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MEMORANDUM ON TERRITORIAL CHANGES SINCE 1861. A glance at two maps of Cuba, one published about the middle of this century and one of later date than 1878, shows at once two different sets of political subdivisions in the island. For a comparison of the census of 1861 with that of 1887 it is necessary, first of all, to determine as exactly as possible what relation the limits of the provinces, the largest political divisions of the island in 1887, bear to the much smaller distritos gubernativos existing in 1861. This is in order one may be sure that the statistics which are to be compared deal in every case with identical areas.
At the time of the census of 1861 Cuba was divided into two departments—the
departamento occidental and the departamento oriental. The former-the western department-was by far the larger, comprising fully two-thirds of the island and containing twenty-four distritos gubernativos. The eastern department contained but eight distritos gubernativos. The division into departments seems to have been a military one, and of little administrative importance.
By a royal decree in 1878 Cuba was divided into six provinces. These in turn were subdivided into judicial districts ( partidos judiciales), each of which was composed of one or more parishes (ayuntamientos). A Spanish authority” gives the following reasons for this change:
“The royal decree of June 9, 1878, promulgated by the minister for the provinces beyond the sea (ultramar), changed the political and administrative organization of the island of Cuba, making a division of her territory in harmony with her necessities and the growth of her material interests. The political disturbances in the island had produced the serious civil war, provoked by the enemies of Spanish domination in the Antilles. The war made necessary an organization essentially military, adjusted to the conditions required for strategy. This has now been continued for some years after the pacification of the country, until the minds of the people have been calmed, and the benefits of peace, fostering all classes of legitimate interests, have allowed the military activity to lessen and to yield to the civil power the initiative and influence belonging to it.
“By virtue of said royal decree the territory of the island of Cuba was divided into the following six provinces: Pinar del Rio, Habana, Matanzas, Santa Clara, Puerto Rico, and Santiago de Cuba, having at the head of each a civil governor, who is directly under the Governor-General of the island.”
It was not possible to find in the documents examined any specific statement in regard to the areas of the provinces established by the above decree of 1878. It therefore became desirable to ascertain what light the maps of Cuba could throw on the subject. Fortunately, there is in the Congressional Library a large collection of maps of the island, from among which were selected, as being the clearest and most authoritative, the large map of Cuba published in 1861 by J. H. Colton, New York, the small hand map published by the same firm in 1860, the large map of Cuba made by D. Gordon Gonzalez and published by La Propaganda Literaria in Habana, in 1861, and the large map published by the United States War Department in 1898. The Colton maps show better than any of the other maps in the Library the division into distritos gubernativos as they existed at the time of the census of 1861. The Gonzalez map of 1881 also gives them, but not clearly. No good map of date corresponding to the census of 1887 was to be found, and therefore a careful comparison of the Gonzalez map of 1881 was made with the United States War Department map of 1898. There are maps in the Library collection bearing dates between 1887 and 1898, but they are small and do not appear to be trustworthy. The United States War Department map of 1898 is not only the most recent, but it is far the best and most complete of all the maps of Cuba in the Library collection. One minor difference in the boundary lines of the provinces between the War Department map of 1898 and the Gonzalez map of 1881 will be explained in detail later in this report. Substantially, however, the boundaries of the provinces have remained unchanged since 1878.
A comparison of the various maps cited above shows that as a general rule the division lines between the provinces of 1887 and later coincide with the boundaries of the distritos of 1861. Thus Pinar de Rio province comprises the four distritos—Pinar del Rio, Bahia Honda, Guanajay or Mariel, and San Cristobal, its eastern boundary following the eastern boundaries of Guanajay and San Cristobal.
1 Spanish census of 1860.
There are, however, three exceptions to this general rule that province boundaries followed those of the earlier distritos.
The first of the exceptions relates to the municipal district of Guines. When the provinces were formed Guines was divided, the western part going to Habana province, the eastern to Matanzas. The territory transferred to Matanzas province comprised the ayuntamientos of Alfonso XII, Bolondron, and Union de Reyes, as given in the census of 1887. The dividing line as given in the Gonzalez map of 1881 varies somewhat from that in the United States War Department map of 1898. As most of the territory, the status of which is uncertain, is part of a great marsh (Cienaga de Zapata) the difference between the two maps does not materially affect the statistics of population. The population of the eastern portion of the old district of Guines—the part joined to Matanzas province-was mostly, in 1861, settled in the northern part, near a line of railroad running east and west and connecting the cities of Guines and Matanzas.
The second exception relates to the district of Sancti Spiritus. When the provinces were organized this district was divided, the division line following the courses of the Jatibonico del Norte and the Jatibonico del Sur rivers. The western part was assigned to the province of Santa Clara; and the eastern part, comprising the ayuntamientos of Moron and Ciego de Avila, was included in the province of Puerto Principe. In 1861 the teritory affected was well populated.
The third exception, one of slight importance, is a change of division line which occurs in but one map. In the War Department map of 1898 the southeastern boundary of Puerto Principe, separating it from Santiago de Cuba, varies slightly from that of all the other maps examined. It follows the Jobaba River to within a few miles of its mouth, then runs due west to the Sevilla River and down that to the coast. The other maps make the boundary line follow the Jobaba River down to the coast. This also was the boundary line of the district of Puerto Principe in 1861. There are no towns in the narrow strip of coast in question, and the variation can have no important bearing on the population statistics. In a comparison of the population statistics of 1861 with those of 1887 care should be taken to deduct the figures of the ayuntamientos of Alfonzo XII, Bolondron, and Union de Reyes from the total population of the nine districts, including Guines, which are now comprised in the province of Habana. The population of the ayuntamientos of Moron and Ciego de Avila should likewise be deducted from the total of the six districts, including Sancti Spiritus, which are now comprised in the province of Santa Clara.
