By age 21, he had banked $100,000. At that time, shiploads of bananas arrived in Alabama. The colorful characters in this study are fascinating, if not always admirable. Rich Cohen is a superb storyteller. He later bought a steamship and went to Honduras. The icon: Sam Zemurray. Zemurray began life in Bessarabia and ended it as the de facto regent of South America. Both companies played highly controversial roles in the history of several … Sam The Banana Man. Which, according to Kinzer, is where Sam first immersed himself into geopolitics: Like many other American businessmen in Central America, Zemurray considered his land a private fiefdom. In 1910, he bought 5,000 acres (20 km²) of land along the Cuyamel River. Sam Zemurray. They emigrated to the United States when he was 14, where he began selling excess bananas from the ports in New Orleans to grocers along the railways lines so they could be sold inland before they were spoiled. He later added more land and found himself heavily in debt. The legacy: To paint a portrait of Sam Zemurray is to paint a portrait of the American dream. His success earned him the nickname “Sam the Banana Man.” By age twenty-one he had banked $100,000. In the late 1800s, at age 15, Sam Zemurray immigrated from Russia to Selma, Alabama, where he saw his first banana. He later bought a steamship and went to Honduras. After 1932, this world, known as bananaland, was led by Samuel Zemurray, Sam the Banana Man, a huge, colorful Russian who started out selling … He founded the Cuyamel Fruit Company, and later became head of the United Fruit Company, the world's most influential fruit company at the time. Zemurray was also widely known in Central America for his philantropic works. He came to … They loaded green bananas on trains bound for cities all across America. Photo Illustration Chris Silas Neal; Associated Press (Zemurray) By Rich Cohen. Put them together and you have a startling and often hilarious account of one of the forgotten heroes (and villains) of the American empire.” —Zev Chafets Sam "the Banana Man" Zemurray, a Bessarabian Jewish immigrant, made a fortune in Honduran bananas after he got into the business of "revolutin," and his exploits are now legendary. Today: Sam "The Banana Man" Zemurray. Samuel Zemurray (nicknamed "Sam the Banana Man"; born Schmuel Zmurri; January 18, 1877 – November 30, 1961) was a businessman who made his fortune in the banana trade. They threw the ripe bananas into the bay. Sam "The Banana Man" Zemurray introduces the United States to the wonders of the banana and becomes the richest man in New Orleans. His success earned him the nickname "Sam the Banana Man." Five Lessons From the Banana Man ... Sam simply bought it from each owner. A new book about Sam “The Banana man” Zemurray reminds us of the meaning of untrammelled capitalism. 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