C. Dumas, Matanzas
SUPERVISORS OF THE CUBAN CENSUS.
A. H. Aguero, Puerto Principe. M Rasco, Habana.
J Jminez, Santa Clara.
S. Meneses, Santiago.
P. Pequelio, Pinar del Rin.
S5s, WAR DEPARTMENT, C l 5 C S 5 ()c;e.
OFFICE DIRECTOR CENSUS OF CUBA.
CENSUS OF CUBA,
LT. COL J. P. SANGER, Inspector-General,
HENRY GANN ETT, WALTER F. WILLCOX,
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE.
3 1AM ,
It SB r
Page 41. For "Capt." read Rear-Admiral.
Page 51. For "Valasquez" read Velasquez.
Page 60. For disorderlyy" read disorderly.
Page 131. For "consentual" read consensual.
Page 204. For "Tinadad" read Trinidad.
Page 205. For "Jiquani" read Jiguani.
Page 294. Heading of table should read "City of Puerto Principe."
Page 734. For "1885" read 1855.
Letter of transmittal of the Director of the Census to the Secretary of War ... 9
Proclamation of the President authorizing the census........---- ....-.. 10
-Organization of census....-----------.... .....-------------......----- 10
The field work .--....--.. ......----...-..-----.........---.-- ...----- 11
Geography.... .......--- .......-------..... ......--------- ..--------...... 17
Political divisions .--.........--.. ---.......------..-----------..--... 17
Coast regions---------.....-----------....---------------...................------------ 18
Drainage systems...-----...---...-.---- ...-....---- ..........---...-- 20
Mineral resources ..---. ....----.....---------.----------------------- 20
Flora...........------.... ---------- --....... ......---------------- 22
.' Fauna....-........--..... ...--------.........-----........------.-- .. 23
NHistory.....-- ...- ......--------------------------------------------.... 24
Discovery of the island ..........-------.......-...----- ........----- 24
First settlement....----........----------...------------..........----------... 25
SColonization and early government..................---------..--.....---------........... 25
> Causes affecting progress..---..--....- -----..------------------------. 27
Trade restrictions and monopolies -----.. --.......--.-----..-..---- 28
Export and import duties.....------..--......-----... ........----- 28
Smuggling.--..... ..--- -.. .....----------- ..---------------------- 29
Excessive taxation -..--..------.....--------...----------------- 29
Lack of banking facilities ......-...............-.................. 31
Economic, rather than political, conditions the cause of the slow prog-
j ress of the island ........-------............. ...------............... 32
Governors, character and administration of ........----- .......---------. 32
Insurrections, causes and results of-..----.........------..--------------.... 33
SIntervention by the United States.--.........---... ....--.---------... 40
SPolitical organization ...........----.........--- .....................--------- 43
Municipal government......----.-- ...--- ....-..----- ....-------- 44
S) Provincial government --....---..--... ....-- .-- ----- .-----.--- 50
SInsular government ...... ---...............-- -------------------- 51
Former representation in the Spanish Cortes...------..----..------. 55
Cuban republics declared ..------------......--..-....................--------.----------......... 55
SUnited States military government .........-----..---..----------- 55
The judiciary .......--..........-----......-.....---------- ..-------- 55
S Population, aboriginal, history of ....---........-- --------------------- 65
Population, black, history of.--..-...--............--------------..--- 67
Population, coolie, history of --------------...............................---- ---------------------- 69
\ Discussion of the tables -......-- ......--------....---..---------.. --------- 72
The total population..--.....................-------------.....-.......----.....-------.--.....----------.. 72
Density of population ......--..........----..----..------.....------------- 73
Urban population ........---..-- .....---...... ---------------------.. 76
Discussion of the tables-Continued. Page.
Center of population...-----..---..-..--.. ..........--....--........ 77
Distribution in altitude..----......----.....-..-...-... ............... 80
Sex ..........--------------...-..---------- ......................... 80
Age ..---..................------- .................................. 84
Age by provinces..-......-----.-----------------..... ................. 90
SAge by sex..--.......-.....................................- -....... 92
Nativity and race ..........-------...... ----..........--............. 96
Foreign-born population in cities ............-- ........................ 99
Citizenship ......--------------------.... ....---..----.. ...........-- 100
Of Habana province ----...--....--..---.......................... 103
Of Habana city ..--------......................--..... .......... 103
Of Matanzas.------... -...--...............-..................... 106
Of Pinar del Rio-....-..--......................... .......-...... 107
Of Puerto Principe..---------......-- --....... ............. ....... 108
Of Santa Clara----.----------...... ..............-............... 109
Of Santiago de Cuba-.......-...-................................. 110
Families.........--- ------------------..........--..--.......... -........ 112
Marital condition ----------...-....------...--........................... 117
The married ----- -------------...................................... 118
Persons living together as husband and wife by mutual consent ..--..-- 131
The widowed .------ -------.-...... -................................. 142
The single ---------------------------... .....---............. ...... 145
Literacy ....... ................-------..---..---.... .........-...--...... 147
School attendance--------................-- ...----------................. 150
Literacy among persons over 10 years of age-..--.........---........ ...... 152
Sanitary condition of dwellings and unoccupied houses..-----..-....-----.. 167
Dwellings and families .........-----------.----..-.....-------.........................-...... 167
Source of water supply.........................-..........-.......... 170
Disposition of garbage .............................-................. 175
Disposition of excreta.........------...........--..--..................... 176
I. Total population at different censuses .--..----...............-. 179
II. Total population, by provinces, in 1899, 1887, and 1861.-----.... 179
III. Total population by municipal districts in 1899 and 1887......... 179
IV. Total population by wards and by cities .......-----.--....... 181
V. Rural population by municipal districts, with area and density... 191
VI. Sex, general nativity and color, by provinces and municipal dis-
tricts -.....- .......-.......... ............... ........ ...... 194
VII. Percentages of population by sex, general nativity, and color, by
municipal districts-.......-..-- ........---..--.............. 200
VIII. Sex and age groups, by municipal districts...--- ......---------..... 202
IX. Race, nativity, sex, and 5-year age periods ....---......- ....... 206
X. Birthplace, by provinces and municipal districts........---...... 218
XI. Country of birth, by race, and by provinces and cities.-......... 220
XII. Citizenship, by provinces and municipal districts ..-----..-..... 225
XIII. Citizenship, literacy, and education, by provinces and municipal
districts ...----...-- .......................-----........---. 228
XIV. Citizenship, by age, sex, race, and nativity, by provinces and
cities.--.......-------.............. ....--------. -.....-...-- 251
XV. Conjugal condition, by provinces and municipal districts........ 299
XVI. Conjugal condition, by race, sex, and nativity ...............---- 302
XVII. Conjugal condition, by race, sex, nativity, and age, by provinces
and cities ----. -- --...............-----......-..--.......... 306
XVIII. Illegitimate children, by provinces and cities--.......---.....---- ... 354
XIX. School attendance, literacy, and superior education, by provinces
and municipal districts--....---...........-.......... ....... 358
SXX. Literacy, by age, sex, nativity, and race, by provinces and cities. 361
A XXI. School attendance, by months, by sex, race, nativity, and age, by
provinces and cities .-....-.......--- .---..--..-- .....-..... 385
XXII. Higher education, by age, sex, race, and nativity, by provinces
and cities.....------.. ....----....--....-- .............-- ... 401
-XXIII. Occupation groups, by sex, race, and nativity, by provinces and
cities .--.................-----....---....---.-----..... ----403
XXIV. Occupation groups, by sex, race, and nativity, by municipal districts 406
XXV. Occupation groups, by age, sex, race, and nativity, by provinces
and cities -.......-........................-...... .......... 438
-tXXVI. Occupations, by sex, race, and nativity, for the island...---....... 462
XXVII. Occupations, by age and sex, for the island......-............... 463
XXVIII. Occupations, by citizenship and sex, for the island.-.....-....... 465
XXIX. Occupations, by sex and education, for the island................ 467
XXX. Occupations, by sex and conjugal condition, for the island--..--... 469
XXXI. Occupations, by sex and country of birth, for the island .--..-. 472
XXXII. Occupations, by provinces ......--- ..-- .. .....------.... ...----- 476
(XXXIII. Selected occupations, by age, sex, and race, by provinces ..---..-- 477
XXXIV. Selected occupations, by age and sex, by provinces ..----.....-- 480
XXXV. Selected occupations, by sex and citizenship, by provinces ....... 485
XXXVI. Selected occupations, by sex and education, by provinces .--...-- 489
XXXVII. Selected occupations, by sex and conjugal condition, by provinces. 494
XXXVIII. Selected occupations, by sex and country of birth, by provinces..- 499
XXXIX. Number and size of families, by provinces and municipal districts. 507
XL. Dwellings and families, by provinces and municipal districts-.... 512
XLI. Source of water supply, by provinces and municipal districts..... 514
XLII. Disposition of garbage, by provinces and municipal districts...... 517
XLIII. Disposition of excreta, by provinces and municipal districts....- 520
Agriculture, history of, in Cuba.....--............-................--...... 523
Sugar .......-..- ........................-.....--.................... 524
Tobacco .........-................................................... 533
Coffee ..........-...............-...........-.......... .............. 537
Cocoa .........-------......------------------......-...-----------------... 539
Fruit ........-......-...--....---...--.....---...---- ..--.......-.... 539
Inferior agricultural implements--..-.................................. 539
Poor country roads --.........- .................-- ..--..-............ 539
Stock raising ...........-- ...........-- .............---- ...-- ..--- ..-- 539
Number of coffee, sugar, and tobacco plantations, cattle ranches, and cattle.. 540
Discussion of results -.............--- .......................---.....--- ... 541
Farm areas .....--- ....-- .........----. .........--- ..--..----.------ 542
Farm tenure -..-......---. ..-- ....---.-- ...-. ..-------... ------------ 544
Size of farms.......---------..........--------..-----------..----------.....------. 546
Products-......-....-- ......------ .......--- ...-- ....-..-....---..--. 547
Tables of agriculture.........---........-- ................--- ..-----..---. 553
XLIV. Farm areas...-------------.... ...------.........-----....----- 553
XLV. Tenure, by race and by size of farms, number-..-....----....... 555
XLVL Tenure, by race and by size of farms, cultivated area .........------. 556
XLVII. Products ...........---............-------.. ------------------ 558
XLVIII. Sugar plantations, classified by area--...... .--...-... ----....-- 560
Tables of agriculture-Continued. Page.
XLIX. Sugar plantations, number and average size......-- ............. 560
L. Tobacco plantations, classified by area .......-.....-.......--- 560
LI. Tobacco plantations, number and average size ......------......-- 560
LII. Live stock-............-.......... ....---------------...------ 561
Education in Cuba, history of.............-----..................---------------------- 565
Royal University of Habana...................----...............----------..---. 566
Public schools under the Spanish r4gime......-- ..-.......-------. ..---- 566
School laws and systems..----.....--.......---------------..-------- 577
Teachers' pensions and substitute teachers..-....------.....--- ..... -- 582
Salaries of teachers------..--....---....................----------------------- 583
School law of June 30, 1900......-..........-----.... .....------ .----. 585
Institute collegiate course, 1900...----.....------....--------------------.. 600
University of Habana, reorganization of-------.........---..---------.....--. 605
Discussion of tables .-..--.......-------. ........--- ---- ------------------ 615
Tables of schools...--..............................---...... --------- 618
LIII. Schools..--------........-----............---------------...---. 618
LIV. Pupils.....-............---- ------. .. .............--------- 619
I. War Department orders organizing the census...-.............. 621
II. War Department orders appointing disbursing officers of the cen-
sus in Cuba .............................--------..........----------........---------- 625
III. Report of the assistant director, V. H. Olmsted ..--.....-- ..--. 625
Reports of the supervisors .............---.....--.....-----.........------ 627
IV. Province of Habana, Sefor Manuel Rasco..--...---........----.. 627
V. Province of Matanzas, Prof. Claudio Dumas.......-..----. 631
VI. Province of Pinar del Rio, Sefior Pedro Pequefo ...-- .....-- 638
VII. Province of Puerto Principe, Sefior Augustin H. Aguera .... 640
VIII. Province of Santa Clara, Sefor Juan Bautista Jiminez ...... 647
IX. Province of Santiago de Cuba, Sefior Sabas Meneses.....----- 652
X. Report of enumerator of Zapata Swamp, Sixto Agramonte .--..... 658
XI. Report of enumeration of the north coast of Matanzas...---.. 665
XII. Report of enumerator Maria Nunez de Villavicencio...-.....--- 666
XIII. List of enumerators ...-...........-..-.........-....-----..-- 668
XIV. Contract with the Tabulating Machine Company .------...... ... 695
XV. List of the Governors of Cuba ...........----......-- .....-.. 696
XVI. List of municipal districts, with dates of organization and memo-
randum on territorial changes since 1861........-- .---....... 698
XVII. Memorandum on previous censuses -........... ........------- 702
XVIII. Memorandum on vital statistics ..--..--....-........----- ..---- 714
XIX. Article on population, translated from Pezuela's Dictionary ..... 727
XX. Bibliography---............................................ 737
XXI. Statement of estimates and disbursements on behalf of the census. 738
Index ........ ..........---...... ..--------------- --. ----- ------ 740
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
Map of Cuba..........................--------- -..............-......... 18
Increase and decrease of population.......-...-............................ 72
Density of rural population ............................................... 74
Size of cities.......-............-............................... .......... 76
Distribution of sex.-------........--.............................--...... .. 80
Proportion of native white inhabitants..------........... ..--------..--..---- 96
Proportion of foreign white inhabitants --..--...--......---- ......------- .. 98
Proportion of colored inhabitants----......---...-- ............----------.. .. 100
Average size of families----............... .................-----. ...----- 114
Proportion of married persons to population --...........--.....-.......... 118
Proportion of those living together by mutual consent to total population .... 132
Proportion of illiterates to total population.....-........---............... 152
Population classified by sex, race, and nativity, by provinces ................ 82
Population by age and sex ..---......- ...........------ ..-....-............ 84
Citizenship by birthplace and illiteracy..------......................------........ 102
The city of Habana --...--....-..........-...-............--.--....- ...--. 114
Size of families.. ...................-- ............----- ------------.....---. 116
Conjugal condition, by race, sex, and age ..-..........-----..-.......----- .. 120
Conjugal condition, by provinces ..........--....... .........--------- ...-- 124
Illiteracy by race and nativity-...--..................---......-.........-.. 148
Illiteracy by provinces..............----.......----------........----..------..---. 150
Occupations by race, sex, and nativity......------....................----------...--. 156
Occupations by provinces ...--..---..--.................--- ...........---- 160
Birth rates............-----.............. ....................-----------. 716
Marriage rates.-....-...-- ......-- ....--..-......-.......-........ ......---. 718
Death rates ..................--................................-......... 719
Supervisors of the Cuban census......-............................. Frontispiece.
Yumuri Valley..-.............-.................-...............-........ 20
General landscape of cultivated farms.........---- ......---...-- ......------ 20
Cave of Ballamar, near Matanzas .--...........-----------...........------ 22
Ruins of copper mines at El Cobre and Sierra Maestre ...................... 24
Surrender Tree, near San Juan...........................................-----. 40
Habana...-.....- ..................................--.......... .......... 42
Matanzas ...........-.................................................... 46
Bridge over Yumuri River at Matanzas .........-- .............--... ----- 48
8 LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONSS.
Pinar del Rio ......................................................... 50
Puerto Principe -....-...-.........i....-...-- ............... ..---....... 52
Santa Clara ..a................................................ .......... 54
Santiago de Cuba--...... ....-. ........................................- 56
Entrance to harbor of Cienfuegos...--........- ....-. .....................- 58
Nuevitas......-..-............... ...............-....................... 60
Sancti Spiritus, from roof of orderly quarters ...-........................... 64
Baracoa and entrance to harbor ...................--- ..-......--...- ....-- 66
Dimas, village in province of Pinar del Rio ....--........-- .... ..------- ...--- 68
Native white family --.............----.....-------....------------...--.........--.... 70
Native colored family..-.....- ...-..--....--... ....-....-- ....-- ....-..... 70
Native plow......-.. ...- ......--- .... ...--- ..---- ...........---... ...-- .. 522
Plowing with oxen ......-- ........---- ........-- ..---.......... .....----. 522
Sugar mill, province of Santa Clara-..........---- ..-- ..... ........--........ 524
Cutting and stripping cane.--.....-- --- ....- .........----------------.. 526
Transporting cane to sugar mills..--......--.... ............... ....-..... --528
Central Conchita .....-..-......-...........-.... ......................... 530
Sugar machinery, "Central Caracas," province of Santa Clara .--..---- ..... 532
Tobacco plant..-.........-........-..-.......-........-.... .............. 534
Setting out young tobacco plants .--...-......--........--..... ....-..---.. 534
Tobacco plantation, province of Santa Clara .......------....--........-- ..... 536
Tobacco-drying house ..-...--....-........ ---------...---.....--- .... --- 536
Sorting tobacco and putting it in bundles..--.......--....----- ..-------- ...... 536
Baling tobacco -..-.....- -...-........--......--...---..--- .........---.. 538
Tobacco train .-.....--....-..-..-.......---....-..-...-....--- ..- .. --- 538
Fruit exhibit--.........-..........--.......----.--.....--- ..-----........ 540
Ready to cut pines and bananas ----..... .....-----..-...............-- ..-- 542
Cocoa grove.......-- ...-- .......-------------......-..-- ...-- .------... -- 544
Pinery .............-.....-........... ................................... 546
Avenue of Royal Palms, Matanzas .....------...---....---.....--.......... 548
Climbing the royal palm ........----- --.................---- ........-- .... 550
Roping cattle .---...-....-- ..-.....---- ..........------...........-...... 552
Typical municipal school building .......-...-- ..-- .....-..-............... 566
School for girls, Matanzas ..--...-..---.......-- .---.. ..-....- ....---....-- 570
Municipal school, Matanzas .--.......----.----.---------.-----. ... ..-. .. 572
Pupils of the college "Olavarrette," Habana ......-........--..-........... 576
Exterior "University of Habana," as seen from O'Reilly street.....-----..-- .584
Class in the corridor of the "Royal College," Habana..----..--.........--.. 588
College "Maria Louisa Dolorosa,".-.......-.........-..................... 592
Royal College of Belen, Habana ........................................... 600
Supervisor and enumerators, province of Habana ........................... 628
Supervisor and enumerators, province of Matanzas.........----...-- .......-- 632
Supervisor and enumerators, Pinar del Rio .............................--.. 638
Supervisor and enumerators, province of Puerto Principe--.............-..--. 640
Supervisor and enumerators, province of Santa Clara...---........---...--.. 648
Supervisor and enumerators, Santiago de Cuba--..........-...--........ .... 652
Female enumerators, Habana..-----..---.........--------.......--...........---------... 658
Enumerators of the city of Matanzas.-..-...- ...........---...-...--.....-- 662
Enumerators, city of Cardenas----..--.......--------.. ...................... 666
LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL.
