Tags: Cuba | cuba | history | hershey | facts

Cuba History: 7 Facts About Hershey, Cuba

By    |   Tuesday, 16 Feb 2016 03:00 PM

As the largest island in the West Indies, Cuba's location has made it a popular locale both recreationally and historically.

As far back as the 16th century, Cuba's harbor was valued as a transit point to Spain. When the sugar industry began to boom in the 1800s, the value spiked even higher. The Cuban town of Hershey evolved from that boom.

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Here are seven facts about the history of Hershey, Cuba:

1. Yes, that Hershey
Hershey was founded, in a sense, by American businessman Milton S. Hershey, who also founded Hershey, Pennsylvania, and the Hershey Chocolate Company. Hershey was the owner of several sugar mills and plantations located in Cuba from 1916 to 1946. The town was the result of a thriving sugar business operated by Hershey. He built the infrastructure that remains today, from the train line to the bungalow-style homes.

2. Sugar and chocolate connection
Hershey is famous because of its old sugar mills, which can be tied to the famous Hershey chocolate brand. The mills once supplied the sugar for the candy bars because it was cheaper for Milton Hershey to make his own sugar than to purchase it from suppliers.

3. Proximity to Havana
The town is located about 35 miles from Havana and is a popular tourist site that is accessed via railway.

4. Rail service
A one-of-a-kind railway was constructed to run to Hershey when the sugar mills were operational. The railway, which spans 57 miles, still runs today with bare-bones passenger service.

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5. Changing names
The official name of the town was changed from Hershey to Camilo Cienfuegos after the Cuban Revolution. The new name is in honor of Cuban revolutionary Camilo Cienfuegos, who was a friend of Fidel Castro. Despite the change, many residents still refer to the area as Hershey.

6. Changing hands
Hershey's sugar mills were handed to Cuban businessman Julio Lobo in 1959 when the regime of Fidel Castro took power in Cuba. Castro nationalized the business and began sending the sugar to Russia instead of the United States.

7. State of ruin
Today, Hershey is considered barren and poverty stricken, The Washington Post reported. Most of the infrastructure is gone. Residents who remain in the town hope someone will invest and bring it back to life.

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As far back as the 16th century, Cuba's harbor was valued as a transit point to Spain. When the sugar industry began to boom in the 1800s, the value spiked even higher. The Cuban town of Hershey evolved from that boom.
cuba, history, hershey, facts
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2016-00-16
Tuesday, 16 Feb 2016 03:00 PM
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