CROSSING THE ATLANTIC
(Circa 1720 to 1770)
On the return passage to Martinique, wrote de Clieu, a basely jealous passenger, being unable to get this coffee plant away from me, tore off a branch.
Then came the pirates who nearly captured the ship; then came a storm which nearly sank it. Finally, skies grew clear. Too clear. Water grew scarce and was rationed. De Clieu gave half of his allotment to his stricken seedling.
Under armed guard, the sprout grew strong in Martinique, yielding an extended family of approximately 18 million trees in 50 years or so. Its progeny would supply Latin America, where a dangerous liaison would help bring coffee to the masses...