The Encyclopaedia Britannica states that "although the fact has been controverted, there cannot be a doubt that the knowledge of tobacco and its uses came to the rest of the world from America. As the continent was opened up and explored, it became evident that the consumption of tobacco, especially by smoking, was a universal and immemorial usage, in many cases bound up with the most significant and solemn tribal ceremonials." The name "tobacco" was originally the name of the appliance in which it was smoked and not of the plant itself, just as the term "chowder" comes from the vessel (chaudiere) in which the compound was prepared. The tobacco plant was first taken to Europe in 1558, by Francisco Fernandez, a physician who had been sent to Mexico by Philip II to investigate the products of that country. The English, however, appear to have been the first Europeans to adopt the smoking habit, and Sir Walter Raleigh was notable for his indulgence in the weed. He is said to have called for a solacing pipe just before his execution. Very soon after their arrival, in 1607, the Virginia settlers engaged in the cultivation of tobacco, and it soon became the most important commercial product of the colony. Smoking, as practiced in this country, appears to have been largely, and perhaps only, by means of pipes generally similar to those now in use. The contents of ancient Indian mounds, or tumuli, opened in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa, show the use of pipes by the aborigines probably centuries before the discoveries by Columbus. Many were elaborately carved in porphyry or some other hard stone, while others were made of baked clay. Others, many of them also elaborately carved and ornamented, have been found in Mexico. Roman antiquities show many pipes, but they do not show the use of tobacco. It is assumed that they were used for burning incense, or for smoking some aromatic herb or hemp.

The first knowledge of the use of the plant in Cuba was in November, 1492, when Columbus, on landing near Nuevitas, sent his messengers inland to greet the supposed ruler of a supposed great Asiatic empire. Washington Irving thus reports the story as it was told by Navarete, the Spanish historian. Referring to those messengers, he says: "They beheld several of the natives going about with firebrands in their hands, and certain dried herbs which they rolled up in a leaf, and lighting one end, put the other in their mouths, and continued exhaling and puffing out the smoke. A roll of this kind they called a tobacco, a name since transferred to the plant of which the rolls were made. The Spaniards, although prepared to meet with wonders, were struck with astonishment at this singular and apparently nauseous indulgence." A few years later, a different method was reported, by Columbus, as employed in Hispaniola. This consisted of inhaling the fumes of the leaf through a Y-shaped device applied to the nostrils. This operation is said to have produced intoxication and stupefaction, which appears to have been the desired result. The old name still continues in Cuba, and if a smoker wants a cigar, he will get it by calling for a "tobacco." The production of the plant is, next to sugar, Cuba's most important commercial industry. Its early history is only imperfectly known. There was probably very little commercial production during the 16th Century, for the reason that there was then no demand for it. The demand came in the first half of the 17th Century, and by the middle of that period tobacco was known and used in practically all civilized countries. The demand for it spread very rapidly, in spite of papal fulminations and penal enactments. For a time, in Russia, the noses of smokers were cut off. The early part of the 18th Century saw Cuba actively engaged in production and shipment. In 1717, Cuba's tobacco was made a monopoly of the Spanish Government. Under that system, production was regulated and prices were fixed by the agents of the government, in utter disregard of the welfare of the producers. As a result, several serious riots occurred. In 1723, a large number of planters refused to accept the terms offered by the officials, and destroyed the crops of those who did accept, a condition repeated in the State of Kentucky a few years ago, the only difference being that in the Cuban experience the monopolist was the Government, and in Kentucky it was a corporation. A few years later, in 1734, the Cuban monopoly was sold to Don Jose Tallapiedra who contracted to ship to Spain, annually, three million pounds of tobacco. The contract was afterward given to another, but control was resumed by the Crown, in 1760. Finally, in 1817, cultivation and trade were declared to be free, subject only to taxation.

