Published online by Cambridge University Press: 13 January 2020
Puerto Rico has experienced three distinct sugar booms in its history. In the aftermath of conquest and settlement, the first sugar mill on the island was established by Tomás de Castellón, a Genoese investor who came to Santo Domingo in 1509, moved to Puerto Rico in 1513, and established himself as a producer of cattle and cassava bread. De Castellón’s enterprises prospered, and in 1523, he established the first sugar mill in the southwestern district of San Germán. Other mills were established during the 1520s and 1530s, and by 1540, the island clearly had a sugar sector of importance to the insular economy.