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For many years Cuba has been peopled by descendants from Spain, France,
Africa, China as well as the aboriginal Cuban Indians, probably Caribs or
Mayans. There has been intermarriage of all these groups, but centuries of
Spanish rule have made the Cuban people generally Hispanic in customs and
The few Cuban Negroes of distinctly African descent are similar in
appearance to the Afro-American type, as both groups are of the same racial origin
through the early importation of slaves from Africa. The Cuban Negroes are less
tractable and more aggressive than their Afro-American brethren, and are not as
religious. They show the influence of the Roman Catholic country of their birth
but few of them are devout. The Cuban Negroes employed in the cigar factories
work with the whites without opposition, and are highly skilled in cigar making.
Most of the Italians in Ybor City have lived so long among the Spanish
and Cuban peoples they have to some extent assimilated their customs and
characteristics. The majority of Italians here are descendants of Sicilians,
Sardinians, or people from other parts of southern Italy. Most of them came to
Ybor City in its early days, and their descendants have grown up as neighbors
and associates of the other Latin groups. Italians are industrious, thrifty, and
ambitious for the educational advancement of their children. Some of Tampa's
most prominent business and professional men are of this race. A love of art
and music prevails among them, and they have co-operated with their Spanish
neighbors in the furtherance of musical culture and art in the community.