In 1910, he bought 5,000 acres (20 km²) of land along the Cuyamel River. 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. He later bought a steamship and went to Honduras. They threw the ripe bananas into the bay. 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. After 1932, this world, known as bananaland, was led by Samuel Zemurray, Sam the Banana Man, a huge, colorful Russian who started out selling … Sam "The Banana Man" Zemurray introduces the United States to the wonders of the banana and becomes the richest man in New Orleans. “Sam ‘the Banana Man’ Zemurray was a larger-than-life character. Sam Zemurray. By age 21, he had banked $100,000. In the banana belt of the Caribbean he was first known as "Sam, the Banana Man," and then later as "the fish that swallowed the whale." The colorful characters in this study are fascinating, if not always admirable. Five Lessons From the Banana Man ... Sam simply bought it from each owner. The legacy: To paint a portrait of Sam Zemurray is to paint a portrait of the American dream. Sam "The Banana Man" Zemurray was born Schmuel Zmurri in Bessarabia, Russia, in 1877 to a poor Jewish family. They loaded green bananas on trains bound for cities all across America. 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. Zemurray began life in Bessarabia and ended it as the de facto regent of South America. Rich Cohen is a superb storyteller. He later added more land and found himself heavily in debt. Both companies played highly controversial roles in the history of several … His success earned him the nickname "Sam the Banana Man." He came to … Photo Illustration Chris Silas Neal; Associated Press (Zemurray) By Rich Cohen. The icon: Sam Zemurray. Zemurray was also widely known in Central America for his philantropic works. 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. 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 A new book about Sam “The Banana man” Zemurray reminds us of the meaning of untrammelled capitalism. Sam The Banana Man. This gave Sam an idea. At that time, shiploads of bananas arrived in Alabama. In the late 1800s, at age 15, Sam Zemurray immigrated from Russia to Selma, Alabama, where he saw his first banana. 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