National Geographic : 1898 May
CUBA places are the most truly Cuban and representative in their popu lation of any towns on the island. Santa Clara is a beautiful city, dating from previous centuries, and surrounded by charming scenery. It possessed, the year before the revolution, a cultured creole* population. The insur rection has raged most fearfully around this place, and it is prob able that its most representative people have been largely driven away or destroyed. Camaguey, as the Cubans call the town, or Puerto Principe, as it is officially designated, although remote from the seacoast, is the chief interior city of Cuba, and claims to be the most creole of Cuban towns. The city lies on a plain about midway be tween the two coasts, and is connected by rail with Nuevitas to the northeast. In the basin of the Cauto, Bayamo is the principal place. This is a very old town, which was founded on a southern affluent of the main stream during the first years of the conquest. It was at Yara, a little southwest of this place, that the great republican rising took place in 1868. The next year, when the Spanish troops made their appearance, the inhabitants themselves set fire to their houses. During the present revolution Bayamo has been an important stronghold. Holguin, lying to the northward of the Cauto, is also an important city of this portion of Cuba. Returning to the northern seacoast, several important points remain to be described east of the central meridian of the island. Without considering the innumerable smaller landings, the principal towns are Nuevitas, Padre, Gibara, Banes, Nipe, and Baracoa. These are all antique and interesting places, pos sessing many old ruins and fortifications. Baracoa, the eastern most port of the north coast of the island, is of historic interest, inasmuch as it is the oldest continuous settlement of the New World, having been settled by Diego Columbus, the son of Chris topher, in the year 1511.t The inhabitants still point with pride to the ruins of his house. It will also go down in history as the point near which, on the 25th of February, 1896, Antonio Maceo and his valiant band of nineteen followers, by a most daring and successful landing, started the present revolution, and from which within a year's time he marched to the western extremity of the * The word creole, as used in this paper, means white descendants of the Latin races. The impression on the part of some people that the word implies a mixture of negro blood is an ignorant and, to the creole, an insulting mistake. SIn the illustration the date is erroneously given as 1508.