WAR DEPARTMENT, CUBAN CENSUS,
Washington, August 25, 1900.
SIR: I have the honor to submit the following report of the census
In the early part of July, 1899, I received instructions'from the
Hon. Russell A. Alger, Secretary of War, to prepare a "memoran-
dum" for a census of Cuba. In August, immediately after your
arrival in Washington, this "memorandum" was submitted to the
Director of the United States Census, Hon. W. R. Merriam, the
Assistant Director, Dr. F. H. Wines, and Mr. William C. Hunt, chief
statistician. After consultation with the War Department it was
decided that a census covering the field of inquiry usual in the United
States was not expedient for Cuba, in view of existing conditions;
that the schedules should be limited to population, agriculture, and
education, as the three subjects of most importance; that the general
plan of the United States census should be followed; and that, to save
time, the schedules and other blank forms necessary for the enumera-
tion of a population estimated at 1,600,000 be printed at once. The
estimated cost of taking the census on this basis, together with a
statement of the amount disbursed, will be found in Appendix XXI.
As the Senate Committee on Cuban Relations, of which Senator
O. H. Platt is chairman, will publish an itemized statement of the
expenditures, they are omitted, to avoid unnecessary repetition.
It was proposed in the "memorandum" that the census be taken
under the supervision of the Military Governor of the island by cer-
tain Cuban officials, assisted by officers and enlisted men of the United
States Army, but as the census was primarily for the benefit of the
Cubans, and as the work would demonstrate in some measure their
capacity to perform an important civil duty, it was decided by the
Secretary of War that the offices of supervisors and enumerators
should be filled by Cubans, and that the field work should be per-
formed by them, under the supervision of an experienced officer of
the United States census, so that when the enumeration should be
completed it would be a census of Cubans by Cubans.
No decision could have been more fortunate, and, coupled with the
proclamation of the President, in which the census was declared to
REPORT ON THE CENSUS OF CUBA, 1899
be a preliminary step in the establishment of an effective system of
self-government, was the first, as it was the highest, expression of con-
fidence on the part of the Government of the United States in the
capacity and patriotism of the Cubans, removing all feeling of sus-
picion as to the object of the enumeration, and placing the census at
once en rapport with the people. Hundreds of intelligent and trust-
worthy men and women volunteered to serve as enumerators without
pay, and the order of the President was received throughout the
island with great satisfaction.
* In no other way could such a manifestation of good feeling and of
faith in the intentions of this Government have been elicited, and
the result proved the wisdom of the measures. While some errors
may have crept into the work, and while possibly there are some
omissions, it should not be forgotten that this is the first attempt of
the Cubans to take a census, and that the difficulties attending it have
been numerous, serious, and not easily surmounted. But whatever
its defects, it is the opinion of the people of Cuba and of the expert
tabulators and statisticians who have been engaged in compiling and
analyzing the figures that they bear the impress of honest work, that
the census was taken rapidly and far more accurately than could have
been expected, and that in this respect it will compare favorably with
any census of the United States.
The different steps by which this was accomplished were as follows:
An estimate was prepared of the probable cost of the census, based on
the supposed population and the employment of Cubans as supervisors
and enumerators; a careful study was made of the necessary organiza-
tion in all its details, and the best way to carry on the work in harmony
with the general administration of the island. At the same time the
Military Governor of Cuba was directed to nominate suitable Cubans
as supervisors of the census for the six provinces of the island and to
order them to Washington. This was done, and on their arrival,
August 17, they were received by Dr. Wines and Mr. Hunt, of the
United States Census Office, and by Mr. Olmsted, of the Department
of Labor, and for two weeks were carefully instructed in their duties
as supervisors with a view to their becoming, in turn, instructors of
On August 17 the following proclamation of the President was
EXECUTIVE MANSION, August 17, 1899.
To the people of Cuba:
The disorganized condition of your island resulting from the war and the absence
of any generally recognized authority aside from the temporary military control of
the United States have made it necessary that the United States should follow the
restoration of order and peaceful industry by giving its assistance and supervision to
the successive steps by which you will proceed to the establishment of an effective
system of self-government.
LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL.
As a preliminary step in the performance of this duty, I have directed that a census
of the people of Cuba be taken, and have appointed competent and disinterested
citizens of Cuba as enumerators and supervisors.
It is important for the proper arrangement of your new government that the
information sought shall be fully and accurately given, and I request that by every
means in your power you aid the officers appointed in the performance .of their
As there were no general census laws in Cuba it was necessary to
promulgate orders which would have the effect of laws, organizing the
census, defining the duties of the census officials, and the obligations of
the people in respect thereto. Accordingly, August 19, the necessary
Executive orders were issued (Appendix I), and on the 23d the order
appointing the disbursing officers (Appendix II). These orders were
sent to the Military Governor of Cuba for promulgation in English
Having been thoroughly instructed in their duties, and in the mean-
ing of the regulations, schedules, and other blank forms for carrying
on the work, and being duly impressed by the Secretary of War with
the responsibilities of their office, the supervisors left for Cuba, August
23, and were followed, August 27, by the Assistant Director of the
census, with his office force.
Thus far the work of the census had been confined to Washington.
The field work, attended with many difficulties, was now to follow.
THE FIELD WORK.
This was carried on under the immediate supervision of the Assistant
Director, Mr. Victor H. Olmsted, an experienced official of the
United States Census, who exhibited from first to last the mental,
moral, and physical qualities necessary for the successful prosecution
of the work. By dint of great patience, perseverance, unusual activ-
ity, and tact he was able to win the confidence of the supervisors and
enumerators, to instruct them in their duties, and to carry the work
to a successful conclusion-no easy task for a foreigner and nonresi-
dent of the island, as for many years its inhabitants had always con-
nected the census with taxation and compulsory military service,
toward which they had a strong natural aversion.
Mr. Olmsted was directed to establish his office in the city of Santa
Clara, which was selected as a geographical center and as affording
sanitary and other conditions favorable to the work. His report is
submitted herewith. (Appendix III.)
The first step in organizing the field work was the formation of the
enumeration districts, and for this purpose accurate maps of the
provinces and municipalities were almost indispensable. Foreseeing
this, the Military Governor was directed, August 8, to have such maps
prepared, but it was not until the arrival of Mr. Olmsted in Habana,
REPORT ON THE CENSUS OF CUBA, 1899.
August 31, that much progress was made in this direction. On that
date, learning that the military authorities in Habana had no suitable
maps, he telegraphed to the military, civil, and judicial authorities
throughout the island to furnish him such maps as they had, and later
discovered in the insular state department a map, said to be the only
one of its kind in existence, showing the boundaries of the judicial
and municipal districts in each province, but several years old, and
As soon as the available maps had been collected the number and
boundaries of the enumeration districts were determined, subject to
such changes as might be necessary after the supervisors had looked
over the ground. This was a work of great difficulty.
Paragraph VIII of the order organizing the census prescribed that
the boundaries of the enumeration districts should be described by civil
divisions-rivers, roads, public surveys, and other easily distinguished
lines. But it was soon ascertained that, owing to the imperfections
of the maps, little reliance could be placed on their topographical
representations, and that, except in the cities, the boundaries of the
minor civil divisions were not always given, and even when they were
the lines of suburban and rural wards could not be determined,
because, as was subsequently discovered, they had apparently over-
lapped in some locations or were situated in two different municipali-
ties, and the claims of the respective local authorities had not been
To avoid the double enumeration liable to result from this, it was
decided to indicate the areas of rural and suburban enumeration dis-
tricts which could not be defined as the orders prescribed by desig-
nating the ward or wards to be included in their limits and by directing
the enumerators to inquire whether the persons-and premises visited
by them had been visited and enumerated before, and if they had, to
pass them by. Each enumerator was also required to post a printed
notice on all buildings visited by him, giving the date of his visit,
which was designed as an additional safeguard against double
By September 13 Cuba had been divided into 1,315 enumeration
districts. Later on, owing to the scattered state of the population,
the great difficulties of communication in the rural districts, and
the importance of completing the enumeration within the time desig-
nated by the President, it was found necessary to increase this number
The enumeration districts having been established, the appointment
of enumerators followed. As the value of the statistics to be col-
lected depended entirely on the fidelity and intelligence of the enu-
merators, the supervisors were cautioned to exercise great care in
their selection, and were informed that women were not necessarily
LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL.
disqualified on account of their sex. One hundred and forty-two
women were appointed enumerators and rendered excellent service,
and it is said that for the first time in the history of Cuba, women
were given public employment.
To prepare the enumerators for their work and, so far as practicable,
to guard against errors in the returns, one or more enumerators in
each municipality were directed to report to the supervisor for
instruction, becoming in turn the teachers of the other enumerators
in the district. This they did by assembling in classes and going care-
fully over the orders, schedules, etc., and testing their knowledge
by the actual preparation of the papers required in the regulations.
All enumerators were told that in doubtful cases of literacy the person
to be enumerated should be required to read and write in the pres-
ence of the enumerator, and, as far as could be ascertained by very
careful inquiries, this was done.
As soon as appointed each enumerator was given a commission and
full field kit, and was then ready for the work. Some of .those assigned
to rural and suburban districts performed their duties at the peril of
their lives, and all of the rural enumerators were subjected to much
personal risk and discomfort, owing to the condition of the roads and
streams, the prevalence of rain, and the depleted and sparsely settled
state of the country. (Appendix IV to XII.)
A full list of the enumerators will be found in Appendix XIII, and
among the illustrations groups of those with whom the Director came
in contact during his tour of inspection in November and December.
For the accuracy with which this census "has been taken the Cubans
connected with it are certainly entitled to the credit and distinction of
being faithful and intelligent pioneers in the discharge of civil duties
never before intrusted to them.
On the 10th of November the Director of the Census left Washing-
ton on a tour of inspection, to enable him to ascertain, as far as possi-
ble, in what estimation the work of the census was held by the peo-
ple; to inspect the offices of the assistant director and supervisors; to
see and question as many enumerators as could be collected together
in the large cities; to determine the best disposition to be made of the
census property, and on what date the clerical work incident to the
examination of the schedules could be closed, and the latter shipped to
The result of this inspection was satisfactory. The offices of the
supervisors were found in good order, the secretaries, clerks, and the
enumerators intelligent and very much interested in their work, and,
as a rule, the schedules accurately and neatly prepared.
After consultation with Mr. Olmsted, it was decided to close the
work December 31, discharging all Cubans who might be connected
with it on that date, except the supervisors, and to bring the latter,
REPORT ON THE CENSUS OF CUBA, 1899.
with their schedules, and Mr. Olmsted and party from Cienfuegos to
Washington January 6. It was thought advisable to bring the super-
visors to Washington, that they might make the gross count of the
population and be on hand to explain any ambiguities or defects which
might be discovered in the schedules; to supervise the punching of
the cards from which the tables were to be made, and to learn the
entire method of handling the statistics. This programme was car-
ried out, and Mr. Olmsted and his companions, with the records,
arrived in Washington January 15.
The gross count of the population was completed and certified by
the supervisors by January 31, and on February 1 a contract was
made with the Tabulating Machine Company of Washington (Appen-
dix XIV), and the work of punching the cards was commenced. This
was continued under the supervisors until completed, March 24, and
between April 1 and 10 they returned to their homes, having labored
conscientiously, intelligently, and successfully in the discharge of their
important duties. Their reports are submitted. (Appendices IV
As much public interest had been shown in the results of the census,
it was decided not to await the preparation of the full report, but to
publish census bulletins containing condensed tables with a brief anal-
ysis of their contents. The first bulletin, in English and Spanish,
appeared May 10, and the others at intervals until all, three in num-
ber, had been published and distributed, the English edition in the
United States and Europe and the Spanish in Cuba. Other tables
essential in deciding questions connected with the municipal elections
were compiled and mailed to the military governor of Cuba April 14,
In the preparation of the bulletins and report I have had the assist-
ance of Mr. Henry Gannett, of the Geological Survey, and Mr.
Walter F. Willcox, of the United States Census, both well known to
the scientific world and thoroughly familiar with census work.
In addition to the account of previous Cuban censuses Appendix
XVII and the analysis of the tables to be found in this report, it
has been thought advisable to present a description of the island and
a brief sketch of so much of its history as bears on its population,
economic condition, and government. A list of the authors consulted
in this connection will be found in the Appendix (XX).
The maps, diagrams, and views which illustrate the report were
selected with sole reference to their practical or historic value. No
attempt at a general collection of photographs was made. The cities
represented are either the capitals of the provinces or, like Baracoa,
among the oldest settled by the Spaniards. The landscapes give some
idea of the most noticeable topographic features, viz, the great cen-
LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL. 15
tral uplands, or sugar zone, the mountains, the beautiful valleys, and
the caves. The agricultural industries of sugar, tobacco, fruit cultiva-
tion, and stock raising are presented in some of their more interesting
details, while the groups of supervisors, and enumerators, and the
family groups are fair types of native Cubans, whose tragic and heroic
struggle for liberty has excited the interest of the whole civilized world.
J. P. SANGER. I/n. Genl.,
Director of the Ceness.
Hon. ELIHU ROOT,
Secretary of War.
CENSUS OF CUBA, 1899.
The government of Cuba has jurisdiction not only over the island
of that name, but also over the Isle of Pines, lying directly to the
south of it, and more than a thousand islets and reefs scattered along
its northern and southern coasts.
For administrative purposes Cuba is divided into six provinces
which, named from the west eastward, are Pinar del Rio, Habana,
Matanzas, Santa Clara, Puerto Principe, and Santiago de Cuba. These
provinces are divided into municipal districts, of which Pinar del Rio
contains 20, Habana 36, Matanzas 24, Santa Clara 28, Puerto Principe
5, and Santiago 19, making a total of 132 municipal districts.
The municipal districts are in turn divided into barrios or wards,
which correspond in extent and organization somewhat with our elec-
tion districts. The number of these in the entire island is between
1,100 and 1,200. Both municipal districts and wards differ widely in
area and population. The five districts of Puerto Principe are large
in area, while several in Habana and one or two in Santiago are in
area little more than cities. In population, on the other hand, the dis-
tricts range from Habana, with nearly a quarter of a million people,
down to districts containing little more than 1,000 inhabitants. In
popular language, the island is divided into the Vuelta Abajo, or the
portion from the meridian of Habana to Cape San Antonio; the Vuelta
Arriba, from the meridian of Habana to that of Cienfuegos; Las
Cinca Villas, from the meridian of Cienfuegos to that of Sancti
Spiritus, and Sierra Adentro, from the latter to Holguin and Cape
Cuba, the most populous of the West India islands, lies directly
south of Florida. Habana is a trifle west of south of Key West and
is distant from it, as the crow flies, about 100 miles, being separated
from it by the Strait of Florida. East of Cuba lies Haiti, the second
in size of the West India islands, and south of it lies Jamaica. The
first of these islands is only 54 miles distant from Cape Maysi the
easternmost point of Cuba. The latter is 85 miles distant from its
southern coast. On the west, Cuba is separated by Yucatan Channel,
130 miles wide, from the Peninsula of Yucatan, Mexico.
REPORT ON THE CENSUS OF CUBA, 1899.
Thus from a military point of view Cuba occupies a strong strategic
position, controlling the entrance to the Gulf of Mexico by the Strait
of Florida, the Windward Passage to the Caribbean Sea between Cuba
and Haiti, and Yucatan Channel, connecting the Gulf of Mexico with
the Caribbean Sea. The first and last of these are the only entrances
to the Gulf of Mexico, which is thus controlled completely by the
island of Cuba.
Cuba is included between the meridians of 740 and 850 west of
Greenwich and between the parallels of 190 40' and 230 33'. Its length
from Cape Maysi on the east to Cape San Antonio on the west is 730
miles. Its breadth differs greatly in different parts, ranging from 100
miles in the east, in the province of Santiago, to 25 miles in the neigh-
borhood of Habana. Its area, which is more fully discussed elsewhere,
may be set down as 43,000 square miles, including the Isle of Pines
and the keys. It is, therefore, a little larger than the State of Virginia
and somewhat smaller than Pennsylvania.
The north coast is for the most part bluff and rocky, and in the prov-
inces of Matanzas, Santa Clara, and Puerto Principe bordered by lines
of islands and reefs of coral formation, the passages through which
are extremely intricate and difficult. These islands are low, are in the
Main covered with mangrove forests, and contain few inhabitants.
The coast is low in the western part of the island, the bluffs ranging
about 100 feet in height in Pinar del Rio and rising gradually east-
ward. About Matanzas they reach 500 feet in altitude. In Santa Clara
and Puerto Principe they are lower, but in Santiago the coast is abrupt
and rugged, almost mountainous, rising in a succession of terraces.
The south coast from Cape Maysi to Cape Cruz is mountainous.
Indeed, from Santiago westward to Cape Cruz the Sierra Maestra
rises abruptly from the water to altitudes of several thousands of feet.
The shores of the gulf of Buena Esperanza, into which flows the Rio
Cauto, are low, and from this place westward, excepting a short stretch
between Trinidad and Cienfuegos, the coast is low and marshy as far
as Cape San Antonio, the westernmost point of the island. This coast
strip of marsh is in the main narrow, but west of Cienfuegos it broadens
into a great expanse, forming the Zapata Swamp, an almost impene-
trable region, 75 miles in length with a maximum breadth of fully 30
miles, clothed with the densest vegetation and teeming with tropical
life. It was within the protecting limits of this marsh that the Cubans
during the recent revolution maintained a hospital for their sick and
Off the south coast are hundreds of low, marshy, mangrove-covered
islands and islets.
Most of the harbors on both coasts are of peculiar shape, resembling
nothing so much as pouches with narrow, often sinuous, entrances,
opening within into broad expanses completely sheltered. This is the
"CHART "E"U.S. COAST AND GEODETIC SURVEY"
Boundaries of provinces-- .....---.- ---..
do municipal districts-- --------
P, @ to 0 o 30 40 S so to T o sp
o 0 20 30 40 0o so 70 sO go too0 10 I QO 140 I 10 10g 170 I1 I
. % olzl 1-1
---- -----~---___ ~ ; ___
character of the harbors of Habana, Santiago, Cienfuegos, Guantanamo,
and many others less known.
