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Prohibition was a Federal Ban on the production, importation, transportation and sale of alcohol in the United States from 1920 to 1933. The ban was started through the passage of the 18th Amendment in 1919, and was repealed by the 21st Amendment in 1933. Prohibition had its origins in the nineteenth century Temperance movement that pushed for state and federal bans on alcohol. However, it was not until the twentieth century that the movement gained more popularity federally. Prohibition was widely unsuccessful as rum runners and moonshiners still produced and moved alcohol around the country. This led to a rise in organized crime In addition, some states refused to enforce Prohibition, while border states snuck alcohol in from Canada, Mexico, and Cuba. All of the issues combined, plus a loss in tax revenue, led to the passage of the Twenty First Amendment which repealed Prohibition.

Bacardi ad encouraging Americans to come to Cuba during Prohibition

1926 Hurricane

In October, 1926 a category four hurricane made landfall on the island of Cuba, causing a significant amount of damages along with 709 fatalities. The hurricane was so powerful that it's storm surges damaged ships that belonged to the Cuban Navy. This is in addition to the dozens of buildings that were destroyed.  Even today, the hurricane is infamous for its power and its destruction on Cuba. 

Aftermath in Havana from the 1926 Hurricane

Charles Lindbergh 

In the first chapter of To Have and Have Not, Hemingway describes the flying fish appearing near Morgan’s boat as looking similar to “Lindbergh crossing the Atlantic when they [flying fish] sail off. Charles Lindbergh was an American aviator who became famous for becoming the first person to fly across the Atlantic Ocean in May of 1927. After achieving this feat, he became an international celebrity and received accolades from around the world. Unfortunately in March of 1932 Lingbergh’s infant son was kidnapped from the Lindbergh home in East Amwell, New Jersey. Due to Lindbergh's previous fame the kidnapping made international news. Despite the ransom being paid Lingbergh’s baby was found dead less than five miles from his home. Ultimately a local carpenter named Bruno Hauptmann was convicted of kidnapping the infant and was sentenced to death in 1936.

Lindbergh pictured with his plane "Spirit of St. Louis" that flew across the Atlantic

Coolie Labor 

Coolie labor was a system of indentured servitude where primarily Chinese men were brought to the United States in order to do manual labor before and after slavery was officially banned in the United States. Though these men were technically not slaves, as they were on five year contracts, these men were often treated similarly to and faced similar amounts of discrimination as slaves. These men helped build railroads, clear swamps, and did other manual labor in the name of “progress.” These men were so disliked that the United States passed a law in 1862 banning the Coolie Trade. This was a year before the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect. Though the importation of coolies was banned in the 1860s, it was hard to enforce. Therefore, both the trade and the discrimination continued despite the ban. This discrimination eventually culminated in the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, which banned Chinese immigration into the United States with limited exceptions.

"Cargo that Talks"

In To Have and Have Not, Harry Morgan says “ cargo that talks” while discussing the idea of smuggling Chinese laborers into the United States. In order to lower suspicion while talking about it in public – and avoid the lengthy prison sentence that would occur if he was caught. Additionally, Morgan feared that the people he would smuggle in would rat him out. Therefore, Morgan refused to smuggle Chinese laborers into the United States due to the risks involved. 

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