National Geographic : 1898 May
TRADE OF THE UNITED STATES WITH CUBA 249 from the United States to that island for the ten years ending June 30, 1897. The principal article imported is sugar, the largest importation of which was in the fiscal year 1893-'94, when it amounted to 949,778 tons of 2,240 pounds, or over one million tons of 2,000 pounds. This was equivalent to 30 pounds or more per capita of our population, and constituted about one-half of our total consumption. The next item in importance is tobacco, the im ports of which reached their highest figures in 1895-'96, when they amounted in point of value to considerably more than one third of the total value of our own tobacco crop. The only other class of imports that calls for special mention consists of fruit and vegetables, which had a value in 1892-'93 of nearly two and one-half million dollars. The principal articles of export are, as will be seen from the table, meats, breadstuffs, and manufactured goods, the trade in all of which articles was rapidly assuming very large dimensions at the outbreak of the insurrection. Coal, coke, and oils were also exported in considerable quantities; indeed, so diversified were our exports that there is no considerable section of the en tire country that was not to a greater or less degree benefited by the market for our agricultural, mineral, and manufactured products that existed in Cuba. Between 1893-'94 and 1896-'97, however, our imports from Cuba suffered a decline of 75.7 per cent, and our exports to the island a decline of 61.7 per cent, the imports being reduced to less than one-fourth and the exports to little more than one-third of their previous volume. During the first year of the insurrec tion our trade fell off over thirty million dollars, during the second year a further sum of eighteen million dollars, and dur ing the third year a still further sum of twenty-one million dollars, making a total decline of sixty-nine million dollars in the annual value of our foreign trade, and of a branch of it, moreover, that is carried almost entirely in American bottoms. Is it any wonder that, entirely aside from the humanitarian considerations that have prompted the United States govern ment to seek to put an end to the unfortunate conditions so long prevailing in the island, some justification for such inter vention should have been found in the well-nigh total paralysis of our commercial relations with that once extensive and profit able market? J. H.