In its relief the island of Cuba is not a simple orographic unit, but
presents great variety and irregularity, which renders it incapable of
simple description and generalization. The middle portion of the
island, including the provinces of Habana, Matanzas, Santa Clara, and
Puerto Principe, presents little relief, but consists in the main of broad,
undulating plains and shallow valleys, the land rising only in a few
places to any considerable altitude. It is only at the two extremes of
the island, in the province of Pinar del Rio on the west and Santiago
on the east, that the island presents any considerable or well-defined
relief features. Throughout Pinar del Rio there runs a range of hills,
a little north of the middle line of the province and closely paralleling
in direction the northern coast. This range, which is fairly well defined,
is known as the Cordillera de los Organos, or Organ Mountains, and
rises in many places to altitudes exceeding 2,000 feet, culminating in
Pan de Guagaibon, having an altitude of 2,500 feet. From the crest
of this range the land descends northward and southward to the coast
in long, undulating slopes, the southward slopes forming the celebrated
tobacco lands known as Fuelta Abajo.
The central provinces of Cuba, Habana, Matanzas, Santa Clara, and
Puerto Principe consist mainly of broadly rolling plains, with shallow
stream valleys. In Habana, Matanzas, and Santa Clara these plains
are, or were prior to the late revolution, in a high state of cultivation,
while in Puerto Principe they are, in the main, used for the grazing
of cattle. The valley of the Yumuri, in Matanzas, is a type of the
beautiful, highly cultivated region of this part of the island.
The Sierra de los Organos ceases as a range a little west of Habana,
but traces of this uplift can be followed through the central part of
Habana, Matanzas, Santa Clara, and the western part of Puerto Prin-
cipe in the form of lines of hills of no great altitude dotting these
extended plains. They are seen south of the city of Habana in the
little timbered hills known as the Tetas de Managua, and farther east
in the Arcas de Canasi, the Escaleras de Jaruco, and the Pan de Mat-
anzas, just south of the city of Matanzas. This rises to an altitude of
1,300 feet and serves as a landmark to sailors far out in the Atlantic.
In the eastern part of Matanzas province these hills disappear, but
they reappear again in Santa Clara, taking the form of elongated crest
lines and flat top summits, and as such extend into the western part of
the province of Puerto Principe.
In the southern part of the province of Santa Clara is a group of
rounded hills, occupying an area between Cienfuegos, Trinidad, and
Sancti Spiritus. The highest of these, Potrerillo, has an altitude of
2,900 feet. Among these hills are many beautiful valleys.
Santiago, at the other end of the island, is a province presenting
REPORT ON THE CENSUS OF CUBA, 1899.
great relief. Its surface is extremely broken with high, sharp moun-
tain ranges, broad plateaus of considerable elevation, and deep valleys-
some of them broad, others narrow and resembling canyons. The
dominating orographic feature of the province-indeed, of the whole
island-is the Sierra Maestra, which, commencing at Cape Cruz, south
of Manzanillo, extends eastward, closely paralleling the coast, from
which it rises abruptly, as far east as the neighborhood of Santiago.
In this part it contains many points exceeding 5,000 feet in altitude,
and culminates in Pico Turquino, which is reputed to have an altitude
of 8,320 feet. From Santiago it extends to the east end of the island,
but is much more broken and has more of a plateau-like form, with a
great diminution in altitude. This portion of the range takes on a
different name, being known as the Cobre Range. It contains numer-
ous flat summits, approximating 3,000 feet in altitude, one of which,
known as La Gran Piedra, is said to have an altitude of 3,300 feet.
North of Sierra Maestra lies the broad and fertile valley of the
Cauto, beyond which the country rises gradually to a high plateau
occupying the interior of the province, with a summit elevation of
1,000 feet or more, on which stands the city of Holguin. The eastern
part of the province consists of a maze of broken hills, with altitudes
ranging from 1,000 to 2,000 feet, in which are many small and fertile
The Isle of Pines, with an area of 840 square miles, is a municipal
district of the province of Habana. It is in effect two islands, con-
nected by a marsh, the northern being somewhat broken by hills, the
southern low, flat, and sandy.
The rivers of Cuba, though numerous, are short, and few of them
are of any importance for navigation. The largest stream is the Rio
Cauto, which heads in the interior of Santiago province and in the
north slopes of Sierra Maestra, and flows westward through a broad
valley to its mouth in the Gulf of Buena Esperanza, after a course of
about 150 miles. This stream is navigable for light-draft boats to
Cauto Embarcadero, about 50 miles above its mouth.
The next stream of importance for navigation is the Sagua la Grande,
on the north slope of the island, in Santa Clara province. This, which
enters the sea near the city of Sagua la Grande, is navigable for some
20 miles above its mouth.
Several other streams are navigable for a few miles above their
mouths, but in most cases only through what may be regarded as estu-
aries. Taking the island as a whole, its internal communications,
except along the coasts, are dependent almost entirely upon its very
few and poor wagon roads and its few railroads.
The mineral resources of Cuba, so far as developed, are few in num-
ber and not of great importance. The principal product is iron ore,
GENERAL LANDSCAPE OF CULTIVATED FARMS.
which is found at various points near the south base of Sierra Maestra,
between Santiago and Guantanamo. The ore is mainly hematite, with
some limonite, and is found principally as float, in great masses of
bowlders. It is easy to work and of excellent quality, containing
about 62 per cent of iron. A few occurrences have been discovered
and mined of ore in place in the rock. There are three companies
owning this mining property, one of which, the Juragua Company,
has mined and shipped a considerable quantity of ore, nearly all of the
shipments having gone to the United States. Up to 1895 the product
of this company is stated at a trifle over 3,000,000 tons. Operations
by the other two companies have consisted mainly in development
work, only a small quantity of ore having been shipped by them. The
late war, of course, put a stop to mining operations and much of the
mining plant was destroyed.
A copper deposit, reputed to be of extraordinary richness, is known
in the vicinity of El Cobre, in the southern part of Santiago province,
but since 1868 mining upon it has been at a standstill. Deposits are
reported in other parts of the island, and much of this metal may yet
Asphaltum is found in various places, notably in the vicinity of the
city of Santa Clara, where it has for many years been used in making
illuminating gas for the city.
A little gold and silver has been mined in the island in past times,
but for many years the island has not produced either of these metals.
The climate of Cuba is comparatively simple in its character and
can be briefly described. With the long, narrow shape of the island,
its great extent of coast line and small breadth, it has in the main an
insular climate with a high mean temperature, slight extremes of
temperature, great humidity of the atmosphere, and an ample rainfall.
At Habana, on the north coast, the mean annual temperature is 770.
The range of temperature between the mean of the hottest month and
that of the coldest month is from 820 to 710, or only 110. The high-
est temperature on record in Habana is 100.60, and the lowest 49.60.
This maximum recorded temperature is no higher than in northern
cities of the United States, but the duration of high temperatures is
much greater in Cuba and explains the high mean temperature. But,
notwithstanding the long-continued high temperature, the climate of
the northern portion of the island is tempered by the trade winds
which blow with but little variation throughout the year, and the
nights in both winter and summer are cool. The mean annual tem-
perature at Habana fairly represents that of the island, it being per-
haps a little hotter upon the south coast and inland than upon the
north coast. The range of temperature between summer and winter
does not differ probably materially anywhere on the coast from that
REPORT ON THE CENSUS OF CUBA, 1899.
at Habana, but inland is probably a little greater. The mean relative
humidity at Habana averages about 75 per cent and remains tolerably
uniform at all times of the year. Inland the humidity becomes some-
what less, but not decidedly so.
The mean annual rainfall at Habana, derived from observations of
many years, is 52 inches. The record shows, in different years, a
rainfall ranging from 40 to 71 inches. This represents quite closely
the rainfall upon the north coast of the island. Inland and upon the
south coast it is probably somewhat less, although observations are
lacking. This is decidedly less than upon the Gulf coast of the United
States and but little greater than that of the northern seaboard cities.
As regards the distribution of rainfall through the year, there is a
wet and dry season, the former being from May to October, during
which time about two-thirds of the precipitation of the year is received.
Rain falls during about one-third of the days during each year,
although this does not represent by any means the proportional amount
of rainy weather. The days are usually clear up to about 10 o'clock,
from which time till night, during the rainy season, it is frequently
showery. The nights are commonly clear. Thunderstorms are fre-
quent, but not violent.
The prevailing winds throughout the island are the northeast trades,
which blow with great persistency, but seldom with violence. The
island is occasionally, though not frequently, visited by hurricanes.
These break upon the coast, causing the maximum destruction in its
neighborhood, and rapidly lose their force and violence as they proceed
In winter, when the trade winds extend farthest to the southward,
the island not infrequently comes within the influence of northers,"
from the North Temperate Zone, greatly and suddenly reducing the
temperature on the north coast. These occur during the winter
months and follow the severe storms of the United States, when the
temperature sometimes falls as low as 500, causing much suffering, as
very little provision is made against cold in the construction of the
Owing to the richness of the soil, the equable, moist temperature and
abundant rainfall, the island is a veritable garden, abounding in flowers,
luscious fruits, and a great variety of vegetables. Uncultivated nature
has a wild luxuriance of jungle, grove, and forest to be traversed only
by the aid of machete or along well-worn pathways. To illustrate the
great variety of its native flora, it may be stated that over 3,350 native
plants have been found in the island besides those introduced. They
include many species of valuable wood, such as the mahogany, ebony,
granadilla, majagua, cedar, walnut, ceiba, lignum-vitce, oak, pine, and
the palm, of which there are over 30 species, among them the royal
INTERIOR OF THE CAVE OF BELLAMAR NEAR MATANZAS.
palm, which, to the poor Cuban, is the most valuable of all, as the
leaves provide him with a roof and the trunk with walls for his primi-
tive dwelling. In the interior the forests are in large part made up
of Cuban pine, which forms excellent lumber. Although a large pro-
portion of the island has been cleared during the past three hundred
years for the purposes of cultivation, yet it is estimated that 13,000,000
acres, or nearly half its area, still remain clad in original forests.
These areas are found mainly in the eastern part of the island, in the
provinces of Santiago and Puerto Principe.
Over a large part of the cleared or cultivated areas are luxuriant
grasses, which, like the parana and guinea grasses, grow to a height
of several feet and are abundant and nutritious.
Throughout Cuba game is abundant; deer, though not native, have
flourished and multiplied greatly. Rabbits are also plentiful. The
wild boar, so called, the wild dog, and the wild cat are simply
domestic animals run wild. They are quite numerous in all parts of
the island. Wild fowl, especially ducks and pigeons, abound, the
former crossing from the Southern States during the winter season,
while the latter remain on the island the year round. Pheasants, quail,
snipe, wild turkeys, and wild guinea fowl are also numerous, with
several varieties of game birds, such as the perdiz, tojosas, rabiches,
and the guanaros.
The only distinctively native animal is the jutia or kutia, ratlike
in appearance, and black, which grows to a length of 16 or 18 inches,
not including the tail. While eatable, it is not especially palatable.
Cuba has more than 200 species of native birds, including those
already mentioned as game birds, many possessing the most beautiful
plumage, but those with song are rare.
In swampy localities crocodiles and American alligators (caimans)
are found, and although these frequently grow to an enormous size,
but little attention is paid to them by the natives.
Chameleons, small lizards, tree toads, and similar harmless silurians
of diminutive size are very common, while occasionally the iguana
and other large varieties of the lizard species are seen.
Few varieties of snakes exist in Cuba. One of these, the maja,
from 10 to 14 feet in length, is a semidomesticated reptile, if such a
term may be used, for it is most frequently found about the huts,
farmhouses, and small villages, its favorite living place being in the
palm-leaf thatches of the older buildings, while its favorite food is
poultry. Another snake, named the juba, is more vicious in disposition
,han the maja, although never reaching more than one-third its size.
It is not poisonous. The other varieties are still smaller in size, are
seldom seen, and are not venomous.
24 REPORT ON THE CENSUS OF CUBA, 1899.
The land crabs are very abundant and annoying. They vary in size
from an inch to 8 inches or more in diameter. Scorpions, centipeds,
and tarantulas are plentiful, and, although they are poisonous, their
bites are rarely, if ever, fatal.
Many books have been written about Cuba, but few detailed and
reliable histories. Such information as is available is in fragmentary
form, and many important events connected with the affairs of the
island are unrecorded, or so briefly touched on as to be unintelligible.
The time allowed for the preparation of this report will not admit of
an extended compilation of historic facts and no attempt has been
made, therefore, to do so. But it has been considered advisable, as
pertinent to this census, to refer to the discovery and first settlement
of Cuba, its government, and the causes which have apparently
affected its progress. An effort has also been made to collect all
reliable data in regard to the movement of population, agriculture,
and education, and these are presented by way of preface to the
analysis of the tables.
Cuba was discovered by Columbus Sunday, October 28, 1492.
According to the most reliable evidence, he landed in, or a little to
the west of, what is now called the bay of Nuevitas, on the north
coast of the province of Puerto Principe. He took possession of the
island in the name of Christ, Our Lady, and the reigning Sovereigns
of Spain, and named it Juana in honor of Prince John.
Continuing his voyage, Columbus sailed west as far as the Laguna
de Moron, where he arrived October 31. From here, on November
12, he commenced to retrace his steps. It is somewhat difficult to
decide from his journal where he sailed between November 12 and 26.
He appears to have returned to the vicinity of the Guija Islands and
then to have cruised about among the keys and islands off the prov-
ince of Puerto Principe, finally reaching the Bay of Nuevitas.
On November 26 he sailed southeast along the coast of Santiago de
Cuba to Baracoa, where he arrived on the evening of November 27.
From there he sailed, on December 4, to Point Maysi, the eastern end
of the island, and on the following day to the island of San Domingo.
On the 3d of May, 1493, Pope Alexander VI issued a bull conferring
on Ferdinand and Isabella all lands already discovered, or to be dis-
covered, in the Western Ocean, thus confirming by divine right, to
all Christendom, the claims of Columbus.
Columbus visited Cuba three times after this. In 1493, during his
second voyage, he followed the southern coast from Point Maysi as
far as Bataban6 and the Isle of Pines, which he reached June 13,
1493, discovering in the meantime the island of Jamaica, which he
visited while en route from Santiago de Cuba to Cape Cruz. During
RUINS OF COPPER MINES AT EL COBRE AND SIERRA MAESTRE.
this voyage Columbus visited Guantanamo, Trinidad, and probably
During his fourth and last voyage, he touched at Cayo Largo,
off the south coast of the province of Santiago de Cuba, in July, 1502,
while en route to, and again in May, 1503, when returning from, the
From this time to its permanent occupation by the Spaniards, Cuba
does not appear to have been visited often by other explorers, although
in 1508 Sebastian Ocampo, acting under the orders of Nicolas de
Ovando, Governor of San Domingo, reported that Cuba was an island,
but this was known, probably, to other explorers several years before.
Nevertheless, it does not appear that Cuba received much attention
from the Spanish authorities prior to 1511.
In that year Diego Columbus, Admiral of the Indies and Governor
of San Domingo, sent Capt. Diego Velasquez, one of the companions
of Columbus in his second voyage, to subdue and colonize Cuba. With
a force of 300 men he sailed from San Domingo and landed near Point
Maysi, going thence to Baracoa, where the first settlement was made
in 1512. In 1514 Velasquez founded Trinidad and Santiago de Cuba,
on the southern side of the island, to facilitate communication with the
Spanish colonies of Jamaica and the mainland, Sancti Spiritus near its
middle point, and Remedios, Bayamo, Puerto Principe, and San Cris-
tobal de la Habana, the latter on what is now the site of Bataban6.
In 1519 this name was transferred to a settlement on the present site
of Habana. The same year, Baracoa, having been raised to the dig-
nity of a city and bishopric, was declared the capital, and so remained
until 1522, when both were removed to Santiago. Habana became
the capital in 1552.
On the death of Ferdinand, January 23, 1516, Velasquez renamed the
island Fernandina in his honor. It was subsequently named Santiago,
after the patron saint of Spain, but the name was again changed to
Ave Maria, in honor of the Virgin. Through all these official changes,
however, it retained its native original name.
Velasquez continued to govern Cuba as adelantado, or lieutenant-
governor, under the governor and audiencia of Santo Domingo, until
his death in 1524. He had five successors in the office of lieutenant-
governor. (See Appendix for list of Governors.) The first Governor,
Hernando de Soto, was appointed in 1536; he was also adelantado
of Florida. The first Captain-General was Don Gabriel de Lujan,
appointed in 1581. During this interval the Spanish population had
increased very slowly; but two additional towns, Guanabacoa and El
Cobre, were founded, 1555 and 1558, and not another town was built
for more than one hundred years.
In the seventeenth century but two towns of any importance, Matan-
zas and Santa Clara, were founded, and in the eighteenth but nine.
REPORT ON THE CENSUS OF CUBA, 1899.
At the end of this period the population of the island is said to have
numbered 275,000 souls, while the development of its wealth had
scarcely begun. In fact, for many years after its colonization, Cuba
was not a wealth-producing colony, and, therefore, not an object of
much solicitude or patronage. In the general scheme of colonizing
the West Indies, both Cuba and Jamaica were occupied to facilitate
trade with the rich colonies of the Spanish main, and while still a
young colony Cuba, as a depot of supply, was severely taxed by the
numerous expeditions which sailed from her shores between the years
1512 and 1538.
If the situation and many natural advantages of Cuba be considered,
it is evident at a glance that either the Cubans have been blind to
their opportunities or that causes generally beyond their control have
retarded the growth of the population and the development of the
island's resources. The latter would seem to be the case, although it
can not be said that the Cubans were not in some measure accountable.
The principal staples of Cuba, and those upon which its wealth mainly
depends, are sugar and tobacco. The largest sugar crop, 1894-95,
was 1,054,000 tons; the largest tobacco crop (same year), about 2,480,000
arrobas, or 62,000,000 pounds; and its population at the outbreak of
the recent war was probably between 1,800,000 and 2,000,000 souls.
It is the opinion of experienced and enlightened judges that the island
could easily have produced a crop of sugar and tobacco five times as
large and had a population of 5,000,000 people had its administration
been characterized by different theories of government.
