Cuba is an island country, in the Caribbean. The largest island is Cuba, with the smaller Isla de la Juventud, and several archipelagos.
The island is located just 80 miles south of Key West. To the south lies Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, to the west is the Gulf of Mexico.
The main island is 745 miles long, and 40,543 sq. miles in area.
Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean and the 16 th largest in the world.
Cuba is mostly flat with rolling hills, and has Sierra Maestra mountains to the south east. The highest point is Pico Turquinto at 6,480 ft.
Havana is the largest city and the capital, with Santiago de Cuba the second largest.
The official language of Cuba is Spanish, followed by Haitian Creole.
2002-The population of Cuba was over 11 million.
Cuba is a Communist Country. The state adheres to socialist principles, and is largely state-controlled economy.
Cuba’s major exports are, sugar, nickel, tobacco, fish, medical supplies, citrus, and coffee.
Imports include food, fuel, clothing, and machinery.
Many of Cuba’s residents are in the medical profession, with Cuba’s highly rated medical schools and universities, others are fishermen, farmers, miners or are in the tourism business.
Cuba is the most populous island nation in the Caribbean.
It’s people draw from diverse sources such as the aboriginal Taino and Ciboney, and the period of Spanish colonialism, and introduction of slaves from Africa.
The Cuban government has been accused of numerous human rights violations. As a result of ownership bans, privately owned computers, are few in number, monitored internet access is granted to only a few, and Cubans are systematically denied basic rights.
Cuba has a rich culture in music. Son, is the base of styles like salsa, rumba, cha-cha, and mambo.
Cuban music of all styles are world renown, and the influence on musicians is widespread.
The major influence on Cuban culture is from Spain and Africa.
Cuba excels in sports, the favorite is baseball. Others include, volleyball, basketball, cricket, and athletics.
Cuba ranks high in boxing, winning many medals and awards.
The native inhabitance of Cuba were the Taino, the Guanajatabey, and the Cibony Indians, before the arrival of the Spanish.
1492-Chistopher Columbus landed on Cuba’s northeastern coast, and claimed the island for the Kingdome of Spain, he named the island, Isla Juana, after the Prince of Asturias.
1511-The first settlement was founded by, Diego Velazquez de Cuellar at Baracoa. Other towns soon followed including Havana.
1515-The Spanish had enslaved 100,000 native people.
1529-An outbreak of measles epidemic killed two-thirds of the natives. Cuba remained a Spanish possession for 400 years.
1868-The Ten Years War, started by Carlos Manuel Cespedes, was a fight to free Cuba from Spain.
1878-The Pact of Zanjon ended the war, and Spain was promising autonomy.
1895-The Cuban Revolutionary Party waged another fight for independence. The freedom fighters were outnumbered and thousands were herded into fortified towns and held prisoners. As many as 400,000 Cubans died from starvation and disease in these prison camps.
1898-At the start of the Spanish American War the U.S. battleship Main was moored in Havana Harbor, when it blew up and killed 252 of the crew. It was thought at the time a mine was the cause, but till this day the real cause is still unknown. Newspaper owner William Randolph Hearst, who blamed Spain, appealed to President McKinley for action. The U.S. and Spain declared war on each other.
1898-The U.S. and Spain signed the Treaty of Paris which ended the war and Spain ceded Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam to the U.S. for $20 million dollars.
1901-President Theodore Roosevelt abandoned the treaty.
1902-Cuba gained independence as The Republic of Cuba. Between 1906-1956 Cuba endured many internal political struggles.
1956-A group led by Fidel Castro landed in Cuba to overthrow the oppressive regime of the then President Batista.
1959-Castro and his men overthrew Batista and he left in exile to Portugal. Castro became prime minister.
1960-Castro sized private property, took over the unions, controlled all radio and T.V. stations, and executed between 15 and 17 thousand people.
1961-In a New-Years parade numerous Soviet tanks and weapons were on display. The Bay of Pigs invasion was in motion, by U.S. trained Cuban exiles, they were defeated.
1962-In the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Kennedy demanded that Soviet missiles be removed from Cuba. Both sides came to an agreement and the missiles were removed. In exchange the U.S. would remove missiles from Turkey and the Middle East.
1965-The U.S. imposed a diplomatic and commercial embargo on Cuba.
1970s-Castro sends tens of thousands of troops in support of Soviet wars.
Today Cuba is still a repressed country under Communism, and Castro’s brother is in charge, but attitudes may slowly be changing as the Cuban people look toward the U.S.