Three Men in Boat Transporting Bananas to the City Markets, Panama


This photograph depicting a scene in Panama is from the Frank and Frances Carpenter Collection at the Library of Congress. Frank G. Carpenter (1855–1924) was an American writer of books on travel and world geography, whose works helped to popularize cultural anthropology and geography in the United States in the early years of the 20th century. Consisting of photographs taken and gathered by Carpenter and his daughter Frances (1890–1972) to illustrate his writings, the collection includes an estimated 16,800 photographs and 7,000 glass and film negatives. The photograph appeared in Land of the Caribbean (1925), part of Carpenter's World Travels series, with the caption: “Probably the cheapest and most plentiful food in Panama is the banana, which is brought down the stream in native dugouts to the city markets at each end of the Canal.” The text explained that bananas were Panama’s most important product, “exploited largely by the United Fruit Company, which has extensive plantations in the province of Boca de Toro. Rubber, coffee, and coconuts are commercially important also, as well as sugar and tobacco. On the Pacific coast, Panama has thousands of acres of savannas, or rich grass lands, and the Chiriquí province, much of which is three thousand feet above sea level, is noted for its fine grazing regions.”

Last updated: September 29, 2014