That, in the administration of her colonies, Spain was a bad excep-
tion to a general rule of liberal and generous government on the part
of other countries toward their colonial dependencies is by no means
the case. In fact, much the same ideas appear to have influenced
all of them at the outset, although the results were different, as might
be expected of governments having different origins, forms, and
theories. The prevailing idea appears to have been that the political
and economic interests of colonies were always to be subordinated to
those of the home country, no matter how injurious the consequences,
and, while in some instances this course was modified with most
beneficial results, it was followed unremittingly by Spain to the end
of her supremacy over Cuba.
Aside from the fact that during the early history of Cuba Spain had
little surplus population to dispose of, and that through the expulsion
of the Jews and Moors she lost a large and valuable part of it, her
trade restrictions, established at the beginning of the colonial period
in her history and continued without essential modification for nearly
three hundred years, would account, in some measure, for the slow
increase in the population and industries of Cuba. These restric-
tions appear to have originated in the royal cedula of May 6, 1497,
granting to the port of Seville the exclusive privilege of trade with
the colonies. At the same time the Casa de Contratacion, or Council
of Trade, was established, upon which was conferred the exclusive
regulation of trade and commerce, although later the Council exercised
its functions under the general control of the Council of the Indies.
San Domingo, and later Vera Cruz, were the only colonial ports author-
ized to trade with Seville. In 1717 the trade monopoly of Seville was
transferred, by royal order, to the port of Cadiz, in Spain.
While Santiago was the capital of Cuba, trade between the island
and the home ports mentioned was restricted to that place, and when,
in 1552, the capital was transferred to Habana, that city became the
sole port of entry until 1778, except during the English occupation of
the island, 1762-63, when Habana was opened to free trade. By the
royal decree of October 12, 1778, trade between Santiago, Trinidad,
Batabano, and other Spanish ports was authorized. This privilege
was extended to Nuevitas in 1784, to Matanzas 1793, Caibarien 1794,
and Manzanillo and Baracoa in 1803. Prior to this Cuban ports were
practically under an embargo of the strictest kind. Even between
the ports of Habana and Seville or Cadiz, there was no free communi-
cation, but all trading vessels were gathered into fleets, or "flotas,"
from time to time, and made the voyage accompanied by Spanish
war ships, partly for protection against freebooters and pirates, but
chiefly to prevent trade with other ports. In 1765 this restriction was
The maritime laws regulating trade and commerce forbade trade
even between the colonies, and as early as 1592 trade with foreigners
was only permitted by special authority, and in 1614 and 1680 trade
with foreigners was prohibited under pain of death and confiscation
of the property concerned.
The treaties of the period appear to have recognized these prohibi-
tions as entirely justifiable under the rules of international intercourse
as they existed at that time. Thus by the treaties of 1648 and 1714
between Spain and the Dutch provinces it was agreed by the con-
tracting parties to abstain from trading in the ports and along the
coast of the Indies belonging to each of the treaty nations. Again,
by the treaty of Madrid between England and Spain, similar engage-
ments were made, although article 10 provided that in case vessels
arrived at the prohibited ports under stress or shipwreck they should
be kindly received and permitted to purchase provisions and repair
damages. This privilege was subsequently withdrawn by royal orders
of January 20 and April 15, 1784, which prescribed that no vessel
belonging to a foreign nation should be permitted to enter, even under
the pretext of seeking shelter. The severity of these restrictions was
modified later on and, by a royal order of January 8, 1801, Cuban
ports were thrown open to the commerce of friendly and neutral
REPORT ON THE CENSUS OF CUBA, 1899.
Other commercial privileges were granted in 1805, 1809, 1810, and
1812, due, in great measure, if not entirely, to the French invasion of
the Peninsula and its effect on Spanish possessions in the West Indies
and America. But these concessions to trade with Spanish colonies
were but temporary, as by royal orders of January 10, November 17,
and July 10, 1809, foreign commerce with Spanish-American ports
was prohibited. Against these last restrictions of trade the various
Spanish colonial Governors, and especially the Captain-General of
Cuba, protested on the ground of the necessities of the colonies and
the inability of Spain to meet them. These objections having been
favorably considered by the Council for the Indies, foreign trade with
Habana was extended for six months.
Many other decrees and royal orders affecting trade with Cuba and
the other Spanish colonies were promulgated during the period between
1775 and 1812, but they throw no additional light on this subject. It
is plain that Spain was always averse to granting trade facilities with
her colonies, and only did so for a time when forced by her necessities;
but having once opened Cuban ports and to that extent established the
privilege of foreign trade, which it was difficult to recall, the next step
was to restrict it as far as possible by duties, tonnage, and port dues,
and arbitrary tariffs imposed from time to time in such a way as to
render foreign commerce unprofitable. Without going into details it
may be said that up to 1824 duties on foreign commerce were much
greater than on Spanish merchandise, and while from that year they
were generally less restrictive, still they were always high enough to
compel Cubans to purchase from Spanish merchants, who, as Spain
did not herself produce what was needed, bought from French,
German, American, or other sources, thereby raising prices far above
what they would have been under a system less hampering. In
fact, up to 1818 Cuba does not appear to have had a tariff system. In
that year a tariff was promulgated making the duties 26J per cent on
agricultural implements and 43 per cent ad valorem on other foreign
merchandise. This was modified in 1820 and 1822 and the duties reduced
to 20 per cent on agricultural implements and 37 per cent ad valorem
on foreign industrial products. On all Spanish importations under
this classification the duties were two-thirds less. The tariff of 1824
was less prohibitive.
Not satisfied, apparently, with this arrangement for excluding
foreign trade or with the amount of customs revenue, an export tariff
was established in 1828 on sugar and coffee, which had by that time
become important products. On sugar the duty was four-fifths of a
cent per pound, and on coffee two-fifths of a cent per pound. If
exported in foreign vessels, the duty on sugar was doubled and on
coffee was increased to 1 cent per pound. With slight modifications
these duties continued to August 1, 1891, when, under the McKinley
tariff law, a reciprocal commercial agreement was proclaimed by Presi-
dent Harrison between Spain and the United States, which enabled
Cuba to seek its nearest and most natural market. In a short time
nearly the entire trade of Cuba was transferred to the United States,
and Cuba enjoyed a degree of prosperity never before attained.
But with the termination of this agreement by the tariff law of 1894,
the old practice of differential, special, and discriminating duties
against foreign trade was reestablished, thus forcing upon the Cubans
compulsory trade with Spain. There seems to be no question among
impartial and intelligent judges as to the injurious effect of this system
on the growth of Cuba's population and material progress, both largely
dependent on commercial advantages.
Another evil born of the system and given a certain amount of
immunity through the reverses and disasters of the Spanish navy, in
consequence of which Spain was unable to protect her commerce or
fully enforce trade regulations, is smuggling, which began with trade
restrictions and monopolies and has continued to this day, the amount
of merchandise smuggled being, for many years, nearly equal to
that regularly imported and exported. From smuggling on a large
scale and privateering to buccaneering and piracy is not a long step,
and under the name of privateers French, Dutch, English, and
American smugglers and buccaneers swarmed the Caribbean Sea and
Gulf of Mexico for more than two centuries, plundering Spanish
flotas and attacking colonial settlements. Among the latter, Cuba
was the chief sufferer. Sallying forth from Santo Domingo, Jamaica,
the Tortugas, and other islands and keys, these marauders raided the
island throughout the whole extent of its northern, eastern, and south-
ern coast line, levying tribute, kidnapping individuals, and carrying off
whatever was needed. In 1538 they attacked and burned Habana.
In 1544 they attacked Baracoa, Matanzas, and Habana, which they
again sacked and burned. In 1604 Giron, a French buccaneer, landed
twice in Santiago, capturing the Morro, and in 1679 French buc-
caneers again raided the province. Incursions on a smaller scale were
frequent, causing the Captain-General to issue an order requiring all
men to go armed and all persons to retire to their homes after night-
fall. By the terror they excited these raids retarded somewhat the
development of agriculture by compelling the people to concentrate
in the towns for protection. On the other hand, they stimulated the
construction of fortifications in the harbor of Habana and other ports,
which, a few years later, made them safe against such incursions.
Coupled with trade restrictions and extending throughout the entire
life of Cuba as a dependency of Spain, excessive taxation has always
prevailed. Apart from imports and exports, taxes were levied on real
REPORT ON THE CENSUS OF CUBA, 1899.
and personal property and on industries and commerce of all kinds.
Every profession, art, or manual occupation contributed its quota,
while, as far back as 1638, seal and stamp taxes were established on
all judicial business and on all kinds of petitions and claims made to
official corporations, and subsequently on all bills and accounts.
These taxes were in the form of stamps on official paper, and at the
date of American occupation the paper cost from 35 cents to $3 a
sheet. On deeds, wills, and other similar documents the paper cost
from 35 cents to $37.50 per sheet, according to the value of the prop-
erty concerned. Failure to use even the lowest-priced paper involved
a fine of $50.
There was also a municipal tax on the slaughter of cattle for the
market. This privilege was sold by the municipal council to the
highest bidder, with the result that taxes were assessed on all animals
slaughtered, whether for the market or for private consumption, with
a corresponding increase in the price of meat.
Another tax established in 1528, called the derecho de averia,
required the payment of 20 ducats ($16) by every person, bond or
free, arriving in the island. In 1665 this tax was increased to $22,
and continued in force to 1765, thus retarding immigration, and, to
that extent, the increase of population, especially of the laboring
An examination of these taxes will show their excessive, arbitrary,
and unscientific character, and how they operated to discourage Cubans
from owning property or engaging in many industrial pursuits tending
to benefit them and to promote the material improvement of the island.
Taxes on real estate were estimated by the tax inspector on the
basis of its rental or productive capacity, and varied from 4 to 12
per cent. Similarly, a nominal municipal tax of 25 per cent was
levied on the estimated profits of all industries and commerce, and
on the income derived from all professions, manual occupations, or
agencies, the collector receiving 6 per cent of all taxes assessed.
Much unjust discrimination was made against Cubans in determining
assessable values and in collecting the taxes, and it is said that bribery
in some form was the only effective defense against the most flagrant
Up to the year 1638 the taxes were collected by royal officers
appointed by the King, and their accounts were passed on by the
audiencia of Santo Domingo. In that year contadores (auditors) were
appointed who exercised fiscal supervision over the tax collectors,
until, by royal cedula of October 31, 1764, the intendancy of Habana
was created, the administration of taxes being conducted as in Spain.
Since 1892 the taxes have been collected by the Spanish Bank under a
ten years' contract, the bank receiving a commission of 5 per cent.
About 18 per cent of the assessed taxes remained uncollected between
1886 and 1897, and the deficits thus caused were added to the Cuban
debt, ever a subject of universal discontent.'
If to high taxes, high tariffs, and utter indifference, apparently, to
the needs of the island be added a lack of banking facilities of all
kinds, and a system of currency dependent entirely on the Spanish
Government and affected by all its financial difficulties, we have some
of the reasons why the economic development of Cuba has been slow.
"All her industrial profits were absorbed by Spain, leaving no surplus
to provide for the accumulation of capital and the material-progress
of the island,"' which was apparently regarded as a government
monopoly, whose productive capacity was in no wise connected with
its economic interests. Accordingly, such interests were invariably
subordinated to those of Spain-with which they rarely accorded-no
matter how injurious the result. That this course should have been
followed in the early period of Spanish colonization is not strange. All
sorts of economic experiments, based on what are now considered
absurd economic theories, were tried about that time by European
countries in vain efforts to promote national prosperity by entirely
unnatural methods. Thus, for many years Cuba was prohibited, in
common with other colonies, from the cultivation of raw products
raised in Spain, thus reversing the theory and practice under which
England subsequently developed her manufacturing industries at home,
successfully colonized all parts of the habitable globe, and established
her enormous colonial trade, by the very natural process of paying for
the raw products of her colonies in manufactured articles. No nation
in Europe during the sixteenth century was in a better condition than
Spain to establish such a system, as she was essentially a manufactur-
ing country. But with the expulsion of the Moors her manufactures
were practically ruined; the wealth which for many years had poured
in from the colonies in exchange for the supplies shipped them now
passed through her to other countries in consequence of her extinguished
industries, and she became little more than a clearing house for foreign
products. Five-sixths of the manufactured articles used in Spain were
imported, and foreigners, in direct violation of Spanish laws, soon car-
ried on nine-tenths of the trade with her colonies.
It may be said that results equally unfortunate appear to have attended
all other branches of Spanish colonial government. Under a policy so
shortsighted that it was blind to the most ordinary precautions, and
'According to the data of the tribunal of accounts (tribunal de suentas) of Habana,
referred to by Sefior la Sagra, Cuba received as ordinary and extraordinary "situados"
from Mexico, from 1766 to 1788, 57,739,346 pesos fuertes, and from 1788 to 1806 the
sum of 50,411,158 pesos fuertes.
'The proof of this is the bad condition of the roads and harbors, the absence of
docking facilities, the lack of adequate water supply in cities, of sewers, paved streets,
schoolhouses and other public buildings essential to every community and provided
by private or public enterprise.
REPORT ON THE CENSUS OF CUBA, 1899.
long after repeated warnings should have suggested a greater measure
of economic and political independence for Cuba, the entire system of
Cuban government and administration was retained in the hands of
Spanish officials to the exclusion of native Cubans, thus substituting
for home rule a government which, however necessary in the earlier
history of the island, became, with the lapse of centuries, an object of
suspicion and hatred to a large majority of Cubans, as the medium
through which Spain exercised despotic power over them and appro-
priated to herself the wealth of the island. That these feelings would
have yielded to greater economic and political freedom, there can be
no question. Political independence was not generally advocated at
first. Autonomy under the protection of Spain was as far as the
industrial classes cared to go, and had this been granted ten years
earlier Cuba might and probably would have remained a Spanish col-
ony. It was the economic rather than the political aspect of the island
that concerned the greater part of its population. But in Cuba polit-
ical and economic conditions were inseparable under the theory of
colonial government which prevailed, and economic concessions were
not to be thought of if the practice of stripping Cuba by the various
means described without giving Cubans the least opportunity to pre-
vent it in a peaceful way was to continue.
That they would ever resort to force was not believed, or if believed,
not feared, in the face of a despotic Governor-General with a local army
and navy to enforce his authority and the whole power of Spain in
reserve. Besides, the Cubans had given ample proof of their loyalty.
But the rulers of Cuba, usually blind to its interests, were to test
the loyalty of her people beyond the limits of endurance, and, as a
result, to lose for Spain her "ever faithful island."
From the time of Velasquez, 1512, to General Don Adolpho Jim-
enez Castellanos, 1898, Cuba had 136 rulers. A list of them will be
found in Appendix XV, and it may be said that, with but a dozen excep-
tions, they did nothing toward the development of the island or the
welfare of the people, although clothed with despotic power since
1825. A large number of them were Spanish politicians, appointed
without special reference to their fitness, but as a reward for services,
personal or political, rendered to the Spanish Government. The
resources of Cuba were always available to the home party in control
for this purpose, which accounts in some measure for the unanimity
of Spanish opinion respecting political concessions to the island. It
was necessary that its control should remain absolutely in the hands
of the Captain-Generals representing the home government; but there
is very little question that had all of them exercised their authority
with moderation, lightened the burden of taxation, removed or modi-
fied many trade restrictions, promoted public works, and used their
authority to extend the influence of the Cubans in the administration
of the island, the dominion of Spain might have been continued for
years to come, as much of the political agitation would have been
avoided, the gulf between Spaniards and Cubans would have been
bridged over, until, through these and other influences, an adjustment
of the economic situation would have brought peace and prosperity to
The first serious opposition to the insular government was brought
out by the attempt of Captain-General Vicente Roja to enforce the
government monopoly in tobacco, decreed in 1717. Several bloody
riots occurred and Roja was obliged to withdraw temporarily from the
Apart from uprisings among the negroes, stimulated no doubt by
the success of their race over the French in the neighboring island
of San Domingo there were no other attempts at insurrection on
the part of Cubans until after the conspiracy of 1823, planned by a
secret society known as the "Soles de Bolivar." This conspiracy
resulted from the attempt of Captain-General Vives to carry out the
instructions of Ferdinand VII, after the abrogation of the Spanish
liberal constitution of 1812, and was intended as a protest against a
return to absolutism in Cuba; but, apparently, it failed of effect, and
there was no relaxation of efforts to reestablish the old order. The
conspiracy was of a serious character and extended over the entire
island, but centered in Matanzas, where among the revolutionists was
Jose Maria Heredia, the Cuban poet. The conspiracy failed and the
leader, Jose Francisco Lemus, and a large number of conspirators were
arrested and deported. A feeling of bitter resentment against the
Government was the result, and a period of agitation and public
demonstration followed. Frequent uprisings were attempted in 1824,
It would have been well for Spain had Ferdinand VII been warned
by these events and endeavored, by conciliatory measures, to allay
such manifest feelings of discontent. But neither he nor his advisors
would see the "handwriting on the wall." With characteristic sever-
ity, the royal decree of May 28, 1825, was issued, conferring on the
Captain-General "all the powers of governors of cities in a state of
siege with full and unlimited authority to detach from the
island and to send to the Peninsula all officials and persons employed
in whatsoever capacity, and of whatsoever rank, class, or condition,
whose presence may appear prejudicial, or whose public or private
conduct may inspire you with suspicion and further to
suspend the execution of any order or general regulations issued in
whatever branch of the administration and to whatever extent you
may consider convenient to the royal service, etc., to see that faithful
REPORT ON THE CENSUS OF CUBA, 1899.
servants of His Majesty be remembered, at the same time punishing
without delay or hesitation the misdeeds of those, etc."1
An army from Spain, intended for the subjugation of former Span-
ish colonies in South America, which was to have been dispatched from
Cuba, was retained there, and a military commission was permanently
organized to try political offenses under the above decree and the arti-
cles of war.
Political agitation having taken the form of revolutionary demon-
strations, there was a gradual separation on political lines between
the Cubans and Spaniards, and numberless Cuban secret societies were
formed throughout the island for political propaganda. Allied with
the Cubans were all of the more radical, as well as the more moderate
liberal members of the community, while the Spanish party included
beneficiaries of former monopolies and the conservative and reac-
tionary elements, which, under the policy of the Captain-Generals, had
crystallized around the officials of the government and their coadjutors
in the church.
The political agitation continued, and in 1826 a small uprising took
place in Puerto Principe, directed by the Sociedad de la Cadena, and
aimed against the abuses of the regiment Leon quartered there. The
same year (June 22) the Congress of American Republics assembled
at Panama, to which the President of the United States appointed Mr.
John Sergeant, of Pennsylvania, and Mr. Richard Anderson, of Ken-
tucky, as envoys extraordinary and ministers plenipotentiary. Mr.
