National Geographic : 1898 May
CUBA Coffee was once extensively exported, but the trees have been mostly cut down and replaced with sugar-cane, in consequence of the greater profitableness of that product. The mountain sides and hill lands of the east are especially favorable for coffee, and a quality as excellent as that of the famous Blue mountain coffee of Jamaica can be readily grown. If the island should ever pass from Spanish hands, this will become a large and flourishing industry. There is still a considerable quantity of coffee grown, but it is nearly all consumed locally. At the beginning of the present revolution the growing of bananas was a large and important industry, chiefly in the vicinity of Nuevitas and Baracoa, at the eastern end of the island. During the season, from February to December, an average of a ship-load a day was exported from Baracoa. This fruit was the largest and finest received in the United States. It was grown upon mesas and plateaus, and let down over the precipitous cliffs by wire trolleys. Capt. John S. Hart, of Philadelphia, who had large invest ments in this business and was one of the largest importers of the fruit into the United States, finding his business destroyed by the outbreak of the revolution, promptly turned his ships into filibusters, and after landing many cargoes of arms and ammunition was eventually tried and convicted in a United States court, and is now confined in the Eastern penitentiary, at Philadelphia. Oranges of delicious flavor grow spontaneously in all parts of the island. No attention is paid to their culture for exporta tion, however. Pineapples are grown and exported in western Cuba and the Isle of Pines. If the island belonged to the United States, it would undoubtedly become one of the greatest fruit-growing countries. Mahogany and logwood are also ex ported in small quantities. In the provinces of Santa Clara, Puerto Principe, and Santiago the cattle industry, owing to the fertile grazing lands, reaches large proportions, the product being large and fine animals of Spanish stock. Horses are also bred in all parts of the island. The Cuban horse is a stout pony descended from Andalusian stock, with the build of a cob and a peculiar pacing gait which renders it an exceptionally easy riding animal. Goats and sheep do not flourish in Cuba, the wool of the latter changing into a stiff hair like that of the former. Poultry flourishes everywhere and was abundant in all markets.