United Fruit Company

Identity area

Type of entity

Corporate body

Authorized form of name

United Fruit Company

Parallel form(s) of name

Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules

Other form(s) of name

  • Boston Fruit Company (1885-1899)
  • United Brands Company (1970-1989)
  • Chiquita Brands International (1990- )

Identifiers for corporate bodies

Description area

Dates of existence



The United Fruit Company was an American corporation formed on 30 March 1899 as a result of a merger of the Boston Fruit Company headed by Andrew Preston and Lorenzo Dow Baker, and the Costa Rican, Panamanian and Colombian railroad and plantation holdings of American railroad financier Minor C. Keith’s Tropical Trading & Transport Company.

Headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, Andrew Preston served as the company’s first president until his death in 1924. In 1930, the United Fruit Company acquired Cuyamel Fruit Company, a competitor company headed by Samuel Zemurray, who went on to become managing director in charge of operations, then president of the company from 1938 to 1951.

By the mid-1900s, the United Fruit Company controlled (owned or leased) property made available to them by governments in multiple Caribbean and Central and South American countries including in Costa Rica, Colombia, Cuba, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica and Panama. The company imported products grown on its plantations in Latin America (primarily bananas but also sugar, cocoa and other tropical products) transporting them to sell in North American and European markets.

Thomas E. Sunderland served as company president from 1960-1968. In 1970, the United Fruit Company merged with Eli Black’s AMK Corporation, renaming this new entity the United Brands Company. Following the suicide and bribery scandal involving Black and company operations in Honduras, the company rebranded itself as Chiquita Brands International in 1990.


Legal status

Functions, occupations and activities

Mandates/sources of authority

Internal structures/genealogy

General context

Relationships area

Related entity

Chiriqui Land Company (c. 1900-2003)

Identifier of related entity

Category of relationship


Type of relationship

Chiriqui Land Company

is the subordinate of

United Fruit Company

Dates of relationship

Description of relationship

Chiriqui Land Company was a subsidiary of United Fruit Company and its successors (United Brands Company, then Chiquita Brands International)

Access points area

Subject access points

Place access points


Control area

Authority record identifier


Institution identifier


Rules and/or conventions used



Level of detail


Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Created 18 Jan. 2022 by T. Shida




Bourgois, P. (1989). Ethnicity at work: divided labor on a Central American banana plantation. John Hopkins Univ. Pr.

Bucheli, M., & Read, I. (2001). Chronology. United Fruit Company Historical Society. Retrieved January 18, 2022, from http://www.unitedfruit.org/chron.htm

Chiquita Brands International Inc. (1999). In D. Craft & A. Quick (Eds.), Company Profiles for Students (Vol. 1, pp. 285-289). Gale.

Chiquita Brands International. (2000). Corporate responsibility report: Our complex history. Retrieved on January 18, 2022 from Internet Archive Wayback Machine: http://www.chiquita.com/chiquitacr1/6backgrnd/crp92.asp

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