In time, it became known that the choicest tobacco in the market came from the western end of Cuba, from the Province of Pinar del Rio. It was given a distinct name, Vuelta Abajo, a term variously translated but referring to the downward bend of the section of the island in which that grade is produced. Here is grown a tobacco that, thus far, has been impossible of production elsewhere. Many experiments have been tried, in Cuba and in other countries. Soils have been analyzed by chemists; seeds from the Vuelta Abajo have been planted; and localities have been sought where climatic conditions corresponded. No success has been attained. Nor is the crop of that region produced on an extensive scale, that is, the choicer leaf. Not all of the tobacco is of the finest grade, although most of it is of high quality. There are what may be called "patches" of ground, known to the experts, on which the best is produced, for reasons not yet clearly determined. The fact is well known, but the causes are somewhat mysterious. Nor does the plant of this region appear to be susceptible of improvement through any modern, scientific systems of cultivation. The quality deteriorates rather than improves as a result of artificial fertilizers. The people of the region, cultivating this special product through generation after generation, seem to have developed a peculiar instinct for its treatment. It is not impossible that a time may come when scientific soil selection, seed selection, special cultivation, irrigation, and other systems, singly or in combination, will make possible the production of a standardized high-grade leaf in much greater quantity than heretofore, but it seems little probable that anything so produced will excel or even equal the best produced by these expert vegueros by their indefinable but thorough knowledge of the minutest peculiarities of this peculiar plant. Thus far, it has not even been possible to produce it elsewhere in the island. It has been tried outside of the fairly defined area of its production, tried by men who knew it thoroughly within that area, tried from the same seed, from soils that seem quite the same. But all failed. Science may some day definitely locate the reasons, just as it may find the reason for deterioration in the quality of Cuban tobacco eastward from that area. The tobacco of Havana Province is excellent, but inferior to that of Pinar del Rio. The growth of Santa Clara Province is of good quality, but inferior to that of Havana Province, while the tobacco of eastern Cuba is little short of an offence to a discriminating taste.

Tobacco is grown from seeds, planted in specially prepared seed beds. Seeding is begun in the early autumn. When the young plant has attained a proper height, about eight or ten inches, it is removed to, and planted in, the field of its final growth. This preliminary process demands skill, knowledge, and careful attention equal, perhaps, to the requirements of the later stages. Experiments have been made with mechanical appliances, but most of the work is still done by hand, particularly in the area producing the better qualities of leaf. From the time of transplanting, it is watched with the greatest care. A constant battle is waged with weeds and insect life, and water must be brought if the season is too dry. If rains are excessive, as they sometimes are, the crop may be partly or wholly destroyed, as it was in the autumn of 1914. The plant matures in January, after four months of constant watchfulness and labor, in cultivation, pruning, and protection from worms and insects. When the leaves are properly ripened, the stalks are cut in sections, two leaves to a section. These are hung on poles and taken to the drying sheds where they are suspended for three or more weeks. The time of this process, and its results, depend upon moisture, temperature, and treatment. All this is again an operation demanding expert knowledge and constant care. When properly cured, the leaves are packed in bales of about 110 pounds each, and are then ready for the market. Because of the varying conditions under which the leaf is produced, from year to year, it is somewhat difficult to determine with any accuracy the increase in the industry. Broadly, the output appears to have been practically doubled in the last twenty years, a growth attributed to the new economic conditions, to the extension of transportation facilities that have made possible the opening of new areas to cultivation, and to the investment of capital, largely American capital. The exports show, generally, a material increase in sales of leaf tobacco and some decline in sales of cigars. The principal market for the leaf, for about 85 per cent of it, is in the United States where it is made, with more or less honesty, into "all-Havana" cigars. This country, however, takes only about a third of Cuba's cigar output. The United Kingdom takes about as much of that product as we do, and Germany, in normal times, takes about half as much. The remainder is widely scattered, and genuine imported Havana cigars are obtainable in all countries throughout the world. The total value of Cuba's yearly tobacco crop is from $40,000,000 to $50,000,000, including domestic consumption and foreign trade.

