Cuban History Facts That Every Budding Historian Should Be Aware Of | Kidadl


Cuban History Facts That Every Budding Historian Should Be Aware Of

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Cuba, officially known as the Republic of Cuba is located in the Caribbean Sea.

Cuba shares its borders with Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Honduras, the Bahamas, and the United States. The country is ruled by the Cuban Communist Party.

Cuba is one of the most popular countries in the world and is home to some of the most diverse ecosystems in the world. The country sees a vast number of tourists visiting the country to see the various UNESCO World Heritage Sites and the beautiful landscape and geography the country has to offer. Cuba and its relation with the United States are known worldwide as the nations never saw eye-to-eye and there were various successful revolutions that became prominent in an effort to overthrow U.S.-backed governments in the country.

Cuba is also the largest island in the Caribbean and has gained global fame for the Cuban cigars that are produced in the country.

If you like this article about Cuba history facts, be sure to check out articles about Alaska history facts and Alabama history facts too!

Cuba's Geography And Landscape

Cuba is separated from Mexico's Yucatan peninsula by the Yucatan channel. The channel links the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea, and it is 134 mi (215.7 km) across Cape San Antonio in Cuba and Cape Catoche in Mexico.

The name 'Cuba' originated with the Spanish colonizers in the 15th Century. The origin of the name is believed to be linked with the word 'cubao' which roughly translates to 'fertile land'. 'Cobana' is the second word that is linked with the name, and it roughly translates to 'great place'.

There are nine UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Cuba!

Old Havana and its fortifications, Viñales Valley, Alejandro de Humboldt National Park, Desembarco del Granma National Park, Castillo de San Pedro de la Roca, Cienfuegos, Camaguey, Trinidad, the Valle de los Ingenios, and the Archaeological Landscape of the First Coffee Plantations in the Southeast of Cuba are the names of these sites.

The Alejandro de Humboldt National Park and the Desembarco del Granma National Park are known for their native flora and fauna and the limestone marine terraces and sea cliffs respectively.

The other seven sites are chosen on the basis of their cultural significance. The first Cuban site to be designated UNESCO status was Old Havana, which is known in Cuba's history for its ancient architectural structures.

Cuba can be seen as the lightweight among the heavyweights of the countries with the most world heritage sites. Brazil in South America and Mexico beat Cuba narrowly.

Cuba is a long and narrow island. About one-third of Cuba is covered with rolling hills and high mountains, while the remaining two-thirds of the country is used as lowland plains for farming.

Cuba's main island is recognized as the largest island in the Caribbean Sea. The island stretches over 40,000 sq mi (103,599.5 sq km).

Cuba is known for its mountain chains that stretch from the west of the country to the east. The Sierra del Rosario range is situated in the east, and the Sierra de Los Organos is situated in the west.

The Pico Turquino is the highest point in Cuba at an altitude of 6,476 ft (1,973.9 m). The peak is situated in the south-eastern parts of the Sierra del Rosario Mountain range.

Cuba's Incredible Nature

Cuba is one of the most environmentally diverse countries in the world, and the dense forests, mountain ranges, and grasslands are to show for it.

The diverse ecosystem is home to some of the most extraordinary animals and plants. One of these animals is the bee hummingbird, the smallest hummingbird and bird species in general.

Cuba is also home to the smallest frog in the world. The Mount Iberia frog grows only 0.3 in (1 cm) long!

Cuban People And Culture

Cuba celebrates its New Year by burning life-sized dolls! Año Viejo dolls, as the event is called, are used to forget past memories.

After Catholicism, Santeria is the second largest religion in Cuba. Santeria is a mixture of religious elements from Roman Catholicism and the Yoruba people of Africa.

Dominoes is the national past-time of the Cuban people!

Baseball is a huge sport in Cuba! The origins linking Cuba to baseball are linked to American sailors who interacted with Cuban students and taught them the game. In 1869, the sport was banned by the heads who ruled the Spanish territory, but in 1874, the ban was removed.

The city of Santa Clara is recognized for Marta Abreu, who, in the 19th century, launched several schools, a power plant, a train station, a theater, and homes for the elderly and children.

