SANCTI SPIRITUS, an old Cuban city in Santa Clara province, situated on a sandy plain in an angle of the Yayabo river, which winds through the city. Pop. (1907) 17,440. It is connected by railway with Zaza del Medio, on the main railway line of the island, and with its port, Tunas de Zaza, 30 m. (by rail) to the S. The hill called Pan de Azucar (Sugar-loaf) is S.W. of the city. One church is said to be as old as the city, and others date from 1699, 1716, 1717, etc. The surrounding country is devoted principally to grazing. Sancti Spiritus was one of the seven cities founded by Diego Valasquez. Its settlement was ordered in 1514 and accomplished in 1516, and it is the fifth town of the island in age. The present city is about two leagues from the original site (Pueblo Viejo). In 1518, as a result of the war of the Comunidades of Castille, a mimic war broke out in Sancti Spiritus among its two score villagers. The place was sacked by French and English corsairs in 1719. Illicit trade with Jamaica was the basis of local prosperity in the 18th century.
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)