The phrase banana republic
was coined (ca. 1904) by the American writer O. Henry
(William Sydney Porter, 1862–1910).
A banana republic is a politically unstable country whose economy depends on the export of one product in limited supply, such as bananas or minerals. A banana republic has social classes that are divided by wealth. These include a large, poor working class and a small ruling class made up of the businessmen, politicians, and the military. The ruling class controls and exploits the country's economy.
Images for kids
Cover of Cabbages and Kings (1904 edition).
The banana planter Minor C. Keith, American businessman.
In 1912, for the Cuyamel Fruit Company, the American mercenary "general" Lee Christmas overthrew the civil government of Honduras to install a military government friendly to foreign business.
Honduras, the quintessential banana republic.
With the poem "La United Fruit Co.", Pablo Neruda denounced the corporate subjugation of Latin America.
Graffiti implying a banana republic in Slovenia.