The definition of a banana republic is often depicted as a politically unstable nation usually in Central America, with an economy dependent on one crop. There is a reason why we use the word banana to describe this reality. Even though the banana is perhaps the world’s oldest cultivated plant, originating and being bred in Southeast Asia about 7000-10000 years ago, it wasn’t until some Spanish missionaries introduced bananas to the Americas in the early 1500’s that it began to move into fourth place of the world’s staple foods behind rice, wheat and corn. The rapid rise in interest of bananas began in the latter part of the 19th century when two companies United Fruit Company (later to be Chiquita) and Standard Fruit Company (later to be called Dole), began importing bananas to the United States. As the popularity of bananas grew these companies were able to pay countries like Guatemala and Honduras money for huge tracts of land to grow bananas. These companies generated dollar revenues that exceeded these countries gross national product and gave these small countries an economic foundation, and the companies involved political influence that neither had before.