(1838 - 1904)
Zoólogo, botánico y médico. Desarrolló una amplia labor en la Real Sociedad Económica de Amigos del País de La Habana. Autor de un depurado estilo literario, dio a conocer numerosas contribuciones científicas.
1899 - 1959 The Neocolonial Period
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The Spanish sovereignty over Cuba ended on January 1, 1899 , after the USA intervened in 1898 in the war the Cubans were waging since 1895 against the colonial domination. This period analyzed herein has been called "neocolonial" by Cuban historians because, in order to stop its occupation in Cuba , the US government imposed the inclusion of the Platt Amendment in the constitution of the new republic, which practically turned Cuba into a protectorate of the American Union. This situation remained from 1902 through 1934, when said amendment was abolished upon an agreement between both countries; but it had already given rise to such a degree of commercial, financial and political dependence that Cuba - though being a full legal person to the international community -essentially functioned as a new-type colony, as a neocolony.

During the period generally known as US First Intervention (1899-1902), one of the major concerns of the American army occupying the country had to do with the spread of "tropical diseases" over the troops, mostly yellow fever and malaria. For many a year, before the American intervention, it had been argued that lack of hygiene in Cuba posed a danger to public health in the USA . It had to do mainly with yellow fever (which, actually, was endemic to the Mississippi delta). The medical commission appointed by the USA to Cuba in 1900 to study the epidemiological situation focused mainly on yellow fever etiology but, at first, they did not pay any attention to Finlay's "theory of the mosquito" and resorted to it only when they were at a dead end. The first to verify Finlay's theory independently (with Aedes aegypti eggs supplied by Finlay himself) was the commission member Jesse Lazear, who died during his experiments. The head of said commission, Walter Reed, immediately reported, in 1900, on the basis of Lazear's limited experiments, that Finlay's theory had been verified, but he argued - at the same time, in order to make his report more important - that Finlay had not verified such theory. Next year, Reed conducted thorough experiments that, however, only corroborated the conclusions drawn by Finlay and other researchers, and - as pointed out by the discoverer of malaria transmission mode, the English Sir Ronald Ross - did not discover anything new at all. Nevertheless, the sanitary authorities in the United States presented Reed (who passed away in 1902) as the discoverer of yellow fever transmission mode, despite such distinguished figures as Ronald Ross himself or Alphonse Laveran - both of them being Nobel Prize awarded - recognized Finlay's undoubtedly priority and proposed him for that award. Indeed, only the successful Aedes-aegypti- eradicating campaign carried out in Havana in 1901, under Finlay's advice, provided an absolutely convincing demonstration of the certainty of his ideas.

The development of scientific research, in the conditions existing in the neocolonial republic, was very limited. For instance, the State did not support bacteriological research, on which the Histo-Bacteriological Laboratory had been a pioneer in America . It is true that a National Laboratory was created for similar purposes, but its existence was ephemeral. Neither did natural history research receive any support, for the creation of museums, for instance, this task being entirely left to individuals, sometimes grouped into societies, such as the "Felipe Poey" Cuban Society of Natural History, which was founded in 1913 by Don Felipe's favorite pupil, the malacologist Carlos de la Torre (1858-1950), who - by the way - carried out most noteworthy research on Cuban mollusks and made contributions to the study of paleontology. Also, he was a remarkable educator and, somehow, the emblematic figure of Cuban science, until his death in 1950.

Other outstanding naturalists of the time were the French-Cuban Joseph Silvestre Sauget (Brother Leon), who wrote a Cuban Flora (5 volumes and a supplement, in collaboration with Brother Alain), Charles T. Ramsden de la Torre (a nephew of Carlos de la Torre ), who lived in Santiago de Cuba and studied mostly the fauna of the eastern country, and Mario Sánchez Roig, with his studies on fish and crustaceans. The two latter naturalists created private museums.

Of the foreign naturalists, we can also mention Thomas Barbour, an expert in reptiles and birds, who supervised for several years (from the United States ) the Harvard University station located near Cienfuegos City . This station was set up, upon an agreement with said university, by 1900 by the American landowner Edwin F. Atkins, and it is generally known as Harvard University Botanical Garden . Its original goal was to create (through hybrid selection) Cuban sugarcane varieties (this kind of work in Cuba began there), but it gradually became the starting point for the work of important American naturalists. In the garden, a most important collection of live plants from different parts of the world was created. Since 1932, it was included in the Tourist Guide to Cuba .

In 1904, the Cuban government decided to create an agronomic station similar to the one set up shortly before in Puerto Rico . So as to do so, the government hired (up to 1909) a group of American specialists, some of whom endeavored to organize this Experimental Agronomic Station of Santiago de las Vegas adequately, but they never had enough resources to do so. The fact that, in the eyes of Cubans, the station had practically become an American enclave did not help it. Only when the Italian agronomist Mario Calvino arrived in 1917 to direct the station, he started to lay the foundation for more fruitful and continuous work. Calvino's successor, the Cuban engineer Gonzalo Martínez Fortín, further developed the organization of this center.