Published online by Cambridge University Press: 13 January 2020
When the United States assumed control over Puerto Rico after the military invasion of July 1898, coffee was Puerto Rico’s principal export staple product, having accounted for about 70 percent of Puerto Rico’s export trade in value by the mid-1890s. The peak year in production was 1896, when nearly 59 million pounds were exported worth about $13.4 million. In the same year, sugar exports from the island were valued at about $3.6 million.
Coffee was introduced to the island during the early eighteenth century, probably during the 1720s or 1730s, as part of its spread throughout the Caribbean by the French, who first began cultivating the crop in Martinique.