Anderson was United States minister to Colombia and died en route
to the congress, which had adjourned before Mr. Sergeant arrived, to
meet at Tacabaya. But it did not meet again, and consequently the
United States delegates took no part in its deliberations.
The objects of this congress, as set forth in the correspondence, were
to urge the establishment of liberal principles of commercial inter-
course, in peace and war, the advancement of religious liberty, and
the abolition of slavery, to discuss the relations of Hayti, the affairs
of Cuba and Porto Rico, the continuation of the war of Spain on her
Spanish colonies, and the Monroe doctrine, which announced as a
principle, "that the United States could not view any interposition
for the purpose of oppressing them (governments in this hemisphere
whose independence had been declared and acknowledged by the United
States), or controlling in any other manner their destiny, by any Euro-
pean power in any other light than as a manifestation of an unfriendly
disposition toward the United States."
While the United States no doubt sympathized with the objects of
the congress, the debates in the Senate and House of Representatives
indicated a desire to avoid interference with Spain, a friendly nation,
SPromulgated again in the royal decrees of March 21 and 26, 1834.
or the slavery question, and that it was not prudent to discuss ques-
tions which might prove embarrassing to the United States if called on
to consider them at a future time. As a result, the American dele-
gates were given limited powers, and this, coupled with the conserva-
tive attitude of the United States, resulted in the failure of the congress
to achieve any result.
The year before Francisco Agaiero and Manuel Andres Sanches, a
second lieutenant in the Colombian army, had been sent from Cuba to
the United States and to Colombia to urge their interference and assist-
ance. An expedition was organized in Colombia to be led by the
famous Colombian patriot, Simon Bolivar, but the failure of the
Panama congress caused the abandonment of the expedition. On the
return of the emissaries to Cuba they were arrested, tried, and
Following this effort, in 1830, a revolution was planned by the
society of the "Black Eagle," a Masonic fraternity having its base of
operations in Mexico, with secondary bases in Habana and at various
points throughout the island. The conspiracy failed, and several of
the conspirators received sentence of death, afterwards commuted by
Captain-General Vives to life imprisonment. The object of the con-
spiracy was the independence of Cuba, the pretext a report that the
island was to be ceded to Great Britain.
In 1836 the constitution of 1812 was reestablished in Spain, but
proved of no benefit to Cuba. On the contrary, the deputies sent
from Cuba to the constitutional convention in Madrid were excluded,
and, by a royal decree of 1837, the representation in the Cortes which
had been given Cuba in 1834 was taken away, and it was announced
that Cuba would be governed by special laws. These, the Cubans
claim, were never published. From this time to 1847 several upris-
ings or insurrections occurred throughout Cuba, followed in that year
by a revolutionary conspiracy organized by Narciso Lopez, and hav-
ing in view the liberation of the island or its annexation to the United
States. It had been arranged to make the first demonstration on the
4th of July, in the city of Cienfuegos, but the plot was made known
to the Spanish Governor, and Lopez and his companions fled to the
United States, where, in 1849, they organized a fillibustering expe-
dition, which was prevented from leaving by the vigilance of the
Government. In 1850 Lopez organized a second expedition, which
sailed from New Orleans May 10 and landed with 600 men at Carde-
nas, attacking its small garrison. A portion surrendered with Gov-
ernor Ceniti and the remainder went over to the insurgents. As
the uprising upon which Lopez depended did not take place, he
reembarked the same day and made his escape to Key West.
Undeterred by these failures, he organized a third expedition of 480
men in 1851, which sailed from New Orleans and landed, August 12,
REPORT ON THE CENSUS OF CUBA, 1899.
at Playitas, near Bahia Honda, 55 miles west of Habana. Colonel
Crittenden, of Kentucky, with 150 men formed part of the force. On
landing Lopez advanced on Las Pozas, leaving Colonel Crittenden in
El Morrillo. Meeting a Spanish force under General Enna, Lopez
was defeated after a gallant fight, his force dispersed and he with some
50 of his men captured and taken to Habana, where he was garroted.
In attempting to escape by sea Crittenden and his party were captured
and on the 16th of September were shot at the castle of Atares.
In the same year an uprising took place in Puerto Principe, led by
Juaquin de Agriero, but the movement came to naught and he and
several of his companions were executed.
Following the attempt of Agfiero came the conspiracy of Vuelta
Abajo, organized in 1852 by Juan Gonzalez Alvara, a wealthy planter
of the province of Pinar del Rio. Associated with him were several
other prominent Cubans, and among them Francisco de Fras, Count of
Pozos Dulces. This attempt at revolution was discovered and the
leading conspirators arrested. They were tried and sentenced to death,
but were finally transported under sentence of life imprisonment.
Meantime the Liberal Club of Habana and the Cuban Junta in New
York were raising money and organizing expeditions destined for Cuba.
Some of them sailed, and in 1859 an attempt was made to landat Nue-
vas Grandes. But these expeditions accomplished little, except to
keep alive the spirit of revolution.
From this time to the outbreak of the revolution of 1868 the con-
dition of Cuban affairs does not appear to have improved. Taxes
continued excessive and duties exorbitant, reaching at times an
average of 40 per cent ad valorem on all imports, and so distributed
as practically to prohibit trade with any country except Spain. Small
uprisings and insurrections were frequent and there were many exe-
cutions. Meanwhile the results of the civil war in the United States,
and more particularly the abolition of slavery, encouraged the Cubans
to hope for liberal reforms, especially in the trade and industries of
the island, but no concessions appear to have been made until the year
1865, when, by a royal decree of November 25, a commission was
appointed by Isabella II to consider the question of reforms in the
administration of Cuba. Nothing came of it, however, although it
afforded an opportunity to the few Cuban delegates who were present
to formulate their views. They demanded greater political and eco-
nomic liberty, a constitutional insular government, freedom of the
press, the right of petition and assembly, the privilege of holding
office, and representation in the Cortes. It would have been well for
Spain had she listened to these complaints and made some effort to
satisfy them, but nothing was done and as a result the revolution of
1868 was commenced at Yara in the province of Puerto Principe.
It was ended by the capitulation of Zanjon, February 10, 1878, and
in its more serious phases was confined to the provinces of Santiago
and Puerto Principe. No battles or serious engagements were fought,
although a guerrilla warfare of great cruelty and intensity was carried
on. While the casualties of the fighting were comparatively few for
a war of such duration, there were many deaths from disease, exe-
cutions, and massacres, and the Spanish troops suffered severely from
yellow fever, which prevailed at all times in the sea-coast cities.
The effect of the ten years' war on the material condition of Cuba
can not be stated with accuracy. The population had increased in the
ten years previous at the rate of 17 per cent during the war, and for
ten years after the increase was but 6 per cent. A large number of
lives and a large amount of property were destroyed, and an enormous
debt was incurred, while taxes of all kinds increased threefold. The
war is said to have cost the contestants $300,000,000, which was charged
to the debt of Cuba.
By the capitulation of Zanjon' Spain agreed to redress the griev-
ances of Cuba by giving greater civil, political, and administrative
privileges to the people, with forgetfulness of the past and amnesty
for all then under sentence for political offenses. It has been claimed
by Cubans that these promises were never fulfilled, and this and the
failure of the Cortes to pass the bill reforming the government of
Cuba, introduced in 1894 by Sefior Maura, minister for the colonies,
are generally given as the causes of the last rebellion. On the other
hand, Spain has always insisted that every promise was observed, and
that even more was granted than was asked for or stipulated in the
articles of capitulation. Thus, by the decree of March 1, 1878, Cuba
and Porto Rico were given representation in the Spanish Cortes, upon
the basis of their respective populations, and the provincial and munic-
ipal laws of 1877 promulgated in Spain were made applicable to Cuba.
By proclamation of March 24, 1878, full amnesty was given to all,
even to Spanish deserters who had served in the insurgent army; on
May 23,1879, the penal code of Spain and the rules for its application
were given effect in Cuba; on April 7, 1881, the Spanish constitution,
full and unrestricted, as in force in Spain, was extended to Cuba by
law; in 1885 the Spanish law of civil procedure was given to Cuba, and
on July 31, 1889, the Spanish civil code, promulgated in 1888, was put
in operation in Cuba and Porto Rico.
After examining all the evidence, however, the student of Cuban
history will probably conclude that while the Spanish Government was
technically correct in claiming to have enacted all laws necessary to
make good her promises, there was a failure usually to execute them,
and that, as a matter of fact, political conditions in Cuba remained
'Sometimes referred to as the "Treaty" or "Compromise" of Zanjon.
SSame as people of Porto Rico.
REPORT ON THE CENSUS OF CUBA, 1899.
practically as before the war, although very much improved on the
A serious permanent fall in the price of sugar in 1884 and the final
abolition of slavery in 1887 added to the economic troubles of the
people, and in conjunction with continued political oppression, kept
alive the feelings which had brought on the war. The Cubans believed
that notwithstanding the capitulation of Zanjon they were still mere
hewers of wood and drawers of water, with but little voice in the
government of the island, and that Spain was the chief beneficiary
of its wealth. And such would appear to have been the fact if the
following figures, taken from official sources, can be relied upon:
From 1893 to 1898 the revenues of Cuba, under excessive taxation,
high duties, and the Habana lottery, averaged about $25,000,000 per
annum, although very much larger in previous years,2 depending on
the financial exigencies of the Spanish Government. Of this amount
$10,500,000 went to Spain to pay the interest on the Cuban debt,
$12,000,000 were allotted for the support of the Spanish-Cuban army
and navy and the maintenance of the Cuban government in all its
branches, including the church, and the remainder, less than $2,500,000,
was allowed for public works, education, and the general improvement
of Cuba, independent of municipal expenditures. As the amounts
appropriated annually in the Cuban budget were not sufficient to cover
the expenditures and there was a failure to collect the taxes, deficits
were inevitable. These were charged to the Cuban debt, until, by
1897, through this and other causes, it aggregated about $400,000,000,
or an amount per capital of $283.54-more than three times as large as
the per capital debt of Spain and much larger than the per capital debt
of any other European country.
Under such perverted economic management it is not surprising
that another rebellion was planned, and that the war of 1895-1898
The United States had always shown a friendly interest in the affairs
of Cuba, and the question of its annexation had been discussed as far
back as 1825, when Mr. John Quincy Adams was President, partly, it
is said, to prevent the island from passing under the control of any
other nation, in violation of the Monroe doctrine, and partly for the
purpose of extending the slave territory of the United States. To
this end a popular movement was started in the Southern States dur-
ing the Mexican war (1846). Two years later (1848) President Polk
made propositions to the Spanish Government, through the American
minister in Madrid, having in view the purchase of the island.
It was the interpretation and execution of the laws by Governors having but little
sympathy with the natives rather than the laws themselves that caused most of the
trouble in Cuba.
'In 1860, $29,610,779; 1880, $40,000,000; 1882, $35,860,246.77. Cuba was expected
to contribute whatever was demanded.
Again, in 1854, the strained relations between Spain and the United
States, growing out of the detention of the American steamer Black
Warrior in the harbor of Habana, charged with violating the customs
regulations, and the search of several American vessels by Spanish
cruisers elicited the "Ostend Manifesto," drawn up by the American
ministers to England, France, and Spain, in which it was declared
"that the possession of Cuba by a foreign power was a menace to the
peace of the United States, and that Spain be offered the alternative of
taking $200,000,000 for her sovereignty over the island or having it
taken from her by force." Finally, during the ten years' war, Presi-
dent Grant, while expressing his belief to the Spanish Government
that only independence and emancipation could settle the Cuban ques-
tion and that intervention might be necessary to end the war, repeat-
edly proffered the good offices of the United States in reestablishing
peace. Meanwhile, in 1873, the capture of the Virginius and the
tragic execution of 53 of her passengers and crew in the city of San-
tiago de Cuba by order of the Spanish commander came near to involv-
ing the countries in war, happily avoided by diplomatic action.1
As the rebellion of 1895 proceeded, much sympathy was felt for the
Cubans by the people of the United States, which being reflected in
Congress resulted in a concurrent resolution of strict neutrality, but
coupled with a declaration that the United States should proffer its
good offices to Spain, through President Cleveland, with a view of
ending the war and securing the independence of the island; but
nothing came of it. As the war continued it excited much interest in
the United States, and, in 1896, both Republican and Democratic
national conventions passed resolutions of sympathy for the Cubans
and demanded that the Government take action.
Although the Committee on Foreign Relations in the Senate of the
Fifty-fourth Congress reported a resolution, December 21, 1896,
recognizing the republic of Cuba, it was never taken from the calen-
dar. Meanwhile reports of outrages and indignities to American
citizens in Cuba and of the dreadful effects of reconcentration were fre-
quently communicated to the Government or published in the press.
In May, 1897, Congress appropriated $50,000 for the purchase of
supplies for the reconcentrados,' as it was reported that many of them
were, or claimed to be, American citizens. The supplies were sent
under permission of Spain, and were distributed to the reconcentrados,
SThe records of the State Department show conclusively that, notwithstanding
serious provocations, the United States up to the time of the recent war had always
observed strict neutrality toward Spain in dealing with Cuba, and had always stood
ready to recognize her control over the island. Nor were the Cubans ever encour-
aged by the President to believe that either belligerency or independence would
2 Reconcentrados, or, as they were called, Paificos," were the country people (small
farmers), who sympathized with the insurgents and gave them such assistance as they
could. The proclamation of Captain-General Weyler, issued in 1896, required them to
abandon their homes and property of every kind and move into the nearest towns,
where many of them died of starvation and disease. Their homes were destroyed
REPORT ON THE CENSUS OF CUBA, 1899.
whether Americans or not, and soon after the revocation of the edict
of reconcentration and the recall of Captain-General Weyler were
requested by the United States. While these requests were favorably
received by Spain, it was very evident that little was being done, and as
the war continued apparently on the same lines, it was thought advisable
to send a man-of-war to Habana for the protection of American citizens.
The battle ship laine was selected for this duty, and sailed in January,
and soon after the Spanish cruiser Viscaya was ordered to visit New
York, as evidence of existing friendly relations. On the night of
February 15 the Maive was blown up and 2 officers and 264 sailors
lost their lives. Spanish officials at once insisted that the explosion
was due to an accident caused by carelessness and lack of discipline.
A board of naval officers was convened by the President to examine
into the circumstances, and after a careful investigation, extending
over a month, reported that the ship had been blown up from the out-
side. A contrary report was the result of a Spanish investigation.
The report of the naval board was laid before Congress by the Presi-
dent, who meanwhile had used every effort to avoid war by diplomatic
Early in April it became known that Spain had proposed to the
insurgents a suspension of hostilities, to be followed by a capitulation,
and had appropriated $600,000 for the relief of the reconcentrados, but
that the proposal had been rejected by the insurgent leaders. As it
was evident from this that the war would continue, the President sent a
message to Congress on April 11, requesting authority to end the war
and to secure in Cuba the establishment of a stable government capa-
ble of maintaining order and observing its international obligations.
On April 19 Congress passed joint resolutions, which, after reciting
the conditions existing in Cuba, demanded the withdrawal of Spain
from the island, and empowered the President to use the military and
naval forces of the United States to carry the resolutions into effect.
This was practically a declaration of war, and, on April 23, the
President issued a proclamation calling for 125,000 volunteers, which
number was subsequently increased to 200,000, and the Regular Army
to 60,000 men. By a formal declaration of April 30, Congress
announced that war had existed since April 21.
On April 24 Commodore Dewey, commanding the Asiatic Squadron,
was notified by the Secretary of the Navy that war with Spain had
begun, and to proceed to the Philippine Islands and capture or
destroy the Spanish fleet. On Apri'27 he sailed from Hongkong in
the execution of this order, and on the afternoon of April 30 arrived
at the entrance of Manila Bay, where, on the following day, he cap-
tured or destroyed all the vessels of the Spanish fleet.
On June 14 an American army, numbering 15,000 men, under com-
mand of Gen. W. R. Shafter, sailed from Port Tampa, Fla., for
Santiago de Cuba, where it arrived on the morning of June 20, and
THE SURRENDER TREE NEAR SAN JUAN HILL
on July 1 and 2 the battle of San Juan took place, resulting in the
defeat of the Spanish troops and the investment of Santiago.' On the
morning of July 3, the Spanish fleet, under Admiral Cervera, attempted
to escape from the harbor, but was intercepted by the American fleet
under Capt. William T. Sampson and totally destroyed. On July 16,
articles of capitulation were signed at Santiago de Cuba, followed by
the formal surrender of the Spanish forces in the eastern district of
Santiago on July 17.
On August 12 a protocol provided for a cessation of hostilities, and
on December 10 a treaty of peace between the United States and Spain
was signed at Paris. It was ratified by the President February 6,
1899, and by the Queen Regent of Spain March 19, and proclaimed in
Washington, D. C., April 11, thus ending the last act in the drama.
Cuba was to be free at last on the single condition that she estab-
lish a stable government capable of maintaining order and observing
international obligations." With this question she is to deal presently.
While the ten years' war was not without disastrous effects on the
economic development of Cuba, they were trifling as compared-with
the war of 1895-1898, which resulted in a large decrease of population
and of the wealth-producing power of the country. It may be said
in general, on a conservative estimate, that the population of the island
decreased 12 per cent and its wealth two-thirds.
As an indication of the financial stress prevailing in the island, the
ratio of mortgage indebtedness to the value of real property, as
assessed by the Spanish Government, is interesting. The mortgages
and censos are from the reports of the registers of property to the
treasurer of the island for January, 1900, and are shown in the fol-
RURAL REAL ESTATE.
Province. Value of prop- oe ndbted Amount of quit
erty. gage indebted- rents censuss).
Habana ........................................ $44,140,610.00 $18,797,063.00 $7,037,047.42
Matanzas ................................. 45,94,977.40 35,754,485.38 9,178,964.43
Pinar del Rio............................... 28,982,950.50. 8,00, 998.31 4,833,793.36
Puerto Principe................................ 3,466,736.90 2,706,196.52 984,796.10
Santa Clara............................... 41,838,395.00 37,422,559.71 3,445,936.78
Santiago deCuba.............................. 20,701,166.20 4,135,946.40 188,915.72
Total..................................... 184,724,836.00 1106,897,249.32 225,679,452.81
158 per cent, approximate. 2 14 per cent, approximate.
CITY REAL ESTATE.
