The beginning of tobacco production in Cuba

In relation to the finding of tobacco in Cuba, some historians comment that Columbus was totally indifferent regarding the discovery of tobacco by his envoys. Expecting to find the majestic oriental lands of Gran Kan, the Admiral did not notice the new treasure that nature put before his eyes.

On the other hand, the 16ht Century in Europe was strongly marked, as it is mentioned before, by the ban of consumption, sale or growing tobacco. At the beginning of the 17th Century, Spaniards, pressured by the European demand started its growing in Cuba, taught by Cuban natives probably.

The first tobacco plantations were established on the banks of Almendares River, around the year 1610 and of the Arimao, in the central region of the island. At that time tobacco smugglers brought tobacco to the foreign markets. Tobacco production and market increased over the sugar production due to is low cost.

To promote this profitable market, Spaniards began to foster white people emigration from Canaries Islands. Then, Cuba was almost a dessert island, and for an insignificant annual rent they were granted plantations to those Canaries people who request them. Thus, besides developing those plantations, the island was populated fostering white population.

In 1659, in reply to the request of the Trinidad city council, and by order of the governor of Havana at that time, the tobacco growing was spread to other important areas. Aiming at trading directly with the fleets that usually arrive to Havana, plantations were spread to the west, giving place to the different farmhouses that later became the towns of Pinar del Rio where the best tobacco grow.