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Since the close of the late American war, the Cuban sugar-trade has been immensely increased, and the quantity exported in good years bas recently been valued at the prodigous sum of 15, or even 20 millions sterling. Fifteen per cent of this sugar goes to England, and 75 per cent to the United States. The exportation of tobacco forms still a large item of the exports from Cuba. The chief imports consist of flour, salted fish, manufactured goods, hardware, machinery.
The enormous development of Cuban commerce cannot be accounted for either by the enterprise of the inhabitants or to good government-and least of all to the latter, for the Spaniards have done nothing for C. but to make it supply Madrid with the largest possible revenue. It is due to the great demand for sugar in America, and the monopoly C. now enjoys of slave-labor.
The pop: of C., in 1872, was 1,370,211, of whom 730,750 were whites, about 34,000/ Chinese and Hindu coolies, and 605,461 blacks, or colored people of negro origin. Of the blacks, 225,938 were free, and 379,523 were slaves. Of the whites, about 600,000 were creoles, or natives of the island; while 120,000 were “peninsulares," or natives of Spain. The slaves of pure blood alone have the strength necessary to do the hard work of the sugar estates, and the prosperity of the island is dependent on them. Although the creoles and the “peninsulares” are of the same origin, the difference between them is most striking. They can be distinguished at a glance in the streets of Havana. The creoles are feeble and indolent, even when they are children of parents born in Spain. The Cuban Spaniards, on the other hand, are a sturdy and energetic body of men. Recruited from the north-eastern parts of Spain, they go to C. as adventurers, chiefly to find employment as traders and mechanics, but obtain the greater share of the wealth of the island. There are upwards of 200,000 adult male creoles, and half that number of Spanish Cubans; but the latter-all men-through the large volunteer force, which they almost exclusively recruit, and the favor of the Spanish government, which distrusts the creoles, have absolute control over the government of the island, which is administered in a manner scandalously unjust. They treat the creoles with a scorn and con. tempt only exceeded by the hatred, mixed with fear, with which the latter regard the dominant population. “ Cuba for the Cubans,” is the watchword of the creoles, whose most anxious desire is to be rid of the adventurers, who have secured for themselves the best share of the wealth of the island. If they could secure this object, they believe that even with emancipation they would be in a better position than now, and accordingly they manifest sympathy for the negroes, and join with them in opposition to the “peninsulares.”
C. is divided into three intendencias—the western, middle, and eastern In the first, there were (1872) upwards of a million of inhabitants. It includes Havana with 200,000 inhabitants, Matanzas with 36,000, Cardenas with 13,000, and several other towns con nected by railways. The middle division, which extends eastward to the n.e. corner of the Great bay and the Boca de Nuevitas, has only a pop. of 75,000, 30,000 of whom live in the capital, Puerto Principe. The eastern division has 249,000 inhabitants; the capital is Santiago, with a pop. of 37,000. The chief towns of the western division are connected by railways, and it is well settled and prosperous, the great sugar factories and tobacco plantations, which constitute the wealth of the island, lying there. The middle and eastern divisions are very partially cultivated, and, owing to civil war, are becoming much less productive than they were. Many of the land-owners of the eastern part of the island have sold their slaves to those of the Havana district, and have migrated to Jamaica and the United States.
In 1492, C., which is often spoken of as the “pearl” or “queen of the Antilles," was discovered by Columbus during his first voyage. In 1511, the island began to be permanently colonized, becoming, within ten years, the base of all the various operations against Mexico. While, in the first quarter of the present century, every continental portion of Spanish America established its independence, C. remaining like Puerto Rico, faithful to the mother country, largely profited by the intestine broils of the revolted provinces, for, when the old Spaniards were expelled in mass from the mainland, many of them naturally took refuge in the still loyal islands, enriching them with their capital, and energy, and skill. c. has long been coveted by other nations. In 1762, Havana was captured by a British armament, but was restored in the following year. During the present age, the island has been an object of cupidity to the United States—a cupidity checked more powerfully by jealousy on the part of France and England than by Spain's own resources; and, in fact, it has been twice attacked-in 1850 and 1851-by individual Americans withont success. They were commanded by a Spaniard by the name of Lopez, who, being taken prisoner, was executed as a traitor.
