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I. GREATER ANTILLES.
Situation and Extent.] Cuba is the largest and most western of the West India islands. It lies between 19° 45' and 23° N. lat. and between 74° 2' and 85 W, lon. It is 700 miles long and in the widest part 150 broad, and contains about 54,000 square miles. It is separated from the Baham: bank on the N. E. by the old Bahama Channel, and from Hispaniola on the E. by the Windward Channel.
Capes aud Bays.] The most noted capes are cape San Antonio at the western extremity of the island; cape Maysi, in the east; and cape Cruz, in the south. The largest bay is that of Bayamo on the south side of the island. Xagua bay, on the same side of the island, but further to the N. W. is one of the best in the West Indies.
Face of the country.) A chain of mountains extends from east to west through the whole length of the island from cape Maysi to cape San Antonio, dividing it into two parts. At the foot of these mountains the country opens into extensive meadows.
Soil and Productions.] The soil is of great fertility and the fields are always covered with flowers and odoriferous plants. Sugar is the principal production. Coffee began to be planted in Cuba after the destruction of the coffee plantations in St. Domingo, and the amount raised in 1803 was 18 million pounds. Tobacco grows to great perfection; it is exported to Europe in Jeaf, snuff and cigars, and is held superior to the tobacco of other parts of America. Numerous herds of catile feed on the extensive meadows, and are hunted chiefly for their skins, 10 or 12,000 of which are annually exported. Honey and wax are also among the exports.
Chief towns.] Havana, the largest town; is on the N. side of the island, about 80 leagues from cape San Antonio. Its harbor is one of the best in the world, being deep enough for vessels of the largest class, sufficientiy capacious to receive a thousand ships of war, and so safe that vessels ride securely without cable or anchor. The entrance is by a channel half a mile long, and so narrow that only a single vessel can enter at once. It is fortified through the whole distance with platforms, works and artillery. The mouth of this channel is secured by two strong casties. The town is situated on the west side of the entrance of the harbor, and is surrounded with ramparts, bastions and ditches.
A square citadel is erected near the centre of the city, in which the treasures of the government are deposited. The shape of the town is semicircular, the diameter being formed by the shore. It contains 11 churches all richly ornamented, several monasteries and convenis, 2 hospitals and numerous other public buildings. The
commerce of the town is more extensive than that of any other jo Spanish America. The population is estimated at 70,000.
St. Jago de Cuba, on the south side of the island, near the eastern extremity, has a good barbor defended by a casile. It was formerly the capital of the island, but has now fallen into decay, and the commerce and goverment have been transferred to the Havana. Population between 30 and 40,000.
Bayamo or St. Salvador is on a river which falls into a large bay of the same name on the south coast. It contains 12,000 inhabitants. Villa del Principe, the seat of a royal audience, stands near the centre of the island. San Carlos de Matanzas, about 20 leagues E. of the Havana has a good port and 7,000 inhabitants.
Population and Religion.] The population of Cuba has greatly increased within the last 50 years. In 1774 it amounted only to 171,628, including 44,323 slaves and 5 or 6,000 free negroes. In 1804 there were 234,000 whites, 90,000 free blacks, and 108,000 slaves ; in all 432.000. The number of negroes imported into the island from 1789 to 1803 was more than 76,000. The religion is Roman Catholic. There are two bishoprics, one comprehending the eastern and the other the western half of the island.
Political linportance.] The Spanish goverment have laid it down as a principle that the dominion of the island of Cuba is essential to the preservation of New Spain. There being no harbor on the whole eastern coast of New Spain, that country is in a military dependence on the Hapana, which is the only peighboring port capable of receiving squadrons Accordingly, enormous sums have been expended in strengthening its fortilications.
2. HISPANIOLA OR ST. DOMINGO.
Situation and Extent ] Hispaniola is situated between the isl.. ands of Jamaica and Cuba on the west, and Porto Rico op the east, and extends from 17° 50' to 20° N. lat. and from 68° 35'to 74° 15' W. lon. It is 390 miles long from E. to W. and 160, in its greatest breadth, and contains about 30,000 square miles.
Divisions.] The island was formerly divided between the French and Spaniards; the French occupying the western and much the smallest division, and the Spaniards the eastein. In 1791 an alarming insurrection broke out among the negroes in the French part of the island, which issned in the course of a few years in the complete expulsion of the French. The negroes declared themselves independent, and gave to their part of the islland the name of Hayti. Hayri was recently divided into two distinct governments under two rival chiefs, president Petion and king Christophe, the former occupying the southwestern part of the island, and the latter the northwestern part. These chiefs
are now both dead, and the island has become the theatre of new revolutions
Capes and Buys.] At the N. W. extremity of the island is cape St. Nicholts or the Mole; in the N. E. old cape Francois or Cabo Viejo Francois; in the S. E. cape Engano; and in the S. W. cape Tiburon. On the eastern side of the island, between old cape Francois and cape Engano the most prominent points are cape Cabran, cape Samana, and cape Raphael. On the south side are cape Espada, a little S. W. of cape Engano; cape Mondon, the mo-southern point of the island, and point Abacou a little S. E. of cape Tiburon. On the western coast are cape Dame Maria, a little N of cape Tiburon, and cape St. Marc near lat. 19° N Point Isabella on the northern coast is the most northern extremity of the island.
