Photographer's Note

The town of San Pedro de Macorís is a coastal community located seventy kilometers east of Santo Domingo. In 1867 a decree from the National Congress opened its port located on the mouth of the Higuamo River to foreign exportation/importation, but it was not until 1879 that the sugar cane industry was established, initiating the tremendous progress that was made there during the next 50 years. In the late 19th century Cubans who were fleeing their country's War of Independence brought their extensive sugar cane farming knowledge to the country and contributed to making the sugar industry the most important economic activity in this area. At that time the first sugar factory was founded by Juan Amechazurra and began milling on January 9, 1879. His success with sugar cane crops encouraged many of his compatriots to imitate him, bringing many workers to San Pedro de Macorís in search of jobs in the flourishing mills. By 1894 there were many factories in the province, industrial development was progressing rapidly, and the young city was thrust into a position of influence and prominence in the Republic. The city reached its peak during the first quarter of the next century when sugar production enjoyed high prices on the international market as a result of the First World War. During the 1920’s San Pedro de Macorís had the most sugar mills and was the third most populated city in the country, following Santiago de los Caballeros and Santo Dominigo. During that time, San Pedro de Macorís was known as “the City with the Dance of the Millions” due to the economic conditions provided by the flourishing sugar industry. When sugar cane prices were at their peak in the 1930’s San Pedro de Macorís was considered the economic center of the entire country. The current economy of the region relies heavily on agriculture, still primarily the sugar industry. As of 1995, the province contained 5 sugar mills, four of which were state owned and one privately held. Sugar production has suffered in recent years as a consequence of low international prices, a lack of diversification, management problems within the sugar industry and destruction from Hurricane Georges in 1998.

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Additional Photos by Herb Allison (herbnallison) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 66 W: 65 N: 132] (1109)
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