The geographical and historical dictionary of America and the West Indies [volume 1]





island of Cuba, called Cruz del Principe (Cross of the Prince. )

CUA, Sahante de, a village and settlement of the Portuguese, in the kingdom of Brazil ; situate in the sierra of Los Corixes, between the river of this name and that of Araguaya.

CUACHIMALCO, a settlenaent of the head settlement of Olinala, and alcaldia mayor of Tlapa, in Nueva Espana. It contains 06 families of Indians, and is two leagues to the n. e. of its head settlement.

CUAITLAN, a settlement of the head settlement of Metlatlan, <x\\A. alcaldia mayor of [Papantla]], inNueva Espana. It contains 8i families of Indians, and is three leagues from its head settlement, 16 s. w. of the capital.

CUALA, Santiago de, a settlement and head settlement of the district of the alcaldia mayor of Tezcoco in Nueva Espana; annexed to the curacy of Capulalpa, and six leagues to the n. e. of its capital.

CUALAQUE, a scttlerneut of the head settlement and alcaldia mayor of Tlapa in Nueva Espana. It contains two families of Spaniards, eight of Mustees^ 140 of Indians, and a convent of the religious order of St. Augustin. It is of a mild temperature, and its principal commerce consists in making painted cups of fine manufacture. Four leagues w. of its capital.

CUAMILA, a small settlement or ward of the alcaldia mayor Guachinango in Nueva Espana ; annexed to the curacy of the settlement of TIaola.

CUANALA, Santa Maria de, a settlement of the bead settlement and alcaldia mayor of Tezcoco in Nueva Espana ; situate on the shore of the pleasant valley of (3culma. It is surrounded by many small settlements or wards, in which there are reckoned 212 families of Indians, and 10 of Muslees and Mulattoes ;* all of whom are employed as drovers or agriculturalists. Two leagues n. of its capital.

CUAPALA, a settlement of the head settlement of Atlistac, and aluddia mayor of Tlapa, in Nueva Espana. It contains 42 families of Indians.

CUATALPAN Santiago de, a settlement of the alcaldia mayor Tezcoco in Nueva Espana. it contains 36 families of Indians, and 27 of Spaniards and Mustics.

CUATLAN, a settlement of the head settlement of Ixtlahuacan, and alcaldia mayor of Colima ; .situate on the margin of a river which fertilizes the gardens lying on either of its banks, the same abounding in ail kinds of fruits and herbs. It is

of a mild temperature, and its commerce consists in maize, French beans, and in the making of mats. In its precincts are six estates or groves of coco trees ; and in those dwell .nine families of Spaniards and Miistees. In the settlement are 70 families. It is three leagues e. of its head settlement.

CUAUCHINOLA, a settlement of the head settlement of Xoxutla, and alcaldia mayor of Cuernavaca, in Nueva Espana.

CUAUCOTLA, S. Diego de, a settlement of the head settlement and alcaldia mayor of Cholula in Nueva Espana. It contains 27 families of Indians, and is a quarter of a league from its capital.

CUAUTIPAC, a settlement of the head settlement and alcaldia mayor of Tlapa in Nueva Espana. It contains 23 families of Indians, and is one league to the s. e. of its capital.

CUAUTLA, San Juan de, a settlement of the head settlement and alcaldia mayor of Cholula in Nueva Espana. It contains 16 families of Indians, and is one league to the w. of its capital.

CUAUTLA, with the dedicatory title of San Miguel, another settlement of the alcaldia mayor of Cuernavaca in the same kingdom ; situate in a fertile and beautiful open plain near the settlement of Mazate.pec. It contains 23 families of Indians, and 11 of Spaniards and Mulattoes, who employ themselves in fishing for small but well-flavoured bagres, which are found in great abundance in a river which runs near the town.

CUAUTOLOTITLAN, a settlement of the head settlement of Atlistac, and alcaldia mayor of Tlapa, in Nueva Espana. It contains 42 families of Indians.

CUB, a small river of the province and colony of Virginia. It runs and enters the Staunton.

