During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the social, economic, and political landscape of Peru was transformed profoundly. Within a decade of the country’s disastrous defeat by Chile during the War of the Pacific, the export economy was recovering on the strength of a variety of agricultural and mineral products. The sugar industry played a pivotal role in this process and produced wealthy and socially ambitious families who became prominent political leaders on the national level.This study, based primarily on previously unavailable private records of sugarcane plantations, examines the external and internal dynamics of the sugar industry. It offers new insights into the process of land consolidation, the economics of sugar technology and production, the formation of the coastal elite, and the organization, recruitment, and control of labor. By focusing on the plantation Cayalti within a regional context, Gonzales presents one of the richest descriptions of the modern plantation for any region of Latin America. The book is a vivid social history of laborers from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds, from Chinese to Peruvians of Indian, mestizo, and black heritage.