Habana.................... .............. $84,804,500.00 89,522,541.96 $11,900,842.61
Matanzas................................. 17,704,963.50 4,685,557.49 1,264,729.11
Pinardel Rio..... ......... .................. 3,278.733.80 640,609.89 286,744.55
Puerto Principe ............................. 2,428,446.00 461,078.83 388,335.40
Santa Clara................................. 19,761,472.30 3,965,725.35 497,992.04
Santiago de Cuba........................... 10,938,944.10 1,454,449.99 270,206.77
Total................................... 138,917,069.70 1100,729,943.51 214,608,850.48
179 per cent, approximate. 2 10 per cent, approximate.
'This included the operations of Lawton at El Caney, July 1.
REPORT ON THE CENSUS OF CUBA, 1899.
SIt should not be forgotten in discussing these ratios that there has
tbeen no valuation of real property since American occupation, and that
the values given are those made by Spanish officers some time prior
The actual value of real estate, especially of city property, is much
greater than is given in the tables. It is probable that the amount of
encumbrances is also greater than has been stated. It is quite certain
that had the war continued under the same conditions for another year,
nearly the entire rural population of the central and western provinces
would have been destroyed, as also their agricultural wealth. There-
fore American interference did not come too soon, and the Cubans
have every reason to be thankful that the declaration of President
McKinley made to Congress April 11, 1898, "that the war in Cuba
must stop," was not made in vain.
Prominent among the causes tending to retard the material prosper-
ity of Cuba has been the lack of educational interest and facilities.
For nearly three hundred years there were practically no schools in
A history of education in Cuba is presented elsewhere in this report
as an introduction to the analysis of the tables of education. It is suf-
ficient in this connection to say that prior to 1842 there were no pub-
lic schools in Cuba. In that year, largely through the efforts of the
Sociedad Economica de Habana and of other patriotic residents of the
island, provision was made by the Spanish Government for public
schools. But if any reliance can be placed in the following figures, they
did very little toward educating the masses.
By the census of 1861 there were 793,484 white people in Cuba,
of whom 552,027, or 70 per cent, could not read, and of the 603,046
colored persons, 576,266, or 95 per cent, could not read.
By the census of 1887 there were 1,102,889 whites, of whom 715,575,
or 64 per cent, could not read, and of the 528,798 colored, 463,782, or
87 per cent, could not read. No statistics of the degree of literacy in
the island in 1842, when the publit-school system was commenced, are
available, but the state of education nearly fifty years after affords some
idea of the sufficiency of the schools and of their influence in eradicating
a potent cause of stagnation. An increase of 6 per cent in literacy of the
white population in twenty-six years indicates either that very little
importance was attached to public education as a means of general
improvement, or that no such improvement was expected.
From the contemplation of this picture of prolonged misrule, we
turn in closing to a few incidents in the history of Cuba from which
she derived substantial and lasting benefit. First in chronological
order was the invasion and occupation of the island by the British in
1762, assisted by troops from the Anglo-American colonies. Habana
was surrendered August 13, after a two months' siege. The English
CITY OF HABANA.
held the country as far east as Matanzas until the following spring,
when, by the treaty of Paris (February, 1763), which ended the war
between England, France, and Spain, Cuba was ceded back to Spain in
exchange for Florida. Up to this time Habana had been the only port
of entry since it became the capital in 1558, and even trade with
Habana was confined strictly to Seville and Cadiz. The English opened
this port at once to foreign and domestic commerce, thus removing at
a stroke all the restrictions which had fettered it, and, although the
English occupation lasted but six months, the benefit to Cuba was per-
manent, as after the recession of the island to Spain it was found
impracticable to reestablish former trade restrictions entirely. The
cession of Florida to England caused the migration of a large number
of Spaniards from Florida to Cuba.
The next event, in point of time, which, however unfortunate for
Spain, proved of great benefit to Cuba, was the revolution in the
neighboring island of Haiti, the cession of that island to France
in 1795, :and the race war between the whites and negroes which
followed, and which was continued at intervals for ten years.
Thousands of French and Spanish settlers fled or emigrated to Cuba,
where they located, chiefly in the provinces of Santiago and Puerto
Principe, introducing the cultivation of coffee and adding materially
.to the wealth and agricultural prosperity of the island.
Similarly, the cession of Louisiana to the United States in 1803 and
of Florida in 1819 and the revolution of the Spanish South American
colonies and of Mexico caused a notable increase in the population of
Cuba, to which many loyal Spaniards emigrated or fled for refuge.
In truth, the loyalty of Spaniards to their Government and its insti-
tutions, their patriotic devotion to their country, their steadfast cour-
age, and their patient endurance through many trials and provocations
are among the traits which contributed to the remarkable ascendency
of Spain and her former dominion over more than half the known earth.
Yet, combined with these characteristics, was the leaven of personal lib-
erty and a love of political freedom born of ancient privileges, and for
which they have ev er contended. These qualities, under the influences
of the nineteenth century, were destined to establish republics even
as in past centuries they had founded empires.
The government of all Spanish colonies was conducted on the the-
ory that newly discovered territory belonged to the Crown rather than
to the Government and that all political control was vested in the King,
who appointed all the Viceroys, Captain-Generals, and Governors.
When Cuba was colonized by Velasquez this control was mainly
exercised through the Council of the Indies. The Cortes of Castile
was seldom called except to vote funds or supplies for the King, and
REPORT ON THE CENSUS OF CUBA, 1899.
every branch of colonial administration, civil as well as military, was
under the jurisdiction of the Council, which appointed all officials not
appointed by the King. Thus all government control centered in the
Council and the King, and local self-government, which was developed
at an early stage in the English colonies, became practically impossi-
ble in the Spanish colonies, no matter to what extent it may have
existed in theory.
Coupled with secular control, as an important part of the plan of
colonization, was that of the church, and in every colonial expedition
there were abbots, bishops, priests, friars, or monks, who, while they
were largely interested in the material prosperity of their order by the
acquisition of land, the erection of churches, monasteries, and convents,
devoted themselves zealously to the conversion of the natives and pro-
tected them as far as possible against the cruelty and rapacity of the
invaders. On the other hand, it must be conceded that while in the
early history of the island its purposes were ostensibly benevolent, the
Spanish Church has persistently and rigorously opposed freedom of
conscience, the spread of public education, and every effort on the part
of the Cubans to establish self-government. By the year 1857 the
property of the church in the island amounted to about $7,152,685,
and the adjustment of church claims is now one of the most difficult
questions before the insular government.
The plan of Spanish colonization in America, as well as the laws
governing the colonies, was essentially Roman in origin. Up to the
year 1621 the laws of Spain applied equally to all her colonies, but
thereafter they did not unless declared to do so by the council of the
Special regulations, decrees, etc., modifying the application of the
laws to the colonies or promulgating new laws were frequent, and
their compilation in 1680 was published as the "Law of the Indies."
This and the Siete Partidas," on which they were largely based,
comprised the code under which the Spanish American colonies were
All the colonies were founded practically on the same plan. This
included the presidio, or military headquarters, the pueblo, or town,
and the mission for the conversion and education of the Indians, usu-
ally located at some distance. apart from the other two. The land set
aside for the pueblo was laid out in the form of a square or rectangle.
The plaza, or public square, was then laid out near the central point,
and after that the streets of the town, dividing it into blocks. The
public buildings and church were erected around the plaza, facing it,
the remaining space being occupied with dwellings. This is the plan
of all the oldest cities and towns of Cuba. To the military garrison
was intrusted the protection of the pueblo and mission and the con-
duct of all expeditions for any purpose.
L.I L. r" i -'I'
After establishing the municipality the next step was the exploration
and pacification of the country, and after that the disposition of the
spoils captured, including the land and natives. These were usually
divided among the Spanish followers of the military commander, one-
fifth of all gold, silver, and Indians being turned over to the revenue
officers of the Crown.
As in the mother country, the colonial municipality was the local
political unit, and its government was vested in an ayuntamiento, or
municipal council, consisting of mayors alcaldess) and councilors (regi-
dores). There was also an alguacil, or sheriff, and in the large towns a
procurador syndico, or city attorney. The alcaldes acted as judges and
In the early history of Spanish municipalities they were, to a limited
extent, self-governing, electing the mayors and councilors. With the
extension of the royal authority following the union of the Spanish
provinces the control of these offices was gradually assumed by the
Crown and they were filled by nomination or appointment, being sold
to the highest bidder, and often made-hereditary. With the return of
more liberal government this practice was discontinued, and finally they
again became elective. This was the experience of Cuban municipali-
ties. Not all the councilors were selected in this way, however, as
some were elected. For such elections a royal decree of 1558 con-
ferred the elective franchise on the forty largest taxpayers and on
those who had academic or university degrees. The alcaldes were
appointed by the Governor-General from the members of the council.
This plan of government continued with slight variations until 1812,
when it was modified, but was reestablished in 1814.
In 1859 each municipality was given a council consisting of 1 mayor,
1 syndic, and 6 aldermen, if the population was 5,000, and 2 deputy
mayors and 10 aldermen if the population was 10,000. Exception
was made of Habana, which was given 7 deputy mayors, 4 syndics,
and 16 aldermen. All councilors, except those appointed for life, were
elected in each municipality by the largest taxpayers, subject to the
approval of the Governor-General, the number of electors being twice
or thrice as many as the number of councilors to be elected, according
as the population was less than or exceeded 10,000. The elections
were held annually, and the Cubans claim that under this system the
offices were generally filled by Spaniards, although they did not com-
prise one-fifth of the white population.
By the electoral law of August 20, 1870, amended by that of Decem-
ber 16, 1875, the elective franchise was conferred on the heads of fam-
ilies actually engaged in some profession or trade, who had resided in
the district for two years at least, and who paid a tax of 5 pesos on
their own property one year before the formation of the electoral list,
or who were civil employees of the state, the province, or municipal-
REPORT ON THE CENSUS OF CUBA, 1899.
ity, in active service, or retired or pensioned from the army or navy,
and all adults who had resided in the district two years who could fur-
nish proof of their professional or academic education by means of
an official certificate. Other electoral laws, orders, and decrees regu-
lating the elective franchise have been promulgated since the law of
1875. Property education and tax tests were always qualifications of
both provincial and municipal electors until 1897, when universal suf-
frage in municipal elections only was granted.
Very little authority, especially in fiscal affairs, was conferred on
the municipal councils, the members of which performed a variety of
duties, and their existence as well as their acts were absolutely under
the control of the Governor-General.
By a royal decree of 1878, the organic municipal and provincial laws
of the peninsula, somewhat modified, were extended provisionally to
Cuba. By these laws a municipality is defined to be the legal asso-
ciation of all persons who reside in a municipal district, and is to be
represented by a municipal council as a financial administrative corpo-
ration. A municipal district is the territory under the administra-
tion of a municipal council. Municipal districts are established,
increased, diminished, annexed to other municipal districts, wholly or
in part, or abolished, by the Military Governor as the lawful suc-
cessor of the Governor-General. They correspond in a measure to
American counties or townships, and as prerequisites to their estab-
lishment must contain not less than 2,000 inhabitants, a territory pro-
portioned in extent to the population, and be able to meet the obligatory
Municipal districts differ in area, and each forms part of a judicial
district and of a province, but can not belong to different jurisdictions
of the same order. There are 6 provinces, 31 judicial districts, and
132 municipal districts in the island.
To facilitate the administrative service, each municipal district is
divided into subdistricts and the latter into wards (barrios), depending
on the number of residents in the subdistricts. For political purposes
the subdistricts are further divided into electoral districts and the
latter into electoral sections.
As far as practicable, ward limits are arranged so that the wards
shall have approximately the same population; but every part of the
municipal district must form, or be included in, a ward, no matter
what its population may be.
Thus the province of Matanzas has 24 municipal districts and 128
wards, so that the entire province is embraced within district and ward
lines. The seat of municipal government is the principal town or city
in the district where the enumeration of the subdistricts and wards
Each municipal district has a municipal council and a municipal
-r - i .C.T L ~ ~
CITY OF MATANZAS.
board. The council governs the district, subject to the supervision of
the governor of the province and Military Governor of the island, and
is composed of a mayor, a certain number of deputy mayors, and
aldermen taken from the members of the council.1
The census of the population determines the number of councilors
to which each municipal district is entitled, as follows: Up to 500
inhabitants, five; 500 to 800, six; 800 to 1,000, seven; between 1,000
and 10,000, one additional councilor for every additional 1,000 people;
and between 10,000 and 20,000, one for every additional 2,000 people.
For more than 20,000, one for every additional 2,000 inhabitants until
the municipal council has the maximum number of 30 councilors.
The number of deputy mayors is determined on the same principle.
Municipal districts of less than 800 inhabitants have no deputy may-
ors; between 800 and 1,000, one; 1,000 to 6,000, two; 6,000 to 10,000,
three; 10,000 to 18,000, four; 18,000 or more, five. Up to 800 inhab-
itants there is but one subdistrict, and between 800 and 1,000 two, but
thereafter the number of subdistricts corresponds to the number of
deputy mayors. Each deputy mayor is in charge of a subdistrict as
the representative of the mayor, discharging such administrative duties
as he may direct, but having no independent functions.
Up to 3,000 inhabitants there is but one electoral district; between
3,000 and 6,000, three; 6,000 to 10,000, four; 10,000 to 18,000, five;
18,000 or more, six.
The councilors are elected from the municipality at large by the
qualified voters of the district, one-half being renewed every two
years, the councilors longest in service going out at each renewal.
They are eligible for reelection. The regular elections are held in the
first two weeks in May, but partial elections are held when, at least
six months before the regular election, vacancies occur which amount
to a third of the total number of councilors. If they occur after this
period they are filled by the governor of the province from among
former members of the council.
All male citizens over 25 years of age who enjoy their full civil
rights, and have lived at least two years in the municipality, are enti-
tled to vote, provided they are not disqualified by sentence for certain
criminal offenses, bankruptcy or insolvency, or are not delinquent tax-
payers or paupers.
The mayors and deputy mayors are appointed by the Military Gov-
ernor from among the councilors on the recommendation of the coun-
cil. But while under the law the deputy mayors must be selected
from the council, the Military Governor may appoint any person as
mayor, whether he belongs to the municipality or not.
In each ward there is also an alcalde de barrio or ward mayor. He
'This law was in force when the census was taken.
BEPOBT ON THE CENSUS OF CUBA, 1899.
is appointed by the mayor of the municipal district, who can also sus-
pend or remove him. He is required to keep a register of the horses,
mules, and cattle in his ward, and to discharge such administrative
duties as the deputy mayor of the subdistrict in which his ward is
located may direct.
Each council has a secretary, who is appointed by the Military Gov-
ernor of the island on the recommendation of the council. The coun-
cil also appoints from among its members one or more fiscal attorneys
(procuradores syndicos), whose duty it is to represent the council in all
legal suits which may be instituted, and to revise and audit all local
accounts and budgets. After the council is fully organized the coun-
cilors who are not appointed to other offices in the council are called
aldermen. The mayor and secretary are the only salaried municipal
officers, the office of deputy mayor, fiscal attorney, alderman, associate
member of the municipal board, and mayor of a ward being described
in the law as "gratuitous, obligatory, and honorary." The mayor,
deputy mayors, and fiscal attorneys have the same right to speak and
vote as the members of the council, and, in fact, the first two are
obliged to vote on every resolution.
The duties and responsibilities of the municipal council are those
which usually devolve on such bodies in European countries. The
mayor is president of the council and represents it on all occasions.
He presides at the meetings when the governor of the province is not
present. He votes by right of membership, and in case of a tie casts
the deciding vote, but has neither the veto nor the appointing power.
As a result, there is no division of responsibility between the mayor
and the council in administrative matters, the council, as a whole,
making every appointment and deciding every question of municipal
administration as far as the laws and the provincial and insular gov-
ernors will permit, distributing the work of departmental management
to permanent committees of their own number, which they organize
and constitute as may seem best. These committees have associated
with them such experts and specialists as may be necessary, and take
the place of the several independent departments and boards which are
features of municipal government in the United States.
The sessions of the municipal council are determined by that body,
but can not be less than one each week. Every member is required to
attend punctually or pay a fine. Neither the mayor, the deputies,
aldermen, nor ward mayors can absent themselves from the municipal
district unless they receive permission as follows: The mayor from the
governor of the province, and if the latter does not appoint a tempo-
rary mayor the senior deputy acts; deputy mayors and aldermen require
the permission of the council; ward mayors of the mayor. The gov-
ernor of the province can suspend the mayor or the deputies and
aldermen, as well as the resolutions and decisions of the council, while
BRIDGE OVER YUMURI RIVER MATANZAS
BRIDE OVR YU URIRIVE MATNZA
the Military Governor can remove all municipal officers and appoint
others to their places, and modify or annul the proceedings of the
The municipal board is composed of the municipal council and an
equal number of associate members elected from among the taxpayers
of the district, who hold office during the fiscal year. It is the duty of
the board to revise the annual budget of municipal expenses prepared
.by the council and to establish the taxes according to law.
By a royal decree of November 25, 1897, municipalities were granted
the power to frame their own laws regarding health, public education,
public highways by land, river or sea, and municipal finances, and
freely to appoint and remove their own employees. Municipal councils
were empowered to choose their own mayors from among the coun-
cilors, and provision was made for a minority representation in the
councils. Owing to the war this decree did not become operative.
General Wood, the Military Governor of Cuba, under date of March
24, 1900, intrusted to the municipal authorities, without any interven-
tion on the part of civil governors, the maintenance of public order,
the execution of municipal ordinances, the administration of the munic-
ipal police, the regulation of public amusements, and the granting of
permits for public parades, assemblies, and meetings within their
By a civil decree of April 18, 1900, the power to elect mayors,
councilors, treasurers, municipal judges, and correctional judges, to
hold office for one year, was conferred on municipalities. This decree
further provided for the registration of voters, the nomination of
candidates, tickets, boards of election, voting, methods of challenge,
and penalties for all kinds of election frauds.
The qualifications of voters at municipal elections were established
1. The voter must be a native male Cuban, or the son of a native male Cuban,
born while his parents were temporarily residing abroad, or a Spaniard included
within the provisions of article 9 of the treaty of Paris, who has not made declara-
tion of his decision to preserve his allegiance to the Crown of Spain, as provided in
2. He must be of the age of 21 years or upward on the day preceding the day of
3. He must have resided in the municipality in which he intends to vote at least
thirty days immediately preceding the first day of registration, and in addition to
the above he must possess any one of the following qualifications: (a) Ability to
read and write; (b) ownership of real or personal property to the value of $250,
American gold; (c) service in the Cuban army prior to July 18, 1898, and the
honorable discharge therefrom, whether a native Cuban or not.
