was to provide for the replacement of those that died Salves were treated more like livestock in the way that plantation owners were breeding them Their workday started at three in the morning and did not finish until eleven at night Slaves were branded with hot irons for purposes of identification Clearly plantation owners motivated by profit and self-advancement thought nothing about what they were doing They were working their slaves
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