Cuba

CUBA.Kū´ba.

A Spanish colony in the West Indies. Area, 43,220 square miles. Population, 1,521,684; 50 per cent. of the inhabitants are blacks and enfranchised slaves. The greatest length of the island is 760 miles; width varies from 20 to 135 miles; coast line about 2,000 miles. Surface is broken by a mountain chain running through its centre from east to west; average altitude of summit is between 5,000 and 6,000 feet. Pico de Turquino, 7,670 feet, is the highest peak. There are over 260 rivers, all valueless for navigation purposes, except the Canto. Mineral springs abound.

But little attention has been paid to the development of the mineral wealth. Gold was obtained by the early colonists, but for two centuries comparatively none has been found. There are extensive copper mines, and coal is abundant. Copperas and alum have also been obtained.

Rainfall at Havana: in the wet season, 27.8 inches; dry season, 12.7 inches. Average temperature: at Havana, 77°; at Santiago de Cuba, 80°. Yellow fever and earthquakes are frequent.

Thirteen million acres of Cuban territory are uncleared forests; 7,000,000 wild and uncultivated. Principal woods grown and exported are mahogany, rosewood, Cuban ebony, and cedar.

Tobacco and sugar raising principal occupation of the people. Many sugar plantations comprise 10,000 acres each.

Two crops of Indian corn grown per year; rice, cotton, cacao and indigo also produced; most tropical fruits are abundant. Sugar product averages 520,000 tons per year; molasses, 79,365 hogsheads. Total value of agricultural products over $90,000,000. United States receives 80 per cent. of Cuban sugar. No manufactures deserving mention.

Latest reports give exports of cigars 225,000,000 per annum; leaf tobacco, 13,500,000 pounds. There are about 900 miles of railway. Marine cable connects Cuba with Florida.

Roman Catholicism is the only religion tolerated. Education compulsory; school attendance, 34,813.

Havana is the capital; Pop., 25,000. Government administered by a Captain General, appointed by the Spanish Crown. The island is now represented in the Spanish Cortes, Madrid.