Archaeological Landscape of the First Coffee Plantations in the South-East of Cuba

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Archaeological Landscape of the First Coffee Plantations in the South-East of Cuba
UNESCO World Heritage site
Cuba Cafetal Isabelica P1080153a.jpg
Cafetal La Isabelica, ancient coffee plantation in foothills of Sierra Maestra, Santiago de Cuba, Cuba
Location Santiago de Cuba Province and Guantánamo Province, Cuba
Criteria Cultural: (iii), (iv)
Reference 1008
Inscription2000 (24th Session)
Area81,475 ha (314.58 sq mi)
Coordinates 20°01′48″N75°23′29″W / 20.03000°N 75.39139°W / 20.03000; -75.39139 Coordinates: 20°01′48″N75°23′29″W / 20.03000°N 75.39139°W / 20.03000; -75.39139
Cuba physical map.svg
Red pog.svg
Location of Archaeological Landscape of the First Coffee Plantations in the South-East of Cuba in Cuba

The Archaeological Landscape of the First Coffee Plantations in the South-East of Cuba are the remains of 19th-century coffee plantations located in the foothills of the Sierra Maestra. During the 19th and early 20th centuries, eastern Cuba was primarily involved with coffea cultivation. The remnants of the plantations display the techniques used in the difficult terrain, as well as the economic and social significance of the plantation system in Cuba and the Caribbean.

Sierra Maestra mountain range

Sierra Maestra is a mountain range that runs westward across the south of the old Oriente Province in southeast Cuba, rising abruptly from the coast. The Sierra Maestra itself is located mainly in Santiago de Cuba Province and in Granma Province. Some view it as a series of connecting ranges, which joins with others extending to the west. The Sierra Maestra is the highest area of Cuba. It is rich in minerals, especially copper, manganese, chromium, and iron. At 1,974 m (6,476 ft), Pico Turquino is the range's highest point.

<i>Coffea</i> genus of plants

Coffea is a genus of flowering plants in the family Rubiaceae. Coffea species are shrubs or small trees native to tropical and southern Africa and tropical Asia. The seeds of some species, called coffee beans, are used to make various coffee beverages and products. Coffee ranks as one of the world's most valuable and widely traded commodity crops and is an important export product of several countries, including those in Central and South America, the Caribbean and Africa.

In 2000, the Archaeological Landscape of the First Coffee Plantations in the South-East of Cuba was added to the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. [1]

Under UNESCO, the "Archaeological Landscape of the First Coffee Plantations in the South-East of Cuba" meet two criteria that allows it to be a world heritage site. Under UNESCO it is seen to meet criteria ii & iv, which means under criteria (ii) to exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design. And under criteria (iv) to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history.

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Coffee has been grown in Cuba since the mid-18th century. Boosted by French farmers fleeing the revolution in Haiti, coffee farms expanded from the western plains to the nearby mountain ranges. Coffee production in eastern Cuba significantly increased during the 19th and early 20th centuries. At its peak production, Cuba exported more than 20,000 metric tons of coffee beans per year in the mid 1950s. After the Cuban Revolution and the nationalization of the coffee industry, coffee production slowly began to decline until it reached all time lows during the Great Recession. Once a major Cuban export, it now makes up an insignificant portion of Cuban trade. By the 21st century, 92 percent of the country's coffee was grown in area of the Sierra Maestra mountains. All Cuban coffee is exported by Cubaexport, which pays regulated prices to coffee growers and processors.

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References

  1. "World Heritage Committee Inscribes 61 New Sites on World Heritage List". UNESCO. Retrieved 15 May 2015.