Cuba: Location, History, Size, Population, & Government

About the location, history, size, population, and government in the country of Cuba.



Location--Cuba lies on the north edge of the Caribbean, 90 mi. south of Key West, Fla. It is the most westerly of the West Indies.

How Created--Columbus discovered Cuba on October 28, 1492, on his 1st trip to the New World. In colonial times Cuba followed the usual pattern of the West Indies--the search for mineral wealth, decimation of the native population (of one million Ciboney Indians living on Cuba when Columbus arrived, virtually all were dead by 1600), importation of black slaves, exploitation of land and resources, raids by pirates.

On July 15, 1895, a rebel junta-in-exile in New York proclaimed Cuba a republic. The Spanish-American War followed, and Spain was forced to withdraw from Cuba. The U.S. established a military occupation government, which on May 20, 1902, relinquished power to an elected Cuban Government, headed by Tomas Estrada Palma. However, Cuba remained a trusteeship of the U.S. for 20 years, experiencing corresponding interference in Cuban affairs by the U.S.

Size--44,218 sq. mi. (114,524 sq. km.), including the Isle of Youth (Isle of Pines).

Population--9.3 million: European (mostly Spanish), 73%; mulatto, 15%; black, 12%. Also a sprinkling of Orientals. Mostly Roman Catholic.

Who Rules--A Council of Ministers.

Who REALLY Rules--Prime Minister Fidel Castro and other leaders of the Communist party. On the local level neighborhood organizations distribute various goods, provide services, and promote education and involvement on a personal level. "Popular tribunals" composed of neighbors and residents of a small local area have the power to sentence local offenders.

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