- OFFICIAL NAME = REPUBLIC OF CUBA
- LOCATION = NORTHERN CARIBBEAN
- NATIONALITY = CUBAN(S)
- CAPITAL = HAVANA
- MAJOR OTHER CITIES = SANTIAGO DE CUBA, HOLGUIN AND CAMAGUEY
- CONTINENT = NORTH AMERICA
- OFFICIAL LANGUAGE = SPANISH
- POPULATION = 11,489,082 MILLION
- CURRENCY = CUBAN PESOS
- AREA = 110,860 SQ KM (42,803 SQ MILES)
- HIGHEST POINT = MOUNT PICO TURQUINO 1,974 METERS (6,476 FEET)
- MAIN RIVERS = THE RIVER CAUTO, TOA AND GUAMA
- MAIN MOUNTAINS = SIERRA MAESTRA MOUNTAINS
- CLIMATE = SUB-TROPICAL
- CALLING CODE = DIAL 011+53+PHONE NUMBER
- RELIGION = MAINLY ROMAN CATHOLIC
- INDEPENDENCE = 20TH MAY 1902 (FROM SPAIN)
- GOVERNMENT = SOCIALIST REPUBLIC
- NATIONAL SPORT = BASEBALL
- MAJOR INDUSTRIES = PHARMACEUTICALS, SUGAR, TOBACCO, PETROLEUM, NICKEL, STEEL, CEMENT AND AGRICULTURAL MACHINERY
- NATURAL RESOURCES = ARABLE LAND, NICKEL, IRON ORE, CHROMIUM COBALT, COPPER, SALT, TIMBER AND SILICA
- AGRICULTURE = SUGARCANE, CITRUS, COFFEE, RICE, POTATOES, LIVESTOCK AND TOBACCO
A BRIEF HISTORY OF CUBA
About a thousand years ago, the Taino indians where inhabiting Cuba. In 1492, Christopher Columbus and the Spanish forces arrived at the shores and forced the Taino natives into slave labor.
Many of them died from hardship and diseases, which was brought over by the Europeans. By 1511, the Spanish led by Diego Velasquez, brought thousands of African slaves over and established settlements.
Many of the slaves were used mainly to plant, and harvest sugarcane. In the early 1800’s, thanks to the work of the slaves, Cuba’s sugarcane industry was booming.
This slavery went on until 1886, when it was abolished after a ten year war ended in a truce with Spain, who promised reform and better conditions, promises they never met.
Later in 1898, American forces helped drive the Spanish out of Cuba, and by 1902, Cuba had won its independence which ended the U.S occupation, but it still allowed them to have a strong influence over the land.
Next came the Cuban revolution in 1959, when guerrilla fighters, led by Fidel Castro and Che Guevara, overthrew Cuba’s leader at the time, Fulgencio Batista.
Castro became good friends with the Soviet Union and tried to cut their ties with the U.S, and announced that its government was now socialist.
Obviously the U.S didn’t like this, so they attempted to invade Cuba to regain control of it and overthrow the communist led government, however this all failed and in 1965, the Communist Party of Cuba was established, and has ruled the land right up until today.
SHORT FACTS ABOUT CUBA
Cuba is the largest of all the islands in the Caribbean, and it also has 4000 other much smaller islands and cays.
Cuba is a long and narrow island. It stretches 1,200 km from east to west, where it is only 100 km wide in most places.
Cuba has maritime borders with the Bahamas, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Mexico and the United States.
The main island in Cuba is known as the Isla de la Juventud.
A cay is a small, sandy island on the surface of a coral reef.
Cuba is a stunning country with many different habitats, from mountain forests to jungles, grasslands and even deserts. You will also find more than 300 white sandy beaches, lapped by turquoise seas and stunning landscapes.
Cuba is a very safe place for tourists compared to other parts of the Caribbean. There is little gun crime, violent robberies or no-go zones.
In Cuba, there a around 100 different species of palm trees.
Although Cuba is teeming with wildlife, it has no known harmful animal inhabitants that visitors must watch out for. It has no large predators to boast of, but it is home to some small and unique creatures that you will not find anywhere else in the world, such as the Cuban solenodon, the Cuban trogon, the Cuban huita, the Cuban round iguana and the Cuban tody.
The mountain ranges of Cuba are the Sierra Maestra, the Sierra Cristal, the Escambray and the Sierra del Rosario. The Pico Turquino mountain in the Sierra Maestra range, has the highest peak of them all. It is 6,650 ft (1,999 mt), and is the highest point in Cuba.
Cuba is often referred to in Spanish as “El Cocodrilo” or “El Caima”. This is because from the air, the island of Cuba resembles a crocodile or alligator.
Cuba is situated to the south of the United States, there is only 90 miles of ocean between Cuba and the tip of Florida.
In 1962, the world came very close to a nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis, when Russia put atomic missiles in Cuba. The USA response was get them out or else. Thankfully they did after a tense stand-off.
In 2008, Fidel Castro resigned as the President of Cuba. He had held the position for 49 years.
Fidel Castro claimed he has survived over 600 attempts on his life, mainly from the CIA.
It is illegal to take photos of police officers, military personnel or airport personnel in Cuba.
Both men and women between the ages of 17-28 must serve two years of service in the Cuban military.
Cubans radio and TV networks are both owned by Cuban government.
Cubans were not allowed to own mobile phones until 2008.
Over one million Cubans have moved to the United States since Fidel Castro established the Communist Party in 1965.
In 2015, the Cuban and U.S governments restored diplomatic relations, after 54 years of division.
Sugar, from sugar cane, is the main crop grow in Cuba. Next is tobacco, which is used in the making of the famous hand-crafted Cuban cigar. More than 70 million of these are exported every year.
Besides baseball, Cubans love their boxing, basketball, volleyball, football and athletics. Dominoes is also very popular in Cuba.
One of Cuba’s biggest export is nickel. In 2011 alone, it made up twenty-one percent (21%) of all exports.
The literacy rate in Cuba is a whopping 99.8%, the highest in the whole world.
It has only snowed once in Cuba, it happened in 1857.