Concept

Sam Zemurray

Résumé
Samuel Zemurray (born Schmuel Zmurri; January 18, 1877 – November 30, 1961), nicknamed "Sam the Banana Man", was an American businessman who made his fortune in the banana trade. He founded the Cuyamel Fruit Company and later became president of the United Fruit Company, the world's most influential fruit company at the time. Both companies played highly controversial roles in the history of several Latin American countries and had a significant influence on their economic and political development. Zemurray's birth name was Schmuel Zmurri (שמואל זמורי, Шмуэль Давидович Змура, Shmuel Davidovich Zmura). He was born to a poor Jewish family in Kishinev, Bessarabia, Russian Empire (present-day Chişinău, Moldova). His grandfather, Mendel Hirsh of Shargorod, was a Klezmer musician and bandleader. Zemurray grew up on a wheat farm. After his father died, he emigrated to America with his aunt in 1891 at age 14. After landing in New York, he settled in Selma, Alabama, where his uncle owned a general store. Zemurray worked many odd jobs during his youth, being a carpenter's assistant, delivery boy, traveling merchant, and housecleaner. Eventually, he saved enough money to bring his siblings from Europe to the United States. Zemurray encountered bananas for the first time in Selma in 1893. At the time, bananas were considered a new and exotic delicacy in the United States, and the industry was growing quickly. Zemurray went to the port of Mobile, Alabama in 1895 to enter the banana trade. Because bananas ripen quickly, the banana trade relied on the ability to quickly bring the produce to market. In Mobile, Zemurray specialized in buying cheap bananas in danger of being overripe and quickly transporting and selling them in the surrounding region by rail. Starting with only 150,hehadsaved150, he had saved 100,000 by age 21. His success earned him the nickname "Sam the Banana Man". In 1903, Zemurray signed a contract with United Fruit, the dominant company in the banana trade.
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