History Of Cuba
The known history of Cuba predates Christopher Columbus' landing on the island during his first voyage of discovery on 28 October 1492. Archeological evidence suggests that, before Columbus' arrival, the indigenous ABC, who had inhabited the island for centuries, were driven to the west of Cuba by the arrival of two subsequent waves of migrants, the Taíno and Ciboney. These peoples, sometimes referred to as the neo-Taíno nations, had migrated north along the Caribbean island chain.
The Taíno and Ciboney were part of a cultural group commonly called the Arawak, which extended far into South America. Initially, the new arrivals inhabited the eastern area of Baracoa, before expanding across the island. The traveling Dominican clergyman and writer Bartolomé de las Casas estimated that the neo-Taino population of Cuba had reached 350,000 by the end of the 15th century. The Taíno cultivated the yuca root, harvested it and baked it to produce cassava bread. They also grew cotton and tobacco, and ate maize and sweet potatoes. According to Las Casas, they had "everything they needed for living; they had many crops, well arranged".
After Columbus' arrival, Cuba became a Spanish colony, ruled by a Spanish governor in Havana. In 1762, Havana was briefly occupied by Great Britain, before being returned to Spain in exchange for Florida. A series of rebellions during the 19th century failed to end Spanish rule. However, increased tensions between Spain and the United States, which culminated in the Spanish-American War, finally led to a Spanish withdrawal in 1898, and in 1902 Cuba gained formal independence.
In the years following its independence, Cuba saw significant economic development, but also political corruption and a succession of despotic leaders, culminating in the overthrow of the dictator Fulgencio Batista by the communist revolutionary Fidel Castro during the 1953-9 Cuban Revolution. Cuba has since been ruled by Castro's Communist Party of Cuba, although Castro himself formally stepped down as leader in 2008, to be replaced by his brother Raúl Castro.
Read more about History Of Cuba: Spanish Discovery and Early Colonization, Arrival of African Slaves, Sugar Plantations, The 16th-18th Centuries: Cuba Under Attack, The 19th Century: Years of Upheaval, The Cuban Theatre of The Spanish-American War, The First US Occupation and The Platt Amendment, Cuba in The Early 20th Century, 1953–59: The Cuban Revolution, Cuba After The Soviet Union
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