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Cabanas & Carvajal Cigar Factory


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The cultivation, production and trade of tobacco in Cuba were subjected during the colonial era to a rigorous monopoly established by Spanish from very early dates.
Initially the smokers themselves twist cigars they consumed, but with the course of time many of them began to produce additional amounts for sell. The production was then an artisanal and domestic character.

Those modest manufacturers led to the birth of the later called "chinchales", where one or more cigar makers manufacturing cigars with leaves supplied by monopoly, but also provided furtively by winegrowers, that by law were obliged to sell them to the State.

A part of these emerging industries were developed and became great Havana cigar factories.

That was the "chinchal" founded in 1797 by Francisco Alvarez Cabanas on Jesus Maria Street number 112, Havana; this was the first mentioned by history as property of a person. Then the unpretentious cigar factory was moved to Jesus del Monte Street becoming the largest in the country, with 16 workers.

Alvarez Cabanas married Catalina Pérez and they have three children: Francisco, Francisca and Maria. In 1925 Maria married the Asturian emigrant Manuel González Carvajal, who began work in the factory of Alvarez Cabañas shortly after reaching Cuba. In a very short time Carvajal became the confidence man and partner of Cabanas.

Cabanas died in 1828 and the cigar factory pass to his daughter Maria. Under the direction of Gonzalez Carvajal the business continued to prosper and in 1833 began to commercialize cigars in London under the "Cabanas" brand. In 1848 the factory was moved to Lamparilla Street, and the brand “Cabanas y Carvajal” was registered.

Ten years later the factory was sold to Anselmo Gonzalez del Valle, married with a daughter of Manuel Gonzalez Carvajal and has two sons: Anselmo and Emilio. The father death surprised in Spain. Far of Cuba, the sons delegated on his uncle, Leopoldo Gonzalez Carvajal and Zaldua, the administration of his business.

Shortly after Leopoldo began to appear in the commercial directories as the owner of "Hija de Cabanas y Carvajal”, probably in partnership with his nephews resident in Spain. The signature became known as "Leopoldo Carvajal and Company".
In 1902 Leopoldo Gonzalez Carvajal sold the factory cigar to the "Havana Commercial company", subsidiary of the "American Tobacco company", founded in 1890 in the United States.

With the company sale disappeared the “Leopoldo Carvajal and Company” creating instead the “H. of Cabanas Cigar Company”. Leopoldo died in Havana in March 2, 1909.

In the early 1930s the "American Tobacco company" built in New Jersey a new building designed especially to cigars, moving factory towards, where  “Cabanas” cigars was made with leaves wearing from Cuba.

In the island continued manufacturing cigars with this brand, but only for the internal market, now under the control of the new "Compania Tabacalera Cubana, S.A.".

It continued manufacturing for exportation until 1962 and began to make cigars again with success in 1989.

Orlando Arteaga Abreu.