1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Cuba
CUBA (the aboriginal name), a republic, the largest and most populous of the West India Islands, included between the meridians of 74° 7′ and 84° 57′ W. longitude and (roughly) the parallels of 19° 48′ and 23° 13′ N. latitude. It divides the entrance to the Gulf of Mexico into two passages of nearly equal width,—the Strait of Florida, about 110 m. wide between Capes Hicacos in Cuba and Arenas in Florida (Key West being a little over 100 m. from Havana); and the Yucatan Channel, about 130 m. wide between Capes San Antonio and Catoche. On the N.E., E. and S.E., narrower channels separate it from the Bahamas, Haiti (50 m.) and Jamaica (85 m.). In 1908, by the opening of a railway along the Florida Keys, the time of passage by water between Cuba and the United States was reduced to a few hours.
The island is long and narrow, somewhat in the form of an irregular crescent, convex toward the N. It has a decided pitch to the S. Its length from Cape Maisí to Cape San Antonio along a medial line is about 730 m.; its breadth, which averages about 50 m., ranges from a maximum of 160 m. to a minimum of about 22 m. The total area is estimated at 41,634 sq. m. without the surrounding keys and the Isle of Pines (area about 1180 sq. m.), and including these is approximately 44,164. The geography of the island is still very imperfectly known, and all figures are approximate only. The coast line, including larger bays, but excluding reefs, islets, keys and all minute sinuosities, is about 2500 m. in length. The N. littoral is characterized by bluffs, which grow higher and higher toward the east, rising to 600 ft. at Cape Maisí. They are marked by distinct terraces. The southern coast near Cape Maisí is low and sandy. From Guantánamo to Santiago it rises in high escarpments, and W. of Santiago, where the Sierra Maestra runs close to the sea, there is a very high abrupt shore. To the W. of Manzanillo it sinks again, and throughout most of the remaining distance to Cape San Antonio is low, with a sandy or marshy littoral; at places sand hills fringe the shore; near Trinidad there are hills of considerable height; and the coast becomes high and rugged W. of Point Fisga, in the province of Pinar del Rio. On both the N. and the S. side of the island there are long chains of islets and reefs and coral keys (of which it is estimated there are 1300), which limit access to probably half of the coast, and on the N. render navigation difficult and dangerous. On the S. they are covered with mangroves. A large part of the southern littoral is subject to overflow, and much more of it is permanently marshy. The Zapata Swamp near Cienfuegos is 600 sq. m. in area; other large swamps are the Majaguillar, E. of Cárdenas, and the Ciénaga del Buey, S. of the Cauto river. The Isle of Pines in its northern part is hilly and wooded; in its southern part, very low, level and rather barren; a tidal swamp almost cuts the island in two.
A remarkable feature of the Cuban coast is the number of excellent anchorages, roadsteads and harbours. On the N. shore, beginning at the W., Bahía Honda, Havana, Matanzas, Cardenas, Nuevitas and Nipe; and on the S. shore running westward Guantánamo, Santiago and Cienfuegos, are harbours of the first class, several of them among the best of the world. Mariel, Cabañas, Banes, Sagua la Grande and Baracoa on the N., and Manzanillo, Santa Cruz, Batabanó and Trinidad on the S. are also excellent ports or anchorages. The peculiar pouch-shape of almost all the harbours named (Matanzas being a marked exception) greatly increases their security and defensibility. These pouch harbours are probably “drowned” drainage basins. The number of small bays that can be utilized for coast trade traffic is extraordinary.
In popular language the different portions of the island are distinguished as the Vuelta Abajo (“lower turn”), W. of Havana; the Vuelta Arriba (“upper turn”), E. of Havana to Cienfuegos—Vuelta Abajo and Vuelta Arriba are also used colloquially at any point in the island to mean “east” and “west”—Las Cinco Villas—i.e. Villa Clara, Trinidad, Remedios, Cienfuegos and Sancti Spiritus—between Cienfuegos and Sancti Spiritus; and Tierra Adentro, referring to the region between Cienfuegos and Bayamo. These names are extremely common. The province and city of Puerto Príncipe are officially known as Camagüey, their original Indian name, which has practically supplanted the Spanish name in local usage.
Five topographic divisions of the island are fairly marked. Santiago (now Oriente) province is high and mountainous. Camagüey is characterized by rolling, open plains, slightly broken, especially in the W., by low mountains. The E. part of Santa Clara province is decidedly rough and broken. The W. part, with the provinces of Matanzas and Havana, is flat and rolling, with occasional hills a few hundred feet high. Finally, Pinar del Rio is dominated by a prominent mountain range and by outlying piedmont hills and mesas. There are mountains in Cuba from one end of the island to the other, but they are not derived from any central mass and are not continuous. As just indicated there are three distinctively mountainous districts, various minor groups lying outside these. The three main systems are known in Cuba as the occidental, central and oriental. The first, the Organ mountains, in Pinar del Rio, rises in a sandy, marshy region near Cape San Antonio. The crest runs near the N. shore, leaving various flanking spurs and foothills, and a coastal plain which at its greatest breadth on the S. is some 20 m. wide. The plain on the N. is narrower and higher. The southern slope is smooth, and abounds in creeks and rivers. The portion of the southern plain between the bays of Cortés and Majana is the most famous portion of the Vuelta Abajo tobacco region. The mountain range is capriciously broken at points, especially near Bejucal. The highest part is the Pan de Guajaibón, near Bahía Honda, at the W. end of the chain; its altitude has been variously estimated from 2500 to 1950 ft. The central system has two wings, one approaching the N. coast, the other covering the island between Sancti Spiritus and Santa Clara. It comprehends a number of independent groups. The highest point, the Pico Potrerillo, is about 2900 ft. in altitude. The summits are generally well rounded, while the lower slopes are often steep. Frequent broad intervals of low upland or low level plain extend from sea to sea between and around the mountains. Near the coast runs a continuous belt of plantations, while grazing, tobacco and general farm lands cover the lower slopes of the hills, and virgin forests much of the uplands and mountains.
The oriental mountain region includes the province of Oriente and a portion of Camagüey. In extent, in altitude, in mass, in complexity and in geological interest, it is much the most important of the three systems. Almost all the mountains are very bold. They are imperfectly known. There are two main ranges, the Sierra Maestra, and a line of various groups along the N. shore. The former runs from Cape Santa Cruz eastward along the coast some 125 m. to beyond the river Baconao. The Sierra de Cobre, a part of the system in the vicinity of Santiago, has a general elevation of about 3000 ft. Monte Turquino, 7700–8320 ft. in altitude, is the highest peak of the island. Gran Piedra rises more than 5200 ft., the Ojo del Toro more than 3300, the Anvil de Baracoa is somewhat lower, and Pan de Matanzas is about 1267 ft. The western portions of the range rise abruptly from the ocean, forming a bold and beautiful coast. A multitude of ravines and gullies, filled with torrential streams or dry, according to the season of the year, and characterized by many beautiful cascades, seam the narrow coastal plain and the flanks of the mountains. The spurs of the central range are a highly intricate complex, covered with dense forests of superb woods. Many points are inaccessible, and the scenery is wild in the extreme. The mountains beyond Guantánamo are locally known by a variety of names, though topographically a continuation of the Sierra Maestra. The same is true of the chains that coalesce with these near Cape Maisí and diverge northwesterly along the N. coast of the island. The general character of this northern marginal system is much the same as that of the southern, save that the range is much less continuous. A dozen or more groups from Nipe in the E. to the coast N. of Camagüey in the W. are known only by individual names. The range near Baracoa is wild and broken. The region between the lines of the two coastal systems is a much dissected plateau, imperfectly explored. The Cauto river, the only one flowing E. or W. and the largest of Cuba, flows through it westward to the southern coast near Manzanillo. The scenery in the oriental portion of the island is very beautiful, with wild mountains and tropical forests. In the central part there are extensive prairies. In the west there are swelling hills and gentle valleys, with the royal palm the dominating tree. The valley of the Yumurí, near Matanzas, a small circular basin crossed by a river that issues through a glen to the sea, is perhaps the most beautiful in Cuba.
A very peculiar feature of Cuba is the abundance of caverns in the limestone deposits that underlie much of the island’s surface. The caves of Cotilla near Havana, of Bellamar near Matanzas, of Monte Libano near Guantánamo, and those of San Juan de los Remedios, are the best known, but there are scores of others. Many streams are “disappearing,” part of their course being through underground tunnels. Thus the Rio San Antonio suddenly disappears near San Antonio de los Baños; the cascades of the Jatibónico del Norte disappear and reappear in a surprising manner; the Moa cascade (near Guantánamo) drops 300 ft. into a cavern and its waters later reissue from the earth; the Jojo river disappears in a great “sink” and later issues with violent current at the edge of the sea. The springs of fresh water that bubble up among the keys of the S. coast are also supposedly the outlets of underground streams.
The number of rivers is very great, but almost without exception their courses are normal to the coast, and they are so short as to be of but slight importance. The Cauto river in Oriente province is exceptional; it is 250 m. long, and navigable by small vessels for about 75 m. Inside the bar at its mouth (formed by a storm in 1616) ships of 200 tons can still ascend to Cauto. In Camagüey province the Jatibónico del Sur; in Oriente the Salado, a branch of the Cauto; in Santa Clara the Sagua la Grande (which is navigable for some 20 m. and has an important traffic), and the Damuji; in Matanzas, the Canimar; and in Pinar del Rio the Cuyaguateje, are important streams. The water-parting in the four central provinces is very indefinite. There are few river valleys that are noteworthy—those of the Yumurí, the Trinidad and the Güines. At Guantánamo and Trinidad are other valleys, and between Mariel and Havana is the fine valley of Ariguanabo. Of lakes, there are a few on the coast, and a very few in the mountains. The finest is Lake Ariguanabo, near Havana, 6 sq. m. in area. Of the almost innumerable river cascades, those of the Sierra Maestra Mountains, and in particular the Moa cascade, have already been mentioned. The Guamá cascade in Oriente province and the Hanabanilla Fall near Cienfuegos (each more than 300 ft. high), the Rosario Fall in Pinar del Rio, and the Almendares cascade near Havana, may also be mentioned.
Geology.—The foundation of the island is formed of metamorphic and igneous rocks, which appear in the Sierra Maestra and are exposed in other parts of the island wherever the comparatively thin covering of later beds has been worn away. A more or less continuous band of serpentine belonging to this series forms the principal watershed, although it nowhere rises to any great height. It is in this band that the greater part of the mineral wealth of Cuba is situated. These ancient rocks have hitherto yielded no fossils and their age is therefore uncertain, but they are probably pre-Cretaceous at least. Fossiliferous Cretaceous limestones containing Rudistes have been found in several parts of the island (Santiago de los Baños, Santa Clara province, &c.). At the base there is often an arkose, composed largely of fragments of serpentine and granite derived from the ancient floor. At Esperanza and other places in the Santa Clara province, bituminous plant-bearing beds occur beneath the Tertiary limestones, and at Baracoa a Radiolarian earth occupies a similar position. The latter, like the similar deposits in other West Indian islands, is probably of Oligocene age. It is the Tertiary limestones which form the predominant feature in the geology of Cuba. Although they do not exceed 1000 ft. in thickness, they probably at one time covered the whole island except the summits of the Sierra Maestra, where they have been observed, resting upon the older rocks, up to a height of 2300 ft. They contain corals, but are not coral reefs. The shells which have been found in them indicate that they belong for the most part to the Oligocene period. They are frequently very much disturbed and often strongly folded. Around the coast there is a raised shelf of limestone which was undoubtedly a coral reef. But it is of recent date and does not attain an elevation of more than 40 or 50 ft.
