United Fruit Company

The United Fruit Company, now known as Chiquita Brands International, was an American firm that traded in tropical fruits cultivated on plantations in Latin America and sold in the United States and Europe.

Minor C. Keith’s banana-trading enterprises merged with Andrew W. Preston’s Boston Fruit Corporation in 1899 to establish the company.

It thrived in the early and mid-twentieth centuries, amassing extensive holdings and transportation networks throughout Central America, Colombia’s Caribbean coast, and the West Indies.

Though it battled with the Standard Fruit Company for dominance in the international banana trade, it maintained a virtual monopoly in certain countries, including Costa Rica, Honduras, and Guatemala, which were known as banana republics.