National Geographic : 1898 May
CUBA HIGHWAYS Good highways are both short and few. In past centuries a few good roads were established of the class called Camino el Rey (the King's highway), leading from Habana into Pinar del Rio and from a few interior cities to their entrepots. Aside from these roads, which were absolute necessities, the government has con structed no highways leading into the country through or around the island, and hence inland communication is much impeded. Had a more far-sighted policy of road construction been under taken, such as has been carried out by England in the adjacent island of Jamaica,* Spain would have been in no danger of losing her colony, the lack of good military roads having been one of the factors which have made possible the success of the present revolution. Although Cuba is so situated geographically as to command the commerce of the entire American Mediterranean, trade and communication with the adjacent regions, other than Mexico, have neither been cultivated nor encouraged. To reach any of the adjacent islands, such as Haiti or Jamaica-each less than 100 miles distant-it is usually necessary for the Cuban to pro ceed first to New York and thence to his destination. A per petual quarantine appears to exist against the island on the part of all its neighbors. The completeness with which Cuba is isolated commercially is illustrated by the fact that not even the Habana cigar, the most far-reaching of its products, can be found in a single Caribbean city. CITIES Habana, which bears upon its escutcheon " Llave del Mundo," the " Key of the New World," is the political capital and prin cipal city of Cuba. It is situated mainly on the west and south sides of a capacious harbor and surrounded by eminences ris ing to 150 feet in height. It is a picturesque and beautiful place, presenting, even in the midst of the most horrible tragedy of the centuries, the gay appearance of a European city. In fact, in population, interest, customs, and dominant political feeling the city (being the seat of the foreign government which rules the island) is thoroughly Spanish, and in this sense is entirely *Jamaica, while only one-tenth the size of Cuba, possesses over 2,000 miles of superb highway, affording easy communication to every part of the island.