Minerals are fairly abundant in number, but few are present in sufficient quantity to be industrially important. Traditions of gold and silver, dating from the time of the Spanish conquest, still endure, but these metals are in fact extremely rare. Oriente province is distinctively the mineral province of the island. Large copper deposits of peculiar richness occur here in the Sierra de Cobre, near the city of Santiago; and both iron and manganese are abundant. Besides the deposits in Oriente province, iron is known to exist in considerable amount in Camagüey and Santa Clara, and copper in Camagüey and Pinar del Rio provinces. The iron ores mined at Daiquiri near Santiago are mainly rich hematites running above 60% of iron, with very little sulphur or phosphorus admixture. The copper deposits are mainly in well-marked fracture planes in serpentine; the ore is pyrrhotite, with or without chalcopyrite. Manganese occurs especially along the coast between Santiago and Manzanillo; the best ores run above 50%. Chromium and a number of other rare minerals are known to exist, but probably not in commercially available quantities. Bituminous products of every grade, from clear translucent oils resembling petroleum and refined naphtha, to lignite-like substances, occur in all parts of the island. Much of the bituminous deposits is on the dividing line between asphalt and coal. There is an endless amount of stone, very little of which is hard enough to be good for building material, the greatest part being a soft coralline limestone. The best buildings in Havana are constructed of a very rich white limestone, soft and readily worked when fresh, but hardening and slightly darkening with age. There are extensive and valuable deposits of beautiful marbles in the Isle of Pines, and lesser ones near Santiago. The Organ Mountains contain a hard blue limestone; and sandstones occur on the N. coast of Pinar del Rio province. Clays of all qualities and colours abound. Mineral waters, though not yet important in trade, are extremely abundant, and a score of places in Cuba and the Isle of Pines are already known as health resorts. Those near San Diego, Guanabacoa and Santa Maria del Rosario (near Havana) and Madruga (near Güines) are the best known.
The soil of the island is almost wholly of modern formation, mainly alluvial, with superficial limestones as another prominent feature. In the original formation of the island volcanic disturbances and coral growth played some part; but there are only very slight superficial evidences in the island of former volcanic activity. Noteworthy earthquakes are rare. They have been most common in Oriente province. Those of 1776, 1842 and 1852 were particularly destructive, and of earlier ones those of 1551 and 1624 at Bayamo and of 1578 and 1678 at Santiago. Every year there are seismic disturbances, and though Santiago is the point of most frequent visitation, they occur in all parts of the island, in 1880 affecting the entire western end. Notable seismic disturbances in Cuba have coincided with similar activity in Central America so often as to make some connexion apparent.
Flora.—The tropical heat and humidity of Cuba make possible a flora of splendid richness. All the characteristic species of the West Indies, the Central American and Mexican and southern Florida seaboard, and nearly all the large trees of the Mexican tropic belt, are embraced in it. As many as 3350 native flowering species were catalogued in 1876. The total number of species of the island flora was estimated in 1892 by a writer in the Revista Cubana (vol. xv. pp. 5-16) to be between 5000 and 6000, but hardly one-third of this number had then been gathered into a herbarium, and all parts of the island had not then been explored. It was estimated officially in 1904 that the wooded lands of the island comprised 3,628,434 acres, of which one-third were in Oriente province, another third in Camagüey, and hardly any in Havana province. Much of this area is of primeval forest; somewhat more than a third of the total, belonging to the government, was opened to sale (and speculative exspoliation) in 1904. The woods are so dense over large districts as to be impenetrable, except by cutting a path foot by foot through the close network of vines and undergrowth. The jagüey (Ficus sp.), which stifles in its giant coils the greatest trees of the forest, and the copei (Clusia rosea) are remarkable parasitic lianas. Of the palm there are more than thirty species. The royal palm is the most characteristic tree of Cuba. It attains a height of from 50 to 75 ft., and sometimes of more than 100 ft. Alone, or in groups, or in long aisles, towering above the plantations or its fellow trees of the forest, its beautiful crest dominates every landscape. Every portion, from its roots to its leaves, serves some useful purpose. From it the native draws lumber for his hut, utensils for his kitchen, thatch for his roof, medicines, preserved delicacies, and a long list of other articles. The corojo palm (Cocos crispa) rivals the royal palm in beauty and utility; oil, sugar, drink and wood are derived from it. The coco palm (Cocos nucifera) is also put to varied uses. The mango is planted with the royal palm along the avenues of the plantations. The beautiful ceiba (Bombax ceiba L., Ceiba pentandra) or silk cotton tree is the giant of the Cuban forests; it often grows to a height of 100 to 150 ft. with enormous girth. The royal piñon (Erythrina velatina) is remarkable for the magnificent purple flowers that cover it. The tamarind and banyan are also noteworthy. Utilitarian trees and plants are legion. There are at least forty choice cabinet and building woods. Of these, ebonies, mahogany (for the bird’s-eye variety such enormous prices are paid as $1200 to $1800 per thousand board-feet), cullá (or cuyá, Bumelia retusa), cocullo (cocuyo, Bumelia nigra), ocuje (Callophyllum viticifolia, Ornitrophis occidentalis, O. cominia), jigüe (jique, Lysiloma sabicu), mahagua (Hibiscus tiliaceus), granadillo (Brya ebenus), icaquillo (Licania incania) and agua-baría (Cordia gerascanthes) are perhaps the most beautiful. Other woods, beautiful and precious, include guayacan (Guaiacum sanctum), baría (varía, Cordia gerascanthoides)—the fragrant, hard-wood Spanish elm—the quiebra-hacha (Copaifera hymenofolia), which three are of wonderful lasting qualities; the jiquí (Malpighia obovata), acana (Achras disecta, Bassia albescens), caigarán (or caguairan, Hymenaea floribunda), and the dagame (Calicophyllum candidissimum), which four, like the cullá, are all wonderfully resistant to humidity; the caimatillo (Chrysophyllum oliviforme), the yaya (or yayajabico, yayabito: Erythalis fructicosa, Bocagea virgata, Guateria virgata, Asimina Blaini), a magnificent construction wood; the maboa (Cameraria latifolia) and the jocuma (jocum: Sideroxylon mastichodendron, Bumelia saticifolia), all of individual beauties and qualities. Many species are rich in gums and resins; the calambac, mastic, copal, cedar, &c. Many others are oleaginous, among them, peanuts, sun-flowers, the bene seed (sesame), corozo, almond and palmachristi. Others (in addition to some already mentioned) are medicinal; as the palms, calabash, manchineel, pepper, fustic and a long list of cathartics, caustics, emetics, astringents, febrifuges, vermifuges, diuretics and tonics. Then, too, there are various dyewoods; rosewood, logwood (or campeachy wood), indigo, manajú (Garcinia Morella), Brazil-wood and saffron. Textile plants are extremely common. The majagua tree grows as high as 40 ft.; from its bark is made cordage of the finest quality, which is scarcely affected by the atmosphere. Strong, fine, glossy fibres are yielded by the exotic ramie (Boehmeria nivea), whose fibre, like that of the majagua, is almost incorruptible; by the maya or rat-pineapple (Bromelia Pinguin), and by the daquilla (or daiguiya—Lagetta lintearia, L. valenzuelana), which like the maya yields a brilliant, flexible product like silk; stronger cordage by the corojo palms, and various henequén plants, native and exotic (especially Agave americana, A. Cubensis); and various plantains, the exotic Sansevieria guineensis, okra, jute, Laportea, various lianas, and a great variety of reeds, supply varied textile materials of the best quality. The yucca is a source of starch. For building and miscellaneous purposes, in addition to the rare woods above named, there are cedars (used in great quantities for cigar boxes); the pine, found only in the W., where it gives its name to the Isle of Pines and the province of Pinar del Rio; various palms; oaks of varying hardness and colour, &c. The number of alimentary plants is extremely great. Among economic plants should be mentioned the coffee, cacao, citron, cinnamon, cocoanut and rubber tree. Wheat, Indian corn and many vegetables, especially tuberous, are particularly important. Plantain occurs in several varieties; it is in part a cheap and healthful substitute for bread, which is also made from the bitter cassava, after the poison is extracted. The sweet cassava yields tapioca. Bread-trees are fairly common, but are little cared for. White and sweet potatoes, yams, sweet and bitter yuccas, sago and okra, may also be mentioned.
Fruits are varied and delicious. The pineapple is the most favoured by Cubans. Four or five annual crops grow from one plant, but not more than three can be marketed, unless locally, as the product deteriorates. The better (“purple”) varieties are mainly consumed in the island, and the smaller and less juicy “white” varieties exported. The tamarind is everywhere. Bananas are grown particularly in the region about Nipe, Gibara and Baracoa, whence they are exported in large quantities, though there is a tendency to lessen their culture in these parts in favour of sugar. Mangoes, though exotic, are extremely common, and in the E. grow wild in the forests. They are the favourite fruit of the negroes. Oranges are little cultivated, although they offer apparently almost unlimited possibilities; their culture decreased steadily after 1880, but after about 1900 was again greatly extended. Lemons yield continuously through the year, but like oranges, not much has yet been done with them commercially. Pomegranates are as universally used in Cuba as apples in the United. States. Figs and grapes degenerate in Cuba. Dates grow better, but nothing has been done with them. The coco-nut palm is most abundant in the vicinity of Baracoa. Among the common fruits are various anonas—the custard apple (Anona cherimolia), sweet-sop (A. squamosa), sour-sop (A. muricata), mamón (A. reticulata), and others,—the star-apple (Chrysophyllum cainito, C. pomiferum), rose-apple (Eugenia jambos), pawpaw, the sapodilla (Sapota achras), the caniste (Sapota Elongata), jagua (Genipa americana), alligator pear (Persea gratissima), the yellow mammee (Mammea americana) and so-called “red mammee” (Lucuma mammosa) and limes.
Fauna.—The fauna of Cuba, like the flora, is still imperfectly known. Collectively it shows long isolation from the other Antilles. Only two land mammals are known to be indigenous. One is the hutía (agouti) or Cuban rat, of which three species are known (Capromys Fournieri, C. melanurus and C. Poey). It lives in the most solitary woods, especially in the eastern hills. The other is a peculiar insectivore (Solenodon paradoxus), the only other representatives of whose family are found in Madagascar. Various animals, apparently indigenous, that are described by the early historians of the conquest, have disappeared. An Antillean rabbit is very abundant. Bats in prodigious numbers, and some of them of extraordinary size, inhabit the many caves of the island; more than twenty species are known. Rats and mice, especially the guayabita (Mus musculus), an extremely destructive rodent, are very abundant. The manatee, or sea-cow, frequents the mouths of rivers, the sargasso drifts, and the regions of submarine fresh-water springs off the coast. Horses, asses, cows, deer, sheep, goats, swine, cats and dogs were introduced by the early Spaniards. The last three are common in a wild state. Deer are not native, and are very rare; a few live in the swamps.
