Online Encyclopedia

CARDENAS (San Juan de Dios de Cardenas)

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Originally appearing in Volume V05, Page 316 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CARDENAS (San Juan de Dios de Cardenas), a maritime town of Cuba, in Matanzas province, about 75 M. E. of Havana, on the level and somewhat marshy shore of a spacious bay of the northern coast of the island, sheltered by a long promontory. Pop. (1907) 24,280. It has railway communication with the trunk railway of the island, and communicates by regular steamers with all the coast towns. The city lies between the sea and hills. There are broad streets, various squares (including the Plaza de Colon, with a bronze statue of Columbus given to the city by Queen Isabel II. and erected in 1862) and substantial business buildings. Cardenas is one of the principal sugar-exporting towns of Cuba. The shallowness of the harbour necessitates lighterage and repeated loading of cargoes. The surrounding region is famed for its fertility. A large quantity of asphalt has been taken from the bed of the harbour. A flow of fresh water from the bed of the harbour is another peculiar feature; it comes presumably from the outlets of subterranean rivers. There is a large United States business element, which has been, indeed, prominent in the city ever since its foundation. At El Varadero, on a peninsula at the mouth of the bay, there is fine sea-bathing on a long beach, and El Varadero is a winter resort. Cardenas was founded in 1828, and in 1861 already had 12,910 inhabitants. In 185o General Narciso Lopez landed here on a filibustering expedition, and held the town for a few hours, abandoning it when he saw that the people would not rise to support him in his efforts to secure Cuban independence. On the rrth of May 1898 an American torpedo-boat and revenue cutter here attacked three Spanish gun-boats, and Ensign Worth Bagley (1874–1898) was killed—the first American naval officer to lose his life in the Spanish-American War.
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