Samana bay sets up at the E. end of the island between cape Samana on the N. and cape Raphael on the S. The Bite of Leogane is a very large bay at the west end of the island setting up between cape Maria on the S. and cape Nicholas on the N.
Rivers.] The river Yuna flows upwards of 70 miles through the beautiful and fertile valley of Vega Real in an E. S. E. direciion and falls into the bay of Samana. The Monte Christi heads near the Yuna and runs W. N. W. about the same distance to the bay of Monte Christi. The Ozama runs in a S. S. E. direction, and discharges itself just below the city of St. Domingo. Artibonite river rises near the centre of the island, and flowing west discharges itself into the Bite of Leogane a little N. of Cape St. Marc.
Face of the country.] An elerated chain of mountains called the Cibao mouniains commences near cape Si. Nicholas,and purstiing a S. E. direction across the island terminates near cape Espada. Three summits near the centre of the range are said to be about 6,000 feet above the level of the sea. A western spur from the principal range ends al cape St. Marc.. A chain in the N. E. called Monte Christi commences at the bay of the same pame and terminates at the bay of Samana. In the eastern part of the island are extensive plains or savannahs. Eastward from the city of St. Domingo they stretch out to the extent of 80 miles in length by 20 or 25 in breadth.
Soil and Productions ] The soil in general is well watered and fertile in the highest degree, producing every variety of useful vegetable. The plains alone, in the Spanish part of the island, according to Edwards, are capable of producing more sugar and other valuable commodities than all the British West Indies put together; and nothing is wanting to render these fertile districts a scene of successful cultivation, but a suitable degree of industry and enterprize among the Spanish colonists. They are sunk, however, into a state of such deplorable indolence that a great part of the country is merely a beautiful wilderness, occupied by immense herds of swine, horses and horned cattle. The principal agricultural productions are sugar, coffee and cotton, which are xaised is abundance and of a fine quality.
Climate.) The climate is moist and hot, i he thermometer in the plains rising as high as 99o, but on some of the highest mountains in the interior the heat is not oppressive, and a fire is even at times found necessary. Hurricanes are seldom experienced, The climate is frequently fatal to Europeans, particularly on the sea coast, and has proved a powerful ally to the blacks when they have been invaded.
Chief Towns.) Cape Henry, formerly Cape Francois, is on the N. side of the island, about 30 leagues E. of Cape St. Nicholas, on a promontory, at the edge of a large plain 60 miles long and 12 broad. Its harbor is one of the most secure and convenient in the whole island. Before the revolution it was the largest town in the French part of the island, containing between 800 and 900 houses of stone or brick, and 20,000 inhabitants. The plain on which the town is placed is well watered and highly cultivated.
Port au Prince is at the bottom of the Bite or large bay which sets up on the west side of the island. It has an excellent harbor, but the situation is low and marshy, and the climate unhealthy. To the cast of the town is the noble plain of Cul de Sac from 30 to 40 miles in length by nine in breadth, and containing numerous sugar plantations. Population 20,000.
St. Domingo, the capital of the Spanish part of the island, is on the west bank of Ozama river, and was formerly a flourishing city, but is now in a state of decline. The cathedral is a noble Gothic pile, in which the ashes of Columbus rested till 1796, when they were removed to the Havana. The harbor is large but not very secure. Population about 12,000.
The Mole is a port in the N. W. part of the island, 6 miles E. of Cape St. Nicholas. Though inferior in many respects to Cape Henry and Port au Prince, it is the safest harbor on the island in time of war, being strongly fortified both by nature and art. The situation is remarkably healthy.
Leogane, 30 miles W. by S. of Port au Prince in a beautiful valley half a league from the sea. was formerly a place of considerable commerce. St. Mark is a pleasant town, at the head of a small bay of the same name, 40 miles N W. of Port au Prince. Monte Christi on the N. coast, near a cape and island of the same name, in the Spanish part of the island, was formerly a noted resort of smugglers.
Population.] The French part of the island contained in 1789, according to the estimate of Edwards, 30,831 whites, 24,000 mulattoes, and 480,000 slaves ; in all, 534,831. The Spanish part contained in 1785, according to census, 152,640 ; in 1798, according to Alcedo 125,000, of whom 110,000 were free and 15,000 slaves. The population in both parts of the island is supposed to have declined within the last 30 years, and may now be estimated at 30,000 whites and 500,000 blacks.
Religion. The established religion in all parts of the island is the Roman Catholic; but the late king Christophe tolerated eyéry debomination in his dominions, and the instructors employed WEST
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