Of birds there are more than 200 indigenous species, it is said, and migratory species are also numerous. Waders are represented by more than fifty species. Vultures are represented by only one species, the turkey buzzard, which is the universal scavenger of the fields, and until recent years even of the cities, and has always been protected by custom and the Laws of the Indies. Falcons are represented by a score of species, at least, several of them nocturnal. Kestrels are common. The gallinaceous order is rich in Columbidae. Trumpeters are notably represented, and climbers still more so. Among the latter are species of curious habits and remarkable colouring. Woodpeckers (Coloptes auratus), macaws, parrakeets and other small parrots, and trogons, these last of beautifully resplendent plumage, deserve particular mention. The Cuban mocking-bird is a wonderful songster. Of humming-birds there are said to be sixty species, probably only one indigenous. Of the other birds mere mention may be made of the wild pigeon, raven, indigo-bird, English lady-bird and linnet.
Reptiles are numerous. Many tortoises are notable. The crocodile and cayman occur in the swampy littoral of the south. Of lizards the iguana (Cyclura caudata) is noteworthy. Chameleons are common. Snakes are not numerous, and it is said that none is poisonous or vicious. There is one enormous boa, the maja (Epicrates angulifer), which feeds on pigs, goats and the like, but does not molest man.
Fishes are present in even greater variety than birds. Felipa Poey, in his Ictiologia Cubana, listed 782 species of fish and crustaceans, of which 105 were doubtful; but more than one-half of the remainder were first described by Poey. The fish of Cuban waters are remarkable for their metallic colourings. The largest species are found off the northern coast. Food fishes are relatively not abundant, presumably because the deep sea escarpments of the N. are unfavourable to their life. Shell fish are unimportant. Two species of blind fish, of extreme scientific interest, are found in the caves of the island. Of the “percoideos” there are many genera. Among the most important are the robalo (Labrax), an exquisite food fish, the tunny, eel, Spanish sardine and mangua. Of the sharks the genus Squalus is represented by individuals that grow to a length of 26 to 30 ft. The hammer-head attains a weight at times of 600 ℔. The saw-fish is common. Of fresh-water fish the lisa, dogro, guayácón and viajocos (Chromis fuscomaculatus) are possibly the most noteworthy.
Molluscs are extraordinarily numerous; and many, both of water and land, are rarities among their kind for size and richness of colour. Of crustaceans, land-crabs are remarkable for size and number. Arachnids are prodigiously numerous. Insect life is abundant and beautiful. The bite of the scorpion and of the numerous spiders produces no serious effects. The nigua, the Cuban jigger, is a pest of serious consequence, and the mal de nigua (jigger sickness) sometimes causes the death of lower animals and men. Sand-flies and biting gnats are lesser nuisances. Lepidoptera are very brilliant in colouring. The cucujo or Cuban firefly (Pyrophorus noctilucus) gives out so strong a light that a few of them serve effectively as a lantern. The Stegomyia mosquito is the agent of yellow fever inoculation. Sponges grow in great variety.
Climate.—The climate of Cuba is tropical and distinctively insular in characteristics of humidity, equability and high mean temperature. There are two distinct seasons: a “dry” season from November to April, and a hotter, “wet” season. About two-thirds of the total precipitation falls in the latter. Droughts, extensive in area and in duration, are by no means uncommon. At Havana the mean temperature is about 76° F., with extreme monthly oscillations ranging on the average from 6° to 12° F. for different months, and with a range between the means of the coldest and warmest months of 10° (70° to 80°); temperatures below 50° or above 90° being rare. The mean rainfall at Havana is about 40.6 in. (sometimes over 80), and the mean absolute humidity of different months ranges from 70 to 80%. These figures represent fairly well the conditions of much of the northern coast. In the N.E. the rainfall is much greater. The equability of heat throughout the day is masked and relieved by the afternoon sea breezes. The trades are steady through the year, and in the dry season the western part of the island enjoys cool “northers.” Despite this the interior is somewhat cooler than the coast, and in the uplands frost is not uncommon. The southern littoral is also (except in sheltered points such as Santiago, which is one of the hottest cities of the island) somewhat cooler than the northern.
More than eight or ten years rarely pass without tornadoes or hurricanes of local severity at least. Notably destructive ones occurred in 1768, 1774, 1842, 1844, 1846, 1865, 1870, 1876, 1885 and 1894. Those of 1842 and 1844 caused extreme distress in the island. In 1846, 300 vessels and 2000 houses were destroyed at Havana; in 1896 the banana groves of the N.E. coast were ruined and the banana industry prostrated; and in 1906 Havana suffered damage. The autumn months, particularly October and November, are those in which such storms most frequently occur.
Health.—Convincing evidence is offered by the qualities of the Spanish race in Cuba that white men of temperate lands can be perfectly acclimatized in this tropical island. As for diseases, some common to Cuba and Europe are more frequent or severe in the island, others rarer or milder. There are the usual malarial, bilious and intermittent fevers, and liver, stomach and intestinal complaints prevalent in tropical countries; but unhygienic living is, in Cuba as elsewhere, mainly responsible for their existence. Yellow fever (which first appeared in Cuba in 1647) was long the only epidemic disease, Havana being an endemic focus. Aside from the recurrent loss of life, the pecuniary loss from such epidemics was enormous, and the interference with commerce and social intercourse with other countries extremely vexatious. The Cuban coast was uninterruptedly full of infection, and the danger of an outbreak in each year was never absent, until the work of the United States army in 1901–1902 conclusively proved that this disease, though ineradicable by the most extreme sanitary measures, based on the accepted theory of its origin as a filth-disease, could be eradicated entirely by removing the possibility of inoculation by the Stegomyia mosquito. Since then yellow fever has ceased to be a scourge in Cuba. Small-pox was the cause of a greater mortality than yellow fever even before the means of combating the latter had been ascertained. The remarkable sanitary work begun during the American occupation and continued by the republic of Cuba, has shown that the ravages of this and other diseases can be greatly diminished. Leprosy is rather common, but seemingly only slightly contagious. Consumption is very prevalent.
Agriculture.—Soils are of four classes: calcareous-ferruginous, alluvial, argillous and silicious. Calcareous lands are predominant, especially in the uplands. Deep residual clay soils derived from underlying limestones, and coloured red or black according to the predominance of oxides of iron or vegetable detritus, characterize the plains. A red-black soil known as “mulatto” or tawny is perhaps the best fitted for general cultivation. Tobacco is most generally cultivated on loose red soils, which are rich in clays and silicates; and sugar-cane preferably on the black and mulatto soils; but in general, contrary to prevalent suppositions, colour is no test of quality and not a very valuable guide in the setting of crops. Almost without exception the lands throughout the island are of extreme fertility. The lowlands about Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Mariel and Matanzas are noted for their richness. The census of 1899 showed that farm lands occupied three-tenths of the total area; the cultivated area being one-tenth of the farms or 3% of the whole. At the end of 1905 it was officially estimated that 16% was in cultivation. In 1902 it was officially estimated that the public land available for permanent agrarian cultivation, including forest lands, was only 186,967 hectares (416,995 acres), almost wholly in the province of Oriente. The average size of a farm in 1899 was 143 acres. More than 85% of all cultivated lands were then occupied by whites; and somewhat more than one-half (56.6%) of all occupiers were renters. Holdings of more than 32 acres constituted only 7% of the total. As regards crops, 47% of the cultivated area was given over to sugar, 11% to sweet potatoes, 9% to tobacco and almost 9% to bananas. But owing to the disturbed conditions created by the war it is probable that these figures by no means represent normal conditions. The actual sugar crop of 1899–1900, for example, was not a quarter of that of 1894. With the establishment of peace in 1898 and the influx of American and other capital and of a heavy immigration, great changes took place in agriculture as in other industrial conditions.
Sugar has been the dominant crop since the end of the 18th century. Before the Civil War of 1895–1898 the capital invested in sugar estates was greater by half than that represented by tobacco and coffee plantations, live-stockSugar. ranches and other farms. Since that time fruit and live-stock interests have increased. The dependence of the island on one crop has been an artificial economic condition often of grave momentary danger to prosperity; but generally speaking, the progress of the industry has been steady. The competition of the sugar-beet has been felt severely. During and after the war of 1868–1878, when many Cuban estates were confiscated, many families emigrated, and many others were ruined, the ownership of plantations largely passed from the hands of Cubans to Spaniards. Under the conditions of free labour, the development of railways abroad, the improvement of machinery both in cane and beet producing countries, the general competition of the beet, and the fall of prices, it was impossible for the Cuban industry to survive without radical betterment of methods. About 1885 began an immense development of centralization (the tendency having been evident many years before this). Plantations have increased greatly in size (and also diminished in number), greater capital is involved, bagasse furnaces have been introduced, double grinding mills have increased by more than a half the yield of juice from a given weight of cane, and extractive operations instead of being carried on on all plantations have been (since 1880) concentrated in comparatively few “centrals” (168 in Feb. 1908). Three-fourths of all are in the jurisdictions of Cienfuegos, Cárdenas, Havana, Matanzas and Sagua la Grande, which are the great sugar centres of the island (three-fourths of the crop coming from Matanzas and Santa Clara provinces). Caibarién, Guantánamo and Manzanillo are next in importance. A comparatively low cost of labour, the fact that labour is not, as in the days of slavery, that of unintelligent blacks but of intelligent free labourers, the centralized organization and modern methods that prevail on the plantations, the remarkable fertility of the soil (which yields 5 or 6 crops on good soil and with good management, without replanting), and the proximity of the United States, in whose markets Cuba disposes of almost all her crop, have long enabled her to distance her smaller West Indian rivals and to compete with the bounty-fed beet. The methods of cultivation, however, are still distinctly extensive, and the returns are much less than they would be (and in some other cane countries are) under more intensive and scientific methods of cultivation. Indeed, conditions were relatively primitive so late as 1880, if compared with those of other sugar-producing countries. More than four-fifths of the total area sown to cane in the island is in the three provinces of Santa Clara, Matanzas and Oriente (formerly Santiago), the former two representing two-thirds of the area and three-fourths of the crop. The majority of the sugar estates are of an area less than 3000 acres, and the most common area is between 1500 and 2000 acres; but the extremes range from a very small size to 60,000 acres. Only a part of the great estates is ever planted in any one season. The most profitable unit is calculated to be a daily consumption of 1500 tons of cane, or 150,000 in a grinding season of 100 days, which implies a feeding area not above 6000 acres. In the season of 1904–1905, which may be taken as typical, 179 estates, with a planted area of 431,056 acres, produced 11,576,137 tons of cane, and yielded—in addition to alcohol, brandy and molasses—1,089,814 tons of sugar. Of this amount 416,862 tons were produced by 24 estates yielding more than 11,000 tons each, including one (planting 28,050 acres) that yielded 33,609, and 4 others more than 22,000 tons each. The production of the island from 1850 to 1868 averaged 469,934 tons yearly, rising from 223,145 to 749,000; from 1869 to 1886 (continuing high during the period of the Ten Years’ War), 632,003 tons; from 1887 to 1907—omitting the five years 1896–1900 when the industry was prostrated by war,—909,827 tons (and including the war period, 758,066); and in the six harvests of 1901–1906, 1,016,899 tons. Prior to 1902 the million mark, was reached only twice—in 1894 and 1895. Following the resuscitation of the industry after the last war, the island’s crop rose steadily from one-sixth to a full quarter of the total cane sugar output of the world, its share in the world’s product of sugar of all kinds ranging from a tenth to an eighth. Of this enormous output, from 98.3% upward went to the United States; of whose total importation of all sugars and of cane sugar the proportion of Cuban cane—steadily rising—was respectively 49.8 and 53.7% in the seasons of 1900–1901 and 1904–1905.