Disqualifications.-No person shall be qualified to vote who is insane or an idiot, or
who is a resident in, or supported by, any public charitable institution, or who is
deprived of or suspended from the exercise of his political rights by sentence of a
court, except in cases where the conviction is for a crime of a political character.
REPORT ON THE CENSUS OF CUBA, 1899.
Under the laws of Spain, a province is composed of the municipal
districts within its limits. Up to the 8th of October, 1607, Cuba
formed a single province, but by royal decree of that date, it was
divided into two provinces, the Oriental and Occidental, the capitals
of which were the cities of Santiago de Cuba and Habana, respec-
tively. The Governor-General resided in Habana and a provincial
government was established in Santiago. Over the Occidental prov-
ince he had immediate supervision, and over the Oriental through its
This continued to be the provincial division of the island until July
17, 1827, when by royal decree it was divided into three departments,
to wit: The Occidental, Central, and Oriental, with capitals in Habana,
Trinidad, and Santiago, respectively.
The departments were further divided into districts, the Occidental
having 11, the Central 5, and the Oriental 4. To each department a
lieutenant-governor was appointed-a general officer of the Spanish
army-and to the districts military officers of subordinate rank. The
officers were appointed by the Governor-General, to whom they were
directly responsible for the administration of civil and military affairs
within the territorial divisions to which they were assigned.
In 1850, on the recommendation of the Captain-General, the Central
department was discontinued, and the municipalities of Puerto Prin-
cipe, Neuvitas, and Trinidad were all annexed to the Occidental depart-
ment; the far eastern part of its territory was incorporated with the
Oriental department, which now constitutes the province of Santiago.
By a royal decree of June 9, 1878, Cuba was divided into the
provinces of Pinar del Rio, Habana, Matanzas, Santa Clara, Puerto
Principe, and Santiago de Cuba, with capitals in the cities bearing the
names of the provinces. The provincial government was vested in a
civil governor, a provincial deputation, and a provincial committee.
The governor was appointed and removed by the Governor-General
and received a salary of from $4,000 to $8,000 in Spanish gold, accord-
ing as the province was first, second, or third class.
The provincial deputation was composed of deputies elected for four
years by the qualified voters of the municipalities. The number of
deputies depended on the number of electoral districts in the province
as determined by the provincial deputation, and approved by the Gov-
ernor-General. In the same way the judicial districts of the province
were allowed to elect twelve deputies, more or less, depending on
whether the number of deputies elected by the municipalities exceeded
or was less than twenty. The deputies served without pay.
The provincial committee and its vice-president were appointed by
the Governor-General from among the members of the deputation and
consisted of five deputies who received a salary of from $1,200 to
CITY OF PINAR DEL RIO.
$2,000 a year in Spanish gold, according to the classification of the
province. The deputation met in regular session in November and
April and held such extra sessions as were necessary. The permanent
committee represented the deputation when not in session, and acted as
an advisory body to the governor in respect to matters which the laws
did not impose on the deputation.
The governor of the province, as the representative of the Governor-
General, presided over the deputation and permanent committee and
acted as the chief executive of the province in all matters. It was his
duty to inspect the councils and the municipalities, informing the
Governor-General of all cases of negligence or disaffection. He had
supreme authority, subject, of course, to the Governor-General. He
was responsible for public order, and the military authorities of the
province were under his control.
The provincial deputation had charge generally of the public roads,
harbors, navigation and irrigation, and all kinds of public works of a
provincial character, the charitable institutions and those of instruc-
tion, fairs, expositions, etc., and the administration of the provincial
funds. The secretary, auditor, and treasurer of the deputation were
appointed by the governor of the province on the recommendation of
By a decree of 1892 Cuba was divided into three "Regions"
under the name of Habana, Matanzas, and Santiago de Cuba. The
first one comprised the provinces of Habana and Pinar del Rio, the
second Matanzas and Santa Clara, and the third one Santiago de Cuba
and Puerto Principe. The "Regions" were under regional governors,
who resided in Habana, Matanzas, and Santiago cities, respectively,
and were at the same time civil governors of the provinces. The
provinces of Pinar del Rio, Santa Clara, and Puerto Principe also had
civil governors who were under the authority of the governors of the
The regional governors had a consulting cabinet called "'Consejo
Regional," composed of five members appointed by the Governor-
General of the island, on the nomination of the regional governors.
The civil governors of the provinces of Pinar del Rio, Santa Clara,
and Puerto Principe had the same authority they had prior to the
establishment of the regions.
It is said that the regions were formed for the purpose of decen-
tralizing the administration of the island, which had always been car-
ried on in Habana, but this result did not follow, and the change only
served, apparently, to introduce further complications.
Valasquez and his successors to the time of Dc Soto, 1538, were
lieutenant-governors, with limited power exercised under the super-
vision of the governor and audiencia of Santo Domingo. De Soto was
52 REPORT ON THE CENSUS OF CUBA, 1899.
the first Governor-General, and had nine successors with that title to
1581, when Gabriel de Lujan was appointed Captain-General. This
title was continued to the end of the Spanish control, a period of four
hundred and six years.
While the Governor-General, as the representative of the Crown,
was the civil, military, and political head of Cuba, and as a matter of
fact exercised the highest prerogatives of government, his authority
in reference to disbursements was limited by the direct appointment
of the Crown of the officers intrusted with the collection of the reve-
nues. He was also under the jurisdiction of the audiencia of Santo
Domingo, which had authority, on complaint, to examine into his acts,
to suspend him and other officials from office, and to make provisional
appointments subject to the decision of the supreme court of Spain on
appeal. In 1795 the audien cia of Santo Domingo was transferred to the
province of Puerto Principe, when that island was ceded to France.
Up to 1556 the Governors were frequently appointed from civil life,
but the military needs of the island, occasioned by the attacks of buc-
caneers and privateers, suggested a modification. This was made grad-
ually, the office of Governor-General being held by both soldiers and
civilians until the year 1716. From that date to 1898 the Governor-
General was a general officer of high rank in the Spanish army, in
whom were united all civil and military powers.
No change of importance appears to have taken place in the insular
government of Cuba until 1812, when Spain became a constitutional
monarchy and so remained until 1814, when it was abrogated by Ferdi-
nand. This brief period of constitutional government was not without
liberalizing influences in Cuba, and a division was made between the
civil and the military powers of the Governor-General. With the
abrogation of the constitution of 1812 the Governors of Cuba resumed
their former prerogatives and the system of centralization, character-
istic of the government, was fully reestablished.
By the revolution of 1820 the constitution of 1812 was again reestab-
lished in Spain, but was set aside in 1823.
By a royal decree of May 28, 1825, "all the powers conceded to the
governors of cities in a state of siege" were conferred on the Gov-
ernor-General. This decree was never revoked, and conferred des-
potic powers on the Governor-General.
In 1836 the constitution of 1812 was restored, but its provisions
were not extended to Cuba, which was to be governed under a special
system of decrees, orders, etc.
Associated with the Governor-General and forming part of the pub-
lic administration of the island were certain special corporations and
boards, as of public works, health, charity, and public instruction. By
a royal decree of August 17, 1854, the active administrative functions
of these boards, etc., were vested in the Governor-General, and they
CITY OF PUERTO PRINCIPLE.
were declared to be consultative councils of the Governor." In 1881
the constitution of 1876 was extended to Cuba, which regulated in some
measure the powers conferred on the Governor-General by the decree
By the law of March 15, 1895, the government and civil administra-
tion were reorganized and the Governor-General given a council of
administration consisting of 30 councilors, 15 of whom were appointed
by the Crown and 15 elected by voters having the right to vote for
members of the provincial assemblies, who were elected at the same
The term of office of councilor was four years, one-half of the
councilors going out every two years, and the office was declared to be
honorary and gratuitous.
While the council of administration was given authority to take the
initiative by resolution in respect to any matter pertaining to the
proper management of the island, and the Governor-General was
directed to carry out such resolutions, he had full authority to stay
their execution and to take such measures as he thought advisable, sub-
mitting the matter to the minister of the colonies. He had authority
to suspend the council of administration after hearing the council of
authorities, and any members without such hearing, provided there
were councilors enough left to form a quorum.
The council of authorities consisted of the Bishop of Habana or
the Archbishop of Santiago, the commander of the naval station, the
Military Governor, the presiding judge of the supreme court of Hahana,
the attorney-general, the head of the department of finance, and the
director of local administration. This was a purely advisory council,
submitting its views in the form of resolutions, which were not bind-
ing on the Governor-General.
The law of 1895 made more liberal provisions for the government
of the provinces and municipalities and the election of mayors and
By a royal decree of November 25, 1897, Cuba was given an insular
parliament consisting of two chambers, which, with the Governor-
General, representing the mother country, constituted the government
of the island. The parliament was to consist of two bodies of equal
legislative powers, to be known as the chamber of representatives and
a council of administration, the latter of 35 members, 18 elected and
17 appointed by the Crown on nomination by the Governor-General.
The representatives were apportioned at the rate of one for every
25,000 inhabitants, and were chosen for five years. The Crown repre-
sentatives were appointed for life. The insular parliament was to
meet annually, and while given ample authority to legislate for the
island, the veto of the Governor-General enabled him to suspend the
publication and execution of the laws, etc., until Madrid could be
REPORT ON THE CENSUS OF CUBA, 1899.
The decree provided for a cabinet of five secretaries of department,
to wit: grace, justice, and interior; finance; public education, and public
works; posts and telegraphs; agriculture, industry and commerce.
The cabinet was inaugurated January 1, 1898. A modification of the
provincial and municipal government and a number of other measures
were contained in the decree, to which the reader is referred for a
more detailed account of its provisions. One of the most important
of these conferred on the insular government the framing of the
tariff, always a cause of grave economic disturbance while it had been
under the home government.
As the country was involved in war, the execution of this decree
was not carried out except as to the organization of the parliament
and cabinet, and possibly in some of its minor prescriptions. The
chambers were inaugurated in May and dissolved by Captain-General
Blanco in October. The cabinet was abolished shortly before Ameri-
can occupation, and the autonomous government came to an end.
On the withdrawal of Spain the government of the island devolved
on the Army of the United States under the laws of war, and Maj.
Gen. John R. Brooke was appointed Military Governor. He entered
on his duties January 1, 1899, and in order- to acquaint the people of
the island with the intentions of the President as Commander in Chief
of the Army, issued the following proclamation:
To the People of Cuba:
Coming among you as the representative of the President, in furtherance and in
continuation of the humane purpose with which my country interfered to put an end
to the distressing condition in this island, I deem it proper to say that the object of
the present government is to give protection to the people, security to person and
property, to restore confidence, to encourage the people to resume the pursuits of
peace, to build up waste plantations, to resume commercial traffic, and to afford full
protection in the exercise of all civil and religious rights.
To this end the protection of the United States Government will be directed, and
every possible provision made to carry out these objects through the channels of
civil administration, although under military control, in the interest and for the
benefit of all the people of Cuba, and those possessed of rights and property in the
The civil and criminal code which prevailed prior to the relinquishment of Span-
ish sovereignty will remain in force, with such modifications and changes as may
from time to time he found necessary in the interest of good government.
The people of Cuba, without regard to previous affiliations, are invited and urged
to cooperate in these objects by the exercise of moderation, conciliation, and good
will one toward another; and a hearty accord in our humanitarian purposes will
insure kind and beneficent government.
The military governor of the island will always he pleased to confer with those
who may desire to consult him on matters of public interest.
On January 11 he revised the cabinet, vesting the administration of
the civil government in a department of state and government, depart-
ment of finance, department of justice and public Instruction, and
department of agriculture, commerce, industries, and public works.
CITY OF SANTA CLARA
Many changes, having in view the better administration of the govern-
ment, were made by General Brooke and his successor, General
Wood, but the scope of this report will not permit a detailed account
of them. The object has been gradually to confer on the Cubans full
civil rights, together with all the powers of local self-government-
municipal, provincial, and insular-and to do this as rapidly as local
conditions and the serious international obligations to protect life and
property in the island, assumed by the United States under the treaty
of Paris, will permit.
REPRESENTATION OF CUBA IN THE SPANISH CORTES.
By a royal decree of 1810 Cuba was given representation in the
Cortes. Two deputies were sent, one each from Habana and Santiago,
who took part in framing the Spanish constitution of 1812. With
the abrogation of this constitution in 1814 the representation ceased,
but was reestablished in 1820. It ceased again in 1823 and there was
no representation in the Cortes until 1834, when, under a royal statute
of that year, representatives were again admitted.
By a royal decree of 1837, however, a resolution of the Cortes of
1836 was published, which provided that the provinces in America
and Asia be governed and administered under laws especially adapted
to them and that they cease to be represented in the Cortes.
The electoral laws of 1877-1879 again gave Cuba representation in
the Cortes, in the proportion of 1 deputy for every 50,000 people.
Under the electoral law of 1892 Cuba sent 13 senators and 30 repre-
sentatives to the Spanish Cortes, hut, as a majority of the deputies
were Spaniards, the native Cubans felt that they were never fairly
A republic has been twice proclaimed in Cuba by revolutionists,
viz, during the ten years' war and again in 1895, but these govern-
ments proved to be provisional and expired with the revolutions
which produced them.
Intimately connected with the government of Cuba was the judi-
ciary, and as no account of administration under Spain would be
complete without some reference to the courts, a brief outline is pre-
At the date of American occupation the jurisdiction of the Spanish
Government over court officials was exercised through the department
of graoe and justice, which, by the military decree of January 11,
1899, became the department of justice and public instruction, and by
a decree of January 1, 1900, the department of justice. The duties
REPORT ON THE CENSUS OF CUBA, 1899.
which devolve on the department of justice are those which usually
pertain to such departments, but in Cuba it has also supervision
over the registers of property and notaries public, to which reference
will be made further on.
The courts of Cuba were essentially insular, the judges being
appointed either directly by the Government or indirectly through
its officials, and were of four classes or kinds, viz, municipal judges,
judges of first instance and instruction, criminal audiencias, and terri
trial audiencias. The last named were reduced to three by a decree
of June 15, 1899, giving all the audiencias the same civil and criminal
jurisdiction. The municipal judges were distributed to the municipal
districts, one or more in each, and were appointed by the presiding
judges or presidents of the audiencias from among three persons
nominated by the judges of first instance of the judicial districts;
they held office for two years. At the same time a substitute was
appointed, who performed the duties when from sickness or other
cause the regular judge could not officiate.
The municipal judges receive no salary or allowances and theii serv-
ices are requited by fees, paid according to regular schedule.
They had and still have civil jurisdiction over all suits not involving
more than $200, and of suits to effect settlements without trial; they
take cognizance in first instance of cases involving the challenge of
other municipal judges; they appoint the family council for the care
of minors or'incapacitated persons and commence the investigation of
all cases of emergency requiring an immediate decision by a judge of
first instance, when the latter is not available, to whom the record is
sent for a continuance. In criminal cases they have jurisdiction over
all misdemeanors where the penalty imposed does not exceed thirty
days' confinement or a fine of 325 pesetas. They make the prelimi-
nary investigation into all kinds of crimes, if urgent, and the judge of
instruction is not present. The municipal judges also keep the civil
registers of births, deaths, and marriages. Each municipal court has
a public prosecutor (fiscal), and a substitute prosecutor, who are
appointed by the fiscal of the territorial audiencias; a secretary
appointed by the judge of first instance and instruction; and a bailiff
or constable. All officials of the court were paid from court fees,
according to schedule.
The judges of first instance and instruction are located at the seat of
the judicial districts to which they are appointed, and there are as many
judges as districts (see "Government"). They are appointed by the
Governor-General and when unable to perform their duties are substi-
tuted by one of the municipal judges in the district. They are paid
according to their classification, those in Habana receiving $4,500 per
annum, those in the cities of Puerto Principe and Santiago de Cuba
$2,750, those of Matanzas, Cardenas, Pinar del Rio, Guanajay, Santa
SANTIAGO DE CUBA.
Clara, Cienfuegos, and Sagua la Grande, $2,250, and those of Bejucal,
Guanabacoa, Guines, Jaruco, Marianao, San Antonio de los Banos,
Marin, Alfonso XII, Colon, Guane, San Cristobal, San Juan de los
Remedios, Sancti Spiritus, Trinidad, Baracoa, Bayamo, Guantanamo,
Holguin, and Manzanillo, $1,875 per annum.
The judges of first instance have original civil jurisdiction in all
cases where the amount involved exceeds $200, and appellate jurisdic-
tion from the municipal courts; they decide questions of competency
arising between municipal judges of the same judicial district, take
cognizance, in first instance, when the competency of other judges of
first instance is in question, and of appeals in similar cases of munici-
pal judges; they hear cases in bankruptcy and for the discharge of
such commissions or other duties as may be devolved on them by
superior courts or of courts of the same category of other judicial
The other officials of a court of first instance are one secretary, four
court or record clerks (escribanos), one physician, and two bailiffs or
constables. The secretaries are appointed by the judges of first
instance, while the clerks are appointed by the government on the
recommendation in ternary of the audiencias. The secretaries and
clerks are paid 'from fees according to a schedule established by the
government and collected from litigants.
Prior to American occupation there were three criminal audiencias
and three territorial audiencias. The criminal audiencias were located
in Pinar del Rio, Santa Clara, and Puerto Principe, and each was com-
posed of a presiding judge and two associate justices. They were
appointed by the Governor-General and paid as follows: Presiding
judge $4,280 per annum; associates, $3,500. These courts had original
and exclusive jurisdiction over all crimes committed in the island from
chicken stealing to murder, until the establishment by General Wood
of the special criminal court (Juzgado de Guardia) of Habana, by a
decree of February 1, 1900, a brief account of which will be given
later. The criminal audiencias had no civil jurisdiction.
The other officials of the criminal audiencias were one public prose-
cutor (fiscal) one deputy prosecutor, one secretary, one assistant secre-
tary, and two clerks.
Territorial audiencias were established in the provinces of Habana,
Matanzas, and Santiago, and had criminal jurisdiction in the provinces
where located, and civil jurisdiction in the territory assigned them;
thus, the audiencia of Habana had criminal jurisdiction in that prov-
ince and civil jurisdiction over Pinar del Rio and Habana; the terri-
torial audiencia of Matanzas had criminal jurisdiction over that
province and civil jurisdiction over Matanzas and Santa Clara; the
territorial audiencia of Santiago had criminal jurisdiction over the
province of Santiago and civil jurisdiction over Santiago and Puerto
REPORT ON THE CENSUS OF CUBA, 1899.
