Green Tobacco and a Clever Marquis

MIGUEL A. Bretos

in Matanzas

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780813038100
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780813041568 | DOI:
Green Tobacco and a Clever Marquis

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The eighteenth century brought the modernizing French House of Bourbon to the Spanish throne. Of more immediate local significance was the monster hurricane of 1730, which literally washed the struggling settlement away. Tobacco culture, introduced by the Canary settlers, had become the region's economic mainstay. Matanzas's pungent green leaf, known as verdin, was milled into snuff using local hydraulic power, a monopoly held by a Havana magnate, the first Marquis of Justiz de Santa Ana. When the new Bourbon colonial government sought to impose the estanco, or tobacco monopoly, Justiz was able to secure an exemption that permitted him to continue milling until the use of snuff faded away with the ancien regime. To secure such advantages, he cultivated the support of the townspeople with such philanthropies as the building of the large parish church, which was finished in 1750.

Keywords: Bourbon dynasty; estanco; tobacco; hurricanes; snuff; Parish church

Chapter.  4511 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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