Online Encyclopedia

CUBA (the aboriginal name)

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V07, Page 595 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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CUBA (the aboriginal name), a republic, the largest and most populous of the West India Islands, included between the meridians of 740 7' and 84° 57' W. longitude and (roughly) the parallels of 19° 48' and 230 13' N. latitude. It divides the en-trance to the Gulf of Mexico into two passages of nearly equal width,—the Strait of Florida, about 110 m. wide between Capes Hicacos in Cuba and Arenas in Florida (Key West being a little over loo m. from Havana); and the Yucatan Channel, about 130 M. wide between Capes San Antonio and Catoche. On the N.E., E. and S.E., narrower channels separate it from the Bahamas, Haiti (5o m.) and Jamaica (85 m.). In 1908, by the opening of a railway along the Florida Keys, the time of passage by water between Cuba and the United States was reduced to a few hours. The island is long and narrow, somewhat in the form of an irregular crescent, convex toward the N. It has a decided pitch. to the S. Its length from Cape Maisf to Cape San Antonio along a medial line is about 730 m.; its breadth, which averages about 50 m., ranges from a maximum of 16o m. to a minimum of about 22 M. The total area is estimated at 41,634 sq. m. without the surrounding keys and the Isle of Pines (area about 118o sq. m.), and including these is approximately 44,164. The geography of the island is still very imperfectly known, and all figures are approximate only. The coast line, including larger bays, but excluding reefs, islets, keys and all minute sinuosities, is about 2500 M. in length. The N. littoral is characterized by bluffs, which grow higher and higher toward the east, rising to 600 ft. at Cape Maisf. They are marked by distinct terraces. The southern coast near Cape Maisf is low and sandy. From Guantanamo to Santiago it rises in high escarpments, and W. of Santiago, where the Sierra Maestra runs close to the sea, there is a very high abrupt shore. To the W. of Manzanillo it sinks again, and throughout most of the remaining distance to Cape San Antonio is low, with a sandy or marshy littoral; at places sand hills fringe the shore; near Trinidad there are hills of considerable height; and the coast becomes high and rugged W. of Point Fisga, in the province of Pinar del Rio. On both the N. and the S. side of the island there are long chains of islets and reefs and coral keys (of which it is estimated there are 1300), which limit access to probably half of the coast, and on the N. render navigation difficult and dangerous. On the S. they are covered with mangroves. A large part of the southern littoral is subject to overflow, and much more of it is permanently marshy. The Zapata Swamp near Cienfuegos is 600 sq. m. in area; other large swamps are the Majaguillar, E. of Cardenas, and the Cienaga del Buey, S. of the Canto river. The Isle of Pines in its northern part is hilly and wooded; in its southern part, very low, level and rather barren; a tidal swamp almost cuts the island in two. A $a° B ° C So° D 78° E 7G° F GULF OF St aif of Florida Oa 4•bs~°moo Ir 0 T.rav[ O.t Canter C e ' ON oR !P la `~_ -~or,~~..~ %, M E X O P 4., c. ^o S¢ 4O e ' • '? L G . i ,1 \~ e r .5r t °? a' . ``~t/yju. G,Dta t!"`1 armed OSO , ,. 1 P QJ 00 i•°eU ~~''~ ~,V 0. r•_„ (+9F5°(i, bo p.. _ .f ~.1 t y ,~ayy c•``t/ \ p0 eJ e I _ ;atB Sag 5' An mot , - uies G~°'. t • rr u^i' Q'ae f /~ IosG4Bano At r •* e ran' le 0' o IIlI•••• l M os t w°eri Ya .t( ,as'awrl.. e°Oy d Jti o. d /co o c I'C t `• t
End of Article: CUBA (the aboriginal name)
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