If sugar is the island’s greatest crop, tobacco is her most renowned in the markets of the world. Three-fourths of the tobacco of Cuba comes from Pinar del Rio province; the rest mainly from the provinces of Havana andTobacco. Santa Clara,—the description de partido being applied to the leaf not produced in Havana and Pinar del Rio provinces, and sometimes to all produced outside the vuelta abajo. This district, including the finest land, is on the southern slope of the Organ Mountains between the Honda river and Mantua; bananas are cultivated with the tobacco. “Vegas” (tobacco fields) of especially good repute are also found near Trinidad, Remedios, Yara, Mayarí and Vicana. The tobacco industry has been uniformly prosperous, except when crippled by the destruction of war in 1868–1878 and 1895–1898. Even in the time of slavery tobacco was generally a white-man’s crop; for it requires intelligent labour and intensive care. In recent years the growth of the leaf under cloth tents has greatly increased, as it has been abundantly proved that the product thus secured is much more valuable—lighter in colour and weight, finer in texture, with an increased proportion of wrapper leaves, and more uniform qualities, and with lesser amounts of cellulose, nicotine, gums and resins. In these respects the finest Cuban tobacco crops, produced in the sun, hardly rival the finest Sumatra product; but produced under cheese-cloth they do. “Cuban tobacco” does not mean to-day, as a commercial fact, what the words imply; for the original Nicotiana Tabacum, variety havanensis, can probably be found pure to-day only in out-of-the-way corners of Pinar del Rio. After the Ten Year’s War seed of Mexican and United States tobaccos was in great demand to re-seed the ruined vegas, and was introduced in great quantities; and although by a later law the destruction of these exotic species was ordered, that destruction was in fact quite impossible. “Lusty growers and coarser than the genuine old-time Cuban ... Mexican tobaccos (Nicotiana Tabacum, variety macrophyllum) are to-day predominant in a large part of Cuban vegas.... Ordinary commercial Cuban seed of to-day is largely, and often altogether, Mexican tobacco.” Though improved in the Cuban environment, the foreign tobaccos introduced after the Ten Years’ War did not lose their exotic character, but prevailed over the indigenous forms: “Tobaccos with exactly the character of the introduced types are now the prevalent forms” (quotation from Bulletin of the Estación Central Agronómica, Feb. 1908). In the markets of the world Cuban tobacco has always suffered less competition than Cuban sugar, and still less has been done than in the case of sugar cane in the study of methods of cultivation, which in several respects are far behind those of other tobacco-growing countries. The crop of 1907 was 201,512 bales (109,562,400 ℔ Sp.).
Coffee-raising was once a flourishing and very promising industry. It first attained prominence with the settlement in eastern Cuba, late in the 18th century, of French refugee immigrants from San Domingo. Some “cafetales”Coffee. were established by the newcomers near Havana, but the industry has always been almost exclusively one of Oriente province; with Santa Clara as a much smaller producer. Before the war of 1868–1878 the production amounted to about 25,000,000 ℔ yearly. The war of 1895–1898 still further diminished the vitality of the industry. In 1907 the crop was 6,595,700 ℔. The berries are of fine quality, and despite the competition of Brazil there is no (agricultural) reason why the home market at least should not be supplied from Cuban estates.
Of other agricultural crops those of fruits are of greatest importance—bananas (which are planted about once in three years), pine-apples (planted about once in five years), coco-nuts, oranges, &c. The coco-nut industry has long been largely confined to the region about Baracoa, owing to the ruin of the trees elsewhere by a disease not yet thoroughly understood, which, appearing finally near Baracoa, threatened by 1908 to destroy the industry there as well. Yams and sweet-potatoes, yuccas, malangas, cacao, rice—which is one of the most important foods of the people, but which is not yet widely cultivated on a profitable basis—and Indian corn, which grows everywhere and yields two crops yearly, may be mentioned also. In very recent years gardening has become an interest of importance, particularly in the province of Pinar del Rio. Save on the coffee, tobacco and sugar plantations, where competition in large markets has compelled the adoption of adequate modern methods, agriculture in Cuba is still very primitive. The wooden ploughstick, for instance—taking the country as a whole—has never been displaced. A central agricultural experiment station (founded 1904) is maintained by the government at Santiago de las Vegas; but there is no agricultural college, nor any special school for the scientific teaching and improvement of sugar and tobacco farming or manufacture.
Stock-breeding is a highly important interest. It was the all-important one in the early history of the island, down to about the latter part of the 18th century. Grasses grow luxuriantly, and the savannahs of central Cuba are, in this respect, excellent cattle ranges. The droughts to which the island is recurrently subject are, however, a not unimportant drawback to the industry; and though the best ranges, under favourable conditions, are luxuriant, nevertheless the pastures of the island are in general mediocre. Practically nothing has yet been done in the study of native grasses and the introduction of exotic species. The possibilities of the stock interest have as yet by no means been realized. The civil wars were probably more disastrous to it than to any other agricultural interest of the island. It has been authoritatively estimated, for example, that from 90 to 95% of all horses, neat cattle and hogs in the entire island were lost in the war years of 1895–1898. In the decade after 1898 particularly great progress was made in the raising of live-stock. The fishing and sponge industries are important. Batabanó and Caibarién are centres of the sponge fisheries.
Manufactures.—The manufacturing industries of Cuba have never been more than insignificant as compared with what they might be. In 1907 48.5% of all wage-earners were engaged in agriculture, fishing and mining, 16.3 in manufactures, and 17.7 in trade and transportation. Such manufactures as are of any consequence are mostly connected with the sugar and tobacco industries. Forest resources have been but slightly touched (more so since the end of Spanish rule) except mahogany, which goes to the United States, and cedar, which is used to box the tobacco products of the island, much going also to the United States. The value of forest products in 1901–1902 amounted to $320,528. There are some tanneries, some preparation of preserves and other fruit products, and some old handicraft industries like the making of hats; but these have been of comparatively scant importance. Despite natural advantages for all meat industries, canned meats have generally been imported. The leading manufactures are cigars and cigarettes, sugar, rum and whisky. The tobacco industries are very largely concentrated in Havana, and there are factories in Santiago de las Vegas and Bejucal. The yearly output of cigars was locally estimated in 1908 at about 500,000,000, but this is probably too high an estimate. In 1904–1906 the yearly average sent to the United States was 234,063,652 cigars, 29,776,429 ℔ of leaf and 14,203,571 packages of cigarettes. The sugar industry is not similarly centralized. With the improvement of methods the old partially refined grades (moscobados) have disappeared.
Mining.—Mining is of very considerable importance. The Cobre copper mines near Santiago were once the greatest producers of the world. They were worked from 1524 until about 1730, when they were abandoned for almost a century, after which they were reopened and greatly developed. In 1828–1840 about two million dollars’ worth of ore was shipped yearly to the United States alone. After 1868 the mines were again abandoned and flooded, the mining property being ruined during the civil war. Finally, after 1900 they again became prosperous producers. The “Cobre” mine is only the most famous and productive of various copper properties. The copper output has not greatly increased since 1890, and is of slight importance in mineral exports. Iron and manganese have, on the contrary, been greatly developed in the same period. Iron is now the most important mineral product. The iron ores are even more accessible than the famous ones of the Lake Superior region in the United States. No shafts or tunnels are necessary except for exploration; the mining consists entirely in open-cut and terrace work. The cost of exploitation is accordingly slight. Daiquiri, near Santiago, and mines near Nipe, on the north coast, are the chief centres of production. Nearly the entire product goes to the United States. The first exports from the Daiquiri district were made by an American company in 1884; the Nipe (Cagimaya) mines became prominent in promise in 1906. The shipments from Oriente province from 1884 to 1901 aggregated 5,053,847 long tons, almost all going to the United States (which is true of other mineral products also). After 1900 production was greatly increased and by 1906 had come to exceed half a million tons annually. There are small mines in Santa Clara and Camagüey provinces. Manganese is mined mainly near La Maya and El Cristo in Oriente. The traditions as to gold and silver have already been referred to. Evidences of ancient workings remain near Holguin and Gibara, and it is possible that some of these workings are still exploitable. Mining for the precious metals ceased at a very early date, after rich discoveries were made on the continent. Bituminous products, though, as already stated, widely distributed, are not as yet much developed. The most promising deposits and the most important workings are in Matanzas and Santa Clara provinces. Petroleum has been used to some extent both as a fuel and as an illuminant. Small amounts of asphalt have been sent to the United States. Locally, asphalts are used as gas enrichers. Grahamite and glance-pitch are common, and are exported for use in varnish and paint manufactures. The commercial product of stones, brick and cement is of rapidly increasing importance. The foundation of the island is in many places almost pure carbonate of lime, and there are numerous small limekilns. The product is used to bleach sugar, as well as for construction and disinfection purposes. The number of small brick plants is legion, almost all very primitive.
Commerce.—Commerce (resting largely upon specialized agriculture) is vastly more prominent as yet than manufacturing and mining in the island’s economy. The leading articles of export are sugar, tobacco and fruit products; of import, textiles, foodstuffs, lumber and wood products, and machinery. Sugar and tobacco products together represent seven-eighths (in 1904–1907 respectively 60.3 and 27.3%) of the normal annual exports. In the quinquennial period 1890–1894 (immediately preceding the War of Independence) the average yearly commerce of the island in and out was $86,875,663 with the United States; and $28,161,726 with Spain. During the American military occupation of the island in 1899–1902, of the total imports 45.9% were from the United States, 14 from other American countries, 15 from Spain, 14 from the United Kingdom, 6 from France and 4 from Germany; of the exports the corresponding percentages for the same countries were 70.7, 2, 3, 10, 4 and 7. No special favours were enjoyed by the United States in this period, and about the same percentages prevailed in the years following. The total movement of the island in the five calendar years 1902–1906 averaged $177,882,640 (for the five fiscal years 1902–1903 to 1906–1907, $185,987,020) annually, and of this the share of the United States was $108,431,000 yearly, representing 45.8% of all imports and 81.9% of all exports. The proportion of imports taken from the United States is greatest in foodstuffs, metals and metal manufactures, timber and furniture, mineral oils and lard. The trade of the United States with the island was as great in 1900–1907 as with Mexico and all the other West Indies combined; as great as its trade with Spain, Portugal and Italy combined; and almost as great as its trade with China and Japan.