CUBA, a large island of the N. sea, and the largest of the Antilles ; situate at the mouth or entrance of the bay of Mexico. It is 235 leagues in length from c. to a', from the cape of St. Antonio to the point of Maizi, and 45 at its widest part, and 14 at the uarrow'est. To the n. it has Florida and the ijiicayes isles ; to the c. the island of St. Domingo, and to the s. the island of Jamaica, and the s. continent; and to the w. the gulf or hay of Mexico. It is betw een and 23°15'n. Int. and

from 74° 2' 3'^ to 84°55'tw. long It was discovered by Admiral Cliristopher Columbus in 1492, in his first voyage, before he discovered St. Domingo ; and he mistook it for the continent, and landed upon it. In tJie year 1494, it was found to be au island by Nicholas do Obando. lie measured its circumierence, and careened his ve.s.sel in the port of the Havana, which from that time has been

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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, guayacanes^ 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 beginning 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 established an asiento of the mines, under the reign of the King Don J uan de Eguiluz, when no h ss aquantity 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 cannonballs. The baths of medical warm waters are extremely 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 embarked 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 sweetmeats ; 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 necessary 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 toreside in them to establish their health. Throughout the Avhole island there is neither wild beast or venomous 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 conquest, 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 hospitable 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 subdiv'ided into jurisdictions and districts. The governor 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 situation 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 viceroy 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 provinces of Louisiana, and having the title of those of Florida and the island of Jamaica. It is suffraganto 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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cliurclies for divilie worship, was exported, in 1776, to the quantity of 12,550 arrobas, from a single port of the Havana ; and all of it of as good a quality as is the wax of Venice. Although the capital of this island is the city of its name, the Havana is, at the present day, looked upon as the principal. Here the governor and captain-general of the kingdom resides ; and it has gained this preference from the excellence of its port, and from other qualifications, which will be found treated of under that article. We must here confine ourselves to what we have already said, a more diffuse account not corresponding to our plan, though, and if all were said of which the subject would admit, a very extensive history might be made. The population consists of tiie following cities, towns, and places.

Cilies. Las Piedras,

Havana, . Cubita,

Cuba, Vertientes,

Earacoa, San Pedro,

Holguin, Pamarejo,

Matanzas, Cupey,

Trinidad, Arroyo de Arenas,

Santa Maria del Rosario, Pilipinas,

San Juan de Taruco, .liguam,

Compostela. Caney,

Towns. Tiguabos,

Bayamo, El Prado,

Puerto del Principe, Moron,

S. Felipe and Santiago,

S. J uan de los Remedies, El Cano,

Santi Espiritus, Managua,

Santa Clara, Guines,

G uanavacoa, Rio Elanco,


Settlements. Alvarez,

Consolacion, Planavana

Los Pinos,




Las Tuscas,

Y ara,

[Cuba, which, in 1774, contained only 371,628 inhabitants, including 44,328 slaves, and from 5 to 6000 free Negroes, possessed, in 1804, a population of 432,000 souls. The same island, in 1792, exported only 400,000 quintals of sugar ; but, in 1804, its annual exportation of that article had risen to 1,000,000 of quintals. By a statement of the export of sugar from the Havana, from 1801 to 1810 inclusive, it appears that the average for the last 10 years has been 2,850,000 arrohas, or about 644,000 cwt. a year. Notwithstanding this, Cuba

San Miguel,

Santiago de las Vegas.



El Ciego, Cacarajicaras, Pinal del Rio.

requires annual remittances from Mexico. The number of Negroes introduced into Cuba, from 1789 to 1803, exceeded 76,000 souls ; and during the last four years of that period, they amounted to 34,500, or to more than 8600 annually. Accordingly, the population of the island, in 1804, consisted of 108,000 slaves, and 324,000 free persons, of whom 234,000 were whites, and 90,000 free blacks and people of colour. The white population of Cuba forms therefore or .54 of the whole number of its inhabitants. In Caracas, the whites constitute .20 of the total population ; in New Spain almost .19; in Peru .12; and in Jamaica .10.

In speaking of the origin, manners, and customs, &c. of the natives of Cuba, we are to be understood as giving also an account of those of Hispaniola, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico; for there is no doubt that the inliabitants of all those islands were of one common origin ; speaking the same language, possessing the same institutions, and practising similar superstitions. The fairest calculation as to their numbers, when first discovered, is 3,000,000. But, not to anticipate observations that will more properly appear hereafter, we shall now proceed to the consideration, -- 1. Of their persons and per sonal endowments.— 2. Their intellectual faculties and dispositions.— 3. Their political institutions.— 4. Their religious riles. — 5. Their arts.

