National Geographic : 1898 May
CUBA most of our own territory. The current impressions of insalu brity have arisen from an erroneous confusion of bad sanitation with the weather. While it is true that sickness follows the seasons, the former would be greatly allayed-almost abated if public hygiene received proper official consideration. AGRICULTURE The principal products of Cuba in time of peace are agricultural, and consist of sugar-cane, tobacco, coffee, bananas, corn, oranges, and pines, in the order named. The raising of sugar-cane over whelmingly preponderates and heretofore has been the mainstay of the island. This industry originated in 1523, when a loan of 4,000 piastres to each person wishing to engage in it was made by King Philip I. The whole of the vast central plain and much of the region from the Cauto westward to Pinar del Rio, except where broken by hills, is one continuous field of cane, which yielded in 1892-93 1,054,214 tons, valued at $80,000,000, besides giving employment to large commercial and transportation in terests. The sugar plantations vary in extent from 100 to 1,000 acres, and employ an average of one man to two acres. The Cuban sugar lands are all upland soils, quite different from the lowlands of Louisiana, and excel in fertility those of all the other West Indies, the cane requiring to be planted only once in seven years, instead of every year, as in Antigua. The machinery of the estates up to the outbreak of the present revo lution was the finest and most modern in the world. According to statistics elsewhere presented, this industry has been almost destroyed within the last three years. Tobacco, while secondary to sugar, is far more profitable in proportion to acreage. This product grows well in all parts of the island, but the chief seat of its cultivation is along the southern slopes of the Cordillera de las Organos, in Pinar del Rio-the famous Vuelta Abajo region, which produces the finest article in the world. Good tobaccos are also exported from Trinidad, Cienfuegos, and Santiago. In addition to the growth of the leaf, there are dozens of large cigar factories in Habana, giving employment to thousands of people of both sexes and all ages. In 1893 6,160,000 pounds of leaf tobacco and 134,210,000 cigars were exported. Large exports of baled tobacco are also made from the east end of the island, most of which is sent to the United States.