(Republic of Cuba, República de Cuba)
Note: No merchandise offered for sale on this site originated in Cuba
- Location: Caribbean
- Capital: Havana
- Language(s): Spanish
- Total Area: 109,886 sq km
- Currency: Curious Alcohol Fact: Beers are usually taken with meals.
- Annual Average Liquor Consumption Per Capita: 5.50 liters
- Most Popular Drink(s): Beers
When viewed from various angles, one will not fail to notice that Cuba is in a class of its own. Of all the islands in the West Indies, it is the largest in area and as if that is not enough, it is also located in the westernmost part of the region. Although many people tend to look at Cuba as one single, monolithic island state ruled by highly-principled communists, Cuba is actually an archipelago and is much more different than most people imagine. Cuba is also the name of the largest island while the Isla de la Juventud is the second largest in addition to other islands. The capital city is Havana. One of the richest island nations in the Caribbean, Cuba is most popular around the globe for its anti-American rhetoric championed by former ruler and charismatic figure, Fidel Castro whose record of leadership is one of the longest in the world (almost 50 years!). Castro had overthrown America-backed Fulgencio Batista in 1959. Known for a vibrant health system, Cuba is also a major producer of cigars and sugar. But it must be said that as impressive as these statements are, these are just a few of the lovely features of the island nation. It is indeed a place you have to visit.
Some of the earliest settlers of the islands were the Arawak Indians (also called the Tainos) who are also found in the Bahamas. With time, the island nation was subjected to Spanish colonization which was to last for centuries. Today, it is easy to observe the multicultural nature of the Cuban society. There are those with Spanish, African, Asian and even Mexican roots. Interestingly, about 50% of Cubans are referred to as mulattoes and these are those with both African and European roots. Blacks were first shipped to Cuba during the slave trade era to work on the vast sugar plantations. Asians (especially from China and Japan) are also found on the island. The Santería religion is a unique blend of traditional African worship and Christianity and has many Cubans as adherents. For those who are not toeing this line, the Roman Catholic Church is the focus, and there is also a tiny proportion of followers of Islam and Judaism.
Cuban food is quite unique in the sense that it is a combination of flavors from Africa, Spain and from all over the Caribbean. Very popular among the locals and tourists alike is the Cuban sandwich and you will also do well to take a bite of the specially prepared chicken rice (arroz con pollo).
- Cuban cigars are some of the finest and most expensive in the world.
- Che Guevara is actually not from Cuba but Argentina.
- The world-famous Guantanamo Bay is in Cuba.
- The Castro family has ruled Cuba since 1959.
- Cuba was the epicenter of the famed tussle between the United States and the Soviet in 1962. Called the Cuban Missile Crisis, the event almost degenerated into a full-scale nuclear war between the two superpowers.
- Even though Cuba is in America’s backyard, its government has always had a turbulent relationship with the United States despite the fact that countless Cubans stream to the United States on a regular basis as migrants.
- The former leader of Cuba, Fidel Castro holds the record of one of the longest-serving leaders in the world.
Story By World By Shotglass
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Special thanks to our contributors:
Adebayo Ahmed Adebola (Ilorin, Nigeria).
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