The termination of the American war had an unexpected effect on the position of Cuba. The island had been coveted because it was the only market from which slaves could be imported into the southern states, and this trade was at an end. This was not, however, the only effect of the war. It destroyed the production of sugar in the southern states, and C. supplied the want. Great interests were created in New York which favored the perpetuation of slavery in C., and its existence as an independent state, or a depend. ency of a foreign power, became more desirable for the Americans than its annexation. The Spanish revolution of 1868, when queen Isabella was driven from the throne, effected another change in Cuban politics. The Madrid ministry, in 1870, passed a measure
known as the Moret law, from Senor Moret y Prendergast, the colonial minister at the time, which declared that every slave at the age of 60 should become free—and emanci. pated all the unborn offspring of slaves. This law never was enforced, its publication even having been prohibited by the “peninsulares;" and the Madrid government have never been in a position to enforce it or any other measure which meets the disapproval of the “loyal party” in Cuba. Instead of doing so, it has accepted their alliance, and aided them by sending troops to crush the creole and negro insurrection, which broke out in 1868. The struggle was carried on with varying success, and often with unexampled ferocity, for ten long years. It was not till the spring of 1878, that Martinez Campos, partly by military energy, partly by terms of compromise, succeeded in quell. ing the rebellion. He offered pardon to rebels laying down their arms, and restoration of confiscated property. See T'he Pearl of the Antilles, by A. Gallenga (Lond. 1873). For a picturesque description of Cuban life and manners, see another work also called The Pearl of the Antilles, by W. Goodman (1873). See also The Mambi-land, by James J. O'Kelly (1874).
CUBA (ante), “the ever-faithful isle," as it has been called by the Spaniards, has a remarkable history. Discovered by Columbus on his first voyage to the new world, and regarded by him at first as a part of the western continent, it was not long before the docile harmless race of Indians who inhabited it were overrun and reduced to slavery by the Spanish adventurers, who gained great wealth by their unpaid toil. Las Casas, the Roman Catholic apostle to the Indians, seeing that they were rapidly being exterminated by cruelty, was moved by compassion to appeal to the home government for their protection. Cardinal Ximenes, the Spanish regent, sent three monks to the island to correct the abuses complained of; but they did not accomplish much, and Las Casas procured for himself the appointment of universal protector of the Indians.” Finding it impossible, even with this additional authority, to check the cruelties which he deplored, and having observed in St. Domingo that the negroes had shown a capacity for endurance superior to that of the Indians, this humane missionary, in order to save the former from the swift extermination that threatened them, proposed that men and women of the latter race should be imported to take their places in the mines and cane-fields. The colonists were not slow to act upon this suggestion, and thus negro slavery, by sanction of religious authority, gained a foothold in the western world, which it did not lose until the slave power in the United States was overthrown in the war of 1861-65. The Indians of Cuba, however, did not escape the extermination which Las Casas was so anxious to avert, while the negroes were subjected to cruelties that checked their natural increase and made it necessary to recruit their numbers by constant importations. There was a period between the substantial extirpation of the Indians and the introduction of the negroes when the planters did not prosper, but the African slave-trade revived their drooping fortunes. Meanwhile Havana was twice destroyed by the French. In 1762, it was captured by the English, who retained possession for only one year; but prior to this date 60,000 slaves had been introduced, and they were imported at the rate of 1,000 annually for the next 25 years. The slave-trade up to this time had been a monopoly, but now, all restrictions being removed, importations rapidly increased. The whole number of slaves introduced into the island from that day to the present must be immense, for they die off with great rapidity. Even now the trade has hardly ceased. British statistical writers, making up their reports from authentic data, say the number imported between 1817-42 was 335,000; and between 1842-52, 45,000.
The government of the island has always been autocratic, being lodged in a captaingeneral, receiving his appointment from the home government, and therefore in no way responsible to the people over whom he rules. In the 18th c., there were two insurrections, both of which were suppressed, and twelve of the leaders in the last (1723) were hanged. Printing was introduced about 1724. From 1790, and onwards, under a captain-general named Las Casas (probably of the same family as the missionary before mentioned), the island enjoyed great prosperity. Tranquillity was preserved during the bloody revolution of St. Domingo; newspapers were established, and industry promoted. When the royal family of Spain was deposed by Bonaparte in 1808, Cuba took the side of the crown and made contributions of money and soldiers to sustain it. Since that day, the captain-generals have for the most part adopted the course which promised to advance their own particular interests, with only a subordinate regard for the powers at Madrid. By a royal order, ratified 1836, the captain-general was empowered to rule at all times as if the island were in state of siege. At the same time a military commission was appointed, which took cognizance of offenses in general, and particularly of those involving disloyalty. The slave-trade was nearly suppressed by captain-general Valdez in 1845–47, but an increased demand for sugar soon afterwards revived it, and it was carried on more extensively than ever before.
The situation of the island is exceedingly favorable to commerce, while the extraordinary fertility of its soil and the nature of its products give it unrivaled advantages. A range of mountains extends through the island from e. to w., with streams flowing to the sea from each side. Some of the elevations reach a height of 8,000 feet. Another range skirts a part of the southern coast for about 200 miles. Between the mountains lie fertile valleys On the s. side, from Jagua to point Sabina, the land is a continuous