Principe. Thus the territorial audiencias had a criminal chamber and
a civil chamber or sala. The judges were appointed by the Governor-
General in council with the secretaries. The presiding judges of the
audiencia of Habana received a salary of $5,750; the nine associate
judges $5,000; the other court officials were the same as for the crim-
inal audiencias with the addition of an assistant deputy fiscal or public
By a decree of June 15, 1899, civil and criminal jurisdiction was
conferred on the six audiencias within the provinces where established.
Certain administrative functions and duties were also imposed on them,
and the fees which were formerly paid to the secretaries of audiencias
in stamped paper of the state were also suppressed.
Other court officials under the laws of Spain were the solicitors, who
represented contending parties in civil and criminal causes. Formerly
the office of solicitor was sold as a source of revenue to those who
paid the highest price, the insular government agreeing not to
increase the number of such officials. Their intervention in lawsuits
and practically in all legal proceedings was made obligatory, and the
monopoly of their duties was left to a certain number in each town in
consideration of the price paid for the office. Other officials, although
not judicial, were the notaries, who were authorized'to certify to con-
tracts and other extra-judicial instruments in accordance with the
notarial law of 1862. Solicitors are now appointed by the secretary
of justice and their employment is no longer compulsory.
While attorneys are not, properly speaking, court officials, they had
this character in Cuba because the laws made their intervention in a
large majority of cases indispensable as counsel for the parties to civil
and criminal suits. As a result, the qualification of the attorneys are
regulated by the state, the diplomas being issued by the Governor-
General after an examination by boards of the university in the fol-
lowing subjects: Philosophy and law, metaphysics, general and
Spanish literature, Spanish history, political economy, natural law,
Roman law, canonical law, political law, penal law, civil law, adminis-
trative law, public treasury, history of Spanish law, law of civil and
criminal procedure, and international law, public and private.
In all towns where there is a territorial audiencia there is a college
of lawyers for the equitable distribution of offices, and to preserve
order and discipline among the lawyers of the territory of the audi-
Other officials connected with the administration of real property
are the registers of property, classified, according to the importance of
the locality in which they reside, as first, second, and third class.
They are appointed by the Government and are required to give bond
for the faithful performance of their duties; they charge the fees pre-
scribed by law. It is the duty of registers to make a record of all
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CITY AND HARBOR OF CIENFUEGOS.
acts and contracts, mortgages, etc., transferring, encumbering, or limit-
ing the ownership or administration of real estate or property rights
or contracts; constituting, altering, or dissolving commercial associ-
ations, and transfers of vessels. They can not be removed or trans-
ferred against their will except by judicial decision. They are
entitled to a pension when, on account of their age or physical incapac-
ity, they are prevented from performing the duties of their office, and
this pension passes to the widow and children.
Such, in brief, is an outline of the Spanish courts as they were con-
stituted on the 1st of January, 1899; and while the composition of the
courts and the codes of law were no doubt sufficient for the needs of
the island, the judiciary, as the creation of the government and exist-
ing at its pleasure, had but little independence, and the administration
of the courts was characterized by arbitrary arrests, the ncomnunni-
cado, exorbitant fees to court officials in both civil and criminal trials,
and not infrequently by corrupt and dishonest practices. As a rule,
the judiciary was monopolized by Spaniards, and no Cuban could hope
for appointment to the bench, and a speedy and impartial trial where
Cubans were concerned was quite unusual. Many of the prisoners
found in the jails of the island at the time of American occupation had
been in confinement without trial for years, and of those who had been
tried only a few were serving sentence, although in some instances
years had elapsed since their appearance in court.
If the impartial and speedy administration of justice is a reliable
indication of good government, then it must be confessed that the
government of Cuba lacked that attribute.
As a result of the withdrawal of Spain from Cuba a supreme court
was established by a decree of General Brooke, April 14, 1899, to hear
cases and appeals which under Spanish rule would have been sent to
Spain for decision.
The court has its seat in Habana, and is composed of a president or
chief justice, 6 associate justices, 1 fiscal or prosecuting attorney, 2
assistant fiscal 1 secretary, 2 deputy clerks, and other subordinate
Another court, established by General Ludlow, military governor
of Habana, January 6, 1899, was the police or correctional court of
Habana. In his report to the Military Governor of the island, June
10, explaining his action, General Ludlow writes:
Article 220 of the municipal police laws of Habana provides that the imposition of
fines for violation of city ordinances is within the "exclusive jurisdiction" of the
city government, the mayor, the assistant mayors, and the deputies and inspectors
of the municipal service.
During the period when the organization of the police and the regulation of the
other city business were in progress, and numerous arrests were made for misde-
meanors, usually of a minor character, drunkenness and the like, largely by Ameri-
cans, soldiers and civilians, I designated an officer of my staff as a supervisor of
60 REPORT ON THE CENSUS OF CUBA, 1899.
police, giving him certain discretionary authority with reference to the police force
and its methods and the due carrying out of its executive and disciplinary purposes.
Owing to the lack of proper accommodation for transient prisoners, and with the
view to expedite the administration of justice, the supervisor of police held at the
Vivac a trial court for sifting out the police cases and summarily disposing of such
as did not require the action of the municipal judges for criminal offenses.
For this purpose, after hearing the evidence in each case, fines were imposed or
alternatively continuance of detention, at the rate of a day's detention for an unpaid
dollar fine, this procedure being in conformity with the methods of the American
police courts, and practically also with the municipal laws of Habana, though by a
less roundabout and dilatory process.
The procedures have proved to answer their purpose admirably, and are recog-
nized as both advantageous and effective; so much so that it has been urged to make
the practice a general and permanent one in the disposition of police cases.
Certain criticisms have come from two sources, viz: Those who for personal
reasons objected to the enforcement of penalties for infractions of municipal laws,
and from certain professional sources which found their fees diminished by the
prompt and equitable disposition of police cases. These contentions, however, repre-
sent personal and pecuniary interests only, and are opposed to the public interests,
which call for prompt action in police cases.
I therefore commend to the consideration of the division commander the drafting
of a decree which shall provide formally for the establishment of police courts in
Habana or elsewhere, in such numbers and with such stipulations as shall be con-
sidered expedient for the summary and effective disposal of police arrests, substan-
tially as now practiced in the United States.
While the action taken by General Ludlow does not appear to have
received the formal approval of General Brooke, the court was con-
tinued as organized, and under the administration of Maj. W. L.
Pitcher, Eighth Infantry, who succeeded Major Evans as supervisor
of police, has proved of inestimable value in restraining and punishing
the disorderly element in Habana. Recognizing its value, General
Wood, on April 10, formally continued it in a decree of that date, and
gave it jurisdiction over all offenses known as faltas (light crimes),
and all minor breaches of the peace; the trial and punishment of
authors and publishers of all immoral or obscene literature, or false,
malicious, or scandalous statements, whether printed or oral, tending
to injure reputation or the professional, official, or private standing
in the community; the punishments to be imposed not to exceed $30
fine or thirty days in jail, or both, and the court to have authority to
issue warrants, search warrants, and subpoenas; the trials to be oral
By a decree of April 14, the organization of the police court was
modified so that all trials except for libel and scandal are conducted by
a single presiding judge designated by the military governor, and all
other trials, when from the nature of the offense a greater penalty
than $10 fine and ten days' imprisonment should be imposed, are con-
ducted by the full court, consisting of the presiding judge and two
associate judges selected by lot from the municipal judges of Habana.
This system of police courts has been applied recently to the whole
island, and is said to be a great improvement over the magistrate's
courts, which have been suppressed in all but the chief towns of muni-
cipal districts. The municipal and police judges are now elected.
In addition to the establishment of these courts, other changes have
been made and more are contemplated, having in view an administra-
tion of the courts more in accordance with American ideas of justice
than those prevailing in Cuba heretofore. The main difficulty in the
way is the Spanish law of procedure and the entire absence of remedial
writs, which, like the writs of habeas corpus, certiorari, etc., are relied
on in this country as a protection to personal liberty and against
various kinds of injustice. These beneficent changes will no doubt
follow if they do not precede the establishment of free government,
toward which steady progress is being made.
FORM OF SCHEDULE AND METHOD OF TABULATION.
If the population schedule adopted for the Cuban census be com-
pared with the schedule of the Eleventh Census of the United States,
it will be found that, while in general design they are the same, they
differ in respect to the number of inquiries, and that the latter is the
more comprehensive of the two. This is quite natural, and results
from the complex and diverse condition of the population of the United
States, in which a more extensive investigation is necessary to deter-
mine the state of the population than in Cuba, where the industries
of the people are quite limited and a very large majority of the popu-
lation is native.
Census of the island of Cuba taken under the direction of the United States.-1899.
Supervisor's district, No. SCHEDULE NO. 1.-POPULATION.
District of enumeration, No. --
Inhabitants in [insert the name of the municipal district.]: Municipal district ; Ward-
Name of the city or town included in the civil division indicated Institution -
Enumerated by me on the day of 1899. Enumerator.
Situation. Relation Personaldescrip- Nativity. Citizenship. Occupation. Instruction.
Incities.O jC 1i ri-
V -_2. 1 m n-
Province -- Sheet
Judicial district No- .
Source Disposition Latrine
Swater of Latrine
used. garbage. system.
16 17 18 o
c .* 1
CITY OF TRINIDAD.
To present the information contained in the schedules in a satisfactory
way, it was decided that complicated tables would be necessary; that
to save time, which was important, the tabulation should be done by
machine, and not by the old hand-tally system.
As the electric tabulating machines, invented by Mr. Herman Hol-
lerith, had been successfully used in tabulating the Eleventh Census
of the United States, and were to be used again in the Twelfth, and as
his system was known to be accurate and expeditious, it was adopted.
The operation is described by Mr. Hollerith as follows:
"The population of each enumeration district was first established
by a so-called 'rough count;' that is, the number of persons recorded
on each schedule were counted by two clerks independent of each other,
and where such counts disagreed, a third, or even a fourth, count was
made to determine the correct population of each enumeration district.
"The detailed tables were then prepared by means of the electric tab-
ulating system. For this purpose all the necessary data relating to
each person were expressed by means of holes punched in certain places
in a card by means of the key-board punch.
Iattern of the card.
1 2 3 4 X X 1 2 B V 0 1 2 3 S Cu (i It Af
5 6 7 8 w .1 : 1 N H 4 5 10 1 : IPR Esp I't Ast
1 2 3 4 B 1 6 M IS 20 21 25 30 I1 WI Ing Si (lC Esp
5 6 7 8 2 3 7 S Ch 35 40 45 50W vi V SA Ir Nr JTp ( C
1 2 3 4 1 .5 9 10 Jp GO i5 70 75 80 'll CA Sc Di OC Sus
5 6 7 8 6 7 11 16 In 15 9095100UI Mx Al OE Ex
1 2 3 4 21 g a EU Fr 1nt
5 6 7 S Po X > 50 15 10 NGC L F A
1 2 3 4 PIo 'iMI Ac Si SN SS S 6 1 ;16 11 6 1 M G H
5 6 78 In Pt Alj No 0 NN d 72 17 12 7 2 N H C
12 3 4 i Sq R 4 2 e 83 18 13 8 3 O I D
56 7 8 X X X 6 f 94 *14 9 4 P K E
"If the record related to a white person, B--standing for blanco
(white)-was punched, while N was punched for a negro, or M for
mixed, Ch for Chinese, etc. For males, V was punched, and H for
females. The age was recorded by punching 0 for less than 1 year, 1,
2, 3, or 4 for the respective years, 5 for the group 5-9, etc. Conjugal
REPORT ON THE CENSUS OF CUBA, 1899.
condition was recorded in the next field or division of the card. Birth-
place was recorded by punching in another division of the card, Cu
for Cuba, P. R. for Porto Rico, Esp. for Spain, It. for Italy, OC for
other countries, etc. Citizenship was similarly recorded. For each
occupation, two holes were punched according to the number assigned
to the given occupation in the corresponding classification of occupa-
tion, NG being punched for those without gainful occupation. Liter-
acy, school attendance, education, and the sanitary condition of the
dwellings, size of families, etc., were similarly recorded by punching
in the respective divisions of the card.
"At the extreme left a space of four rows of twelve holes was used
to record the province, municipal and enumeration district to which
the card related. This combination of holes would, of course, be the
same for all the cards of a given district, and was done by means of
the "gang punch."
"In addition, each card was provided with a double number, one
number indicating the sheet of the particular enumeration district on
which the record of the corresponding person could be found, and the
other indicating the particular line or person to which the card related.
By means of the gang-punched holes and these numbers any one of
the million and a half cards corresponding to the population of Cuba
could be identified and the correctness of the punching verified.
"The punched cards were then passed through the electric tabulating
machines. In this machine a series of electro-magnetically operated
counters are arranged, according to the tables it is desired to com-
pile, in electric connection with a circuit-closing device, the circuits
through which are controlled by the holes in the punched record card,
which is placed on the bedplate of such circuit-closing device.
"The cards relating to a given enumeration district were fed one by
one into the tabulating machine, which recorded the number of native
white males, foreign white males, colored males, native white females,
the number born in Cuba, in Spain, how many less than 5 years of
age, 5 to 9 years of age, etc. The sum of the details of each group
of facts should equal the total number of cards tabulated, and, of
course, should be equal to the population of the enumeration district
as established by the rough count, thus providing a third check on the
accuracy of the count.
"At the same time that a card operates the counters it opens one
compartment of the sorting box, into which it is placed when removed
from the circuit-closing device. The object of such sorting is to
arrange the cards to facilitate subsequent tabulation by means of
which the more detailed tables were obtained.
By thus tabulating first one group of data and then another with
intermediate sorting or arranging of the cards the various tables were
CITY OF SANCTI SPIRITUb
The tabulation of the population was commenced February 2 and
completed July 5, an unparalleled record of speedy work. Its celerity
is fully equaled by its accuracy, as the application of numerous tests
The population of Cuba at the date of its discovery has been vari-
ously estimated at between 200,000 and 1,000,000 Indians. The latter
is the estimate of Bishop Las Casas, who visited their villages and was
always their friend and protector.
The natives were found living contentedly under nine independent
chiefs, whose government was of the simplest character, their orders
being received as law. The natives are described by Columbus, Las
Casas, and Peter Martyr as of a gentle and friendly disposition, having
a simple religious belief, and, unlike the natives of some other West
India Islands, not addicted to cannibalism. In physique they were
rather slight, with pleasant faces; they had excellent nets, fishhooks,
and fishing tackle, and lived mainly on fish, Indian corn, and fruit.
Their huts were well built, and were made of the bark and leaves of
the palm, as those of poor Cubans now are; they were not arranged
in village streets, but scattered about irregularly, very much as shown
in the picture of the village of Dimas, Province of Pinar del Rio,
opposite page 68.
They cultivated cotton, Indian corn, the potato, tobacco, the pine-
apple, and manioc, all of which were indigenous, and had a rude pottery
and some stone weapons, but no domesticated animals except the dog.
Other domestic animals, as also the orange, the lemon, and the sugar
cane, were introduced afterwards by the Spaniards.
The disappearance of the Indians, whatever their number, has been
attributed to the combats and massacres which occurred during the
exploration and pacification of the island by Velasquez, and thereafter
to unaccustomed occupations, privations, disease, executions resulting
from religious fanaticism, and slavery, both foreign and domestic. In
the colonies the latter took the form of repartimimetos and encomicndis,1
which, commencing with grants of land and the temporary possession
of the Indians for work on the plantations and in the mines, ended
finally in the slavery of the entire native population.
For a full description of Indian slavery under this system, and its
effect on the population, the reader is referred to the history of
'A repartimento was a grant of land, which carried with it the right to the labor of
the Indians occupying it or living within a short distance of it, at first for cultivating
the soil. This privilege was subsequently extended so that the Indians could be used
in any kind of labor.
An encomienda was practically a grant of Indians, ifrespective of the land. At
first the grant expired with the grantee. It was subsequently extended through two
or three lives, and in effect, became perpetual. As a result the Indians were slaves.
REPORT ON THE CENSUS OF CUBA, 1899.
"Spanish Conquest in America," by Sir Arthur Helps, the "History
of the Indies," by Las Casas, and to the "Discovery of America," by
Prof. John Fiske. These authorities agree in ascribing the disappear-
ance of the Indians largely to the profligate waste of native life by the
colonists through.all forms of wanton cruelty, oppression, and neglect,
and the introduction of negro slavery as the direct consequence of it.
It is due the Spanish Government to record the fact that while at
first authorizing repartimientos, encomiendas, and the enslavement of
all Indians who were cannibals or taken in war, it later spared no
efforts to mitigate the horrors of Indian slavery, and finally to pre-
vent and abolish it. These measures were initiated and earnestly sup-
ported by the Dominican and Franciscan monks and by the church in
general. Through the efforts of Bishop Las Casas and other prelates
the laws of Burgos in 1512, and many orders and decrees were pro-
mulgated between the landing of Velasquez and the New Laws" of
Charles V, 1542, for the protection of the Indians. The latter pre-
scribed "that for no cause whatever, whether of war, rebellion, ran-
som, or in any other manner, should any Indian be made a slave."
But however well intended, these measures proved of little avail in
saving the Indians of Cuba, as at that time very few remained. It
was reported to the Queen in 1537 by the contadur of the island that
in 20 farms visited by him only 130 Indians were found, including
those which had been imported. In the neighboring island of San
Domingo at the date of its discovery there were, according to Las
Casas, about 3,000,000 Indians; according to the licentiate, Zuazo,
1,130,000. An average of these two estimates is probably more exact.
When the treasurer, Pasamonte, came to San Domingo in 1508 there
were 70,000, and when Don Diego Columbus was appointed governor
of San Domingo in 1509, 40,000. According to Sir Arthur Helps the
number of Indians in San Domingo in 1514, as determined by a repar-
tition of the Indians made by Rodrigo Albuquerque, who was sent
there by the King for that purpose, was between thirteen and four-
teen thousand. By this repartition the Indians were practically
enslaved for life, as they were given for the lffe of the person to
whom Albuquerque made the repartimiento, and for the life of his
next heir, whether son or daughter. After this there were numbers
of repartitions or divisions of Indians among the Spaniards, resulting
in their rapid diminution, owing to changes of climate, changes of
occupation, and of masters, and the indifference of the latter to the
welfare of the Indians.
The difficulty about the enforcement of the laws and royal instruc-
tions and orders for the freedom and protection of the Indians appears
to have been their vague or ambiguous meaning, which enabled
unprincipled and rapacious officials to construe them as they wished,
and the fact that the Crown and-nearly all the officials of the govern-