(1923 - 1998)
Geógrafo, espeleólogo y arqueólogo. Primer Presidente de la Academia de Ciencias de Cuba, Presidente fundador de la Federación Espeleológica de América Latina y el Caribe y de diversas sociedades científicas nacionales e internacionales.
18th Century The Intermediate Colonial Period
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Sugarcane farming development continued over the 18th century. Tobacco growing was still the predominant cash crop, but then tobacco farmers were gradually displaced by sugarcane landowners. That was the time of the beginning of what the Cuban polygrapher Fernando Ortiz called "the argument between tobacco and sugar". The former, grown in small household farms, contrasted with the huge sugarcane plantations that could be exploited only through slave workforce and required much more investment. The displacement of tobacco farmers by sugarcane growers was notably influenced by the fact that, in the early 18th century, the Spanish government established a state monopoly over tobacco, which came to be purchased at a price scarcely profitable for tobacco farmers (there were several rebellions - which were violently suppressed - against this monopoly).

Together with the peak of Havana's aristocracy (sometimes called "sugartocracy"), there were some changes that would lay the foundation for later cultural development. Thus, in 1711, the Royal Protomedicato Tribunal was founded on a stable basis; it authorized, enabled or prohibited the practice of such professions as physician, surgeon, apothecary, and midwife. The protophysician and three apothecaries drafted a Tariff of Medicine Prices, which was the first Cuban printed document, in 1723. The printer, and alleged introducer of printing in Cuba, was Carlos Habré, who was born in Ghent (in today's Belgium).

In 1724, after several attempts in this regard, a college of the Society of Jesus (the religious order generally known as "Jesuits") was established in Havana (and shortly afterwards in Puerto Principe, in current Camagüey City). Teaching at this college was very rigorous and covered sciences too. The San Jose College soon became the favorite of well-to-do classes in Havana, even after the establishment in 1728 of Havana University, which belonged to the Order of Preachers (the "Dominicans"). Then medicine teaching (separately from law and theology) began at the University; previously, medicine had to be studied either in Spain or in New Spain (Mexico). After 1767, when Jesuits were banished from Spain and her domains, the Jesuit college became the Royal Seminar of San Carlos and San Ambrosio, which was particularly important in the early decades of the 19th century, while the church of that college came to be (and still is) Havana Cathedral.

Ship building was the main industry in the capital of the colony. In 1713, a state shipyard was officially established: the Royal Navy Yard of Havana. It came to employ, in certain moments, up to 2,000 workers. Thanks to the presence of both extensive woods suitable for ship building and adequate financing, this shipyard soon became one of the most important ones worldwide. It built warships mainly for the Spanish armada. In 1762, when Havana was seized by a British army, its residents destroyed the main shipyard facilities and took some ships. As the Spanish domination was re-established in 1763, the Royal Navy Yard was restored quickly and, as early as1769, it built the largest warship in the whole world at that time, the Santisima Trinidad.

The big ship building factory established in Havana had to compete with the sugar interests that sought to appropriate the woods intended for naval construction. Sugar refineries used wood as fuel and also to manufacture the boxes and small casks (or barrels) where sugar was packed for its transportation. The struggle between the shipyard and the landowners was won by the latter in the early 19th century, to the detriment of woods in the western country, of which just a few remained soon afterwards (which made many sugar refineries be gradually transferred from Havana to the area of Matanzas).

During the nine-month-long British occupation of Havana, British tradesmen brought thousands of African slaves to Cuba. The slave trade was one of the main "export" lines for Great Britain, which in the 18th century became the slave-trading power par excellence. This let her develop, in her own colonies, intensive exploitation of slave workforce, which - together with some other organizational characteristics - constituted the pattern of the "plantation based economy".

Since 1791, when Cuba started to substitute for Haiti (which was plunged into a slave revolution) as a big sugar exporter, until the close of the fourth decade of the 19th century, Cuba would abide by a plantation based economy, without any substantial technical changes in production. The main theoretician of this economic policy was the outstanding economist Francisco de Arango y Parreño (1765-1837), who - however - always stressed the need for technical improvement in the sugar industry.