The story that all Cubans, men and women alike, are habitual and constant smokers, is not and never was true. Whatever it may have been in the past, I am inclined to think that smoking by women is more common in this country than it is in Cuba, particularly among the middle and upper social classes. I have seen many American and English women smoke in public, but never a Cuban woman. Nor is smoking by men without its exceptions. I doubt if the percentage of non-smokers in this country is any greater than it is in the island. There are many Cubans who do smoke, just as there are many Americans, Englishmen, Germans, and Russians. Those who watch on the street for a respectable Cuban woman with a cigar in her mouth, or even a cigarette, will be disappointed. Cuba's tobacco is known by the name of the region in which it is produced; the Vuelta Abajo of Pinar del Rio; the Partidos of Havana Province; the Manicaragua and the Remedios of Santa Clara; and the Mayari of Oriente. Until quite recently, when American organized capital secured control of many of the leading factories in Cuba, it was possible to identify a cigar, in size and shape, by some commonly employed name, such as perfectos, conchas, panetelas, imperiales, londres, etc. The old names still appear, but to them there has been added an almost interminable list in which the old distinction is almost lost. Lost, too, or submerged, are many of the old well-known names of manufacturers, names that were a guarantee of quality. There were also names for different qualities, almost invariably reliable, and for color that was supposed to mark the strength of the cigar. An accomplished smoker may still follow the old system and call for a cigar to his liking, by the use of the old terms and names made familiar by years of experience, but the general run of smokers can only select, from a hundred or more boxes bearing names and words that are unfamiliar or unknown, a cigar that he thinks looks like one that he wants. It may be a "superba" an "imperial" a "Wilson's Cabinet," or a "Havana Kid."

There is a wide difference in the dates given as the time of the introduction of the coffee plant in Cuba. One writer gives the year 1720, another gives 1748, and still another gives 1769. Others give various years near the end of the century. It was doubtless a minor industry for fifty years or more before that time, but it was given an impetus and began to assume commercial proportions during the closing years of the 18th Century. During that century, the industry was somewhat extensively carried on in the neighboring island of Santo Domingo. In 1790, a revolution broke out in that island, including Haiti, and lasted, with more or less violent activity, for nearly ten years. One result was the emigration to Cuba of a considerable number of refugees, many of them French. They settled in eastern Cuba, where conditions for coffee-growing are highly favorable. Knowing that industry from their experience with it in the adjacent island, these people naturally took it up in their new home. The cultivation of coffee in Cuba, prior to that time, was largely in the neighborhood of Havana, the region then of the greater settlement and development. For the next forty years or so, the industry developed and coffee assumed a considerable importance as an export commodity, in addition to the domestic supply. In 1840, there were more than two thousand coffee plantations, large and small, producing more than seventy million pounds of coffee, the greater part of which was exported. From about the middle of the century, the industry declined, in part because of lower prices due to increase in the world-supply through increased production in other countries, and in part, because of the larger chance of profit in the growing of sugar, an industry then showing an increased importance. Coffee culture has never been entirely suspended in the island, and efforts are made from time to time to revive it, but for many years Cuba has imported most of its coffee supply, the larger share being purchased from Porto Rico. It would be easily possible for Cuba to produce its entire requirement. There are few more beautiful sights in all the world than a field of coffee trees in blossom. One writer has likened it to "millions of snow drops scattered over a sea of green." They blossom, in Cuba, about the end of February or early in March, the fruit season and picking coming in the autumn. Coffee culture is an industry requiring great care and some knowledge, and the preparation of the berry for the market involves no less of care and knowledge. The quality of the Cuban berry is of the best. It is the misfortune of the people of the United States that very few of them really know anything about coffee and its qualities, notwithstanding the fact that they consume about a billion pounds a year, all except a small percentage of it being coffee of really inferior quality. But coffee, like cigars, pickles, or music, is largely a matter of individual preference.

Cuba produces a variety of vegetables, chiefly for domestic consumption, and many fruits, some of which are exported. There is also a limited production of grains. Among the tubers produced are sweet potatoes, white potatoes, yams, the arum and the yucca. From the latter is made starch and the cassava bread. The legumes are represented by varieties of beans and peas. The most extensively used food of the island people is rice, only a little of which is locally grown. The imports are valued at five or six million dollars yearly. Corn is grown in some quantity, but nearly two million dollars worth is imported yearly from the United States. There are fruits of many kinds. The banana is the most important of the group, and is grown throughout the island. It appears on the table of all, rich and poor, sometimes au naturel but more frequently cooked. There are many varieties, some of which are exported while others are practically unknown here. The Cuban mango is not of the best, but they are locally consumed by the million. Only a few of the best are produced and those command a fancy price even when they are obtainable. The aguacate, or alligator pear, is produced in abundance. Cocoanuts are a product largely of the eastern end of the island, although produced in fair supply elsewhere. The trees are victims of a disastrous bud disease that has attacked them in recent years causing heavy loss to growers.

