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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 primitive dwelling. In the interior the forests are in large part made up of Cuban pine, which forms excellent lumber. Although a large proportion 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 hutia, 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 than 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.
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 apparentiy 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 province 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 discovered, 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 Batabanó 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.