Cuba Facts

Cuba Facts and History

North America

Cuba – The Empire of Fidel Castro

Cuba is the largest island in the Caribbean and is one of the last socialist states. The country was ruled by Dr. Fidel Castro Ruz rules.

And only in 2007 did he hand over the official business to his brother Raúl Castro Ruz, who was then officially elected head of state by the Cuban National Assembly on February 24, 2008.

Miguel Mario Díaz-Canel Bermúdez has been President of the Council of State and Council of Ministers of the Republic of Cuba since April 19, 2018.

The country is famous for its music, its poets, its outstanding athletes, the rum and not least for its cigars.

The capital of the country is Havana, or La Habana, as it is called in the local language. The country’s second largest city, Santiago de Cuba, is also well worth seeing, as is the rather small city of Trinidad, which in 1988 was even declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to its well-preserved colonial architecture.

On July 20, 2015, diplomatic relations between Cuba and the USA, which had been interrupted since 1961, were resumed with the opening of embassies.

And on March 20, 2016, Barack Obama, the first US president since 1928, visited the country.

Name of the country República de Cuba (German Republic of Cuba)
Form of government Socialist republic
Geographical location Cuba is an island in the Caribbean.
National anthem La Bayamese
National holiday January 1 (1959 Revolution Anniversary, Liberation Day)
Population Approx. 11.3 million (Credit: Countryaah: Cuba Population)
  • 51% mulattos
  • 37% whites
  • 11% blacks
Religions 56% of the population are non-religious, 39% are Roman Catholic Christians, there are also Protestant and Jewish denominations
Languages Spanish
Capital Havana with approx. 2.2 million residents
Surface 110,860 km²
Highest mountain Pico Turquino with a height of 1,972 m
Longest river Río Cuato with a length of 370 km
Largest lake Lago Zaza
International license plate C.
National currency Peso Cubano
Time difference to CET – 6 h
International phone code 0053
Mains voltage, frequency 110 volts and 60 hertz (an American flat plug is required.)
Internet TLD (Top Level Domain) .cu

Cuba: history

Before the year 1000

Already 10,000 BC BC people settled on the island, as shown by archaeological finds near Holguín in the west of the country.

According to Abbreviationfinder website, around 2,000 BC Hunters and gatherers developed, 1,000 BC. The Siboney and Taínos from the Arawak tribe immigrated to 1000 AD. It is believed that there were many settlements in the early period. There were groups of fishermen who made their instruments out of mussels. The most advanced group grew cassava and lived in palm huts and made clay pots.

From the year 1000 to the 17th century

On October 27, 1492, Christopher Columbus anchored in the Bay of Bariay.

The first city in Cuba, Baracoa, was founded by the Spaniard Diego Velázquez de Cuellar and thus initiated the Spanish colonization of Cuba. Bayamo, Sancti Spíritus, Trinidad, Santiago de Cuba and La Habana were added later. From 1548 sugar cane was grown in Cuba and just five years later, La Habana is the unofficial capital.

In the course of the Conquista, the conquests by the Spaniards, the number of natives quickly decimated. Villages were burned and thousands murdered in search of gold. In addition, there were diseases brought in from Europe, against which the Indians had no defenses. 70 years later, only 1,000 of the former 100,000 indigenous people lived on the archipelago.

The economic boom began in the 16th century with the cultivation of sugar cane. The port of Havana became the assembly point for the silver fleets. In the following years sugar cane became Cuba’s main export good. And since the Indians were practically exterminated, the plantation owners supplied themselves with workers from Africa. In the next 300 years around 850,000 Africans, mainly from Nigeria and East Benin, were abducted and abused as slaves.

In the 18th and 19th centuries

After the French Revolution, the slaves rose on the island of Haiti and many French fled to Cuba with their knowledge of coffee and tobacco growing.

In 1868 the first revolt against the Spanish colonial power began in Cuba. Carlos Manuel de Céspedes, a wealthy landowner, released his slaves and asked them to fight against the Spanish occupation. He became the first underground president of the Republic of Cuba. In February 1874 he fell in San Lorenzo. The Peace of Zanjon ended this war, which lasted ten years. There was more rights for the Cubans, but no real independence. The poet José Martí goes into exile in New York out of bitterness over the lack of freedom and many fighters follow him. In the years 1895 – 1898 there was another war of independence under the leadership of Máximo Gómez, Antonio Maceo and José Martí. This time they managed to mobilize the entire island. Martí and Maceo were killed in the fighting that followed. In January 1898, the Americans launched the warship Maine into the port of Havana to “help” the Cuban people. Two weeks later there was an explosion on the ship and the US intervened in Cuba. Cuba proclaimed the republic, but the USA reserved the right to intervene that was laid down in the Platt Amendment. An American military government ruled by May 1902 and Cuba became the main supplier of sugar and tobacco to the USA.

