© 2011

Cuban Sugar Industry

Transnational Networks and Engineering Migrants in Mid-Nineteenth Century Cuba

  • Authors

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xiv
  2. Jonathan Curry-Machado
    Pages 1-22
  3. Jonathan Curry-Machado
    Pages 23-47
  4. Jonathan Curry-Machado
    Pages 49-71
  5. Jonathan Curry-Machado
    Pages 73-100
  6. Jonathan Curry-Machado
    Pages 101-127
  7. Jonathan Curry-Machado
    Pages 129-155
  8. Jonathan Curry-Machado
    Pages 157-173
  9. Jonathan Curry-Machado
    Pages 175-193
  10. Jonathan Curry-Machado
    Pages 195-201
  11. Back Matter
    Pages 203-264

About this book


Nineteenth-century Cuba led the world in sugar manufacture and technological innovation was central to this. Through the story of a group of forgotten migrant workers who anonymously contributed to Cuba's development, this book explores the development of the Cuban sugar industry and how the country became bound into global networks.


innovation migration Nation Transnational

About the authors

JONATHAN CURRY-MACHADO is a Fellow at Wageningen University in the Netherlands and an Associate Fellow at the Institute for the Study of the Americas in the University of London, UK.

Bibliographic information


"History at its best - crafted to link commodity and migration history, documenting networks of merchants, manufacturers, and skilled workers and how their mobility and knowledge transfer catapulted nineteenth-century Cuba to the pinnacle of global sugar production and trade, regaling us with a window onto the forgotten lives of itinerant maquinistas following the routes of British steam-driven technology, a world in which they enjoyed the privileges of a foreign white enclave in a slave plantation economy yet were also social outsiders, both catalysts and scapegoats when the contradictions of Spanish colonial slave society in an epoch of British abolitionism, erupted in the 1844 Ladder Conspiracy. A veritable tour de force in global labour history." - Jean Stubbs, Institute for the Study of the Americas, University of London

"Jonathan Curry-Machado's social history of the engineers and mechanics that immigrated from northern Europe and North America to Cuba during the first half of the nineteenth century provides an original perspective on the industrialization of world cane sugar production and Cuba's pioneering position in it. Curry-Machado carefully reconstructs the role of these foreign technicians in the transformation of the Cuban sugar industry, and effectively situates their experience within the tensions deriving from the relations between global networks and local conditions, technological change in a slave economy, and foreign identity in a colonial society. This book will be of interest to specialists and general readers alike." - Dale Tomich, Binghamton University