1. iYrsows. — Both men and women wore nothing more than a slight covering of cotton cloth round the waist; but in the women it extended to the knees : the children of both sexes appeared entirely naked. In stature they were taller, but less robust than the Caribes. Their colour was a clear brown, not deeper in general, according to Columbus, than that of a Spanish peasant who has been much exposed to the wind and the sun. Like the Caribes, they altered the natural configuration of the head in infancy ; but after a different mode (the sinciput, or fore-part of the head from the eye-brows to the coronal suture, was depressed, which gave an unnatural thickness and elevation to the occiput, or hinder part of the skull); and by this practice, says Herrera, the crown was so srengthened that a Spanish broad-sword, instead of cleaving the skull at a stroke, would frequently break short upon it ; an illustration which gives an admirable idea of the clemency of their conquerors ! Their liair was uniformly, black, without any tendency to curl ; their features were hard and unsightly ; the face broad, and the nose flat; but their eyes streamed with good nature, and altogether there was something pleasing and inviting in the countenances of most of them, which pro-]

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[claimed a frank and gentle disposition. It was an honest face, (says Martyr), coarse, but not gloomy ; for it was enlivened by confidence, and softened by compassion. Amongst our islanders, an attachment to the sex was remarkably conspicuous. Love, with this happy people, was not a transient and youthful ardour only ; but the source of all their pleasures, and the chief business of life : for not being, like the Caribes, opjjressed by the weight of perpetual solicitude, and tormented by an unquenchable thirst of revenge, they gave full indulgence to the instincts of nature, while the influence of the climate heightened the sensibility of the passions. See Oviedo, lib.v. c.S. ' We Lave nearly the same account at this day of the Arrowauks of Guayana. “ In their natural disposition (says Bancroft) they are amorous and wanton and Barrere observes, “ ils sont Intrigues au supreme degreZ' It is related by Herrera, that a deity similar to the Venus of antiquity, was one of the divinities of the Tlascalans, a people of Mexico. In truth, an excessive sensuality was among the greatest defects in their character : and to this cause alone is imputed, by some writers, the origin of that dreadful disease, witli the infliction of which they have almost revenged the calamities brought upon them by the avarice of Europe; if indeed the venereal contagion was first introduced into Spain from these islands; a conclusion to which, notwithstanding all that Las been written in support of it, an attentive inquirer will still hesitate to subscribe. Their agility was eminently conspicuous in their dances, wherein they delighted and excelled, devoting the cool hours of night to this employment. “ It was their custom (says Herrera) to dance from evening to the dawn ; and although 50,000 men and women were frequently assembled together on these occasions, they seemed actuated by one common impulse, keeping time by responsive motions of their hands, feet, and bodies, with an exactness that was wondertul. These public dances (for they had others highly licentious) were appropriated to particular solemnities, and being accompanied with historical songs, were called arietoes ; a singular feature in their political institutions, of which we shall presently speak. Besides the exercise of dancing, another diversion was prevalent among them, which they called bato; and it appears from the account given of it by the Spanish historians, that it had a distant resemblance to the English game of cricket ; for the players were divided into two parties, Avhich alternately changed places, and the sport consisted in dexterously throwing and returning an elastic ball from one parly to the other.

It was not however caught in the hand, or re« turned with an instrument, but received on the head, the elbow, or the foot ; and the dexterity and force with which it Avas thence repelled, Avere astonishing and inimitable. Such exertions belong not to a people incurably enervated and slothful.

2. Intellects. — The benevolence of these Indians, unexampled in the history of civilized nations, was soon basely requited by the conduct of a band of robbers, whom Columbus unfortunately left in the island, on his departure for Europe. When any of the Spaniards came near to a village, the most ancient and venerable of the Indians, or the cacique himself, if present, came out to meet them, and gently conducted them into their habitations, and seated them on stools of ebony curiously ornamented. These benches seem to have been seats of honour reserved for their guests ; for the Indians threw themselves on the ground, and kissing the hands and feet of the Spaniards, offered them fruits and the choicest of their viands ; entreating them to prolong their stay, with such solicitude and reverence as demonstrated that they considered them as beings of a superior nature, whose presence consecrated their dAvellings, and brought a blessing with it. The reception which Bartholomew Columbus, who was appointed lieutenant, or deputy -governor, in the absence of the admiral, afterAvards met with, in his progress through the island to levy tributes from the several caciques or princes, manifested not only kindness and submission, but on many occasions munificence, and even a high degree of politeness. These caciques had all heard of the Avonderful eagerness of the strangers for gold ; and such of them as possessed any of this precious xnetal, willingly presented all that they had to the deputy-governor. Others, Avho had not the means of obtaining gold, brought provisions and cotton in great abundance. Among the latter Avas Behechio, a powerful cacique, Avho invited the lieutenant and his attendants to his dominions ; and tlie entertainment which they received from this hospitable chief is thus described by Martyr. “ As they approached the king’s dwelling, they Avere met by his Avives, to the number of SO, carrying branches of the palm-tree in their hands, who first sainted the Spaniards Avitli a solemn dance, accompanied Avith a general song. These matrons Avere succeeded by a train of virgins, distinguished as such by their appearance; the former Avearing aprons of cotton doth, Avhile the latter Avere arrayed only in the innocence of pure nature. Their hair was tied simply Avith a fillet over their foreheads, or suffered to floAV gracefully on their shoulders and bo-]

