In the 18th century, it was a Spanish empire and the main source of raw sugar. It was nicknamed “Pearl of the Antilles.”
Spain, however, had to fight a number of battles to keep the country. However, in 1898, Spain surrendered Cuba to the US in 1898 after they were defeated in the Spanish-American War.
Cuba gained independence in 1902 under the protection of the US.
But after a coup by Fidel Castro in 1959, Cuba became isolated from its northern neighbours as its ties with the Soviet Union increased. During that time it was ruled by a communist party. And in the Cold War era, it was often a point of contention between the US and Soviet Union to a point that a nuclear war almost broke out during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the US hit Cuba with economic embargo until December 2014.
The Cuban culture is grounded on the European, African and Amerindian cultures.
The major crops grown here include sugarcane, rice, citrus fruits, potatoes, bananas, cassava, plantains, corn and tomatoes.
The most popular dishes are empanadas, arroz con pollo, chickpea stew, sweet potatoes in garlic citrus sauce and boliche.
Common wildlife animals found here include hawksbill turtle, Antillean manatee, the bee hummingbird, French angelfish and Cuban parakeet.
Annual events/ celebrations/ festivals
The National Revolution Day is held on 26th July.
The Labor Day on 1st May.
The Independence Day on 10th October.
Things to see
Malecon is a wide esplanade and seawall that extends for 8 km along the Havana coast.
Vinales Valley is a 132 km2 valley in Sierra de los Organos Mountains.
National Capital building is a public complex situated at Havana.
Other must-visit places are Castillo De Los Tres Reyes Del Morro, Cayo Largo del Sur and Revolution Museum.
Cuba is the largest island of all the Caribbean island countries.
The country is commonly referred to as “El Cocodrilo” in Spanish for it resembles a crocodile while viewed from the air.
It is one of the few countries in the world that has a double currency system.
It is bordered by Mexico on the west, US states of Florida and Bahamas on the north, Haiti on the east and Jamaica and the Cayman Islands on the south.