Guanabacoa is a colonial township in eastern Havana, Cuba, and one of
the 15 municipalities (or boroughs) of the city. It is famous for its
Santería and is home to the first African Cabildo in
Havana. It was the site of the Battle of Guanabacoa, a skirmish
between British and Spanish troops during the Battle of
the Seven Years' War.
2 The Jewish Community
3 Notable people
6 External links
The town of
Guanabacoa is found situated in the province of La Havana,
some five kilometers to the southeast of La
Havana (city) and south of
the city of Regla. It rests on a small hill bordered by rivers.
Guanabacoa was also the home of a small community of
mostly Apalachees and Yamasees, who, along with Spanish forces, were
Florida in 1764, following the conclusion of the Seven
The Jewish Community
It is unknown when the Jewish Community developed in the town of
Guanabacoa. In the late 1920s Samuel Epstein, owner of Aetna Knitted
Fabrics from New York’s Lower East Side, established Sedanita in
rented facilities in Guanabacoa. The company imported $75,000 worth of
equipment for the production of underwear, shawls, and scarves; it
employed 200 workers. But, Jewish-owned businesses do not constitute a
Jewish community. Sedanita moved to San José de las Lajas after it
was sold to the Brandon family evidently in the late 1930s.
It is clear that earlier there were other Jewish-owned light
manufacturing plants in
Guanabacoa as well. In the 1930s these
included the factory of Charles Shapiro. From available evidence
Shapiro’s business went well. After Sedanita moved out, Shapiro
bought the building that the Epstein’s rented, and used it to expand
his own knitting and dying company.
By the 1940s there was a Jewish Community in
in the Centro Israelita at Calle Martí 252. There was also a WIZO
branch. Records of the founding of the community are missing.
Guanabacoa community apparently was business-oriented, and basing
a community upon businesses is problematic. Even during the 1950s the
Jewish community in
Guanabacoa was in decline. It was one of the early
casualties of emigration after the Castro Revolution.
Three of the greatest personalities of Cuban music were born in this
town: Ernesto Lecuona, Rita Montaner, and Ignacio Villa (Bola de
Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball players were also born here: Emilio Palmero
Tony Ordeñana (1918),
Rene Valdez (1929), and Evelio
Hernández (1931), as well as the television news reporter Rick
The township was also the childhood home of Cuban singer, Lucrecia
Saez Perez, hailed by many as a successor to the great Celia Cruz.
The fictional Peña family featured in the
PBS comedy series ¿Qué
Pasa, USA? were natives of Guanabacoa.
This area typically has a pronounced dry season. According to the
Köppen Climate Classification
Köppen Climate Classification system,
Guanabacoa has a tropical
savanna climate, abbreviated "Aw" on climate maps.
^ Statoids (July 2003). "Municipios of Cuba". Retrieved
^ Atenas.cu (2004). "2004 Population trends, by Province and
Municipality" (in Spanish). Archived from the original on 2006-07-14.
^ "Guanabacoa" (in Spanish). La ciudad de
Guanabacoa se encuentra
situada en la provincia de La Habana, a unos cinco kilómetros al
suroeste de la ciudad de La Habana y sur de la ciudad de Regla. La
ciudad descansa sobre una colina no muy alta bordeada por ríos.
^ Joseph Antonio Gelabert, Havana, April 10, 1764, Archivo General de
las Indias, Santo Domingo, leg. 2574.
^ Gelabert, Juan Esteban de Peña, and Juan Josef Elixio de la Puente,
Havana, April 10, 1764, Archivo General de las Indias, Santo Domingo,
^ Levinson, Jay. Jewish Community of Cuba: The Golden Years,
1906-1958, Westview Publishing Company, Nashville, Tennessee,
(February 2006). ISBN 0-9776207-0-0
^ Climate Summary for Guanabacoa
Media related to
Guanabacoa at Wikimedia Commons
Guanabacoa (town's history prior to 1960)
Municipalities and wards of Havana
Santiago de las Vegas
San Pedro-Centro Cotorro
Santa Maria del Rosario
Diez de Octubre
Jesús del Monte
La Habana del Este
Alturas de Alamar
Guanabo (incl. Santa María del Mar, Tarará)
La Habana Vieja
Alturas de La Lisa
El Cano-Valle Grande-Bello 26 y Morado
Buena Vista (incl. Puentes Grandes)
Plaza de la Revolución
Nuevo Vedado-Puentes Grandes
San Miguel del Padrón