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Introduction

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Cuba (/ˈkjuːbə/ (About this soundlisten); Spanish pronunciation: [ˈkuβa]), officially the Republic of Cuba (RCUB.ogg), is a country comprising the island of Cuba as well as Isla de la Juventud and several minor archipelagos. Cuba is located in the northern Caribbean where the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean meet. It is east of the Yucatán Peninsula (Mexico), south of both the U.S. state of Florida and the Bahamas, west of Haiti and north of both Jamaica and the Cayman Islands. Havana is the largest city and capital; other major cities include Santiago de Cuba and Camagüey. The area of the Republic of Cuba is 110,860 square kilometers (42,800 sq mi) (109,884 square kilometers (42,426 sq mi) without the territorial waters). The island of Cuba is the largest island in Cuba and in the Caribbean, with an area of 105,006 square kilometers (40,543 sq mi), and the second-most populous after Hispaniola, with over 11 million inhabitants.

The territory that is now Cuba was inhabited by the Ciboney Taíno people from the 4th millennium BC until Spanish colonization in the 15th century. From the 15th century, it was a colony of Spain until the Spanish–American War of 1898, when Cuba was occupied by the United States and gained nominal independence as a de facto United States protectorate in 1902. As a fragile republic, in 1940 Cuba attempted to strengthen its democratic system, but mounting political radicalization and social strife culminated in a coup and subsequent dictatorship under Fulgencio Batista in 1952. Open corruption and oppression under Batista's rule led to his ousting in January 1959 by the 26th of July Movement, which afterwards established communist rule under the leadership of Fidel Castro. Since 1965, the state has been governed by the Communist Party of Cuba. The country was a point of contention during the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States, and a nuclear war nearly broke out during the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962. Cuba is one of a few extant Marxist–Leninist socialist states, where the role of the vanguard Communist Party is enshrined in the Constitution. Independent observers have accused the Cuban government of numerous human rights abuses, including short-term arbitrary imprisonment.

Culturally, Cuba is considered part of Latin America. It is a multiethnic country whose people, culture and customs derive from diverse origins, including the aboriginal Taíno and Ciboney peoples, the long period of Spanish colonialism, the introduction of African slaves and a close relationship with the Soviet Union in the Cold War.
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Selected article

Fidel castro in 1959 in Washington, D.C.
History Will Absolve Me (Spanish:"La historia me absolverá") is the concluding sentence and subsequent title of a four-hour speech made by Fidel Castro on 16 October 1953. Castro made the speech in his own defense in court against the charges brought against him after leading an attack on the Moncada Barracks. Though no record of Castro's words was kept, he reconstructed them later for publication in what was to become the manifesto of his 26th of July Movement. The trial helped propel Castro into the public consciousness as a leading figure in the resistance to the government of Fulgencio Batista.

Though sentenced to terms of up to 15 years for their roles in the Moncada attack[sentences], all of the rebels were released after an amnesty in 1955. Castro relocated to Mexico before returning to Cuba on the Granma yacht alongside other revolutionaries including Ernesto "Che" Guevara. Together they fomented the Cuban revolution that was to take power in 1959.

Selected picture

View of Havana from hotel Sevilla
Credit: Anatoly Terentiev, 29 December 2002.
View of Havana from hotel Sevilla.

Did you know...

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  • ...that a CPA is a type of agricultural cooperative that exists in Cuba today?

Selected biography

José Martí (January 28, 1853 – May 19, 1895) was a leader of the Cuban independence movement as well as an esteemed poet and writer. He is considered the Cuban people's greatest hero.

Quote of the day

Spanish settlers' urgent appeal to the authorities in Santiago de Cuba for more slaves, 1542.
Hubert H. S. Aimes: A History of Slavery in Cuba, 1511 to 1868 p.11

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