The flag of Cuba
The Cuban coat of arms
The Republic of Cuba is in the Caribbean, about 180 kilometers south of the United States off the coast of Florida. The island of Cuba offers a lot of nature and culture, and has a rich history. Here you will find beautiful white beaches, azure blue sea, mountains, sugar cane fields, citrus and tobacco plantations.
Through the years of political and economic isolation of Cuba, the modernization of the country remained far behind. Thereby you can experience still the special atmosphere of the colonial past. Especially in the Spanish colonial cities Trinidad, Santiago de Cuba and old Havana, the fifties come to life. The sultry salsa music, Cuban cigars, Mojito, beautiful colonial buildings and oldtimers bring back the memories of old times.
The romantic Trinidad, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is just an open air museum with beautiful colonial houses, picturesque streets, the Spanish Church and Plaza Mayor. Santiago de Cuba is the cradle of the famous Cuban musical styles Rumba, Salsa and Son. Santiago de Cuba is well known for its vibrant and swinging nightlife.
Ché Guevara and Fidel Castro have played a large role in the history of Cuba. Everywhere you can find their images and statues,and you can delve in their past. In Santa Clara is the Ché Guevara museum located and in the Sierra Maestra mountains you can still visit this shelter of the freedom fighters.
The most famous beach resort of Cuba is Varadero. Varadero Beach has a 20 km long white sandy beach with an azure blue sea. You can find excellent places for diving and snorkelling. Varadero offers a wide choice of holiday resorts in all price ranges.
Off the coast of Cuba are also several small, beautiful islands where you can relax. These include the islands of Cayo Largo, Cayo Jutias, Cayo Levisa and Cayo Rahul and Cayo Saetia. But also the white beaches of Maria la Gorda in Pinar del Rio province in Western Cuba appeal to the imagination.
Geography of Cuba
The Republic of Cuba exists of more than 1,600 Islands. The largest islands are Cuba and Isla de la Juventud. The best known of the smaller islands are Cayo Coco, Cayo Largo, Cayo Jutias, Cayo Levisa, Cayo Guilermo and Cayo Saetia.
The island "Cuba" has a length of 1250 km and a width of over 190 km. A quarter of Cuba is seized by mountains, such as the Sierra de los Organos, Sierra del Escambraye and Sierra Maestra. The coast of Cuba ranges from swamps and mangrove forests to rocks and pearl white beaches.
One of the most beautiful regions in Cuba are the green valleys of Vinales with the famous mogotes. Nearby Baracoa is the Humboldt National Park, the spectacular ravine Yumuri and table mountain El Yunque.
Cuba is divided into five provinces, namely: Pinar del Rio, Artemisa, Havana-stad, Mayabeque, Matanzas, Cienfuegos, Villa Clara, Sancti Spiritus, Ciego de Avila, Camagüey, Las Tunas, Granma, Holguin, Santiago de Cuba and Guantanamo. The largest city and the capital of Cuba is Havana (La Habana), located on the North coast of Cuba. Other famous cities of Cuba are Camaguey, Pinar de Rio, Santa Clara, Santiago de Cuba, Trinidad and the seaside resort of Varadero.
Cuba has in the twintigse century for years been the world's largest sugar producer. Thereby were numerous sugar mills and distilleries across the country. An important export country of Cuba was the Soviet Union. But after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 the production of cane sugar decreased. Nowadays the most famous export products of Cuba are cigars, salsa music, sugar and rum.
History of Cuba
The total number of indigenous people of Cuba declined rapidly in the centuries after the Spanish discovery of the island by Christopher Columbus in 1492 and after the development of Cuba as a Spanish colony. For this reason many African slaves were transported to Cuba to work on the tea and sugar plantations. The city of Havana was an important port for the Spanish treasure fleets which made the crosssing from Mexico and Peru to Spain via Cuba.
The Spanish rule eventually caused an independence movement and regularly some population rebellions which were ever brut suppressed. US intervention during the Spanish-American War in 1898 helped the Cubans at the overthrow of the Spanish rule. With the Treaty of Paris the Cuban independence was eventually established in 1902. Then the island has been ruled by various governments which usually were dominated by the military and corrupt politicians.
In 1959 Fidel Castro led a rebel army to victory against this corrupt domination. His iron hand held his regime then in power for almost five decades. In February 2008 Fidel Castro wore the Presidency of Cuba to his younger brother Raul Castro.
The Communist revolution of Cuba, supported by the Soviet Union, was exported to countries in Latin America and Africa in the sixties, seventies and eighties of the 20th century.
In 1990 the country saw a strong economic decline after the collapse of the annual subsidy of 4 billion to 6 billion dollars by the Soviet Union. Cuba always gave as reason of its internal problems the US embargo, which has been in force since 1961. In 2009, the US sanctions were relieved by president Obama. As a result, Cuban Americans are now able to visit their families in Cuba and to transfer money to relatives in Cuba.