In the light of the foregoing explanations and references, it becomes possible to estimate the population in 1861 of the areas included in each province under the royal decree of June 9, 1878. The population of Pinar del Rio and Santiago de Cuba in 1861 can be found by adding together the populations of four distritos gubernativos in the former case and eight in the latter. But for the other four provinces an adjustment is necessary. The population in 1887 of that part of Guines included in Matanzas province was 29,622. This, added to the population of Habana province in 1887 (451,928), gives 481,590 as the population at that time of Habana province plus the part of Guines in Matanzas. The population of that part of Guines was 6.1592 per cent of the total population, 481,590. Assuming that its population was in 1861 the same percentage of the total, the population of this part of Guines in 1861 may be estimated at 25,846. Subtracting this amount from the total population in 1861 of Habana province plus the part of Guines in Matanzas, we have 393,789 as the estimated population of Habana province in 1861.
The boundary line established in 1878 between Santa Clara and Puerto Principe provinces cuts across the district of Sancti Spiritus, and a similar method of estimating
This difference is probably due to an error in the War Department map. So we are informed by the Cuban supervisors.
the population of the part included in the province of Puerto Principe has been followed. This part had in 1887 a population of 16,848. The population of Santa Clara in that year was 354,122. The entire area coming nearest to Santa Clara in 1861 thus had a population in 1887 of 370,970. The part lying without the province of Santa Clara had a population in 1887 4.5416 per cent of the total. Assuming that its proportion of the total population in 1861 (viz, 284,218) was the same as in 1887, the population of that region in 1861 was 12,908. Subtracting this from 284,218, we have 271,310 as the estimated population of Santa Clara in 1861. Adding it to the population of the district of Puerto Principe, we have 85,702 as the estimated population of Puerto Principe in 1861.
On these assumptions the following table has been constructed:
Estimated population of the Cuban provinces in 1861, based on the results of the censuses
of 1861 and 1887.
The official Spanish publications giving the results of past censuses of Cuba are difficult to find either in libraries or in the book market. An order for them sent to Madrid was fruitless. A circular letter sent to the leading libraries in the United States was almost equally without result. The primary sources which were found available are as follows:
1. A copy of the census of 1841 in the Boston Athenæum Library, which was kindly lent to the Congressional Library for the purposes of this study.
2. A copy of the Spanish census of 1861 in the Congressional Library at Washington.
3. A MS. copy of the Spanish census of 1877, obtained from London through the courtesy of the Royal Statistical Society, in whose library the volume is contained.
4. A copy of the Spanish census of 1887, kindly lent by the Cornell University Library.
As these are all the primary sources which have been available, recourse was necessarily had to secondary authorities. A list of past censuses of Cuba and summary of results is contained in a footnote to the German periodical, Die Bevölkerung der Erde, Volume VII, page 80. This table was sent in manuscript to the editors of that journal by the statistical section of the department of agriculture of Habana. It agrees in substance with the table found on page 92 of Mr. Robert P. Porter's Industrial Cuba, but gives more detail, classifying population both by sex and race. Even these lists, however, lengthy as they are, do not include all the censuses mentioned in the secondary authorities. The following table has been compiled from various
1 Resumen del Censo de Poblacion de la Isla de Cuba a fin del año de 1841. Habana, 1842, pp. 70.
books, and gives in chronological order the alleged census population of Cuba and the authority therefor:
704, 487 Behm and Wagner,
Thrasher. 755, 695 Behm and Wagner. 1,007, 624 Official census.
898, 754 Behm and Wagner.
973, 742 Do.
984, 042 Behm and Wagner. 1,014, 185
Do. 1,110, 095 Do. 1, 129, 304 Do. 1, 199, 129 Do, 1.396,530 Official census. 1,396, 470 Behm and Wagner. 1,426, 475 Do. 1,370211 Delitsch. 1,399, 811 Behm and Wagner. 1,446, 372 Do. 1,521, 684 Official census. 1,424,649 Behm and Wagner. 1,631, 687 Official census. 1,572, 797 Do.
To one familiar with the labor and cost of taking a genuine census the very length of the preceding list is enough to arouse distrust. That 33 censuses should have been taken in the island of Cuba in a period of less than a century and a quarter is so unlikely as to raise a strong presumption against the claim of these figures to set forth the results of independent enumerations. The weight of the presumption increases when one notices that between 1841 and 1860 ten different returns are reported—that is, one about every two years.
To aid in determining the value of these figures a detailed analysis is submitted. They fall into two classes, those from official sources and those from secondary authorities. We pass over the first class and offer the following notes, gathered from various publications, upon the second class:
Census of 1768.-Humboldt says: “The earliest official enumerations of which I could learn during my stay at Habana were those made by order of the Marquis de la Torre in 1774 and 1775 and Don Luis de las Casas in 1791.” Several other authorities consulted—viz, Pezuela, D'Harponville, and Delitsch-speak of the census of 1774 as the first census of the island. Furthermore, the history of Cuba between the years 1768 and 1774 offers no explanation for the loss of over 30,000 people in the course of six years. Hence it seems probable that no census of Cuba was taken in 1768.
Census of 1774 or 1775.-Although in the passage just quoted Humboldt speaks of these as two separate enumerations, yet he explains the word “enumeration” by the Spanish phrase padrones y censos, and subsequently uses the word padron alone. As this word means some form of tax list or other registration rather than a census proper, it seems likely that the two different results were obtained by combina
1 A padron in the broadest sense is simply a roll or list. Its definition in the dictionary of the Spanish Royal Academy is “a catalogue or roll made to show by name the citizens or residents." The special meaning of the word padron is a register kept by each municipal district and containing the names, addresses, ages, and other details regarding the residents. This list was usually under the charge of the police