Communications.—Poor means of communication have always been a great handicap to the industries of the island. The first railroad in Cuba (and the first in Spanish lands) was opened from Havana to Güines in 1837. In succeeding years a fairly ample system was built up between the cities of Pinar del Rio and Santa Clara, with a number of short spurs from the chief ports farther eastward into the interior. After the first American occupation a private company built a line from Santa Clara to Santiago, more than half the length of the island, finally connecting its two ends (1902). The policy of the railways was always one rather of extortion than of fairness or of any interest in the development of the country, but better conditions have begun. There was ostensible government regulation of rates after 1877, but the roads were guaranteed outright against any loss of revenue, and in fact practically nothing was ever done in the way of reform in the Spanish period. In 1900 the total length of railways was 2097 m., of which 1226 were of 17 public roads and 871 m. of 107 private roads. In August 1908 the mileage of all railways (including electric) in Cuba was 2329.8 m. The telegraph and telephone systems are owned by the government. Cables connect the island with Florida, Jamaica, Haiti and San Domingo, Porto Rico, the lesser Antilles, Panama, Venezuela and Brazil. Havana, Santiago and Cienfuegos are cable ports. Wagon roads are still of small extent and primitive character save in a very few localities. The peculiar two-wheeled carts of the country, carrying enormous loads of 4 to 6 tons, destroy even the finest road. Similar carts, slightly lighter, used in the cities, quickly destroy any paving but stone block. The only good highways of any considerable length in 1908 were in the two western provinces and in the vicinity of Santiago. During the second American occupation work was begun on a network of good rural highways.
Population.—Various censuses were taken in Cuba beginning in 1774; but the results of those preceding the abolition of slavery, at least, are probably without exception extremely untrustworthy. The census of 1887 showed a population of 1,631,687, that of 1899 a population of 1,572,792 (the decrease of 3.6% is explained by the intervening war); and by the census of 1907 there were 2,048,980 inhabitants, 30.3% more than in 1899. The average of settlement per square mile varied from 169.7 in Havana province to 11.8 in Camagüey, and was 46.4 for all of Cuba; the percentage of urban population (in cities, that is, with more than 1000 inhabitants) in the different provinces varied from 18.2 in Pinar del Rio to 74.7 in Havana, and was 43.9 for the entire island. There were five cities having populations above 25,000—Havana, 297,159; Santiago, 45,470; Matanzas, 36,009; Cienfuegos, 30,100; Puerto Príncipe (or Camagüey), 29,616; and fourteen more above 8000—Cardenas, Manzanillo, Guanabacoa, Santa Clara, Sagua la Grande, Sancti Spiritus, Guantánamo, Trinidad, Pinar del Rio, San Antonio de los Baños, Jovellanos, Marianao, Caibarién and Güines. The proportion of the total population which in 1907 was in cities of 8000 or more was only 30.3%; and the proportion in cities of 25,000 or more was 21.4%. Mainly owing to the large element of transient foreign whites without families (long characteristic of Cuba), males outnumber females—in 1907 as 21 to 19. Native whites, almost everywhere in the majority, constituted 59.8% of all inhabitants; persons of negro and mixed blood, 29.7%; foreign-born whites, 9.9%; Chinese less than 0.6%. Foreigners constituted 25.6% of the population in the city of Havana; only 7% in Pinar del Rio province. Native blood is most predominant in the provinces of Oriente and Pinar del Rio. After the end of the war of 1895–1898 a large immigration from Spain began; the inflow from the United States was very small in comparison. The Republic strongly encourages immigration. In 1900–1906 there were 143,122 immigrants, of whom 124,863 were Spaniards, 4557 were from the United States, 2561 were Spanish Americans, and a few were Italian, Syrian, Chinese, French, English, &c. The Chinese element is a remnant of a former coolie population; their numbers in 1907 (11,217) were less than a fourth the number in 1887. Their introduction began in 1847 and ended in 1871. Conjugal conditions in Cuba are peculiar. In 1907 only 20.7% of the total population were legally married; an additional 8.6% were living in more or less permanent consensual unions, these being particularly common among the negroes. Including all unions the total is below the European proportion, but above that of Porto Rico or Jamaica in 1899.
The negro element is strongest in the province of Oriente and weakest in Camagüey; in the former it constituted 43.1% of the population, in the latter 18.3%, and in Havana City 25.5%. In Guantánamo, in Santiago de Cuba, and in seven other towns they exceeded the whites in number. Caibarién and San Antonio de los Baños had the largest proportion of white population. The position of the negroes in Cuba is exceptional. Despite the long period of slavery they are decidedly below the whites in number. The Spanish slave laws (although in practice often frightfully abused) were always comparatively generous to the slave, making relatively easy, among other things, the purchase of his freedom, the number of free blacks being always great. Since the abolition of slavery the status of the black has been made more definite, and his rights naturally much greater. The wars of 1868–1878 and 1895–1898 and the threatened war of 1906 all helped to give to the negro element its high position. There is no antagonism between the divisions of the coloured race. All hold their own with the white in industrial usefulness to the community, and though the blacks are more backward in education and various other tests of social advancement, still their outlook is full of promise. There is practically no colour caste in Cuba; politically the negro is the white man’s equal; socially there is very little ostensible inequality and almost perfect toleration. The negro in Cuba shows promising though undeveloped traits of landlordship. Women labour habitually in the fields. Miscegenation of blacks and whites was extremely common before emancipation. It is sometimes said that since then there has been a counter-tendency, but it is impossible to prove such a statement conclusively except with the aid of future censuses. Few of the negroes are black; some of the blackest have the regular features of the Caucasian; and racial mixtures are everywhere evidenced by colour of skin and by physiognomy. Its seems certain that the African element has been holding its own in the population totals since emancipation.
Cuba is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic in religion, but under the new Republic there is a complete separation of church and state, and liberalism and indifference are increasing. Illiteracy is extremely widespread. In 1907 the census showed 56.6% (43.3 in 1899) of persons above ten years who could read. Of the voting population 53.2% of native white, and 37.3% of coloured Cuban citizens, and 71.6% of Spanish citizens could read. A revolution in education was begun the first year of the United States military occupation and continued under the Republic.
Constitution.—The constitution upon which the government of Cuba rests was framed during the period of the United States military government; it was adopted the 21st of February 1901, and certain amendments or conditions required by the United States were accepted on the 12th of June 1901. The constitution is republican and modelled on the Constitution of the United States, with some marked differences of greater centralization, due to colonial experience under the rule of Spain, notably as regards federalism; the provinces of the island being less important than the states of the American Union. The president of the Republic, who is elected for four years by an electoral college, and cannot hold office for more than two successive terms, has a cabinet whose members he may appoint and remove freely, their number being determined by law. He sanctions, promulgates and executes the laws, and supplements them (partly co-ordinately with congress) by administrative regulations in harmony with their ends; holds a veto power and pardoning power; controls with the senate political appointments and removals; and conducts foreign relations, submitting treaties to the senate for ratification. Congress consists of two houses. The senate contains four members from each province, chosen for eight years by a provincial electoral board, which consists of the provincial councilmen plus a double number of electors (half of them paying high taxes) who are selected at a special election by their fellow citizens. Half of the senators retire every four years. The senate is the court of trial for the president, officers of the cabinet, and provincial governors when accused of political offences. It also acts jointly with the president in political appointments and treaty making. The house of representatives, whose members are chosen directly by the citizens for four years, one-half retiring every two years, has the special power of impeaching the president and cabinet officers. Congress meets twice annually, in April and November. Its powers are extensive, including, in addition to ordinary legislative powers, control of financial affairs, foreign affairs, the power to declare war and approve treaties of peace, amnesties, electoral legislation for the provinces and municipalities, control of the electoral vote for president and vice-president, and designation of an acting president in case of the death or incapacity of these officers. The subjects of legislative power are very similar to those of the United States congress; but control of railroads, canals and public roads is explicitly given to the federal government. Justice is administered by courts of various grades, with a supreme court at Havana as the head; the members of this being appointed by the president and senate. This court passes on the constitutionality of all laws, decrees and regulations.
There are six provinces—Pinar del Rio, Havana, Matanzas, Santa Clara, Camagüey or Puerto Príncipe, and Oriente. Each has a provincial governor and assembly chosen directly by the people, generally charged with independent control of matters affecting the province; but the president may interfere against an abuse of power by either the governor or the assembly. Municipalities are administered by mayors (alcaldes) and assemblies elected by the people, and control strictly municipal affairs. The “termino municipal” is the chief political and administrative civil division. It is an urban district together with contiguous rural territory. Its divisions are “barrios.” The president may interfere if necessary in the municipality as in the province; and so may the governor of the province. But all interference is subject to review of claims by the courts. Both provinces and municipalities are forbidden by the constitution to contract debts without a coincident provision of permanent revenue for their settlement.
The franchise is granted to every male Cuban twenty-one years of age, not mentally incapacitated, nor previously a convict of crime, nor serving in the army or navy of the state. Foreigners may become citizens in five years by naturalization. Church and state are completely separated, toleration being guaranteed for the profession and practice of all religious beliefs, and the government may not subsidize any religion.
Primary education is declared by the constitution to be free and compulsory; and its expenses are paid by the central government so far as it may be beyond the power of the province or municipality to bear them. SecondaryEducation. and advanced education is controlled by the state. In the last days of Spanish rule (1894), there were 904 public and 704 private schools, and not more than 60,000 pupils enrolled; in 1000 there were 3550 public schools with an enrolment of 172,273 and an average attendance of 123,362. In the four school years from 1903–1904 to 1906–1907 the figures of enrolment and average attendance were: 201,824 and 110,531; 194,657 and 105,706; 186,571 and 98,329; and 189,289 and 93,865. In 1906–1907 the percentage (31.6) of attendants to children of school age was twice as large as in 1898–1899. Private schools, some of very high grade, draw many pupils. Almost all schools are primary. The university of Havana (founded 1728) was given greatly improved facilities, especially of material equipment, by the American military government, and seems to have begun an ambitious progress. In 1907 the number of students was 554. Below the university there are six provincial institutes, one in each province, in each of which there is a preparatory department, a department of secondary education, and (this due to peculiar local conditions) a school of surveying; and in that of Havana commercial departments in addition. In Havana, also, there is a school of painting and sculpture, a school of arts and trades, and a national library, all of which are supported or subventioned by the national government, as are also a public library in Matanzas, and the Agricultural Experiment Station at Santiago de las Vegas. In connexion with the university is a botanical garden; with the national sanitary service, a biological laboratory, and special services for small-pox, glanders and yellow fever. Independent of the government are various schools and learned societies in Havana (q.v.). A school was established by the government in Key West, Florida (U.S.A.), in 1905, for the benefit of the Cuban colony there. Finally, the government sustains about two score of penal establishments, reform schools, hospitals, dispensaries and asylums, which are scattered all over the island,—every town of any considerable size having one or more of these charities.
Under the colonial rule of Spain the head of government was
a supreme civil-military officer, the governor and captain-general.
