Matamas, a fortified seaport of Cuba, on the San Juan river, here crossed by a bridge, and at the head of a beautiful bay of the same name, 53 m. E. of Havana; pop. about 30,000, a considerable decrease since 1868, attributable to the large numbers who emigrated after the outbreak of the revolution in the island. The town stands on a gentle slope toward the river; the streets are wide, regular, well kept, and lighted with gas; and the houses, chiefly of stone, are solidly built, and in the same style as those of Havana, The handsomest of the public squares is the plaza de Armas, where military bands attend every evening, and the walks are crowded with fashionable promenaders. There are two churches, a castle, fine barracks, a hospital, a good theatre, and a cockpit; and among the schools, which are proportionately more numerous here than in any other Cuban town, is the Empress academy, one of the best educational establishments in the West Indies. The harbor is spacious, easy of access and well sheltered, save to the northeast; and the surrounding country, comprising the richest portion of the island, is covered with magnificent sugar estates. The climate, though hot, is more salubrious than that of Havana. The principal exports are sugar, molasses, and a little coffee.
The quantities of the first exported in 1871, 72, and 73 were as follows:
Total in lbs.
The imports include manufactured goods, bread-stuffs, and provisions, mainly from the United States, and machinery, partly from Great Britain and tartly from the United States. About 500 American vessels of all sizes visit the port annually; and the coasting trade, especially with Havana, is very extensive. Matanzas is connected by two lines of railway with Havana.