The Estanco and the uprising of tobacco planters

At the beginning of 18th Century, almost to one hundred years of the first tobacco plantations, the Spanish monarchy was aware of the profits of tobacco growing. The smuggling activity and the direct sale of tobacco planters to the ships that arrived to the Cuban coasts, prevented that incomes coming from this profitable business were in the colonial coffers.

Tobacco planters formed a petit bourgeoisie wishing to abolish the monopolization regime of the king. For his reason, and as a controlling measure over the sale of traders to the ships, the monarchy ordered the measure known as the Estanco. From that moment on, tobacco planters only could sell their good to the government by fixed charges. According to the royal decree, those who failure to fulfill that law would be executed. At that time, tobacco planters only sold raw tobacco because the manufacture as such would be done in Seville.

Besides the work at the plantations directly with the leaves, it was also the work with the tobacco powder or snuff. It became an important product of exportation. Facing that measure, tobacco planters began to protest rising up in different places of the island. In the year 1718, tobacco planters of Trinidad refused to sell their products. In the following months, some protesting movements raised and went to Havana.

The uprising was so big that the General Captain of the island at that moment had to stay at the Real Fuerza Castle and later leave for Spain. The new troops of the government restored order and in a way of lesson, they put into jail a group of tobacco planters that lately assassinated and hanged in the Jesus del Monte ceiba that was, then a rural neighborhood.

Finally, in the year 1817 the abolishment of this measure was ordered and approved the freedom of trade with other foreign countries what was, undoubtedly, the beginning of a great economic prosperity in Cuba.