The Republic of Cuba is an archipelago comprising the big island from which the name is taken, the Isle of Youth, and some other 4.195 small islands and keys stretching for 110.992 sq. km between the 740 57’ 5” and the 850 57’ 00” long to the west of the Greenwish Meridian, and the 200 74’ 54” and 230 17’ 09”north of the Equator a little down the tropic of Cancer. It is situated at the entrance of the Mexican Gulf and for centuries it has been the key to enter the gulf. The neighboring countries are the Florida Peninsula from the USA to the north, nearly 160 km; Key West Island in the Bahamas, 85 km to the NW; Haiti, 83 km to the east and Jamaica, 146 km to the south; 210 km to the west there is Mexico with the Yucatan Peninsula and there, Cancun.
The Cuban Flag
The territory is divided in 15 provinces and the special municipality of the Isle of Youth. The island is long and narrow and it goes from east to west for nearly 1200 km separating the San Antonio Cape to the west from the Maisi Point to the east. The island is 191 km maximum wide and 31 km minimum. The provinces are: Pinar del Rio, Artemisa, La Habana, Mayabeque, Matanzas, Cienfuegos, Villa Clara, Sancti Spiritus, Ciego de Avila, Camaguey, Las Tunas, Holguin, Granma, Santiago de Cuba and Guantanamo.
The Shield of the Republic
The most important cities in Cuba are the capital cities of the provinces or some other cities for their historical, cultural or tourist importance. Among those cities, there are: Pinar del Rio, Matanzas, Santa Clara, Cienfuegos, Trinidad, Camaguey, Holguin, Santiago de Cuba, Baracoa, and La Habana, of course!
The Cuban population is nearly 11 200 000 inhabitants, from which 2, 200 000 live in Havana, the capital city of the country administratively divided into 15 municipalities.
The island is generally plain with three mountain ranges distributed in the corresponding geographical regions, East, Mid and West, where there is the Sierra Maestra with its Turquino Royal Peak reaching the greatest elevation of 1974 m above sea level.
The official language is Spanish and the prevailing religion is Catholicism, although it is frequently mixed with African religious practices, namely Yoruba.
The native population in Cuba is almost non-existent and today Cuba is a myriad of races as the fairest and the darkest complexions coexist with the mulattoes or some other infinite intermediate shades of skins.
Being located in the tropical area, the climate is pleasant during the dry winter season and then, noticeable warm and humid in summer during the rainy season; but the weather does not reach torrid temperatures, due to the Gulf Stream and the trade winds that help to mitigate the heat.
There are only two seasons and not four as in the temperate zones. Winter goes from December to early May; the heat can be felt especially at the beginning and at the end of the season, though it is less humid than in the rest of the months.
The average temperature is 25.5 0 C and the average humidity is 80% through the year. There are 330 sunny days average.
Three images of national “symbols”
The Butterfly flower
The Royal Palm Tree
The Cuban coast line is 6000 km long with more than 400 beaches and a coral reef that is only second largest to the Australian Great Barrier Reef. The natural beaches are beautiful, some are completely virgin and some others are equipped for tourism. There, you can see the changing colors of the sea going from the white in the shores up to the violet shades in the horizon and the deepest zones and the infinite shades of greens and blue. In those beaches for tourism the hotels are of good quality and the service is also more than satisfactory for the clients.
There are environmentally protected zones throughout the country and natural parks for the protection of the flora and the fauna, unique in some cases or peculiar in some others.
The soil is calcareous and thus the formation of caves and caverns, some of which are really big; that is the reason for their attraction to geologists, speleologists, professionals and non -professionals alike.
Beside the natural beauty, Cuba has historical and cultural attractions as well. The enticing of the visitors from all over the world is because there are no other countries in the Caribbean offering so many possibilities and varieties for tourism.
One of the most outstanding characteristic visitors admire is the character of the Cuban people who are well known for being friendly, cheerful and hospitable, features that are reflected in their way of living, where music is one of the main ingredients.
Discovered by Cristopher Colombus after the first contact with the American Bahamas on October 1492, The Admiral described the island as…”the most beautiful land the human eye have ever seen”…
The most important dates in the Cuban history are:
1492 _ Cristopher Colombus arrives in his first discovery voyage
1510 _Beginning of the conquest and colonization by Diego Velazquez
1519 _Foundation of the villa San Cristóbal de la Habana
1868 _Beginning of the Independence Wars
1892 _José Martí’s foundation of the Cuban Revolutionary Party
1895 _Beginning of the second stage of the Independence Wars
1902 _Birth of the first Republic under the “protection” of the US government
1925 _Julio Antonio Mella and Carlos Baliño’s foundation of the first Cuban Communist Party
1953 _Fidel Castro and a group of young revolutionaries attack the Moncada Garrison in the centennial of José Martí’s birth. The attack was a military defeat, but an example for the upcoming struggle
1955 _Fidel Castro is granted amnesty and goes to exile in Mexico, where he meets Ernesto Guevara de la Serna, the Argentinian doctor known as “Che” Guevara
1956 _Fidel Castro and other 82 men disembark in Las Coloradas beach, near Bayamo.
1959 _Triumph of the Revolution, rebel troops commanded by Che Guevara and Camilo Cienfuegos arrive in Havana after the Battle of Santa Clara
1961 _Literacy Campaign and Playa Girón (Bay of Pigs) Victory
1965_Rebirth of the Communist Party
1976 _Constitution of the Socialist State
January 1st Triumph of the Revolution
May 1st International Workers’ Day
July 26th Day of the National Rebelliousness,(along with the 25 and the 27)
October 10th Anniversary of the Wars of Independence
December 25th X-mas (after Pope Juan Pablo II’s visit )
Carnivals in Havana and Santiago de Cuba (July)
Charangas de Bejucal (Artemisa)
Parrandas de Remedios (Villa Clara)
New Year (to celebrate the triumph of the Revolution, along with New Year’ Eve and January 1st )