In the 20th and 21st centuries

The first republic of independent Cuba was proclaimed in 1902 and Tómas Estrada Palma became its president. In the middle of 1906 there were conflicts between liberals and conservatives, the USA intervened and occupied the island until 1909. In 1917, Cuba joined the Allies in the First World War, and since Cuba was now also exporting sugar to Europe it turned into an economic boom. However, under the government of Gerardo Machado y Morales in the 1920s, the economic situation deteriorated and in this situation the Communist Party became founded. At the same time, the US Mafia withdrew to Cuba and the country was riddled with gambling, drugs and prostitution. In 1935 an agreement was reached with Batista, who later became president himself, about a monopoly on gambling.

In July 1953, Dr. Fidel Castro Ruz (born 1926) with 160 men the Moncada barracks in Santiago de Cuba. The uprising failed. Castro was arrested and sentenced to 15 years of forced labor. After Batista took office again, he issued a general amnesty and Castro and comrades were released and went into exile in Mexico, where they met Ernesto Che Guevara. On December 2nd, Castro landed on the Cuban coast with his yacht Granma. Shortly after the landing, there were clashes with government troops and of the former 82 men, only 12 revolutionaries reached the Sierra Maestra where a new guerrilla was built. On New Year’s Day 1959, Fidel Castro was finally able to announce the victory over the Batista troops and the victory of the revolution. Castro announced the nationalization of all US property in May 1960. This increased tensions with the big neighbor considerably. In 1961 a counterrevolutionary invasion prepared by the CIA lands in the Bahía de Cochinos, the Bay of Pigs. The invasion could be put down by Castro’s troops, especially since the Cubans in exile who were supposed to fight against Castro were not supported by the Americans under their President John F. Kennedy. About 200 people lost their lives on both sides.

Since Castro emphasized the socialist character of the Cuban revolution, there was a rapprochement with the Soviet Union, which gratefully took up the developments in Cuba and stationed Soviet nuclear missiles in Cuba. This led to a conflict between the aforementioned US President John F. Kennedy (1917-1963) and the Soviet General Secretary Nikita Sergejewitsch Khrushchev (1894-1971), which endangered world peace. After lengthy negotiations, Khrushchev gave in and withdrew the missiles. This prevented World War III, which humanity was actually facing, almost at the last minute. Would Kennedy have set off the atomic bomb …?

The second land reform in 1963 brought most of the agricultural land under state control. In 1972 Cuba became a member of the Comecon (union of the socialist states in an economic community) and in February 1976 the constitution of the Socialist Republic of Cuba was promulgated. Hundreds of thousands of Cubans left the island in the summer of 1980. Many of the boats, which were quickly assembled, did not survive the journey and sank, with numerous people.

After the collapse of the Eastern Bloc countries, there was a major economic crisis, as the Soviet Union no longer supplied oil or spare parts. As a result, the special period in peacetime was proclaimed. During the Clinton administration, the two states came closer together, but fear of losing votes did not ease the US embargo, which has brought untold suffering to the Cuban people.

The tropical socialism survives today only thanks to some capitalist reforms that Castro had to leave under pressure from the crisis. Today there are around 400 joint ventures with state companies, especially in the tourism sector. In 1993, dollar ownership was permitted, as was the limited approval of small independent businesses. Today tourism ranks first in the country’s income, followed by remittances from Cuban exiles in the United States to their relatives in Cuba.

Despite many economic grievances, the country also has some important achievements to show: every Cuban has free education and health care. Life expectancy is the highest in all of Latin America and the country has very low infant mortality rates; comparable to that in Germany. In Cuba, the proportion of women among students is higher than in any other Latin American country. Cuban students also do better than their fellow students in Latin America, particularly in math, science and languages. These achievements are also recognized by opponents of the regime.

As a result of his serious illness, Castro handed over the official duties to his brother Raúl Castro Ruz (born 1931) in July 2006 . On February 24, 2008, he was officially elected as Castro’s successor by the 614-member National Assembly. Since then he has been both President of the Council of State and of the Council of Ministers and thus Head of State and Government in one person.

On July 20, 2015, diplomatic relations between Cuba and the USA, which had been interrupted since 1961, were resumed with the opening of embassies.

Cuba Facts