Cuba – Country of Sugarcane and Politics
Cuba is made up of one main island and about 1,600 smaller islands. Cuba lies in the Caribbean Sea, about 145 kilometers south of Florida. Its official name is Republic of Cuba. Its area is 110,860 square kilometers.
Havana, on the northwestern coast of the main island, is the capital of the country.
Cuba is warm year-round. Hurricanes sometimes hit the country in the summer and fall, during the rainy season.
Many Cubans are farmers. Sugarcane has been the most valuable crop for a long time. Cuba also produces tobacco, and Cuban cigars are famous worldwide. They also grow coffee, rice, and tropical fruits.
Cuba is rich with mineral resources including cobalt, nickel, iron ore, copper, manganese, salt, silica, and petroleum.
Tourism is now the largest source of income for Cuba.
In 1492 the island was claimed for Spain by Christopher Columbus and was ruled by Spain until the 1890s. That’s why Spanish is the official language, but English is also widely spoken throughout the country. The Spanish brought in African slaves to work on sugarcane plantations. In 1868, slavery was finally abolished and an overall rebellion for independence rose throughout the land.
In 1898, Spain granted Cuba independence and in 1902 the Republic of Cuba was established.
In 1959 Fidel Castro took over the government. He was strongly communist and developed a close relationship with the government of the Soviet Union. Cuba’s relationship with the United States suffered because the United States opposed Communism. In 1962 Cuba was nearly the center of a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union.
In 1991 the Soviet Union collapsed and Cuba lost an important source of support. But Castro remained in power until 2008, when his brother Raul became president.
– The highest point on mainland is Pico Turquino (2,005 meters).
– Cauto River is the longest river in Cuba.
– Ernest Hemingway liked to stay in Ambos Mundos Hotel, located on the main street of Old Havana. He wrote several chapters of the novel For Whom the Bell Tolls there. Now, room number 551 is a museum of the famous writer.
– Old Havana – the historical center of the city, was listed in UNESCO World Heritage List.
– Thanks to the friendship with the Soviet Union, Cuba now has its own astronaut. In 1980 there was a joint flight: Yuri Romanenko and Arnaldo Tamayo flew into space.
– Cuban poet Julian del Casal died of laughter.