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Ectent and Population.] The following table shows the extent and population of all the important islands.
Islands. Sq. Miles. Whites. Mulattoes and Total Pop.
Total. 105,000 450,000 1,600,000 2,050,000
Very few of the original inhabitants are now to be found. In Margarita there are about 2,000; in Trinidad 1200 ; in St. Vincent 500, and a few more are scattered over the other Caribbean islands.
Possessors.] Cuba and Porto Rico belong to Spain; St. Thomas, St. John and Santa Cruz to Denmark ; St. Martin, Saba, St. Eustatius and Curacoa to Netherlands; St Bartholomew, to Sweden; Guadaloupe, Deseada, Mariegalante and Martinico to France; and Margarta to Caraccas. The eastern part of Hispaniola helongs to Spain, and the western part is independent. The southwestern part of St. Vincent belongs to Great Britain, and the' northeastern part is independent. Jamaica, the Bahamas and all the other islands belong to Great Britain.
Religion.] A majority of the whites in these islands are Roman Catholics; all those "in Cuba, Hispaniola and Porto Rico are of this description, and a majority in all the islands settled by tbe Spaniards and the French. 4fl those settled by the Dutch, Indies, Swedes and English ihe Protestani religion is established. In the English islands the Wesleyan Methodists have been employed for some time with much success in instructing the slaves. In I81C there were 36 missionaries of this denominaiion. The Moravians had also, in 1816, 15 missionaries in ihe different islands.
Climate.] Edwards divides tbe West Indian year into four seaSons of very different length. The spring commences with the month of May. The first periodical rains set in about the middle of the month; they come from the south, commonly fall every clay about noon, and break up with thunder storms towards evening, creating a bright and beautiful verdure, and a rapid .>nd luxuriant vegetaiion. They continue about a fortnight, summer commences about the first of June. The weather is now dry and settled, and not a cloud ^s to be seen. The heat is insupportable in Ihe morning till about 10, when the sea breeze sets in and blows with great force and regularity from the S. E. till late in the evening. During its prevalence the climate in the shade becomes tolerable At this season the clearness and brilliancy of the heavens by night, and the serenity of the air produce the most calm and delightful sensations. About ihe middle of August the diurnal breeze begins to intermit, and the atmosphere becomes sultry and snffocating. During the remainder of the sun mer, which may be considered as lasting till the latter part of September, coolness and comfort are sought in vain; instead of a regular breeze from the sea, there are limit breezes and calms alternately. The rains commence in the beginning of October. The heavens pour down cataracts, and the earlh is deluged. These violent rains last through the greater part of Novcrm er. The hurricane season comprises the months of August, September, and October. About the first of December a considerable change is perceived in the temperature of the air, and ;i new season commences which lasts till the end of April. The weather is steadily serene and pleasant, and the temperature cool and delightful. This lasts till the mouth of May. and is to the sick and to the aged the climate of paradise. In the large islands there are some exceptions to these remarks.
Soil and Productions.]. The soil is in general very fertile. Sugar is the capital object of agricultural attention. The articlesnext in imporlance are cotton, indigo and coffee, and alter then* cacao, ginger, allspice, arnotto, aloes, pimento, cloves and cinnamon. Maize, yams and sweet potatoes arc also extensively raised in the field for home consumption.
I. GREATER ANTILLES.
Situation and Extent.'] Cuba is the largest and most western1 of the West India islands. It lies between 1»° 45' and 23° N. lat. and between 74° 2' and 85 W. Ion It is 700 miles long arid in the widest part 150 broad, and contains about 54.000 square miles. It is separated from the Bahama bank on the X. 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 Mavsi to cape San Antonio, dividing it into two parts. At the foot of these mountains the country opens into extensive meadow*.
Soil and Productions.] The soil is of great fertility and »he fields are always covered with flowers and odoriferous plant*. Sugar is the principal production. Coffee began to be planted in Cuba after the destruction of the coffee plantations in St. Dofalingo, and the amount raised in 1803 was 18 million pounds. Tobacco grows to great perfection; it is exported to Europe in leaf, snuff and cigars, and is held superior Io the tobacco of other parts of America. Numerous herds of cattle feed on the ettposive 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, sufficiently 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 niter at onre. It i« fortified through the whole distance with platforms, work9 and artillery. The mouth of this channel is secured by two strong raslles. The town is situated on the west 6ide of the entrance of the harbor, nnd is surrounded with ramparts, bastions and ditches. A square citadel is erected near the centre of the city, in which the trrasurr-s of the government are deposited. The shape of the town is semicircular, the diameter being formed by the shore. It contain" 11 churches all richly ornamented, several monasteries nnd convents, 'i hospitals and numerous, othrr public buildings. The
commerce of the town is more extensive than that of any other in 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 harbor defended by a castle. 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.
Bayaino 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 tue inland. San Carlo) de Matunzas, 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 44,328 slaves and 5 or 6,000 free negroes. la 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 1739 to 1303 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 Importance.] 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 Havana, which is the only neighboring port capable of receiving squadrons Accordingly, enormous sums have been expended in strengthening its fortifications.
3. HISPANIOLA 'OR ST- DOMINGO.
Situation and Extent ] Ilispaniola is situated between the islands of Jamaica and Cuba nji the west, and Porto Rico on the east, and extends from 17° 50' to 20° N. lat. and from CC° 35' io 74° 15' W. Ion. It is 390 miles long from E. to \V. and 160. in its greatest breadth, and contains about 30,00<- square miles.
Divisions.] The island was formerly divided between tbe. French and Spaniards; the French occupying the western and much the smallest division, and the Spaniards the eastern. In, 1791 an alarming insurrection broke out among the negroes in the French part of the island, which issued in the coorseof a fewyears in the complete expulsion of the French. The negroes declared themselves independent, and gave to their part of the islland the name of Hayti. Hayti was recently divided into two distinct governments under two rival chiefs, president Pction 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 Bays.] At the N. W. extremity of the island is cape St. Nicholas 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 most 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. direction 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 elevated chain of mountains called the Cibao mountains commences near cape St. Nicholas,and pursuing 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 at cape St. Marc. A chain in the N. E. called Monte Christi commences at the bay of the same name 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 *gricultural productions are sugar, coffee and cotton, which are raised in abundance and of a fine quality.