Cuba has a staggering 99.8% literacy rate! After the Cuban Revolution, campaigns were launched by the Castro government to wipe out illiteracy. He made schools accessible to everyone and education was made compulsory from the age of 6-15.

Cuba trails the United States in the number of Olympic medals won by all American countries. As of now, Cuban athletes have won 241 medals (85 gold, 71 silver, and 85 bronze) in the Summer Olympics.

Cuba slowly became one of the largest sugar plantations

Cuban Government And Economy

The history of the Cuban government and the rise of the communist party is one of the most important parts of the country's history. European influences played a major part in how Cuba was governed before its independence.

Cuba's history began with the landing of Christopher Columbus in the year 1492. The native indigenous people of the Taino, Ciboney and the Guanahatabye tribes resided in Cuba's thick forests. Cuban society then was limited and hence was easily overthrown by the Spanish invaders. Cuba was a neglected island as it was used as a stopgap for the Spanish fleet.

In the 19th century, Cuba became more involved with the world, and a sugar revolution began in the country because of various events occurring simultaneously around the world. Cuba slowly became one of the largest sugar plantations and slaves were brought in by the Spanish to work on these plantations. However, Cuba remained loyal to Spain even though the rest of Latin America was gaining independence from Spain.

The Ten Years' War against Spain, which was fought between 1868-1878, was unsuccessful in bringing freedom to the Cuban citizens, and José Martí, Cuban independence leader, lost his life in the second independence war that was fought between 1895-1898. The United States entered the war at this point because of its bad relations with the Spanish, and the destruction of the USS Maine in Havana Harbor on February 15 was the trigger for the United States defeating the Spanish in the Spanish-American War. This led to Spain being excluded from the country and the United States becoming the guardian of Cuban affairs.

The U.S. suppressed the growth of Cuba as it made Cuba dependent on it and the other northern neighbors. Within five years of the U.S. occupation, Cuba was seeing rapid growth and prosperity in its society. However, corruption and violence were still things that did not end. Because of this, the United States invoked the 1901 Platt Amendments, which gave the US the right to intervene in the internal affairs of Cuba.

The 1930s gave rise to revolution attempts. The dictatorship of Gerardo Machado y Morales, who served as the Cuban president from 1925-1933, saw unrest in Cuban society, leading to the rise of ideas to overthrow the US government. In 1933, army revolts led to Machado resigning and feeding the country. The rule of Carlos Manuel de Céspedes (Machado's brother) was ended when Sergeant Fulgencio Batista y Zaldívar joined his armed forces with the militants. However, not all went according to plan as army chief Batista took control of the country and soon overthrew any sort of revolution as he became the president of Cuba in 1940.

The Batista era ended with World War Two, and Cuba became a democratic country that had human rights and other rules and regulations for the safety of its citizens. Batista was succeeded by the world-famous Fidel Castro.

Cuba's politics changed a lot after the rise of Fidel Castro. The efforts to remove Batista began with a revolution in July 1953, and it finally ended on December 31, 1958, when he was completely removed from power. Fidel Castro Ruz, seized power in 1959 after overthrowing Batista using his Cuban troops, and soon the Castro regime seized U.S. investments and properties. The United States severed its ties with Cuba following the arrest of U.S. citizens by Fidel Castro. The infamous Bay of Pigs invasion was a CIA-sponsored attack that failed to bring down the Castro regime, following which it destroyed underground bases that the Americans used.

Fidel Castro rose to fame with the backing of the Soviet Union, and the country supported terrorist groups and anti-U.S. soldiers in Latin America. Castro's most famous interventions are the rise of a Marxist power in Angola in 1975 and the support of the Sandinista overthrow that saw Castro support the Anastasio Somoza Debayle dictatorship in Nicaragua. Cuba's involvement in Central America was used to flex the power Cuba had over international events under Fidel Castro.

The fall of communism in the '90s had an intense effect on Cuba. The Soviet Union stopped supporting the country, after which, Cuba went through a major economic crisis. The Cuban government sees the economic crisis as a special period in peacetime after which the country saw a rise in the establishment of private businesses and more foreign investment. Even with the era changing, the Cuban government was adamant and refused to change its political beliefs.