His control of the entire administrative life
of the island was practically absolute. OriginallyFormer govern-
ment. residents at Santiago de Cuba, the captains-general resided after 1589 at Havana. Because of the isolation of the eastern part of the island, the dangers from pirates, and the important considerations which had caused Santiago de Cuba (q.v.) to be the first capital of the island, Cuba was divided in 1607 into two departments, and a governor, subordinate in military matters to the captain-general at Havana, was appointed to rule the territory east of Puerto Príncipe. In 1801, when the audiencia—of which the captain-general was ex officio president—began its functions at that point, the governor of Santiago became subordinated in political matters as much as in military. Two chief courts of justice (audiencias) sat at Havana (after 1832) and Puerto Príncipe (1800–1853); appeals could go to Spain; below the audiencias were “alcaldes mayores” or district judges and ordinary “alcaldes” or local judges. The audiencias also held important political powers under the Laws of the Indies. The captaincy-general of Cuba was not originally, however, by any means so broad in powers as the viceroyalties of Mexico and Peru; and by the creation in 1765 of the office of intendant—the delegate of the national treasury—his faculties were very greatly curtailed. The great powers of the intendant were, however, merged in those of the governor-general in 1853; and the captain-general having been given by royal order in 1825 (several times later explicitly confirmed, and not revoked until 1870) the absolute powers (to be assumed at his initiative and discretion) of the governor of a besieged city, and by a royal order of 1834 the power to banish at will persons supposed to be inimical to the public peace; and being by virtue of his office the president and dominator of all the important administrative boards of the government, held the government of the island, and in any emergency the liberty and property of its inhabitants, in his hand. The royal orders following 1825 developed a system of extraordinary and extreme repression. In 1878, as the result of the Ten Years’ War, various administrative reforms, of a decentralizing tendency, were introduced. The six provinces were created, and had governors and assemblies (“diputaciones”); and a municipal law was provided that in many ways was a sound basis for local government. But centralization remained very great. In the municipality the alcalde (mayor) was appointed by the governor-general, and the ayuntamiento (council) was controlled by the veto of the provincial governor and by the assembly of the province. The deputation was subject in turn to the same veto of the provincial governor, and he controlled by the governor-general. There was besides a provincial commission of five lawyers named by the governor-general from the members of the deputation, who settled election questions, and questions of eligibility in this body, gave advice as to laws, acted for the deputation when it was not sitting, and in general facilitated centralized control of the administrative system. The character of this body was altered in 1890, and in 1898, in which latter year its functions were reduced to the essentially judicial. Despite superficial decentralization after 1878 any real growth of local self-government was rendered impossible. Moreover, no great reforms were made in the abuses naturally incident to the old personal system. Exile and imprisonment at the will of the government and without trial were common. Personal liberty, liberty of conscience, speech, assembly, petition, association, press, liberty of movement and security of home, were without real guarantee even within the extremely small limits in which they nominally existed. Under the constitution of the Republic the sphere of individual liberty is large and constitutionally protected against the government.
Finance.—There has been a great change in the budget of Cuba since the advent of the Republic. In 1891–1896 the average annual income was $20,738,930, the annual average expenditure $25,967,139. More than half of the revenue was derived from customs duties (two-thirds of the total being collected at Havana). Of the expenditure more than ten million dollars annually went for the public debt, 5.5 to 6 millions for the army and navy, as much more for civil administration (including more than two millions for purely Peninsular services with which the colony was burdened); and on an average probably one million more went for sinecures. Every Cuban paid about twice as heavy taxes as a Spaniard of the Peninsula. Very little was spent on sanitation, roads, other public works and education. The revenue receipts under the Republic have increased especially over those of the old régime in the item of customs duties; and the expenditure is very differently distributed. Lotteries which were an important source of revenue under Spain were abolished under the Republic. The debt resting on the colony in 1895 (a large part of it as a result of the war of 1868–1878, the entire cost of which was laid upon the island, but a part as the result of Spain’s war adventures in Mexico and San Domingo, home loans, &c.) was officially stated at $168,500,000. The attainment of independence freed the island from this debt, and from enormous contemplated additions to cover the expense incurred by Spain during the last insurrection. The debt of the Republic in April 1908 was $48,146,585, including twenty-seven millions which were assumed in 1902 for the payment of the army of independence, four for agriculture, and four for the payment of revolutionary debts, and $2,196,585, representing obligations assumed by the revolution’s representative in the United States during the War of Independence. United States and British investments, always important in the agriculture and manufactures of the island, greatly increased following 1898, and by 1908 those of each nation were supposed to exceed considerably $100,000,000.
Archaeology.—Archaeological study in Cuba has been limited, and has not produced results of great importance. Almost nothing is actually known of prehistoric Cuba; and a few skulls and implements are the only basis existing for conjecture. Very little also is known as to the natives who inhabited the island at the time of the discovery. They were a tall race of copper hue; fairly intelligent, mild in temperament, who lived in poor huts and practised a limited and primitive agriculture. How numerous they were when the Spaniards first came among them cannot be said; undoubtedly tradition has greatly exaggerated their number. They are supposed to have been practically extinct by 1550. Even in the 19th century reports were spread of communities in which Indian blood was supposedly still plainly dominant; but the conclusion of the competent scientists who have investigated such rumours has been that at least absolutely nothing of the language and traditions of the aborigines has survived.
History.—Cuba was discovered by Columbus in the course of his first voyage, on the 27th of October 1492. He died believing Cuba was part of a continent. In 1508 Sebastian de Ocampo circumnavigated it. In 1511 Diego Velazquez began the conquest of the island. Baracoa (the landing point), Bayamo, Santiago de Cuba, Puerto Príncipe, Sancti Spiritus, Trinidad and the original Havana were all founded by 1515. Velazquez’s reputation and legends of wealth drew many immigrants to the island. From Cuba went the expeditions that discovered Yucatan (1517), and explored the shores of Mexico, Hernando Cortés’s expedition for the invasion of Mexico, and de Soto’s for the exploration of Florida. The last two had a pernicious effect on Cuba, draining it of horses, money and of men. At least as early as 1523 the African slave trade was begun. In 1544 the Indians, so far as they had not succumbed to the labour of the mines and fields to which they were put by the Spaniards, were proclaimed emancipated. The administration in the 16th century was loose and violent. The local authorities were divided among themselves by bitter feuds—the ecclesiastical against the civil, the ayuntamiento against the governors, the administrative officers among themselves; brigandage, mutinies and intestinal struggles disturbed the peace. As a result of the transfer of Jamaica to England, the population of Cuba was greatly augmented by Jamaican immigrants to about 30,000 in the middle of the 17th century.
The activity of English and French pirates began in the 16th century, and reached its climax in the middle of the 17th century. So early also began dissatisfaction with the economic regulations of the colonial system, even grave resistance to their enforcement; and illicit trade with privateers and foreign colonies had begun long before, and in the 17th and 18th centuries was the basis of the island’s wealth. In 1762 Havana was captured after a long resistance by a British force under Admiral Sir George Pocock and the earl of Albemarle, with heavy loss to the besiegers. It was returned to Spain the next year in exchange for the Floridas. From this date begins the modern history of the island. The British opened the port to commerce and the slave trade and revealed its possibilities. The government of Spain, beginning in 1764, made notable breaches in the old monopolistic system of colonial trade throughout America; and Cuba received special privileges, also, that were a basis for real prosperity. Spain paid increasing attention to the island, and in harmony with the policy of the Laws of the Indies many decrees intended to stimulate agriculture and commerce were issued by the crown, first in the form of monopolies, then with increased freedom and with bounties. Various colonial products and the slave trade were favoured in this way. After the cession of the Spanish portion of San Domingo to France hundreds of Spanish families emigrated to Cuba, and many thousand more immigrants, mainly French, followed them from the entire island during the revolution of the blacks. Most of them settled in Oriente province, where their names and blood are still apparent, and with their cafetales and sugar plantations converted that region from neglect and poverty to high prosperity.
Under a succession of liberal governors (especially Luis de las Casas, 1790–1796, and the marqués de Someruelos, 1799–1813), at the end of the 18th century and the first part of the 19th, when the wars in Europe cut off Spain almost entirely from the colony, Cuba was practically independent. Trade was comparatively free, and worked a revolution in culture and material conditions. General Las Casas, in particular, left behind him in Cuba an undying memory of good efforts. Free commerce with foreigners—a fact after 1809—was definitely legalized in 1818 (confirmed in 1824). The state tobacco monopoly was abolished in 1817. The reported populations by the (untrustworthy) censuses of 1774, 1792 and 1817 were 161,670, 273,301 and 553,033. Something of political freedom was enjoyed during the two terms of Spanish constitutional government under the constitution of 1812. The sharp division between creoles and peninsulars (i.e. between those born in Cuba and those born in Spain), the question of annexation to the United States or possibly to some other power, the plotting for independence, all go back to the early years of the century.
Partly because of political and social divisions thus revealed, conspiracies being rife in the decade 1820–1830, and partly as preparation for the defence against Mexico and Colombia, who throughout these same years were threatening the island with invasion, the captains-general, in 1825, received the powers above referred to; which became, as time passed, monstrously in disaccord with the general tendencies of colonial government and with increasing liberties in Spain, but continued to be the spiritual basis of Spanish rule in the island. Among the governors of the 19th century Miguel Tacon, governor in 1834–1839, a forceful and high-handed soldier, deserves mention, especially in the annals of Havana; he ruled as a tyrant, made many reforms as regarded law and order, and left Havana, in particular, full of municipal improvements. The good he did was limited to the spheres of public works and police; in other respects his rule was a pernicious influence for Cuba. Politically his rule was marked by the proclamation at Santiago in 1836, without his consent, of the Spanish constitution of 1834; he repressed the movement, and in 1837 the deputies of Cuba to the Cortes of Spain (to which they were admitted in the two earlier constitutional periods) were excluded from that body, and it was declared in the national constitution that Cuba (and Porto Rico) should be governed by “special laws.” The inapplicability of many laws passed for the Peninsula—all of which under a constitutional system would apply to Cuba as to any other province, unless that system be modified—was indeed notorious; and Cuban opinion had repeatedly, through official bodies, protested against laws thus imposed that worked injustice, and had pleaded for special consideration of colonial conditions. The promise of “special laws” based upon such consideration was therefore not, in itself, unjust, nor unwelcome. But as the colony had no voice in the Cortes, while the “special laws” were never passed (Cuba expected special fundamental laws, reforming her government, and the government regarded the old Laws of the Indies as satisfying the obligation of the constitution) the arbitrary rule of the captains-general remained quite supreme, under the will of the crown, and colonial discontent became stronger and stronger. The rule of Leopoldo O’Donnell was marked in 1844 by a cruel and bloody persecution of negroes for a supposed plot of servile war; O’Donnell’s actions being partly due to the inquietude that had prevailed for some years over the supposed machinations of English abolitionists and even of English official residents in the island, and also over the mutual jealousies and supposed annexation ambitions of Great Britain and the United States.
