Guanabacoa

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Guanabacoa
Municipality of Havana
Church in Guanabacoa
Church in Guanabacoa
Official seal of Guanabacoa
Seal
Location of Guanabacoa in Havana
Location of Guanabacoa in Havana
Coordinates: 23°12′0″N 82°30′0″W / 23.20000°N 82.50000°W / 23.20000; -82.50000Coordinates: 23°12′0″N 82°30′0″W / 23.20000°N 82.50000°W / 23.20000; -82.50000
Country  Cuba
Province Coat of arms of La Habana.svg Ciudad de La Habana
Wards (Consejos Populares) Chivas-Roble, Debeche-Nalon, Hata-Naranjo, Mañana-Habana Nueva, Minas-Barreras, Peñalver-Bacuranao, Villa I, Villa II
Area[1]
 • Total 127 km2 (49 sq mi)
Population (2004)[2]
 • Total 112,964
 • Density 889/km2 (2,300/sq mi)
Time zone EST (UTC-5)
Area code(s) +53-7

Guanabacoa is a colonial township in eastern Havana, Cuba, and one of the 15 municipalities (or boroughs) of the city. It is famous for its historical Santería and is home to the first African Cabildo in Havana. It was the site of the Battle of Guanabacoa, a skirmish between British and Spanish troops during the Battle of Havana during the Seven Years' War.

Overview[edit]

The city of Guanabacoa is found situated in the province of La Havana, some five kilometers to the southeast of La Havana (city) and south of the city of Regla. It rests on a small hill bordered by rivers.[3]

Guanabacoa was also the home of a small community of Florida Indians, mostly Apalachees and Yamasees, who, along with Spanish forces, were evacuated from Florida in 1764, following the conclusion of the Seven Years' War.[4][5]

The Jewish Community[edit]

It is unknown when the Jewish Community developed in the town of Guanabacoa. In the late 1920s Samuel Epstein, owner of Aetna Knitted Fabrics from New York’s Lower East Side, established Sedanita in rented facilities in Guanabacoa. The company imported $75,000 worth of equipment for the production of underwear, shawls, and scarves; it employed 200 workers. But, Jewish-owned businesses do not constitute a Jewish community. Sedanita moved to San José de las Lajas after it was sold to the Brandon family evidently in the late 1930s.

It is clear that earlier there were other Jewish-owned light manufacturing plants in Guanabacoa as well. In the 1930s these included the factory of Charles Shapiro. From available evidence Shapiro’s business went well. After Sedanita moved out, Shapiro bought the building that the Epstein’s rented, and used it to expand his own knitting and dying company.

By the 1940s there was a Jewish Community in Guanabacoa headquartered in the Centro Israelita at Calle Martí 252. There was also a WIZO branch. Records of the founding of the community are missing.

The Guanabacoa community apparently was business-oriented, and basing a community upon businesses is problematic. Even during the 1950s the Jewish community in Guanabacoa was in decline. It was one of the early casualties of emigration after the Castro Revolution.[6]

Personalities[edit]

Three of the greatest personalities of Cuban music were born in this town: Ernesto Lecuona, Rita Montaner, and Ignacio Villa (Bola de Nieve).

Four Major League Baseball players were also born here: Emilio Palmero (1895), Tony Ordeñana (1918), Rene Valdez (1929), and Evelio Hernández (1931), as well as the television news reporter Rick Sanchez.

The township was also the childhood home of Cuban singer, Lucrecia Saez Perez, hailed by many as a successor to the great Celia Cruz.

The fictional Peña family featured in the PBS comedy series ¿Qué Pasa, USA? were natives of Guanabacoa.

Climate[edit]

This area typically has a pronounced dry season. According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Guanabacoa has a tropical savanna climate, abbreviated "Aw" on climate maps.[7]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Statoids (July 2003). "Municipios of Cuba". Retrieved 2007-10-06. 
  2. ^ Atenas.cu (2004). "2004 Population trends, by Province and Municipality" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-10-06. 
  3. ^ "Guanabacoa" (in Spanish). La ciudad de Guanabacoa se encuentra situada en la provincia de La Habana, a unos cinco kilómetros al suroeste de la ciudad de La Habana y sur de la ciudad de Regla. La ciudad descansa sobre una colina no muy alta bordeada por ríos. 
  4. ^ Joseph Antonio Gelabert, Havana, April 10, 1764, Archivo General de las Indias, Santo Domingo, leg. 2574.
  5. ^ Gelabert, Juan Esteban de Peña, and Juan Josef Elixio de la Puente, Havana, April 10, 1764, Archivo General de las Indias, Santo Domingo, leg. 2574.
  6. ^ Levinson, Jay. Jewish Community of Cuba: The Golden Years, 1906-1958, Westview Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee, (February 2006). ISBN 0-9776207-0-0
  7. ^ Climate Summary for Guanabacoa

External links[edit]

Media related to Guanabacoa at Wikimedia Commons