CHE Environmental Colloquium – Hurricanes Amidst the Great Depression: Agrarian Reform and Reconstruction in Puerto Rico, 1928-1940
Speaker: Adrian Bermudez Perez, Master’s Degree Student, Latin American, Caribbean, and Iberian Studies; Graduate Associate, Center for Culture, History and Environment, UW–Madison
In the late 1920s, and all through the 1930s, Puerto Rico experienced several turbulent encounters with hurricanes. Arriving just as the world would descend into economic turmoil, these hurricanes provided the opportunity for U.S. imperial officials and local elites to plan a transformation of Puerto Rico. Among these, new agricultural paradigms emerged as the series of storms brought calamity to the sugar-based economy of the archipelago. This case brings to the forefront one of the many ways in which hurricanes have helped shape the social, political, and economic histories of Puerto Rico, while also deepening our understanding into how they may continue to do so today.