Pub. Date:
The University of North Carolina Press
Buena Vista: Life and Work on a Puerto Rican Hacienda, 1833-1904 / Edition 1

Buena Vista: Life and Work on a Puerto Rican Hacienda, 1833-1904 / Edition 1

by Guillermo Baralt


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This book traces the history of Buena Vista, an estate located in the southern foothills of Puerto Rico's central mountain range. Now a popular living history museum, Buena Vista flourished in the nineteenth century—first as a farm that furnished food for the city of Ponce and surrounding plantations, later as a producer of corn and cornmeal ground at the estate's water-powered mill, and finally as a coffee plantation.
Drawing on an impressive range of primary sources, Guillermo Baralt portrays the estate's history as a series of overlapping changes: from slavery to salaried labor, from primitive processing techniques to the latest in mill technology, from Spanish rule to American control, and from hard-scrabble country life to life as part of the world marketplace. Richly illustrated and written in a lively narrative style, Buena Vista paints a compelling portrait of an era, an island, a family, and an estate, bringing a period in Caribbean history to vivid life.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780807848012
Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date: 06/21/1999
Edition description: 1
Pages: 208
Product dimensions: 8.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.63(d)

About the Author

Guillermo A. Baralt is professor of history at the University of Puerto Rico.

Table of Contents


Foreword to the English Translation, by Teresita Martínez Vergne
Table of Weights and Measures
Chapter 1. Ponce in the First Half of the Nineteenth Century
Chapter 2. The Founding of Buena Vista: From Farm to Cornmeal Factory
Chapter 3. The Flour and Cornmeal Market in Ponce
Chapter 4. Buena Vista: A Village of Slaves, 1833-1873
Chapter 5. Coffee at Buena Vista: The Farm Becomes a Coffee Plantation, 1868-1898
Chapter 6. Hired Workers, 1873-1898
Chapter 7. Buena Vista after the U.S. Invasion, 1898-1904
Chapter 8. Conclusions
Chronology of Hacienda Buena Vista
Inventory of Buena Vista, 1863


1.1. Population of Ponce, 1846
1.2. Institutional and Administrative History of the Municipality of Ponce, 1800-1877
2.1. Commercial Crops, Buena Vista
2.2. Inventory of Livestock, Buena Vista, 1846
3.1. Main Crops in Ponce, 1864
3.2. Corn Prices, Buena Vista, 1868
3.3. Corn Purchases per Five-Year Period, 1850-1869
3.4. Buena Vista's Yearly Purchases of Corn, 1858-1871
3.5. Cornmeal Production at Buena Vista, 1850-1861
3.6. Buyers of Buena Vista Cornmeal, 1854
3.7. Income from Mill, 1850-1870
4.1. Number of Slaves at Buena Vista, 1846-1872
4.2. List of Slaves at Buena Vista, 1858
4.3. Place of Birth of Buena Vista Slaves
4.4. Deaths Caused by Cholera in Ponce, 1855-1856
4.5. Slave Deaths in Ponce, December 1855-November 1856
4.6. Runaway Slaves in Ponce, 1853-1865
5.1. Coffee Production in Puerto Rico, 1864-1896
5.2. Coffee Production in Ponce, by Barrio, 1863
5.3. Main Coffee-Producing Municipalities in Puerto Rico, 1897
5.4. Coffee Prices, 1839-1894
5.5. Coffee Exports, by Port, 1888
5.6. Losses at Buena Vista from Hurricane San Narciso, 1867
5.7. Replanting of Coffee Trees on Buena Vista, 1886
5.8. Buena Vista Coffee Production, 1861-1897
6.1. Jobs Done by Hired Workers at Buena Vista, 1873-1904
6.2. Coffee Pickers at Buena Vista, 1874
6.3. Coffee Pickers at Buena Vista, 1890
6.4. Payment to Coffee Pickers per Almud of Coffee Picked at Buena Vista, 1874-1894
6.5. Overseers at Buena Vista, 1872-1878
6.6. Salaries at Buena Vista for All Hired Workers (approximately 10), 1875
7.1. Coffee Production, Buena Vista, 1893-1900

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

This splendid book explores the 'other side' of Caribbean agrarian history—the one not dominated by plantations or other large estates. It is the story of a dynamic and successful farming and milling enterprise founded in the southern foothills of Puerto Rico's central mountain range by a Venezuelan emigre who fled his country's independence wars. Baralt ably recounts the history of the proprietor and his family, of the market economy in which they operated, and of the slaves and waged laborers who sustained the operation over many decades. Thanks to this wonderful English translation, a contemporary Caribbean classic is now accessible to a wider readership.—Francisco A. Scarano, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Out of the more than a score of agricultural estate histories that were originally researched and published in the Latin American history field in the 1970s and 1980s, Guillermo Baralt's work stands out as one of the most durable and most useful, especially as it is packaged in this 1999 edition. . . . Buena Vista can be used productively by both students and specialists alike. As a course text, because of its broad thematic applications, it can be used effectively in Latin American history and Latin American studies courses.—The Americas

This is an exceptional book, one that any visitor to Puerto Rico should read before making an obligatory visit to the island's Living Museum of Art and Science.—

A revealing story of agricultural modernization.—Choice

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