Puerto Rican Machete

The machete acquired in Ponce, Puerto Rico is made of ausubo wood and was used to harvest sugar cane. Sugar cane production in Puerto Rico began in the sixteenth century with the establishment of large sugar plantations known as haciendas azucareras. Production of sugar cane continued through the twentieth century, enabling Puerto Rico to become one of the principal producers of sugar in the world. Despite the wealth of the sugar industry, conditions for the laborers remained harsh and with little opportunity for economic stability or independence. Internal divisions within the industry resulting from these conditions as well as technological improvements and consolidation caused a decline and eventual closure of many of the mills and haciendas in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
Credit Line
Gift of Teodoro Vidal
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Home and Community Life: Domestic Life
Many Voices, One Nation
Many Voices, One Nation
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History


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