Map of Cuba
Cuba is a country in The Caribbean Sea. For most of its history, Cuba’s fertile soil and abundant sugar and tobacco production made it the wealthiest island of the Caribbean.
The Republic of Cuba is an archipelago consisting of the main island (Cuba); Isla de la Juventud, the second largest island; and numerous other islands. Havana is the capital city.
Cuba’s proximity to Haiti, the United States, Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, and Jamaica has allowed people to migrate easily onto and off of the island. This movement contributed to the rich mixture of people and customs in Cuba and throughout the Caribbean area. Although agriculturally rich, Cuba exports only a few products, such as sugar, tobacco, citrus fruits, and several manufactured products.
For about 400 years Cuba was a colony of Spain. Spain’s conquistadores launched their invasion of Mexico and South America from the island. In the mid-19th century, the Cuban people formed an independence movement, decades after most of Spain’s other colonies had become independent. By 1868 Cubans began to fight the first of three wars of independence. In 1898 the United States entered the war against Spain and declared Cuba independent but under the protection of the United States.
In 1902 Cubans began to rule themselves, although U.S. influence remained strong on the island. The United States still operates a naval base at Guantánamo Bay on Cuban territory under agreements dating back to 1903.