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[■soms. Their limbs were finely proportioned, and their complexions, though brown, were smooth, shining, and lovely. Tlic Spaniards were struck with admiration, believing that they beheld the dryads of the woods, and the nymphs of the fountains, realizing ancient fable. The branches which they bore in their hands, they now delivered ivith lowly obeisance to the lieutenant, who, entering the palace, found a plentiful, and, according to the Indian mode of living, a splendid repast already provided. As niglA approached, the Spaniards were conducted to separate cottages, wherein each of them was accommodated with a cotton hammoc ; and the next morning they were again entertained with dancing and singing. This was followedliy matches of w restling, and running for prizes ; after which two great bodies of armed Indians unexpectedly appeared, and a mock engagement ensued ; exhibiting their modes of attack and defence in their wars with the Caribes. For three days were the Spaniards thus royally entertained, and on the fourth the affectionate Indians regretted their departure.”

3. Political institutions . — Their kings, as we have seen, were called caciques and their power was hereditary. But there were also subordinate chieftains, or princes, who were tributaries to the soverei<rn of each district. Thus the territory in 11 ispaniola, anciently called Xaraguay, extending from the plain of Leogane to the westernmost part of the island, was the kingdom of the cfle^ 5 '^/e Behechio; but it appears from Martyr, that no less than 32 inferior chieftains or nobles had jurisdiction within that space of country, who were accountable to the supreme authority of Behechio, They seem to have somewhat resembled the ancient barons or feudatories of Europe : holding their possessions by the tenure of service. Oviedo relates, that they were under the obligation of personally attending the sovereign, both in peace and Avar, whenever commanded so to do. The whole island of Hispaniola was divided into five great kingdoms. The islands of Cuba and Jamaica rvere divided, like Hispaniola, into many principalities or kingdoms ; but we are told that the Avhole extent of Puerto Rico was subject to one cacique onljr. It has been remarked, that the dignity of these chieftians was hercditaiy ; but if Martyr is to be credited, the laAv of succession among them was different from that of all other people ; for he observes, that the caciques bequeathed the supreme authority to the children of their sisters, according to seniority, disinheriting their owm offspring ; “ being certain,” adds Martyr, “ that, by this policy, they preferred the blood royal ; which

might not happen to be the case in advancing any of the children of their numerous wives.” The relation of Oviedo is somewhat different, and seems more probable : he remarks, that one of tlie wives of each cacique was particularly distinguished above the rest, and appears to have been considered by the people at large as the reigning queen ; that the children of this lady, according to priority of birth, succeeded to the father’s honours; but, in default of issue by the favourite princess, the sisters of the cacique, if there were no surviving brothers, took place of the cacique’s own children by his other wives. The principal cacique was distinguished by regal ornaments and numerous attendants. In travelling through his dominions, he was commonly borne on men’s shoulders, after a manner very much resembling the use of the palanquin in the E. Indies. According to Martyr, he was regarded by all his subjects with such reverence, as even exceeded the bounds of nature and reason ; for if he ordered any of them to east themselves headlong from a high rock, or to drown themselves in the sea, alleging no cause but his sovereign pleasure, he was obeyed without a murmur ; opposition to the supreme authority being considered not only as unavailing, but impious. Nor did their veneration terminate with the life of the prince ; it was extended to his memory after death; a proof that his authority, however extravagant, was seldom abused. When a cacique died, his body was cmbowelled, and dried in an oven moderately heated ; so that the bones and even the skin Avere preserved entire. The corpse W'as then placed in a cave with those of his ancestors, this being (observes Oviedo) among these simple people the only system of heraldry ; Avhereby they intended to render, not the name alone, but the persons also, of their worthies immortal. If a cacique Avas slain in battle, and the body could not be recovered, they composed songs in his praise, Avhich they taught their children. It is related by Martyr, that on the death of a cacique, the most beloved of his wives Avas immolated at his funeral. Thus he observes that Anacaona, on the death of her brother. King Behechio, ordered a very beautiful Avoraan, Avhose name Avas Guanahata Benechina, to be buried alive in the cave Avlicre his body (after being dried as above mentioned) Avas deposited. But Oviedo, though by no means partial towards the Indian character, denies that this custom Avas general among them. Anacaona, Avho had been married to a Caribe, probably adopted the practice from the account she had received from her husband of his national customs; and it is not impossible, under a female adrninis-]

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