Since the American occupation, considerable attention has been given, mainly by Americans, to the production of oranges, grape-fruit, and pineapples, in which a considerable industry has been developed. There are several varieties. The guava of Cuba makes a jelly that is superior to that produced from the fruit in any other land of my experience. If there is a better guava jelly produced anywhere, I should be pleased to sample it, more pleased to obtain a supply. But there is a difference in the product even there, just as there is a difference in currant or grape jelly produced here. It depends a good deal on the maker. Some of the best of my experience is made in the neighborhood of Santa Clara, but I have tried no Cuban jalea de guayaba that was not better than any I have had in the Far East or elsewhere. Theguanabana is eaten in its natural state, but serves its best purpose as a flavor for ices or cooling drinks. There are a number of others, like the anon, the zapote, the granadilla, the mamey, etc., with which visitors may experiment or not as they see fit. Some like some of them and others like none of them. An excellent grade of cacao, the basis of chocolate and cocoa, is produced in somewhat limited quantity. The industry could easily be extended. In fact, there are many soil products not now grown in the island but which might be grown there, and many others now produced on small scale that could be produced in important quantities. That they are not now so produced is due to lack of both labor and capital. The industries of Cuba are, and always have been, specialized. Sugar, tobacco, and at a time coffee, have absorbed the capital and have afforded occupation for the greater number of the island people. The lack of transportation facilities in earlier years, and the system of land tenure, have made difficult if not impossible the establishment of any large number of independent small farmers. The day laborers in the tobacco fields and on sugar plantations have been unable to save enough money to buy a little farm and equip it even if the land could be purchased at all. Yet only a very small percentage of the area is actually under cultivation. Cuba now imports nearly $40,000,000 worth of alimentary substances, altogether too much for a country of its productive possibilities. It is true that a part of this, such as wheat flour for instance, cannot be produced on the island successfully, and that other commodities, such as rice, hog products, and some other articles, can be imported more cheaply than they can be produced locally. But the imports of foodstuffs are undoubtedly excessive, although there are good reasons for the present situation. It is a matter that will find adjustment in time.

The island has mineral resources of considerable value, although the number of products is limited. The Spanish discoverers did not find the precious metals for which they were seeking, and while gold has since been found, it has never appeared in quantity sufficient to warrant its exploitation. Silver discoveries have been reported, but not in quantity to pay for its extraction. Nothing is ever certain in those industries, but it is quite safe to assume that Cuba is not a land of precious metals. Copper was discovered in eastern Cuba as early as about the year 1530, and the mines near Santiago were operated as a Government monopoly for some two hundred years, when they were abandoned. They were idle for about a hundred years when, in 1830, an English company with a capital of $2,400,000 reopened them. It is officially reported that in the next forty years copper of a value of more than $50,000,000 was extracted and shipped. During that time, the mines were among the most notable in the world. In the meantime, ownership was transferred to a Spanish corporation organized in Havana. This concern became involved in litigation with the railway concerning freight charges, and this experience was followed by the Ten Years' War, in the early course of which the plant was destroyed and the mines flooded. In 1902, an American company was organized. It acquired practically all the copper property in the Cobre field and began operations on an extensive and expensive scale. A huge sum was spent in pumping thousands of tons of water from a depth of hundreds of feet, in new equipment for the mining operations, and in the construction of a smelter. The best that can be done is to hope that the investors will some day get their money back. Without any doubt, there is a large amount of copper there, and more in other parts of Oriente. So is there copper in Camaguey, Santa Clara, and Matanzas provinces. There are holes in the ground near the city of Camaguey that indicate profitable operations in earlier years. The metal is spread over a wide area in Pinar del Rio, and venturous spirits have spent many good Spanish pesos and still better American dollars in efforts to locate deposits big enough to pay for its excavation. Some of that class are at it even now, and one concern is reported as doing a profitable business.

