Ford’s Project of Rubber Plantation

Jun 21st, 2015
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Alcorn State University
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The rubber plantations of Fordlandia and Belterra were two attempts by the Ford Motor Company from 1928-1945 to establish a permanent rubber plantation in Brazil. The goal was two-fold (i) to supply Ford’s internal demand for rubber and (ii) to provide a better way of life for the Brazilians who lived and worked on the plantations. The project was marked with failures such as not understanding native culture and trying to impose a Dearborn-like work schedule and life style on the native Brazilians as well as an inability to prevent predator attack on plantations particularly leaf blight.

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Fords Project of Rubber Plantation AbstractThe rubber plantations of Fordlandia and Belterra were two attempts by the Ford Motor Company from 1928-1945 to establish a permanent rubber plantation in Brazil. The goal was two-fold (i) to supply Fords internal demand for rubber and (ii) to provide a better way of life for the Brazilians who lived and worked on the plantations. The project was marked with failures such as not understanding native culture and trying to impose a Dearborn-like work schedule and life style on the native Brazilians as well as an inability to prevent predator attack on plantations particularly leaf blight.IntroductionRubber has been a strategic material. It has many uses particularly for vehicle tyres. Prior to World War 2, the only source of rubber was natural rubber. Subsequently, synthetic rubber was developed and began to be produced commercially. In 2005 about 21 million tons of rubber was produced, of which approximately 42% was natural.Natural RubberThe rubber tree Hevea Brasiliensis is native of Brazil where it grows naturally. It is mainly found within 10 N&S of the Equator. South America was the main source of the limited amounts of rubber used during much of the 19th century. In the latter half of the 19th century through to the second decade of the20th century natural rubber supported one of the most important development booms in Brazil. The acquisition of rubber was like the Gold Rush in the USA. Thousands of immigra

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