A Cuban international question had arisen before 1820. Spain, the United States, England, France, Colombia and Mexico were all involved in it, the first four continually. In the eighteen-fifties a strong pro-slavery interest in the United States advocated the acquisition of the island. One feature of this was the “Ostend Manifesto” (see Buchanan, James), in which the ministers of the United States at London, Paris and Madrid declared that if Spain refused a money offer for the colony the United States should seize it. Their government gave this document publicity. The Cuban policy of Presidents Pierce and Buchanan (during 1853–1861) was vainly directed to acquiring the island. From 1849 to 1851 there were three abortive filibustering expeditions from the United States, two being under a Spanish general, Narciso Lopez (1798–1851). The domestic problem, the problem of discontent in the island, had become acute by 1850, and from this time on to 1868 the years were full of conflict between liberal and reactionary sentiment in the colony, centreing about the asserted connivance of the captains-general in the illegal slave trade (declared illegal after 1820 by the treaties of 1817 and 1835 between Great Britain and Spain), the notorious immorality and prodigal wastefulness of the government, and the selfish exploitation of the colony by Spaniards and the Spanish government. From early in the 19th century there had always been separatists, reformists and repressionists in the island, but they were individuals rather than groups. The last were peninsulars, the others mainly creoles, and among the wealthy classes of the latter the separatists gradually gained increasing support.
An ineffective and extremely corrupt administration, a grave economic condition, new and heavy taxes, military repression, recurring heavy deficits in the budget, adding to a debt (about $150,000,000 in 1868) already very large and burdensome, and the complete fiasco of the junta of inquiry of Cuban and Porto Rican representatives which met in Madrid in 1866–1867—all were important influences favouring the outbreak of the Ten Years’ War. Among those who waged the war were men who fought to compel reforms, others who fought for annexation to the United States, others who fought for independence. The reformists demanded, besides the correction of the above evils, action against slavery, assimilation of rights between peninsulars and creoles and the practical recognition of equality, e.g. in the matter of office-holding, a grievance centuries old in Cuba as in other Spanish colonies, and guarantees of personal liberties. The separatists, headed by Carlos Manuel de Céspedes (1819–1874), a wealthy planter who proclaimed the revolution at Yara on the 10th of October, demanded the same reforms, including gradual emancipation of the slaves with indemnity to owners, and the grant of free and universal suffrage. War was confined throughout the ten years almost wholly to the E. provinces. The policy of successive captains-general was alternately uncompromisingly repressive and conciliatory. The Spanish volunteers committed horrible excesses in Havana and other places; the rebels also burned and killed indiscriminatingly, and the war became increasingly cruel and sanguinary. Intervention by the United States seemed probable, but did not come, and after alternations in the fortunes of war, Martinez Campos in January 1878 secured the acceptance by the rebels of the convention (pacto) of Zanjón, which promised amnesty for the war, liberty to slaves in the rebel ranks, the abolition of slavery, reforms in government, and colonial autonomy. A small rising after peace (the “Little War” of 1879–1880) was easily repressed. Gradual abolition of slavery was declared by a law of the 13th of February 1880; definitive abolition in 1886; and in 1893 the equal civil status of blacks and whites in all respects was proclaimed by General Calleja. There is no more evidence to warrant the wholly erroneous statement sometimes made that emancipation was an economic set-back to Cuba than could be gathered to support a similar statement regarding the United States. Coolie importation from China had been stopped in 1871.
As for autonomy and political reforms it has already been remarked that the change from the old régime was only superficial. The Spanish constitution of 1876 was proclaimed in Cuba in 1881. In 1878–1895 political parties had a complex development. The Liberal party was of growing radicalism, the Union Constitutional party of growing conservatism; and after 1893 a Reformist party was launched that drew the compromisers and the waverers. The demands of the Liberals were as in 1868; those for personal and property rights were much more definitely stated, and among explicit reforms demanded were the separation of civil and military power, general recognition of administrative responsibility under a colonial autonomous constitutional régime; also among economic matters, customs reforms and reciprocity with the United States were demanded. As for the representation accorded Cuba in the Spanish Cortes, as a rule about a quarter of her deputies were Cuban-born, and the choice of only a few autonomists was allowed by those who controlled the elections. Reciprocity with the United States was in force from 1891 to 1894 and was extremely beneficial to Cuba. Its cessation greatly increased disaffection.
Discontent grew, and another war was prepared for. On the 23rd of February 1895 General Calleja suspended the constitutional guarantees. The leading chiefs of the Ten Years’ War took the field again—Máximo Gómez, Antonio Macéo, Jose Martí, Calixto García and others. Unlike that war, this was carried to the western provinces, and indeed was fiercest there. Among the military means adopted by the Spaniards to isolate their foe were “trochas” (i.e. entrenchments, barbwire fences, and lines of block-houses) across the narrow parts of the island, and “reconcentracion” of non-combatants in camps guarded by the Spanish forces. The latter measure produced extreme suffering and much starvation (as the reconcentrados were largely thrown upon the charity of the beggared communities in which they were huddled). In October 1897 the Spanish premier, P. M. Sagasta, announced the policy of autonomy, and the new dispensation was proclaimed in Cuba in December. But again all final authority was reserved to the captain-general. The system was never to have a practical trial, although a full government was quickly organized under it. The American people had sent food to the reconcentrados; President McKinley, while opposing recognition of the rebels, affirmed the possibility of intervention; Spain resented this attitude; and finally, in February 1898, the United States battleship “Maine” was blown up—by whom will probably never be known—in the harbour of Havana.
On the 20th of April the United States demanded the withdrawal of Spanish troops from the island. War followed immediately. A fine Spanish squadron seeking to escape from Santiago harbour was utterly destroyed by the American blockading force on the 3rd of July; Santiago was invested by land forces, and on the 15th of July the city surrendered. Other operations in Cuba were slight. By the treaty of Paris, signed on the 10th of December, Spain “relinquished” the island to the United States in trust for its inhabitants; the temporary character of American occupation being recognized throughout the treaty, in accord with the terms of the American declaration of war, in which the United States disclaimed any intention to control the island except for its pacification, and expressed the determination to leave the island thereupon to the control of its people. Spanish authority ceased on the 1st of January 1899, and was followed by American “military” rule (January 1, 1899–May 20, 1902). During these three years the great majority of offices were filled by Cubans, and the government was made as different as possible from the military control to which the colony had been accustomed. Very much was done for public works, sanitation, the reform of administration, civil service and education. Most notable of all, yellow fever was eradicated where it had been endemic for centuries. A constitutional convention sat at Havana from the 5th of November 1900 to the 21st of February 1901. The provisions of the document thus formed have already been referred to. In the determination of the relations that should subsist between the new republic and the United States certain definite conditions known as the Platt Amendment were finally imposed by the United States, and accepted by Cuba (12th of June 1901) as a part of her constitution. By these Cuba was bound not to incur debts her current revenues will not bear; to continue the sanitary administration undertaken by the military government of intervention; to lease naval stations (since located at Bahía Honda and Guantánamo) to the United States; and finally, the right of the United States to intervene, if necessary, in the affairs of the island was explicitly affirmed in the provision, “That the government of Cuba consents that the United States may exercise the right to intervene for the protection of Cuban independence, the maintenance of a government adequate for the protection of life, property and individual liberty, and for discharging the obligations with respect to Cuba imposed by the treaty of Paris on the United States, now to be assumed and undertaken by the government of Cuba.” The status thus created is very exceptional in the history of international relations. The status of the Isle of Pines was left an open question by the treaty of Paris, but a decision of the Supreme Court of the United States has declared it (in a question of customs duties) to be a part of Cuba, and though a treaty to the same end did not secure ratification (1908) by the United States Senate, repeated efforts by American residents thereon to secure annexation to the United States were ignored by the United States government.
The first Cuban congress met on the 5th of May 1902, prepared to take over the government from the American military authorities, which it did on the 20th of May. Tomas Estrada Palma (1835–1908) became the first president of the Republic. In material prosperity the progress of the island from 1902 to 1906 was very great; but in its politics, various social and economic elements, and political habits and examples of Spanish provenience that ill befit a democracy, led once more to revolution. Congress neglected to pass certain laws which were required by the constitution, and which, as regards municipal autonomy, independence of the judiciary, and congressional representation of minority parties, were intended to make impossible the abuses of centralized government that had characterized Spanish administration. Political parties were forming without very evident basis for differences outside questions of political patronage and the good or ill use of power; and, in the absence of the laws just mentioned, the Moderates, being in power, used every instrument of government to strengthen their hold on office. The preliminaries of the elections of December 1905 and March 1906 being marked by frauds and injustice, the Liberals deserted the polls at those elections, and instead of appealing to judicial tribunals controlled by the Moderates, issued a manifesto of revolution on the 28th of July 1906. This insurrection rapidly assumed large proportions. The government was weak and lacked moral support in the whole island. After repeated petitions from President Palma for intervention by the United States, commissioners (William H. Taft, Secretary of War, and Robert Bacon, Acting Secretary of State) were sent from Washington to act as peace mediators.
All possible efforts to secure a compromise that would preserve the Republic failed. The president resigned (on the 28th of September), Congress dispersed without choosing a successor, and as an alternative to anarchy the United States was compelled to proclaim on the 29th of September 1906 a provisional government,—to last “long enough to restore order and peace and public confidence,” and hold new elections. The insurrectionists promptly disbanded. Government was maintained under the Cuban flag,—the diplomatic and consular relations with even the United States remaining in outward forms unchanged; and the regular forms of the constitution were scrupulously maintained so far as possible. No use was made of American military force save as a passive background to the government. The government of intervention at first directed its main effort simply to holding the country together, without undertaking much that could divide public opinion or seem of unpalatably foreign impulse; and later to the establishment of a few fundamental laws which, when intervention ceased, should give greater simplicity, strength and stability to a new native government. These laws strictly defined the powers of the president; more clearly separated the executive departments, so as to lessen friction and jealousies; reformed the courts; reformed administrative routine; and increased the strength of the provinces at the expense of the municipalities. On the 28th of January 1909 the American administration ceased, and the Republic was a second time inaugurated, with General José Miguel Gomez (b. 1856), the leader of the Miguelista faction of the Liberal party, as president, and Alfredo Zayas, the leader of the Zayista faction of the same party, as vice-president. The last American troops were withdrawn from the island on the 1st of April 1909.
Authorities.—General Description.—There is no trustworthy recent description. The best books are E. Pechardo, Geografía de la isla de Cuba (4 tom., Havana, 1854); M. Rodriguez-Ferrer, Naturaleza y civilización de ... Cuba, vol. i. (Madrid, 1876). See also United States Geological Survey, Bulletin 192 (1902), H. Gannett, “A Gazetteer of Cuba.” Of general descriptions in English, in addition to travels cited below, may be cited R. T. Hill, Cuba and Porto Rico with the other West Indies (New York, 1898).
Fauna and Flora.—A. H. R. Grisebach, Catalogus plantarum Cubensium (Leipzig, 1866), and F. A. Sauvalle, Flora Cubana: revisio catalogi Grisebachiani (Havana, 1868); and Flora Cubana: enumeratio nova plantarum Cubensium (Havana, 1873); F. Poey et al., Repertorio fisico-natural de la isla de Cuba (2 vols., Havana, 1865–1868), and F. Poey, Memorias sobre la historia natural de . . . Cuba (3 tom., Havana, 1851–1860); Ramon de la Sagra, with many collaborators, Historia física, política y natural de ... Cuba (Paris, 1842–1851, 12 vols.; issued also in French; vols. 3-12 being the “Historia Natural”); Anales of the Academia de Ciencias (Havana, 1863– , annual); M. Gomez de la Maza, Flora Habanera (Havana, 1897); S. A. de Morales, Flora arborícola de Cuba aplicada (Havana, 1887, only part published); D. H. Seguí, Ojeado sobre la flora médica y tóxica de Cuba (Havana, 1900); J. Gundlach, Contribucion à la entomología Cubana (Havana, 1881); J. M. Fernandez y Jimenez, Tratado de la arboricultura Cubana (Havana, 1867).
