Cuba is a country comprising the island of Cuba as well as Isla de la Juventud and several minor archipelagos. Let’s see some amazing facts and trivia about it!
1.The name Cuba comes from the Taíno language.
2. The exact meaning of the name is unclear but it may be translated either as ‘where fertile land is abundant’ (cubao), or ‘great place’ (coabana).
3. Authors who believe that Christopher Columbus was Portuguese state that Cuba was named by Columbus for the town of Cuba in the district of Beja in Portugal.
4. Before the arrival of the Spanish, Cuba was inhabited by three distinct tribes of American Indian people. The Taíno (an Arawak people), the Guanajatabey, and the Ciboney people.
5. The ancestors of the Ciboney migrated from the mainland of South America, with the earliest sites dated to 5,000 BP.
6. The Taíno arrived from Hispanola sometime in the 3rd century A.D. When Columbus arrived they were the dominant culture in Cuba, having an estimated population of 150,000.
7. The Taíno were farmers, while the Ciboney were farmers as well as fishers and hunter-gatherers
8. After first landing on an island then called Guanahani, Bahamas, on October 12, 1492.
9. Christopher Columbus commanded his three ships: La Pinta, La Niña and the Santa María, to land on Cuba’s northeastern coast on October 28, 1492.(This was near what is now Bariay, Holguín Province.) Columbus claimed the island for the new Kingdom of Spainand named it Isla Juana after Juan, Prince of Asturias
10. In 1511, the first Spanish settlement was founded by Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar at Baracoa. Other towns soon followed, including San Cristobal de la Habana, founded in 1515, which later became the capital.
11. The native Taíno were forced to work under the encomienda system,which resembled a feudal system in Medieval Europe.
12. Within a century the indigenous people were virtually wiped out due to multiple factors, primarily Eurasian infectious diseases, to which they had no natural resistance (immunity), aggravated by harsh conditions of the repressive colonial subjugation.
13. In 1529, a measles outbreak in Cuba killed two-thirds of those few natives who had previously survived smallpox
14. The real engine for the growth of Cuba’s commerce in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century was the Haitian Revolution.
15. When the enslaved peoples of what had been the Caribbean’s richest colony freed themselves through violent revolt, Cuban planters perceived the region’s changing circumstances with both a sense of fear and opportunity.
16. They were afraid because of the prospect that slaves might revolt in Cuba, too, and numerous prohibitions during the 1790s on the sale of slaves in Cuba that had previously been slaves in French colonies underscored this anxiety.
17. The planters saw opportunity, however, because they thought that they could exploit the situation by transforming Cuba into the slave society and sugar-producing “pearl of the Antilles” that Haiti had been before the revolution.
18. The population of Cuba in 1817 was 630,980, of which 291,021 were white, 115,691 free people of color (mixed-race), and 224,268 black slaves.
19. Full independence from Spain was the goal of a rebellion in 1868 led by planter Carlos Manuel de Céspedes. De Céspedes, a sugar planter, freed his slaves to fight with him for an independent Cuba.
20. Over the decades, five U.S. presidents—Polk, Pierce, Buchanan, Grant, and McKinley—had tried to buy the island of Cuba from Spain
21. After the Spanish–American War, Spain and the United States signed the Treaty of Paris (1898), by which Spain ceded Puerto Rico, the Philippines, and Guam to the United States for the sum of US$20 million.
22. Cuba gained formal independence from the U.S. on May 20, 1902, as the Republic of Cuba.
23. Under Cuba’s new constitution, the U.S. retained the right to intervene in Cuban affairs and to supervise its finances and foreign relations. Under the Platt Amendment, the U.S. leased the Guantánamo Bay naval base from Cuba
24. In the 1950s, various organizations, including some advocating armed uprising, competed for public support in bringing about political change.
25. In 1956, Fidel Castro and about 80 supporters landed from the yacht Granma in an attempt to start a rebellion against the Batista government.
26. It was not until 1958 that Castro’s July 26th Movement emerged as the leading revolutionary group.
27. In January 1962, Cuba was suspended from the Organization of American States (OAS), and later the same year the OAS started to impose sanctions against Cuba of similar nature to the US sanctions.
28. The Cuban Missile Crisis occurred in October 1962. By 1963, Cuba was moving towards a full-fledged Communist system modeled on the USSR
29. Cuba has since found a new source of aid and support in the People’s Republic of China. In addition, Hugo Chávez, former President of Venezuela, and Evo Morales, President of Bolivia, became allies and both countries are major oil and gas exporters
30. The Republic of Cuba is one of the world’s last remaining socialist countries following the Marxist–Leninist ideology. The Constitution of 1976, which defined Cuba as a socialist republic, was replaced by the Constitution of 1992, which is “guided by the ideas of José Martí and the political and social ideas of Marx, Engels and Lenin”
31. The constitution describes the Communist Party of Cuba as the “leading force of society and of the state”.
32. Cuba is known to have one of the best medical and educational systems around the world.
33. Cuba supported Algeria in 1961–1965.
34. Cuba is a founding member of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas.
35. At the end of 2012, tens of thousands of Cuban medical personnel worked abroad, with as many as 30,000 doctors in Venezuela alone via the two countries’ oil-for-doctors programme
36. According to the official census of 2010, Cuba’s population was 11,241,161, comprising 5,628,996 men and 5,612,165 women
37. Cuba’s population is multiethnic, reflecting its complex colonial origins. Intermarriage between diverse groups is widespread, and consequently there is some discrepancy in reports of the country’s racial composition.
38. It has snowed once in Cuba: On March 12, 1857.
39. A drink of rum and coke and lime is called a “Cuba Libre” in Latin America except in Cuba. There, it’s called a “mentirita,” or “little lie”.
40. Fidel Castro grew a beard because the US embargo cut off his supply of razors.
41. Cuba is the natural habitat of the bee hummingbird, the smallest bird in the world.
42. John F. Kennedy bought 1,200 Cuban cigars hours before he ordered the US trade embargo.
43. Ernest Hemingway wrote “The Old Man and the Sea,” and “For Whom the Bell Tolls,” while living in Cuba.
44. There is a statue of John Lennon in Cuba’s John Lennon Park. The glasses have been stolen so many times, there is now a guard there to hold them.
45. Cuba has over 200 bays and 250 beaches to explore!