National Geographic : 1947 Jan
Cuba-American Sugar Bowl Beneath a Giant Ceiba Bronze Books Record Those Who Gave Their Lives at San Juan Hill On July 17, 1898, Gen. William R. Shafter accepted near this Peace Tree the surrender of Santiago de Cuba and of the Spanish forces. Captured Spanish gun barrels and bayonets serve as a railing. Here Col. "Teddy" Roosevelt and his Roughriders won fame (page 38). heroes. In its center an equestrian statue memorializes General Ignacio Agramonte, born in the city and killed in battle in 1873, during the ten-year Cuban revolution (1868-78). Camagiiey gave many splendid fighters to this first unsuccessful war for independence, which cost 250,000 lives and 300 million dollars. With Dr. Agiiero as our sponsor we were welcomed as guests in several of the old homes of Camagiiey. Dr. and Sefiora Aurelio Izquierdo showed us their beautiful home, simply but tastefully decorated. It has one of the finest patios I saw in Cuba (Plates XXVI, XXVII, and XXIX). Huge red-clay water jars, typical of Camagiiey, adorned it. Across Finlay Street from the Izquierdos' home was born Carlos Juan Finlay, the emi nent Cuban physician who suggested that yellow fever was conveyed by the mosquito. Dr. Finlay graduated from Jefferson Medi cal College, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Then he began the study of yellow fever, which killed many hundreds each year in Cuba. In 1881 he announced his theory that mosquitoes spread yellow fever. Since he could not definitely prove his contention, no one be lieved him. Even as late as 1900 doctors tried to stop the yellow fever scourge by fumigation, isola tion, and the burning of fomites (the clothing and bed linen of infected patients). But to no avail. Yellow fever continued to kill. Ameri can soldiers died like flies. In the Spanish American War thousands more were killed by "yellow jack" than by bullets. Finally, Maj. Walter Reed and his United States Army Yellow Fever Commission proved that Finlay was right. Volunteers, bitten by Aedes aegypti mosquitoes which had fed from yellow fever patients, came down with the disease. Others exposed to the fomites failed to contract it. Thus the source of yellow fever was proved beyond doubt. Maj. William C. Gorgas cleaned out the breeding sources of the mosquitoes in sewers and ditches in Havana. Soon not a case of yellow fever was reported in the city. Later, Gorgas went on to Panama, where his eradi cation of the yellow fever mosquito made pos sible the building of the "Big Ditch." Chief Hatuey Burned at Stake As we drove through the rich sugar and grazing lands of eastern Camagiiey, Dr. Mas sip told me of the Indian chief, Hatuey, for whom a town and a Cuban beer are named.