The bitumens are represented in the island by asphalt, a low-grade coal, and seepages of petroleum. At least, several writers tell of coal in the vicinity of Havana, but the substance is probably only a particularly hard asphaltum. The only real coal property of which I have any knowledge is a quite recent discovery. The story was told me by the man whose money was sought to develop it. It was, by the way, an anthracite property. In response to an urgent invitation from a presumably reliable acquaintance, my friend took his car and journeyed westward into Pinar del Rio, through a charming country that he and I have many times enjoyed together. He picked up his coal-discovering friend in the city of Pinar del Rio, and proceeded into the country to inspect the coal-vein. At a number of points immediately alongside the highway, his companion alighted to scrape away a little of the surface of the earth and to return with a little lump of really high-grade anthracite. Such a substance had no proper business there, did not belong there geologically or otherwise. The explanation soon dawned upon my friend. They were following the line of an abandoned narrow-gauge railway, abandoned twenty years ago, along which had been dumped, at intervals, little piles of perfectly good anthracite, imported from Pennsylvania, for use by the portable engine used in the construction of the road. My friend declares that he is entirely ready at any time to swear that there are deposits of anthracite in Cuba. A very good quality of asphalt is obtained in different parts of the island, and considerable quantities have been shipped to the United States. Signs of petroleum deposits have been strong enough to induce investigation and expenditure. An American company is now at work drilling in Matanzas Province. The most extensive and promising mineral industry is iron, especially in eastern Cuba. Millions of tons of ore have been taken from the mountains along the shore between Santiago and Guantanamo, and the supply appears to be inexhaustible. The product is shipped to the United States, to a value of several millions of dollars yearly. A few years ago, other and apparently more extensive deposits were discovered in the northern section of Oriente, The field bought by the Pennsylvania Steel Company is estimated to contain 600,000,000 tons of ore. The Bethlehem Steel Company is the owner of another vast tract. The quality of these ores is excellent. In Oriente Province also are deposits of manganese of which considerable shipments have been made.

It is not possible in so brief a survey of Cuba's resources and industries to include all its present activities, to say nothing of its future possibilities. At the present time, the island is practically an extensive but only partly cultivated farm, producing mainly sugar and tobacco, with fruits and vegetables as a side line. The metal deposits supplement this, with promise of becoming increasingly valuable. The forest resources, commercially, are not great, although there are, and will continue to be, sales of mahogany and other fine hardwoods. Local manufacturing is on a comparatively limited scale. All cities and many towns have their artisans, the bakers, tailors, shoemakers, carpenters, and others. Cigar making is, of course, classed as a manufacturing enterprise, and so, for census purposes, is the conversion of the juice of the sugar-cane into sugar. A number of cities have breweries, ice factories, match factories, soap works, and other establishments large or small. All these, however, are incidental to the great industries of the soil, and the greater part of Cuba's requirements in the line of mill and factory products is imported. While little is done in the shipment of cattle or beef, Cuba is a natural cattle country. Water and nutritious grasses are abundant, and there are vast areas, now idle, that might well be utilized for stock-raising. There are, of course, just as there are elsewhere, various difficulties to be met, but they are met and overcome. There are insects and diseases, but these are controlled by properly applied scientific methods. There is open feeding throughout the entire year, so there is no need of barns or hay. The local cattle industry makes possible the shipment of some $2,500,000 worth of hides and skins annually. Other lines of industry worthy of mention, but not possible of detailed description here, include sponges, tortoise shell, honey, wax, molasses, and henequen or sisal. All these represent their individual thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars, and their employment of scores or hundreds of wage-earners. Those who start for Cuba with a notion that the Cubans are an idle and lazy people, will do well to revise that notion. There is not the hustle that may be seen further north, but the results of Cuban activity, measured in dollars or in tons, fairly dispute the notion of any national indolence. When two and a half million people produce what is produced in Cuba, somebody has to work.