Famous Cuban Americans
The island of Cuba has been domiciled for over several thousand years by Amerindian peoples named the Taino and Ciboney. The Taino were known to be mostly farmers while the Ciboney were hunter-gatherers. The name Cuba in fact is derived from the Taino word cubanacan, which means "a central placeĒ. Christopher Columbus sighted the island while on his first sail of discovery on 24 October 1492, and forthwith laid claim it for Spain.
Spain maintaned the island of Cuba for 388 years, ruled by the governor of Havana. It had an economic base of orchard farming and main exports of refined sugar, coffee bean and tobacco to European Community and in the future to North America. Brits grabbed the island in 1762, but delivered it to Spain the following year. Like most of the Spanish Empire, a small land-owning elect of colonists had all the social and economic force. They were helped by a population of modest farmers, laborers and slaves.
Many architectural masterpieces reconstructed during Spanish rule still stand nowadays. An first-class model is the Catedral de San Cristobal, Havana. During the 1820s, when the rest of Spainís empire in South America rebelled and seceeded, Cuba rested loyal, though a few fought for independence. Partly because concerns of a slave rebellion (as had materialised in Haiti) if the Spanish pulled away, partly because the prosperity of Cuban colonists counted on their export trade to Europe, and partly because Cuba feared the growing power of the United States more than they disliked Spanish colonial reign.
Due to the fact that Cuba is a bare 90 miles from the United States has had a unfathomed influence on the countries exploitation. Politicians in the south plotted the islandís annexation as a way of bolstering the pro-slavery forces in the U.S. throughout the early 1900ís. In 1848 a pro-annexationist uprising was thwarted after several failed invasion atemps from Florida proved fruitless. After that the United States attempted to buy Cuba from Spain but was always turned away.
Rural impoverishment in Spain led to a substantial Spanish emigration to Cuba. Among those arriving were the parents of Fidel Castro. During the 1890s pro-independence turmoil revived, fueled by rancor of the limitations levied on Cuban trade by Spain and hostility to Spainís more and more tyrannous and incompetent governance of Cuba. On 15 July 1895 rebellion broke out and the independence party, led by Tomas Estrada Palma and the poet Jose Marti, extolled Cuba an independent republic. Marti was killed not long thereafter and has become Cubaís unquestioned national hero.
This short paper canít possibly address the vast history that is Cuba. I have numbered a few first-class books at the closing of this site. You can buy them all at Amazon or your local bookshop.
Cuba: A New History by Richard Gott
The Cuba Reader: History, Culture, Politics (Latin America Readers) by Aviva Chomsky, Barry Carr, and Pamela Maria Smorkaloff
This is Cuba: An Outlaw Culture Survives by Ben Corbett
Inside Cuba by Julio Cesar Perez Hernandez, Angelika Taschen, and Giani Bosso