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Engenho (Portuguese pronunciation: [ẽˈʒẽɲu]) is a colonial-era Portuguese term for a sugar cane mill and the associated facilities. The word engenho usually only referred to the mill, but it could also describe the area as a whole including land, a mill, the people who farmed and who had a knowledge of sugar production, and a crop of sugar cane. A large estate was required because of the massive amount of labor needed to yield refined sugar, molasses, or rum from raw sugar cane. These estates were prevalent in Brazil, Cuba, Dominican Republic, and other countries in the Caribbean. As a result of these industries, Brazil is today still one of the world's major producers of sugar.
The focus on sugarcane promoted a growth of slavery in Brazil. Native peoples of Brazil were not cultivators; they resisted farm labor and were eliminated mostly by smallpox and measles[disputed ][relevant? ].
In Puerto Rico they were called ingenios (the Spanish term).