By Sean Buffington
Cuba is an island nation located on the northern rim of the Caribbean Sea. It is the largest of the
Greater Antilles islands. To Cuba's east is the island of Hispaniola, shared by Haiti and the Dominican
Republic. Off the southeastern coast of Cuba lies Jamaica, and to the north is the state of Florida. In
1992 Cuba had an estimated population of nearly 11 million. Since 1959, Cuba has been led by
President Fidel Castro, whose socialist revolution overthrew dictator Fulgencio Batista. In the years
before the breakup of the Soviet Union, Cuba maintained a close political and economic relationship
with that nation. Cuba has had a distant and antagonistic relationship with the United States. Sugar is
the principal export of Cuba, but the Cuban economy, by most accounts, is weak.
The Cuban people are descendants of Spanish colonizers and of African slaves once employed in the
sugar industry. Two-fifths of the Cuban population is Roman Catholic. Nearly half report no religious
affiliation. Many of those who call themselves Catholics are also adherents of an Afro-Cuban religious
tradition known as
The official language of Cuba and the language spoken by nearly all
Cubans is Spanish.
3.The capital of Cuba is Havana, located on the northwestern coast of the island. Nearly 20 percent of
Cubans are city dwellers; most live in the capital city. The United States, which has limited diplomatic
relations with Cuba, nonetheless maintains, against the Cuban government's wishes, a significant
military presence in Cuba at the Guantanamo Bay base on the southeastern coast of the island.
1.Cuba was colonized by the Spanish in 1511. Before colonization, the island was inhabited by
Ciboney and Arawak Indians. Shortly after colonization, the native population was ravaged by disease,
warfare, and enslavement, causing their eventual extinction. Throughout the sixteenth and
seventeenth centuries, Cuba, like most of Spain's Caribbean possessions, received little attention from
the imperial government. Especially in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, Spain lavished
attention on its mainland colonies in Central and South America and ignored its island colonies. By the
end of the seventeenth century, Spain itself had begun to decline as a world power through financial
mismanagement, outmoded trade policies, and continued reliance on exhausted extractive industries.
Spain's colonies suffered during this period. Then the British captured Havana in 1762 and encouraged