Geology and Minerals.—M. F. de Castro, “Pruebas paleontologicas de que la isla de Cuba ha estado unida al continento americano y breve idea de su constitucion geologica,” Bol. Com. Mapa Geol. de Esp. vol. viii. (1881), pp. 357–372; M. F. de Castro and P. Salterain y Legarra, “Croquis geologico de la isla de Cuba,” ibid. vol. viii. pl. vi. (published with vol. xi., 1884). Many articles in Anales of the Academy; also, R. T. Hill in Harvard College Museum of Comparative Zöology, Bulletin, vol. 16, pp. 243–288 (1895); United States Geological Survey, 22nd Annual Report, 1901, C. W. Hayes et al., “Geological Reconnaissance of Cuba”; Civil Report of General Leonard Wood, governor of Cuba (1902), vol. v., H. C. Brown, “Report on Mineral Resources of Cuba.”
Climate.—See the Boletin Oficial de la Secretaria de Agricultura, and publications of the observatory of Havana. Sanitation.—For conditions 1899–1902, see Civil Reports of American military governors. For conditions since 1902 consult the Informe Mensual (1903– ) of the Junta Superior de Sanidad.
Agriculture.—Consult the Boletin above mentioned, publications of the Estación Central Agronómica, and current statistical serial reports of the treasury department (Hacienda) on natural resources, live-stock interests, the sugar industry (annual), &c.
Industries, Commerce, Communications.—See the works of Sagra and Pezuela. For conditions about 1899 consult R. P. Porter (Special Commissioner of the United States government), Industrial Cuba (New York, 1899); W. J. Clark, Commercial Cuba (New York, 1898); reports of foreign consular agents in Cuba; and the statistical annuals of the Hacienda on foreign commerce and railways.
Population.—The early censuses were extremely unreliable. Illuminating discussions of them can be found in Humboldt’s Essay, Saco’s Papeles and Pezuela’s Diccionario. See United States Department of War, Report on the Census of Cuba 1899 (Washington, 1899); U.S. Bureau of the Census, Cuba: Population, History and Resources, 1907 (1909).
Education.—See Civil Reports of the American military government, 1899–1902; United States commissioner of education, Report, 1897–1898; current reports in Informe del superintendente de escuelas de Cuba ... (Havana, 1903– ). On Letters and Culture.—E. Pechardo y Tapia, Diccionario ... de voces Cubanas (Havana, 1836, 4th ed., 1875; all editions with many errors); Antonio Bachiller y Morales, Apuntes para la historia de las letras y de la instrucción pública de Cuba (3 tom., Havana, 1859–1861); J. M. Mestre, De la filosofía en la Habana (Havana, 1862); A. Mitjans, Estudio sobre el movimiento científico y literario de Cuba (Havana, 1890); biographies of Varela and Luz Caballero by Rodriguez (see below); files of La Revista de Cuba (16 vols., Havana, 1877–1884) and La Revista Cubana (21 vols., Havana, 1885–1895). The literature of Travel is rich. It suffices to mention Letters from the Havannah, by the English consul (London, 1821); E. M. Masse, L’Île de Cuba (Paris, 1825); D. Turnbull, Travels in the West (London, 1840), and R. R. Madden, The Island of Cuba (London, 1853)—two very important books regarding slavery; J. B. Rosemond de Beauvallon, L’Île de Cuba (Paris, 1844); J. G. Taylor, The United States and Cuba (London, 1851); F. Bremer, The Homes of the New World (2 vols., New York, 1853); M. M. Ballou, History of Cuba, or Notes of a Traveller (Boston, 1854); R. H. Dana, To Cuba and Back (Boston, 1859); J. von Sivers, Die Perle der Antillen (Leipzig, 1861); A. C. N. Gallenga, The Pearl of the Antilles (London, 1873); S. Hazard, Cuba with Pen and Pencil (Hartford, Conn., 1873); H. Piron, L’Île de Cuba (Paris, 1876). Of later books, F. Matthews, The New-Born Cuba (New York, 1899); R. Davey, Cuba Past and Present (London, 1898). Among the writers who have left short impressions are A. Granier de Cassagnac (1844), J. J. A. Ampère (1855), A. Trollope (1860), J. A. Froude (1888).
Administration.—Consult the literature of history and colonial reform given below. Also: Leandro Garcia y Gragitena, Guia del empleado de hacienda (Havana, 1860), with very valuable historical data; Carlos de Sedano y Cruzat, Cuba desde 1850 à 1873. Coleccion de informes, memorias, proyectos y antecedentes sobre el gobierno de la isla de Cuba (Madrid, 1875); Vicente Vasquez Queipo, Informe fiscal sobre fomento de la poblacion blanca (Madrid, 1845); Informacion sobre reformas en Cuba y Puerto Rico celebrada en Madrid en 1866 y 67 por los representantes de ambas islas (2 tom., New York, 1867; 2nd ed., New York, 1877); and the Diccionario of Pezuela. These, with the works of Saco, Sagra, Arango and Alexander von Humboldt’s work, Essai politique sur l’île de Cuba (2 vols., Paris 1826; Spanish editions, 1 vol., Paris, 1827 and 1840; English translation by J. S. Thrasher, with interpolations, New York, 1856), are indispensable. For conditions at the end of the 18th century, Fran. de Arango y Parreño, Obras (2 tom., Havana, 1888). For later conditions, E. Valdes Dominguez, Los Antiguos Diputados de Cuba (Havana, 1879); B. Huber, Aperçu statistique de l’île de Cuba (Paris, 1826); Humboldt; Sagra, vols. 1-2 of the book cited above, being the Historia física y política, and also the earlier work on which they are based, Historia económica-política y estadística de ... Cuba (Havana, 1831); treatises on administrative law in Cuba by J. M. Morilla (Havana, 1847; 2nd ed., 1865, 2 vols.) and A. Govin (3 vols., Havana, 1882–1883); A. S. Rowan and M. M. Ramsay, The Island of Cuba (New York, 1896); Coleccion de reales ordenes, decretos y disposiciones (Havana, serial, 1857–1898); Spanish Rule in Cuba. Laws Governing the Island. Reviews Published by the Colonial Office in Madrid ... (New York, for the Spanish legation, 1896); and compilations of Spanish colonial laws listed under article Indies, Laws of the. On the new Republican régime: Gaceta Oficial (Havana, 1903– ); reports of departments of government; M. Romero Palafox, Agenda de la republica de Cuba (Havana, 1905). See also the Civil Reports of the United States military governors, J. R. Brooke (2 vols., 1899; Havana and Washington, 1900), L. Wood (33 vols., 1900–1902; Washington, 1901–1902).
History.—The works (see above) of Sagra, Humboldt and Arango are indispensable; also those of Francisco Calcagno, Diccionario biográfico Cubano (ostensibly, New York, 1878); Vidal Morales y Morales, Iniciadores y primeros mártires de la revolución Cubana (Havana, 1901); José Ahumada y Centurión, Memoria histórica política de ... Cuba (Havana, 1874); Jacobo de la Pezuela, Diccionario geográfico-estadístico-histórico de ... Cuba (4 tom., Madrid, 1863–1866); Historia de ... Cuba, (4 tom., Madrid, 1868–1878; supplanting his Ensayo histórico de ... Cuba, Madrid and New York, 1842); and José Antonio Saco, Obras (2 vols., New York, 1853), Papeles (3 tom., Paris, 1858–1859), and Coleccion postuma de Papeles (Havana, 1881). Also: Rodriguez Ferrer, op. cit. above, vol. 2 (Madrid, 1888); P. G. Guitéras, Historia de . . . Cuba (2 vols., New York, 1865–1866). Of great value is J. Zaragoza, Las Insurrecciones en Cuba. Apuntes para la historia política (2 tom., Madrid, 1872–1873); also J. I. Rodriguez, Vida de ... Félix Varela (New York, 1878), and Vida de D. José de la Luz (New York, 1874; 2nd ed., 1879). On early history see Coleccion de documentos inéditos relativos al descubrimiento ... de ultramar (series 2, vols. 1, 4, 6, Madrid, 1885–1890). On archaeology, N. Fort y Roldan, Cuba indigena (Madrid, 1881); M. Rodriguez Ferrer (see above); and especially A. Bachiller y Morales, Cuba primitiva (Havana, 1883). For the history of the Cuban international problem consult José Ignacio Rodriguez, Idea de la anexion de la isla de Cuba à los Estados Unidos de America (Havana, 1900), and J. M. Callahan, Cuba and International Relations (Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, 1898), which supplement each other. On the domestic reform problem there is an enormous literature, from which may be selected (see general histories above and works cited under § Administration of this bibliography): M. Torrente, Bosquejo económico-político (2 tom., Madrid-Havana, 1852–1853); D. A. Galiano, Cuba en 1858 (Madrid, 1859); José de la Concha, twice Captain-General of Cuba, Memorias sobre el estado político, gobierno y administración de ... Cuba (Madrid, 1853); A. Lopez de Letona, Isla de Cuba, reflexiones (Madrid, 1856); F. A. Conte, Aspiraciones del partido liberal de Cuba (Havana, 1892); P. Valiente, Réformes dans les îles de Cuba et de Porto Rico (Paris, 1869); C. de Sedano, Cuba: Estudios políticos (Madrid, 1872); H. H. S. Aimes, History of Slavery in Cuba, 1511–1868 (New York, 1907); F. Armas y Cèspedes, De la esclavitud en Cuba (Madrid, 1866), and Régimen político de las Antillas Españolas (Palma, 1882); R. Cabrera, Cuba y sus Jueces (Havana, 1887; 9th ed., Philadelphia, 1895; 8th ed., in English, Cuba and the Cubans, Philadelphia, 1896); P. de Alzola y Minondo, El Problema Cubano (Bilbao, 1898); various works by R. M. de Labra, including La Cuestion social en las Antillas Españolas (Madrid, 1874), Sistemas coloniales (Madrid, 1874), &c.; R. Montoro, Discursos ... 1878–1893 (Philadelphia, 1894); Labra et al., El Problema colonial contemporánea (2 vols., Madrid, 1894); articles by Em. Castelar et al., in Spanish reviews (1895–1898). On the period since 1899 the best two books in English are C. M. Pepper, To-morrow in Cuba (New York, 1899); A. G. Robinson, Cuba and the Intervention (New York, 1905). (F. S. P.)
- Other countries taking only 27,462 long tons out of a total of 5,719,777 in the seven fiscal years 1899–1900 to 1905–1906.
- In these same years the trade of the United States with Cuba and Porto Rico was: importations from the islands, $59,221,444 annually; exportations to the islands, $20,017,156. The corresponding figures for Spain were $7,265,142 and $20,035,183; and for the United Kingdom, $714,837 and $11,971,129, the trade with other countries being of much less amount.
- In the preliminary registration by Moderate officials a total electorate was registered of 432,313,—about 30% of the supposed population of the island.