540

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540

CUBA.

known by the name of Carenas. It is of a kind,
warm, and dry temperature, and more mild than
the island of St. Domingo, owing to the refreshing
gales which it experiences from the n. and e. Its
rivers, which are in number 15S, abound in rich
fish ; its mountains in choice and vast timber ;
namely cedars, caobas^ oaks, ('ranadillos, guaya
canes^ and ebony-trees ; the fields in singing birds,
and others of the chase, in flourishing trees and
odoriferous plants. The territory is most fertile,
so that the fields are never without flowers, and the
trees are never stripped of their foliage. Some of
the seeds produce two crops a year, the one of
them ripening in the depth of winter. At the be
ginning of its conquest, much gold was taken from
hence, and principally in the parts called, at the
present day, lagua, and the city of Trinidad ; and
the chronicler Antonio de Herera affirms that this
metal was found of greater purity here than in the
island of St. Domingo. Some of it is procured at
the present day at Holguin. Here are sorne very
abundant mines of copper and load-stone; and
artillery was formerly cast here, similar to that
which was in the fortified places of the Havana,
Cuba, and the castle of the Morro. Here was es
tablished an asiento of the mines, under the reign of
the King Don J uan de Eguiluz, when no h ss aquan
tity than lOOG quintals of gold were sent yearly to
Spain. In the jurisdiction of the Havana, an iron
mine has been discovered some little time since, of
an excellent quality, and the rock crystal found
here is, when wrought, more brilliant than the
finest stones. In the road from Bayamo to Cuba,
are found pebbles of various sizes, and so perfectly
round that they might be well used for cannon
balls. The baths of medical warm waters are ex
tremely numerous in this island. It contains 1 1
large and convenient bays, very secure ports, and
abundant salt ponds, also 480 sugar engines, from
which upwards of a million of arrobas are em
barked every year for Europe, and of such an
esteemed and excellent quality, as without being
refined, to equal the sugar of Holland or France ;
not to mention the infinite quantity of this article
employed in the manufacturing of delicious sweet
meats ; these being also sent over to Spain and
various parts of America. It contains also 982
herds of large cattle, 617 inclosures for swine, 350
folds for fattening animals, 1881 manufactories, and
5933 cultivated estates ; and but for the want of
hands, it might be said to abound in every neces
sary of life, since it produces in profusion yiicas,
sweet and bitter, and of which the cazave bread is
made, coffee, maize, indigo, cotton, some cacao
and much tobacco of excellent quality ; this being

one of the principal sources of its commerce, anrJ
that which forms the chief branch of the royal
revenue. This article is exported to Europe in
every fashion, in leaf, snuff, and cigars, and is held
superior to the tobacco of all the other parts of
America. The great peculiarity of this climate
is, that we find in it, the whole year round, the
most Belicate herbs and fruits, in full season, native
either to Europe or these regions ; and amongst
the rest, the pine is most delicious. The fields are
so delightful and so salutary, that invalids go to
reside in them to establish their health. Throughout
the Avhole island there is neither wild beast or ve
nomous animal to be found. Its first inhabitants
were a pacific and modest people, and unacquainted
with the barbarous custom of eating human flesh,
and abhorring theft and impurity. These have
b-3corne nearly extinct, arid the greater part of
them hung themselves at the beginning of the con
quest, through vexation at the hardships inflicted
upon them by the first settlers. At the present
day, the natives are the most active and industrious
of any belonging to the Antilles islands. The
women, although they have not the complexion of
Europeans, are beautiful, lively, affable, of acute
discernment, lovers of virtue, and extremely hos
pitable and generous. The first town of this island
was Baracoa, built by Diego Velazquez in 1512.,
It is divided into two governments, which are that
of Cuba and that of the Havana : these are sub
div'ided into jurisdictions and districts. The go
vernor of the Havana is the captain-general of
the whole island, and his command extends as far
as the provinces of Louisiana and Movila ; and his
appointment has ever been looked upon as a si
tuation of the liighest importance and confidence.
He is assisted by general officers of the greatest
abilities and merits in the discharge of his office.
When the appointment becomes vacant, the vice
roy of the Havana, thfbugh a privilege, becomes
invested with the title of Captain-General in the
government. The whole of the island is one
diocese; its jurisdiction comprehending the pro
vinces of Louisiana, and having the title of those
of Florida and the island of Jamaica. It is suf
fraganto the archbishopric of St. Domingo, erected
in Baracoa in 1518, and translated to Cuba by
bull of Pope Andrian VI. in 1522. It numbers
21 parishes, 90 churches, 52 curacies, 23 convents,
3 colleges, and 22 hospitals. In 1763 some swarms
of bees were brouglit from San Agnstin de La
Florida, which have increased to such a degree,
that the wax procured from them, after reserving
enough for the consumption of all the superior
class, and independently of that used in the

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