The hostility between the United States and Cuba gave birth to the traditional Cold War, and the violation of human rights in Cuba was seen as a sensitive issue by the United States. The Cuban population immigrated (legally and illegally) in large numbers following the tyrannical dictatorship.

In 2006, Fidel Castor transferred the power to his brother, General Raul Castro Ruz, who became the first vice president of the Council of State and Council of Ministers. He also became the minister of the Revolutionary Armed Forces in 2006. Raúl Castro and his reign signaled the end of Fidel Castro's era.

Following the events of years before, the United States maintained a presence in Cuba and much of Latin America before it completely went out of the picture. Today, Cuban politics is based on government campaigns and there are many parts of the Cuban Communist Party that can still be found at the base of the government.

Currently, Miguel Díaz-Canel is the president of the country and elected Manuel Marrero Cruz as the Prime Minister of Cuba, a newly introduced position of power.

For the first time in 43 years, Manuel Marrero Cruz became Prime Minister in 2019.

Che Guevara was Fidel's minister of the economy and is known as a revolutionary hero in the country. His face can be found all around the island, and there is a museum dedicated solely to Che Guevara.

Homegrown tobacco used in cigars crafted by Cubans is known as the highest-quality cigars in the world!

Sugarcane played a pivotal role in Cuba's rise after the 18th century. Potatoes, citrus fruits, rice, and bananas are some of the other pivotal crops that contribute to Cuba's economy.

The Cuban economy is dominated by state-run companies under government rule that take care of the food, healthcare, and education in the country.

Cuba ranks 138th and 75th as the largest export economy and the most complex economy, respectively.

If you want to visit Cuba, be sure to exchange your currency accordingly, as Cuba has two national currencies! The Cuban peso is used as the local currency, and the convertible peso is used by visitors and tourists who can use it in specific shops. The convertible peso is 25 times the value of the Cuban peso.

Soviet-Missile Crisis

The Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962 followed the news that the United States had discovered Soviet missiles in Cuba.

The weapons were eliminated and the bases were destroyed after the U.S. imposed a naval blockade on Cuba. The Cuban Missile Crisis is seen as one of the most serious emergencies following World War Two. A Soviet-U.S. pact ended the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Did You Know...

Cuba is the largest region of the Caribbean Island, both size- and population-wise. Cuba ranks 17th on the list of the largest islands in the world.

Outlawing freemasonry has been a historical event in many communist states (the Soviet Union too). However, in Cuba, it is not quite the case as there are more than 300 lodges. The reason behind this number is said to be Fidel Castro's profession as a freemason.

Guantanamo Bay receives $4,085 a year from the United States as the US rents a 45 sq mi (116.5 sq km) Naval Station. Ever since 1959, Cuba has refused to accept any payment for the plot.

After Columbus discovered and claimed the land for the Spanish, Cuba became a hub for the export of sugar and coffee. The Cuban people were ruled by the Spanish until December 10, 1898.

After the rise of the communist government under Fidel Castro, Cuba declared itself an atheist state. In 1969, Christmas was completely banned as an official holiday. However, the country removed the ban in 1997 with the arrival of Pope John Paul II.

Raúl Castro unbanned the use of cell phones in 2008. Before that, the use of cell phones was illegal.

In Spanish, Cuba is referred to as 'El Caima' or 'El Crocodilo' because the island resembles a crocodile when seen from above.

The famous American novelist Ernest Hemingway resided in Cuba for over 20 years, and the novels 'For Whom the Bell Tolls' and 'The Old Man and the Sea' were written by him in Cuba.

Cuba and North Korea are the only two countries to have put a ban on Coca-Cola.

Fidel Castro was a huge fan of the Cohiba cigar, and there are alleged reports that an assassination attempt on his life was carried on by the CIA when they sent him poisoned cigars.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Cuba history facts, then why not take a look at Australian history facts, or Arizona facts and history.

<p>With a Master of Arts in English, Rajnandini has pursued her passion for the arts and has become an experienced content writer. She has worked with companies such as Writer's Zone and has had her writing skills recognized by publications such as The Telegraph. Rajnandini is also trilingual and enjoys various hobbies such as music, movies, travel, philanthropy, writing her blog, and reading classic British literature.&nbsp;</p>

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