Gambar halaman
PDF
ePub

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 Vuelta 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 Principe 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 Matanzas, 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 great relief. Its surface is extremely broken with high, sharp mountain ranges, broad plateaus of considerable elevation, and deep valleyssome 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 numerous 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 valleys.

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, connected 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 vailey 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 estuaries. 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.

MINERAL RESOURCES.

The mineral resources of Cuba, so far as developed, are few in number and not of great importance. The principal product is iron ore,

[graphic][merged small]
« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »