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Who Are Facundo and Amalia Bacardi?

Facundo Bacardi Masso (1814 - 1886), the self-made son of a Catalonian bricklayer, immigrated to the Spanish Caribbean island of Cuba in 1830. Working alongside his brothers for 10 years, he learned the merchant business from the ground up, and eventually became a wine merchant and importer in his own right. In 1862, Don Facundo founded the Bacardi company with his innovative creation of distilling the first light bodied rum with the unique quality of unmatched smoothness. His innovative, entrepreneurial and generous spirit has served as an indomitable example and legacy to generations of Bacardi family members.

Lucia Victoria Moreau (1822 - 1896), known by her familial name of Doña Amalia, the well educated, Haitian born granddaughter of a French coffee plantation owner, was a woman of financial means who was known for her generosity and balanced judgments. She met the hard-working merchant Don Facundo in 1840. On August 5th, 1843 Don Facundo and Dona Amalia were married in Santiago's Cathedral.

Their early married life was prosperous and tranquil. But in 1852, a decade before the establishment of the Bacardi Company, devastating earthquakes left destitute much of the population of Santiago de Cuba. Don Facundo was appointed by the local authority to organize food relief for all the citizens of Santiago de Cuba.  He helped distribute food at the city's Plaza Santo Tomas. Don Facundo, being a kind man and understanding the importance of supporting the community, extended credit to his friends and customers alike for the re-construction of Santiago, which resulted in his filing for bankruptcy as they were unable to pay their debts back.

Timeline (1843 - 1900)

Family and community were of utmost importance to Facundo and Amalia, and these values were passed along to their children, whose lives were dedicated to the well-being of their community of Santiago de Cuba. The following timeline shows examples of these contributions:

August 5, 1843 Facundo Bacardi Masso and Lucia Victoria Moreau (Amalia) are married in Santiago's Cathedral.

1852 Don Facundo Bacardi Masso distributed food at the city's Plaza Santo Tomas in relief of the devastating earthquakes that left most of the population of Santiago de Cuba destitute. Don Facundo was a kind man and extended credit to his friends for the re¬construction of Santiago. When they could not pay him he was forced to declare the bankruptcy of his mercantile shop known as Facundo Bacardi y Compañia.

1879 Don Facundo's eldest son, Emilio Bacardi, was awarded a prize by the Lyceum of Puerto Principe for his paper titled "Memory on the expediency of reserving certain work for women". He put his belief into practice when he became a City Councilman for the city of Santiago de Cuba and made a motion to reserve employment for the disabled and elderly by allowing them to be the only ones that could legally sell lottery tickets in Santiago.
As a member of the school board, he also created more schools and shortly after the start of the "Little War" proposed a motion to create public housing for the poor.

1880s This motion and the ensuing debates landed Emilio Bacardi in jail. He was then deported to the Spanish penal colony of the Chafarine Islands where he was exiled for three and a half years. Upon his return to Santiago de Cuba Emilio continued his work to better the lives of the residents of his beloved city.

1898 Subsequent to the Spanish American War, after once again being imprisoned in the Chafarine Islands and exiled in Jamaica, Emilio Bacardi was appointed as the Mayor of Santiago de Cuba by General Leonard Wood. One of Emilio's first acts was to reduce his salary and employ women at the city hall.

1899 Emilio dedicated himself to improving the city in which he lived. As Mayor, Emilio dedicated himself to public works and greatly improved the city's infrastructure and sanitation. He established hospitals and schools, and completed municipal projects such as the famous walking street known as Padre Pico and the Bacardi Dam, founded the city's municipal museum, financed the creation of parks in the French style, and decorated the city with monuments and sculptures. Many of these projects were funded by him personally. The Bacardi family meanwhile established clinics, orphanages, homes for the elderly, and libraries. The Bacardi family's most enduring work was the construction of the neoclassical building for the Municipal Museum established by her husband in 1899 and subsequently renamed after his death in 1922.

1900 Emilio and his brother Facundo were known for their generosity. However, they believed that giving out money in public was humiliating for the person or persons in need, and therefore they would wait until nighttime to slip envelopes full of money beneath doors where needed - an act of silent compassion.





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